What Kinds of Spring Wild Flowers in Your Backyard?

Friday, February 22, 2019
Wood sorrel (Oxalis sp)
We call spring when temperature is stable above 20-degree celcius (20 C) at around late February or first week. It is typical spring temperature in the Southern USA. A lot of wild flowers invades our backyard. They are appearing in very short period, from late February or March to around May, but few until late August.
Four common species found are: Wood sorrel, Coneflower, Easter daisy fleabane and wild weed. The colors are wonderful.
Flowers called wild sorrel are said to be source of food for wild animals. They eat everything from seed to bulb, from leaves to plant. Some wild animals consume wood sorrel are dove, sparrow, deer and rabbit. 

Coneflower (Helianthella uniflora)
I think the Coneflower includes sunflower family, are seen easily in the USA and Canada. Uniquely, one stem contain one flower only with bright yellow color. It is said that stem could reach 100 cm, however, I never saw that tall in my backyard.
Easter daisy fleabane (Engeron sp)
I think, this is one of beautiful wild flowers, white with yellow dish in the middle. Flower presents quite longer until summer time. They are small, never reach 100 cm in my backyard.
Some people said that this flower could grow in variety soild, even in the poor soil, it may be the reason why the flowers are found in road sides along many states in the USA.
Wild weed
The last flower in the photos is wild weed. Look wonderful. It is wild indeed. Finally, the beauty of wild flowers in my backyard will disappear soon when summer coming.
Do you have wildflowers in backyard or nearby your house?

What are Significant of Statues on Easter Island?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Statues on coast line, credit to Easter Island Tour

There were many theories about statues (moai) on Easter Islands, you might know some of them: representative of important figures on their times, cultural important and even images of gods.

Interestingly, the statues are abundance in certain locations, but rarely found in other areas of Island. There are around 1 thousand statues on the island of 15.3 mile (24.6 km) length and 7.6 mile (12.3 km) width. Total area are 63.2 square mile or 163.6 square km.

Sizes of statues are very much varies, from 1 m only to 21 m (4 m average) and weighing average is 14 ton (reach to 86 tonnes). Two most famous sites of statues called Ahu Akivi and Ahu Tongariki.

Interestingly, most statues facing inland, but few statues facing ocean. It is unsual that 7 coastal statues of Ahu Akivi are facing the ocean.

The current understanding of the important of statues on Easter Island are or “why the statues are where they are”:
1) Good location to grow crops such as potatoes
2) Fishing ground
3) Fresh water resources

Thus, statues are relate to survival of Easter Island ancestors. The size of statues are indicating the quantity and quality of survival relate resources.

How much income is considered poor in the USA?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Rich and poor gap wider, credit to Elisabeth Mutschlechner

          Per capita income is measured by dividing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by total population for specific period in a country. The period should be yearly. USA per capita income is considered higher in the world.
          Based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in 2018, USA ranked 9th in the world in term of nominal GDP per capita. Top 10 countries with average income in US$ are following:
1. Luxembourg (US$ 120 thousands)
2. Switzerland (US$ 87 thousands)
3. Iceland (US$ 85 thousands)
4. Macao SAR (US$ 84 thousands)
5. Norway (US$ 83 thousands)
6. Ireland (US$ 81 thousands)
7. Qatar (US$ 66 thousands)
8. Denmark (US$ 64 thousands)
9. USA (US$ 62 thousands)
10. Singapore (US$ 61 thousands)

          Now, back to the question: How much income is considered poor in the USA? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determine poverty line for two categories in 2019, they are individual and household.
          Person be included as poor if his or her income below US$ 12,490 per year, and US$ 25,750 of annual income for household of four (mom, dad and two children) is considered under poverty line.
          Since cost of living is varies between one state to another state, then each state has own poverty line. The state of Alaska poverty line for individual is US$ 15,600 and US$ 14,380 for Hawaii. In term of household, New York has poverty line of US$ 29,016 for household of four, higher than national average. Mississippi has lower poverty line for household of four which is US$ 21,686.

How much annual income to be considered poor in your country or state?

Why Chocolate Coat Dogs Live Shorter?

Sunday, February 10, 2019
Cute chocolate puppies, credit to Mychelle Blake

Dog lifespan is between 10 – 13 years, while the breed called Labrador has lifespan of 10 – 14 years or average of 12 years.

Actually, not longer than human. This bred is popular in America, UK and Canada. Interestingly, the lifespan of Labrador depends on colors very much.

The Labradors with chocolate coat have shorter lifespan or less than 12 years average compared to other colors such as yellow and black.

The question is: Why? There are two reasons, first, physically that chocolate Labradors tend to get:

- ear infection
- obesity
- joint conditions
- skin diseases (hot spots).

The second is that chocolate coats Labradors have narrow “gene pool” genetically.

 Two puppies play around

The fact that chocolate color is recessive, thus to get chocolate color offspring, breeders tend to breed both parents (a mature male and female) which have chocolate colors.

The reducing of gene pool is believed to lead to dogs health problems.

Cute puppies

Moreover, three colors that are black, yellow and chocolate are popular in the world.

