Haiku are not a joke: a plea from a poet who has had it up to here

Sandra Simpson, champion of haiku, writes to those who misunderstand – and disrespect – the form that defines her writing life. (Tomorrow, a response from Uther Dean).

On March 15 this year The Spinoff published in its coveted Friday Poem spot 11 “haiku” by Uther Dean. The quote marks are intentional.

Brace for a bit of horn-tooting. But as I have no doubt that my name is unknown outside the haiku community I believe I need to establish my credentials, that I know what I’m talking about.

I have been writing and studying haiku since 1993, when I met Catherine Mair, founder of the Katikati Haiku Pathway. She offered her support as I began to explore the form that has captivated me ever since. 

After I got my rubbish poems out of the way I’ve gone on to win many haiku awards around the world, judged international contests, and had poems published in Britain, the United States, Australia, Japan, India, Croatia and New Zealand.

After the first Haiku Festival Aotearoa in 2005 I took responsibility for building and running the Haiku NewZ website which functions as a hub for this country’s haiku community and has become respected internationally as a clearing house of haiku news, and reading on the forms of haiku, senryu, tanka, renku and haibun.

Also not haiku. Source: Pinterest.

A request from The Haiku Foundation’s website (US) set me writing and compiling The Haiku History of New Zealand, published by Haiku NewZ and by THF. Both sites are updating the piece in 2019.

With Margaret Beverland I organised the 2012 Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Tauranga and in March we published the fourth New Zealand haiku anthology, number eight wire.

I’m writing now to attempt to convey the frustration that people who write haiku feel about the people who use the term “haiku” for what are really short poems.

Several mainstream poets in New Zealand have, or do, occasionally write haiku. Very few get near the real thing. And there seem to be plenty who don’t even try to understand the form even while labelling their poems “haiku”.

Haiku as we know it today originated in Japan and was sliced out of a much older form of poetry by Matsuo Basho in the late 17th century. The new stand-alone form was known as hokku (head or lead verse) until the 19th century, when the poet Masaoka Shiki renamed the verse haiku and reinvigorated its practice in Japan. Basho’s most famous haiku, still known throughout Japan and around the world, was composed in 1686. The most favoured translation is: old pond / a frog jumps in / the sound of water

Image: Masako Ishida, via Getty.

When I’ve taught haiku it’s clear there are two things people feel confident in “knowing”. One is that the form originated in Japan (true). The other is that they are written to a strict syllable count of 5-7-5. This is untrue, and if only the school curriculum would update: one primary teacher wailed, “but how will I know it’s a haiku if it’s not 5-7-5?”.

The vast majority of poets writing haiku in English in the 21st century do not bother counting syllables at all – being able to say a haiku in one breath is as good a measure as any as to whether the length is right. Of course, some poets choose to write within the 5-7-5 structure and are perfectly entitled to do so – but unfortunately, for most people, counting syllables encourages poor poetry, either by adding unnecessary words or by omitting necessary words and creating Tonto-isms (after Tonto in The Lone Ranger who usually left out definite articles), for instance, ‘baby blows bubbles’, instead of ‘a/the baby is blowing bubbles’.

So what’s with the 5-7-5 idea? It’s based on a misunderstanding by early translators who recognised that Japanese haiku fell into a regular pattern, and deemed that one Japanese sound unit was equal to an English syllable. That ratio simply doesn’t hold – the very word “haiku”, for example, is two English syllables and three Japanese sound units.

No less a poet than Gary Snyder has said: “I don’t think counting 5,7,5 syllables is necessary or desirable. To reflect the natural world, and the season, is to reflect what is.”

As an aside, of the 330 haiku by 70 poets in number eight wire, which surveys the decade from 2008, only one is 5-7-5.

No Wikihow you are doing it wrong.

My next point is that haiku are poems – sadly, this is not blindingly obvious to people who write “haiku” with no grounding in haiku. They are poems that find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary while using everyday language.

