Diana Kupke Writes

Seventeenth Archive
Items from 20 October 2014 to 1 May 2015

24 April to 1 May 2015

Recycled bottles feed stray animals

Pudgeon is a company in Turkey which is endeavouring to help feed the huge number of cats and dogs in Istanbul with vending machines. People deposit recyclable plastic bottles and the machine releases food and water at ground level for animals. Money from the recycled bottles buys the food.

Wooden turntable from Audiowood

This is the Barky Turntable, a limited number of which have been produced by Audiowood.

A sculpture by Dan Corson

This photo-voltaic sculpture in Oregon is made from numerous layers of translucent fibreglass which is embedded with LED lights. The whole thing circles a steel pole and a solar panel at the top brings batteries to life. Created by Dan Corson who has made four of these sculptures.

17 February to April 23 2015

This is my fifth site, I needed to make my old site responsive so I decided to change the look entirely. Having been colourful and bright for years I have now decided, because I love the three photographs of my children taken by my brother, photographer Dale Mann, many years ago, to go to black and white.

And so for the past six weeks this is what I have been doing because my site is very large and I had to include new coding.

I would appreciate feedback, criticisms etc.

Thumbs drive!

17 February to 15 March 2015

Thumbs that are thumb drives

Body parts used in odd ways are very effective. And these thumb drives really are thumb drives.

Cartoon with a moral issue

A cartoon can often present a moral issue in a way which confronts, even more than pages of text. This cartoon is by Vin Paneccasio who works in California as a cartoonist, storyboard artist, character designer and illustrator.

What do you think?

Totally disgusting photograph

Absolutely no comment. Positively and absolutely.

Golden and Purple Moth

The enigma moth

The Enigma moth is very small and also very pretty with gold males and metallic purple females. It was recently found on Kangaroo Island and is a new family of moth. So far it has only been found at one site, on one type of native pine tree.

Skin which raises to form words

Dermatographia is a condition whereby marks can be formed on skin and, as above, photographer Ariana Page Russell, who has this condition, uses her own flesh as a canvas.

27 January to 16 February 2015

Through a Gift of Sox people can donate socks for homeless men

My new found cousin, Lorna, has retired from fulltime work and is now using her time to run A Gift of Sox which aims to collect socks for homeless men.

Here is her story. The seed for A Gift of Sox was planted about twenty years ago when a homeless man wandered into my retail outlet "Leather Plus". Mervyn had arrived in Victoria from Queensland. In Victoria the month of June is very cold especially in Melbourne where Mervyn was living and sleeping in a wheely bin, he had no shoes just thongs so I offered to buy shoes for him.We went to the shoe outlet, the salesgirl gave Mervyn socks to put on before trying the shoes,Mervyn looked puzzled and asked me, what do I do with these?

When I retired in 2013 I wanted a project that was both satisfying and worthwhile so the seed that was planted twenty years ago was born and named A Gift of Sox. My mission is to supply homeless men living in Victoria with new socks. Before starting I did research to make sure there was a need and also investigated the legal implications of such a project. The Department of Justice advised me I could only work within Victoria as I was not a registered charity and any cash donations must not add up to more than $10,000 within a given year, gifts of socks do not count. I don't ask people for money as I would much prefer they donate new socks. If I don't have enough donated socks I purchase what is needed myself. One Service Club did pay my freight expenses last year and I really appreciated that.

Lorna Wight of Gift of Sox

A Gift of Sox is in its third year now. The past two years have been far more successful than I could have imagined with 2700 pairs of socks going to different charities that support the homeless. Local newspapers have been very supportive, I have also given TV and radio interviews. One of the Bendigo hospitals held a sock drive for me and one of our large shopping centres allowed me to hold a sock drive on site. This required me to sit inside the shopping centre for one week. The passersby were lovely and very generous so I had a really nice time raising awareness to my project.

Last year I added hand-knitted beanies and fingerless gloves to the sock parcels,I ask that the socks be commercial not knitted. Many people especially the elderly have gained so much pleasure out of knitting for me and they are looking forward to getting those knitting needles out again this year.

Gorgeous gardens at the ParkRoyal in Singapore

The Parkroyal

Photograph by Patrick Bingham-Hall

Central Singapore is home to the Parkroyal hotel which boasts curved planter terraces, green walls, a skygarden, pools and waterfalls. The Parkroyal was designed as both an hotel and office in a garden which includes palm trees, shade trees and creepers.