Five colors: fox red, white, black, yellow and chocolate are common breeds in the USA and some extends to Canada. 

Play with mom

In respect to colors, all colors of Labradors are kindly and to be one of favorite dogs for children.

They could be trained easily. Quite surprisingly, both owners and breeders notice that chocolate Labradors are little bit difficult to follow or obey rules and certain instructions.

They are could be categorized as disobedient compared to other dog colors.

Do you believe it? 

What is Painting Stylistic of Baroque?

Friday, February 8, 2019
Figure-01- One of Baroque style of art, painted by Caravaggio, credit to WUBR

Baroque style started in around 1600 in Rome, Italy, then spread to Europe continent. 

The style was initiated by the Catholic Church to respond to the Protestant reformation, where the style had to be:
- more forceful
- more emotional
- a greater realism.

Then, Baroque style influenced artists in painting, sculpture and architecture a cross Europe.

Art Encyclopedia (2016) listed prominent artists of Baroque style, some of painting artists are:
- Diego Velazquez
- Rembrandt
- Caravaggio
- Carlo Maratta

Figure-02- a Caravaggio painting

Among sculpture artists are:
- Giovanni Bernini
- Juan Martines Montanes
- Jorg Zurn

Famous artists of Baroque style in the field of architecture are:
- Christopher Wren
- John Vanbrugh
- Balthasar Neumann

Figure-03- Another Caravaggio painting

We could see the examples of painting from Caravaggio as one of Baroque artists (please see Figure 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05).

Caravaggio is nickname for Michelangelo Merisi who developed Baroque in style form known as “lights and dark.The style was developed in 1600’s as the mark of ending of Renaissance style era.

Figure-04- Girl and fruits, painted by Caravaggio

The Caravaggio paintings are characterized by darkness as background, and then spot light on the figures.

As of above paintings and below one, we don’t see architectures, landscapes or views as background. We just see man, woman, girl, boy, animal or fruit as spot figures.

Figure-05- Boy and an animal, painted by Caravaggio

Caravaggio's style was not very accepted, especially from religious communities in Italy, because his models are coming from common people such as from street, farming or brothels.

His style influenced over European artists includes Spanish, Dutch and French at early times. Then, respected by Italian artists of next generations.

Art Encyclopedia. 2016. Baroque Art. Retrieved from  http://www.visual-arts-

What are Important Species of American Fresh water fish?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Large mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), Credit to Texas Park and Wildlife
If you like fishing in freshwater, there are many attractive fish species include economic ones in the river, stream or lake. Some of them are:
1.Large mouth bass
4. Black Crappie
5.Rainbow trout
We could catch Large mouth bass with size of 4-10 pounds (2 – 5 kg) weight and from three or four inches length. This kind of fish could be found in a river and a lake. If we lucky enough, we could find schooling of Large mouth bass in the middle of lake. Large mouth bass is good for eating. Taste is depend on how we cook it. Overall, the taste is delicious.

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), credit to WDFW
The bluegill is also called as brim, bream, or copper nose with scientific name Lepomis macrochirus. In nature, the fish lives in streams, rivers or lakes. The size is around 3 pound (1.5 kg) weight, perfect size for barbecue. 
Sunfish is look like Bluegill, I think it is because they are the same genus that is Lepomis. Then, black crappie also has the shape similar to sunfish and bluegill. They are the same family of Centrarchidae (read with sound: sin-tr-ark-i-day).

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), credit to Idaho Fish and Game
Other common freshwater fish is rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is cold water fish, usually found in the shallow river of northern part of America. We could fish rainbow trout around December or January each year. The size around 2 kg weight.

Does Oarfish As a Precursor to Tsunami and Earthquake?

Sunday, February 3, 2019
Oarfish is swimming around (credit to Google)

Fish with size of 3.5 m length and 4 m length are found in different locations in Japan. This marine creature called as Oarfish with scientific name Regalecus glesne, could reach 17 m length and 270 kg, is rare in nature.

Oarfish or king of herring that appearing on beach (last January, 2019) of Toyama and Imizu, Japan could mean many things. Japan people, based on their mythology believed that Oarfish bring messages from sea god or “Ryugu no tsukai.” It is a harbinger of tsunami and a powerful earthquake.

Based on the fact that 2011 Tohoku earthquake, then followed by tsunami caused around 19 thousand Japanese death. Prior the disaster, more than 10 Oarfishes washed up near by Tohoku in 2010. The disasters even occurred far away in Chile, Haiti and Taiwan.

Oarfish on the beach (credit to Google)

Is it true? Is there relationship between Oarfish and eartquake or tsunami? It is fact that in addition to rarity, Oarfish also live under sea, from 500 m to 1000 m from ocean surface, deep down to the sea floor. Sighting of Oarfish on the beach is extraordinary event.

Many factors caused Oarfish to swim up to the beaches. Oarfish and other creatures which live close to sea bottom are responsive to movement of faults. Another reason that poor physical conditions drive Oar to come up to the surface.

Thus, It is possible that Oarfish is “messenger of sea god” to foretell the earthquake and tsunami. Do you believe it?