Fibonacci in nature

I love the Fibonacci numbers, so today’s daily create is a joy for me to do.

#tdc1604 Oh No, MATH! Find an example of the Fibonacci Numbers out in the world.

As I was out watering my potatoes yesterday I noticed a spider’s web strung between one of the bags and some plants. Today when I went out to take a picture of it, the rowan tree above had sprinkled it with petals (the web is very hard to see in this pic – I don’t have fancy filters or lenses on my camera, so it’s lucky the petals are there). I looked for a dandelion to snap, but we’d weeded most out, and the rest are just clocks. But here’s a fine one I took the other day. A buttercup and a daisy that I captured the other day at Ross Priory, and a bellis from my garden.

bellis, buttercup, dandelion clock, daisy, spider's web
Finally – a serendipitous find. Who knew that the Fibonacci numbers were used to solve the mathematical problem of counting to potato? Lol

Images from my garden. All CC-BY-SA-NC

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I haven’t had my camera out much this week, but I still have lots on disc from our recent holiday to the Cairngorms, a trip to Ross Priory and snaps from the garden, so here’s some to fit with Kim’s latest challenge:

This week’s challenge is to capture one in a photo. What one will you choose?

Photo collage of flowers and birds

A willow warbler silhouetted on  a branch, a duck paddling by, flowers from gardens, a cat happy to have me home and Niall taking photos at Loch Lomond.

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Sun, then a quick burst of rain, then sun again this morning. After some messing around on the internet (research!) I put on a pan of soup for work lunches and then headed out into the garden and planted my seed potatoes on grow bags, dug up the rogue potatoes in the asparagus bed and relocated them, and potted out some plug plants.

potatoes in grow bags

I noticed that the clematis we planted last year is thriving and flowering:

purple clematis flower

The sage that seeded itself outside the garage is well at home:

Sage bush

Lacey is hiding under a bush:

Black cat under a buddlea bush

The rhubarb is ready to be cut:


This alpine strawberry is growing well:

alpine strawberry bush

All in all a day I feel privileged to live where I do.  When I came back in the soup was ready to finish and decant into containers:

Soup in airtight containers

Then I sat down with a tasty cup of liquorice and lemon tea:

Fruit tea with slices of lemon.Niall’s now out tackling the grass, which is incredibly overgrown again. This is here today – it’s a happy place.

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Researcher journal: starting out

Buds opening on a plantWise words from a friend about the importance of keeping a researcher journal. I mentioned this at my PhD annual review this week and my reviewers agreed, so here goes.

I started my studies in January 2012 with Vicky Gunn (then director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, where I work), and Steve Draper, who had originally introduced me to the Jigsaw Classroom. My original title was awful – I knew that I wanted to look at the effect of peer interactions on learning, but Vicky said that I needed something to get past the Graduate School, so the title I submitted was: “Changing attitudes to co-operative learning in highly individual subjects: models from interdisciplinary subjects applied to the humanities.” Ugh. I couldn’t ever remember what it was called and I was not interested in the humanities. But it got me accepted and off I went.

Fast forward past suspension due to ill health and a change of supervisors (Fiona Patrick and Vic Lally) and my research is now about the effects of peer interaction on learning, and I’m going to be looking at some of the cMOOCish things that I do (my own working title is about messing around on the internet). I have got ethical approval for my research (more about that rigmarole later) and now I’m thinking about my methodology and lit review.

So if you see me messing around on Twitter, producing mashups and chatting – that’s me doing research. 😉

Beginning by dee_dee_creamer  shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

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John John Johnston Johnston

Today’s Daily Create jogged a memory.

So here’s my adaptation of Disobedience by A. A. Milne

John John Johnston Johnston Weatherby George DuPree
Took great care of his DS106 socks though he had only three
John John said to his friends:
“Friends,” he said, said he,
“You must never go out in my DS106 socks,
Coz they belong to me.
Don’t ever go out in my DS106 socks,
Coz they belong to me.”

But John John Johnston’s friends put on his DS106 socks.
John John Johnston’s friends spotted a crazy fox.
John John Johnston’s friends
All said “Fiddle de dee,
We can go out in John John’s socks
And be back in time for tea.
We can go out in John John’s socks
And be back in time for tea.”
King John put up a notice: “Lost, stolen or strayed,
John John Johnston’s socks,
Seem to have been mislaid
Friends went wandering vaguely of their own accord
They went out wearing John John’s socks–
Forty shillings reward.
They went out wearing John John’s socks–
Forty shillings reward.

John John Johnston Johnston, commonly known as “John”
Said to his other relations not to go blaming him
For John John said to his friends
“Friends”, he said, said he
“Don’t ever go wearing my DS106 socks,
Coz they belong to me.
“Don’t ever go wearing my DS106 socks,
Coz they belong to me.”

Now John John Johnston’s socks,
Haven’t been heard of since,
King John sent down to give his regrets,
And so did the queen and the prince,
King John, somebody told me,
Said to a man he knew,
“If people will wear DS106 socks
Well what can anyone do?
If people will wear DS106 socks,
Well what can anyone do?”

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Between the lines

So grab your camera and start reading between the lines! What will you find when you are thinking through your lens? Kim’s weekly photo challenge

I’ve been away up in the Cairngorms this week birding, or something like that. We did see lots of little birds and heard more, but they moved so quickly that I didn’t get many photos. But I must have had Kim’s challenge at the back of my mind because I did take a lot of pictures of what I called “framing” shots.Here’s one of the huge “granny” pines in Abernethy woods. I was fascinated by the cracks and crevices in the pine and used it to frame the younger trees behind it, which themselves create frames of forest and sky. Pine tree in forest

These next two form a huge contrast for me. The first is an attempt at a pine forest by landowners who did not understand that trees need space to grow. Look how spindly the trunks of the trees are – like matchsticks and probably only fit for use as kindling. Not much going on between the lines there.

