Sunday, November 09, 2014

Storm Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012
Before I ramble on about lightning I will fill you in on some recent exciting events I have been to and thoroughly enjoyed. They are part of Journey Through The Cosmos a fabulous series of concerts and presentations 6-9 November here in Brisbane at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre [QPAC]. I bought my package of tickets a year ago!
What is Journey Through The Cosmos? It's a collaboration of science and art/music hosted by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra [QSO]. So, you ask, where's the science? Through the Queensland Government's Super Stars Fund Journey Through The Cosmos features famous physicist Prof Brian Cox. During the concert on Thursday night he gave short and fascinating insights into our solar system. The accompanying music included a new piece Voyager, a violin concerto, which was specially commissioned. The 'Super Star' composer Dario Marianelli was inspired by the spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 and their journeys through, and beyond, the solar system. And, the 'Super Star' violinist was Jack Leibeck...fantastic. Jack also played a number of pieces at Einstein's Universe which was a fabulous presentation by another physicist Prof Brian Foster from Oxford University. This is a 'gig' Jack and the Professor have previously given in other parts of the world. You can read about it on their website Einstein's Universe
There are still a couple of events to go. So I shall write about the whole series in my next post.
AND......I met Brian Cox!
There's lightning on other planets, but not all in our solar system. The planets we are sure about, apart from Earth, are Jupiter and Saturn, plus Venus. But, lightning on Venus is the most different, because it is not related to water clouds, but rather...clouds of sulphuric acid. Brian Cox, when he talked about Venus during the QSO's performance of Gustav Holtz's The Planet Suites at the Journey Through The Cosmos concert, described it as hellish. He said it did not live up to the name of Venus, normally associated with love and beauty. Just imagine what lighting generated from clouds of sulphuric acid might be like?
Cosmic Address Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm 2013
Note the lightning bottom left!
Lightning, as a symbol, is normally associated with power and might. Mythological deities who wielded bolts of lightning held enormous prestige and engendered great fear.
And, in Queensland we are entering Summer storm season. Mother Nature often produces spectacular shows of lightning streaking across night skies, momentarily lighting up landscape or cityscape in majestic silhouette. These storms can be really wild, noisy and not necessarily very wet! These types of storms can be very dangerous, because lightning can spark fires in dry bush and grasslands.
And, now to a story. A week ago my 20 year old daughter went to Goondiwindi by bus. It's a five hour journey from Brisbane and she went armed with various devices to keep her occupied...oh and a book! But, after she arrived in Goondiwindi she made a few comments to me that made my heart sing. As night settled the bus was travelling through bush and the sky was dark with storm clouds. The roads are long and fairly straight, and on a bus passengers are quite high off the ground, thus allowing for a more panoramic view. So what did my daughter say?
My daughter said, 'Mum, I decided to just look out the windows.' 

My heart starts to flutter!
And then she said, 'I watched the lighting. It was so beautiful.'
And then she said. 'I looked around at the other passengers and they all had earphones in, and were looking at phones or their computers or iPads. Mum, they missed out on so much!'
Yes....I jumped up and down with excitement, with my heart singing.  
Regular readers will know why my heart sang....I have previously written about the literal and metaphoric importance of looking out the window. Yes, if life is largely experienced and observed via phone, computer and tv screens what happens to 'experience' if the power goes off ?
In my previous post called Looking Out The Windows I wrote:
I tell my children that people have to be careful not to abdicate their brains to technology because come the apocalypse [natural disaster, space debris hitting an important satellite or whatever] when GPS systems, computers etc etc stop working, people won't have the practical skills to survive...OR... even think to simply look out the windows, literally and metaphorically! I get told...Mum you're so weird...!
BUT, weird Mum or not, my daughter looked out the windows of the bus!!!!

...and saw beauty!
Stormy Weather - Where? Oil on linen 120 x 150 cm 2013


PANDORA WEB ARCHIVE  AND MY BLOGI received an official request from the State Library of Queensland to allow PANDORA [Australia's web archive - National Library of Australia and partners] to archive my Blog...
YES this one you are reading now! 
PANDORA is an official site for archiving 'online publications and websites of lasting significance' and 'research value' in perpetuity. Check out the State Library of Queensland's selection criteria page and you will see why I am really so very happy that my eight year old Blog has been acknowledged this way. 
My proposal for a paper/presentation was accepted and I am one of the speakers at:
Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia.
Thursday 20 November 8.30am  - 4.30 am
My topic is:
Cosmic Perspectives

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