Paramount logo inspiration: Mt. Ben Lomond, in Utah

July 1, 2012

This is mostly an encore post — a tribute to Paramount Pictures in the company’s centennial year.

There’s a geography exercise and social studies bell ringer in this somewhere [links added]:

Ben Lomond Peak towers above Ogden. The mountain is believed to have inspired the Paramount movie logo, below, in use since 1914. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

From the Deseret News: “Ben Lomond Peak towers above Ogden (Utah). The mountain is believed to have inspired the Paramount movie logo, below, in use since 1914. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

What is the most “paramount” mountain in Utah?

How about Timpanogos Peak, Kings Peak, Mount Nebo, Mount Olympus. Lone Peak or Twin Peaks?

It’s none of the above because one of Hollywood’s most familiar images — the famous Paramount Pictures logo — was inspired by Weber County’s Ben Lomond Peak.

As such, Ben Lomond — not even the highest summit in Weber County — may be the most famous mountain in the Beehive State.

The peak is given credit for prompting creation of the majestic but fictional mountain in the popular Paramount design, based on two histories of the motion-picture company.

According to Leslie Halliwell’s “Mountain of Dreams,” a biography of Paramount, founder William Hodkinson grew up in Ogden and the logo was “a memory of childhood in his home state of Utah.”

Compare it to the Paramount Pictures logo now:

Paramount Pictures logo

Paramount Pictures logo

Teachers may want to hustle over to the Deseret News site to capture the story for classroom use — the online version includes a short set of slides of a hike to the top of the peak (it’s a climb most reasonably healthy people can make in a day – “reasonably healthy” to include acclimated to the altitude).

What other geographic features have become commercial logos? How do images of geography affect our culture?

For my money, I still like Timpanogos better, even if the Osmonds did use it.

Mt. Ben Lomond, in Utah, from a Flickr file

This image of Mt. Ben Lomond looks more like the Paramount logo, some might say.

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Best optical illusion of the year

July 12, 2009

I like to use optical illusions for warm-ups and bell ringers, to get students thinking and looking at things a bit differently.

Richard Wiseman said this is the best new optical illusion he’s seen so far this year:

Image by Prof. Kitaoka, 2009

Image by Prof. Kitaoka, 2009

What’s the illusion?  Well, you see those green stripes?  See the blue stripes?  Actually they are the same color.

You don’t think so?  Zoom in.  Or click over to Wiseman’s blog site and see what happens when all the other colors are turned to black.

I know you think you know what you see; what you think you see may not be what you actually see.  Your brain modifies what you think you see, in order to make it appear sensible, and in doing so, it sometimes makes you see things quite differently from what they are.  Don’t forget that.

So, how do we know what we know?  How do we know that what we know is correct?


Bell Ringer: Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, Marfa, and other cool mysteries

May 17, 2009

If a day goes by that I don’t get a question about one of these sites, it’s a very slow day.

Those questions tell me something else:  Students have genuine interests in geography, and in mysteries.  Students will pay attention to lesson plans that include one or more of these sites in them, especially if you refer to the mystery.

How about just a geography search:  How close is the closest site to you?  Can students visit these sites on their summer vacations?  What airport is closest for tourists?  What arrangements need to be made to visit the place?

Wired.com provides the video — your students have the questions.  Can you provide the answers, or lead them to the answers?  How about listing your answers in comments?

Answers, or more information:


Lookin’ good, for 4.28 billion years old

September 25, 2008

New candidate for “oldest rocks on Earth,” from Canada.  They come in perhaps as old as 4.28 billion years.

They’re older than John McCain!



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