New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guessing Game


I like guessing games.
I have had an idea stewing for some time - an experiment of sorts, inspired by an article I read in the 1980s. The author of the article put forth a provocative hypothesis regarding writing, which I have thought about for years and discussed recently with a writer friend and regular reader of this website. Your answers to the last question at the end of this posting will test this hypothesis.

Today there is something completely unique about the writing of this story, unlike any other since the inception of this blog in 2006.
This idea, however, preceded any photos taken, and I have not been able to fathom in the least what image to use in conjunction with this idea.

Appropriately (for a guessing game), I had the image of a butterfly of unknown species archived since August 1, 2010. The butterfly lighted on the pants of a friend in the park. Deprived as we are in New York City of such a rare occurrence of nature, the event became a paparazzi photo op, with the snapping of cameras and jockeying for turns at shooting.

Recently, I showed this image to my photographer friend Bill Shatto, who identified it immediately (Bill's specialty is the macro photography of insects - you can see his work here). Strangely enough, in a bizarre twist, the name of this butterfly is perfectly suited to this Guessing Game.

So, if you like guessing games:

1) What is the name of this butterfly?
2) What is unique about the writing of this story?

Afterthought: It occurred to me after completing this that not only is the identity of the person in the photo also not revealed, but I also don't recall who it was. Layers of mystery.

Answers: There were some very interesting analyses. Yes, it was the first time that I asked a question. But the real difference was that this posting was inspired by an article I read by an individual who claimed he could tell the difference between something written on a computer using a word processor versus something written without, the idea being that the need for more careful and thoughtful composition before committing to typewriter or pen/pencil would make itself obvious in the finished product.

My story was written completely using pencil and paper. There was no editing of any sort on a computer, only the final transcription. I am not sure I see an apparent difference myself.

The butterfly is a Question Mark - common to urban parks, and named because of the silver markings under its wings, a curved line and a dot, resembling a question mark. See here.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh! I love the photo and the idea.

Brian Dubé said...

Anonymous - Yes, so any guesses?

Caity Rose said...

lantern butterfly?


I give up. haha.

Gregory said...

gypsy moth? butterflies rest with their wings verticle, moths with the wings more horizontal

Beth in NYC said...

Question mark butterfly, right? Did this happen in Washington Square Park?

Brian Dubé said...

In an effort to let as many as possible comment on the questions, I will confirm the answers by Monday morning.

Anonymous said...

My immediate guess was gypsy moth, they are quite common here in RI.

Anonymous said...

It is the comma butterfly, right?

Rich R said...

My guesses:
1. I believe it is a Question Mark Butterfly.
2. The unique aspect of how this post is written is that it is the first time you have asked a question.

Brian Dubé said...

Rich - now we are getting somewhere! I will give my answers here on Monday.

Sabrina Zequeira said...

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Annie said...

1. Whew. Well, after a LOT of searching, I thought it might be a Question Mark but, it could also be a Comma (or Hoary Comma).

2. The purpose of writing this post was to engage your readers in the story...which could indicate the question mark. Perhaps you are also trying to get the "lurkers" to comment. People who wouldn't ordinarily comment, and maybe find out how many people are happy to join in ...If this were your reason, then you chose an extraordinarily hard question to answer. For a non-ecologically minded, non New Yorkers.

Personally, maybe you are wanting to find out how many people know how to use an easy way of searching the internet for a photo for identification purposes. If there is one, I am looking forward to finding out about it.

Brian Dubé said...

Annie (and everyone else) - this is getting very interesting. I am very appreciative of the efforts being made and the comments here. The answers are beginning to involve a lot of deep analysis.

Anonymous said...

Is that a kind of short tailed swallow butterflies? :)

Anonymous said...

Is that a kind of short tailed swallow butterflies? :)

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

I may be wrong but as soon as I saw the insect I thought it was a "red admiral" which is not uncommon this side of the pond - thought perhaps your friend might be a naval guy.

free7 said...

Haha..really unique idea in writing..i love this blog

Mary P. said...

Wow! Lots of comments for this one.
With regard to pencil and paper written:
1) It was shorter.
2) No spelling or grammar errors.