"You can find magic in places you never thought to look."
INDEX to three years of oddities
January 2005
The Temperature Cliff: February 02
Antarctic plant species: September 02
Creative cartography: April 03
Pseudo-pi in the Zoo MAX station: June 03
3D Center of Art & Photography: March 04
Portland: A city with science? November 04


Have you Noticed...

Of the 36 months of "Have you Noticed..." up to now, the topics have been of two types: 1) oddities characteristic of Portland; and 2) oddities of  science, especially where the science is likely misunderstood.

Some months have had topics that could easily fall into both categories--things about Portland that relate to science. 

Which months; which topics?
December 2004
Laurent (LaPlante) Sauve operated the  Hudson Bay Company (John McLoughlin, factor) dairy farm on the island from 1838 to 1844.   The spelling of his name got corrupted to "Sauvie."  Earlier, the name "Sauvies Island" was often used, but eventually "Sauvie Island" was officially adopted by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

Lewis and Clark called the island, "Waptatoo" after the arrowroot plant growing there and  eaten by the Native Americans living there.

The island was known for a time as "Wyeth Island": Nathaniel Wyeth operated a trading post there. 

Have you Noticed...
The southern tip of Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island is the second largest fresh water island in the United States.  Oregon Historical Society's Bybee-Howell House remains from the very early days of agriculture on the island.  Bybee was one of the first farmers; he built his house on the highest rise around. The Howells were the last to live there. 
But, who was Sauvie?
November 2004
Question #3
Thenext line is 312211.  Each line describes the line above it.  (Next is 13112221 -- "One three, one one, two twos, two ones.")

(the first 10-digit prime in e).com

"7427466391.com" was, the URL for a web site that invited those who got there to solve another puzzle, and then the answer to that puzzle was the password to enter yet another website which was an invitation to send in a CV and further explore the possibility of working for Google. 
Can we entertain the dream: . . .
that school teachers….   journalists…   visitors…
prospective high-tech, creative companies, looking for a place to set roots in…  look at Portland and see:

that among the many ways Portland (and the Willamette valley) is outstanding among the places of America, is that its citizens have a habit of, and a reputation for, seeking lifelong learning.

And they seek not simply knowledge but also understanding, the deeper insight that makes knowledge useful.  Understanding transcends pseudoscience!  Deeper understanding is also at the roots of the finer arts: the great literature, sculpture, painting, poetry, music and much more... (Portland has a lot of art galleries.)

And it's what leads to the more humane governments and societies . . .to livable places.

Explore Portland's Potential
Have you Noticed...
GLAT was an insert in Physics Today and in Nature.
The companies Portland would like to see thriving here tend to be those which hire people who can answer questions like #3 in the GLAT:
What is the next line?

Question #9 reads, "This space left intentionally blank.  Please fill it with something that improves upon emptiness."

In prominent public places, Google flew flags which read simply:

(the first 10-digit prime in e).com

The news media assumed that the public would not understand the message, would not be interested in learning its meaning, and possibly could not understand its meaning.

(continuing with October 2004's topic)

What is the answer to #3?
What did the message on the flag mean?
Can we make Portland a city where the news media can assume much if its public seeks wise-up and avoids dumb-down?
Wellness, Portland, and Science
Explore the Physicist's Domain
What is Knowledge for Use?

October 2004
.Misconceptions can be overcome 
if we don't succomb to temptation 
to take it too easy...

might be offered by schoolmates...
will surely be importuned by ad writers...
Dumb idea!
(Seek the "Platinum Plover Egg":-)
Letters from Southern CaliforniaThis is the yolk of the Knowledge for Use Platinum Plover egg--CLICK HERE
"Be a swift, not a gull."
Gulls and swifts: Put 'em up!
Gulls and swifts: Put 'em down!
Infancy to science-see

"We can, and we've got to, do better..."
Theodore Seuss Geisel
Everybody can.  Everybody should try.
"Nature is full of traps for the beast that cannot learn."

Some different directions to look at it from:
The #1 dumb-down trap.
Some common misconceptions
Some common logic misperceptions
Science is not what it seems
Da Vinci Days, 2004
Have you Noticed...
The power of science that has given us our 2004 technology derives from several simple human insights out of the past several centuries: Copernicus's revolutions, Newton's motions, understanding of the steam engine, electricity and magnetism (from Maxwell thru Einstein), the quantum mysteries, and the information revolutions. 

Common knowledge about these insights tends to be no more powerful than the misconceptions they replaced--in fact, the knowledge too often is the old misconception.  Very few students who learn Newton's first law understand that he had shown that motion does not imply a force. So it is similarly with other science since 1685.  Misconceptions rule--no power there!

Science invokes human insight that dodges both wishful thinking and oversimplification. There's hidden, unrealized power in that, and we need it to guide all  our decisions.

What other misconceptions lack power?
What is the source of the power?
Can the power be with us in politics?
September 2004

Portland Office of Transportation
Good health in Portland--bicycling
Portland United Mountain Peddlers

Watch for a new biking map of Forest Park

Have you Noticed...
Portland is very bike friendly!

Since 1995, best cycling city in the USA according to Bicycling Magazine.

What makes Portland so bike friendly?

August 2004

Look under the north-bound onramp to I-5 at Terwilliger Blvd.  It's a segment of Trail #4 of the SW Urban Trails system.

