TNET 8: M&Ms!

m&m’s Dissolving in Water – 4K from Beauty of Science on Vimeo.

We dropped m&m’s chocolate in water and discovered something really wonderful!

This 4K time-lapse video was shot with a Sony A7R M2 camera to capture the beautiful details of m&m’s dissolving. High-resolution stills:

Oh, I must get M&Ms! I have to do this myself.

Open Thread: don’t be an asshole. Thanks. Previous thread.


  1. says

    Finally we have got snow. I sincerely hope this will improve the climate in the house, the damp weather was unbearable. I also hope my nose will stop fluctuating between two equaly annoying yet completely oposite states -- cemented and faucet.

    I am also finishing my first knife made on my belt sander and hopefully next week there will be some pictures.

    And we started putting seeds out for birds again (we are not feeding in sommer and in favourable weather) so hopefully I will soon get a chance again to make some pictures, although the light in last weeks has been constantly crap.

    I have a coleague in Enkenbach-Alsenborn (south Germany) who originates from north parts of US, I think from Michigan, and he summed up his feelings like this:
    “Where I come from the winters are cold, it is freezing there. But we also got snow and some sunshine in the winter as well. Here it is not so cold freezing, ut it is constantly cloudy, overcast and damp. That is so depressing.”

    The climate here is a lot colder thatn where he lives, but the rest is so true even for here. I have barely survived last two winters. We had less than 10 hours of sunshine over the period of three months. I cannot wait for March 21st.

  2. says


    I am also finishing my first knife made on my belt sander and hopefully next week there will be some pictures.

    And we started putting seeds out for birds again (we are not feeding in sommer and in favourable weather) so hopefully I will soon get a chance again to make some pictures, although the light in last weeks has been constantly crap.

    Looking forward to them!

    We had less than 10 hours of sunshine over the period of three months

    We have periods like that. Sometimes, the whole damn winter is like that, it’s hard to bear.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There was one year when I lived in Michigan’s YooPee, we had about 40 days straight no non-clear weather. I also remember that the cloud cover gave us relatively mild temperatures. Still got our usual snowfall though.

  4. StevoR says

    Whoah! That video was just beautiful. Thanks for that.

    PS. Weather here in Adelaide, South Oz is extremely hot -- 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F) forecast for today. I’d very gladly swap some of our heat for some of your cool and rain if I could! Just heard the first bushfire warning of the summer here on the radio now too.

    PPS. If anyone’s awake pre-dawn & interested, we’ve got Venus and Jupiter -- the two brightest planets very close together making quite a great sight. They are both in Libra in the eastern sky albeit low on the horizon and will be joined by a thin crescent Moon on the morning of Nov.17th.Oh & the Leonid meteor shower is also currently on with the peak for that also being Nov. 17th but having started on the 6th Nov and continuing till the 30th -- but best around the peak night.

    See :

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    I’d like to have some snow here, also, because that would make the darkness less dark. It’s been cloudy and the rain has been in liquid form lately. Sunrise will be at 8:14 (in about half an hour) and sunset at 15:54 today, the sun is working part-time here and its daily hours will get even shorter until the winter solstice.

  6. kestrel says

    Lovely video, StevoR, thank you for sharing.

    Our weather is disgustingly beautiful and mild this time of year. But we hope for snow this winter.

  7. says

    We had less than 10 hours of sunshine over the period of three months

    I remember a winter like that a few years ago. On a hunch (we booked before winter even started), we had decided to forego our usual Easter holiday camping in the Alsace in favour of renting a cottage in the southwest of France (Ile d’Oleron). The day we went there we started our journey at 5 o’clock or so and by lunchtime we were out of the cold. We stopped at a pick nick area and there was blue sky and green grass and we breathed. The night we had supper outdoors. I’m probably better suited for the Equatorials.

    OK, I just spent two hours with a friend planning my next examination and then half an hour trash-talking her former colleague and my current adviser.

