Between Darkness and Light

Steve McCurry's Blog

The shadow is that place between darkness and light.

00054_09, Preah Khan, Angkor, Cambodia, 1999, CAMBODIA-10049NF. Shadow Play. Untold_book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 09/08/2015 Preah Khan, Angkor, Cambodia

We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows,
the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates…
Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.
–  Junichiro Tanizaki

Kampala, Uganda Kampala, Uganda

The loveliest things in life are but shadows, and they come and go, and
change and fade away…”
– Charles Dickens

Angkor Wat, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.
– T. S. Eliot

Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan

A shadow on the wall
boughs stirred by the noonday wind
that’s enough earth
and for the eye
enough celestial participation.
– Gottfried Benn
Translated from The German by Michael Hofmann

New York City, USA New York City, USA

Afghanistan Afghanistan

I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be…

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Short post of the month February 2016 – gravitational waves

Very interesting.

The Science Geek

The subject of February’s short post of the month is gravitational waves. These were predicted by Albert Einstein back in 1916, and after decades of searching have finally been detected. In an announcement made on 11 February at a Washington DC press conference David Reitze, the executive director of the LIGO Laboratory, said:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it!”

(Castelvecchi and Witze 2016). Later that day president Obama tweeted his congratulations to the team:

Obama LIGO Tweet

What are gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves are ripples in space time. As gravitational waves pass through an object they cause it to move slightly. The Universe is believed to be awash with gravitational waves, because when massive objects move, such as the Earth orbiting around the Sun, they emit gravitational radiation. However compared to other forms of radiation such as light and radio waves, gravitational waves are very very weak, which is why they have proved…

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The cosmic microwave background: part I

Very clear, plain language explanation easy to understand for the layperson.

The Science Geek

In 1964 two young American radio astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, made an accidental finding which would win them both the Nobel prize and turned out to be one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.

The story started when Penzias and Wilson were given observing time on a large radio telescope at Bell Labs in New Jersey. The telescope had originally been designed for satellite communications, but with the advances in satellites in the 1960s it had become surplus to requirements.

Horn_Antenna-NJ

Penzias and Wilson at the telescope where they made their discovery (image from NASA)

They had been intending only to map radio signals from objects in our Milky Way galaxy, but their telescope was sensitive enough to pick up a faint background signal. This signal was unusual in that it had the same strength in all directions and at all times of day. Initially they thought that it was a man made signal but…

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River of Life

How lucky we are!

Steve McCurry's Blog

For more than 2000 years, travelers have walked, ridden,
prayed, traded, invaded, escaped, fought, and
died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road
which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.

Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996; A Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996 MCS1996002 K010 Magnum Photos, NYC5923 "For McCurry, Calcutta is the most visual city on the planet, spinning with chaos and clutter, crumbling under the weight of its overpopulation, utterly out of control, yet vital and alive. Vendors spill into streets, which hold a confusion of cars, trams, rickshaws, bicycles and pedestrians. So how to make this picture? McCurry looked for an office or apartment on a second floor of a street corner. 'And that is the wonder of the place. Twenty minutes later, I am on a bed in a couple's apartment, making the picture and staying on for a cup of tea." Anthony Bannon. (2005). Steve McCurry. New York: Phaidon Press Inc., 37. National Geographic, March 1997, India: Fifty Years of Independence Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, iconic photographs final print_HERMITAGE Dirty, hot, smoggy, friendly- that's how one resident describes Calcutta, a city so humid even the buildings seem to sweat. With crowded streets pockmarked with potholes, an unreliable phone system, and a long love affair with Marxism, Calcutta is only now trying to lure foreign investors. National Geographic, Jeffrey C. Ward (May 1997). India: Fifty years of Independence. National Geographic, vol. 191(5) A tram winds its way through the streets of Calcutta. Dirty, hot, smoggy, friendly, it is a place so humid that even the buildings seem to sweat. This Calcutta street is a cacophony of visual noise. McCurry spent a long time searching for a way to capture the energy and vitality of this most unique of cities. His response was to find a vantage point above street level. Fortunately, he was welcomed into an apartment on the street corner by a young couple. After taking this image he stayed for a cup of tea. South Southeast_Book Steve Mccurry_Book Iconic_Book final print_Sao Paulo final print_Birmingham final print_HERMITAGE retoucher_Sonny Fabbri 3/24/2015 Kolkata, India

This ribbon of humanity stretching northwest from Kolkata,
the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees,
prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kolkata, India Kolkata, India

Here are some pictures of people and places
I have taken along the route of the
Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.

