WALLSMASH: Breakout-style web game [Shared]

WALLSMASH | The best game you’ve ever seen.

WALLSMASH: Breakout-style web game [Shared]

Play WALLSMASH | The best game you’ve ever seen.

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Mount Wilson Observatory Timelapse looking over Pasadena via TikTok [Video]

@douglaswelch Mount Wilson Observatory looking over Pasadena #mountwilson #timelapse #scenic #outdoors #nature #clouds ♬ State Lines – Novo Amor


Mount Wilson Observatory Timelapse looking over Pasadena via TikTok [Video]

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“Sometimes You Need To Get Away” from For The Weekend…June 3, 2022

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Contents: 

  • Essay: Sometimes you need to get away
  • Video: Amazing Physics Toys/Gadgets 1
  • Explain Things Simply
  • Pessimists Archive
  • Root System Drawings
  • Book: The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
  • Read the entire newsletter in your browser

Read the entire newsletter in your browser


Sometimes You Need To Get Away

 

I wrote a few weeks ago about how the world can seem like the world is ganging up on you sometimes. Day after day, week after week is filled with one crisis after another. I know it wears me down over time until I want to do nothing but sink into my bed and pull the covers over my head until it is all over.

Of course, it is never over. By its very nature life is chaotic. We can do things to make it less so, but we must remember that the amount of chaos is not under our control. All we can do is hold on and ride out the larger waves and wait. That said, it is also important to enjoy the calmer seas in between the waves. In our efforts to simply cope with it all, we often lose sight of the better moments in our lives.

This weekend, Rosanne and I are making a trip to Mount Wilson Observatory. The evening is made up of a talk on the women who made the science at Mount Wilson possible, a picnic dinner, and viewings of the universe as seen through the observatory’s 100″ and 60″ telescopes. In this way, we will both see some of the more beautiful parts of our planet and the amazing sights beyond it.

Missed Opportunities

This is all part of our attempt to come out of our pandemic shell (in the safest way possible) and start living our lives again. We missed many opportunities over the last few years. Joseph graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with no ceremony in 2021, we had many conference trips canceled to places like Oxford, UK, and way too many days simply sitting around the house. Rosanne spent countless hours at her computer teaching classes at Cal Poly and even hosting her twice-yearly workshops for the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting on Zoom –– three. The garden benefitted, of course, but we want to see more of the world again.

When this Mount Wilson event showed up in my mailbox it seemed the perfect opportunity to “get away from it all” if only for an evening. I highly urge you to do the same. Find an event that allows you to be around people, yet distanced, preferably outdoors. Turn off your phone. (Mount Wilson is a cell phone dead zone so that greatly helps me.) Bring snacks, an important part of any getaway, and tune out. I know that when we drive down from the mountain we will be eased, refreshed, and ready to face another week.

Off On A Garden Tour

If you follow me here and elsewhere, you will know that I love photography. One great opportunity to exercise that part of my creativity was the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour in the South Bay. My sister was in town and had discovered this tour, so we spent the day bopping around to around 15 gardens (of the 59 available). It was a great day that allowed me to take lots of photos and gather many great ideas for my garden, We even ended up with some new plants, thanks to the kindness of one of the garden hosts, who had made up small pots for everyone who visited.

So, what would you like to be on your agenda in the coming months? Can you find ways to emerge from your COVID cocoon as we have? Be safe about it, but get out, get moving, get eating, get seeing, and jumpstart your new post-pandemic life!

***

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Above The Garden Timelapse via YouTube [Video]

Above The Garden Timelapse via YouTube [Video]

 

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The Museum Where Everything Is on Display via Atlas Obscura [Shared]

I am always amazed – and filled with despair – when I see how much of a museum’s collection is hidden from visitors. Virtual online collections certainly help to surface lesser-known pieces, but here is a museum seeking to provide physical access to its entire collection. Amazing! – Douglas

The Museum Where Everything Is on Display – Atlas Obscura

The Museum Where Everything Is on Display via Atlas Obscura [Shared]

THE MUSEUM BOIJMANS VAN BEUNINGEN—THE most visited-museum in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam—was founded in 1849. Over the next century and a half, its collection grew to more than 151,000 works of art, including masterpieces by household names like Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Hieronymus Bosch, and Peter Paul Rubens, all of it valued at €8 billion (about $9 billion). But as is the case for museums around the world, Boijmans’ galleries can only accommodate a fraction of these vast holdings, meaning that for most of its history the majority have been stored out of sight.

Sjarel Ex, the museum’s director since 2004, always thought that was a shame.

