1. says

    Well, I did not strain any muscles at work today, the hayfever suprisingly receded and I only mildly cut one of my fingers with bonsai shears. But in the evening when I went into my workshop to do some work on a new knife, my tiny hobby belt-grinder gave up for good. The stator burned and it is not repairable anymore. Damn. I would love to buy a really good belt grinder, and I could afford it financially, but unfortunately my workshop is too tiny for that. Damn again. Back to manual grinding untill I figure out something better.

  2. says

    I’m starting to think I cracked a rib. I hate pain.

    Giliell, *love* those shots, the textures in particular!

  3. says

    What rq said, I hope the ribs are fine.
    Glad you like the pics.

    Also, photographer’s law: whatever lense you choose, it’s the wrong one.

    Why do people think that shouting “stop this” at a crying child will actually work, no matter how unjustified a temper tantrum they are throwing?

  4. blf says

    Why do people think that shouting “stop this” at a crying child will actually work…?

    Because almost all children don’t have their finger on the big red button, so if it doesn’t work, the consequences are not a smoking, charred, glowing-in-dark planet. Basically, there’s less mess to clean up. And, as the mildly deranged penguin points out, most of the cheese is still intact. (Unfortunately, the peas are also intact.)

  5. says

    My alarm clock lives, and it went off this morning as it should. Okay, get tea made, wander into my studio, where I see the time on my computer is an hour ahead. I get that momentary panic of “what did I miss?”, checked my clock, checked my tablet, they matched. Put the time back on the computer.

    Fuck, Athena is one month old. I can’t be dealing with another machine meltdown now. And, no, wasn’t rats, I turn off the mouse and put it and keyboard out of reach every night. It would be one hell of a feat for them to accidentally change the time to exactly one hour ahead.

  6. says

    @Caine, do you have correctly set area? Because it might be that your computer got confused by the transfer to summer time.

  7. says

    Charly, it handled the daylight saving changes just fine. There’s just no reason it should have jumped ahead, but here’s hoping it’s a onetime glitch. I can’t afford another computer so soon.

  8. says

    Just leaving this here for anyone who has 40 minutes of time to watch a youtube video by TheraminTrees about islamophobia. Suitable as a background to some works, what really counts is the audio.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Three* free chamber music concerts and two floors of installations in the museum of modern art (half of the ARS17 exhibition, they also have part of the exhibition online, which I’ll have to check another day). I’m pooped just from listening and watching.

    A fun day.
    * = It’s Chamber Music Week during which Sibelius Academy holds one free concert/day, also there was a Master’s exam concert and a small (collaboration between the Academy and Helsinki Philharmonic) concert with a student and two Philharmonic musicians.

  10. says

    OK, tomorrow I’ve got an “exam”. Hard to explain to anyone not familiar with German teacher training. Basically I have to teach a lesson, but I also had to write like 15 pages about the lesson explaining every what and why. The “trial” didn’t go down well so I am pretty nervous.
    And now for the fun of being fat woman in this world. Last week I wore a pair of jeans that is kind of low sitting and a T. Usually there’s always a generous overlap, it’S not like I wear crop tops but when I bend low you could, heavens forbid, see some of my backside. I got told so twice*. I’m in a very conservative part of the country apparently. Do I need to mention that it’s the town with the highest teen pregnancy rate?
    Anyway, since there’s no use fighting with those people I decided it was a perfect excuse to order some nice new clothes. And really, the top that arrived today is pretty, it fits, it’s long enough, but I really didn’t notice it’s see through.
    I don’t even manage to be nicely conservative when I try to…

    *I doubt anybody told my male colleague that the whole school knows the pattern of his briefs by now

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 16

    Hoping for the best for you! That 15-page writing sounds an absolutely horrible task.

    A kind of an aside: Black see-through clothing over opaque clothing or partially see-through clothing seems to be very common for women playing classical music, students, instructors as well as various instrumentalists in the symphony orchestra.

  12. rq says

    That’s a beautiful top, I hope you wear it with great abandon and zest!
    I think I know a lot more about male brief patterns in the workplace than I need to. But we all know no one ever stares lustfully at men, right, so it’s not indecent because there’s no induction of temptation involved.
    Or something.
    Anyway, good luck with your exam!!!! *thumbs*

    Ice Swimmer
    It’s often because the opaque clothing under is close-fitting, almost athletic-wear, and the filmy layer over top makes you decent for the opera hall but doesn’t inhibit your movements while playing or conducting. At least, that’s been my rationale for wearing similar kinds of outfits. Then again, it also just plain looks kind of pretty, with a floaty effect to go with your music…

  13. says

    Well, nobody suggested I should switch to landscaping, so let’s call it some sort of success…

    I basically did just that: put on a really tight white T underneath. In normal circumstances I’d say a bra is enough, but well…

  14. says


    OK, tomorrow I’ve got an “exam”. Hard to explain to anyone not familiar with German teacher training. Basically I have to teach a lesson, but I also had to write like 15 pages about the lesson explaining every what and why. The “trial” didn’t go down well so I am pretty nervous.

    Now I am glad that I never tried to aply for teaching job in Germany. This on top of the nightmare to have to learn all chemistry and biology in another language? Thank you but no thank you.

    Fingers crossed.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    On of those strange days. Went to the bank this morning to order new checks without the Redhead’s name on them (her personal account, which will go to me once I file some paperwork, is still active for any delayed checks in her name.). This afternoon, went to the cemetery to see if our headstone had been delivered. It had and I was able to take a pic to send out.
    Both our names, birth dates, our wedding date, and her date of death, with a space for my date of death. Still trying to put into perspective the finding.

  16. says

    That’S something I always find really weird


    No shit. All teachers say the training period was the worst time of their lives and I know more than one person who didn’t make it (current favourite song: Sia: Never give up).

    Usually when I drive home there is a falcon “standing” over a field, beating its wings but usually I have neither time nor camera. Today is the last day before the holidays so I had a little time and decided to take the cam. Guess who wasn’t there?
    But then I said to myself “nobody’s got the right to keep a girl from enjoying herself with her camera and halted at the rest area at the Autobahn and walked into the fields behind it*. Got some very unexpected pics, but I won’t spoil the surprise…

    *Not a nice experience for the first few hundred meters as you can imagine…

  17. jimb says

    Nerd -- please accept my very belated condolences on the passing of the Redhead. I was avoiding blogs/news/etc when that happened, so didn’t hear the news until much later. I’m very sorry.
    It’s been a pretty crap-tacular week, on many fronts, so I’m just trying to get through the end of the day and get to the safety and comfort of home for the weekend.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Jimb #24, thanks for the condolences. Needless to say, there is a large hole in my life.

    Gilliel #23, it’s part of our prepaid cremation/burial plan (my cremains, in an urn and small vault, end up on top of her vault in the same grave). The sandblasting of the stone for my DoD is already paid for.

    Meanwhile, now is a good time to visit my parents after after five years of care-giving when we only talked by phone.

  19. says

    I swear brambles are the worst. We’re in a continued fight for the survival of “The Old One”, an old apple tree in the not yet rented part of the garden which has been suffocated for ages by ivy and brambles. Today I cut the remaining brambles offso the tree can get light and air again, but brambles, they suck. And I really need to get myself a machete.

  20. Ice Swimmer says

    A capercaillie cock has been trying to find a mate in human-inhabited areas, in the northern suburbs of the Helsinki Area. These birds typically live in large forest areas, not near human settlements and their numbers have gone down in the last few decades. Luckily this individual hasn’t been as overly testosterone-crazed as they can sometimes be.

    In the article, a biologist they consulted said that if anybody tried to move the capercaillie to a more suitable area, that might result in both the person trying to move the bird and the bird getting injured. A bird hobbyist also stated that when they moved a capercaillie cock in a similar case deep in to the woods, he came back just in a few days.

  21. says

    Ice Swimmer @ 27:

    They’re beautiful! This video has a very good look at them. I love they way they do the side-sweep run, that’s impressive.

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 28

    We don’t have peacocks (outside of zoos) here, but we have the capercaillie (metso in Finnish). They’re about the half the weight of a turkey (cocks, hens are half the weight of the cock and brown camouflage coloured), but the biggest landfowl here.

    I wonder if the guy filming the video you linked to made it to the moose hunt or caught anything. (The title is “Hunting moose with a capercaillie”) The dinosaur might have ruined his chances 8-).

  23. chigau (違う) says

    We’re setting up for the pot-luck at the community centre.
    Sadly, the liquor licence doesn’t start for an hour and a half.
    I want a drink! It’s my birthday, dammit!

  24. Ice Swimmer says

    Happy Birthday, chigau!

    My program today: Voting in the local elections (the corrupt right-wingers and zero-sum-game racists aren’t getting my vote, dammit) and the last free chamber music concert (seventh concert of the Chamber Music Week; Mozart, Debussy, Bloch and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) this week.

  25. rq says

    Many happy returns, chigau!
    *raises glass*
    I hope you survived that hour and a half. Also I hope those around you survived that hour and a half. ;)

  26. Ice Swimmer says

    Voting done, concert attended. A one-person queue at the voting place. The concert was good, the students played fine like they did all the week.

  27. Ice Swimmer says

    Yes, the way the capercaillie cocks move is interesting.

    Here is a link to an almost ten-minute video of capercaillie lek (mating rituals, soidin in Finnish). The smaller brown/black/white birds are capercaillie hens.

  28. lumipuna says

    Ice Swimmer,
    I voted in the morning and then went too see Disney’s Vaiana (Moana) in 2D Finnish dub, day showing. The theatre hall had about 100 seats, only ten of them were occupied by young children, their parents and this one 34yo guy :)
    The movie was great, but a little spoiled by a) me watching too many clips on YouTube beforehand b) voice acting not quite on par with the original. Also I’m too spoiled for Ghibli style to truly love Disney style.

  29. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 40

    I think the chamber music concerts had a complementary audience, old folks, Sibelius Academy students, their friends and relatives, SibA professors, and this one guy a bit over 40. Very few small kids.

    I’m not much of a movie guy. Live music is more like my thing and after getting the Museokortti, I’ve been going to both art and historical museums a lot.

  30. says

    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday. It hurts.
    Also, the one and only reason why stinging nettles* aren’t my gardening arch nemesis is that this job is already taken by the wild brambles.

    *PLease don’t start about butterflies. I know. There’s a huge area around and behind where tons of stinging nettles can grow. Weeding them in my garden doesn’t even affect % of those I can see.

  31. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 42

    Get well soon, Giliell! Also the quickest and most painless healing process to all of the others with various injuries, seems there has been plenty of them recently.

    I don’t think nettles are the first plant species to go extinct and if they’re getting too rare somewhere, a little pee goes a long way to make them grow.

  32. says


    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday. It hurts.

    Oh no, you too? Take care, and yes, they really really hurt.

  33. Ice Swimmer says

    A correction:

    And, quickest and most painless healing process to Giliell as well as everybody else.

  34. blf says

    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday.

    The mildly deranged penguin shruggests this is very similar to Grunthos the Flatulent’s own major intestine strangling him, meaning your desire to do plastering is similar to Vogon poetry. Do you have to strap your audience into special Plastering Appreciation Chairs?

    (Since she didn’t invoke peas, this probably counts as a “get well soon”.)

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Weird day weather wise here at Casa la pelirroja. The average temperature is over 70 F. Have the downstairs doors and upstairs windows open to allow for airing of the house. Keep getting fluctuations between warm and cool. Evidently the southerly winds are varying enough to both bring in air from the Lake (cool), and off the Prairie (warm).

  36. Kengi says

    Someone finally wrote an article about the United Airlines incident that sums up how I feel about it. Sure, it was bad PR and poorly handled, but the real problem was how it clearly demonstrated the American attitude of “shut up and do as you’re told -- especially if you are a minority”.

  37. Kengi says

    I don’t care how “disruptive and belligerent” the doctor was. The United employees were disruptive and belligerent for demanding he be ejected because they screwed up. The Chicago cops were seriously disruptive and belligerent by defaulting to violence. The only person with a valid excuse for being belligerent was the one who got beat up by the thugs and mistreated by screw-ups.

  38. blf says

    I don’t care how “disruptive and belligerent” the doctor was.

    I essentially concur. Re-reading @51, I see I should clarify: My “highly enraging” remark at the end was intended to refer to “CEO Oscar Munoz‘s highly dubious and unevidenced claim”, not whether or not the doctor was disruptive. However, I now see how what I wrote could be construed the other way around. My bad.

  39. Kengi says

    Sorry, blf, that was my fault. I was agreeing with you and reacting negatively to idiot who wrote the Guardian piece you linked to. I didn’t make that clear at all. Yeah, I’m steamed as well by the way most of the media has covered this.

  40. Kengi says

    Of course, that’s the media’s job. Help the ruling elite maintain control over the peons.

  41. says

    Someone on Twitter posted an attorney’s take and UNited doesn’t have a leg to stand on since the guy had a valid boarding pass with a seat in which he actually sat.
    Here’s an idea: if you offer someone 800 bucks and a free hotel stay if they fly the next day and they decline it’s because they got to be somewhere.

