Archive for February, 2007

Animal instinct

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Image of a painting, the head and beak of a bird

More than 20,000 years ago, the first images humans painted on cave walls were of animals. Our interest in representing animals in art continues to this day. (more…)

Pencil me in

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Image of pencil hardness scale

Ever wondered why office pencils and drawing pencils have different alphanumeric hardness scales? How did the numbering scheme arise?

American Mythology

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Can a culture simultaneously advance and decline? Taking only our technical advancements into account, American culture seems to be on a never-ending upward curve. Looking only at technology prevents us from recognizing where we are slipping, diverging from the “American Dream,” which was, after all, only that.

Charcoal drawings

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Image of a charcoal drawing, charcoal pencil landscape one

I’ve been experimenting with charcoal and related media.

Famous last words

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

By now I hope everyone’s heard about the shameful treatment of our wounded veterans housed at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The Army brass are in the spotlight and it’s informative to see how they react.

Nature walk, February 19

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Image of flowers, Halpatiokee Park February 19, 2007

The weather finally warmed up and I took a three-hour walk through Halpatiokee Park, a nature preserve a few miles from home. Here are some of the photos I took. The red berries are Brazilian Peppers, an invasive “exotic” plant. I don’t know what the purple flowers are. Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can tell me.

Recent drawings

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Image of a Conté drawing of Mus the dog  Image of a Conté portrait

Information Age?

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Our time is often portrayed as an age of information. People take degrees in “Information Technology.” The Web provides an almost-infinite choice of information sources, and I frequently exhort people to seek them out. Yet, as Pamela Constable, writing in today’s Washington Post, points out, the new paradigm carries risks as well as rewards.

In my opinion

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Screen shot from One Thousand Reasons home page

The Website “One Thousand Reasons” is an annotated collection of links to articles critical of the Bush Administration. OTR has an annoying habit of providing links to New York Times op-ed articles, for which the Times started requiring a paid subscription (called Times Select) in September 2005. At that point I stopped reading the Times on a daily basis, only occasionally checking out articles suggested by correspondents. Today, OTR did it again, teasing me with the first paragraphs of Maureen Dowd’s column, in which she invokes the spirit of Oprah Winfrey.

I was curious to see what if any effect Times Select had on traffic to the Gray Lady’s Website. The chart shows daily page views for four Websites, as counted by Alexa, for the past three years.

HostGator Heaven?

Friday, February 16th, 2007

HostGator logo

My previous post complained about the lousy service I was getting from HostDime, an Orlando-based hosting company. After numerous email and site-wide outages that took too long to fix, two email outages totalling 13 hours on Monday, after which spam filtering was broken forced my decision to move. HostGator is well-reviewed and I had a coupon good for a month’s hosting, so I can try them for free. I hope they work out, as moving this site took up time I’d rather have spent doing almost anything else. This was only my second change of hosting companies in five years of owning a domain, and I stuck it out with HostDime for more than four of them. I sure hope I don’t have to move again.