“Fly”

Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Peter Georg Kozdon, 20.05.2018)

The housefly (Musca domestica) is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. It is believed to have evolved in the Cenozoic Era, possibly in the Middle East, and has spread all over the world as a commensal of humans. It is the most common fly species found in houses. Adults are gray to black, with four dark, longitudinal lines on the thorax, slightly hairy bodies, and a single pair of membranous wings. They have red eyes, set farther apart in the slightly larger female.

The female housefly usually mates only once and stores the sperm for later use. She lays batches of about 100 eggs on decaying organic matter such as food wastecarrion, or feces. These soon hatch into legless white larvae, known as maggots. After two to five days of development, these metamorphose into reddish-brown pupae, about 8 millimetres (38 inch) long. Adult flies normally live for two to four weeks, but can hibernate during the winter. The adults feed on a variety of liquid or semi-liquid substances, as well as solid materials which have been softened by their saliva. They can carry pathogens on their bodies and in their feces, contaminate food, and contribute to the transfer of food-borne illnesses, while, in numbers, they can be physically annoying. For these reasons, they are considered pests.

In literature

The Impertinent Insect is a group of five fables, sometimes ascribed to Aesop, concerning an insect, in one version a fly, which puffs itself up to seem important. In the Biblical fourth plague of Egyptflies represent death and decay, while the Philistine god Beelzebub‘s name may mean “lord of the flies”. In Greek mythologyMyiagros was a god who chased away flies during the sacrifices to Zeus and Athena; Zeus sent a fly to bite Pegasus, causing Bellerophon to fall back to Earth when he attempted to ride the winged steed to Mount Olympus. In the traditional Navajo religion, Big Fly is an important spirit being.

William Blake‘s 1794 poem “The Fly”, part of his collection Songs of Experience, deals with the insect’s mortality, subject to uncontrollable circumstances, just like humans. Emily Dickinson‘s 1855 poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” speaks of flies in the context of death. In William Golding‘s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, the fly is, however, a symbol of the children involved.

Ogden Nash‘s humorous two-line 1942 poem “God in His wisdom made the fly/And then forgot to tell us why.” indicates the debate about the value of biodiversity, given that even those considered by humans as pests have their place in the world’s ecosystems.

(Quelle: Wikipedia)

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The appearance of insects, including flies, is an inseparable sign of the arrival of warmer days. This year, I think I’m going even to liking flies too, if only it means the end of winter, and the resulting reduction in colds and illnesses caused by viruses

“Křemílek a Vochomůrka”

Sculptor: Filip Kubeš, Frymburg, Czech Republic (Photo: Gosia Sachse, 20.05.2018)

Pohádky z mechu a kapradí (English: The Tales of Moss and Fern) is a Czechoslovakian animated children’s television series produced from 1968 to 1979. The series focuses on the adventures of two forest people named Křemílek and Vochomůrka, often dealing with certain problems. It was made by Bratři v triku.

The series first premiered on Czechoslovak Television on October 6, 1968. The first season was shot in black and white, with the remainder of the series being shot in color. Due to its success, a second season spanning 13 episodes was produced in 1970.

In 2014, Česká televize announced plans to colorize the first season by 2017. However, only the first 7 episodes were colorized and shown during 2018, with a 16:9 format being added as well.

(Quelle: Wikipedia)

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Once upon a time, low-growing people, commonly known as dwarves, who ruled others, aroused sympathy. And today?

“Four musicians from Prague”

Praga, Carol Bridge (fot. Gosia Sachse)

We know very well that music works on us. It can put you in a good mood and lead to tears, calm you down or act on your nerves. But it not only resonates with our mood. It is also an “amplifier” of the message in films, advertisements, etc.

Researchers from the University of Southern California have decided to check out what makes music work for us like this and not differently. They used machine learning.

A prelude to artificial intelligence

It started with collecting material for testing. Scientists needed songs – sad and cheerful. To do so, they searched online music services and discussion forums to find songs marked “sad” and “cheerful” or their synonyms. They wanted to reduce the likelihood that the participants of the survey knew the songs earlier, so they decided to pick out niche songs with a small number of plays from the web.

Score of emotion

The songs were presented to a group of 100 people. Some of the participants were connected to the apparatus testing brain activity, others had their pulse and skin conduction tested (dermal-galvanic reaction – testing changes in skin electrical resistance under the influence of sweat).

Additionally, the songs were analyzed second by second for 74 properties like dynamics, timbre, harmony and rhythm.

All these data were used to train machine learning models. Their task was to find the relationship between the content of the work and the physiological response of the body, and more precisely to determine which of the several dozen properties should be observed to predict the reaction of the body. This would allow to predict how a given piece of work will affect the person who listens to it.

