Tuesday, August 25, 2009

365 Theme 188: Monuments or Memorials

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is the only national memorial on private property. Located in the rotunda of the Franklin institute it consists of a 6 meter tall marble statue weighing 30 tons atop a 92 ton pedestal. The statue is the first thing to greet a visitor as they enter the museum.
365 Theme 166: Larger Than Life

The giant heart, a Philadelphia icon since its opening in 1954. The exhibit lets the visitor play the role of a blood cell and travel through the heart. The woman and child on the left are exiting the heart. The entrance is on the other side of the heart.

I first experienced what it was like to be a red corpuscle on a middle school trip in the seventies. It's still cool.
365 Theme 189: Moving

"And yet it moves!"

Two views of the Foucault pendulum at the Franklin Institute. The pendulum shows that the earth rotates on its axis. As the pendulum swings back and forth the plane it swings in rotates with the earth. For this pendulum the motion is shown by having the bob knock over pins arranged in a circle (click on the top photo to see the pins, some of which have been knocked over).

The phrase, "and yet it moves" is often attributed to Galileo, with him supposedly saying it after being forced to recant his support for the heliocentric view of the solar system (which we now know is correct). It is unlikely that Galileo actually said this a the trial, although he most certainly believed it.
365 Theme 92: Famous Authors

Galileo Galilei, one of humanity's most influential authors.

This past Sunday I visited the Franklin Institute to see the Galileo exhibit. Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the exhibit proper, so I was only able to take this image of the entrance poster (it is skewed to mitigate the glare from the lights).

The exhibit consisted of two parts, artifacts, books, and images from Florence in the time of the Medici, all of which were sealed away, and a more hands on section dealing with optics. This second section had telescopes of the design and quality of Galileo's.

Among the items on display was a copy of his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The book which can be said to have begun the rise of western (now global) science and the eclipse of authority based teachings. Through his writings Galileo showed how the dogma of both the ancient Greeks and the church was wrong. And he backed these claims with experiments simple enough for anyone to reproduce. Galileo eschewed Latin and wrote in Italian, further showing his distain for authority of the ancients and supporting his view that anyone could discover how the world works.

The highlights of the exhibit for me were the original copies of the Dialogues and The Starry Messenger, in which he described his telescopic observations, and one of two remaining telescopes. And despite this scope being in a glass case I was able to get down on my knees and look through the scope. All I saw was a white circle of light. But I can say that Galileo and I have looked through the same scope. And I think that is just plain awesome.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

365 Theme 344: Up On Top

And n the side too! New growth from old as these seedlings sprout from a piling in Millcreek. Revisiting one of my favorite local spots.
365 Theme 109: Foreign

This nondescript little bird is a green-tailed towhee. And I took its picture in a backyard in Collingswood, NJ this past January.

This is only the seventh confirmed sighting of this bird in NJ since they started keeping records. Now while this species does breed in the US it does so west of the Rockies. And in January it should be in South America or perhaps as far north as Mexico. Certainly not visiting a backyard bird feeder in New Jersey. But it hung out there for over a month (first spotted on New Years Day, I took this shot on the 24th).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

365 Theme 94: Fasteners

From the savage garden. Drosera filiformis.

Update: Iona wonders in the comments how his image fits the theme "Fasteners". The bits in focus are the business end of the threaded sundew leaves. They "fasten" on to any insects which land on them, as can be seen here.
365 Theme 160: Intersection

Too many to count.
365 Theme 325: Things That Go

Egrets in flight.
365 Theme 10: Aged

An old spent pine cone.

With butterflies.
365 Theme 9: Advertisement

Pollen! Come and get your pollen!

Meadow Beauty and Grass Pink in the NJ Pinelands.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My friend Laura has a wonderful blog entitled Somewhere in NJ. Recently though you could call it "Somewhere in Wisconsin". Seems she went on a trip there (and blew off a trip with me to the Pinelands here in NJ. The nerve!). And she's been blogging about all the fabulous flowers she saw there.

Well they don't call it the "Garden State" for nothing. Here are some flower images from right here in New Jersey. Taken in the Pine Barrens this past Saturday morning. All at one spot. And all before noon.

Yellow Fringed Orchid

Bog Aster

Turks-cap Lily

Slender Yellow-eyed Grass

Round-leaved Sundew

Cross-leaved Milkwort

Lance-leaved Century

Green Wood Orchid

Canada St. Johns-wort

White Fringed Orchid

Imagine if I had spent the whole day out there?