Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sacred Spaces: Mars

For more detail and to find stunning pictures of space, CLICK HERE.

This image shows a variety of different dune types in southern Lyot Crater in the Northern lowlands at 48.9 degrees north. Transverse dunes to the west grade into longitudinal dunes downwind to the east and barchans to the south, possibly because of local winds channeled by topography in the impact basin. This image was intended to match the approximate illumination and viewing conditions of an earlier HiRISE observation that was made two Martian years earlier, in August 2008. Detailed comparison of the two images shows movement on many of the dunes during this interval of nearly four Earth years.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Follow Up to Sacred Things: Robots

In an earlier post, Sacred Things: Robots, I highlighted a video of a DARPA robot that could literally go over hill and dale, take a spill, right itself, and run at a trot.
The purpose of the robot is obvious, to serve as a pack mule. Analysts at war colleges have known since studying the conquests of Alexander that the average fighting man can carry between 40 to 60 pounds, the heavier the less easily, and always as an encumbrance.
The robot's name is LS3, which is an acronym for Legged Squad Support System. To quote ""The vision for LS3 is to combine the capabilities of a pack mule with the intelligence of a trained animal," Army Lt. Col. Joe Hitt, DARPA's LS3 program manager, said in a written statement. Each robot carried a 325-pound load during the demonstration, Hitt told InformationWeek in an email."
I am however mindful of what Alexander did at the outset of when he was leading his army across the Khyber Pass into India, he burnt his wagons, because he realized that the trains were a hindrance.
I am also not sure how I would feel if I saw one of those robots in the real world.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Screw You People Trying to Find Meaning in This

I know that this will disturb a lot of religious people, but here goes. The surest proof against the existence of god is the suffering of children.

"Listen: if everyone must suffer, in order to buy eternal harmony with their suffering, pray tell me what have children got to do with it? It’s quite incomprehensible why they should have to suffer, and why they should buy harmony with their suffering."

- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Difference between Google and Microsoft

Could it really be this simple, this cut and dried? Google has hired futurist Ray Kurzweil to assist them in figuring out where to go forward to the future; this will have an impact on networks, engineering, language processing and managing data.  Microsoft, its arch-rival, has hired Mark Penn, former bulldozer on behalf of the Clintons, to do the same bulldozing to Google. Microsoft is looking to achieve stasis, not innovation, defamation. Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nancy Charak at Chicago State University

Cri de Coeur No. 5951, watercolor, prsimacolor, graphite on birchwood panel, 18"x24.

January 29, 2013--March 15, 2013
"What's Abstract?" two-person exhibit at Chicago State University with Julian Williams, curated by Joyce Owens

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More About Vincent Van Gogh Sunflowers

This is nice to know:

UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Gogh's sunflower paintings
 IMAGE: The most common, wild-type sunflower variety is shown in box A, and its florets are shown in B. Box C shows a double-flowered mutant variety, with its florets shown in...
Click here for more information.

In addition to being among his most vibrant and celebrated works, Vincent van Gogh's series of sunflower paintings also depict a mutation whose genetic basis has, until now, been a bit of a mystery.

In a study published today (March 29) in the journal PLoS Genetics, however, a team of University of Georgia scientists reveal the mutation behind the distinctive, thick bands of yellow "double flowers" that the post-Impressionist artist painted more than 100 years ago.

Artist of the Day: Peggy McNamara

Yesterday my buddy MaryW and I went to the Field Museum to see the Extreme Mammals and Maharajah shows. Then we wandered through stuffed and taxidermied African animals into birds ditto. In birds we found an astonishing display of art depicting birds by Audubon, Agassiz and Peggy McNamara. Peggy's watercolors sparkle bringing life to the birds that pop off the paper. Peggy is the museum's artist in residence.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Artist of the Day: Rodin

Nancy Charak, photograph, Rodin Burghers of Calais, London

Nancy Charak, photograph, Rodin in Metro Paris

Nancy Charak, photograph, Musee Rodin Paris

 Today's artist of the day is Rodin. I go along with Google and the Google doodle on this. There's a Rodin museum in Philadelphia, that I'm sure is worth the trip. My first trip to Paris was a 3 day marathon that missed the Musee Rodin. The third photo of the lines waiting to get in to the museum were taken on my second trip, and it was later in the afternoon, my feet were starting to hurt, and I remembered seeing ice cream a few blocks back.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Two Words for the Day:

Two words for the day, Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  They are ragnarok and schadenfreud. Ragnarok for the circular firing squad the Republicans are going to have to go through in order to become civilized citizens of an enlightened country. Schadenfreud for the fact that it's totally okay to gloat and enjoy the afterglow.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All This Has Happened Before. . .