They are not jokes or puns, they are not epigrams and they are not statements. They do not shout. True, the Japanese master Matsuo Basho (1644-94) formed and taught a theory of “lightness of touch” (karumi) that includes humour, but belly-laugh humour about the human condition belongs to senryu, a whole other poetic form (and no, Uther Dean’s poems don’t cut the senryu mustard either). 

Haiku are nature-focused and while that can, and does, include humans and human activities it is generally with a strong sense of the surrounding natural world and our place in that world.

Almost always, haiku do not start with a capital letter and do not end with a full stop.

They are generally written in the present tense. Why? Because they are capturing a single moment in time, this one, now. They are part of the ever-moving stream. No beginning, no end.

Haiku show and don’t tell. They have been described as “wordless poems”, meaning the words fall away and only the moment/experience is left. In fact, the best haiku are also a partnership with their readers, the poet leaving space for readers to bring their own life experiences to the poem – meaning every reader can “complete” the haiku in a slightly different way.

Haiku engage the senses to enrich the reading experience. They are sensory poems in a way that longer, mainstream poetry so often is not.

The most widely used technique in English-language haiku is that of juxtaposition – compare or contrast two things that on the face of it are unrelated. The best of these links are like lightning, in a flash illuminating the detail of an otherwise dark landscape. The two pieces of the haiku (often called “fragment” and “phrase”) essentially complete one another. Bound up with juxtaposition is the use of a cut (caesura) between the two parts of the haiku, generally in English a piece of punctuation.

All of the above is just a small taste of the theory and practice of haiku. There is still much I have to learn and master and I look forward to spending as much of my writing life as is left on this task.

L-R: not in fact haiku, not in fact haiku, haiku! Images: Pinterest, Sandra Simpson.

Here are 11 fine examples of haiku from number eight wire. Try and read them slowly, giving each word its weight, rather than letting your eye skitter across the lines grabbing at key words. The poets have chosen their words with care – each must earn its place in such a short form.


drowsy afternoon

a duck’s eyelid

slides up

Catherine Mair (Katikati)



next to the rake

the rake’s shadow

Tony Beyer (New Plymouth)


westerly gale

the moth’s feelers


Barbara Strang (Christchurch)


sunlight all around

the wheel

of an eggbeater

Richard von Sturmer (Auckland)


bulldozed farm

a horse pisses on

the new road

Nola Borrell (Wellington)


x-ray clinic

the orange bones

of a willow

André Surridge (Hamilton)


news of her death

I start to dig

a winter garden

Katherine Raine (Milton)



my breath

takes it away

Marion Moxham (Palmerston North)


spattering rain the pulse in a sparrow’s throat

Sandra Simpson (Tauranga)


sowing mustard seed …

the brush of a bumblebee

against my arm

Margaret Beverland (Katikati)


Christmas eve –

the neighbour comes round

to borrow some data

Owen Bullock (Waihi/Canberra)


Why would anyone focus their writing on these small poems? After all, they’re just a few words that a five-year-old could write. That’s true, and often children write astoundingly good haiku because they’re still seeing the world with fresh eyes.

Haiku have made me more aware of my surroundings, which often leads to a pleasing sense of wonder. They make me observe and think. Writing a good haiku sets my pulse racing; reading assured poems by others is a delight. Haiku have, I believe, helped me to a deeper understanding of the world around me and my place in it.

So the lack of respect shown by mainstream poets towards haiku bothers me – I wouldn’t write something in 10 lines with no rhythmic beat and call it a sonnet, yet many of them feel comfortable writing something – anything – in three lines and calling it a haiku (sometimes literally calling it “a haiku”) without thinking too deeply about what a haiku actually is, without any effort to upskill.

L-R: not in fact haiku, not in fact haiku, absolutely not haiku but solid gold regardless. Images: Pinterest.

Generally speaking (and there have been some notable exceptions), mainstream poets in New Zealand don’t interact with haiku poets, barely recognising that our community exists. The well-known literary journals who never publish haiku; the well-known literary journals who publish “haiku”; the anthologies of New Zealand poetry that ignore haiku time after time; and let’s leave the subject of national-level arts funding well alone. One hardens one’s heart to stop being continually disappointed.

