Saturday Scenes

Wed 31 March 2010

Circadian Adaptation

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:03

On 27 March, 1998, Sildenafil (compound UK-92,480) was approved for use in erectile dysfunction by the US Food and Drug Administration. You might giggle, but this drug, more commonly known as Viagra, serves a very important function which is not even mentioned in all the pharmaceutical spam.

Sildenafil accelerates reentrainment of circadian rhythms after advancing light schedules

Mammalian circadian rhythms are generated by a master clock located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei and entrained by light-activated signaling pathways. In hamsters, the mechanism responsible for light-induced phase advances involves the activation of guanylyl cyclase, cGMP and its related kinase (PKG). It is not completely known whether interference with this pathway affects entrainment of the clock, including adaptation to changing light schedules. Here we report that cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase 5 is present in the hamster suprachiasmatic nuclei, and administration of the inhibitor sildenafil (3.5 mg/kg, i.p.) enhances circadian responses to light and decreases the amount of time necessary for reentrainment after phase advances of the light–dark cycle. These results suggest that sildenafil may be useful for treatment of circadian adaptation to environmental changes, including transmeridian eastbound flight schedules.

What does this mean? Simply put, the study discovered that Viagra helps hamsters to recover from jet lag more easily. Isn’t that wonderful? And aren’t you glad that I’m around to find these things out for you?

These beautiful images were brought to you by the following beautiful people:

It’s easy to take part!

1) Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to a site like Flickr or Fotonomy
2) Twitter the url for your photograph to @SatScenes
3) Watch for the next post on Saturday Scenes to see a fun set of all the photographs together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes next Saturday!

Wed 24 March 2010

Big Bird

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:39

On the 20th of March in 1966, Big Bird was born.

Well, for some value of “born”. And maybe we shouldn’t be too specific about the year.

The PBS children’s show “Sesame Street” first aired on November 10, 1969. Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch were the initial muppet characters on Sesame Street. By the end of the first season, Big Bird was described as a “too-big kid” whose constant curiosity formed the basis of his personality. The performer of both characters, Caroll Spinney, described Oscar as around 43 and Big Bird as the same age as the target audience, around 4½.

Big Bird had only gained two years by 1985, when he celebrated his sixth birthday on the 20th of March. He then celebrated his sixth birthday once again on the 20th of March in 1991. Now it is accepted that Big Bird is permanently 6 (well, maybe 6½). He seems to be ageing well:

He’s happy being Big Bird – Washington Times

“I’m still using the head we started with,” Mr. Spinney says. “He’s had face-lifts.” He estimates Big Bird has been through four bodies. Oscar still has his original eyebrows.

On the 20th of March 2010, people on Twitter showed a child-like curiosity about the world around them and the result was this great collection of people, places and things:

These are the wonderful people who took the photographs (and not a face-lift in the lot!)

Would you like to show your corner of the world? It’s easy to take part!

  1. Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to the photo site of your choice.
  2. Twitter the url for your photograph to @SatScenes.
  3. Watch for the next post on Saturday Scenes to see your photo here!

The photo must be taken on a Saturday but you don’t need to let me know until Tuesday (although as soon as possible is always nice) when I collate them all.

Wed 17 March 2010

Extraterrestrial Communication

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 19:48

On the 13th of March 1781, William Herschel discovered Uranus.

On the 13th of March 1930, Harvard College Observatory received a telegraph confirming the discovery of Pluto.

On the 13th of March, 1997, thousands of people reported seeing lights over Arizona – 10% of the population of the state.

National UFO Reporting Center Special Report: Phoenix Lights

Many aspects of the case still remain unexplained and controversial, but a considerable body of data and evidence has been collected by many capable investigators, which suggests that the event was extraordinarily dramatic and bizarre. Moreover, it went virtually unreported in the press, save for a handful of short articles printed in local Arizona newspapers. The story finally “broke” with a major, front-page article in USA TODAY on Wednesday, June 18, 1997, some three months after the incident had occurred.

On the 13th of March 2010, an extraordinarily high number of Saturday Scenes were of the sky and of cute fluffy animals.

I think it must be a special message to us from the aliens:

In the event of an alien invasion, remember that these people were some of the first contacted and may well have special access:

If you would like to offer your services as a photographer for extraterrestrial communication, simply take a photograph on a Saturday and twitter it to @SatScenes. Remember, we can’t decode the message only half the data, so it’s urgent that you take a photo on Saturday and submit it!

(P.S. if you are interested in knowing more about the Phoenix Lights, I recommend the Times Publications article on the subject)

Wed 10 March 2010

The Woman Who Strayed

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:07

On the 6th of March 1853, the first performance of La Traviata failed to delight the opera fans in Venice.

La traviata – Wikipedia

The first performance of the opera, on 6 March 1853 in Venice’s La Fenice, was an utter failure. The day after, Verdi wrote to his friend Muzio in what has now become perhaps his most famous letter: “La Traviata last night a failure. My fault or the singers’? Time will tell.” This letter not only implies what Verdi already knew — that the singers, particularly the obese soprano who could never convincingly play a dying consumptive, had failed to “understand his music.”. But more importantly, this letter captures Verdi’s faith that the public ultimately knows what is and is not good art and will pronounce its judgment in good time.

Verdi was correct – and you can see for yourself that the opera had a better reception at one of our regular Saturday Scene locations, Zurich! This live performance was put on by Schweizer Fernsehen and took place at the central train station: YouTube – La Traviata im Hauptbahnhof Zürich

On the 6th of March 2010, amazingly, every single photograph submitted to Saturday Scenes was a delight! Clearly, we are a more enlightened public.

Take a look for yourself:

Here are our submitters from all over the world:

We want to see your Saturday Scenes. All you have to do is follow this quick list:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url

The more, the merrier!

Thu 4 March 2010

Photographic Effects

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 00:38

Mathew Brady, now known as the father of photojournalism, was a 19th century photographer. He was famous even then for his focus on becoming a photo-historian, documenting the American Civil War and taking portraits of the important personalities of the day. “From the first, I regarded myself as under obligation to my country to preserve the faces of its historic men and mothers.”

On the 27th of February, 1860, Mathew Brady took a photograph of the President after the Cooper Union speech.

Mathew Brady’s Lincoln « Iconic Photos

Lincoln would also later admit that “Brady and the Cooper Union speech made me president of the United States,” adding the photograph “dispelled the opposition base on the rumours of my long ungainly figure, large feet, clumsy hands, and long, gaunt head; making me into a man of human aspect and dignified bearing.”

On the 27th of February, 2010, these great photographs were taken, documenting just one Saturday out of dozens in the year. But who knows which photographs may prove important in the years to come?

Send a hello tweet to this weeks contributors and let them know you are watching:

Saturday Scenes is a great way to see the world from someone else’s point of view! Taking part is easy:

1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
2. Send it to @SatScenes on Twitter
3. Wait for the webpage to get updated
4. Oooh and aah over all the great submissions from all over the world!

So take a photograph this weekend and send it to @SatScenes!

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