Have you Noticed...
Portland has a new trail
underneath, and sheltered from the rain by, a freeway on ramp
It furnishes a much-needed connection.

Where is it?

July 2004

The statistical nature of our world was one of the discoveries of science which remains merely magical to many.  Lottery and casino operators take advantage of those for whom that magic remains invisible, yet to be mastered.   Perhaps, too, they have yet to see the harmful lure of the desirable drawing their attentions away from the undesirable.  PAP.

So much may remain mere magic rather than powerful knowledge.  For example, temperature and heat are two of the 19th century's powerful statistical tools that stubbornly remain in deep shadows of human minds, mysterious concepts that get confused with mundane meanings illuminated only by flickering candlelight or no light at all.  Temperature is a parameter in a statistical distribution, and heat is energy transferred solely because of a temperature difference.  Both are usually confused with each other and mean little more than a sensation we get from receptors in our skin.  Understanding...

And then there was the declaration by the news media in November 2000 that statistics ceased to apply in Palm Beach Co. Fla where an exit poll was found not to correctly inform of the outcome of a crucial vote.  At least, very few seemed to recogize that we need to know why.

Have you Noticed...
Mother Nature
paints her patterns mostly on an
invisible canvas
invisible to us, that is -- look below at June 2004.
People put their filbert in their choice.

To win, should a person switch or stay?
What statistical truths were invisible...
...to what fraction of choosers?

Da Vinci Days 2004

June 2004,
Bees navigate with their perception of the direction and strength of the polarization of the sky's blue light.
Birds see the profound color shift (huge variation in ultraviolet) in sunlight as the sun moves higher or lower in the sky.  We don't see it because we are blind to ultraviolet.  We do or don't get sunburned and don't understand why.

The color vision of birds is vastly superior to that of human for reasons that humans must apply their sharpest mental tools to comprehend...and we can never experience bird color.

Have you Noticed...
is what exists
seemingly beyond human power
science discovers magic, magic we had gone (almost) forever without recognizing.

However, many of earth's creatures discovered much of that magic millions of years before human science was even a gleam in a human eye or mind.
Can you think of any examples?
May 2004

(Charles) Edwin Markham
poet -- born in Oregon City, 1852
Author of "The Man With a Hoe"

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground...

Judge Phillip A. Marquam
land developer -- moved to Oregon, 1851

a major player in the mystery of the up to 95 impossible blocks shown on most city maps
Have you Noticed...

Is there a spelling error here?
...or are there really two different names?
top MAP      bottom MAP
April 2004
BMI is Body Mass Index, a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters.  BMI is the epidemiologist's measure of overweight and of obesity.   The U.S. has an obesity epidemic of alarming proportions.

Most U.S. citizens measure their weight in pounds and their height in feet and inches. Some U.S. citizens can easily convert their weight to kilograms and their height to meters--especially if they know that a meter is 39.37 inches and a kilogram is 2.205 pounds.  Becoming able to make such conversions is one of the most important first steps toward understanding science.

Its understanding of evolution is one of science's most important insights.  Obesity used to give an evolutionary advantage.  But the world is not simple and changes happen.  Simplemindedness is a dangerous human failure to follow the human evolutionary paths which have led to science, our most potent product of evoltuion, and our most powerful response to change. Science recognizes that seeking disconfirmations is absolutely necessary and that ignoring disconfirmations in favor of pleasant confirmations is a "fatal error" in information use.  Obesity is powerfully encouraged by advertising, a profession based on passionate pursuit of pleasant confirmations.  And so advertising, our most prevalent form of propaganda, has become a poision to science.  It teaches that PAP is acceptable. 

Avoid PAP like the plague!

Have you Noticed...
BMI values are rapidly increasing.
...a deadly epidemic...

BMI's over 30
What is BMI?
Its units are metric: how to convert units?
Epidemic source:
too little activity?? . . . too much PAP??
March 2004
The 3D Center of Art and Photography
1928 NW Lovejoy St.
Open 1-5 pm, Friday thru Sunday


Have you Noticed...
Portland has a new center dedicated to stereoscopic images.
Where is it?
What can you see there?
February 2004
The city attempted to limit murals to those made for artistic expression while not allowing  those made for commercial advertising.  The courts  found that thusly restricting expression based on content is a violation of the First Amendment.

New regulations for murals are currently being considered that will encourage artistic expression and discourage what a  majority of the public perceives as blight in most billboards.

Watch here for further developments.

Have you Noticed...
Murals are part of our public art.

Portland's attitude toward murals is being reexamined.

What's happening?
January 2004
The parking lot is on Cornell Ave at the crossing of the Wildwood Trail (mile 4.96--Upper McCleay Park).   Wildwood trail goes from here to Newberry Rd (mile 30.16) and in that distance crosses Germantown Rd  at mile 24.63, the only road that has vehicular traffic in that 25.20 miles.

The walkers in the picture are at mile 24.4, approaching Germantown road.  MAP

Have you Noticed...
Wilderness within a city
"In wildness is the preservation of the Earth."
Somewhere in Portland is a parking lot next to a trail which a person could take and walk or run continuously on that same trail for 25.2 miles crossing a road with automobile traffic at only one place along that 25.2 miles.  The entire route is within Portland city limits. 

Where is that parking lot?
Where is the other end of the 25.2 mi?
What is that one traffic-bearing road?

We will grow this list monthly.

YEAR 2003
YEAR 2002


The Physicist's Domain