Seed funding to publish number eight wire came from Windrift haiku group (Wellington), Small White Teapot haiku group (Christchurch) and the NZ Poetry Society. The rest – and it was quite a bit more – was on the two editors. Happily, the anthology print run of 200 is almost sold out, just five months after its launch.

If you decide to try the internet for information on haiku, please use your critical filter – there are beerku, scifiku, cat haiku, Christian haiku, aetheist haiku, Valentine’s haiku, falconry haiku … you get the idea. Count to 17, cram an idea into three lines and wham! You gotcha self a ‘ku.

Or, by now, dear reader, I hope you realise, not.


Further reading:

Haiku NewZ has a fine collection of essays and articles for beginners, as well as more experienced haiku poets. The Haiku Happenings page is updated monthly and contains links and information about what’s going on in the world of haiku. The Contests page is also updated monthly and on this same page find a link to some of the world’s best English-language haiku journals, both online and in print.

NZPS member Katherine Raine has written a useful, free booklet about haiku for teachers (and anyone else interested).

Katherine has also penned a quick Haiku Checklist for poets new to the form.

The History of Haiku in New Zealand is a living document.

You can order number eight wire here.

#books, #featured, #haiku, #number-eight-wire, #poetry, #thespinoff

Tezuka Osamu: god of manga

Recently I spoke about manga artist Tezuka Osamu’s life and work at a British Museum lunchtime lecture. One of the things I always bear in mind when speaking about this remarkable artist is that the scope of his work goes far beyond what can be summarised in an hour, even at breakneck speed. Another is that his story is, quite literally, as exciting, inspiring and sometimes hair-raising as any manga he ever wrote. From his tranquil middle-class childhood in a small town deep in the countryside near Osaka, through school bullying and first-hand experience of Japan’s increasing militarism, to post-war success as a teenage superstar and the endless battle to stay on top of the booming anime and manga markets he helped to shape. Tezuka’s life combined solid artistic achievement across a number of fields with self-curated celebrity.

One of Tezuka’s most important roles in the history of manga – and in the revival of Japan’s media industry after it practically shutdown during the war – was acting as a bridge between the cosmopolitan, wide-ranging manga of the 1920s and early 1930s and its post-war revival. Many manga artists, writers and editors perished alongside their readers in the fire-bombings of Tokyo and on the Pacific front. The few survivors carried forward the memory of pre-war manga as open and trans-cultural, as part of a wider engagement with film, politics, music and art.

Tezuka Osamu at work. © Tezuka Productions

The skinny, bespectacled teenager from Osaka led the way. Fuelled by his youthful passion for Japanese, European and American comics, films and animation, and his determination to keep on creating comics in spite of the deprivations and dangers of wartime, Tezuka embraced Japan’s surrender as a chance to live his life to the full and help to create a new, peaceful world. At 17 he signed up for medical school and sold his first professional work within a few months of the end of hostilities. He also began to build relationships with other Japanese comic creators and editors, keeping a keen eye out for newcomers, both to offer help and encouragement, and to keep his finger on the pulse of new ideas and trends. He knew that young readers like himself wanted more than four-panel gag strips. They wanted stories that would help them to escape the poverty of post-war Japan and to imagine new and better worlds.

In Tezuka’s first long-form work, the ground-breaking Shintakarajima (New Treasure Island,1947)  we can see the influence of film at work. He picked up his passion for film not only from his father, an early tech adopter who held home film shows for his family and neighbours before the war, but from earlier manga creators who were also influenced by new media. He knew Okamoto Ippei’s work from childhood, alongside that of Kitazawa Rakuten, the father of modern manga, who taught cartooning to Oten Shimokawa, creator of Japan’s first publicly screened animated film. Tezuka saw in Okamoto a deep Buddhist spirituality, but Okamoto was also engaged with film media to the extent that  he called one of his works eiga shosetsu. Translating as ‘cinema novel’, it was a hybrid of conventional story and manga frames drawn as film frames, complete with sprocket holes, like on a reel of film.

