Monday, May 15, 2017

Jacaranda Blossoms Are LA's Surest Sign of Spring

People who live in cooler climates imagine that warm, sunny LA has no definable seasons, and if you are going strictly by the lack of any extremes in temperature, that may be understandable.  But smaller signs are unmistakable to us natives, and none so heart-swelling and glorious as the weeks in April and May when many streets turn into tunnels of lavender-blue blossoms. Our 150,000 jacarandas are heralds of springtime that we all look forward to.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
LAist

Link to Article:
The Story Behind LA's Beautiful, Ephemeral Jacaranda

Excerpt: "So, how exactly did the jacarandas get here? Accounts of their original point of entry differ. As McDonough told me, 'when exactly they came, nobody really knows.'

He posits that it’s possible they first arrived in California during the Gold Rush. Most of the schooner ships making their way west stopped in Buenos Aires, where they would have witnessed the glory of a jacaranda tree in bloom. McDonough explains that those early arrivals may have 'brought seeds or clippings' with them to California. It’s also possible that freight tycoon Phineas Banning had the trees shipped in to his Wilmington estate from the Amazon in the late 1860s.

Still, in 1868, Reverend James C. Fletcher, a scholar of Brazil, would write that their lilac blossoms were rarely seen north of the equator except in 'small specimen-pieces.'

All that would change in the new century. 'The flowering jacaranda, which in June showers its purple blossoms on the passerby, has come as an ambassador from the Amazon to proclaim the magnificence of that court,' Lannie Haynes Martin wrote of Southern California in 1912.

By 1916, naturalist Charles Francis Sanders would write that driving Foothill Boulevard (the precursor of the 210 freeway) was 'nothing short of entrancing' when 'the jacaranda trees are a cloud of blue,' and by 1920, the L.A. Times would call the trees, now 'not uncommon,' the 'finest foliage of any used for street planting.'

And for their profusion, we have but one person to thank, a pioneering woman who was arguably the Johnny Appleseed of not just jacarandas, but a host of other iconic Southern California flora. Her name was Kate Sessions and she spent more than 50 years importing seeds and plants into Southern California. She is credited with introducing and popularizing more than 143 species in Southern California, including our beloved bougainvillea, birds of paradise, yellow oleander, star jasmine, and, of course, jacaranda trees..."

Commuters See Beautiful Heart Over Hollywood Freeway

Random acts of beauty are not so common, especially along the crowded corridors of Los Angeles' packed freeways.  But someone noticed a cascade of blood red bougainvillea hanging over a retaining wall of the 101 Hollywood freeway, and a few snips to shape the upper branches turned a triangular shape into the heart of Hollywood that has greeted commuters for the last three years.

Hunter Communications Original News Source
LAist

Link to Article:
The 'Hollywood Heart' of the 101 Freeway Is Super Red

Excerpt: "As Hacmon mentioned, this floral aberration has been there for some years. According to The Los Angeles Daily News, the plant—dubbed the 'Hollywood Heart' by some—is actually comprised of two magenta bougainvillea bushes (they're not really flowers, by the way), whose vines have taken the shape of a emoji heart.

What's truly curious is that, while those bushes have been there for some time, it wasn't until 2014 that it started to resemble the symbol of love (and lust?). As you can see in the following pictures, the bushes were of a fairly amorphous shape in 2011. By 2014, however, it had taken on the unmistakable body of a heart.

Frank McDonough, a botanist with the L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, told the Daily News that the patch 'definitely looks trimmed.' Then, in a later Daily News article in 2016, artist Corinne Carrey stepped out to claim the heart as hers."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Millennial Pink is the Hot Color that Won't Cool Down


In the worlds of fashion, beauty, home furnishing and industrial design, the popular colors are shifting constantly, with the most trendy quickly losing favor in a matter of a season or two. But a warm, soft pink color that appeared in 2012 and slowly mutated into a subtle beige-y pink has caught a foothold and just won't let go of its popularity and ubiquity.

