Rene Magritte: Raining Men and Apples

Everything is more memorable when it’s connected to a song or a piece of music. A distant dwindling emotion is instantly heightened, an old love we’d done our best to mentally burn to ashes and scatter into the abyss of oblivion is immediately resurrected, a place is recalled, an incident is brought forth or we ourselves are jolted back if any of those things were accompanied by music when we experienced them.

I chanced upon the work of René Magritte a few years ago when I was watching television at a friend’s house. After a succession of alarmingly talentless pop stars, a song came on by a classical Arab singer I absolutely adore, an icon and one of the very few I follow. I sat up attentively and increased the volume.

Julia Boutrous is the epitome of class, talent, patriotism and femininity in the Middle-East. Her voice is soft and pure and she represents a period in the evolution of Arabic music when more value was placed on substance, depth and talent. She also happens to be extremely beautiful.

The name of the song was “Shi ghareeb” which in Arabic translates to “Something strange“. What I foundstrange, in the most positive way, was the video for this song.

Blue and white were the dominant colors in the video; Julia is seen in an empty room with a window, a mirror and a framed canvas. When she’s not looking at her own reflection in those objects, she’s watching clocks dropping from the white clouds, or a rain of green apples and suited clock-faced bowler-hat-wearing men. It made absolutely no sense.

I learnt later from my friend, an interior designer, that the video was inspired by several René Magritte paintings. Mainly Golconde and The Listening Room.

René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist and writer. Prior to adopting a Surrealist style Magritte’s art was initially impressionistic. His first surrealist painting was The Lost Jockey.

He held his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927 to scathing reviews from critics. He left to Paris following this failure and that’s where he got even more involved with the Surrealist movement when he met André Breton, the French poet, writer and the founder of Surrealism.

What I enjoy about Magritte’s paintings is that he never tried to tell us what he meant with his art. Like all Surrealists, Magritte aimed to reveal the unconscious mind. However, he did that by juxtaposing his seemingly unrelated symbols and offered your unconsciousness the pleasure of making a connection itself. His paintings often included the ‘man-made’ side by side with the ‘natural’, perhaps in a way indicating a rivalry or a struggle. For example, a brick wall and a clear sky, an apple and a man with a bowler’s hat, a naked woman with a mirror, trees growing out of a table, and so on. Was he alluding to us consciously (man-made) restraining our unconscious minds (which are natural and limitless)? I am no art critic, but I’d like to think that in some of his paintings, Magritte does exactly that. The titles of his paintings are more hints about their meanings than they are descriptions about what we are looking at.

At the age of thirteen, Magritte’s mother committed suicide by drowning herself in a river. She was found dead with her dress over her face. Her suicide had a big impact on Magritte’s art and the many paintings of his of people with concealed faces are thought to be the result of that experience.

The Vancouver Art gallery is hosting a Surrealism exhibition (The Color of my Dream; the Surrealist Revolution in Art), and Magritte’s paintings are among those on display. I intend on going there before the exhibition ends in September. I’ll be thinking of Julia Boutrous when I do.

Profitable Import/Export Agency Business At Home (With Nothing Down, Low Or No Start-Up Cost)

What is a good way to build up a successful business from nothing and have fun doing it? The import/export business may be your answer. Not only does it require little financial investment to start, but also it offers the prestige of working with clients from all over the world.

You don’t need previous experience in the field, but you should have a good head for organizing. Fulfilling a successful import/export business requires constant attention to little details.

Do you know some local manufacturers looking for ways to increase their market for the goods they make? Or are you planning a trip abroad and want to make some contacts for setting up a business?

If you have ability to sell, and an air of diplomacy, the import/export business might be right for you. All you need is the desire and determination to make it work.

The biggest advantage is the money you’ll make. Once you get the business underway, the commission for setting up sales is very profitable. And after you establish and maintain a number of exclusive accounts, you’ll find the time you spend is highly rewarded with money.


Of all the manufacturers in the Nigeria, only a small percentage distribute goods outside of West Africa. The goods that do find foreign markets are exports. On the other hand, anything that is manufactured outside the country and brought in for sale is imported.

Although it seems obvious that all manufacturers would want a worldwide market, it is not easy for a company that is limited in its scope and abilities. That’s where you come in.

The market is unlimited and there are hundreds of manufacturers looking for foreign distribution. Processed Foods, Shoes, wares, garments, tools -anything can be readily imported or exported if there is a consumer demand and if you can get the products.