  42. blf says

    I’m a bit confused by the “reacting negatively to idiot who wrote the Guardian piece” thing(@55/56) — to me, the article about Oscar Munoz‘s bullshite is just a news report. I have yet to see any interview or whatever with the doctor, so yeah, that and other reports can be construed as being one-sided. However, I don’t currently see that report as taking sides.

  43. Saad says

    When that passenger turned down the offer to give up his seat, why did they not move on to another passenger?

  44. Kengi says

    blf, the piece was part and parcel like the vast majority of coverage on the incident. A giant list of reasons why it was perfectly reasonable to kick the “disruptive and belligerent” off the flight. Again, just follow the orders of the elite and all will be well. Rock the boat and deservedly get a beat-down. That’s why I liked the Guardian piece I linked to. That piece also didn’t get an interview with the doctor, but also didn’t automatically bow down to our glorious ruling class.

  45. blf says

    I just noticed the @10/11/12 discussion about a computer suddenly being one hour off. The sensible suggestion was made to check the timezone (area) setting, to which the understandable answer was the recent Daylight Saving Time change was handled correctly.

    To paraphrase a long-time friend of mine, who, when he made the comment, did technical customer support, “That only proves the computer isn’t on fire.” Or, in this specific case, that (broadly speaking) at the time of the time change, the timezone setting was correct. It says nothing about what the area setting was when the problem was noticed.

    As it so happens, I had a very similar problem recently. My precise problem is unlikely to the above problem, since I am using Linux, but an analogous thing might have happened. (There are also other possible causes, all(?) of which I ignore in this comment.)

    I noticed one day the time being displayed was not for “Paris” but “New York”. A quick check of the time showed it was correct. Puzzlingly, so was the area. Yet the displayed time was clearly in the wrong zone, New York (but had the correct value for New York). Huh?

    First I checked if the area was being overridden by the clock display program’s settings. It was not. So why was the wrong zone apparently being used?

    That particular check reminded me I had set up the program in question to have a dropdown list of “interesting” times & zones I could quickly examine, of which “New York” was one. That suggested possibilities, albeit I wasn’t able to, at first, connect the dots (so to speak).

    A bit of playing around found that that particular clock program had a feature I didn’t know about: It was possible to select a zone from that “interesting” list to be the displayed zone. Other than the actual displayed time, there was nothing displayed that indicated that particular configuration (which is why I didn’t work out what had happened at first). Sure enough, reverting from a zone on my customized list to back to “the current system area” fixed the problem. It was an easily-done mouse-click, and I speculate I had inadvertently done so earlier, selecting New York, without noticing. (I make Typos-like offerings as often with the mouse as I do the keyboard.)

    Upshot is whilst the time and zone settings were all correct, an unnoticed-when-done customization altered the displayed time — and only the displayed time as displayed by that one particular program (which itself was a clew: all the other clock programs were Ok). Nothing was “wrong” per se, other than (very probably) yet another case of fat fingerism.

    So I too had a case of “handled the time change Ok, but later showed the wrong time”. I first did essentially what was suggested — checked the zone setting — but since it was Ok, I then had to do a bit of digging to root out what was wrong. Once determined and fixed, it became fairly clear what happened.

    And my computer wasn’t on fire either, despite the best(?) efforts of the mildly deranged penguin.

  46. Kengi says

    Argh. Just read another piece of excrement on the United Airlines saga. This one says you unquestioningly have to follow the orders of your corporate masters because they are sad/angry/whatever over 9/11.

  47. blf says

    Kengi@60, We don’t seem to be reading the same article, then. Or actually, we probably are, but are interpreting it differently.

    I interpret it as a summary of what the CEO asserted, liberally sprinkled with actual quotes from Oscar Munoz. The list / quotes are then followed by a potted history, and a short description of the contract of carriage plus the DOT’s public reaction. I note it is not an opinion piece.

    I speculate you are doing some sort of “between the lines” interpretation. That’s perfectly understandable, we all do, and I presumably am also doing so. My problem is, I think, the jump from quotes (content of which is verifiable in principle) and contract (content obviously verifiable) to, as you put it, “[a] giant list of reasons why it was perfectly reasonable to kick the ‘disruptive and belligerent’ off the flight.”

    Uh, no. The quotes are a set of assertions by an obviously biased participant (CEO Oscar Munoz). Whilst the content of the quotes are factual (verifiable), the meaning of the quotes, as intended by Mr Munoz, are not facts — they are his opinions as reported by the Granuiad.

    Yes, his opinions are, as you put it, “just follow the orders of the elite and all will be well. Rock the boat and deservedly get a beat-down.” And the article can be construed to be about his opinions. I think we are both construing it in essentially that manner.

    I speculate where we diverge is I don’t see it as anything more than a report of his opinions, whilst you see as an endorsement of those opinions. Well, maybe not “endorsement”, that is perhaps too strong, more like disappointment the article (and others) didn’t point out how dunderheaded those opinions are.

    Which is probably where we rejoin, those opinions are, at the very least, dunderheaded.

  48. Kengi says

    Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse. “We just report the facts (quotes)!” BS. When they actually use the BS quote as part of their article title, making the assertion the passenger was belligerent, they are contributing to press release the corporate overlords want put out. A better story title would have been “Dunderheaded CEO Blathers Lame Excuses” or “Here’s What Our Overlords Told Us to Publish”.

    Or that despicable CNN article I linked to. The guy couldn’t stop repeating how wrong the passenger was for not just obeying orders. It was like victim blaming tourette syndrome.

    I keep looking at articles (which just aggravates me more) because I still don’t know what happened to the poor guy. Is he in jail? Still in the hospital chained to a bed? Have charges been filed? These questions would require digging and reporting, not press-release republishing.

  49. Kengi says

    Another thing that just struck me. O’Hare Airport to Louisville KY is less than a five hour drive. I seem to recall the dicking around caused a three hour delay at O’Hare, and who knows how much extra time in Louisville. Why didn’t United just send their four people (or four passengers) in a rental car? Why haven’t these so-called reporters asked the CEO this question?

    Of course I’ve already answered my own question. Because most of the reporters and newspapers are nothing more than a system to publicize corporate press releases…

  50. rq says

    (Yes, we are totally sucking at this long-term health thing as a family for several months now. I’m out of ideas.)

  51. Kengi says

    Geez, I didn’t know kids could get shingles either. My dad’s doctor told us to get him a shingles vaccine last year and I was shocked it would be several hundred dollars everywhere I called. Fortunately, after a bit of digging around I found out the VA would give him the vaccine for free.

  52. rq says

    It’s basically recurring chickenpox, apparently -- so don’t let anyone ever fool you into thinking it’s a harmless childhood disease that should just be suffered through.
    Then again, this is the kid who had his chickenpox vaccine, and still got the chickenpox, and now is showing symptoms of shingles. So maybe it just didn’t take, with him. When we go back next week, I want to ask the doctor about chickenpox revaccination (which is probably something like the shingles vaccine?), even though apparently it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime injections.
    Honestly, though, as soon as we think we’ve dealt with one health crisis, another one shows up. I’m so tired of it (and yes, this shingles diagnosis is close on the heels of a minor rotavirus infection just survived by Youngest).

  53. Kengi says

    I’m sure you are tired of it, and just plain tired. Watch your own health when others rely upon you, and best hopes for all.

  54. Kengi says

    I see the United CEO has changed his tune. When it was just an elderly Asian man being beat up and dragged off his plane it was all OK, and his staff did everything right. Now that his stock has shed $600 million in value, it’s all about doing investigations and figuring out what went wrong! OMG!

    Yeah, we know what the priorities are there…

  55. blf says

    Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse.

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    I stand by my speculative analysis: You are conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion.

  56. Kengi says

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    You don’t need an interview with the doctor to present a nuanced viewpoint of what happened. Reporting should be much more than just “He said” “She said”. To just rely upon quotes and press releases is not reporting. It’s PR.

    I stand by my speculative analysis: You are conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion.

    Want to see how to report on this without just being a stupid PR mouthpiece for your corporate overlords? Take a look at Derek Thomson’s piece in the Atlantic. It isn’t just a forum listing “one side” of an argument since they can’t get the “other side”, which, by your very weird reasoning can only come from the mouth of the doctor. The article looks at several aspects of the issue, recognizing something you haven’t yet grasped, which is that there aren’t just two “sides” to this story. There are several underlying issues that need investigation, thought, and clear presentation.

    You know, reporting. Or at least what once passed for reporting…

  57. blf says

    your very weird reasoning can only come from the mouth of the doctor.

    What I said was(@75) “as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported”. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think I’ve ever insisted on an interview with the doctor, only that such an interview is the most obvious way of obtaining his perspective.

    I am uncomfortable here in that there seems to be a willful and deliberate misreading of what I wrote; and that my speculation — “conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion” — has not been directly addressed. Counter-examples have been offered, but the speculation is being ignored.

    I am trying to be honest here and, as one example, carefully labeling my thinking as “speculation”. What I am seeing in return is evasion, plus misreading that seems to be deliberate.

  58. Kengi says

    OK, lets talk about deliberate misreading.

    I pointed out “Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse.”

    I thought I was clear with the words “your explanation”. You “misread” that to mean I was accusing the Guardian article of false balance.

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    No, I didn’t mean the Guardian article was an example of false balance. The Guardian article was a piece of shit hit piece on the victim primarily comprised of PR quotes from the airline, including in the title. You were playing the false balance game pretending the Guardian was just “reporting the facts, maam”, and trying to reduce this into a simple two-sided argument between what the airline’s position is and what the doctor’s position is.

    After all, we can’t expect real reporting when they can’t get a statement from the “other side”.

    So no, I don’t think you are trying to be honest any more than the piece of shit reporters at the Guardian were trying to be honest.

    To directly address what you have accused me of as evasion, let me restate what I was saying earlier. “Reporting on expressed opinion” in the way the Guardian article did was, very specifically, avoiding most of the issues in this story. The lick-spittle reporters purposely chose a one-sided presentation comprised of nothing but PR bullshit. So yes, I’m “conflating” the reporters’ deliberate one-sided bullshit with being supportive of the PR crap spewing out of United Airlines because that’s how the reporters wrote the story.

    Because they can’t get a quote from the doctor they should be excused from looking into the story beyond the press releases? No, I expect reporting, not parroting the party line from the airline. And you should be ashamed for defending such crap reporting.

    That should be obvious with the counter-example I gave with real reporting from the Atlantic. I didn’t post that link to evade your “speculation”. I posted that link as a clear, resounding example of how you can report on a story that is complex and has far more than just two sides, even without an interview from the victim. As an example of how miserably the Guardian reporters failed.

  59. says

    In recent days, somebody either here or on pharyngula posted a link to an article (blogpost?) listing similarities between Hitlers rise to power and what Trump is doing now. I cannot find the link now. Does anyone else remember it and post it again? I could not read the article at that time and I would very much like to.

  60. says

    Thank you, Caine, alas that is not it. I read that essay when you posted about it.

    This was somewhere in comments, and not more than a few days back.

  61. Saad says

    CN: video clip of police racism/violence

    Two Georgia officers fired after video of punching and stomping

    They say there’s a criminal investigation pending, but I have a feeling the focus of the investigation will be what a horrible person the victim is. I’m sure the slaps on the wrists to the officers will sting horribly.

    Also, they decide not to mention the victim’s race, since there’s nothing racial about white cops assaulting a young man of color and mentioning race would just be divisive.

  62. StevoR says

    @ 86. chigau (違う) :

    Hey everyone!
    It’s Jesus on a stick day!

    Which means World Tapir day is getting closer! Only twelve days till April 27th :

    All tapir species face the threat of extinction. Saving tapirs helps to save rainforests and other habitats, thereby helping to save the planet and mitigate the effect of climate change.

    Tapirs sound like this :


    Oh & good news :

    A group of four birdwatchers from Broome has photographed Australia’s most mysterious bird, the night parrot, in Western Australia.

    The sighting is all that more remarkable when you consider that the night parrot was not confirmed as still alive in Australia until three years ago, and that the photograph was taken in a patch of spinifex 2,000 kilometres from where the bird was rediscovered in Western Queensland.

    Seems apt to share this different and more factual -- and fragile -- resurrection story at this time of year.

  63. StevoR says

    An idea and a suggestion I’ve got about my nations’future (& recognition of its past) which I’d like to see people think about here.

    There are a couple of huge albeit symbolic* and cultural issues about our Australian nationality that have badly stalled over past decade or so. One is Australia becoming a Republic and the other is Reconciliation with our First, Indigenous Peoples. Since Rudd’s apology in 2007 and the Republic referendum in 1999 (hmm.. wonder if Turnbull recalls that now?**) it seems these ideas and movements towards us becoming a better nation have fallen off the radar and been overlooked and failed to go anywhere if anything gone backwards. Several proposals to recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution have been raised but nothing much – certainly that I’m aware of. (So, yes, I could be mistaken here.)

    So, my idea is, let’s at least partly combine them by becoming a Republic where the combined symbolic roles of the Queen and of the Governor-General is replaced by having not a Monarch, Governor-General or President (a title that’s foreign and used throughout the world and tarred with a lot of bad examples -like the titles king, Emperor, Caesar& variants etc ..) but instead our own unique office of “First Elder“ elected solely by our Indigenous Peoples.

