Color and Life on Boracay Island, Philippines

A playground for the young

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And forever young.

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It is definitely vibrant, in color and in life.

January is a good time to visit Boracay; it’s less crowded.
You can watch the world go by.

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Or find your inner peace.

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Adventure awaits!

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(More info on Boracay Island)

( Vibrant adj.
: having or showing great life, activity, and energy
: very bright and strong (e.g., color)
merriam-webster.com)

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Wild Lantana Wears Emotions Inside Out

In the movie Inside Out, the emotions are portrayed in different colors: yellow for joy, blue for sadness, purple for fear, red for anger and green for disgust.

These wild Lantanas proudly wear these emotions out in the open. And they group themselves into personality islands too!

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Judging from the colors, these Lantanas must be an Optimistic bunch!

(More info on  the Lantana, a genus of the verbena family.)

When Life Succeeds

Someone calculated that the probability of life anywhere in the universe is less than 1 chance in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion).

When I see life succeeding, against the odds, it tells me that things will be alright.

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The cycle of life

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death and rebirth

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new buds

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a new leaf.

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Life succeeds!

“While there’s life, there is hope.”
– Stephen Hawking

Optimistic

Another Day in the City

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The sun sneaks out
its rays slipping behind the clouds
like the footsteps of a thief just ahead of a closing door.

Lights blink to life from concrete towers taking over the horizon
I wonder if they knew they were beacons
to wanderers heading for home.

It’s another day of trees competing against concrete for the light
of the second hand beating the minute hand in yet another race
but the light of day outruns them both in its desertion.

Tomorrow, I wonder if the sun will extend its rays
through my curtain to caress my cheek?

Will I run out to meet it?
Or will I remember it sneaking out on me today?

Inside a Windmill in Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind
– The Windmills of Your Mind
(Michel Legrand, English lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman)

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Interesting that such a beautiful song could be inspired by something so utilitarian.

In Zaanse Schans, just outside Amsterdam, one can find well-preserved windmills from the 1600’s still spinning, like “ever-spinning reels.” Though the site of the sails “whirling silently in space” looks spectacular, they served as sawmills, paint mills, oil mills and other industrial duties.

The windmills were an integral part of the Dutch Golden Age when it gained preeminence in industry, trade, military and the arts. The Milkmaid, a masterpiece of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, comes from the same period, and to me captures the same essence of “beauty in industry.”

They are open-air museums, these windmills, each with a name. De Kat (The Cat), the rightmost in the above photo, is one of the most interesting.

The cap of the windmill can be turned so that the sails face the wind. Up close, those sails are huge.

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A series of gears transforms the rotation of the sails into rotating the machines inside the mill. These gears are made of wood, but are able to withstand the force of the turning sails.

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De Kat grinds pigments for use in paint. The pigments are stored in different containers.

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From the platform on the roof one can see other windmills, like De Gekroonde Peolenburg (The Crowned Poelenburg), a sawmill.

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Het Jonge Schaap (The Young Sheep) is another sawmill.

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At its peak, there were more than 600 windmills in Zaanse Schans. Their use declined during the industrial revolution when steam from coal became more common. Windmills are making a comeback with the rising interest in renewable energy, but of course using modern materials and technology.

Seeing these old wooden windmills in action makes one admire the ingenuity of their creators, and gives a glimpse of the Dutch countryside hundreds of years ago, with hundreds of rotating X’s dotting the landscape.

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Zaanse Schans is certainly worth a visit, if only for the windmills. I hope they continue spinning, and, who knows, their circling sails might inspire another beautiful song.

(More info on the windmills at Zaanse Schans.)

Alphabet

Ant and Water Droplets Defy Gravity

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Elphaba:
“It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!”
Glinda:
“Can’t I make you understand?
You’re having delusions of grandeur.”
– From “Wicked”

How did that ant get there?  I was trying to shoot macros of the droplets when this creature made its way up the flower bud. Maybe it was having delusions of grandeur.

How can ants climb up vertical surfaces, seemingly immune to gravity?

If you’re interested in the science, the answer is here.

I was initially drawn by the water droplets that were formed by the rain. I thought they looked pregnant and ready to burst. Well, they seemed to be able to suspend themselves despite their weight.

If you’re interested in the physics, the explanation is here.

But what also intrigued me were the images inside the water droplets, as if each one is a lens to the world. Like this one that shows an entire house within each drop. How can it carry the weight?

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“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”
– William Blake

Can the universe fit in a water droplet?
I guess we’ll have to ask the poets and philosophers for that.

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