Sunday, 17 March 2019

MACHINE

Machine | məˈʃiːn | noun:
An apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task: A complex machine with many small moving parts is difficult to fix if it breaks down.

Etymology:
Mid-16th century (originally denoting a structure): From French, via Latin from Doric Greek makhana (Greek mēkhanē, from mēkhos ‘contrivance’).

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

MAGPIES

The Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white passerine bird native to Australia and southern New Guinea. Although once considered to be three separate species, it is now considered to be one, with nine recognised subspecies. A member of the Artamidae, the Australian magpie is classified in the butcherbird genus Cracticus and is most closely related to the black butcherbird (C. quoyi). It is not, however, related to the European magpie, which is a corvid.

The adult Australian magpie is a fairly robust bird ranging from 37 to 43 cm in length, with distinctive black and white plumage, gold brown eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill. The male and female are similar in appearance, and can be distinguished by differences in back markings.The male has pure white feathers on the back of the head and the female has white blending to grey feathers on the back of the head.  Juveniles are blotchy grey as the youngster on the right in the first photo and the one in the second photo. With its long legs, the Australian magpie walks rather than waddles or hops and spends much time on the ground.

Described as one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds, the Australian magpie has an array of complex vocalisations. It is omnivorous, with the bulk of its varied diet made up of invertebrates. It is generally sedentary and territorial throughout its range. Common and widespread, it has adapted well to human habitation and is a familiar bird of parks, gardens and farmland in Australia and New Guinea. This species is commonly fed by households around the country, but in spring a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests. Magpies were introduced into New Zealand in the 1860s but have subsequently been accused of displacing native birds and are now treated as a pest species. Introductions also occurred in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, where the birds are not considered an invasive species.

The Australian magpie is the mascot of several Australian sporting teams, most notably the Collingwood Magpies and Port Adelaide Magpies. There are several names given to a group of magpies, but perhaps the most descriptive is “a parliament.” The birds have earned this title as a result of their often appearing in large groups in the Spring, looking stately and cawing at each other.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.



Thursday, 14 March 2019

PROSTANTHERA

Prostanthera magnifica, commonly known as Magnificent Prostanthera, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is endemic to Western Australia. The species is a shrub growing to between 0.4 and 2.5 metres high. The flowers are mauve to pink and are framed by large, purplish-red calyces. These appear between August and November in the species native range.

The species was first formally described by botanist Charles Austin Gardner in 1942 in Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia. The species occurs in woodland on sand, loam or clay soils. Prostanthera magnifica prefers a sunny or partly shaded position in well drained soil. It is sensitive to both frost and humidity. Propagation is successful from both seed and cuttings, though seed germination is slow. Grafting is often used to produce a longer living plant with rootstocks including Westringia fruticosa and Prostanthera striatiflora. The latter gives rise to plants with a longer flowering period and less unwanted growth below the graft.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

JEWELLERY

Jewellery | ˈdʒuːəlri | (US jewelry) noun [mass noun]
Personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings, or bracelets, that are typically made from or contain jewels and precious metal: She had silver hair and chunky gold jewellery | [as modifier]: A jewellery box.

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3). Whilst typically associated with the colour blue, sapphires can also naturally occur in a wide variety of colours such as blue, yellow, purple, orange, green colours - which are also called "fancy sapphires". "Parti sapphires" are those sapphires which show two or more colours in a single stone. The only colour which sapphire cannot be is red - as red coloured corundum is called ruby, another corundum variety. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewellery.

They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, including infrared optical components, such as in scientific instruments; high-durability windows; wristwatch crystals and movement bearings; and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of very special-purpose solid-state electronics (especially integrated circuits and GaN-based LEDs).

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

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

BASEL, SWITZERLAND

Basel (also Basle; French: Bâle; Italian: Basilea) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland’s third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 175,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. In 2014, the Basel agglomeration was the third largest in Switzerland with a population of 537,100 in 74 municipalities in Switzerland and an additional 53 in neighbouring countries (municipal count as of 2000).

The official language of Basel is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. The city is known for its various internationally renowned museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in Europe, to the Fondation Beyeler (located in Riehen), and its centuries long commitment to Humanism, offering a safe haven among others to Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Holbein family, and more recently also to Hermann Hesse and Karl Jaspers.

Basel has been the seat of a Prince-Bishopric since the 11th century, and joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501. The city has been a commercial hub and important cultural centre since the Renaissance, and has emerged as a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the 20th century. It hosts the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460).

Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian War. Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French Revolutionary Wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organisation held its first congress in Basel on 3 September 1897. Because of the Balkan Wars, the Second International held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of hazardous waste from wealthy to developing nations for disposal.

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, 11 March 2019

FESTIVE MARCH

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

Sunday, 10 March 2019

ROSE AND THORN

Never the rose without the thorn...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.