Sunday, March 30, 2014

938 - Will Bring Wrench

Wedding season!  This RSVP isn't as detailed as last year's: I've been working hard on other projects and so don't have a lot of energy for extra stuff. 
The groom has a fascination with pneumatic impact wrenches, which is a topic far out of my usual scope of interest.  The Internet proved to be a useful source of information, and now I'm pretty sure that this will be one of the handful of wedding RSVP's that can list the qualities of a good pneumatic impact wrench as having a maximum torque at 90 psi rev [nm(ftlbs)] 576 (425), as well as a dyna-bolt oil bath clutch among other things. 
See last year's cherub-fest by clicking here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

937 - "JTF2: In Harm's Way"

I made this illustration of a Canadian JTF2 (Joint Task Force Two) soldier bravely breaching the compound in order to win an art contest. 

However, I realize that I am missing a much larger context with this piece.  Last week saw the official end of the Canadian war in Afghanistan where our final remaining troops were airlifted out of Kabul and returned home.  Our military commitment lasted twelve years, the longest foreign deployment in Canadian history.  158 soldiers died during the war, and many more have been scarred and injured.  

Did we further the causes of imperialist aggression?  Did we stamp out international terror?  Did we accomplish our mission?  Our politicians are evasive with these answers.  Did we even win the war?  

Our soldiers were sent into harm's way.  No matter what you feel about their operations, they did not at any point deny their duty, nor did they ever pass their share of effort on to another army.  Canadian soldiers will go to the places that we civilians dare not.  For this, I am most grateful.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

936 - Squirrel Delivery II

The inked and coloured final version of the squirrel sketch I posted yesterday here on JSVB.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

935 - Squirrel Delivery

This sketch should read as a squirrel delivering a letter.  It will look gangbusters in ink & colour!

Friday, March 21, 2014

934 - Hooray For The CBC

"Hooray for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation"?  Nobody that I recall has ever said that.  Yet here we are today, or rather we should have been last week except that I've been busy with other art projects.  

The CBC does indeed deserve recognition for its coverage of the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi.  Finally, we can watch our Canadian paralympic athletes strive for Olympic gold on national television!  

Four years ago, I published a critique of the CTV coverage of the Paralympics in Vancouver.  CTV Chairman Ivan Fecan bragged about the profits his network generated during the Olympics, and I suggested that he likely took his money and ran to the bank when it came to promoting the subsequent Paralympics.  CTV chose to transmit a few token events on television, preferring instead to show soap operas and re-runs instead of live broadcasts of the Paralympic Games.  Given the lavish production that was the 2010 Olympics, the 2010 Paralympics on CTV was a national embarasment.

In four years, the nature of sports on Canadian television has changed dramatically.  Rogers Cable now owns most of the sports-related assets of CTV, CBC, and TSN, making them a near-monopoly broadcaster.  Whether or not these networks will continue to show Canadian sports under the Rogers oligarchy remains to be seen.  CBC, at least, did very well in partnership with TSN to show Olympic coverage, and then set a new high standard with their near-comprehensive broadcast of the Paralympics as well.  So, hooray for the CBC, who stood with the Olympians and the Paralympians on the international stage, and made Canada proud.  

You can see my rambling opinion of the CTV Paralympics broadcast way back in JSVB Post #79 by clicking here.  At least the cartoon is pretty good. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

933 - Cien Pesos II

This is a sequel to JSVB Post #535.  I think it's going to be a tradition that when I go on vacation I will paint trinkets to sell to the locals.  I painted this fish while on vacation to Puerto Vallarta; our resort had a small kiosk where kids could paint their own ceramic souvenirs.  As I am grown-up only in stature but not in heart, I took up two kiddie-stools with me, my wife, and my tequila, and spent a happy couple of hours with a paint set.

To see JSVB Post #535, please click here. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

932 - Tilley Hat Planet

A few days ago, I complained about how hard it was to draw a ringed planet.  This is my first attempt.  Please realize that this is supposed to be a realistic portrait!  

Part of the problem also lies with Blogger.  Some art-impaired genius in their tech department has figured that if a little auto-optimization makes a picture look a little better, then a whole crap-ton of optimization must make pictures look fantastic.  This is exactly the same philosophy that killed Kodak, when they developed a universal computerized auto-correction system that made everybody's pictures look universally terrible.  