It turned out, for example, that the tone (i.e. the intensity of medium and high frequencies), volume and clarity of rhythm in sad songs affect brain activity. Hue, complexity, clarity of rhythm and predictability of tone are correlated with heart rate changes.

Solo on the listener

Researchers hope that their work in the future will allow them to create powerful models of machine learning capable of predicting how a piece of music will affect our psyche and what reactions it will cause in our body. Practical applications? Music composed with a specific listener in mind, tailored to his or her liking, music suggestively evoking specific emotions, and finally music as a support for psychotherapy.

(Quelle: https://www.sztucznainteligencja.org.pl/)

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Let’s support street virtuosos who often delight us with their work. Thanks to them, among others, the world is not so bad. In memory of Genek Loska (*08.01.1975 – † 09.09.2020).

Genek Loska (Pińczów 2013). Quelle: Wikipedia

A short biography of Genek can be found under the link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gienek_Loska

“Baba Yaga”

_DSC7399.JPGPrague, Czech Republic (Photo: Peter Georg Kożdoń, Mai 2018)

6 PLN 70 PLN 70 PLN per day. That’s how much or less people in every fifth family have at their disposal in Poland in 2019, which ist under care of Szlachetna Paczka. Their average monthly income (after deducting the amount of the fixed costs of living) do not exceed PLN 200. However, according to the Central Statistical Office (GUS), a four-person family (2+2) is not able to survive a month for less than 1571 PLN.

20% of the families, which ist under care of Szlachetna Paczka live in apartments in which there’s no bathroom.

>1.2 million children (persons under the age of eighteen) are in Poland at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

PLN 500 or more spends on medicines every fifth family, which ist under care of Szlachetna Paczka, in which at least one sick or disabled person lives.

PLN 31.42 – This is how much the nursing allowance has increased since November 1, 2018. It iss granted for the purpose of partially covering expenses. It is granted for the purpose of partially covering expenses of a person, who need to provide care and assistance to another person because of her inability to exist independently. This is the first an increase in that benefit for the last 12 years. From now on, it amounts to 184
PLN 42 gr per month.

PLN 1065 – This is the amount of the most frequently paid retirement pension in the women’s population in March 2018. Among men, this figure was more than twice as high (2177 PLN 80 gr).

9% – Polish households with children for financial reasons do not celebrate family celebrations e.g. birthdays. Every tenth parent can’t afford to pay for school trips for his/her child. Every 40-th can’t afford to buy any toys, new clothes or books.

Full report: https://www.szlachetnapaczka.pl/raport-o-biedzie/

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I’m sure many of us pass her on the street, in the stairwell, on the way to the grocery store. Old, hunchbacked, wrinkled. Once mothers used to scare children with her: “If you don’t eat dinner, Baba Yaga will come and take you away”. She – Baba Yaga, about whom the little one knew from his book with pictures read to him by his father as good night story, that he devours naughty children. This is enough to make the imagination start working and in a few minutes nothing left on a plate after dinner. Baba Yaga has to stay hungry this time, too. Not because she likes to eat children. Ha! She once had her own children, whom she tried to give everything, what she could. Her children grew up, left her house, forgot about her. No one says to Baba Yaga “thank you” for the years spent caring for her children, nor does anyone reward her for the effort she put into raising another member of society. Years spent on hard work have left a mark on her health, which can be seen in every furrow decorating her face. She lives right next to us. Let us not forget about her, especially in winter and on holidays, when we sit down at the table. Poverty has the face of Baby Yaga and it is only up to us whether we see her as a sick old lady who needs help or as a demon to scare children.

 

Podobenství s Lebkou (Parable With Skull)

Praga maj 2018 fot. Peter Georg Kozdon 2 (mail 13.09.18).JPGSculptor: Jaroslav Róna, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Peter Georg Kożdoń, Mai 2018)

Jaroslav Róna, who also created the Franz Kafka statue nearby, is a rather prolific surrealist sculptor. In the 1980s he helped found the Czech art group Tvrdohlaví (The Stubborn). He built Podobenství s Lebkou, aka “Parable with Skull” in 1993, a bronze sculpture of a beggar weighed down by a large skull resides on a thick slab of aging wood.

The sculpture used to be found at the eastern end of the Golden Lane by Prague Castle’s Daliborka Tower, where Dalibor of Kozojedy, known as the Robin Hood of Czechia, was said to have played the violin while waiting out his days.