Hunter Communications Trusted News Source:
The Cut

Link to Article:
Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away

Excerpt: "At first, in 2012, when this color really started showing up everywhere, it appeared as a toned-down version of its foil, Barbie Pink, a softer shade that looks as if all the blue notes have been taken out. By the time everyone started calling it Millennial Pink in the summer of 2016, the color had mutated and expanded to include a range of shades from beige with just a touch of blush to a peach-salmon hybrid. Colors always come in and out of fashion, and as our fashion editor-at-large, Amy Larocca, points out, often when Pantone declares Marsala Red or Radiant Orchid to be the next color to watch, we shrug knowingly, fully expecting to see that shade on shelves but not expecting it to invade our consciousness. This pink is different. Even now, just when it seemed like we had hit a peak and it was finally on the wane, there it appeared again in Fenty’s spring look book and on army jackets at Madewell. That’s because the color keeps on selling product: 'We’ve upholstered things in this emerald green that we’re excited about, but it sits there for months,' says Fabiana Faria of the boutique Coming Soon. 'The second I show a pink thing — anything — it leaves so quickly.'

But why? For one thing, with Millennial Pink, gone is the girly-girl baggage; now it’s androgynous. (Interestingly, back in 1918, the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department published an article saying, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.”) In these Instagram-filtered times, it doesn’t hurt that the color happens to be both flattering and generally pleasing to the eye, but it also speaks to an era in which trans models walk the runway, gender-neutral clothing lines are the thing, and man-buns abound. It’s been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum — this pink is their genderless mascot. At the same time, turn-of-the-century pinks (Paris Hilton Juicy sweat suits, fuzzy Clueless pens) and tacky design tropes of the ’80s (Pepto couches) have made an ironic comeback."

"Oxford Comma" Makes the Difference in $10M Lawsuit

The so-called "Oxford Comma" is the comma after the next-to-last item and the word "and" or "or" in a series. In a simple series like "apples, peaches and pears" we've been taught to leave it out for simplicity and flow. But when the items are more complex, the comma may be absolutely necessary to preserve the proper meaning.  A current lawsuit may end up awarding $10M to a plaintiff because of linguistic sloppiness in not applying the Oxford comma when it would clarify the sentence's proper meaning.

Hunter Communications Trusted News Source:
NPR

Link to Article:
The $10 Million Lawsuit That Hinges on the Oxford Comma

Excerpt:
"O'CONNOR: The guy asked me, how many hours are you working this week, Chris? You know, and I said, oh, probably 60 hours this week. And he's like, oh, look at that - overtime pay. And I was like, no, I don't get overtime. I'm salary.
KING: And the guy said, well, you better not let the state of Maine find out. That's illegal. Chris looked it up. Maine state law says if you work more than 40 hours a week, you earn overtime. So he called a lawyer. Maine state law has some exceptions to the rule. There are certain people who don't make overtime, including people who ship or handle perishable goods like milk. And here is where that all-important comma comes in.
The statute says workers who do not get overtime are those involved in, quote, 'the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment - no Oxford comma here - or distribution of perishable foods.' Chris' lawyer looked at that and thought, well, it's unclear. Is it packing for shipment or distribution, or is it packing for shipment, or distribution?
His argument - distributors like Chris aren't on that list of people who don't get overtime because there's no comma. He filed a class action suit on behalf of about 75 drivers asking for around $10 million in unpaid overtime. Last week, a judge said the punctuation of the statute is ambiguous. The suit can proceed. The dairy company didn't respond to a request for comment, but Chris' lawyer, Jeffery Young, is thrilled. And yes, he sees the humor in it.
JEFFERY YOUNG: My first boss always used to say to us, common sense ain't so common. So my summary of this case is, comma sense ain't so common.

KING: That's pretty good (laughter)."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Vantablack vs. Black 2.0 is the Latest in Hilarious Artist Feud Over the "Blackest Black"

Message from banned artist Anish Kapoor, using PINK
Vantablack is a newly announced black hue created by attaching black nanotubes via copolymers in an industrial process that produces an ultra-black, ultra-matte color akin to staring into a black hole. It was immediately licensed for exclusive use by artist Anish Kapoor.  In reaction, artist Stewart Semple first created a superpigmented color called "pinkest pink" with a barbed message for Kapoor, and then a "blackest black available to artists" that specifically is licensed to everyone in the world except for Kapoor.  The blackest black battle is turning snippy and hilarious, and the innocent bystanders of the world can merely tune in and laugh.

Here's a glimpse of the Vantablack hue that started the kerfuffle:



Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Artnet

Link to Article:
Vantablack vs. Black 2.0: Which Is the Superblack for You?