In Blogger's case, it is possible to turn off the over-aggressive auto-correction, but I have to join the Google+ social media thing to do that.  Instead, if I save my pictures as .PNG's rather than .JPG's, the autocorrect does not touch .PNG format. 

Well, that's Ungood Art Day for you.  If everything went exactly to plan, I would have no Ungood Art to share with you.  As it is, I will always have things to show on JSVB Ungood Art Day, always the thirteenth day of the month.  You can check out other projects that I have attempted that failed miserably by checking out the Ungood Art category on the right.  Also, if you missed it, here is how the planet turned out after I had a good sleep: please click here to see it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

931 - Encore World Of Wonder

Yesterday's JSVB post of the tenth World Of Wonder seemed to end on a baleful, dreary note: a big blob of sun that swallows the Earth, and everything that belongs to humanity gets destroyed.

So, I have an encore.  When a main-sequence star at the end of its life collapses after a supernova explosion, it may end up as a neutron star.  This star is very dense, small, and bright.  If the compaction process occurs asymmetrically, the star may vent its radiation in a stream. This type of neutron star is called a pulsar.  The star's rotation swings the radiation stream like the beam of a lighthouse. 

Since pulsars are the remnants of stars that have exploded, it seems very unlikely that any neutron star would hold onto their planets.  However, studies of the radiation stream from nearby PSR B1257+12 showed anomalies.  The stream was being blocked by at least one solid object.  This heralded the discovery of the first planets discovered outside of our own Solar System. 

Planets held by pulsars are very rare, however, so perhaps this was a lucky find.  I cribbed off of the Wikipedia entry on PSR B1257+12 to draw my own version of a pulsar with a planet.  Certainly no life as we know it could exist on such a world, which would be absolutely baked by radiation.  But it could be covered with electromagnetic discharges like massive continental aurorae, its beautiful, shimmering cloak the fatal benefit of being so close to the spectacular glory of a pulsar.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

930 - Worlds Of Wonder X

Filling the frame with its baleful glare is a red giant star, the final World Of Wonder in my JSVB series.  And, as it happens, it will likely be our Earth's final world of wonder as well.

Roughly five billion years from now, our yellow sun will retire from being relatively small and yellow, consume the last of its ordinary hydrogen supply, and then expand massively as increasing core heat allows for another, hotter round of hydrogen fusion.  At the end of expansion, the sun will cool and turn red.  

Expansion: that's the trick.  The Sun will in time expand to at least the orbit of the Earth and probably beyond that of Mars.  A billion years prior, the heat of the initial stellar expansion will have burnt away our atmosphere, so there's not much reason to stick around for the big sundive after that.  

Just so you know, there is an active international consortium working through ideas to save the Earth from being consumed by the Sun.  The most effective plan will be to mount engines on the Moon and gradually de-orbit it from Earth.  Then, we aim the Moon at the Sun in a slingshot trajectory.  The Moon will come back to us accelerated by the gravity well of the Sun.  Careful aiming will have the Moon brush by just close enough to wobble Earth's orbit and pull it fractionally away from the sun.  The trick is to create a pull that doesn't cause massive tidal damage.  Then, the Moon will swing away into the outer Solar System before returning for another slingshot run, one terrestrial pass every hundred years or so.  

After a few thousand years of these cosmic nudges, the Earth's orbit may widen enough for us to find the new habitable zone past Mars or Jupiter, or we may break our planet free altogether and drift in deep space as one of an innumerable cast of runaway rogue planets, sunless and hurtling through the uncharted galaxy.   

We have to get past the year 2014, though, before we can worry about saving Earth.

Monday, March 10, 2014

929 - Worlds Of Wonder IX

A star cluster is different from a stellar nursery, as was pictured in yesterday's JSVB post.  However, they are related.  The mature masses in a star cluster have stayed aggregated, either because of mutual gravitational attraction, or simply because the cluster is too young to have drifted apart.  I've illustrated a series of so-called Bok Bodies, which are dense black clouds you sometimes see in photographs of nebulae.  They are among the densest, darkest, and coolest features in the galaxy, making them very mysterious since they seldom emit anything we can measure from Earth.  Scientists believe Bok Bodies are associated with the birth of stars.