In impoverished post-war Japan, manga was a cheap, accessible form of entertainment that could be widely shared around or swapped, and re-read as often as required. Tezuka’s new long-form stories, with plot twists and character development galore, conveyed the visual excitement of cinema. They were popular with boys and girls alike, and he built up a broad fan base for his science fiction, his tales of adventure and his lush romantic dramas. In the 1950s Tezuka debuted two characters who would sum up these two poles of his universe.

Atomu Taishi (Ambassador Atom), Tezuka Osamu ©Tezuka Productions

Atom, a childlike robot, was a supporting character in Atom Taishi (Ambassador Atom, 1951.) A year later, Atom became the leading character in the highly influencial Tetsuwan Atom (Iron-Arm Atom, known in English as Astro Boy.) Atom’s appeal spread beyond the comic book page to a live action TV series, radio drama, merchandising, education, public service information, and Japan’s first animated sequential TV drama. Six months after his Japanese animated debut on New Years Day 1963, Atom’s adventures were shown on TV in the USA. Today, 65 years on, Tezuka’s robot creation has become a symbol for the oppressed, having been sold into slavery, rejected and unjustly imprisoned. He has been an advocate for peace, speaking out against war in many stories and taking direct action to protect Vietnamese villagers during a story set in the Vietnam war. He has also inspired real-life scientific and robotic developments and cross-cultural homages in comics, art and on the stage.

A Honda ASIMO robot conducting an orchestra – one of the robotic developments inspired by Astro Boy.
© Vanillase [CC BY-SA 3.0]

If we were to look for a contemporary Western equivalent, we would have to cite something with the wide-ranging cultural impact of Star Trek.

In another of his seminal works, Sapphire, a beautiful and accomplished princess born with two hearts, one male and one female, must play the role of a prince to protect her country and her family. She made her first appearance in 1953 in Ribon no kishi (Knight of the Ribbon, known in English as Princess Knight.) This ground-breaking manga was hugely influential on girls’ comic artists across Japan and beyond, establishing a tradition of heroines with androgynous characteristics and a 19th-century European aesthetic.  

This portrayal of a-typical women was doubtless influenced by the wartime experience of seeing his mother and the women of his community put away their pretty clothes and makeup, put on work trousers or uniforms, and step into essential roles left vacant by men sent to the front. But Princess Knight is above all a loving homage to Tezuka’s beloved Takarazuka Revue. Founded in his hometown in 1913, this unique musical theatre troupe was a favourite entertainment of his mother, who would often take him along. Several performers were near neighbours, so Tezuka became accustomed to seeing one familiar person play many exotic roles. In a reversal of Japan’s classical theatre tradition, which excludes women, Takarazuka has only female players.

Sapphire’s dual male and female personalities – and the lush settings of the manga and its romantic storylines – reflect Tezuka’s childhood experience of Takarazuka and the threat of invasion from an unknown beyond.

Princess Knight, Tezuka Osamu ©Tezuka Productions

Looking at this example of cover art, we see a heroic boy/girl in an absurdly feminine hat – not even the Three Musketeers used ribbons that size! Standing en garde at the foot of a majestic marble staircase, they defend their beloved mother unassisted, except for a chirpy little boy. Dark, twisted trees form a proscenium arch hint at an encroaching threat. It’s both an imaginative essay in theatrical romanticism, and a potent encapsulation of a nation at bay with only women and children left to defend its fragile beauty.

Tezuka continued to develop these two characters as leading
players in his personal repertory company, but they were far from alone
onstage. Mining his childhood for characters, he created a group of archetypes
and used them like actors in his ongoing works. He added in new players,
including characters from mythology and history – Mnemosyne, the mother of the
Muses, in Barbara, Ludwig van Beethoven in Ludwig B, Hitler in Adolf
– and animals, including the heroic young lion of his 1950 manga and 1965
cartoon series Jungle Taitei/Jungle Emperor. This was broadcast in the
USA as Kimba the White Lion, and inspired controversy in 1994 because of
Disney’s insistence that, despite well documented similarities, Kimba
was unknown to their staff and had no influence on their movie The Lion King.