    This First Elder would have to be an Indigenous Australian (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) in background and recognised as such by our First Peoples and could only be voted for by Indigenous Australians -- not European migrants or those of various post-Colonial arrival backgrounds. Just our First people, voting for the symbolically top position in our country -and having the rest of Australia acknowledge and respect that as a sign that we do appreciate the oldest, unwritten first long part of our nation’s history, culture and heritage.

    They, the First Aussies, would be in complete charge of the process, the election, the ceremonies afterwards for appointing and swearing in / welcoming and so on. (I like to think the ceremonies would involve being out Bush in the First Elder’s Country with campfires and Corroborees but that’s just my imagination and hope – it should be totally up to them.)

    Australia’s Prime Minister would still be the de facto leader of our nation and still be elected by everyone as of now with nothing changing there but Indigenous Australians would be able to say that we recognise and acknowledge them -- rightly -- as the rightful rulers of our Country. It would be giving them something that shows respect and honours them and empowers them whilst making a minimal political powers change. Without the possibility of a divisive clash between say popularly elected President and PM as used by the Minimalist monarchi-sorry republicans to destroy the Yes case for a Republic in 1999 and the idea of having politicians choose our figurehead prime as used by the Direct Election monar-er- republicans to destroy the Yes case for the Republic in 1999.

    The First Elder would then be a symbolic handing back of power and recognition and one part of our reconciling with our past historical wrongs as well as enabling us to claim that our head of state is totally Aussie -- couldn’t be more Aussie or from a more truly Australian culture -- born here and cheering for our side in events such as the Ashes. It would be more Democratic than the hereditary monarchy we now have as well as uniquely Australian and, well, I like it and think its an apt and powerful fusion of these causes -- not a single solution for reconciliation which is much broader but at least a good start and something towards that on-going process?

    So what do y’all reckon? Is this a good idea and suggestion? Do you have any other ideas or comments on this notion? Might it be worth trying? Could it at least spark more discussion and get things moving maybe? Thoughts please?

    * These issues being “merely” symbolic & not immediately practical /economic doesn’t mean they don’t matter in my view. I do think this would change who we are much for the better.

    ** See :,_1999

    PS. FWIW Not Indigenous myself, living on Kaurna / Peramangk land.

  64. StevoR says

    In other news in hope folks find these interesting :

    The discovery overturns widely-held preconceptions about the morphology of early dinosaur relatives, with many paleontologists anticipating that such creatures would be smaller, bipedal and more ‘dinosaur-like.’

    Teleocrater rhadinus fundamentally challenges our models of what the close relatives of dinosaurs would have looked like,” said Richard Butler, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Birmingham, UK, and co-author on the paper.

    Cassini sniffs out hydrogen from the plumes of Enceladus :

    Oh & also :

    A remarkable case where dogs finding echidna poo may reveal an extinction didn’t happen.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Been making plans to visit relatives unseen for the five years since the Redhead’s stoke. Planning on how to make the trip alone caused me to buy an I-Pass for the road tolls. Adjustments are being made.
    Also, bought a kitchen scale to help me with portioning food when I eventually cook something like goulash or a roast, so it can be packaged in meal sized containers. I got a cheap version of the lab scales we used at work.

  66. Saad says

    From the Trump 24/7 Twitter page

    Look at the responses to that tweet.

    The most gullible of the gullible Americans. These are probably the people who send their bank accounts so they can get their inheritance transferred to them from a mine owner somewhere in Africa.

  67. Saad says

    Wait, now I’m totally confused.

    Is that whole thing a Poe?

    Because this is the first commenter’s Twitter page description:

    Donald Trump is an amazing person to leave his comfortable life to fight for us

    I can’t….I don’t know what’s real anymore.

  68. says

    Here too is expected a bout of frost. It will be a disaster for many plants that started to grow too soon. I will need to cover some bonsai trees with foil and hope for the best.

    I had today a rare occasion of joy. It was too cold to re-pot bonsai trees, near freezing and snow with rain.

    So I spent the day with my own recycling project I was able to scramble together fully functional belt grinder for 50x1500 mm belts (2x60″). I used a 400 V, 1.500 W motor from old water pump, wheels gutted from two other belt grinders (one from the burned out one, two from a 59,- € cheapo new one that I bought purely for these parts) and a bunch of particle board cut-offs that were left over from the furniture I built a few years ago.

    The result is “ad-hoc” built machine, I did not bother with any plans or measurements, I just sawed, bored and screwed around until it all fitted together and worked.

    It is a little finicky to get the belt running in line, some minor adjustments still might be required, but it seems to be safe (safe as any other rotating wheel machinery) and it cuts through steel like through butter. I am going to splurge big on abrasives and go mental making knives. And a machette for garden.

  69. says


    I am going to splurge big on abrasives and go mental making knives. And a machette for garden.

    Take photos for us!

  70. says

    @Caine, I will, if things go well. But it won’t be any time soon, because I have a week of work now and I simply must spend as much of it as possible to re-pot my trees.

  71. jimb says

    I know you’ve read & recommended Library-themed books before, are you familiar with The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman (the first book is the April pick for the Sword and Laser podcast)?

    I just started it yesterday, enjoying it so far. IIRC, there are 5 planned books so far, 3 out now with #4 due later this year.

    (I’m waiting for Rachel Caine’s “Ash & Quill” in July before starting that series.)

  72. says

    Jim @ 104, I am, and have read them all, next one is out in September, I think. I was quite pissy about having to wait on it almost two years as American publishers didn’t want to handle it when it was first published in the UK.

  73. says

    The blade is 55cm, that’S like 22″. The handle could have an inch more or so, but it fits my hands nicely. And the brambles don’t stand a chance.

    Oh dear, parents and computers…
    My dad told me about him having a problem copying an article. He apparently has something that is the digital equivalent of newspaper clippings and since the article he was trying to copy via marking and copy pasting was 23 pages the computer got a hickup. Me: Dad, why don’t you just save an offline version? Him: That’s possible???

  74. says

    @Giliell, my dad fears the computer like a plague. He has mastered to check on the internet the weather forecast and that is about it. He does not have an e-mail and uses computer very sparingly.

    My mother on the other hand occasionaly stuns people with her internet smarts. The shopkeeper did not have some item on stock and offered to order it over the internet. To which my mum replied, “that I can do myself”. And when a repairman failed to get a spare part for our washing maschine, she browsed the webs and ordered it for him. And she regularly exchanges e-mails with ther older sister and chats over skype with a few relatives.

    She is no computer whiz, but people expect someone of her age to have no PC know-how at all, so they are always suprised.

    We had a big snowfall today. I had to take my work indoors, because it was not possible to work outside, it is wet and freezing cold. This is again a case of the weather fouling up the moment I take a week of for garden work.

    My collague had a week of the previous week. I am sure he steals the weather from me, the sodding basted! Aaargh!

  75. says

    My dad’S been using the computer since I got my first one in the early 90s* but boy it’s been fun ever since. From the day he mistook the screensaver for a virus to the day he managed to delete the autoexec.bat file.

    He is also totally not a fan of mobiles and hates smartphones and doesn’t get tired of complaining about those young people being on their phones all day. Oh, did I mention that he sent my father in law on a manhunt last week because I didn’t answer the phone?

    My mum mostly uses the net to print out recipes…

    *That thing had a full 80 MB hard drive. My cousin was jealous and said nobody ever needs that much storage space.

  76. jimb says

    Caine @ 105:
    Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve read them. :-)
    And, regarding reading 2-4 books a week…that’s just another reason I’m looking forward to retiring (at some point). Time to read everything.

  77. says

    Talking about books, Humble Bundle’s got a <a href=" Bundle including two by Peter S. Beagle who is one of the best fantasy authors I know. If you can ever get your hands on The Innkeeper’s Song, get that book!

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gilliel #109

    That thing had a full 80 MB hard drive. My cousin was jealous and said nobody ever needs that much storage space.

    *checks out ~15 TB of storage attached to the iMac*

    Completed the last big item on my list for my loop around the bottom of Lake Michigan to see my relatives on the other side. Bought a cheap flip phone and got limited voice/data plans with an AARP discount. (The Redhead’s ghost is now officially haunting me;)) The phone is all set up, and its bluetooth will connect with the bluetooth in my new car, allowing handsfree call receiving/initiating during driving (tested that successfully today). The car has voice recognition software to find a contact to call. The contact list is downloaded when the bluetooth connection is made. Very sninny.

  79. Ice Swimmer says

    The Ranua Wildlife Park in northern Finland has installed a cam in their Ural owl (viirupöllö, streaked owl) nest box. The couple, are in the process of incubating their eggs, Blondi brooding and Elias feeding her. The first young ones may hatch around the beginning of May.

    Ural owls are fairly big (bigger than a crow, smaller than a common raven) and usually very aggressive and will attack humans who come close to their nests if young ones are there.

  80. StevoR says

    Hopefully of interest here, Tasneem Chopra on a recently screened debate on “Political Correctness” & its excellentkly surprisingly positive results :

    You can listen to the debate in full here with Tasneem’s speech starting at 32 minutes 25 seconds in

    WARNING Some offensive language & also Chris Kenny,

    Plus :

    Lateline interviews Civil Rights leader and singer Mavis Staples.

  81. StevoR says

    ^Note the post debate poll difference.

    Full debate is 53 minutes long, Tasneem (& each debater) speaks for about ten minutes and there’s a question session at end. I think what Tasneem Chopra says is pretty good (hence the share) and hope you like it here. Quite afew Aussie references so hope not too confusing.

  82. StevoR says

    So about these “Australian values” my govt now wants to test for?* (Reading very ugly echoes between the lines.)
    What are they precisely and who chooses and gets to define what they are? And why them? (All of the different implied “thems” here.) Really.

    “We do?” So who is “we” here?

    We are a nation founded on too oft hidden & forgotten truths -- the history of the Frontier Wars** and genocides against our First Peoples, “dispersing the blacks”, endless stolen rivers -- as well as our well known and proclaimed and rightly respected truths too -- & so much more.

    Not *_only_* “black armband” history & certainly _*NOT*_ simply “whitewashed history either but a mixture of everything and so many complexities and individual and collective stories as well.

    We are a nation of immigrants from the First Fleet through second fleet and other convict transport ships under Royal British guard, from Ten Pound Poms, to Vietnamese boatpeople to the Syrians fleeing here now. We are one and -*and_* we are many and from all the lands of Earth we come. That’s our song (my personal nationalistic favourite anthem)*** in my view, that’s who we are.

    Let’s be the best of all that please.

    I am a very proud Aussie.

    I came here as a migrant. Became a citizen and love my country.

    I welcome refugees. I reject racism and hatred.

    My Australian values tell me Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi and co are bloody well un-Australian and represent the worst of us.

    Give people, all people, a fair go.

    That really so much to ask? (Wouldn’t have thought so.)


    * Read please :

    (Echoes twixt lines wiki /google : White Australia policy, anti-Chinese riots e.g. Lambing Flat, Cronulla riot -- I wish we’d been better & didn’t have to cite these. (Plus know there’s so much more too. But fact is fact. Painful as it is is and, yes, it is. Becoz fact.)

    ** See :

    *** Listen to and watch and enjoy :

  83. quotetheunquote says

    @ #118:
    I heard about this on CBC radio this morning, could not believe my ears!

    Ugh, “Australian values” -- tweet, tweet, is that a dog whistle I hear? (oops, should I have said “a fair dinkum dingo call” ?) We’ve had our run-ins with “Canadian values” tests being proposed on this side of the Big Pond, fortunately the candidate proposing them (the infamous Ms. Leitch) is not likely to get anywhere near the Tory leadership. But it sounds like it’s getting far closer to the mainstream over there.

    *I don’t think I’d stand a chance of passing an “Australian values” test -- don’t like Aussie Rules, and couldn’t down enough Foster’s in one go.
    (Couldn’t down ANY Foster’s, for that matter; I hate beer.)

  84. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bluetooth connection is also pretty nice for playing music, especially if radio stations tend to drive you up a tree.

    The entertainment center also controls my iPods through USB. It can also pick up Sirius XM, but their subscription is a little pricey for the small amount of road driving that I do.

  85. rq says

    The Universe just may be trying to tell me something: either “give up already, this isn’t for you” or “mwahahaha here’s another quick test to test your resolve in the face of stress!!!”. I’m thinking the latter, but you can never tell with that Universe.

  86. says

    As Pratchett once noted: If you want something to get done, give it tp someone who is already busy.

    Fuck I hate my body sometimes. Last month my period was 5 days late which of course freaked me out. This month, it decied to be on what would have been on time if it had been on time last month….

  87. rq says

    Yours does that, too?
    A loving god would have never invented the uterus in its current incarnation. Oh wait…!

  88. rq says

    I’m just going to find a new way to be special, ha!

    I’ll get back to you about that.

  89. says


    Me, now: fuck plaster, fuck mortar. I can’t feel my arms anymore. Somebody give me money so I can pay someone else to do this.

    Welcome to the club of house owners :) I feel your pain.
    I have the same problem even more exacerbated by the fact that there is a building boom around here. So the electricians, plumbers, masons etc. are all booked in advance for months, sometimes years, and it is actually difficult to get someone to do the work, even when I have the money.

  90. says

    Thankfully we got the professionals to do all the must have professionals jobs. But yeah, it’s now a year since we first visited the house.
    But we found out that one of the little one’s dad does all kinds of renovations so we can hopefully hire him for some work.

