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Every now and again you see work that makes you go WOW!

Image © Peter Jones

Image © Peter Jones

I did that today when I saw the work of 67 year old Welsh farmer Peter Jones on the blog of Bartosz Nowicki. Beautifully composed, perfectly timed and quite simply wonderful images.

There’s a great interview there too – go and look, read, and you can go WOW! too. (Seriously, this is beautiful work.)

“My difficulties start with trying to load film onto spiral with hands that tremor and fingers that don’t respond to instructions. Also when confronted with an exciting subject I shake all over. I have overcome this problem somewhat by doubling film speed to 800 so I can use faster shutter speeds. I don’t shoot a lot of pics and am disappointed if I don’t get a meaningful image per film.

I crop my images because it’s an essential tool in concentrating the elements within a frame to make a picture more meaningful, in other words cut out the crap.”

 

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Thanks to Markham Nolan @markham for the link to this.

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This is not Ferguson

Merkinch community artwork © John MacPherson

Merkinch community artwork © John MacPherson

This is Inverness, Scotland. An eerily prescient slice of community artwork on a building site fence, painted by local children weeks ago. Photographed yesterday.

Life imitates art. And art echoes. That’s why it has power.

 

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The small details are often the most telling, and are probably more appropriate to focus on just now. It’s not the end, it’s the journey.

foley

(As an aside this generated some controversy over the veracity of the commentators memory of his teacher, but led to this which is the bottom line.)

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Spider does the business on a careless wasp © John MacPherson

Spider does the business on a careless wasp © John MacPherson

 

Spider silk fibers are produced from soluble proteins (spidroins) under ambient conditions in a complex but poorly understood process. Spidroins are highly repetitive in sequence but capped by nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains (NT and CT) that are suggested to regulate fiber conversion in similar manners. By using ion selective microelectrodes we found that the pH gradient in the silk gland is much broader than previously known. Surprisingly, the terminal domains respond in opposite ways when pH is decreased from 7 to 5: Urea denaturation and temperature stability assays show that NT dimers get significantly stabilized and then lock the spidroins into multimers, whereas CT on the other hand is destabilized and unfolds into ThT-positive ?-sheet amyloid fibrils, which can trigger fiber formation. There is a high carbon dioxide pressure (pCO2) in distal parts of the gland, and a CO2 analogue interacts with buried regions in CT as determined by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Activity staining of histological sections and inhibition experiments reveal that the pH gradient is created by carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase activity emerges in the same region of the gland as the opposite effects on NT and CT stability occur. These synchronous events suggest a novel CO2 and proton-dependent lock and trigger mechanism of spider silk formation.

 

What they mean could be more simply put as: the silk proteins go from being soft ‘stuff’ to harder ‘stuff’ by the change in pH as they travel through the spider’s glands. Why? To prevent the spider getting ‘constipated’ with its own silk. Clever.

And now that they understand the mechanism and process behind it, if scientists can imitate and synthesize this material, it could be used for all manner of novel applications. The spider in my picture above simply used it as nature intended: to wrap its wasplunch for later.

Read more in Plos Biology: Carbonic Anhydrase Generates CO2 and H+ that Drive Spider Silk Formation Via Opposite Effects on the Terminal Domains.

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Using Facebook, Cameras, and Cash, Syrian Refugees Are Trying to Save Each Other

Lebanon 2014 © Alice Su

Lebanon 2014 © Alice Su

Article from The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, by Alice Su

The hardest thing about creating livelihoods, Halliso says, is that you can’t create enough. Several months ago, the NGOs in Shatila announced a hiring call for drivers. Fifteen people applied, but there were only three openings. One of the men who didn’t receive a job then came to Basmeh and Zeitooneh’s office with a gun, yelling threats at the staff.

What happened? “We shouted at each other and then we hugged,” Halliso says. “People are deeply wounded, living without the right to work or be human. I can’t be angry at someone like this.”

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