Street scene, Calcutta, India, 1996 Kolkata, India

Howrah Station, Kolkata, India Howrah Station, Kolkata, India

Kolkata, India Kolkata, India

Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

 Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.

Bihar, India Bihar, India

Varanasi, India Varanasi, India

Agra, India Agra, India

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters…

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River of Life

How lucky we are!

Steve McCurry's Blog

For more than 2000 years, travelers have walked, ridden,
prayed, traded, invaded, escaped, fought, and
died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road
which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.

Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996; A Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996 MCS1996002 K010 Magnum Photos, NYC5923 "For McCurry, Calcutta is the most visual city on the planet, spinning with chaos and clutter, crumbling under the weight of its overpopulation, utterly out of control, yet vital and alive. Vendors spill into streets, which hold a confusion of cars, trams, rickshaws, bicycles and pedestrians. So how to make this picture? McCurry looked for an office or apartment on a second floor of a street corner. 'And that is the wonder of the place. Twenty minutes later, I am on a bed in a couple's apartment, making the picture and staying on for a cup of tea." Anthony Bannon. (2005). Steve McCurry. New York: Phaidon Press Inc., 37. National Geographic, March 1997, India: Fifty Years of Independence Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, iconic photographs final print_HERMITAGE Dirty, hot, smoggy, friendly- that's how one resident describes Calcutta, a city so humid even the buildings seem to sweat. With crowded streets pockmarked with potholes, an unreliable phone system, and a long love affair with Marxism, Calcutta is only now trying to lure foreign investors. National Geographic, Jeffrey C. Ward (May 1997). India: Fifty years of Independence. National Geographic, vol. 191(5) A tram winds its way through the streets of Calcutta. Dirty, hot, smoggy, friendly, it is a place so humid that even the buildings seem to sweat. This Calcutta street is a cacophony of visual noise. McCurry spent a long time searching for a way to capture the energy and vitality of this most unique of cities. His response was to find a vantage point above street level. Fortunately, he was welcomed into an apartment on the street corner by a young couple. After taking this image he stayed for a cup of tea. South Southeast_Book Steve Mccurry_Book Iconic_Book final print_Sao Paulo final print_Birmingham final print_HERMITAGE retoucher_Sonny Fabbri 3/24/2015 Kolkata, India

This ribbon of humanity stretching northwest from Kolkata,
the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees,
prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kolkata, India Kolkata, India

Here are some pictures of people and places
I have taken along the route of the
Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.

Street scene, Calcutta, India, 1996 Kolkata, India

Howrah Station, Kolkata, India Howrah Station, Kolkata, India

Kolkata, India Kolkata, India

Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

 Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.

Bihar, India Bihar, India

Varanasi, India Varanasi, India

Agra, India Agra, India

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters…

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Undaunted Humankind Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 2016

Steve McCurry's Blog

“A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost,
but always, just beneath the ground lies
history of preposterous grandeur. .
They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind,
irrepressibly optimistic and proud.

– The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer

_DSC9386.JPG, Afghanistan, 03/2016, AFGHN-14855. Retouch_Natalie Piserchio, 06/09/2016

_DSC8137.JPG, Afghanistan, 03/2016, AFGHN-14852 Retouch_Natalie Piserchio, 06/09/2016

_DSC7779.JPG, Afghanistan, 03/2016, AFGHN-14853. Retouched_Natalie Piserchio, 06/09/2016

AFGHN-14865.jpg

AFGHN-14859 (1)Life in a war zone means that death is always present in the lives of children and their families.All the elements of life and death are in this picture. Boys and girls, graves, playground equipment, and the mosque, all in the shadow of the neighborhood on a hill in Kabul, Afghanistan.

AFGHN-14841

AFGHN-14854

AFGHN-14860

a_DSC8583.JPG, Afghanistan, 03/2016. NOPSD_DSC5683.JPG, Afghanistan, 03/2016, AFGHN-14840. retouched_Natalie Piserchio 06/08/2016

AFGHN-14850This is Abdul Hadi. He is a teacher in the woodworking school of the Institute of Turquoise Mountain (@turquoisemountain), in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he teaches jali woodwork (latticework). He was a woodworker at the court of the last king of Afghanistan, and then for some 35 years did not have a chance to practice his skills, due to the…

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Ami J Kopstein What’s on your Mind!

From Darwin the Origin of Species

An Amazing work for its time and for today.