  8. blf says

    Stumbled out of the lair just after noon with the intent of hunting down some lunch and some butter (in that order), and walked into a whopping huge crane parked outside the front door. Where the feck did that come from? And how did I not hear it? The crew were having lunch so it wasn’t too obvious what they were doing (and it was a rental rig so the logo gave no clews). Oh well, as long as they don’t pull the roof off or something…

    After a nice Italian lunch, found no butter. Grumble. Did find a brand new Italian (as it so happens) deli, run by the people who run the other good Italian restaurant in the centre. No butter, but lots of other things to drool over…

    Tried to go home. Except now the crane had been moved a bit and was totally blocking the entrance to the lair. There was no way I was going to be able to get in for some time. Bugger. Went and bought a sudoku puzzle-book and drank beers and solved puzzles until the crane’s mystery mission was over and I could crawl back into the lair. Since have no real idea what the crane was doing.

  9. chigau (違う) says

    I just wish blf had taken some pictures.
    I’ve never the the Dance of the Whopping Crane.

  10. blf says

    It snorted its diesel at me. Not, fortunately, “rolling coal”, just a Vroom Vroom! Didn’t noticeably rattle and roll, so I don’t think that counts as a dance.

    I like the shady butter business idea. Maybe they were, ah, “borrowing” people’s refrigerators / freezers for the butter? (Checks own refrigerator.) Either they don’t like organic low-salt butter or they’ll be back, as what little I have is still there… until breakfast tomorrow. Hopefully… I’ll post an armedwinged penguin tonight, just in case.

  11. blf says

    I’m allergic to pictures. Or maybe cameras. Probably both. Whenever I try to take a picture, and succeed with something other than a fuzzy self-thumbprint, it’s usually of an off-centre unidentifiable blob bearing no resemblance to anything in the area, in or not-in the postulated frame of the picture. There’s the strange “floating” yellow thing that was supposed to be the Mediterranean Sea with a background that is neither watery not sailboaty; The attractive friend who somehow acquired a third eye; and The quayside fishmonger who appears about to be swallowed by what is either an anchovy or cauliflower. Then the camera broke (literally). And that’s not to mention the incidence with the 15(?)-year-old film.

    Me & cameras have a simple relationship: I don’t use them.

  12. says

    Speaking of an absence of pictures, Lofty, ahem…so, when am I getting more 35 degrees South? You think commenting here is free or something? ;)

  13. says

    Ah, a phone conversation with the husband.
    Him: I tried to call them, but the number is wrong! There’s no connection!
    Me: did you remember the area code?
    Him (indignant): Of course I did! (repeats 4 numbers)
    Me: There’s an 8 missing…

  14. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says


    Yeah, I saw that I was unstuck. Of course, now the same comment is up there three times. Not sure if I prefer to be not all there or annoying.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Started in on cleaning out the closet where the Redhead stored her wigs. Checked the internet, and the local American Cancer Society has a program that gives free wigs to women undergoing chemotherapy that has alopecia (hair loss) as a side effect. Sounds like they should get the supply.

  16. says

    So…tomorrow, I go in to start all the tests to see whether or not I’m gonna drop dead from cancer, and I just broke a mirror. That’s good luck, right? ;D

  17. blf says

    Lunching ranger discovers species lost for 40 years (the Grauniad’s edits in {curly braces}):

    In 1975 two conservationists discovered a gorgeous salamander in the rainforests of Guatemala. No one ever saw it again — and Jackson’s climbing salamander was feared extinct — until last month when local forest guard, Ramos León-Tomás, sat down in the forest for lunch.
    Last month, Ramos León-Tomás, a 27-year-old guard from the Q’anjob’al Mayan community, was having lunch on the edges of the the Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve when he found what dozens of previous surveys could not — a small juvenile salamander, black and gold.

    León-Tomás took several pictures and sent them on to Carlos Vásquez Almazán, the amphibian coordinator with the Foundation for Ecodevelopment and Conservation (FUNDAECO).

    “I took {deep breaths} for a couple of hours, until they managed to send me a photo through WhatsApp, because the region is remote and there is little good internet signal,” Vásquez said, who’d visited the reserve more than 30 times to look for the species. “It was definitely the sought-after and awaited Jackson’s climbing salamander.”