Tezuka’s death in 1989, soon after that of the Showa
Emperor, was unexpected. His illness was kept secret from everyone except
family and close friends, and his legions of fans were devastated. Foreign
journalists arriving in Tokyo to cover the Imperial funeral were surprised to
find such public attention focused on the funeral of a comic book artist. His
cortege passed between lines of weeping fans, grandparents who had been
children when he made his debut in 1946 carrying grandchildren clutching toys
based on his works. Tezuka’s interpreter and friend Frederik L. Schodt compared
Japanese reactions to his death to the despair following John Lennon’s murder
in 1981.

In recent years Tezuka’s works, and works about him, have been widely translated. In English, my own book The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga has been augmented by a superb translation of Toshio Ban’s manga biography of Tezuka, available in English from Stone Bridge Press as The Osamu Tezuka Story. I hope you will enjoy exploring this fascinating creator’s life and work further!

You can purchase The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga here.

The Citi exhibition Manga is open until 26 August 2019.

Supported by Citi

Logistics partner IAG Cargo

#anime, #astro-boy, #comic-books, #exhibitions-and-events, #japan, #manga, #princess-knight, #tezuka, #thebritishmuseumblog, #uk

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Terry Teo is the great New Zealand comic

Growing up, illustrator Toby Morris rarely saw the New Zealand he knew in comics – until he discovered Terry Teo.

The school library. Hampton Hill Primary. Tawa. 1990. I’m curled up in a corner on the carpet so the teacher can’t see what I’m reading and I’m having a moment. It’s a comic that looks a bit like Tintin, but feels like… here. In the book, two hunters walk through the bush when out of nowhere a pig shoots out of the ferns. Startled, a hunter drops his gun and it fires into the air. “Crikey dick!” he says. Crikey dick? That’s what my grandad says!

Before long the teacher spots me and I’m kindly shooed back towards a ‘real book’ like a chicken that’s accidentally wandered away from the coop. I tuck it in between some big hardcovers to find another day. It stays with me though: Terry and the Last Moa. Terry Teo.

Crikey dick!

I remember the power of that moment of recognition. It’s hard to explain how rarely I saw my New Zealand in the culture I consumed as a 9-year-old in Tawa. I heard New Zealand in What Now, the news and my parent’s Front Lawn album, but I rarely saw myself, my mum or my house. I never saw our Tongan neighbours and never heard anyone say ‘stink buzz’. In all the books and all the movies and all the hours of TV I consumed, I never once saw gorse on the hills. TV was all Gillette ads and Wella women; clean-shaven bankers lounging on Lamborghinis. My dad had a moustache and caught the train. So did all his mates. I was a scruffy dorky skateboarding kid from the boring burbs. Terry Teo was a scruffy dorky skateboarding kid from the burbs too, but he actually got into adventures.

Terry and The Gunrunners in 1982 was the first book. It was adapted into a TV series in 1985, featuring the classic ‘Oh oh, oh oh’ theme song (by Don McGlashan!) and a cast that included Billy T James and Robert Muldoon. In 1986 the second book, Terry and the Yodeling Bull, came out, and in 1990 the trilogy was completed with Terry and the Last Moa – the one I first found. But Terry lived on: Gunrunners was reprinted in 2015, and in 2016 an underrated modern TV reboot was released.

New Zealand comics and cartoons have come a long way since 1990. These days, Victoria University Press – arguably the country’s most respected literary publisher – releases comics by Sarah Laing and Dylan Horrocks. Dylan and Coco Solid (Aroha Bridge) have been arts laureates, while bookshops around the country stock New Zealand comics like Three Words, Dharma Punks and Rufus Marigold. Katie O’Neill’s Tea Dragon books have reached an international audience and inspired a board game and a line of soft toys, while Rachel Smythe’s million-readers-an-episode webcomic Lore Olympus is being turned into an animated series by the bloody Jim Henson Company.