To Darwin’s chagrin a similar treatise was published almost concurrently as his. One of the preponderances of historical example of great ideas emerging independently simultaneously by individuals who never communicated with each other. The Merton principle 

Introduction

When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years’ work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.
My work is now (1859) nearly finished; but as it will take me many more years to complete it, and as my health is far from strong, I have been urged to publish this abstract. I have more especially been induced to do this, as Mr. Wallace, who is now studying the natural history of the Malay Archipelago, has arrived at almost exactly the same general conclusions that I have on the origin of species. In 1858 he sent me a memoir on this subject, with a request that I would forward it to Sir Charles Lyell, who sent it to the Linnean Society, and it is published in the third volume of the Journal of that Society. Sir C. Lyell and Dr. Hooker, who both knew of my work—the latter having read my sketch of 1844—honoured me by thinking it advisable to publish, with Mr. Wallace’s excellent memoir, some brief extracts from my manuscripts.
This abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors may have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this is here impossible.
I much regret that want of space prevents my having the satisfaction of acknowledging the generous assistance which I have received from very many naturalists, some of them personally unknown to me. I cannot, however, let this opportunity pass without expressing my deep obligations to Dr. Hooker, who, for the last fifteen years, has aided me in every possible way by his large stores of knowledge and his excellent judgment.
In considering the origin of species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species, inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which justly excites our admiration. Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, etc., as the only possible cause of variation. In one limited sense, as we shall hereafter see, this may be true; but it is preposterous to attribute to mere external conditions, the structure, for instance, of the woodpecker,with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees. In the case of the mistletoe, which draws its nourishment from certain trees, which has seeds that must be transported by certain birds, and which has flowers with separate sexes absolutely requiring the agency of certain insects to bring pollen from one flower to the other, it is equally preposterous to account for the structure of this parasite, with its relations to several distinct organic beings, by the effects of external conditions, or of habit, or of the volition of the plant itself.
It is, therefore, of the highest importance to gain a clear insight into the means of modification and coadaptation. At the commencement of my observations it seemed to me probable that a careful study of domesticated animals and of cultivated plants would offer the best chance of making out this obscure problem. Nor have I been disappointed; in this and in all other perplexing cases I have invariably found that our knowledge, imperfect though it be, of variation under domestication, afforded the best and safest clue. I may venture to express my conviction of the high value of such studies, although they have been very commonly neglected by naturalists.
From these considerations, I shall devote the first chapter of this abstract to variation under domestication. We shall thus see that a large amount of hereditary modification is at least possible; and, what is equally or more important, we shall see how great is the power of man in accumulating by his selection successive slight variations. I will then pass on to the variability of species in a state of nature; but I shall, unfortunately, be compelled to treat this subject far too briefly, as it can be treated properly only by giving long catalogues of facts. We shall, however, be enabled to discuss what circumstances are most favourable to variation. In the next chapter the struggle for existence among all organic beings throughout the world, which inevitably follows from the high geometrical ratio of their increase, will be considered. This is the doctrine of Malthus, applied to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms. As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be NATURALLY SELECTED. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.
This fundamental subject of natural selection will be treated at some length in the fourth chapter; and we shall then see how natural selection almost inevitably causes much extinction of the less improved forms of life, and leads to what I have called divergence of character. In the next chapter I shall discuss the complex and little known laws of variation. In the five succeeding chapters, the most apparent and gravest difficulties in accepting the theory will be given: namely, first, the difficulties of transitions, or how a simple being or a simple organ can be changed and perfected into a highly developed being or into an elaborately constructed organ; secondly the subject of instinct, or the mental powers of animals; thirdly, hybridism, or the infertility of species and the fertility of varieties when intercrossed; and fourthly, the imperfection of the geological record. In the next chapter I shall consider the geological succession of organic beings throughout time; in the twelfth and thirteenth, their geographical distribution throughout space; in the fourteenth, their classification or mutual affinities, both when mature and in an embryonic condition. In the last chapter I shall give a brief recapitulation of the whole work, and a few concluding remarks.
No one ought to feel surprise at much remaining as yet unexplained in regard to the origin of species and varieties, if he make due allowance for our profound ignorance in regard to the mutual relations of the many beings which live around us. Who can explain why one species ranges widely and is very numerous, and why another allied species has a narrow range and is rare? Yet these relations are of the highest importance, for they determine the present welfare and, as I believe, the future success and modification of every inhabitant of this world. Still less do we know of the mutual relations of the innumerable inhabitants of the world during the many past geological epochs in its history. Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists until recently entertained, and which I formerly entertained—namely, that each species has been independently created—is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. Furthermore, I am convinced that natural selection has been the most important, but not the exclusive, means of modification.”

The Introduction From: Charles Darwin. “On the Origin of Species, 6th Edition.” iBooks.

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