  91. Ice Swimmer says

    Also the thing with building and renovation seems to be that quality and timeliness of the work may not be the highest priority of some contractors. If this isn’t an issue somewhere, I’d like to hear what kind of public policies have made that possible.

    Random language note: As a non-native speaker of English, I find the word mortar a bit funny in that you can use mortar to build walls and a mortar to take them down. In Finnish the former would be laasti and the latter mörssäri. And then there’s mortar and pestle to crush things (those would be mortteli or huhmare and survin or petkele).

  92. says

    Ice Swimmer, the word “mortar” refers to a receptacle for pounding something into dust. Mortar for walls would have been made in a “mortar” and a mortar for shooting down walls is shaped like one. See Mortar and Pestle in Wikipedia.
    Origins of words fascinate me.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Had to bring in a pro to “upgrade” the electrical panel at Casa la Pelirroja. Not only got a new electrical panel with a 100 amp main circuit breaker, with thirty possible subcircuits, but also had the electric meter moved outdoors so ComEd can read the meter without knocking on my door. ComEd should be installing a “smartmeter” sometime in the next month. They can then get the readings from either a drive-by or cellphone linkage. Worth the money.
    Now I can install a HVAC (no AC at present) system, once I clear out the debris from around the old furnace.

  94. Ice Swimmer says

    Nerd of Redhead @ 132

    Congrats on the new panel and lots of amperes!

    Outdoors it may be a bit more complicated, but years ago, when they changed the mechanical meter to an smartmeter in the flat I was living in, the actual swap took a just few minutes (a few screws and old meter out, new one in, screws and seals). Of course the whole process of swapping the meters of hundreds of thousands of households takes a lot of time.

    Before the time of the smart meters the electric utility in Helsinki sent forms once a year and had us customers read the meters ourselves and send the readings to them as a postage paid letter (but reserved a right to drop in and check the readings, also they would send somebody if you asked them, though that may have cost something).

  95. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Before the time of the smart meters the electric utility in Helsinki sent forms once a year and had us customers read the meters ourselves and send the readings to them as a postage paid letter (but reserved a right to drop in and check the readings, also they would send somebody if you asked them, though that may have cost something).

    I’ve been reading the meter since we bought the house, but now, that a ComEd representative, knows that the meter is outside, it lets me off the hook. Except I will monitor the reading until the SM is installed.

  96. says

    @Giliell #135 Very interesting article indeed. I completely agree that the elephant in the room vis-a-vis environmental impact of human diet is the waste we produce and not the finesses of whether teh food is vegan or non-vegan.

    Even so I have always been puzzled by the whole debate whtether meat production is more or less “environment friendly” than vegetables because It seems so clear cut (to me). I have grown up in an agricultural area, where meat was produced often in non-mass producing ways. That is, pigs were fed waste, rabbits were fed mown grass and cows were in pastures. So the meat was produced via the animals converting inedible (for humans) into edible. Therefore with limited space available, the best strategy to maximize the caloric output of an area has always seemed to me to be a mixed diet heavily veighted towards the vegetarian end, but not all the way on the vegan end. Since the earth has limited space and we should be trying not to use more and more of it, this should also be the best stragegy globally. I have seen a study saying such, but I cannot find it now.

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture. And then the insects came back, and the birds, and some rare plants popped-up again in greater numbers. And it seems that runoff from artificial fertilizers together with silt is much more dangerous for water dwellers than occasional runoff from a manure heap.*

    There is no dispute that feeding livestock with food fit for human consumption grown on top soil is not environment friendly, but that is only necessary because we in western world eat far more meat than is good for us. However the opposite extreme has ist own problems, because not all soil in use is fit for growing human-edible food etc. So it is not a straight line between “veggies100% = 0%bad” and “veggies 0%=100%bad”. I think it is more like a swoosh for where the optimum is “mostly veggies = least bad”.**

    *I also live in an area with one of the last remaining populations of the freshwater pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera and it has been found that the population is totaly dependent on the grass being mown/grazed around where the mussels live, but a field-runoff is dangerous to them because it clogs up their food filtering system.

    **I have read the discussions, but rarely commented on this issue over the last years whenever it popped up on pharyngula. I have always found the arguments for “veganism is most environmentaly friendly” underwhelming and I am unconvinced even about the automatic ethical superiority of veganism.

  97. says

    I found the article an good demonstration of “shit is complicated”. We live in a global economy where shit has consequences. It’s a reason why I never do these “health food” stunts. Quinoa and Chia and what have you not may be nice, but white people “discovering” them usually has devastating effects on local food distribution.

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture.

    This. By now cities have a higher biodiversity than lots of the countryside, the bees in Berlin are more numerous and healthier than those in Brandenburg.
    Also the issue of frozen food: Yes, it means energy for cooling. It also means practically no waste food at home and less in the production process. And again, I always find all “solutions” that solely work on the consumer end and then pretend it will “trickle down” fraudulent.

  98. says

    As to Veganism, I find many of the environmental claims pretty simplistic and most of the health claims not only fraudulent but also dangerous. And I’m not going to debate “you just make up your health claims so you don’t have to go vegan” anymore.

  99. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 136

    Got curious if the freshwater pearl mussel is the same species (called jokihelmisimpukka [river pearl mussel] or raakku) we have here and Wikipedia confirmed, yes it is. Those fellows grow very slowly and have a great longevity, they can live 100 -- 200 years. Also, their larvae have to live in salmonid fish gills for a few years (not as parasites, just hanging in there, enjoying the benefits of good water flow around them). Yet another fascinating creature.

  100. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 137

    Also, the large frozen food warehouses may use the waste heat they necessarily produce for heating (heating the offices, water or selling the heat for district heating), so a part of the energy may be used again.

  101. rq says

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture.

    This is why we’re quite happy with the return of dairy and meat cow farming in the area around Husband’s country ‘estate’ -- the fact that pastures are left to flower naturally leaves so much more diversity for the bee population, which in turn makes the fruit harvest, come autumn. If it were grain fields all around, we would not have such healthy bees (a combination of lower diversity of flowers + pesticides). Mixed vegetable farming, however -- esp. things like peas and beans with their wonderfully sweet flowers, would be a good middle option. But in my opinion, nothing beats wildflowers when it comes to honey, except maybe lyme-trees. :)

    Thank you for that article, Giliell. I think I mostly share a view with Charly on this issue, but then, I also live in a country where major factory-farming is still commercially unviable, and most meat that we do get comes from animals fed on compost scraps, real grain and grass and the like. If I wanted to, I could go and meet the pig I will be eating later in the year. (Interestingly (and with the assistance of a giant freezer!) a good portion of winter meat comes from wild boar and moose, hunted during the appropriate season and within population control regulations (populations that I know will be observed and cared for during the winter as well).)

    re: the mussels
    We have the same species here, I don’t think it’s endangered yet but it’s extremely protected, to the point where locations of viable populations are kept secret. Back in 2004 they put together a document about measures to take for their protection and renewal in the wild (pages 3 -- 5, the Introduction, are in English). I have no idea what their status is now.

  102. says

    Partner and I live mostly by the principle of eating local and in season. Our weekly fruit and veg comes mostly from a roadside stand of a farmer who grows what he sells. What little meat we eat, mostly lamb and chicken comes from a local independent butcher, not a supermarket.
    On the other hand, there’s a new operation in our state that grows fresh tomatoes all year round using sea water and solar desalination on site. It’s called Sundrop Farms. I suppose if you have to supply supermarkets at least you can try to do it sustainably.

  103. says

    Blasted weather caused me a delay in work. The week off is almost gone and I am still not done. I wanted to rest tomorrow in order to be fit on monday for work, but I will have to continue oto replant the trees, because they started growing and I have only about one week more before touching them would mean killing them.


  104. says

    Welcome to the end of holidays. Not that I had much of them.
    Today and tomorrow is preparing for school again.

    My 12th graders had to do some presentations and hand in their handouts. They’re due today. I got 9 out of 20. It would be so easy for the weaker ones to get passing grades in this class and then they don’t hand in shit. Some people can’t be helped.

  105. says

    In other interesting news, an organism has been found that can metabolize plastic, specifically polyethylene. It’s normal diet is bees wax. Linky

  106. says

    I just wanted to tell y’all about them.
    I love the discovery story: a scientist who happens to be a hobby beekeper discovered them when she picked them out of her beehives and put them in a plastic bag.

    Anyway, I aten’t dead. I’m too tired to be dead.

  107. says


    Anyway, I aten’t dead. I’m too tired to be dead.

    That’s me all over. I’m sleeping in tomorrow.

  108. says

    It is an interesting dicovery, but I am not too keen on organisms eating platstics and I do not understand how they are supposed to help with our problem. Accumulation of plastics in the ocean and on landfills is a problem that should be solved by recycling. If we try to solve it with organisms eating the damn stuff, we could as well burn it. Or am I missing something? Because if we burn polyethylene, it is converted to water wapour and carbon dioxide. If a bacteria or a worm eats it and inserts the carbon back to the biosphere, sooner or later that carbon will enter the atmoshphere in carbon dioxide.

    So whether we burn the plastics or let some organism digest it, we are adding to our problem with global warming. And that is our biggest problem.

  109. says

    I think the interesting thing is that the scientists are working on the metabolic pathways that the grubs use to break down the polyethylene into simpler molecules. It could become part of an industrial process that takes in a mixed waste stream and converts it unto useful feedstock for other products. Polyethylene for example is extremely recyclable on its own but mixed with large volumes of buried trash it takes centuries to break down. Ideally no-one would ever produce any more plastics from fossil sources, but the world still has vast amounts of it mixed in with all the other trash in land fills and elsewhere..

  110. says

    @Giliell, Lofty

    But that does not help the problem at all, as far as I can tell.

    I think that burning polyethylene is better than feeding it to animals. I also think that landfills are better than both. And recycling is the only really desirable option from environmental point of view.

    My reasoning for that statement is thus:
    1) By burning combustible material (whether biomass or fossil) locally, you can get the energy stored within with 60 to 90% efficiency in usable form (heat). If you burn it at an electricity producing facility, you can get the energy within with 30%-60% efficiency in usable form (electricity + heat). All of the carbon is thusly released into the atmosphere as CO2 very quickly.
    2) In each step in the food chain, most o the energy in the food is used by the organism to live, and most of the carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2 (or methane, depending). Only a fraction of the carbon is retained, and only for the life span of the organism. I cannot find of course exact figures to how much, but lets be optimistic and say 10% energy is used -- ( based on this). S o when you feed the grubs with PE and the grubs then to any other animal, like chicken or pig, you lose most of the energy again and again, and the most efficient -- 10% efficient, to be as precise as possible -- way to use the energy is to eat directly the grubs. If you only eat the chicken that ate the grubs, you are geting only 1% of the energy. And in the end, when all the grubs and chicken are eaten and digested, over 99,9% of the carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2 (or methane, depending) at a rate only marginaly slower than in scenarion 1)
    3) In a properly designed and maintained landfill, non-biodegradable materials like polyethylene may take decades to decompose, or may not completely decompose ever at all -- that if they are not converted into biodegradable materials by some chemical or physical means. Over those decades some, maybe even most, of the carbon will be released into the atmosphere as CO2 (or methane, depending), but most of it will be most of the time relatively safely underground and some of it wil remain there for generations, just as it was there befor we dug the stuff up. Most problems with landfills are local. They are not locally small, trivial or irrelevant and they should be adressed accordingly. But globally speaking, landfills are actually a plus, because they do not aggravate global warming at such a rate as 1) or 2) would.

    Developing biodegradable plastics made from carbon that originated in the biosphere in the first place is a worthy effort. However after that task is (hopefully soon) complete, it will actually only help with the problem of littering. Most energy efficient use of the waste (if non-recyclable) would even then be -- burning it for heat and/or electricity. As for plastics made from fossil material, the most most energy efficient and environment friendly option in lieu of recycling is, perphaps paradoxically, landfilling.

    I do not claim that my reasoning above is 100% free of error. These are my thoughts on the matter.

  111. says

    Ice Swimmer @ 148, thank you, and I did! It was so nice, I’m gonna do it again.

    rq, are you okay?

    Blf @ 155, that’s not news, it’s business as usual.

  112. says

    The trouble with landfills is that they leach toxins into the water table and also contain many valuable materials, especially from before the age where recycling was practiced to any degree. So their contents will be mined in the not too distant future. Better to manufacture durable goods out of landfill material that just leave it to do damage to the water table. The separate issue of carbon sequestration will undoubtedly find many interesting ideas coming out of post Trump era universities.

  113. rq says

    Yes, thank you. Better now, at least, than the middle of the week. Some major long-term-ish plans fell through, that’s all, but I put others in place. Thank you for asking!
    (I’ve been in Lithuania since Monday, hence too little attention paid to your posts here. ;) Heading home today.)

  114. says

    @Lofty #157

    The trouble with landfills is that they leach toxins into the water table…

    This is true regarding heavy metals and many organic compounds containing aromatic cycles, ketons or similar, that degrade into known toxic or carcinogenic components. However AFAIK neither of those two is an issue with polyethylene (it is an issue with regard polyethylene-terephtalate, but that is not the same thing).