There’s Michel Mulipola who draws WWE comics and Marvel trading cards, and Ant Sang, Giselle Clarkson and Mat Tait who get commissioned by Auckland Museum. The School Journal now prints comics, schools encourage kids to read them and NZ On Air even funds a monthly non-fiction comic series. On our screens, we see distinctly New Zealand animated series like Aroha Bridge, Barefoot Bandits, Jandal Burn and Kiri & Lou. Choice.

But back then it was slim pickings. I’d devour any comics I could get my hands on, but that didn’t happen that often. English joke comics like Buster and Whizzer & Chips got passed around school for snacks, while Tintin and Asterix were the main meal. Occasionally, old copies of 2000AD, Phantom, Commando or Mad magazine would show up at my grandma’s op shop, but that was about it. Now I know there were other New Zealand comics out there emerging from the muck like tadpoles slowly growing legs – Strips, Captain Sunshine, Razor, Jesus on a Stick – but none of them made it to this kid in Tawa in 1990.

But Terry did. And for that, I think Bob Kerr and Stephen Ballantyne deserve a lot of credit. They took something fringey and dragged it into the mainstream, made it unashamedly kiwi. They were ahead of their time, and they did it bloody well.

Journo Tintin stressing about his mortgage and a George Wilder reference on the same page. Only Terry.

Reading it again today there’s still a lot to like. There are bad puns like Asterix (Last Moa takes place in Port Manto) and cheeky Tintin references. There are subversive jokes tucked away in the Dominon Herald paper the adults all read, and there’s the skinhead character whose grawlixes (those cartoon symbols that suggest swearing) include National Party logos. There’s graffiti on a wall that says ‘Free George Wilder’.

The landscape and language are unmistakably kiwi, but there are loads of subtle little actions and jokes that ring true too: Terry drinks a carton of juice, inflates it and pops it with a stomp. His brother Ted is desperate to find out the league score and is later disappointed when his team gets smashed. They ride around on the back of utes a lot.

Terry was special. We see echoes of his deadpan humour and unpretentious personality in Taika Waititi’s films for example, and there’s a whole generation of New Zealand comic artists, myself included, who wouldn’t be here without him. I think the books deserve credit for the path they paved. I’m going to stick my neck out here: I think Terry Teo is the great New Zealand comic.

Crikey dick!

Watch the latest episode of Two Sketches in which Toby meets Terry’s creator Bob Kerr. Watch how nervous Toby is, hear Bob talk about the story behind Terry’s creation and see Toby’s attempt to draw his own take on the iconic character. 

Made with the support of NZ On Air

Watch previous Two Sketches here.

#bob-kerr, #books, #childrens-books, #comics, #featured, #illustration, #terry-teo, #thespinoff, #two-sketches

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge.

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace


Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge converted a former bank office in Barcelona’s Eixample district into a florist for Spanish online flower start-up Colvin. Reinterpreting a field of flowers with shaded paths winding beneath trees, the designers aimed to create a unique atmosphere where natural and man-made worlds merge.

The architects began by stripping the space back to its full material potential, removing false ceilings to reveal their original height and timber beams. Plaster was removed from the walls, exposing the brick beneath. The addition of a fire-resistant mortar coating unites the ceiling and structural reinforcement beams with the same rough texture. Finally, the floor, walls and ceiling were painted the same shade of bright white, drawing focus to the floral contents of the interior and enhancing natural light throughout.


Related: Gigi-Verde Flower Atelier in Kobe, Japan by Sides Core.


Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace

Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge | Yellowtrace


Rather than on typical florist tables, blooms at Colvin are presented in an exhibition format, with timber plinths of various heights displaying colourful bouquets in a dynamic and organic fashion. The timber plinths also form a tea table for a waiting area, a cash register and pots for planted trees, generating different functions with the same simple, repeated element. Imagined to mimic a natural topography, tree trunks punctuate the interior interspersed with their artificial analogy, the cast-iron columns. Both serve to emphasize the perception of a high-rise space.

