What’s out there?

There’s something called the Drake equation that hypothesises whether there is other intelligent life out in the universe. I don’t know it and can’t quote it, but I looked it up (see above). The fact that the scientists have even found amino acids in space (the building blocks of life) means that there are possibilities of finding other beings.

The equation looks at how many possible inhabitable planets are out there, whether life could evolve, and whether intelligent life might come about. Then you have to think about time. If an intelligent life form was to exist somewhere else they might send out signals, but it could take millions or billions of years to travel across space before we detected it, and by then they could be long gone. So it would only be possible to communicate if they were closer, tens of years away? But then a conversation with someone even twenty light years away (the distance of a possible habitable planet) would be very boring. One question every forty years, one reply eafter another forty years. And space travel would only be possible at a small percentage of the speed of light, according to the laws of physics. So we might be able to talk but not visit.

It might be great to get a signal, but even if there are other civilisations it doesn’t mean we will ever find out.

Upside down

I turned my painting upside down because I’m struggling to reach the top with my aching and shaking arms. I’m working on the background. But it also helps me see shapes and tones and proportions. I need to decide if I want the background to be blurry? Perhaps I should change my brush size and try and blur the edges. I will turn it back in a while….

Moon closer?

There’s a new film out about the Moon getting a lot closer to the Earth. Its by the same director as ‘Independence day’ and ‘the day after tomorrow’ I think?

There is also a video on Instagram showing the Moon closer and instead of being tidaly locked with the Earth (one face always towards us), it’s shown wobbling irregularly.

Thinking about it I wondered what would happen. Unless it was hit by something very large it wouldn’t move closer to us. But if it did I think we would have massive tides and earthquakes. The land rises as the moon passes over it. The question is how close does the video or film represent? The closer, the worse the effects. I know the moon is slowly moving away by a few centimeters a year, its been measured with a laser fired at mirrors left on its surface by the Apollo missions. If it was knocked away the Earth’s tilt would become worse and our spin unstable. Either way not good news…


How far I walked today. Its not a massive amount but it was up and down and up again. Lots of hills. I’ve been doing this walking challenge for 56 days now and my total mileage is around 181.5 since 1st February. That’s an average of 22.6 miles a week. My hubby has walked with me a few times and the rest mostly with my friend. She always walks further than me.

It’s interesting to me to work it out, but I might be boring you!

I did work out that if I walked another 12 miles I would have got Exeter in Devon!

Remember . not , for the decimal point…..

Oops. I don’t think I walked 207 miles today, schoolgirl mistake..

It’s like a probe that was sent to Mars a few years ago. They failed to convert distances from Kilometers to Miles (or the other way round). The robe crashed, no matter what you do there will always be human error.

So if I add up all my miles over this challenge I’m hoping it will take me well over 207…we will see. X


Signpost on the Trent and Mersey canal

I have no idea where Shardlow or Preston Brook are, except they were 54 miles and 38 miles respectively from this mile post. Shardlow is South, Preston Brook is North. There is another one of these on the road where I live. Why? because a branch of the canal used to run from the town of Stoke-upon-Trent by the Spode factory, alongside London Road and think it went through Newcastle-under-Lyme. In fact a man called Timothy Trow jumped into the canal to save a child from drowning, but got into difficulties and drowned. There is a stone memorial about it on London Road.

History is strange and interesting. I must find out about Shardlow and Preston Brook and what parts they played in history.

Band of sketchers first drawing

New challenges

A ggrou of us have decided to keep running sketching challenges but not in our local urban sketching group. This is because not everyone sticks to the urban sketchers rules and we were also clogging up the gallery with some strange and interesting images, but not necessarily outside.

Today’s challenge was distance. I saw some people have drawn landscapes with far away landmarks, but I interpreted it differently….. I in my case I drew my friends back yard. With plants growing up the wall and in pots at the rear of her house. First of a new set of ideas….



The photo is an illustration and it doesn’t actually show parallax.

Do you know what parallax is?

Hold out your thumb in front of you and close one eye. Place it so that it covers something, perhaps a flower outside, or something in front of you. Maybe the moon.

Now without moving your hand open your eye and close the other one.

What do you see? The moon or the object appears to have moved! That is because your eyes are seperate. They are the base of a very long thin triangle and believe it or not you can measure distance that way.

Now stick a piece of wood in the soil on the equator, and a similar one a few miles north or south of it. At midday on the equator the sun will be directly overhead and there will be no, or hardly any shadow. But the one miles away will cast a shadow. The further away from the equator the longer the shadow. If you know the distance between the sticks, and the angle the shadow casts by the other stick. (measure the angle from the top of the stick and the end of the shadow) you can actually work out the distance to the Sun (which is casting the shadow). In this way the ancient Greeks did this and also worked out the size of the Earth approximately. You can use this idea if you look at a star at one end of the Earth’s orbit and six months later the other side of the orbit. That’s how they work out distances to stars. Amazing what you can work out by using your eyes, a couple of sticks and your thumb!