Cute but Deadly

The deadly puffer fish

For a long time biologists had thought the pufferfish held its breath to blow its body into a scary shape. Not true, apparently it takes in a great quantity of water, and enlarges that way. Some pufferfish also have spikes which ward off baddies. The fish is very poisonous which makes them taste awful. One pufferfish has enough toxin to kill 30 adult humans. It is a delicacy in Japan where it is prepared by chefs who are licensed.

Industrial Rooftops Perfect Place for Plants

The Swiss group Urban Farmers Rooftop have an aquaponic system on rooftops

Photograph by Monica Tarocco

In Switzerland there is the Urban Farmers Rooftop where an aquaponic system includes fish swimming in amongst the vegetables. The group utilises flat roofs as homes to greenhouses and to containers which are for offices. The idea was formulated by Antonio Scarponi who saw unused rooftops in industrial areas as the perfect place to provide food within a city.

The Proposed Hochhaus Tower

The Hochhaus Tower to be built in 2016

Construction of this building, in Vienna, is planned to start next year. MVRDV, a Dutch studio, won an international competition to come up with the design where the twisted form is to ensure neighbouring buildings are not deprived of sunlight. The tower will have 30 floors for offices plus parking in the basement.

Find these in the Loo

Toilet rolls as troll faces by Junior Fritz Jacquet

These delightful troll faces are made from rolls of toilet paper and were created by Junior Fritz Jacquet. This series is called Masks. The rolls are crumpled and folded then coated with shellac.

1 January to 26 January 2015

Diana Kupke thinks this titanium crystal is beautiful


This photograph of a titanium crystal was taken by photomicrography where photographs are taken using microscopes.

Diana Kupke is forwarned of rain by the star jasmine

Rain Alert

For years a tree I know as orange jessamine has warned of coming heavy rains by outbursts of flowers. The tree has gone but recently a rampant star jasmine decided to take over and the photograph above was taken only a few days before very heavy downfalls.

Tree of 40 Fruit

Diana Kupke thinks the Tree of 40 Fruit is beautiful

The tree above is not only beautiful, it produces 40 different kinds of fruit including cherries, apricots and plums to name just a few, but the common denominator is that only stone fruit, or fruit with pits, is used. Sam Van Aken, a sculptor created his first many-fruit tree seven years ago, thinking of it as natural art. Today there are more than 20 of these trees in the USA, valued in the tens of thousands of dollars each. Mr Aken visits his new trees twice a year to prune and to add more grafts.

It doesn't croak

Diana Kupke loves the Atlantic Coast leopard frog

This frog doesn't croak (although it does die), it coughs. It is a new species called the Atlantic Coast leopard frog. It is closely related to two other leopard frogs and it was only recently researchers realised it was a different species.


Diana Kupke thinks cacti are very pretty

This photograph was taken by Lawren Lu.

21 December to 31 December 2014

Cause and Effect

Diana Kupke is sickened by this story

Only in the USA (one hopes) would a mother take her two year old son shopping with a fully loaded gun in her purse. All the toddlers I have ever known love to fossick in their mother's handbag, thankfully most do not find the means to kill their parent. The woman's father-in-law said she was not irresponsible. No comment.

Operation cured fear of spiders

Diana Kupke presents a beautiful spider

A 44 year old man's life was saved when his left amygdala was removed. A side benefit was that the man, who suffered from arachnophobia, was no longer terrified of spiders. This part of what is often referred to as the lizard brain, is responsible for animalistic fear. For a brief time he also disliked music but this faded with time.

Granddaughters in the snow in Malta

Diana Kupke presents Isabella and Tahlia in the snow in Malta

Isabella and Tahlia were chuffed (isn't that a wonderful word?) on their holiday in Malta when it snowed. The first time I saw snow was when I was six and South Caulfield, in the heart of Melbourne, received a snowfall. I put some in a jar to take to school not realising it would not last the distance. The second time I saw snow my mother-in-law Peggy woke me very early and there was a magical picture, snow on daffodils surrounded by pine trees. One of my favourite memories.

Recycling with Monsters

Diana Kupke presents recycling with a difference

Those horrible paintings that clutter up opp shops are being put to good use by US artist, Chris McMahon. He buys the paintings and then adds monsters.