    Earlier in the year, Vásquez had again visited the reserve in the Cuchumatanes Mountains and did a workshop for forest guards like Leon-Tomas on the missing salamander.

    “I explained to them how important this species is and I left a poster there so they could see a picture of the Jackson’s climbing salamander every single day,” Vásquez said.


    The success is all the more poignant because it was achieved by a humble, local forest guard. León-Tomás says he felt “very enthusiastic” when he saw the salamander. Describing himself as a “poor person with children,” he hopes the discovery will bring more support to the rangers of Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve.

    So how did this tiny salamander avoid detection for so long? It turns out scientists might have been looking in the wrong places. León-Tomás found the single salamander — a juvenile — nearly 1,000 feet higher in altitude than researchers expected based on where the only other two individuals of the species were found in 1975.

    Researchers theorise that climate change may have pushed the species upslope, a phenomenon that has been documented for many species worldwide who are moving higher to escape the heat — assuming they have a place to move to.


    Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve (also known as the Yal Unin Yul Witz Reserve) was founded in 2015 in part because conservationists hoped Jackson’s climbing salamander would come back from the dead. Four other rare amphibians are found here: the long-limbed salamander, Finca Chiblac salamander, the black-eyed treefrog and Cuchumatan golden toad — only described by researchers in 2012.


    Yes, I also cringed at the “come back from the dead” hyperbole; nonetheless, this is a remarkable find of what is an attractive beastie (pictures at the link).

  18. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says


    Good luck on your tests.

    I go on Friday for another back injection. Right now, my hips feel like someone is holding a lighter to the top of my femur — it burns. I feel like my body is lying to me. My body is telling me that my hips are injured. My hips are fine. The nerve is just, well, confused?

    On Monday, I see another doctor to begin discussions about the headache that I have had since my fall on June 5 and the problems I am having with my memory.

    I guess I really am broken. But for real this time.

  19. says


    I go on Friday for another back injection. Right now, my hips feel like someone is holding a lighter to the top of my femur — it burns. I feel like my body is lying to me. My body is telling me that my hips are injured. My hips are fine. The nerve is just, well, confused?

    From what I understand, anything which impacts your back/spine, burning is a very common sensation. I get it, and sometimes it’s near to intolerable. It really feels like there’s a bloody fire in there somewhere. In my case, that happens when my discs swell and narrow the opening my nerves go through. Basic inflammation, but it makes your body scream. I know it’s considered to be a standard sensation at the pain clinic. Just had my injections on the 6th, so I don’t have more until Feb.

  20. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Just had my injections on the 6th, so I don’t have more until Feb.

    That would be nice. I had my last shots at the end of August. The pain started coming back around 1 November.

    The two ruptured discs are really squirted out on the right side of my spine, but the most pain is on the left. My neurosurgeon says he’s not sure why that would be. Or, more important, how that could be.

  21. says

    Mine never last 3 months, I’m lucky if I get a good two weeks out of the spinal; the neck and shoulder shots work better. Going by all the MRIs, my pain should be predominantly left, but it’s mostly on the right. Go figure. Humans are messy.

  22. rq says

    Latvian superstition indeed insists that mirrors (and glasses and dishes) break (and are broken) for luck. So I think you’re all set! ♥

  23. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine, the best of luck for you in the tests!

    Ogvorbis, my sympathies!

    Giliell, hoping the cold will give up on you quickly!

    Re area codes, haven’t had to think about them for ages. We get by with two- and three-digit ones here in this less populous country (there were some 4-digit ones in Lapland before the 1996 area code reform, when they changed the first number of the area code from 9 to 0 and the number of area codes in use was reduced).

  24. says


    It’s also the impeccable timing: grandma’s funeral on Thursday, another major teaching test on Friday…

    It always piles on, it’s never just one thing.

  25. rq says

    “Ugh, gramps, are you telling stories about the Great Rea Code Reform of ’96 again? We’ve heard them all…!”
    “No, no, children, not this one! Let me tell you about Lapland and rotary phones…”
    (This is how I read your comment, Ice Swimmer. There are no area codes in Latvia, just the country phone and a category designation -- landlines start with 6, for example, while mobile numbers start with 2, and information lines are either fewer digits or start with 8. But there used to be long distance phone calling, so I guess there was a telephonic reform here, too.)