Star clusters are important since they provide a measurable scale with which we can compare the rest of the visible Universe.  By comparing our own Sun with similar stars in nearby clusters, we can deduce both the age of the Universe and the size of our galaxy within it.

If you need to know, our galaxy is approximately 110,000 light years across, so it's roughly 50,000 light years from where you live to the center of the Galaxy That, and the entire Universe seems to be 13 billion years old. 

Thank you local star clusters, for all of that! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

928 - Worlds Of Wonder VIII

The term stellar nursery seems to me to be an artefact of post-Hubble Star Trek television script writing.  The more common scientific term is a "molecular cloud".  Either way, the result is the same: charged molecules in deep space accrete.  If their density becomes critical, the cloud could form stars within, which is where we end up with the term "stellar nursery".

Our universe is in the second phase of stellar expansion. The first phase, brought about by the Big Bang, produced gigantic stars with  almost unimaginable levels of energy.  These early stars died or went nova, releasing their energy in vast molecular clouds that coalesced into second-stage stars, the ones we see in our own sky.  Eventually, "our" stars will break down and reform into new stellar configurations over and over again until the Universe runs out of energy for expansion, however long that takes.  Then, presumably, the whole thing might rubberband back into the Big Bang singularity and the whole process renews - a Cosmic Blink.  

The amount of energy, matter, and time required to perform one Cosmic Blink seems to be just a hair on the finite side of infinite.  It's more than we can imagine, especially when compared to any one person, take me and JSVB for example.  And who knows how many Cosmic Blinks there have been?  Are they all the same, implying a rigidly deterministic Universe, or is each Cosmic Blink different, which would allow for perhaps infinite orders of chaotic and ordered Universes?

I look forward to the Cosmic Blink that generates the Universe where people feel compelled to buy more art from me.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

927 - Worlds Of Wonder VII

An alien sunrise over an alien planet: this is the feature of today's World Of Wonder on JSVB.


Friday, March 7, 2014

926 - Worlds Of Wonder VI

I thought to myself: next I'll do a ringed planet.  I am affirming now: I'll never do another ringed planet ever again.

What a bear.  It took many drafts to get the rings to work, except that they never did.  The planet ended up looking like it was wearing a worn-out Tilley hat.  Eventually, I relented from trying to render the rings by hand and rotoscoped Saturn's rings from a public-domain NASA photo of Saturn. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

925 - Worlds Of Wonder V

I like the composition of today's Worlds Of Wonder here on JSVB, and it's a science-fiction staple: a habitable moon dwarfed by a gas giant mother planet.  Life on a jovian moon is certainly possible.  Although Jupiter in our own solar system is too far away from the Sun to support life directly, it's likely that the massive gravitational pull of Jupiter could cause tectonic disturbances deep within its frozen moon of Europa, releasing geothermal heat and gases enough to support life in liquid beneath the lunar ice. 

Whether or not Europa could develop a life form sophisticated enough for Captain Kirk to seduce, that's a matter for future generations of space explorers to prove. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

924 - Worlds Of Wonder IV

No worlds visible in today's Worlds Of Wonder... well, you can't have everything.  Like yesterday's JSVB post, this is a re-use of some pre-existing material.  I ran some operations in Photoshop to make it look unique, and threw in a some stars: we are looking into the heart of a fiery nebula deep in space!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

923 - Worlds Of Wonder III

Today's Worlds Of Wonder are a binary star, ooooh!  Just like planets can orbit stars, stars can orbit one another as well.  If they get too close, the larger star will cannibalize the smaller one by sucking out its vital gases.  

I stumbled on this image by greatly zooming in on one of my pre-existing JSVB art pieces.  The volatile stream of gases was already there, possibly by accident.  I added the stellar background and put in the halo flare to make the composition a little more interesting.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

922 - Worlds Of Wonder II

Today's World Of Wonder is a bit Star-Trekish: I added a Trek-syle Starbase to this Earth-like planet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

921 - Worlds Of Wonder I

I am going to do a quick series of fictional planet scenes.  I like planets.  It's where we keep all of our stuff.