Another Treehouse

Diana Kupke presents yet another treehouse

3 December to 21 December 2014

Diana Kupke presents Blade the tortoise and his LEGO life-saving wheels

This tortoise, called Blade, had a growth disorder and because his legs were so weak, a local vet, Dr Carsten Plischke, used LEGO to create two lots of wheels so the tortoise can use his legs to move, as there is no body weight to make life difficult for him. In time, and after treatment, Blade will be able to use his legs.

What a house!

Diana Kupke presents a psychedelic house

The house above is what happens when an artist buys a very old house and decides to renovate. Kat O'Sullivan and her partner painted the entire house in a variety of colours, added oddly shaped windows, and a black trim.

What a Bus!

Diana Kupke presents a knitted bus in Britain

And another artist, Magda Sayeg, surrounded a London double decker bus with knitted stripes and other patterns as part of a marketing promotion for the drink, 7up.

A bus which runs on something different

Diana Kupke presents a bus run on poo

The bus above, which trundles the streets in parts of Britain, is powered by poo. The biomethane energy came from human waste as a local sewerage plant. Sludge is left in an anaerobic digestion plant where it produces biogas, used for fuel, and digestate which is used as fertiliser.

Very pretty cat

Diana Kupke presents a gorgeous green cat

We should all go to Varna in Bulgaria so we can see this green cat. It is not known what caused the cat's fur to change colour.

18 November to 3 December 2014

Farewell to Peggy Molesworth who died on 3 December 2014

Farewell to Peggy Molesworth, my wonderful mother-in-law,
and beloved mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother.

The Glass Beach

Dumped rubbish turned into beautiful glass beach

This is a fascinating photograph, what is it? A century ago the people of Fort Bragg, in California, didn't care about their environment and they threw rubbish over the cliffs until 1967 when the local authorities finally closed the area. And in an amazing transformation the action of the waves broke everything down excepting for glass which was broken, and, over a period of many years, was polished by hitting sand and rocks. Where once this beach was called the Dump it is now known as the Glass Beach.

Self healer

a delightful axolotl

Credit: National Geographic

This beautiful wild axolotl was close to extinction four years ago when Mexican cities replaced lakes. It has been the subject of many studies as it can fully replace any limbs which are lost. In nature they live under water but, with an injection of iodine (in a laboratory) they become salamanders which live on land.

Children design their own toys

A child's drawing which becomes a toy A child's drawing which becomes a to

On the far left is a child's drawing.

Next to it is a toy, made by the child's mother, from the drawing.

Wendy Tsao made her first toy in this way, back in 2007 and today the handmade toys are so popular Wendy has launched her business, Child's Own Studio.
She takes 120 orders per year and is booked out until June next year.

20 October to 17 November 2014

Diana Kupke presents the beautiful cuckoo wasp

This beautiful creature is known as the cuckoo wasp because of its awful behaviour where they lay their eggs in nests and the larvae eat the host eggs. They are mostly found in deserts and, because of the beautiful colours are also known as jewel, gold, emerald and ruby wasps. Because of their concave abdomens they can curl into a ball and their hard exterior protects them.

Let's Welcome the Mayor

Diana Kupke presents Stubbs, the cat who is mayor of Talkeetna

Most human mayors have far shorter tenures than Stubbs who was a three month old kitten when she became the honorary mayor of Talkeetna in Alaska in July 1997. And, unlike many human mayors, she is a tourist attraction with around 40 people visiting her each day. Her day includes an afternoon tea with a wineglass of water infused with catnip at a local restaurant. Stubbs even has a Facebook page with thousands of followers. Although I firmly believe all cats are girls and all dogs are boys, there are exceptions and Stubbs is one of them.

The Orca is a mimic

the killer whale, orca

This is an orca, a killer whale which is actually a species of dolphin. A group of whales, who had been in close proximity to bottlenose dolphins, are now mimicking the bottlenose language. The orcas have complex social structures as do elephants and that weird lot known as humans. They educate their young and have excellent communication skills.

Diana Kupke presents the tree box, houses with trees on the top

Houses for Trees

Ho Chi Minh, where only .25% of the city is covered with greenery, is now home to to houses for trees (and people), designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects.

Five houses, looking like tall concrete boxes with planters at the top for grass and trees, have been built.

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 8 January 2022