  26. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 53

    To quote a progressive Internet TV host you’re not very fond of: “You appear to be mocking me, but you’re 100 % right and 0 % wrong.”

    I remember that (the Finnish, at the time state-owned, subsequently bought by Telia) Sonera was involved in some telecom shenanigans in the Baltic states in 1990s/early 2000s and managed to make itself deeply unpopular in the process. Maybe the area code reforms there were a part of it there or a part of the measures to clear the mess the Sonera guys made.

    The Sonera management of the time made some extremely bad deals also elsewhere and lost huge amounts of money and the CEO of the time is still despised here.

  27. says

    Poked, prodded, punctured. Tired and sore. Back to pain clinic on Monday, back to hospital on Wednesday, then a break until Dec 19th. I think I want to sleep for two days.

  28. says

    Thanks, Ice Swimmer. Got a lot of sleep, still doesn’t feel enough. Blood work came back mostly okay, and two more tests got added to the pile. Oh yay.

  29. blf says

    A few days ago I visited Montpellier to complete the business that had taken me to Marseille. Which meant getting up at some ridiculous time to catch the bus to la gare. No problem changing trains in Marseille. On arrival in Montpellier I did the usual and couldn’t find the exit from the platform, and then a surprise when I finally entered the concourse. It was totally different!

    Quick check that I actually was in Montpellier — yep, Ok — the station has obviously been rebuilt. Which is a good thing, the old station had a weird bi-level design with a tiny front hall that was always jammed-full of people staring at the scheduling board and then wondering where the entrance to the platforms is.

    Most of the platform entrances were upstairs, meaning you had to go up, walk the entirety of the upper level, and then descend back down to the platforms. Absurd design. In the rebuilt station, that tiny front hall still exists (it must because that’s where the street entrance is) but one is now naturally routed to the now much larger upstairs open area, where it is fairly easy to navigate around. And there’s a new elevated walkway heading in the direction I needed to go, saving climbing up a steepish hill. Great!

    The plan was to stop at a Alsace-specialist restaurant I know, then continue on to do my business. After a bit of a hike to restaurant, which is by the river and outside the city centre proper, discovered it didn’t exist anymore. This was a surprise as it was a local institution, so to speak. The replacement did not look interesting. Ok, look at the other good place nearby — still there, but the display menu indicates it’s quite different… Hum, let’s try that place over over, Ok, got an interesting plat de jour.

    Yuck! Terrible. Nice view, friendly staff, food was like a Denny’s or something else cardboardy. (Wine was Ok.) Hurrumph. Wander off to the office — and they moved months ago. Oh for fecks sake, you could have at least told me! The new address didn’t make any sense to me, I didn’t have a map, and the individual who answered the phone said the computer was down so she didn’t have any directions. Huh? Tried asking some passers-by, but they’d never heard of the new location either. Bugger.

    Hike back towards the centre to get a map. Ok, found the place, it’s waaaaaay the feck away, too far to walk, but fortunately on the tram line. The ticket machines didn’t give change, I didn’t have the correct change, so would up paying about 5€ for what was about a 3€ roundtrip.

    Headed the wrong way out of the tram stop, but asked a passer-by, who got me turned around and heading in the correction direction. The new location was on a square, but I couldn’t see what I was looking for, so started circling around the square. In, of course, the least-efficient direction, the office was more-or-less across the street from where I started (with a nearly-invisible sign).

    The sodding paperwork wasn’t ready. There was a silly problem, so what was supposed to ready this month won’t be until next month. The whole fecking trip was for (almost) nothing. Why not just contact me when you ran into the problem, it’s easy enough to sort out… Grrrrrr!

    Take the tram back to centre. Time enough for a beer before the train departs. Ah, a problem with the new station. All the local cafes and bars and things the old one had aren’t there anymore, all I see are chains. So go to a local bar outside the station. Where I was served a different beer than I ordered, albeit also a nice one and, as it happens, a bit cheaper. Ok.