“A new sensory scenario merges with the old built forms, stimulating to feel nature with sight, smell and touch,” explain Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge. “In this way, abstract nature, understood as the artificial space full of light, highlights the presence of living and concrete nature.”

Sliding glass timber-reamed doors serve to separate the display area where customers choose their bouquet, a semi-open workshop where florists compose bunches of flowers for delivery, and private areas such as the warehouse, the cold store, the office and bathroom. The sliding doors allow the space to be flexible according to degrees of privacy required at given times. Two large mirrors visually duplicate the main street-facing display space, giving customers an experience of seeing themselves amongst a field of flowers within the city.Click To Read Entire Post

The post Colvin Florist in Barcelona by Roman Izquierdo Bouldstridge. appeared first on Yellowtrace.

#barcelona, #commercial-design, #florals, #flower-shop, #interior-design, #limited-budget, #minimalist, #plants, #retail, #spain, #timber, #vases, #white, #yellowtrace

Nasa saw two galaxies colliding and it’s an ominous portent of the Milky Way’s future

A view of two distant galaxies colliding (Image: Nasa, ESA, Hubble Telescope)

A view of two distant galaxies colliding (Image: Nasa, ESA, Hubble Telescope)

Nasa has released an incredible picture showing two galaxies smashing into each other.

But the astonishing image is not just of scientific interest, but should engage the attention of our entire species because it is a grim portent of the fate awaiting our celestial home.

The Milky Way is doomed to collide with the ‘cannibal galaxy’ Andromeda – a ‘monster’ star system believed to have eaten several other unfortunate galaxies.

Now astronomers have released a graphic image showing the carnage caused when a galaxy named NGC 7715 crashed into NGC 7714, which are situated about 150 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Pisces.

Nasa wrote: ‘NGC 7714, has been stretched and distorted by a recent collision with a neighbouring galaxy.

‘This smaller neighbour, NGC 7715, situated off to the left of the featured frame, is thought to have charged right through NGC 7714.

‘Observations indicate that the golden ring pictured is composed of millions of older Sun-like stars that are likely co-moving with the interior bluer stars. In contrast, the bright center of NGC 7714 appears to be undergoing a burst of new star formation.’

The galactic horror crash started about 150 million years ago and should continue for several hundred million years.

This will probably lead to the creation of one single galaxy.

An illustration showing what an Earthling might see when Andromeda collides with the Milky Way

An illustration showing what an Earthling might see when Andromeda collides with the Milky Way

It’s long been known that Andromeda will smash into humanity’s home galaxy in the future.

Astronomers recently uncovered new details of this galactic mega beasts murderous past.

A team from the Australian National University has discovered large ‘streams of stars’ which indicate Andromeda munched several smaller galaxies within the past few billion years.

It may even have ‘gobbled up’ galaxies 10 billion years ago when it was first forming.

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‘The Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda in about four billion years.,’ said Dr Dougal Mackey, from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

‘So knowing what kind of a monster our galaxy is up against is useful in finding out the Milky Way’s ultimate fate.

‘Andromeda has a much bigger and more complex stellar halo than the Milky Way, which indicates that it has cannibalised many more galaxies, possibly larger ones.’

The scientists analysed clumps of stars called globular clusters to reveal ‘signs of ancient feasting’.

‘By tracing the faint remains of these smaller galaxies with embedded star clusters, we’ve been able to recreate the way Andromeda drew them in and ultimately enveloped them at the different times,’ Dr Mackey added.

The scientist believes Andromeda also fed in two different directions, pulling in material from two sides.

‘This is very weird and suggests that the extragalactic meals are fed from what’s known as the ‘cosmic web’ of matter that threads the universe,’ said Professor Geraint Lewis from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy and University of Sydney School of Physics.

‘More surprising is the discovery that the direction of the ancient feeding is the same as the bizarre “plane of satellites”, an unexpected alignment of dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda.

‘This deepens the mystery as the plane must be young, but it appears to be aligned with ancient feeding of dwarf galaxies. Maybe this is because of the cosmic web, but really, this is only speculation.

