Sunday, July 21, 2019

A clear path to 2050

The Paris Agreement dealing with GHG emissions mitigation, ­adaptation, and finance, was signed by almost 200 countries in 2016.  Its goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. (It is generally agreed that limiting the increase to 1.5 °C would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change, but temperature increases in parts of Canada’s north are already close to double that.)

Each country must determine, plan, and report on the contribution that it undertakes – generally in reducing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity production. It has been proposed by the Green Party that Canada set a goal of eliminating the use of ­fossil fuels by 2050. Others have similar, less drastic, ideas, but no political party, industry or economic sector has laid out a clear path or timetable to achieve this.

And here’s an explanation of the first two lines of the haiku… Even though any comprehensive schedules for such massive, years-long undertakings will require constant adjustment and fine-tuning you have to start somewhere. The third line refers to clean transition bonds, a proposed new financing tool that would enable Canada’s energy and other carbon-intensive industries to finance emission reduction and leverage opportunities for process improvement and new product development.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hiking on Signal Hill for real this time

St. John’s NL
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

This view of the harbour is from the Ladies’ Lookout Trail above the Cabot Tower on Signal Hill.
I painted a similar view from the Cabot Tower itself for the Virtual Paintout a couple of years ago.

I prefer the (almost) real thing, as shown above.  I was able to include a couple of the Signal Hill tarns, George’s Pond and Deadman’s Pond, and two  icebergs outside the harbour. One is the same iceberg I posted last week at Cape Spear, which can be seen in the background.  The other wasn’t actually there the day I took the photos on which this painting was based I photographed it ten days later from downtown St. John’s when we returned there before flying home. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

I have finally made my way to all 13 provinces and territories of Canada!

Cape Spear – the most easterly point in North America
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Beginning June 13, a group of 26 of us embarked on a University of Victoria travel study program, ‘Discover Newfoundland!’ We were a fairly well-travelled bunch, but more than half of us had never been to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador (NL).

This is the first of several pictures I plan to paint of the places that we saw. Built in 1836, the first Cape Spear lighthouse (upper right in the painting) was designed in the unique architecture of the time – on top of the lightkeeper’s residence. The ‘new’ lighthouse tower (upper left) was built in 1955.

St. John’s, the capital of NL, is just over 5000 kilometres by air (almost 8000 kilometres if you take the TransCanada Highway) from Victoria.  It took all day (7 am PDT to 10:30 pm NDT) to fly there, what with stops in Vancouver and Toronto, and a 4.5 hour time difference. It is 2000 km closer to Ireland than it is to Victoria. 

Needless to say, it was well worth the effort I hope I can convey some of my enthusiasm for this distant province in the paintings I will post over the next few weeks.   

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Graphene Haiku

The incredible properties and potential uses of graphene could mean that it will replace silicon as the fundamental building block of a new age. As well as being the thinnest, strongest and lightest known material, graphene is flexible, impermeable to molecules and extremely electrically and thermally conductive.

It has been used to make water filters capable of purifying, desalinating and extracting minerals from water much more efficiently than present methods, and fabric that is perfectly suited for making clothing that must be breathable and well insulated.

Theoretically it could be made to act as a superconductor at room temperature or to replace batteries by generating and storing ‘solar power without sunlight’ as mentioned in my blog post on Found Haiku

Line 1: Although graphene is simply graphite in the form of a sheet of networked carbon, it was discovered and isolated for the first time very recently, in 2004, and the synthesis of usable quantities is still very difficult and expensive. More efficient methods of production are gradually being developed.

Line 2: The highly unusual properties of grapheme mean that anything researchers are able to learn will likely lead to unexpected applications in apparently unrelated industries.

Line 3: Research and development potential appears to be unlimited.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Microrobotics Haiku

This haiku, randomly computer-generated from ‘found’ phrases related to clean energy research, is apparently advocating the use of reactionless drives and fake photosynthesis in the production of miniature robots.

Here's a line-by-line explanation of the terms:

Line 1: reactionless drive: objective of research  to develop an apparatus, such as a gyroscope, which is capable of producing unidirectional thrust without the equal and opposite reaction mentioned in Newton’s Third Law.

Line 2: Artificial photosynthesis is one of the next generation of renewable energy technologies referred to in Lake Water Storage Haiku. 

Line 3: Microrobotics  or microbotics is the study of mobile robots less than 1 mm in diameter.

So far I have no explanation for the haiku as a whole.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Back-to-the-land Haiku

Enclaves of artists and artisans have lived and worked for many years on Hornby Island where – some since the back-to-the-land days of the Sixties. The Town Hall shown here has a splendidly landscaped roof and walls of stackwood construction – not often used for large structures such as this.  This method, also called cordwood masonry, has been revived by the sustainability movement.  Cordwood or short pieces of debarked tree are laid up at right angles to the wall surface with masonry or fireproof and earthquake resistant cob.

An explanation of the haiku on the painting:
Line 1: On a Price/Quantity graph, market is in ­equilibrium where Demand and Supply curves ­intersect.
Lines 2 and 3: Both these concepts are, like Line 1, factors embraced by the sustainability movement.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Most-climbed, least-painted mountain around

Mount Temple
Watercolour and CP
©2019 Charlene Brown

Mount Temple, at 3544 m the highest mountain in the Lake Louise area, dominates the scenery in the Bow Valley, but is painted much less frequently than the other glacier-topped mountains surrounding it. This is probably because the other mountains are more picturesquely situated in hanging valleys with spectacular turquoise lakes such as Louise, Moraine and Consolation in front of them.
On the other hand, Temple is by far the most popular climbing mountain in the area. In fact just about all the information relating to Temple on the internet has to do with climbing it, including tips on how to avoid dying on it. The picture below, a portion of one of the illustrations in a publication, Banff National Park Guide to Mount Temple  says it all as far as I am concerned. The fact that they lead with an explanation of how to signal for a helicopter rescue reinforces my plan to stick to routes where the only special equipment required is some paint and brushes.
Click on picture to enlarge

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Tidal Power Haiku

This fjord, another candidate for tidal power, is even further north than Pangnirtung, which I wrote about last year.

Here is an explanation of the haiku on the painting of the Sam Ford Fjord, above.
Line 1: Additional transportation costs and logistic complications of delivering supplies to such locations make it critical to use everything twice, wherever possible.
Line 3: To build an algorithm means to define the process or set of rules required by a computer to enable it to do calculations or other problem-solving operations. Properly coded algorithms might even enable a computer to execute ­heuristic (interactive, trial-and-error, rule-of-thumb) processes.