Excerpt: " Another shot has been fired in the war over Vantablack, the world’s blackest material. Artist Stuart Semple is taking aim yet again at Anish Kapoor, who infamously secured the exclusive rights for the artistic use of Vantablack. Semple has just released Black 2.0, billed as 'the world’s mattest, flattest, black art material.'

'With just one coat almost any object (even really shiny ones) become super-black and reflect next to no light, giving a Vantastic black hole type effect,' notes the product description, which does include one important disclaimer (and pot shot at Kapoor): 'this is not the blackest black in the world. It is however a better black than the blackest black in the world, as it is actually usable by artists.'

Previously, Semple has released Diamond Dust, the world’s most-glittery glitter, and a powdered acrylic pigment dubbed the Pinkest Pink. Despite being banned from using it, Kapoor managed to get his hands on the latter, and sent Semple an Instagram message as proof, provocatively extending a middle finger that he had dipped in the vibrant pigment.

You can also buy the Pinkest Pink in a four-pack set with Yellowest Yellow, Greenest Green, and Loveliest Blue. Semple has included, in the purchase agreement for all of these items, a clause prohibiting their purchase or use by Kapoor, as he did with Diamond Dust and Black 2.0:

'By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make it’s [sic] way into the hands of Anish Kapoor. '
Sample's Black 2.0 in action

Black 2.0 is currently on back order due to 'huge unexpected demand,' and is already making a splash on Reddit’s MildlyInteresting forum, where one astonished user described another’s photo of a Black 2.0–painted ping-pong ball as 'a portable hole.'"

Thursday, March 23, 2017

USC Village Ramps Up For August Opening With Massive Job Hiring Event

Click to view construction video on YouTube
The conversion of a run-down strip mall into a gleaming new village of student housing and retail space is invigorating the neighborhood around USC's campus.  This month, the looming opening of the development spurred over a thousand applicants to seek interviews for job positions at USC Village. The rapid progress of construction and the current finishing touches are readily apparent in the latest drone's-eye-view video of the impressive site.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
USC Village

Link to Article:
Ramping Up For August Opening

Excerpt: "With resumes in hand and best faces forward, thousands of local residents came to interview with recruiters from USC Auxiliary Services for jobs at USC Village.

The local hiring event, held March 8 in the ballroom at the Radisson at USC, attracted attendees who lined up around the block for interviews and information.

USC Village, the mixed-used residential and retail complex, is on schedule to open for the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year. The massive project will house 2,700 students and contain 100,000 square feet of retail space, presenting new job opportunities both at USC and with individual retailers.

More than 1,000 resumes were submitted in advance of the event, according to event organizer Lethy Navarrete, senior talent acquisition partner in USC Auxiliary Services.

Thirty recruiters from USC were on hand to conduct interviews. Throughout the course of the five-hour event, 1,500 applicants were interviewed for job openings in customer service, maintenance, building services management, custodial services and other permanent, USC Village-related positions."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Color Constancy" Tricks You Into Seeing Red

 Sometimes we're seeing red for real.  And then there are times like this, when our built in optical white balance system just goes a little nutty and makes us see red strawberries in a picture without a single pixel approaching any red hue. "Color constancy" makes us see the colors we think are appropriate to a scene by correcting for what we perceive as a tinted light (here an excess of outdoorsy blue).

Hunter Communications Original News Source: 
New York Magazine

Link to Article:
Strawberries Look Red Without Red Pixels

Excerpt: "Optical illusions come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of stupidity. There was the blurry ham picture that made Reddit scratch its head. (Really.) And the one that turned out to just be a cigar shoved in a brick wall. (Also, really.) But today’s viral illusion, a baffling picture of strawberries created by a psychologist that’s making the rounds on Twitter, actually has a bit more scientific gravitas than your average, run-of-the-mill photo of girl who seems to be missing legs.

The image comes courtesy of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor of psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan with a specialty in optical illusions. (His website is so trippy, it comes with the disclaimer, 'Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately.') The strawberries appear red, despite their lack of any red pixels, because of color constancy, or the way that the human brain is designed to perceive the same colors under a range of circumstances. Remember the Dress? Same deal.

Whether you’re outside in bright natural light or inside in a dimly-lit closet with a dying 20-watt light bulb, your brain works to color correct — to make sure the colors you are seeing remain, well, constant. So even though Kitaoka’s image has been manipulated to include only gray and greenish pixels, you still see red strawberries."
The colors that we saw as red are isolated to the side so we see them as their true greyish greens.