‘We’re going to have to think quite hard to unravel what this is telling us.’

‘We are cosmic archaeologists, except we are digging through the fossils of long-dead galaxies rather than human history.’

Scientists recently worked out how long we’ve got until the Milky Way smashes into Andromeda – and you don’t need to be too worried just yet.

It’s now believed this will happen in 4.5 billion years time, rather than 3.9 billion years into the future.

Astronomers used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite to study the movements of Andromeda.

They said the collision will happen later than expected and will also be ‘less destructive’, with the two galaxies hitting each other in a ‘glancing blow’ rather than a head-on collision.

‘This finding is crucial to our understanding of how galaxies evolve and interact,’ said Timo Prusti, ESA Gaia Project Scientist.

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The world’s oldest bridge is being preserved in Iraq

The bridge at Tello was built in the third millennium BC, making it the oldest bridge still in existence. This remarkable survival will be preserved by a team of British Museum archaeologists and Iraqi heritage professionals who are being trained to protect ancient sites that have suffered damage at the hands of Daesh (or the so-called Islamic State). Restoring the 4,000-year-old bridge will be a potent symbol for a nation emerging from decades of war.

Aerial view of the bridge in the ancient city of Girsu (modern Tello).

The British Museum is proud to be working with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage to undertake this work as part of the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme. The bridge’s conservation will be part of the fourth phase of the Scheme, with field training of two groups of trainees beginning in autumn 2018. These latest trainees will be the first female archaeologists to be trained as part of the five-year project.

Trial of wall reconstruction techniques.

Saving the bridge could one day lead to the site welcoming tourists from around the globe to learn about Iraq’s rich heritage. Alongside the archaeological work, the project will see the creation of a visitor centre at the site, which will hopefully lead to the return of international tourists to the region, who have stayed away during recent conflict. The new visitor centre will explain in both English and Arabic how the bridge has contributed to world history, and tour groups from outside Iraq could begin to visit the site by 2020.

Built for the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, the bridge was only rediscovered in 1929. Described at the time as an ‘enigmatic construction’, it has been variously interpreted as a temple, dam and water regulator. Recent studies using 1930s photographs as well as recently declassified satellite imagery from the 1960s, alongside new research at the site, have confirmed that it was a bridge over an ancient waterway and that it is (at the time of writing) the earliest-known bridge in the world. Since the excavations nearly 90 years ago, the bridge has remained open and exposed, with no identifiable conservation work to address its long-term stability or issues of erosion, and no plans to manage the site or tell its story to the wider world.

Fieldwork at Tello.

The need to protect the bridge arose from preliminary work by the first two Iraq Scheme excavation seasons. The preliminary assessment stressed the urgency of carrying out a larger and more ambitious conservation programme, including emergency excavations. Even during this early phase, two trenches were uncovered, containing well-preserved deposits of the prehistoric Ubaid period dating to the fifth millennium BC. These contain a wealth of information on the origins of Girsu and, consequently, the birth of urban centres in Mesopotamia, one of the earliest known civilisations. This would improve international recognition of the rich and important heritage of Iraq.

The next group of Iraq Scheme participants that will carry out this vital work are eight female heritage professionals from the Mosul region. They will arrive in London this month to train at the British Museum in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork and emergency archaeology. Their future work will continue the success of the Scheme so far – for example, one graduate has been appointed by the Iraqi State Board to lead the assessment of the site of Nimrud.

The archaeological team at Tello.

This is a hugely important project to ensure the long-term sustainability of the world’s oldest bridge, which is an incredibly clever piece of ancient engineering on a grand scale. The full conservation programme will not only provide access to the site for the local community and tourists, but it is hoped that it could yield unprecedented finds that may lead to a new cultural centre of interest in the region – one of the poorest provinces of Iraq.

This is an important emblem of Iraq’s heritage and restoring the bridge is a symbol of a brighter future for the Iraqi people.

You can find out more about the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme on the Museum’s website.

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