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A Glimpse Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries via Literary Hub [Shared]

No matter where I might travel I almost always end up at some sort of library. It could be a historic library in some palace or a somewhat more modern library like The Boston Public or Los Angeles Public Library Downtown. We have even toured John and John Quincey Adam “Stone Library: in Quincey, Massachusetts – a small, yet impressive private library (although now open to the public as a National Park. –– Douglas

A Glimpse Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries ‹ Literary Hub

A Glimpse Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries via Literary Hub [Shared]

Libraries have long been more than simple repositories of knowledge. They are living centers of intellectual exchange, research, teaching, and learning whose doors are firmly open to the world at large. They are places of education and of cultural and scientific transfer within their domain and at the same time open portals to global information. Libraries stand for communication with the past, present and future. Furthermore, libraries were and remain statements of prestige as well as aesthetic and architectural sophistication. These houses of knowledge and its appropriation have inspired secular and spiritual authorities since the Early Modern Era to devote particular attention to their design and décor—as abundantly witnessed by these impressive photographs.

Read A Glimpse Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries ‹ Literary Hub

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Edgar and Allan, my garden visitors via TikTok [Video]

@douglaswelch Edgar and Allen, my garden visitors #crowtok #birds #animals #garden #wildlife ♬ Witch Familiar (Classical) [Classic](143628) – dice


Edgar and Allen, my garden visitors via TikTok [Video]

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“The Need To Take Action” from For the Weekend…May 27, 2022

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Contents:

  •  Essay: The Need To Take Action
  • Video: Flower Slomo from MaryMusic on TikTok
  • The Customers Who Repeatedly Buy Doomed Products
  • How to improve your handwriting
  • Cattle panel trellis: How to build a DIY vegetable garden arch
  • Book: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett 

Read the entire newsletter in your browser


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

A Need To Take Action

 

Sometimes you have to take action without knowing if it is the right thing to do. You are not sure if it will succeed or fail, but something needs to be done. If it fails, you can always try something else – but action, movement, something will have been accomplished and you have gained information about what your next step might be.

Inaction is slow.

Inaction is impotent.

Inaction can be deadly.

While not every occasion requires immediate action, some call for it — even demand it outright. We all need to identify those moments and act.

Even for a worrier

I am an inveterate worrier. I feel anxious over often meaningless issues, but despite this, I have an inherent trait that has served me well when presented with the need for immediate action. I don’t know where it comes from, but I recognize the deep need for it.

When in a crisis, I – for lack of a better word – disassociate. Gone is the worry, the fear, the horror in an instant. My wife has seen me do this on several occasions and she always expresses profound disbelief at the change that comes over me. While I am still myself, I am also someone quite different. Gone are the petty worries and awkwardness. I become all business – coordinating ambulance responses, stopping bleeding, relaying vital signs to dispatchers, or getting us quickly and safely to the hospital after our son’s injurious traffic accident.

Afterward, though, I am my old self. My hands shake. Fatigue hits me. Fear, worry, and horror all come flooding back. It is only natural, but the difference is made all the more dramatic in comparison. I have done what NEEDS to be done WHEN it NEEDS to be done.

Finding your inner strength

I recount this so that perhaps you may find this “other person” inside yourself. Life presents us with new crises every day. How we react to them determines the next few minutes and hours but also the rest of our lives. It can be tremendously frightening to consider what crises might come your way, but considering them and preparing for them is deeply necessary.

In a crisis, I can call on all the tiny bits of training and information I have taken in over the years. I may be no expert on CPR but can perform the basics. I know the methods for stopping bleeding – and have had to employ them here in my own home. I know the signs of a concussion and when to seek treatment. Again, it might be far from perfect, but I can do it. That in itself is tremendously important.

You should cultivate your knowledge in these areas, too. You never know when you might be called on to intervene. I say this too due to the ways I have seen others react (or not react) in an emergency. There have been several times when I have had to intervene because no one else was stepping up to address the problem. This is so disheartening to see. We should all have the ability to do what needs to be done.

Psychology plays a large part in facing crises, too. Often we need to (controllably) be able to disassociate when necessary. Others often need what we would need in such a crisis. I think I focus so clearly on their needs that I can put aside my own, if only for a short time.

Responding to more than physical danger

Responding to crises other than the immediately life-threatening is important, too, of course. Here I am not nearly as adept, though. There are so many actions, so many protests, so many meetings, so much politics that is important but in those cases, my disassociation does not appear. I can’t overcome the awkwardness, fear, and embarrassment needed to have more effect in those areas.

I must admit that I am often disappointed in myself. I wish to and want to take more action, but can’t. Perhaps I can learn a way to surmount this psychological wall and perhaps you can too. It seems deeply important to try. We can all be frustrated and dismayed about what is happening around us, but we should also be able to take action against it.

Life has been difficult for everyone lately – and deeply more difficult for some. Perhaps over the next few months, we can look deeply inside ourselves and find ways to make life better for everyone. I will certainly be trying.