Parable with Skull is based on one of Kafka’s characters—the “beggar, who, with the death rattle already in his throat, insists on dying on the doorstep” from The Bucket Rider. The sculpture tends to intrigue and even confuse those who visit the castle without prior knowledge of Róna’s surrealist works. There’s also a surprise at the rear end of the statue: the beggar’s dangling bronze testicles are displayed quite prominently, often shocking admirers of the piece.

Prague is a city known for its strange public sculptures, and Róna’s are among the strangest, but Parable with Skull isn’t a public work. To see the strange crawling man, one must pay admission to tour Prague Castle.

(Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com)

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Elections to the European Parliament will take place on 26th May. Let us not be like this beggar and let us not to allow the democracy in Poland to die on the doorstep of our home, which is a united Europe. Let us go to elections and vote for wise and responsible people. Enough demagogy and manipulation!

“Slight Uncertainty”

Peter Georg Kozdon Praga maj 2018 (mail 23.01.19)Artist: Michal Trpak, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Peter Georg Kozdon, Mai 2018)

This sculpture, located at the crossroad of Na zbořenci and Odborů in the Praga district called Nové Město, is part of bigger composition “Slight Uncertainty” done by Michal Trpák.  In his installation artist puts a philosophical spin on the Mary Poppins flight by umbrella. The piece features many cement figures hanging dearly onto open umbrellas in a rainbow’s spectrum of colors, all of the individuals floating in an atrium-type space in the EBC office center in Prague. Uncertainty rests in the state of being, whether these figures are anticipating a rise – or even descent – with excitement or perhaps dread. The contrast of the heavy, material concrete contrasts the situational lightness captured by the installation. One thing that is certain: the dreamlike, thought-provoking, and inspirational effect of the colorful umbrellas.

(Source: https://www.gessato.com/slight-uncertainty-by-michal-trpak/)

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Today is the International Women’s Day. To all women and the men standing by their side, strength and perseverance in the fight for their rights.

“Victims of Communism Memorial Monument”

Prague 119Sculptor: Olbram Zoubek, architects: Zdenek Hoelzl and Jan Kerel; Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Gosia Sachse (Głowacka); 16.08.2013)

The memorial unveiled in May 2002 by sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Zdenek Hoelzl and Jan Kerel consists of seven more or less fragmentary human figures symbolising political prisoners of communism. They stand on a staircase leading up the slope of Petrin hill in Prague’s historical centre on the left bank of the Vltava river.

(Quelle: https://www.alamy.com)

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13 Dezember 1981 – we remember…

“Robber Rumcajs”

WP_20180520_15_31_56_ProSculptor: František Vitásek, Frymburk, Czech Republic (Photo: Małgorzata Sachse, maj 2018)

The sculpture was made as part of the project “Together for Children” from 04-07/08/2014.

Rumcajs robber (org. O loupežníku Rumcajsovi) – a Czechoslovak animated series for children, based on a series of novels by Václav Čtvrtek. The series consisted of 39 episodes, its continuation was a new series called Cypisek – the son of robber Rumcajs from 1972.

The series tells about the vicissitudes of robber Rumcajs from the forest of Laholce and his family – wife Hanka and son Cypisek. The main theme of the series is the conflict between the robber and the Prince, who lives in the castle in the nearby town named Jiczyn.

In the Czech original fairytale, the wife of robber Rumcajs is named Manka.

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I love such robbers as they fearlessly defend their freedom and punished dishonest “princes”.

Smell of Christmas…

Prague 064.JPGInternal toilet door in the shop with gingerbread, Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Gosia Głowacka, 22.08.2014)

While Christmas time is filled with sweet smells of gingerbread and traditional dishes, the political world seems sour. Thinking of the president who signs in laws without reading them, the parliamentary majority excluding the minority, old sour men calling the shots and turning the clock backwards spoils this special time. May the sweet gingerbread smell make us forget these troubles for a bit. Merry Christmas to all of you! 🙂

“Before I die…”

Prague 130.JPGPrague, Czech Republic (Photo: Gosia Głowacka, 22.08.2014)

Before I die

I would like to see people around who oftener smile at and help each other rather than swearing and harm one another …
I would like to reduce disparities in distributing goods of this world between the richest and the poorest
I would like people to understand that by destroying our beautiful planet they undercut the branch they sit on
I would like to travel to the farthest and most oriental corners of the world without fear that I might not come back alive (e.g. as a result of military operations carried out in these areas, epidemics, terrorist attacks etc.)
I would like that white is always white and black is black without necessity to prove it
I would like that my son grew into a wise, happy man as well as he will be surrounded by that kind of people
I would like that hate speech is replaced by LOVE speech

… so it seems that there are many more years of life ahead of me for these wishes to come true;). And you – what would you like / want to do / see / experience before your earthly journey will finish?