Exquisite Feathers

Bird feathers are evolutionary wonders.

“As the saying goes in architecture, ‘form follows function,’ but when it comes to feathers I would say if form follows function, then beauty follows form.”

The book Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage by Robert Clark  is brimming with exquisite photos and facts to tempt the curious mind to embark on a journey filled with beauty and ideas about how the thousand of varieties of feathers have developed throughout history. Feathers have been designed for warmt, camouflage and sexual competivesss. This book is a perfect marriage between art and scienc; detailed cl0se-ups of feathers is paired with text about the utility as well as the evolution of the feather on the photo..

Robert is taking us on a journey filled with elegance as well as the past and interesting uses of feathers.

“The ways in which feathers have evolved and manifested themselves over time is riveting to me; over millions of years the scales of a dinosaur deviated and began to grow upward in spines that covered the body of birds. Through many generations, these spines spread, evolving specific purposes for the regions on the body on which they grew; eventually these spinal structures were imbued with extravagant colors and features,” writes Robert.

The aim is to make the feathers “look as if you could pick them up” and I could not agree more. So pick up the book and enjoy!

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The colour of scarlet macaw’s feather helps it live and blend in various different habitats. This is a secondary wing covert feather.

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Bird of Paradise.

 

Golden Headed Quetzal (Pharomachus auriceps)
Golden-Headed Quetzal (Pharomachus auriceps)
FEATHER TYPE : contour feather from the flank   LATIN NAME: Ithaginis cruentus   ENGLISH NAME: Blood Pheasant   REGION: Asia   OTHER NOTES: The green colour stems from a rare pigment called Turacoverdin   Further Information contact : Dr. Peter Mullen Kirchplatz 6 42489 Wuelfrath email: petermullen@gmx.de cell: +491726411691
The green colour stems from a rare pigment called Turacoverdin. Blood Phesant.

FEATHER TYPE : Wing   LATIN NAME: Lamprotornis superbus   ENGLISH NAME: Superb Starling   REGION: Africa Further Information contact : Dr. Peter Mullen Kirchplatz 6 42489 Wuelfrath email: petermullen@gmx.de cell: +491726411691

Superb Starling

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Hyperlocalization of Architecture – Extremely Local Approach to Sustainable Architecture

What is sustainability?
A sort of medicine that is going to save the environment and us.

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Hyperlocalization of Architecture: Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes by Andre Michler is a not only a visually stunning collection of the greenest buildings in the world, it is also a mind trip into ideas of  environmental architecture. The aim with sustainability is nourishment and hyperlocalized architecture absorbs the cultural and natural elements and transforms them into human habitats.

“When you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation. But most repair the world around it. And within it. So that the larger world at that one place becomes more whole.”

The term “hyperlocal” refers to “extremely local”. Andrew believes that in order to build sustainable we need to move away from the trend where all the houses and offices look the same despite being built in different climate and social and cultural conditions.  Architecture has become a form of entertainment and we have lost part of the main idea with building – namely to provide comfortable habitat. This book is filled with sustainable designs from the airy facades of the sun-drenched Spanish landscape to Danish play and the Japanese trend towards small, artful dwellings.

Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey

Who are they?

If you are looking for answer to the question “What is a dolphin?” perhaps the book, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins, is not the perfect choice. Instead Susan Casey is exploring why dolphins have played such a significant role in many societies. And like many new books on animal behaviour and cognition, animals are not put in a separate box where they are regarded as inferior to humans. Instead animals are explored in inspiring ways that help us understand who they are .

Lots of research is included in the book but Susan has an open mind and includes more anecdotal evidence to support her quest to show why these fascinating creatures not only should be treated with compassion and respect but also how we can learn and enhance our own lives by studying them.

Playful, social and intelligent, these magnificent creatures have the power to inspired strong emotions in humans. And research suggest that they can recognize their mirror reflections, grieve for love ones, count and call themselves by name. Dolphins’ brains are complex and their communication abilities are an interesting chapter. Interestingly, dolphins to not use names in an aggressive way, only in a loving way – see video below.

The book focuses on positive human experiences and encounters with dolphins. However, there are also more stories. For example, the killing of 1,000 dolphins in one day on the Solomon Islands as well as the slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese town Taiji, Japan – the documentary The Cove explores what happens in this town.  Susan links global captive dolphin industries to the brutal killings in these places and she inspired at least me to fight to end this atrocities.

Sadly, today the dolphin killing season begins in Japan so what better way to spread the message that instead of seeing dolphins as important because of their teeth or meat, we should start pondering more seriously over who they are.

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Photo:Bottlenose Dolphin Pixabay

Interesting Reading Areas – Blue Think Dive

Mind-boggling, awe-inspiring and stunning books about polar bears, bird frogs and everything in between. Below are Interesting Reading Areas (IRA). This is an active approach to making a end-of the year book list.

Most  end-of-the-year lists of book consists of books that have already been read by others and many of the lists consists of the same books. Often the lists consists of the books that have topped the sales lists during the year.

So I have made a list of areas of interest for developing my understanding of nature. The book lists also contains books that could inspire my thinking about and admiration for nature. Please note that I have not read these books. I invite you to make your own IRA and once you start searching you might find more and more. . . just like I did. A never-ending list. . .

My Interesting Reading Areas

  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Close-ups
  • Wildlife
  • Photography
  • Animal Cognition
  • Books to Spark Ideas

 Climate Change and Sustainability

Close-ups

 Wildlife

 Photography

Animal Cognition

Books to Spark Ideas

Nine-Hour Shift to Capture the The Everglades Snail Kite

Wetlands are Wonderlands!

Everglades is home for numerous endangered species like manatee, American crocodile and the snail kite. How far is the conservation photographer Mac Stone prepared to go to document the scenery and wildlife?

The video below tells the story behind the cover photo for his Everglades: America’s Wetland.

If you look closely at the photo above, you can see an apple snail, which is the kite’s main food. The take this shot Mac worked together with biologists to get permission to get close to this magnificent endangered bird. The book contains images from remote areas of the Everglades where few people have been permitted to go, making it a wonderful documentation of this unique subtropical wilderness.

Mac also swam in mangroves with sharks, flew in a helicopter over crocodiles. . . all this to ensure that people, like me, who has never been to the Everglades, will develop an emotional bond.

Photography can be seen as a bridge between science and aesthetics.

The book is not only brimming with glorious photos, there are also essays written by people who have an extensive understanding of the conservation of Everglades.

Many wetlands are regarded as land that can be filled and used to build upon. Wetlands are not regarded as valuable places and books like this helps to debunk ecomyths.

Mac’s blog where he writes about his photographic journeys is a visual treat. I hope you take the time to visit it.

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 Photo Mac Stone

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Evolution by Tim Flach

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I have looked at this book, Evolution, ever since it was published. Beautiful, mesmerising photos by Tim Flach.

Tim wants  to engage people in debates about who we are and our relationships to animals. He says that the way we treat animals is often dependent upon how we think animals display human characteristics. He does not want to make animals human but he is interested in how we respond to animal emotions and their culture.

While you look at these photos, think about what sort of emotions  that the photos are portraying. Can you identify the emotions? How sure/unsure are you? Why? What information would make you more sure?

A visit to Tim’s cool website is a treat.

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