    Other than that specific thing I agree completely with the general gist of your comment and if it was meant as an counteragument to mine, I do not see how.

  115. says


    2) In each step in the food chain, most o the energy in the food is used by the organism to live, and most of the carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2 (or methane, depending). Only a fraction of the carbon is retained, and only for the life span of the organism. I cannot find of course exact figures to how much, but lets be optimistic and say 10% energy is used — ( based on this). S o when you feed the grubs with PE and the grubs then to any other animal, like chicken or pig, you lose most of the energy again and again, and the most efficient — 10% efficient, to be as precise as possible — way to use the energy is to eat directly the grubs. If you only eat the chicken that ate the grubs, you are geting only 1% of the energy. And in the end, when all the grubs and chicken are eaten and digested, over 99,9% of the carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2 (or methane, depending) at a rate only marginaly slower than in scenarion 1)

    That is true, BUT the assumption behind your maths is that this would be additional release of CO2. But I’m talking about animals we would be raising anyway. If I feed the grubs plastic and the grubs to the pigs I don’t need to produce pig fodder, which would again need resources to produce. I’m using something that is already there AND a huge problem.
    Landfills are not a solution for many reasons:
    First of all, they need land. And because you don’t want the landfill to be too close to your residential or commercial areas, you need to transport the stuff there.
    Second, things “get lost”. How do you make sure that plastic isn’t blown away by the wind or carried away by birds?
    Third: Fire. You keep mentioning that you can burn the PPE. That is true, but that fire can just happen uncontrollably in a landfill.

  116. says

    Also, today is one of the days when I should just have stayed in bed and called in sick. Not because I am sick but because the Universe is a mean bastard. You know these days when you’re running non stop but still constantly late? I’m having one of them.

    Make it home safe. Did you get my mail?

  117. quotetheunquote says

    Giiell, professional cynic:

    I am sorry that the Universe is being a mean bastard. It does have its good days (and nights, such as this past one, when there was this AMAZING crescent moon hanging in the west like a giant sickle).-
    hope you’ll get a good day (or night) soon.
    My own week was one of trivial annoyances, but of the kind that it feels good to get of the way by checking them off on a list:

    -Monday -- interminable dentist’s appointment endured, check
    -Tuesday -- visited doctor to make sure I don’t have any recurrence of Big, Scary Disease from last year, check.
    -Thursday -- had consultation with tattoo artist (commemorating 1 year free of the above), check.

    Praise Zarquon, today be Friday!


  118. says


    BUT the assumption behind your maths is that this would be additional release of CO2. But I’m talking about animals we would be raising anyway. If I feed the grubs plastic and the grubs to the pigs I don’t need to produce pig fodder, which would again need resources to produce. I’m using something that is already there AND a huge problem.

    Sorry to say, but this argument does not hold water. The fodder produced from biomass -- for example grain -- is carbon neutral. The plants grown for fodder absorb carbon from the atmosphere and it is then released by the chicken back. If you produce the chicken fodder from plastic via grubs, the carbon thusly released into the atmosphere is always surplus, because you do not need to grow the plant fodder -- therefore the carbon that would get sucked out ot fhe atmoshpere for its production would stay there in the first place. Even if you leave the potential surplus land unmaintained as a wild pasture or similar, after 20 years at the most it will be also very nearly carbon neutral, even if you leave it overgrow with trees and bushes.

    First of all, they need land. And because you don’t want the landfill to be too close to your residential or commercial areas, you need to transport the stuff there.

    The same goes for waste collecting and disposal facilities of any kind, they also need land and people are not too thrilled about having them near home either. But the land use would be probably smaller than for a landfill. However the transport of the goods, whether to a landfill or to a grub/chicken farm, or to a heat/electricity producing facility is a variable that is present in all sides of this equatio. Therefore unless it ican be exactly quantified on each side to show how it differs for each solution -- for which I suspect neither of us has hard data to present in this discussion -- it can be omitted.

    The same goes for stuff getting lost or blown away (note: I wrote “properly designed and maintained landfill”). It can be blown away from a temporary storage facility as well. A much bigger problem for environment are local literrers than an ocasional plastic bag blown from a landfill -- just look at all the wrappers thrown in road ditches.

    As for fire hazards -- I wrote (now with emphassis) “Most problems with landfills are local. They are not locally small, trivial or irrelevant and they should be adressed accordingly. But globally speaking, landfills are actually a plus, because they do not aggravate global warming at such a rate as 1) or 2) would.” So unless you want to argue that all landfills would combust at the same time I do not see how it is a counterargument. And again, fire is a hazard at any storage/production facitlity as we both very well know.

    On a final note -- because I, personally, am dropping this -- I am not saying that landfills are a good thing. I am saying that they are the lesser of many evils. The only really overall good thing in this all really seems to be recycling. Thank you for your input, I will think about it more and will gladly read any articles that perform more in-depth analysis of this problematic, should anyone recommend any.

  119. says

    Saad, I can’t do that shit anymore, can’t stand it. The same assholes are saying the same asshole shit, and I have no tolerance for those who consistently stand for the rights of abusive people, while tossing the abused under every passing bus.

  120. says

    It’S really fucking aweful.
    I left a link there to an article which is a very good read on the issues and arguments behind this, but I doubt they’d consider the expert opinion of a mere humanities prof to be some sort of argument. After all they’re so totally logical.

  121. chigau (違う) says

    Free Speech Absolutism is lazy and/or cowardly.
    You never need to take a moral stand because it might violate someone’s right™ to say whateverthefuck they want.

  122. Saad says

    Caine, #166

    Yeah, I slipped up. I had started treating any blog entries that have to do with white people’s free speech like I treat YouTube videos: I don’t read the comments.

    Giliell, #168

    I saw that. I read that article when someone shared it on Facebook. Loved it.

  123. rq says

    All I can offer right now is my support. I’m about half-way through and I’m appalled, esp re: “there are principles more important than people committing violence” because WTF.
    Anyway, ♥ to you.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finished my trip to visit the parents in Michigan. Good to see them again. They’re looking awful frail, but they are in their late eighties. The beds at mom’s and the motel were hard. Home sweet waterbed for a good night’s sleep.

  125. says

    Glad you had a good time. Always remember, the bad beds at motels were much cheaper AND better than the non-existent beds at fyrefestival!

    Time for a break (for me) so you get entertained by my 7 year old being a smartass.
    Background: I kicked the family out for today because I have another extensive lesson plan to write (15 pages, one day, I’m cool). Mr’s working at the house, the kids are outside. They love to take about a ton of plushies, including some of mine, who get raked through a lot.
    This morning I overheard Mr and the little one talking about Krokuschel, my big plush krokofant with Mr arguing that she shouldn’t take my plushie for their day out.
    Shortly afterwards she came running to me.
    “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum! Krokuschel has to go to prison for TEN YEARS!”
    Me: “What? My Krokuschel? Never!”
    Her: “You’re right mum. Better she come with me and we go inline skating!”

    Of course she one. Because how can you not let her win when she tricks you so cleverly?

  126. says

    I’ve seen a bunch of photos from the failed fyrefest, and there were beds in those tents, with sheets and pillows, but of course, the whiny rich kids insist it’s just like a refugee camp.

  127. says

    Don’t forget the ballpits. Whoever was responsible for them was really dedicated. I mean, they didn’t have basic infrastructure in place*, I don’t want to even ask about sanitation, but somebody’s job was to make sure there wereballpits and they did make sure.

    *Holy fuck. I’ve helped organise camps for 200-400 people. I know how much work that is and how early you have to start. Even if you only need to ensure water, electricity and sanitation in an area with modern infrastructure in place it takes months of planning and booking in advance. From what I’ve read they kind of started from scratch a few weeks ago….

  128. says

    I have to say, that the “free speech absolutists” in the Ann Coulter thread are obtuse idiots closing their eyes on the reality in front of them. Whenever someone points out real world examples falsifying their statements or their implied conculsions, they shift the goal post. I have to admire the patience of some people.

  129. rq says

    The freezpreachers are doing a fine job of clarifying their true points, though -- pretty much the last comment I read a few minutes ago was an obvious admission that they believe hate speech does not cause any harm. What utter bullcrap.

  130. Kengi says

    Annalee Newitz over at Ars Technica has a review of the first few episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. The Handmaid’s Tale is the most horrific thing I have ever seen.

    One of the most exciting new science fiction shows on the Web right now isn’t exactly fun. The Handmaid’s Tale, currently streaming its first three episodes on Hulu, may repulse you, incense you, or just make you cry. But like a good workout that makes your muscles burn, the hurt of watching this series eventually results in something great.

  131. Kengi says

    Arrggh! CVS just called again for the second time today to have a machine tell me its time to reorder a prescription I already ordered and picked up earlier this week. No option for “Fuck off, go away”. Spent fifteen more minutes on the phone trying to get them to stop. Nothing can be done until Monday.

    Monday, however, I’ll be busy with the VA and three of dad’s doctors trying to get a new prescription for him filled. The VA wants me to physically go to three doctors (in three different towns), pick up three reports, then take them to the VA medical center (in a fourth town) in person. And I still don’t know what the co-pay is going to be. (Could be more than we can afford, which would make all of this pointless.)

    Never mind flying cars. I just want simple things to no longer be an enormous pain in the ass.

  132. says

    I loathe the way I have to fill my scrips anymore. Because codeine-based anything was rescheduled, docs are not allowed to prescribe with refills. You have to get a new fucking ‘scrip every month. Then, because pain clinic, I have to call the pharmacy every 21 days and ask them to send a refill request to the pain clinic (to be picked up 7 days later). I have to do that for 3 scrips, none of which are ever ready at the same effing time.

    Hate. Just hate it. Thanks ever, moronic “war on drugs”.

  133. Kengi says

    It’s been a long time since I had to deal with that crap (when my mother had cancer). I don’t imagine it’s become easier, and it looks like Sessions and team War On Drugs will just make it even more difficult.

  134. says


    obvious admission that they believe hate speech does not cause any harm

    That sentiment pops-up often. I do not understand how anyone can say and believe that, after we had a whole effing world war of unprecedented proportions instigated, started and maintained due to hate speech. And that very war is the reason why all European countries that I know of have some laws against such speech. As, you know, form of learning from past mistakes and all that. The reasonable and rational thingy.

  135. says

    obvious admission that they believe hate speech does not cause any harm

    Yeah, they simultaneously believe that free speech is the highest good ever, more important than the right to life and that it is also totally unimportant.
    Religious people, you know…

  136. says

    Yes, I did it! Due time: 12:00, upload time 11:37.
    That’s after I was ready to upload by 11:10 but then noticed that my file was 15 mb and maximum size is 5 mb and I fucking hated everyone involved at that time, especially since the damn program only allows me to upload from my mobile which means mailing myself the file and then downloading it so I can upload?

  137. says

    I’m pretty sure they want my work to magically appear on their desks.

    Ye gods, I need a break and by that I mean a real one,not just stealing some 10 minutes on the web.
    When you start printing in blue backgrounds instead of just using blue paper you’re definitely overworked.

  138. says

    Almost done re-planting the trees. Almost. There is still some work for May left.
    So tired. So much work still to do. So tired…

  139. says

    Well, I’ll just go to bed and have a good cry, I guess.
    Tomorrow’s that fucking exam/test/thingy and today nothing worked.
    You know, I’m a control freak. I always shake my head at people who do things last second because there’s always something that can go wrong.
    I always have a new toner cartridge ready because wouldn’t it be really bad if you needed to print something but your toner is empty? That’s how life kicks idiots.
    Now with smart people who always have an extra ready, life kicks them by making sure the new one is broken….
    I’m just glad it’s the third lesson tomorrow and not the first so I can print shit in school but still, going to be with things not being ready isn’t what I was planning to do.

  140. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @194

    Hoping that things will work tomorrow. I rhink you’ll have the fight in you.

  141. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 193

    Yay for progress! I think I’m going to replant my herbs next week.

    I hope I don’t catch any new diseases by then, the erysipelas (fairly painless now luckily) is still there and I have a flu/bronchitis with temperature despite being on antibiotics. Fairly minor stuff compared with what other people have, but it still sucks.

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My yard has five years of neglect I need to change. I see weeding and much mulch in my future.

  143. says

    Yay, I made it!
    It wasn’t brilliant but OK. Leaves me something to work on.
    I got attested that I am good with children. Hehehe. Mine are still alive, I think that settles the question.
    Funny moment: Our language assistant and a friend recorded the text for me. In the meeting afterwards my instructor commented that he was “amazed at a 9 year old shopkeeper”. Only about 10 years short…

  144. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell, congrats!

    I take it this was one big step on the way to become a Officially Fully Competent and Certified Teacher?

  145. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Applause to Giliell. Finishing a long task is always rewarding, more ways than one. I found my days as an academic very rewarding.

  146. rq says

    Well done, Giliell!

    I got attested that I am good with children. Hehehe. Mine are still alive, I think that settles the question.

    That’s what it should come down to. :D “If I haven’t murdered the little beasts who live with me, I think the ones I spend a few hours a day with will be fine!!”

  147. chigau (違う) says

    I would like to stop being angry
    is there somewhere I can move to?

  148. rq says

    Lately I’m angry and tired, though the anger could just be an extended period of frustration that has become overly annoying. Or something. But my negative aura is practically visible to the naked eye.