    Eventually arrive back in Marseille, and find most of the station concourse blocked off with security tape. And armed soldiers, one every two metres or so behind the tape. I still don’t know what that was about, my guess is there was an incident or credible threat, albeit the station wasn’t closed, just mostly-blocked off. Including the late-night cafe, so no coffee. Grumble.

    Fall asleep on the local home, waking up at the penultimate station to my destination. Ok, about five minutes, through the long tunnel, by the big satellite dish, and home. Missed the tunnel (well it was dark), didn’t see the satellite dish (weird, it’s usually lit up), so got a shock when we pulled in the station without any of the usual visual warnings.

    When booking my trip, to maximise the time in Montpellier (which turned out to be a good decision), I had elected to arrive after the bus service was closed. Plan was to hike a few km to the beach where there are some good restaurants, have dinner, and then hike home. Which went according to plan, except by now my feet were very sore (bad choice of socks, I suspect). So I was in considerable pain — had to rest a few times — on the second hike, arriving about midnight (so up for about 18 hours now). Decide I need a beer, now, and limp to the specialist bar, knowing they would still be open.

    They were open but, what I’d overlooked, was they stop serving at midnight (but don’t kick people out for another hour). However, the barperson there is a really nice guy, and I’m a “known reprobate” there, so he served me a beer anyways. On the house. Thanks!

    Didn’t wake up the next day (yesterday) until about 6pm. My feet were still sore. Yesterday was Beaujolais Nouveau, so limped around some drinking wine and eating free baguettes (with butter!) and cheese and pâté and salami. No cardboard. No screams either, so I have no idea where the mildly deranged penguin was.

  30. chigau (違う) says

    That’s too complicated.
    I usually just settle for a burger from the foodzoo at TheMall.
    No wine there, though.

  31. blf says

    chigau, Had everything gone to plan, it’d been very simple. The intended restaurant was on walking route to the old location. And the intended bar was only a short detour from the return route. And I knew all these places quite well, so I didn’t need a map. It was supposed to be a train-lunch-business-stroll-bar-train-dinner trip, not the Nightmare Before Beaujolais Nouveau. And I confirm the French don’t prepare cardboard any better, albeit at least they do serve vin with it.

  32. blf says

    France24 on the butter shortage, There can arguably be no greater threat to the French way of life than a lack of butter.:

    For months France has been gripped by a slow burning panic that it is running out of the golden ambrosia, which is the base of croissants and pains au chocolat as well as the whole mouth-watering panoply of French patisseries.

    Supermarket shelves have been emptied of butter as shoppers worry they will have nothing to put on their breakfast tartines of toasted baguette, while worried bakers fear a “croissant crisis” as prices spiral.

    “We always loved butter, but we never knew how much,” [said] sociologist Remy Lucas, who specialises in people’s relationship with food […].

    “Now we realise how important it is in our daily lives. Obviously we can replace it nutritionally but the idea that we might be without it is really unbearable,” he added.

    French people eat more butter per capita than anyone else in the world — three times more than Americans […]

    Faced with mounting anxiety about having to go without butter, churn makers told AFP that enquiries from city dwellers who clearly had no access to dairy cows had soared, while a spate of YouTube videos showing people how to make butter have been viewed tens of thousands of times within days of going online.


    Having to worry about getting enough was “shocking and paradoxical” to French people, the sociologist insisted.

    “In the ‘Land of Butter’ we find it extremely difficult to imagine that we can live without it.”

    The annual per capita butter consumption in France is apparently 8kg (18 pounds). Which a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests is roughly the amount I buy each year. Plus croissants and so on, so I wonder how much I eat

  33. Ice Swimmer says

    I’ve had a low-level craving of Danish Butter Cookies for a while now. Yesterday and today I’ve tried to acquire a drum of said delicacies, to no avail. Stockmann had something close to them, but otherwise, nothing in S or K chain supermarkets, nothing in candy stores. Where are you hiding, blue tins/drums of Wonderful Copenhagen?