Lonche Man dental x-rays
Okay, I'll take a stab at this.  This is an x-ray of Stone Age dental work. This is knowledge that was forgotten and then remembered.  Here's the link to the Oxford University Press' Very Short Inroductions Series.

Advanced analytical methods, based on radioactivity and radiation, have recently revealed that therapeutic dental filling was in use during the Stone Age. As part of the team that performed the study, I worked with experts in radiocarbon dating, synchrotron radiation imaging, dentistry, palaeo-anthropology, and archaeology. Our discovery was based on the identification of an extraneous substance on the surface of a canine from a Neolithic human mandible.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Fresh Look at Old Art

Frederick Remington, The Mexican Major
Mary Cassatt, After the Bullfight

I went to the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday. I decided not to wander the Modern Wing again, having done so in the last several months, at least five times. Instead, I went downstairs in the American wing, to the 19th and 18th centuries. Here's some pleasant surprises.
Winslow Homer, The Herring Net

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nancy Charak Art at 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar's Office

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Jayson Lawfer potterySPEstesNancy Charak



1 + 1 = Community

Alderman Ameya Pawar's 47th Ward Office features local artists work.

Wednesday, October 17th from 6-8pm
Join us for the opening reception
4243 North Lincoln Ave, Chicago, Il 60618

Friday, October 19th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm 
Art talk by Ameya Pawar and Patricia Larkin Green
Essanay Studios/ St. Augustine College
1345 West Argyle St, Chicago, Il 60640
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Installation view
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Personal is Political

With a number of other really fine women artists I am exhibiting in The Personal is Political, The Transformative Power of Women's Art
Koehnline Museum of Art
Oakton Community College
1600 East Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Opening reception Thursday, October 4 from 5 to 8pm
The exhibit runs from October 4 through 26, 2012
To play a bit of the "Where's Nancy?" game, can you find me in this montage?

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I realized something today, that I am at the age of 64 doing what I thought I would be doing when I was 18, living the life of a working artist. Of course, there was a lot of "life in general" stuff inbetween.

Nancy Charak, artist, untitled watercolor on Fabriano Uno, 30"x22".
Watercolor on paper, 30"x22", untitled at this point, Nancy Charak, artist.

Sacred Ancestors

Once again with all that ancestral hanky-panky. It was once thought to be a good model, simple, linearly progressive, the "Out of Africa" migration; out of Olduvai, across the Indian subcontinent, eastwards to the islands big and small and upwards through Siberia to Bering to eventually Patagonia. You could draw it with an arrow, practically.  Only one problem, or actually many, the genetics don't support this anymore.

One of only two known remains of the Denisovan girl, this molar and a  phalange (finger bone).

"These days you never know where research related to modern human origins will be reported and published. Here is a presentation from the Critical Assessment of Massive Data Analysis (CAMDA) conference held in Long Beach, California, on July 13-14, 2012. The team focused on chromosome 1 and used a Korean panel to identify 107,473 haplotypes in Africans, 9,554 in Europeans and 6,933 in Asians. The results are preliminary but nevertheless intriguing. Despite the fact that Africans are by far the most polymorphic, it is Asian rare haplotypes that have better matches with Neandertals and Denisovans. In some cases African haplotypes have their exclusive Neandertal and Denisovan matches, which may indicate a migration from Asia to Africa." h/t Anthropogensis blog.

1040 W. Addison

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sacred Enterprises

". . .Steve McCurry. . .famous [for his] photograph “Afghan Girl” — as well you [he] should — but he’s no one trick pony. This week, Underground NYPL tipped us [Flavor Wire] off to a gorgeous photo series of people reading around the world that McCurry recently posted on his blog, and we were completely blown away. Spanning the globe from Canada to Kashmir and augmented with choice quotes about the joy of reading from a few famous names, including McCurry himself, the series is a phenomenal ode to the universality and wonder of literature in any language. Click through to see some of our favorite photographs, and then head over to his blog to check out even more shots — they’re all truly fantastic."
h/t Flavor Wire...

We humans, at once so certain and as yet so uncertain, as to what separates us from the animals, surely know that this is what does so. And remember this, integrate it to the very deepest reaches of your soul, nothing but good happens to societies that educate women.
Steve McCurry, photographer, Afghanistan