    I have this rum that has your name on it.
    Here. Have some.

  149. StevoR says

    Informative, thought-provoking and well-written article posted on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog yesterday :

    WARNING : WMD test footage Potentially upsetting / confronting and terrifying. WMD test footage.

    Have we become complacent and forgetful about the impact and potential these devices have -- and the consequences should they ever be used?

    Grew up in the shadow of The Bomb. Visited Hiroshima. Thought maybe finally we’d learnt better than to ever use them but now?

  150. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Tonight should be interesting. I have circa thirty 12-18 gallon tubs of yarn that is the Redhead Yarn Collection. I’ll take two tubs to her monthly Stitch and Share meeting to share. Hopefully, the tubs will be lighter on the return trip.

  151. Ice Swimmer says

    *Cuts ice cream and places it in cups and pours black rhum agricole on it.* Help yourselves!


    Saw a red fox that was either black or a cross between red and black colour types.

    Also saw a crow walking on a floating raft of reeds, very carefully,​ while pecking for something in the water or between the dead reeds.

  152. Ice Swimmer says

    Nerd of Redhead @ 210

    That’s a considerable amount of yarn. Hoping it will be well-received! My warm thoughts!

  153. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Partial success giving away yarn. Took two full tubs to the meeting, returned with only one full tub. Progress. Try again next month, and the months thereafter.

  154. chigau (違う) says

    My mother knits hats and mittens for a charity.
    Every few weeks she gets a bag of wool and returns completed items which the charity gives to them as need it.

  155. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Congrats, Giliell. I should read this thread more often to keep up with folks.

  156. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I am writing a post extending on my recent story of Amy Guy’s experience, her pressure for changing rape law in NC, and Jeff Jackson’s failed senate bill.

    I wanted to quote this comment from the Why, Why, Why? thread of three years ago. If you have any reluctance or objection, would you let me know? Thanks.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, spent the afternoon looking at my options for the flower/shrub gardens out front. Being a lazy gardener, I was looking at adding some perennials for color and ground cover. The choice of plants at the local big-box hardware store left something to be desired. Unless I was taken in by the name, a “Captain Kirk Hosta”. Sigh, looks like I need to expand my search.
    Also, interested in some Roma Tomato Plants, for urns in the back yard where it is reasonably sunny. Half a roma tomato goes into my salads.

  158. says

    Urgh, I need a break.
    I’ll get one next weekend. A full da or so. Today’s reserved for grading. I’m actually thankful for the guy who handed in an empty test saying “I don’t need this class anyway”.

    So far congratulations are only for continued survival. I got a “beyond expectations” for Spanish, mainly because the first “teaching under supervision” was a complete disaster (to which I admit), but right now we all have the feeling that our supervisors already expect us to be perfect, not trainees.
    What is also fuck annoying is the undoable recommendations: Try things out, evaluate if it worked and why not, try again.
    No shit, Sherlock, that’s good advice if you manage to actually get a few hours of teaching done. I haven’t seen that particular Spanish group since March and the normal teacher will understandably not let me teach for the next two weeks because they have a test to write.
    I have seen my own group twice since March and we also wrote the now to be graded test. We have a whomping 7 classes left before summer…

    I see a lot of very “elegant” front gardens like this becoming popular. They are a lot of work at the start but probably not much later.
    They’re not exactly my cup of tea, but I guess they’re a very neat solution if you don’t actually enjoy gardening.
    As for tomatoes: Make sure you either get a breed resistant to this fucker or make sure they don’t get direct rainwater.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Giliell, I’m not that averse to some gardening.
    What I have two areas out front that need some work. There is a ~6’X12″ tulip/lily bed that needs some fill-in, and an area near the house underneath two big spruce trees that need weeding/round-up, and some fill-in and mulch. Both areas are in shade, even though they are on the south side of the house (a couple of maple trees in the parkway [area between the street and the sidewalk] block the sun). I’m not very worried about the tulip/lily bed, as I can fill in with annuals this year while I contemplate what I want to do, as the lilies aren’t very tall.
    The Redhead was one who took care of the flowers (I was limited to hole digging and watering). She bordered the area under the spruces with well-spaced hydrangeas, and it is the empty area between the hydrangeas and the house that I was looking to fill. The area is approx. the size of the tulip/lily bed. I was thinking of two or three rows of perennials with increasing plant/flower height so all can be seen from the sidewalk. The city is persnickety about weeds, and I checked to make sure I wouldn’t run afoul of the 10″ rule. Flower beds are exempted. I would like the back row to be Astilbe, which has very colorful flowers.

  160. says

    I love all kinds of hortensia (and I am mighty sad they all froze to death this spring). What is also nice are shrubberies with colourful leaves as many flowers don’t bloom all year round.

    Well, I like not having a fascist dictatorship being installed next door…

  161. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 224

    And I like not having one more fascist dictatorship on the same planet. Hope the National Assembly elections will go well, though I don’t know what would be a good result in them. On the other hand I know what would be a bad one…

    From the Wikipedia, it seems that the French National Assembly elections are like 577 miniature (French or Finnish) presidential elections, with the first round for all candidates and the runoff for two getting most votes if nobody gets over 50 % in the first round. So far this hasn’t exactly favoured the nazis.

  162. Kengi says

    Washington Post Article from a couple of days ago. Islamic State magazine steers followers to U.S. gun shows for ‘easy’ access to weapons

    Oh, the conservative outcry over terrorists potentially coming in as a refugee, which has never happened and never will because it’s so much easier to get in using other methods that don’t require two freaking years of vetting. But when IS tells it’s people to use gun control loopholes, where is the outrage from those same idiots? Assholes.

  163. StevoR says

    As i guess you’ve all heard now, Sense and Humanity* not far-reich fascist extremism has prevailed in the French election. Looks like the tide of right-wing cruel and simple-minded populism sweeping the Western world in recent times has hopefully, finally peaked and is now receding :

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité -- et merci beaucoup -- rationalitie!

    Le Phew! (Parlez francais mais unper -- 3 years at high school decades ago.)

    (See also :,_%C3%A9galit%C3%A9,_fraternit%C3%A9 )

    Quote of the day by Mally Vee on Jim Wright’s facebook thread on the French election :
    ENGLAND: Oh shit, we accidentally left the EU. That’s gotta be the dumbest move a country’s ever made.
    AMERICA: Hold my beer.
    FRANCE (& Netherlands -ed.) : No thanks, we’re good.

    * Capitalisation deliberate.

    In other more distant and astronomical news it seems that Jupiter has a fuzzy core -as well as unexpectedly irregular and powerful magnetic fields and earth-sized ammonia cyclones galore -- with more data to come from the next Juno perijove pass on May 19th :

    NB. Article is from May 3rd but have only just seen now. Hope folks here find it interesting.

  164. says

    Oh gods I’m so tired.
    Today was school excursion day and I went hiking with a colleague and a 7th grade. A fit 7th grade. A fit colleague. They practically ran the whole way. It was a nice hike, I would have like to have more time looking and taking pics (I got a few nice ones). It was somewhere between 12 and 15km in 3.5 hours….

  165. says

    Giliell, I haven’t been out on a nice walk, let alone a good hike in so long, I’d probably collapse at that rate.

  166. says

    I am getting seriously tired of the 40 inches of maintenance on my head. Rick knows, too, but hasn’t said anything. Poor man, he’s terrified he’s going to come home one week and find me with a shaved head.

  167. Ice Swimmer says

    Tuesday was yet another crazy weather day. A bit sunshine, clouds, cold temperatures and snowing (although the snow would melt immediately on the ground). I’m starting wonder whether it will snow more in the summer than in the winter.

    I’ve been stocking up on soil, got 12 liters on Monday and 12 liters on Tuesday. Still not sure if that’s enough for replanting all the herbs.

    Giliell @ 230

    The terraín wasn’t too flat, either? I think I’d be quite pooped in the end.

  168. rq says

    It’s been a while since I pulled an all-nighter at work -- thank you, European angina (for all you ziemeļAmerikāners, that’s strep throat). The only thing that worries me is the drive home: summer tires and (yes! true!) below 0 temperatures. I’m counting on May to save me, though -- by the time 5AM rolls around, there should be enough sun up to deal with the frost.

  169. says

    It seems that the Irish police can’t find any more than one god botherer who was offended by Stephen Fry’s views on their local deity. So they’ve had to drop the blasphemy case. Guardian link.

  170. Ice Swimmer says

    There seems to be no newer blog post (the newest is from April 17th, had to use Google Translate even for that) in his blog than his newest comment here in TNET.

  171. chigau (違う) says

    Because someone in the room had never seen it, today we watched Tampopo.
    What a wonderful movie.

  172. says

    Hello. I was away, in the mountains. We meet with my friends from the studies at the university a few times a year (usually once on new year celebration and then sedond time in May we go hiking somewhere). This year we were second time in Krkonoše. The hiking was less serious this year, only about 15 km a day or less, because almost everybody has children now. Anyway, I have just spent five days either traveling, or hiking, talking with the few friends in meat-space I have, or being tired in a mountain hotel with lousy internet connection.
    I got a few pictures, but only taken on my phone. I did not wish to lug my heavy camera around and I am glad I did not because the weather was lousy and no really pretty pictures would result anyways. What I have I will share, after I sort out the usefull from the unfocused crap.

  173. rq says

    Hey, Charly! Sounds like you had a pretty good time anyway.
    re: calendar months
    I know the Lithuanians use their traditional names for months, too, they’re quite interesting and confusing. I know the traditional Latvian ones, but they’re not in common use -- and I have mixed feelings. I mean, “the14th day of the month of the Wolf” has a nice ring to it, but “the 9th day of the month of the Sprout” sounds slightly less glorious. :D


    I will share a couple of photos later, but coming home this morning from work, had a moment of magic with a hedgehog. I held it in my hands. It was magic, and absolutely adorable.

  174. Ice Swimmer says

    charly, rq @ 240 -- 41

    In Finnish we also use non-Latin month names. May is, for example toukokuu, which means the month of doing toukotyöt (= ploughing, sowing the grain and harrowing).

    The Czech weekdays seem have Slavic, not Germanic names. Finnish uses Nordic/Germanic-derived weekdays, but I think East Karelian (the language closest to Finnish) uses the Slavic ones, at least in this song, in which they’re asking a blonde with red cheeks, when the guests are coming (the “blackhead” on Friday, her brother on Saturday and her fiancée on Sunday), what kind of hospitality they should receive and where they should sleep.

  175. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Welcome back Charly!
    Busy day getting ready for a second trip to Michigan for a Memorial Service. The roma and cherry tomatoes are in pots in the sun (purchased the day after a what is now late frost in the area), the lawn is mowed so the neighbors won’t hold a lynching in my honor, and the shade perennials are purchased and ready for planting when I get back. If I can dig holes through the root systems of the spruce trees and yew bushes to do so.
    Now waiting for the predicted rain, coming into the area from the west. Go Tomatoes!

  176. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My new car came with 3-month trial offer from SiriusXM satellite radio. I was never able to access the service other than their one “trial” channel. I didn’t give a shit about their trial channel, but rather being a fan of jazz, wanted access to maybe 4 channels from their entire offerings. Which never seemed to be accessible. Now they are hounding me to subscribe to their service. The problem was that they didn’t allow me to access my channels of choice during their “trial period”. Therefore, the middle finger salute to their service.
    Either offer your entire service, or shut the fuck up.

  177. says

    Just got back home, long day at the pain clinic, with a brief 45 minute detour to Goodwill, got some great shoes. I am now gonna feed rats before they start a revolution, and collapse. Might be a bit of a slow start in the morning.

  178. jimb says

    Nerd @ 244:
    That sucks. My experience, with a used car, was the exact opposite. Used the trial when I drove from NorCal to Austin last summer. (That, plus the Audible version of Ready, Player One -- read by Wil Wheaton! -- helped make the drive not that horrible.)

    But they do like to bug you about subscribing after the trial period, that’s for sure.

  179. Kengi says

    Viva la revolución! (I bet the tiny little Che Guevara mustache would be so darn cute on one of the rats…) Hope you quell the rebellion and get some rest.

  180. chigau (違う) says

    If the sun actually shines bright tomorrow, I shall take pictures of the cherry blossoms.

  181. says

    It’s my 10th wedding anniversary today!
    And Mr is even home. Unfortunately I still have like two hours of work ahead of me tonight.
    But on Saturday we’ll go to the spa and sleep in the hotel close to it so we can stay for as long as we like.

  182. says

    Oy, I went outside to take the shoe pics, and wasn’t out for 30 seconds before I saw an effing tick crawling up my leg, now I have phantom tick syndrome. I hate those things.

  183. rq says

    phantom tick syndrome

    Ooooh maaaaan. I’m more of the phantom flea syndrome type, but I get it.
    Currently convinced the kitchen is drowning in a sea of ants, because it’s spring and I saw an ant in the kitchen two days ago and a couple of years ago we had a near-infestation.

  184. Ice Swimmer says

    Congratulations, Giliell and Mr! Enjoy your little getaway in water, hot air, by white tablecloths and in a cozy bed.

  185. says

    phantom tick syndrome

    Ooooh maaaaan. I’m more of the phantom flea syndrome type, but I get it.