  34. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    Where are you hiding, blue tins/drums of Wonderful Copenhagen?

    There’s one sitting on my cedar chest. This would be a prime example of someone being very unhelpful.

  35. chigau (違う) says

    i really meant
    Raucous Indignation

  36. blf says

    I found some butter today! And a few croissants!! Ooh la la !!!


    Please carefully attach pillows or other safety kit to yer forehead before proceeding…

    You. Have. Been. Warned.

    Irish Catholic priest urges Christians to abandon the word Christmas:

    Father Desmond O’Donnell says the words Christmas and Easter have lost all sacred meaning

    An Irish Catholic priest has called for Christians to stop using the word Christmas because it has been hijacked by “Santa and reindeer”.

    Father Desmond O’Donnell said Christians of any denomination need to accept Christmas now has no sacred meaning.


    We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely, O’Donnell told the Belfast Telegraph.

    We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.


    Now, now, calm down. Breathe deep. Untwist yer clothing. And here, have a croissant. Let’s have a chat, shall we, about who borrowed who’s holidays, and the religious beliefs of those making and selling chocolate Santa eggs, and who Santa Claus is based on, and projection and the craving for control. And then on the absence of evidence for the events behind those holidays, and for that matter, for most everything in that book. And finish off with some coffee (albeit that does mean unstrapping the pillows).

  37. says

    John @ 78:

    Times are a’ changin’, and some things and some people never change. Same old song, isn’t it?

    Gotta say, thank you Caine for having an open thread. Even for me, it’s sometimes nice to be able to share, and you allow that.

    Oh, more than welcome! This thread is pretty low pressure, maybe more like zero pressure. I enjoy it too, and I like it when people share stories of what’s going on in the world. Having access to the stats, a lot of people do read, and there’s a lot of people following the stories too.

  38. kestrel says

    John Morales, thanks for sharing that interesting story. That is fascinating, and I’m glad that discussion is going on in Australia. All I can say is about time!

    blf, HOLY CRAP. Thanks for the warning about the pillows… I will have to get another irony meter, though. Ah well, the croissants make up for it.

    Another disgustingly gorgeous day, clear blue skies and sunshine (cold, though). My first tomato just ripened! I am growing them indoors under special lights. For the first time, they are growing well and not all spindly and leggy like you normally see in indoor tomato plants. This is a new type of light and light bulb that I’m using. I’m very happy with the results!

  39. lumipuna says

    blf #79 Some thoughts:

    1. Sounds like the kind of clergyman who seeks personal media attention by expressing mildly radical opinions in the name of a generally consensus-seeking mainstream Christian church. In other words, this isn’t going to actually happen.

    2. Sounds like a hint of persecution complex “They forced us to give up Christmas!”. I’ve seen some Finnish Lutheran clergy express the idea about the church giving up officiating weddings altogether, since gay marriage became legal. That isn’t going to happen either.

    3. Mainly, he’s just saying that Christianity should give up trying to claim a popular holiday. I could get behind that, even if the popular holiday’s name would still have a Christian origin. Same thing already happened with the character of Santa Claus.

  40. kestrel says

    @Caine, #82: The fixture itself is called Solar Flare T5 and it holds 8 bulbs, well, they are long tubes, actually. The tubes are called Flarescent High Output T5. Four of them are 6500K Grow. The other 4 are… I’m not totally sure I remember this right, and the thing is on a timer so I can’t read it right now, but I believe it’s 8600 either Bloom or Flower, whatever. The timer is incredibly simple and cheap, and I was really fortunate and got the light fixture on Craigslist. :-) I’m so impressed with it I will no doubt buy more.

    I will email you a pic, so you can see the plants. We’ve tried for years to grow tomatoes indoors; we are at such a high elevation that tomatoes don’t do well here outdoors. They are fine during the day, but at night… it just gets too darn cold, even in the middle of the summer, for tomatoes to do well.

  41. says

    Kestrel, that sounds fab! I’ll look into that, we have similar problems growing outside, the growing season is so short here, and then there’s early and late frosts.