You can start your import/export business at home with a telephone and an internet connection. You’ll need a file system, business cards, and a Computer to browse the internet. Once you get going, you’ll want a Post office Box to receive samples.


Keep informed. Read everything you can find about world trade. Look at trade publications, international newspapers, newsmagazines, and financial reports. Who is selling what to whom? Although the market for American-made airplanes is sewn up, there are thousands of medium to small sized manufacturers in every state of the union.


Establish a good business relationship with a local bank that handles international business. Your personal banker will follow through on the actual foreign transactions, and will help keep your credit afloat. In fact, that is one of the best factors about an import/ export business. Aside from office supplies and correspondence, or possible business trips, you need no personal cash outlay. All you need is good credit and a good reputation.


There are hundreds of foreign manufacturers with limited distribution looking for an overseas market. Importing their goods is the place to start your business.

You have many selling qualities for convincing the manufacturers to engage you as the sole export agent. You have local contacts and know the demand for specific goods. You will handle the sale, the paperwork, the money, all shipping, customs, and foreign distribution.


You will become more familiar with the terms of shipping used in quoting prices and delivering goods as you gain experience. Your responsibilities vary with the terms of the agreements and orders. Check with your freight forwarder to be clear about your responsibilities.


After you have completed a few sales transactions to establish yourself, you’ll need to promote your import/ export business to get more clients. The first transactions give you the experience to learn the ropes of the business, and to establish contacts and agents both here and abroad.


The profit of the import/export business is in the quantity of the goods traded. The higher the cost of the merchandise, the higher the profit from your percentage. Since you need to go through all the steps for each transaction, having more sales on a continual basis simply adds to profit.

If you are ready to put in the time, sell yourself. Start making inquiries and contacts. Try it on for size. Does it feel good? Then MAKE IT SUCCEED.

How Are Visual SLAM and LiDAR Used in Robotic Navigation?

The navigation system is one of the primary components of all types of robotic applications. The primary role of this system is to help robots and other autonomous devices sense and map the surroundings to move here and there in an efficient manner. In most cases, these devices make use of a motion sensor and a software program for the creation of a map. In this article, we are going to talk about how LiDAR and Visual SLAM are used in robotic navigation. Read on.

SLAM is short for simultaneous localization and mapping. The role of the system is to determine the position and orientation of a robot through the creation of a map of the environment. At the same time, the system tracks the location of the map in the environment. Most of the systems depend on optical sensors, such as LiDAR and Visual SLAM.

What is Visual SLAM?

These systems make use of a camera, which works with an IMU. This combo is known as Visual-Inertial Odometry. The term odometry involves the use of motion sensor data in order to get a better estimation after changing the positions of a robot with the passage of time. SLAM navigation is done both indoors or outdoors,

In most visual SLAM systems, the tracking of set points is done using successive camera frames. The idea is to triangulate the 3D position, which is also known as feature point triangulation. Moreover, this information is sent back in order to generate a 3D map and spot the location of the autonomous device.

Apart from this, an IMU is installed to accelerate the feature point tracking. This is even more important with special devices, such as flight based robots and drones. Once the localization and mapping through SLAM are complete, it is easier for the robot to get a navigation path.

What is LiDAR?

This type of system makes use of a laser sensor in conjunction with an IMU in order to map a room. This is done just like visual SLAM, but the accuracy is quite high. Actually, LiDAR helps get the measurement of the distance to a certain object, such as a chair leg or wall. This is done by illuminating the object using several transceivers.

Since light travels at an extremely fast speed, precise measure performance is required for accurate tracking of the exact distance to the target. This is what makes LiDAR an ideal choice as far as accuracy and speed are concerned.

Opting for the Right Navigation Method

If you are finding it difficult to go for the right navigation system for your application, we suggest that you consider the common challenges in the world of robotics. These devices are used on different types of surfaces and pathways. For instance, a robotic cleaner is used on drugs, tiles, and hardwood. Therefore, precise location-based data is the first requirement. After all, these devices can only be used if they can navigate well in a room where there are a lot of obstacles.

With the help of LiDAR and visual SLAM, it is possible to address these challenges. And the great thing is that it can be done quickly and accurately. The cost is quite low as well. In other words, visual SLAM is quite cost-effective and does not require expensive equipment.

Long story short, this is how LiDAR and Visual SLAM used in the field of robotic navigation.