    Phantom lice.
    I only have to hear somebody within 50 km mention them and my scalp starts itching. Even though I’ve never ever had lice…

    Thanks, everyboy.

    Sometimes I think that not actually living together contributes greatly to marital happiness. Especially on the rare occasions when you’re inclined towards some unkind deeds but are separated by 100km.

  186. rq says

    What you do with distance, we manage with time and non-compatible work hours. :) Still an accomplishment, go you two!

  187. says

    Having a lot of space and time apart kept us together. I’d go crazy and homicidal with someone who just had to be with me every 5 bloody seconds. We wouldn’t have made 5 years at that rate, and we had our 38th this March.

  188. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Conga-rats on your Tenth Anniversary Giliell. Hope there are many more to come.

  189. Ice Swimmer says

    So, absence actually makes the heart grow fonder for many people.

    Herbs have made me do crazy things. Having acquired more than enough soil and a cheap plastic storage box for doing the replanting without making a huge mess, I proceeded to do the replanting, starting at 11 pm and getting ready at 6 am. Now it’s done, to the extent feasible, apart from covering the soil with pebbles in the pots where chives are growing. In order to do anything else, I’ll have to make more room and get new pots.

  190. says

    @Giliell, congratulations.

    @Giliell, rq -- It seems there is something to the Fred Colons recipe for happy marriage. Even Colons kids were possibly conceived through extremely passionate written notes left on the kitchen table :)

  191. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    So, absence actually makes the heart grow fonder for many people.

    It’s not that as such. Being on top of one another all the time, and all the little things get seriously magnified, and start making you more than a bit crazy, more willing to pick at them, and as Giliell noted, much more willing to be unkind. It’s easier to be negative when you are with someone constantly. Time outs are a good thing -- there’s a reason people give them to kids.

  192. rq says

    Even Colons kids were possibly conceived through extremely passionate written notes left on the kitchen table

    Hmmmm… See, there’s a few times where it’s actually better to be together. ;)

    Ice Swimmer
    Pretty much what Caine said about time-outs. Some of us impulsive types have a habit of loudly expressing the first opinion that enters their head (believe me, I’ve gotten better). Being forced into thinking about it first, until the other person is within hearing, tends to soften things.
    Also I’m just bad at being around people all the time outside of official work hours, like weekends and stuff.

  193. rq says

    Kids got into a fight this morning, eyes were scratched, blood was nearly drawn, many tears were shed. Over what?

    “Which fish was the most predatory in prehistoric times, Megalodon or Megapiranha?”
    I told them scientists don’t act like that, they hold civil discussions with convincing arguments, and arguments like ‘You’re stupid and ignorant!’ and ‘But I’m already in school and you’re not!’ don’t count. Please nobody tell them I’m wrong until they’re older.
    (Besides, they were arguing different definitions of ‘predatory’; I told them to sort that out, too.)

  194. says


    “Which fish was the most predatory in prehistoric times, Megalodon or Megapiranha?”

    Hee. Given what PZ has said about arguments at conferences, he’d love that! At least they are arguing over something good.

  195. says

    That was interesting. I went to put soap in the laundry machine, and an ant was in the very wet softener compartment. He/She seemed most grateful for the rescue.

  196. says


    Being forced into thinking about it first, until the other person is within hearing, tends to soften things.

    Yeah. If Rick had been home when I discovered that he had pushed a silk vest and a cashmere sweater of mine aside, crumpled, to pile up toilet paper, I would have torn his fucking head off.

  197. rq says

    Husband has many times escaped my wrath simply by being absent. Usually by the time he gets home, I’m at the “Can you please not do that?” stage. Gritted teeth optional.

  198. chigau (違う) says

    For my bedtime reading, I have chosen Cofessions of a Prairie Bitch.
    this is a re-read but … what a bad idea. I will be awake and reading until past midnight

  199. says

    Father is today in hospital for some minor hearh surgery. I just received the info that the surgery is finished, he is OK and he feells well. Maybe he will be back home tomorrow. I hope.

  200. says


    I just received the info that the surgery is finished, he is OK and he feells well. Maybe he will be back home tomorrow. I hope.

    Glad to hear he’s okay, that sort of thing is so worrying.

    Speaking of health issues, there will be some absences on my part soon, the specter of colon cancer has arisen. Nothing major right now, tests are coming up, you know, those not all embarrassing kind (yeah, right), and all that jazz. I’ll try to keep the flow of things going here, and let everyone know if I’ll be gone for a day or more at a time.

  201. says

    Chigau, I loved that book!


    Ronja hates tulips. It’s like a botanical bloodbath out there.

    How odd. It does make me wonder just what it is that dogs smell that we are incapable of picking up. Maybe they smell good, like dead fish or something, so they are to be chomped and rolled upon.

  202. rq says


    Thumbs on hold for you.
    As for the tulips, well, who knows? She likes digging up random-seeming patches of lawn, too. It’s a dog’s mind. *shrug* I’m just sorry for my tulips, not that I had a lot of effort invested in them. Things will be different if she goes after the roses…

  203. StevoR says

    ^ WARNING Rape, torture, confronting & upsetting stories on that link my, apologies should have added to above comment but stuffed up. Feel free to correct and edit here accordingly.

  204. jimb says

    Glad to hear your dad is doing OK, Charly

    Caine @ 273:

    tests are coming up, you know, those not all embarrassing kind (yeah, right)

    Just had my first encounter with this earlier in the year. Fortunately, nothing to worry about. Hopefully you’ll have a similar outcome.

    I’ll try to keep the flow of things going here


  205. says

    Jim, oh, I didn’t even realize the punnification there! That’s embarrassing. Goes well with the upcoming colonoscopy, I suppose. “Look at those intestines, they’re filthy! Don’t you ever clean?” :D I’m glad to hear yours went well. I don’t think I have much to worry over, but there is a heavy history of colon cancer in my family (among the male side), so best to be safe. If you have to have cancer, it’s one of the better ones, with a high cure rate. Can’t say I’d be overly happy about being bald, but it’s just hair. At any rate, it may not come to that.

  206. jimb says

    Unintentional puns are sometimes the best ones.

    Definitely best to be safe, with family history.

    If you have to have cancer, it’s one of the better ones, with a high cure rate.

    Pretty much exactly what I’ve said the last 20+ years after having thyroid cancer.

  207. says


    Pretty much exactly what I’ve said the last 20+ years after having thyroid cancer.

    Nothing like a win in the cancer department!

    I’d be much more worried about rectal cancer than colon. Amazing the difference in cure between those two.

  208. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I had the embarrassing scope treatment a few years ago. The prep was worse than the actual probe (mild anesthesia) and aftermath.

    It appears that trips to Michigan cause me to lose weight. So far, 2 for 2.

  209. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Lake effect weight loss?

    Who knows?
    I’m finally getting around to removing the gazebo frame that took a hit from a large limb off a backyard maple tree several years back. The tree had to be removed before the garage took a hit too. Didn’t get a chance to dismantle the frame prior to the Redhead’s stroke.
    There are some large paver blocks for the gazebo floor that are still in place. The tomato planters are on the pavers since it is sunny back there most of the day. Maybe I’ll put the fountain up again now that there is room for it, as the birds liked it.

  210. says

    HI folks
    I’m still alive-ish.
    This teacher training thing is the worst thing ever. Apparently I can do nothing right.
    At least that means I can just stop worrying. I’ll do my best and if they decide to kill my career it’s what they’ll do.

  211. says


    I’ll do my best and if they decide to kill my career it’s what they’ll do.

    They won’t. No fun if they don’t grill you to death though, yeah? Have a nice glass of wine or summat.

  212. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For those of you in the US approaching your 65th birthday, be aware that there are an awful lot of scams that call you about your situation. Today, I have received four calls from a group with the same name, but different area codes, trying to do something dealing with me turning 65 and being on medicare in the near future. Since I am hyper suspicious of anybody who calls me without me calling them first, it took me only the first call to figure out it was “spam”. Received three more calls using the same caller ID, but different area codes. Reverse phone numbers confirmed spam. One got out I was approaching my 65th birthday according to their records. I was approaching my 65th over two years ago, so I said he was a liar, good bye! The last one, I simply said they were a scam, Good Bye!
    Be Prepared!

  213. rq says

    The plague curses us again. Yesterday we got back to normal scheduling, and it was such a relief… So I guess the child consensus was that someone has to take up the disease relay, which Middle Child has done with gusto.

    On the plus side, work lets me (a) rearrange my schedule, (b) take time off if I need it and (c) not be scared of getting fired because of either previous point. So I kind of win anyway.

  214. chigau (違う) says

    Who needs petri dishes when you have children who play with other children?

  215. rq says

    My daytime viewing has changed, though -- from Lego Nexo Knights and TMNT to… River Monsters!!! The more predators, the better.

  216. says


    They won’t. No fun if they don’t grill you to death though, yeah?

    They might. They can. It’s some consolation that we all feel like this and that all the former trainees say “Yes, that’s exactly how we felt at that point as well.”
    On the other hand it also makes me fucking angry. Why the fuck would you do this to people? Why make your future colleagues despair, feel use and worthless?
    This morning it struck me that yes, this is actually triggering for me. It’s like being 6, 10, 16 years again and never good enough.
    That makes it harder on the one hand, but also easier on the other, because I understand the power play at work and also that I cannot make the difference. It’S not me, it’s them.

    Best wishes for Middle child. The little one had a one das cold this week.

  217. says

    @Giliell my sympathies. I do not remember anything like this from my studies to become a teacher, just the standard stress and freaking out like in any other univerity studies. It seems we have probably very different system to Germany.

  218. says

    The university part was ok. Now it’s the “hands on training part” which is beyond pale. Just to illustrate how fucked up they are in their demands: The group before us included a woman who had fallen in love with a Brit during her studies, finished her studies in the UK, done her teacher training in the UK, worked as a teacher in the UK for 9 years. With Brexit and her kids having to start school and everything the family decided to move to Germany. She had to do that entire thing again because they didn’t accept her British qualification.
    For one thing, success seems to be mostly guessing what your instructor wants and also doing some serious magic (I have not yet seen a lesson from either one of my instructors that would pass muster if one of us did it). Furthermore you’re under constant exam stress. It’s 6 “big” and 10-12 “small” audits in 12 months. Of course three of those 12 months are holidays and of the remaining nine there’s again like two months if you add all the holidays and sports days and what have you got days. Makes around 18 audits in 7-8 months…

  219. says


    She had to do that entire thing again because they didn’t accept her British qualification.

    That’s standard here. I’ve known plenty of people who had excellent credentials from their birth country. Emigrate to uStates, nope, no good. Do the whole thing over or no. One friend was a physician in his late 30s, ffs, and he was not about to go back to medical school. His wife was a fully qualified music teacher. She worked as a bank teller, and he worked as a tech in a lab.

  220. says

    Germany is pretty good in recognising foreign degrees from universities or school leaving certs. I know because that was one of our jobs when I still worked with the young refugees: see if they have any documents, get them translated and then get them recognised. At least it is now. I think they learned from turning highly qualified Russians into unskilled labour. Also, the evil EU is pretty strict about these things. But not this, nonono, because it’s a specially protected area.

  221. says

    @Giliell, it sounds terrible, maybe it is justified, but it seems over the top on a glance. We had a few semesters of psychology and pedagogy and after that, If my memory serves right, our practical teaching consisted of observing 20 hours of teaching classes lead by expereienced teachers, and then 20 hours of teaching under supervision in our last year. For me this was very difficult, beacause we had to do it in 2 weeks and I was sick one of them, so I had to squeeze everything into one week. And 20 teaching hours in one week is a lot, especially for a rookie who does it for the first time.
    After that we had to go to a school and teach there for (I think, it is almost twenty years in the past) a few weeks in normal teaching regime under supervision.

    And we had pretty good educational system back then. It only started to go dowhnill after the teaching jobs got such a bad pay, that most of competent young people who learned the job went to private sector for better pay. And it still did not recover from that blow.

    Incidentally, I think that german schools sort children into different educational systems that determine their futures (as in if they can apply for university degree) way too soon. I know a few people who made the wrong detour at 10 years age and hat to go through extremely difficult loops at 20 to correct that.

    I got asked a few times by my colleagues why I never tried to apply for a teaching job in Germany. My answers were twofold -- it would be difficult to learn all the terminology in another language, and I am not alltogether sure my degree would be recognized . Well, now I know my degree would not be recognized and I would have to put up with something that seems more like a rite of passage than training.

  222. says


    Incidentally, I think that german schools sort children into different educational systems that determine their futures (as in if they can apply for university degree) way too soon.

    It fucking does. Guess where the children who get sorted into the “lesser schools” come from… I’m pro comprehensive schools and the fucking elitism of the Gymnasium (That’S not a gym, people) makes me sick…

    it sounds terrible, maybe it is justified, but it seems over the top on a glance.

    Do you mean the not-accepting-British-qualification thing? That person aced the whole trainee thing. We all suck because we’re somehow magically supposed to already know and be able to instead of learn and grow. She knew…

  223. StevoR says

    @290. Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk :

    HI folks. I’m still alive-ish

    Giliell, you rock and for whatever little it may be worth I’m glad you are around. World needs more like you in it -- and also especially you in it. Thankyou.

