Wednesday, 20 June 2018

XYLENE

Xylene (from Greek ξύλο, xylo, "wood"), xylol or dimethylbenzene is any one of three isomers of dimethylbenzene, or a combination thereof. With the formula (CH3)2C6H4, each of the three compounds has a central benzene ring with two methyl groups attached at substituents. They are all colourless, flammable liquids, some of which are of great industrial value. The mixture is referred to as both xylene and, more precisely, xylenes.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

NB: IN Greek, the letter "Chi" pronounced as in the Scottish LOCH, is written as Χ, χ.
Hence, Χημεία (Cheeméa) = Chemistry.
However, the letter "Xi" pronounced as the "x" in FOX even at the beginning of words, is written as Ξ, ξ.
Hence, Ξυλένιο (Xeelénio) = Xylene!
X is such a problematic letter in English!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA

Moscow (Russian: Москва́) is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 12.5 million residents within the city limits and 17.1 million within the urban area. Moscow is one of Russia's three federal cities. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific centre of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.

Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; the Federation Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe; and the Moscow International Business Centre. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometres, and it gained an additional population of 233,000 people.

Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it Europe's most populated inland city. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly coloured domes, from 1555–1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible (see below). With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, Moscow is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012.

The city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation. Moscow is the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city. Moscow is considered the centre of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists, scientists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums, academic and political institutions and theatres.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 18 June 2018

WINTER ARRIVES

We've had a cold snap with rain and dark grey days. Evening falls quickly and sunrise comes late... Some very brave flowers are making a great effort blooming effortlessly in the Winter's cold.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

QUEEN'S PARK LAKE

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!



Queen's Park is a significant Municipal Park in Moonee Ponds in the City of Melbourne, Australia. It is located in central Moonee Ponds bound by the following roads; Mount Alexander Road, The Strand, Pascoe Vale Road, Kellaway Avenue. Early travellers heading for the goldfields met here because fresh water was available in the lagoon. Burke and Wills camped here on their fateful journey to cross Australia.

A picturesque cottage is the focal point of the park with its idyllic surrounds and lovely public art pieces, such as mosaics, statues and monuments. A gravel path surrounds the lake where seats and picnic tables are provided beneath old established exotic trees, with the lake a haven for a variety of birds, making for a magical milieu. A rose garden and a sunken garden are part of the many attractions of the park. Music concerts and other entertainments are common on weekends.
This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

DUCKS

In the Darebin Parklands, the waters of the Darebin Creek and the several ponds through the reserve offer a great environment for many species of waterfowl. Here are some chestnut teal ducks (Anas castanea). Chestnut teals are dabbling ducks found in Australia. They are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

The chestnut teal is darker and a slightly bigger bird than the grey teal. The male has a distinctive green coloured head and mottled brown body. The female has a brown head and mottled brown body. The female is almost identical in appearance to the grey teal. The female chestnut teal has a loud penetrating "laughing" quack repeated rapidly nine times or more.

The chestnut teal is commonly distributed in south-eastern and south-western Australia, while vagrants may occur elsewhere. Tasmania and southern Victoria are the species’ stronghold, while vagrants can be found as far north as New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. The chestnut teal prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands, and is indifferent to salinity. This bird is an omnivore.

Chestnut teals form monogamous pairs that stay together outside the breeding season, defend the nest site and look after the young when hatched. Nests are usually located over water, in a down-lined tree hollow about 6–10 m high. Sometimes nests are placed on the ground, among clumps of grass near water. The young hatch and are ready to swim and walk within a day.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.




Friday, 15 June 2018

PARKLANDS POND

At the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne, Australia. A fine Winter morning. It may look warm but it was definitely quite crisp!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

BLACK NIGHTSHADE

European black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) or locally just 'black nightshade', duscle, garden nightshade, garden huckleberry, hound's berry, petty morel, wonder berry, small-fruited black nightshade, or popolo) is a species in the Solanum genus, native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas, Australasia, and South Africa. Parts of this plant can be toxic to livestock and humans. Nonetheless, ripe berries and cooked leaves of edible strains are used as food in some locales, and plant parts are used as a traditional medicine. A tendency exists in literature to incorrectly refer to many of the other "black nightshade" species as "Solanum nigrum".

Solanum nigrum has been recorded from deposits of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era of ancient Britain and it is suggested by the botanist and ecologist Edward Salisbury that it was part of the native flora there before Neolithic agriculture emerged. The species was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the first century AD and by the great herbalists, including Dioscorides. In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described six varieties of Solanum nigrum in 'Species Plantarum'.

Black nightshade is a common herb or short-lived perennial shrub, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It reaches a height of 30 to 120 cm, leaves 4.0 to 7.5 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges; both surfaces hairy or hairless; petiole 1 to 3 cm long with a winged upper portion. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The berry is mostly 6 to 8 mm in diam., dull black or purple-black. In India, another strain is found with berries that turn red when ripe. Sometimes S. nigrum is confused for the more toxic deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna, which is in a different Solanaceae genus altogether. A comparison of the fruit shows that the black nightshade berries grow in bunches, the deadly nightshade berries grow individually.

Solanine levels in S. nigrum can be toxic. Children have died from poisoning after eating unripe berries. However, the plant is rarely fatal, with ripe berries causing symptoms of mild abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Poisoning symptoms are typically delayed for 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. Initial symptoms of toxicity include fever, sweating, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, confusion, and drowsiness. Death from ingesting large amounts of the plant results from cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory failure. Livestock have also been poisoned from nitrate toxicity by grazing the leaves of S. nigrum. All kinds of animals can be poisoned after ingesting nightshade, including cattle, sheep, poultry, and swine.

Nevertheless, S. nigrum has been widely used as a food since early times, and the fruit was recorded as a famine food in 15th-century China. Despite toxicity issues with some forms, the ripe berries and boiled leaves of edible strains are eaten. The thoroughly boiled leaves (although strong and slightly bitter flavoured) are used like spinach as horta (see here) and in fataya pies and quiches. The ripe black berries are described as sweet and salty, with hints of liquorice and melon. In South India, the leaves and berries are routinely consumed as food after cooking with tamarind, onion, and cumin seeds.

If you decide to pick and consume black nightshade, ensure you know that you are picking the right plant and also that you are preparing it correctly!

The plant has a long history of medicinal usage, dating back to ancient Greece. In the fourteenth century, the plant under the name of Petty Morel was being used for "canker" and with Horehound and wine taken for "dropsy". It was a traditional European medicine used as a strong sudorific, analgesic and sedative with powerful narcotic properties, but was considered a "somewhat dangerous remedy". Internal use has fallen out of favour in Western herbalism due to its variable chemistry and toxicity, but it is used topically as a treatment for herpes zoster. In the language of flowers, a sprig of flowering black nightshade signifies "truth".

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 13 June 2018

'WALLS' BY C. CAVAFY

Walls

Without thought, without pity, without shame
They built around me tall, forbidding walls.

And as I sit here now, in hopelessness,
I think of nothing else, my mind corroded by this misfortune;

Because I had so much to do outside the walls.
How careless I must have been, not to have seen them building walls…

And yet I never heard the sound of builders, or of construction.
They isolated me from the world around me quite imperceptibly.

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

SEGOVIA, SPAIN

Segovia is a city in the autonomous region of Castile and León, Spain. The city is famous for its historical buildings and for three main landmarks: Its magnificent Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, one of the last Gothic temples to be built in Europe, and the castle, which was an influence for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. The city centre of Segovia was declared World Heritage by the Unesco in 1985. It is the capital of Province of Segovia.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.