Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Low Carbon Transit Haiku

Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Pond Inlet is one of the most picturesque communities in Canada’s Arctic. However, because of its isolation the cost of food and other materials such as construction supplies can be much higher than that of southern Canada. Milk is close to $4 a litre and carbonated drinks can be as much as $4.50 a can. There are environmental costs as well, because supplies must be brought in by ship during the short ice-free summer season or even more expensively and energy-intensively by air for the rest of the year.

Hence the possible appeal of low carbon airship transit. Hard to say how kinetic energy storage devices, such as flywheels, fit into any of this, but it is known that they have better lifetime cycles and higher power and capacity than static energy storage devices such as batteries or capacitors have.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Painting Waterfalls

Here are two of the waterfalls in Johnston Canyon, about 20 kilometres west of Banff. There are a few higher falls in this canyon,but I think these ones are the prettiest.

There wasn't a huge amount of water coming down the canyon in late September when I was there, and I have tried to get that effect by painting quite intensely over a thin white oil pastel resist.

I have previously written blog posts about water paintings using this technique (with varying degrees of similarity to the actual appearance) in locations such as Maquinna Provincial Park, Ireland, Kakabeka Falls, Niagara Falls, Esquimalt, Balboa Park, Japan, Croatia, Korea and even Johnston Canyon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lake Water Storage Haiku


This may seem like an odd choice of a haiga to illustrate the term ‘lake water storage cooling,’ as the only Canadian city where this has been tried is Toronto. Québec is not situated on a lake – it’s on a narrow stretch of the St Lawrence River. (In fact, the name given to the original French settlement by Samuel de Champlain was based on an ­Algonquin word Kébec, meaning ‘where the river narrows.’)

Artificial sun experiments aim to improve the production processes for solar fuels, the next generation of renewable energy technologies, by using extreme temperatures to manufacture the fuels.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Virtual Paintout on Hashima Island this month

Hashima Island

Leaving Hashima
Watercolour and oil pastels
Charlene Brown

This Streetview picture was taken from a boat full of tourists leaving after viewing the deserted island of Hashima, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is a link to it

The island once had an important seabed coal-mining facility, with the population peaking in 1959 at over 5000.  The workers were housed in apartment blocks, built to resist typhoons, including Japan’s first tall reinforced concrete buildings. However, as oil replaced coal in the 1960s, coal mines began closing down all over Japan. The Hashima mine closed in January 1974, and by April the island was cleared of all inhabitants.  35 years later it was opened to tourists and World Heritage designation was applied for. At first this was opposed by Korea and China because of the forced labour used in the mine before and during World War II, but both countries withdrew their opposition when Japan agreed to acknowledge this in signage on the site.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Garbage in, energy out

Mt. Assiniboine

Replacing the use of scarce resources by converting garbage to energy is a potentially valuable consideration, especially in remote areas where resources fuel for heat or electricity generators, for example must be shipped in. The conversion would, of course, have to be very efficient, even utilizing the CO2 and other gases produced in the process.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hard to paint, impossible to photograph

Johnston Canyon, Ink Pots, Banff National Park

Ink Pots
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

If you’ve ever hiked to the Ink Pots, about 3 km (straight up) from the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, you’ll know it’s pretty hard to get more than about two and a half of them into any one photo.  They’re all on slightly different levels and there are signs telling you to stay on the trail you can’t climb anywhere to try to get an overview. So you walk around the area as much as you can taking a lot of photos, which you put together in a pattern resembling the real thing leaving out some of the trees, then paint them.
The signs about staying on the trail also explain why the pools are different colours.  The spring water bubbling up through the sand and river gravel fills the various pools at different rates.  The milky-green pools fill more slowly and thus have a heavier suspension of fine materials than the clear deep-blue pools.  (Seems to me it should be the other way around, with the slow-filling pools having had time to settle. And how does that explain the colour of water running from one pond into another?)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Run-of-the-river Haiku

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain
Watercolour and computer
©2018 Charlene Brown 

The mountain was named in 1858 for its castle-like appearance, a result of erosive processes acting at different rates on the peak’s alternating layers of softer shale and harder limestone, dolomite and quartzite. From 1946 to 1979 it was known as Mount Eisenhower, but then reverted to the original (British) name with the highest peak named Eisenhower Tower.

The mountain’s Indigenous (Siksika) name has always been Miistukskoowa, and the river has always been the Bow.  There are numerous dams and reservoirs along the Bow, supplying water for hydroelectricity, irrigation, and municipal and industrial uses, after it leaves the Banff National Park, but only relatively small non-storage ‘run-of-the-river power generation would now be acceptable in the park.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

David Foster Harbour Pathway

View from the south side of Victoria Harbour
Watercolour and marker
©2018 Charlene Brown

The Harbour Pathway celebrates our unique working harbour, recognizing Lekwungen First Nations history and enhancing the natural marine habitat. When complete, the pathway, named for musician and producer David Foster, will extend over five kilometres from the Rock Bay industrial area, under the new bascule bridge at Johnson Street, around the Inner Harbour, past the Empress and the Provincial Legislature to the Ogden Point cruise ship terminal. 

The condominium where I live is in the Songhees area, on the north side of the harbour shown in the upper right of the painting. The Westsong Walkway runs along that side from the Johnson Street Bridge to Head Street in Esquimalt