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.