Plant an internet garden and other fun diversions.
My siblings have been a great inspiration for a number of posts and articles over the years. Today’s comments are the courtesy of my sister, who sent me an email called “Spring Flowers.” It was brief and included simple instructions on “planting” a garden on the Internet.
It only takes a few seconds (though I’ve included additional ideas in this post). But it really feels good to do it! Beautiful flowers without getting your fingernails dirty. ‘Course, you don’t get to smell them, but they’re almost as pretty as the real ones.
All you need to do is just to imagine you are in the middle of a field of rich dirt and have a magic wand with which you can spread seeds that grow as quickly as you want.
Become an Instant Gardener
The email my sister sent had a rose you were supposed to click, but the flowers that appear on the screen don’t include a rose. So instead, I give you this picture I took in New Zealand in January 2007 (their summer, our winter) on a train trip over the Southern Alps.
A background note: it seems that when the English settlers arrived in New Zealand, they wanted to bring their old country flowers with them, together with their sheep. So they seeded the countryside with lupine like these that, in many places, are now considered invasive weeds.
In any case, this picture has the same kind of vibrant colors you will create in the instant garden.
When you click on the picture of these colorful flowers, you will be taken to a blank page, except for the words “Flower Garden” and “www.procreo.jp.”
Click your mouse anywhere (and everywhere) on the page and see what happens!
Better yet, click and hold down the mouse as you drag it over the page. Change speeds and create a new design as you go; I had fun making a garden in the shape of a heart.
All you need to do to create a new garden is to refresh the page and start all over again.
Use this URL — http://www.procreo.jp/labo/flower_garden.swf — if you need to copy and paste it directly into your browser.
Get the Correct Time from an Old-Fashioned Pocket Watch
When you’ve finished playing with the flowers, check out a page on the same site that has a pocket watch, which the Japanese identified as a “soft watch.” You will notice the clock has your local time (as long as your computer has the correct time) together with a second hand.
I wondered what “soft” watch meant, but with a little Google search I discovered that a “soft” or “melting” watch or clock was the signature image associated with the kingpin of Surrealism, Salvador Dali. By moving your mouse slowly over the screen, you can create your own “soft” watch.
Use this URL — http://www.procreo.jp/labo/labo22.html
— if you need to copy and paste it directly into your browser.
Fractals and Other Fascinating Designs
The reason I enjoy web pages like these is the pleasure of seeing what designers can do with all the new technology at their fingertips. So if you want to see other designs in this website from Japan, check out http://www.procreo.jp/labo.html
From this page you can select several designs with which you can play. Many of them seem based on the “fractal” system, a term I only learned about several years ago. Here “Lorenz Attractors” is mesmerizing as the dots create random patterns on the screen. Just the thing to calm your mind as you watch.
I barely understand what Wikipedia means when it says that, “Fractals are typically self-similar patterns, where self-similar means they are ‘the same from near as from far’. Fractals may be exactly the same at every scale, or . . . may be nearly the same at different scales.”
I kinda know what it means, even if I could not create one if my life depended on it. But I find it fun to discover that fractals often appear in nature – like frost crystals forming naturally on cold glass.
If you want to watch a dynamic fractal from YouTube, check this out:
Google’s Translation Service Seems a Little Off
One more comment about the Procreo site of gardens and clocks and fractals.
Down at the bottom of the page is something written in Japanese and at the top of the page it says: This page is in Japanese. Would you like to translate it?
I selected the “translate” option and this is what I got:
“Note: Depending on the speed of the PC may be heavy operation. Please note”