 

***

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Please, for goodness’ sake, start a mailing list via Austin Kleon [Shared]

No matter if you are just keeping up with friends, sharing interesting finds from the Internet, or building a business, keeping a mailing list (and a newsletter) is one of the best ways to keep in touch. – Douglas

Please, for goodness’ sake, start a mailing list – Austin Kleon

Please, for goodness' sake, start a mailing list via Austin Kleon

It is 2022 and I am still frustrated every week that somehow my favorite artists and writers don’t have a simple mailing list I can subscribe to so I can know when they have a new book, article, show, etc.

Here I am, a fan who wants to read/see every single thing you put out… and you don’t have a freaking mailing list!

START A MAILING LIST, Y’ALL.

It doesn’t matter what platform it’s on. You don’t need to commit to a regular newsletter. Just put a box on your website that people who want to hear from you can type their email into. When you have a new thing, send it to your list.

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Street View Driver – Virtual Drive Around The World [Shared]

Want to get a feeling of a city or town from your work desk? Check out this app built on top of Google Street View. Drive through town and check out the sites. – Douglas

Street View Driver

Street View Driver

Create a Google Map and Street View for your website or blog without coding

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Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Photography]

Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Photography]

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From my Instagram Feed

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🗞 “No More Heroes” and more from For The Weekend…May 20, 2022

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Garden scene 2

Contents:

  • Essay: No More Heroes
  • Video: Tropical Butterfly from svete_px on Instagram
  • The Museum Where Everything Is on Display
  • How To Strategically Choose What Nonfiction Book To Read Next
  • These Are America’s Most Gorgeous Botanical Gardens
  • Book: The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street

Read the entire newsletter in your browser


🗞

No More Heroes

After the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Orange County and the death of a man who attempted to stop the shooter, I posted this to my Twitter account.

“His heroism is undeniable. 

Yet I can’t help wishing that his heroism and death was unnecessary.

We need to address all the issues that led to this attack and others before any more heroes are created.”

In the face of crisis, we often look for hope among the heroes. We look for a salve for our emotions to help us understand and heal. While it is understandable to look for the heroes and celebrate them. In doing so, though, we turn away from the horrendous acts that create them. We want to celebrate the heroes so we don’t have to face reality. I see this over and over again with each tragedy and I want it to stop. I want to stop minting heroes and, instead, create a world where their heroic acts are no longer necessary.

Instead of seeking our solace in heroes, we need to look to our anger. We need to see each attack as an opportunity to take action against those in our society who will take advantage of others for whatever perverse motives they might have. We need to stop abdicating our responsibilities for upholding a civil society where all benefit. We all need to DO something.

It is with my own continuing anger that I witness attacks that were well planned and often well advertised beforehand. We often have opportunities to short circuit these attacks, but we ignore the danger that some people present. If someone is personally and actively presenting themselves as a danger to themselves and others we must develop a diversion program that watches over them and prevents them from carrying out their plans. 

If we can’t start with these most egregious examples, we are failures. If we cannot do something about preventing more deaths then we have failed and continue to fail as a people. Every new attack brings a fresh wailing and gnashing of teeth but little more. We bemoan our fate and yet do little to change it. We continue on as we always have and then soon forget what has happened, leaving families to mourn alone and forgotten. This tears at my mind and soul on each new occasion. I am losing hope and so are many others.

One important step we can all take is to attempt to de-radicalize others when we see it. Many of us have divorced ourselves from friends and family who have adopted unreasonable, if not violent, ideologies over the last few years. It is difficult, but we must re-engage with them and help them to move away from violence and back to a reasonable train of thought. Failing that, and it often will fail, we need to refer them to the criminal justice system so that they can, hopefully, be prevented from violence. If not, they are at risk. You are at risk. The public at large is at risk. We have seen too often how one person can have a devastating effect on the world and we need to work to prevent it whenever possible.

Let us all make a pledge for the present and the future. Let us do all we can to prevent radicalization and violence. Let us take action when necessary. Let us NOT ignore the ideologies and people who threaten violence. Most importantly, let us not need any more heroes to die as we have seen in the last few days. While their sacrifices are admiral, they shouldn’t be required.

***

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Where do math symbols come from? via John David Walters on YouTube [Video] [Shared]

Where do math symbols come from? – John David Walters – YouTube

Where do math symbols come from? via John David Walters on YouTube [Video] [Shared]

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Math is full of symbols: lines, dots, arrows, English letters, Greek letters, superscripts, subscripts … it can look like an illegible jumble. Where did all of these symbols come from? John David Walters shares the origins of mathematical symbols, and illuminates why they’re still so important in the field today.

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Yucca, Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Black and White Photography]

Yucca, Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Black and White Photography]

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From my Instagram Feed

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Yucca, Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Photography]

Yucca, Chilao Visitors Center, Angeles National Forest via Instagram [Photography]

Follow me on Instagram

From my Instagram Feed

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