  224. StevoR says

    NB. # 306 second link Pell bit starts at the 11 minutes thirty seconds mark approx.

  225. says

    And now to something completely different.
    I fucking love American Gods. Can all the idiots producing Game of Thrones please watch it and learn that
    1. Naked men exist
    2. There are people who like looking at naked men and they are probably around 50% of the population
    3. There exists sex that is actually sex and not rape.

  226. says


    3. There exists sex that is actually sex and not rape.

    Hearing about the rapiness of GoT prevented me from reading any of the books, and same goes for the TV show. I have enough to deal with, without getting involved with purposeful rapiness. I did read an article once where Martin defended it, saying those times were brutal, and yeah, but…there was plenty of happy sex in those brutal times, too, more of that than rape.

  227. rq says

    1. Naked men exist
    2. There are people who like looking at naked men and they are probably around 50% of the population
    3. There exists sex that is actually sex and not rape.

    Hrrrm yeeesss (*smirk*) and there is also gay sex, and I was side-eying Husband’s face during that scene just to gauge reaction, because that is certainly not something commonly seen so explicitly on TV in our usual viewing. “Huh, this is a first” was the only comment.

    those times were brutal

    To this I say: Yes, and? I hate that fucking excuse: nothing else in your society is mapped one-to-one, so why is the misogyny so important to portray so goddamn accurately?
    I do watch GoT, I will admit. But the longer it goes on, the more I’m preparing for the disappoint. And you know how sometimes someone gives you a gift they obviously thought would please you, but just goes to show that they don’t really know what you like at all? Yeah, the most recent season had some scenes that felt a lot like that: here’s some strong women, enjoy that, see, we’re all about strong women, too! It’s not that they were bad, they were just off somehow.

    Anyway, I’d much rather talk about American Gods. :) And naked people having consensual sex.

  228. says

    those times were brutal

    I remember once seeing a (I think) BBC documentary about how those Neanderthaler genes ended up in our genome and they had actual anthropologists discuss the “rape hypothesis”. Her take was more or less this: 99.9% of sex is consensual. Rape doesn’t increase the chances of the offspring surviving, on the contrary, so the best hypothesis is that they simply hooked up with each other.
    It’S always frightening to encounter men who think that all that’s between all men and rape is a thin veneer of civilisation.

  229. Ice Swimmer says

    This looks like an interesting Youtube video from Burkina Faso, albeit a bit long:

    Smelting Iron in Africa

    One has to appreciate how much hard work goes into making iron without modern machinery.

  230. Ice Swimmer says

    Trigger warning about the video: About 52 -- 55 minutes from the start, a chicken is killed as a sacrifice.

  231. Kengi says

    Interesting video, though unevenly edited. Lots of unanswered questions during the construction of the furnace with many aspects kind of glossed over, and then long stretches of men pumping bellows with little bits of useful information added just to make it difficult to fast-forward.

    Still, very interesting. Lots of knowledge goes into such an operation.

  232. says


    Dunno, am I the female equivalent of dudes who watch lesbian porn?

    This relates to one of my “OMFG the toxic masculinity is even deeper than I thought” moments.

    I have never watched GoT and I do not intend to watch American Gods either but I remember one discussion I had with some of my friends about the former two years ago. The gist of the discussion was that they all decided to give it a try because they heard it is “hot” and were disappointed by some random episode they just stumbled upon because there was almost no skin shown and the sex was disappointing. And one of them then said that the worse are the scenes of two men making out. Many other men grunted with apprehension of that observation, to which I replied (gist, not exact quote), “Well, straight men like you are not the only ones watching it, gay men also exist, and maybe some straight women liked those scenese. Why should the director cater only to straight men tastes?”

    All I got to that were blank stares of incomprehension from men and silence form the women. The point seemed to fly over many heads. It may have sunk in later on in some of them, but probably not all.

  233. rq says

    am I the female equivalent of dudes who watch lesbian porn?

    Can’t answer for you, but I might be.

    Been there, done that. ;)

  234. Ice Swimmer says

    Kengi @ 319

    Yes, the part where the men pumped the bellows was a bit long. I posted the link about 15 -- 20 minutes in watching the video for the first time.

    About 12 kg of iron was produced with at least 4 -- 5 long days of work (in a space of some two weeks) by multiple people. My uneducated guess would be a three-figure number of person-hours of work for 12 kg of iron. That’s expensive. Not sure how many termite-hours it takes to repair the termite hills.

  235. says

    And one of them then said that the worse are the scenes of two men making out. Many other men grunted with apprehension of that observation, to which I replied (gist, not exact quote), “Well, straight men like you are not the only ones watching it, gay men also exist, and maybe some straight women liked those scenese.

    Dunno, maybe it’s that when you’Re not a raving homophobe, it’s not so much particular settings, but scenes being damn hot*?
    I still vividly remember one of the hottest scenes I ever saw: Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas in Interview with a Vampire. There was no sex, no, naked skin, they hardly touched each other but damn was there a tension in the air.

    *Which is, AFAIK the reason why those horrible “gay tests” fail.

  236. StevoR says

    DOCO ALERT : (For Adelaide definitely, maybe all Oz?)


    Message From Mungo Sunday, 21 May 8:30 PM -- 9:50 PM [80 mins] pg Award winning story of the interaction between scientists and the Custodians of Indigenous heritage at Lake Mungo, one of the worlds richest archaeological sites.

    Film by Andrew Pike & Ann McGrath.

    Haven’t seen but sounds like will be quite good. Sorry about the short notice. (‘Bout half hour’s time away here.) There’s a replay at 111.30 am tomorrow morning & should be available online via SVS On demand afterwards too.

  237. Kengi says

    Ice Swimmer @ 322

    The person-hours involved were certainly extreme and makes you realize the amount of time that must be made available for such a task. Certainly more expensive than salvaging the iron from a crashed automobile! But it demonstrates the complexity of a culture capable of performing such tasks in the distant past, as well as the value that must have been placed on the tools and weapons created using such methods.

    And again, the sheer amount of accumulated knowledge is staggering. Imagine the amount of time and effort that originally went into developing those methods, much through trial and error. Then organizing a system for training others and passing the knowledge on. And then organizing a large enough production system for steady output and supporting all the people involved in an ongoing basis.

    It reminded me of my own “Aha!” moment in an anthropology course as I finally realized just how complex ancient cultures were. It was the last time I ever called such cultures “primitive”.

    Greg Laden did an interesting post on this concept several years ago. Primitive Cultures are Simple, while Civilization is Complex.

  238. Ice Swimmer says

    Kengi @ 325

    I think, I’m starting to catch your point. Knowledge accumulated during multiple lifetimes and skills acquired during one are considerable, even in so-called primitive cultures as is the need to organize the work. And the work to build the know-how wasn’t just hard, it was also hazardous and complicated. Many must have gotten badly burned and killed by the molten slag splashing from failed kilns/furnaces for example.

  239. says

    Oh, I recently did a “historical hiking” trip through the backyard woods. I knew some things about life 2000 years ago, but the amount not only of technology (making iron as well) but also kind of “industrialisation” amazed me. There was a small factory that made earthenware to sell it to the people who came to the temple and burial site for their offerings. They were put out of business when cheaper stuff came from the Mediterranean.

  240. says

    I enjoyed the video of smelting iron in Africa and it actually reminded me that what we call “primitive cultures” were/are in fact cultures with incredible ammount of knowledge and skill.
    I also noticed the similarity between this smelting method and that used by japanese smiths to make steel for their katanas, which is rather interesting.
    And I was inevitably saddened when I read the comments and noticed that the author of the video has to moderate them because of flaming racists who did not seem to note either of those two points.

  241. Ice Swimmer says

    On a completely different note, went to sauna and swimming in the sea for the first time in about two months. Now it’s also the first time in two months I’ve felt properly clean. Loved both sauna and swimming and dining after the sauna felt wonderful.

    I just might collapse into my bed.

  242. rq says

    They were put out of business when cheaper stuff came from the Mediterranean.

    And they say immigration, cheap imports and globalization are a new phenomenon. Pffft.

  243. chigau (違う) says

    So this happened:
    the house to the south was demolished
    this included the removal of 5 forty-foot trees which have been excluding sunlight to my garden…(I have whinged about this for yeeeeeears)
    now I have sunlight…
    I just hope I have enough water

  244. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Had a break in the rainy weather, and finally was able to finish up the dismantling of the gazebo frame. It wasn’t blocking the tomato plants from the sun, but was a symbol of an old neglected job getting done; one of many. Should be able to get the fountain up this week as I found the parts and don’t have to worry about hitting my head on crumpled frame. Then on to the shady perennials out front. Then???

  245. Kengi says

    Still thinking about that cool video demonstrating smelting techniques. But thinking about the video controls, not the content. Again, the heck with flying cars, why am I still waiting for YouTube controls to catch up to the functionality we had on VCR’s?

    Two thoughts here.

    The last VCR I owned, oh, so many moons ago, was a Sony with a jog-dial. Those were great. You could dial forwards or backwards at different speeds and the tape did what you dialed. So, first we need a dial on all keyboards. Dials are useful controls. I’d settle for an Apple-esque touch-based jog-dial like on the old iPods, but would prefer a real dial.

    Second, the reason the controls on YouTube suck so bad is, as with so many things now, it’s basically a monopoly. There is no incentive to make anything easier for the user when the users are locked into the service without good alternatives. Almost all improvements are to systems for generating more ad revenue.

    Progressives in the US (and everywhere) need to bring back the old anti-trust laws and get them enforced again. The one decent thing capitalism is supposed to provide is innovation and customer service through a thriving market with competition. If we can’t even get that out of capitalism, there’s no reason to have it around any more.

    All so I can finally get some decent controls on YouTube. Is that asking too much?

  246. says

    Normally I am a live and let live person, but there are lines I am forced to draw. I had just destroyed nine beginning wasp-nests in my garden shed. That is unusual, Normally there is one or two at the most, but nine? That is unprecedented. And there are still nests I have to destroy tomorrow. I do not like doing it, but they are aggressive and later on they would make any work in the garden totally impossible and for me life-threatening.

    On another note, has anyone here read/heard the Happy Atheist by PZ? I am contemplating buying the audiobook, but I am not sure whether it is worth it and as you can imagine I am not at the apex of PZ fanboyism right now.

  247. says

    Charly, it’s always a sadness, killing wasps, but you can’t let the aggressive ones get out of hand. Fortunately, the ones living in/around our place are solitary, and not aggressive, but paper wasps are, and they scare the hell outta me.

    As for PZ’s book, it’s a pleasant read, but it is past blog posts, so I wouldn’t say it was any kind of urgent reading or anything.

  248. chigau (違う) says

    I destroy wasp nests on my garage and sheds, as I find them.
    So far, I’ve caught them when they are only a couple inches diameter.
    If I do this more than twice, the builders usually just go away.

  249. says


    Got the ring mailed today (5/23). It’s in a padded envelope. Made the postal person confine the stamps to one block on the corner of envelope. I swear, they would have covered the whole damn thing if left to themselves. They must think Latvia is on another planet.

  250. StevoR says

    These aren’t mice but are cool little Aussie critters on the brink of extinction :

    The red-tailed phascogale is a small, carnivorous animal weighing less than a deck of cards and is largely unknown to the public, unlike its famous relative the Tasmanian devil. According to ecologist Laura Ruykys from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), that anonymity stems from the creature’s shy behaviour. “They’re cryptic and small in size and nocturnal,” she said. “They are charismatic but they’re not as big and charismatic as say, the Tasmanian Devil.” Dr Ruykys said despite being “quite the fearsome predator” the tiny creatures are also preyed upon by feral animals, such as cats. That predation along with habitat loss has meant the species has lost roughly 99 per cent of its original range.

    Skid marks leaving skid marks literally?

    One of my nation’s still not fully faced shames perhaps to be partly addressed and recognised some more? :

    Stolen Generations report recommends Commonwealth pay compensation. (headline)

    Twenty years ago The Bringing Them Home report made a string of recommendations to improve the lives of the Stolen Generations. Today a second report looking at the issue drew bi-partisan support in Canberra, but will the recommendations be implemented?

  251. rq says

    I would like to make a comment on the gendered nature of CVs.
    Women seem to be able to follow directions and keep it short and specific, while men seem to enjoy spewing every last little bit of ego-boosting they’ve swallowed over the years (relevance be damned). Weird how that works, because the long, rambling CV is pretty annoying to read, and this isn’t even for hiring, but for a project, which means tighten it up even more than usual, but oh well, stroke that ego, I get to delete all the irrelevance and it is fun (to a point, but there is a certain level of glee attached to the process).
    Exception: Certain people climbing the ladder, who just prefer someone else to do all the work in their place (like can you at least put it in the right format instead of sending me a list of your professional involvements?). Not sure if I should actually save that one for last.
    And oh ye gods I’m going to be here forever.

  252. says

    @rq now you have made me wonder how has my CV been perceived on those rare occasions I sent one out….

    I have managed to bring my old camera back to life by attaching it to an old 240V AC- 8V DC power source. It works well, only it has of course the drawback that it is not portable anymore. But I have optics gutted from old microscope somewhere, maybe one rainy evening whent here is nothing better to do I will build a microscope.

    I do not know why I am doing this, appart from “because I can”.

Leave a Reply