Bad pine forest

By contrast look at this pine forest. Also managed, but this time by the RSPB. See how the trunks have space to grow.* I love this shot – see how the trees frame Loch Garten in the background and the scenery beyond it. good pine forest

* There’s an obvious metaphor here that I’ll return to in a later post.

On Friday we drove up to the coast and stopped at a bird hide outside Findhorn. Inside was dark and cold:

Inside a bird hide

Outside was glorious sunshine. I tried to frame the sun through the windows of the hide, but you don’t really get the contrast I don’t think. Here’s the view when I poked my camera through the window.

Sunshine over a beach

We drove home today through stunning scenery, and stopped to admire the view. I love all of the different colours in this – from the snow on the mountains to the purple of N’s aran jumper, made by me (of course).

Niall looking across at scottish mountains and valleys

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One day we’ll have a pond in the garden. We’ve got all the bits to do it, it’s just (!) a matter of Niall finding the time (and the right weather) to do it. My ambition, of course, is to have lots of frogs in it. That ambition got  a little bit closer to being realised this week when Niall gave me a frog home. Here it is out in the garden with some plastic frogs (another present from Niall).


Pic by me CC-BY-SA-NC

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Today’s Daily Create: Write a fictional backstory for a death reported by @DeathMedieval

Geoff never wanted to be a mason. “Stone is boring”, he moaned to his mum. “I don’t wanna be a mason. I wanna be a pirate, or ahighwayman, or a priest – somebody with fancy togs”. But mother mason was a firm believer in family tradition. “It was good enough for gramps, and it’s good enough for your dad, so it’ll be good enough for you, young man. Besides which, we’ve got the name now – I can’t be doing with you getting a different job. I mean, whoever heard of somebody called Mason who wasn’t a mason?”

Geoff gave up. It was never any good arguing with his mum. She just talked louder and louder till you gave in because your head was thumping. Better just get on with it.

Time passed, and Geoff went on masoning away. Though he never came to love it, he took pride in his work and became known as the person to go to if you wanted that special bit of stonework to wow your family and friends. So when the bishop of Leicester looked at the church of St Leonard and decided it needed a brand new fancy font, Geoff was the natural person to ask.

Geoff set up his tools and stone in the graveyard and started chipping away. Soon he’d made a fine font decorated with eagles, and frogs and even a little baby Jesus.

The bishop hated it. “Frogs”, he shouted. “I hate bloody frogs. I’m not paying for that monstrosity. P*** off.”  “But what about my money?” Geoff asked. “That stone cost a pretty penny and I’ve been working on it for weeks”. “Tough luck”, said the bishop. “Not paying, can’t make me.”

Geoff went home and told his mum. “We’ll see about that”, she said. “If he won’t pay fair and square there’s ways and means of getting what’s due to us.”

So that’s how Geoff ended up coming out of the church with his arms full of vestments, surplices, books  and other ornaments just as the thunderstorm started. The lightning came down the church steeple and latched onto the ornamental goblet Geoff was holding. Bam! Geoff was dead as a Dodo.

“That’s what happens to those who go against the will of the Lord”, chuckled the bishop.

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I expect that, like me, you’re familiar with the wisdom of the crowd – but have you heard of it’s opposite? Until recently I hadn’t.

Glancing through tweets the other day I came across this tweet from Ron:

Yes! Swarm stupidity. Exactly. This is what happens to intelligent people when they’re forced to spend all of their time in meetings with managers, or being managed by managers.

it’s not about stupid individuals forming a swarm, but about intelligent individuals who surprisingly behave stupidly as a group. Gunter Dueck

Do you have a manager who likes to ask you to give 110%? Be warned – you are in danger of falling into Schwarmdummheit. Managers, according to Dweck, avoid thinking by going to meetings. Do you know a manager like that?

In his longish presentation Dweck also introduces us to SABTA individuals (this quote is screenshot from the presentation below).


I’m sure this will resonate with some of us. These individuals, he says, often suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Here’s a version of the presentation in English (thanks Ron)


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Daily Shakespeare

This week’s Daily Create has been all about Shakespeare as it’s the 400th anniversary of his death today. One Monday it was about Yorick, and I did a quick gif. Tuesday I riffed on “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!”

Oh she doth teach the flowers to burn bright (1)

Wednesday I experimented with a comic which I made using Make Belief Comix:


On Thursday I decided that Bottom’s dream would be an endless pit (black hole) of carrots and used my elderly copy of PaintShop Pro to make this:

black hole carrot

On Friday I decided it was time I got to grips with GIMP so I downloaded it onto my work PC and did a quick mashup to amuse my colleagues (well, maybe). I didn’t get around to the daily create though.

Today I downloaded GIMP onto my hole machine and used it to create a Loch Ness Shakespeare:


I’d been wary of using GIMP, as folk had told me how hard it is – but to be honest it’s as easy as PaintShop Pro. OK. so I haven’t found out how to resize images yet (I cheated and did that in Paint first), but making quick mash ups is fairly easy and I love the fact that I can Google for tips easily (the copy of PaintShop Pro I was given has no user manual, so I’ve been proceeding by trial and error).

Now to start refining my skilz. Thanks to Sandy and her partner Peter for the daily creates this week – they’ve been fun.

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