  42. Ice Swimmer says

    Bought a tin of Danish Butter Cookies from Stockmann. Half of them are the chocolate version, which is probably OK, but not what I was craving. But, in these times of butter shortages and all that, one has to adapt. 8-)

    The western extension of Helsinki Metro was opened today. Had to take a few rides in order to believe, it’s actually there. It is. It was supposed to open in August 2016, but wasn’t even close to being ready then. All went fine, except that the traffic was stopped for about 20 minutes due to a broken train somewhere in the network (actually, more like a fork than a network). They announced multiple times that traffic will restart in about five minutes.

  43. says

    I am really regretting that damn ‘every penis tells a story’ post. The searching for it never stops, it’s in my stats every freaking day, and now I’m getting searches in a variety of languages. The latest: olika snoppar bilder.

    Holy shit, men are obsessive about their penises.

  44. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 87

    I wonder how much of that traffic is all kinds of robots, everything from building blocking databases for family filters to who knows what?

    Of course, actual people also search for parts of human anatomy not usually visible in public.

  45. says

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a ton of bots, because I can also see how often the one photo I included is clicked on specifically, as well as how often the post itself is clicked, and how often there’s a further click from there to the Guardian story, and there are a whole lot of clicks. I’m really tempted to delete that post.

  46. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin searches for cheese. And peas. One to avoid, the other to usually consume with great gusto. Both, ideally, with LOUD screams. However, it is advisable to carry a fewmany working flamethrowers, in case of horse. Or, worse, horses.

  47. says

    Lofty, I’m sure they do, but when that post was fresh, there were a large number of searches for the same author, looking for her similar feature on breasts. The nature of the book is such that is it is about coping with differences, including what could be considered catastrophic medical problems, and so on. This wasn’t a porn/prurient type of thing. Dick pics are widely available if you’re looking for the porn type stuff.

  48. says

    I’m not completely dead yet.
    Give my job time I might be.
    Seriously, I’m way beyond the end of my tether. That teaching exam (I don’t blame you if you lost count)? I prepared the lesson together with a friend who finished last year. Yes, the students had problems in the difficult part, there’s no denying that. But fuck, what am I supposed to do? I had an entire 7(!) hours in that class including the two exams. The students are 12th grade but nowhere near the level expected for a 12th grade due to many factors. I am supposed to plan an adequate series of lessons for a class I’d never seen before, and do the shit that is supposed to be done in class 12 when they are at the level of a 10th grade but if those 4 or so incompatible demands lead to less than brilliant outcomes, it is my fault.
    That stupid bastard of supervisor sat there on Monday, nodding along when I told her about the plans for that lesson and then said on Friday that there were problems with the material used as such. WTF is she there for? She let me run into an open knife. Dunno if it’s malice or incompetence and I don’t know which is worse.
    I’m at the panic attacks and nightmares state of affairs.

    On good notes, I put up a bird feeder, so expect a ton of pics. My left arm is hurting from holding the stalker lenses already.

  49. says

    Giliell, hugs, and the pillow fort is open. Which goes for everyone.

    Emily called this evening in some distress -- she just found out that her old landlady’s husband in Pacific Beach had died suddenly, last month. Also she’s understandably very worried about the Senate tax bill’s effect on grad student grants. So I had to switch on supportive mom mode for her, and I’m already full up with worries about Aged Mum.

    I guess I could use a hug too. I’ll be in the pillow fort with Hobbes.

  50. Desert Son, OM says

    Cross-posting with the Luna’s Day Mood thread:


    Wasn’t sure whether to post this here or in the bees ‘n’ cake thread :)

    The hurtling water-rock orbited the local power plant again!


    I hope this finds you well, warmly embraced by your loved ones, tickled by little rat nuzzles, and delightfully surprised by something beautiful.

    Still learning,


  51. blf says

    Apparently, another disaster is lurking in the French foodie follies, France warned of Christmas foie gras shortage:

    [… F]armers say stocks of foie gras — enjoyed over the festive period by an estimated 80% of France’s population — have been seriously hit by avian flu for the second year in a row.

    Outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 virus forced many farmers to destroy entire flocks of geese and ducks earlier this year.


    In a productive year, France makes about 20,000 tonnes of foie gras, 97% of it from ducks and the rest from geese, representing 75% of the world’s production and giving direct and indirect employment to aabout [sic†] 100,000 people.

    Admittedly, foie gras isn’t an essential (except to the ducks and geese and penguins‡), but, at least seasonally, it’s as much as problem as no butter.

      † The Grauniad’s notiorously flakly proofreading / editing strekis agaain !

      ‡ The mildly deranged one agrees. She adores the stuff.

  52. blf says

    An end-of-orbit treat for the ratfinks, Rat soup, anyone? Mexican politician bids to restore delicacy to the menu:

    Guadalupe Flores, of the Zacatecas state legislature, wants to ‘demystify the consumption of field rats’ by encouraging people to eat caldo de rata

    [… A] local politician in the Mexican state of Zacatecas is promoting the consumption of rat soup in an attempt to rescue a local tradition and remove the stigma of eating rodents.


    The consumption of caldo de rata […] goes back to colonial times in Zacatecas […].

    Full of vegetables such as corn and zucchini and spiced with oregano, the soup is still commonly consumed in some communities […].


    “It has a very high protein content and a very high vitamin content, too,” said Manuel de Jesús Macías Patiño, a professor at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, who has studied field rats.


    Mexican politicians are often themselves described as ratas by protesters and editorial cartoonists, so there was a degree of irony in Flores’ decision to host a recent festival celebrating rat soup on the steps of the state legislature.

    But she expressed confidence that the attention could help revive interest in the traditional dish — and even spark a wave of culinary tourism.

    “Anybody that tries it once is going to love it and it will become their favourite dish,” she said. “It’s not like chicken,” she said. “Rat meat is very similar to rabbit — only much more flavourful.”

    It occurs to me forty-foot high killer rats would not only make a lot a soup, but also a lot of foie gras. And for that matter, once you deal with the, ah, small problem of being forty-foot high killers, made into quite a lot as well…

    Main problem is the soup contains zucchini. Which are worse then peas since they actually have a taste. A taste so foul, disgusting, and reminiscence of zucchini, they can be used to threaten horses(zucchini, that is, I believe horses basically ignore forty-foot high killer rats, at least until stepped on many times).

    (As I recall, the nice couple who run the local Mexican restaurant are from that area of Mexico (broadly speaking). If I remember, I’ll have to ask them about caldo de forty-foot high killer rata. (That will probably take some explaining!))

  53. blf says

    Grumble, bah humbug, Firefox recently updated on my Linux system to what appears to be a new major release (57.0), and it’s not playing well with the font-size settings (at least) I use for FtB: Either too small to read comfortably, or so large the site does not render in a sensible manner. Plus the hieroglyphics have moved all around, so at the moment I keeping clicking the “wrong” cryptic symbols. Add to that my tendency to “typo” (“clicko”?) with the mouse, and havoc is ensuing.

  54. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 103

    Thanks for forewarning, I’ll have to be alert if that version comes as an update. Debian 9 seems to have FF 52.5, so it’s nice in this case that the Debian folks aren’t obsessive about getting the newest version of everything.

  55. blf says

    Ice Swimmer@103, I must emphasize this involves my local (custom) settings specially for FtB — so far I’ve not noticed problems with other sites, nor any pattern to the erratic behaviour with FtB. Your. Mileage. May. Vary.

  56. says

    The little hieroglyphics in Firefox can be moved around the header bar in “customize” mode. My Home button is back where it belongs, more or less.

  57. blf says

    Far more interresting than Firefox / FtB / customizations, Interstellar object confirmed to be from another solar system:

    Astronomers are now certain that the mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun last month is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1(’Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighbourhood.

    The certainty of its extraterrestrial [sic†] origin comes from an analysis that shows its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our Solar System.

    Its name comes from the Hawaiian term for messenger or scout. Indeed, it is the first space rock to have been identified as forming around another star. Since asteroids coalesce during the process of planet formation, this object can therefore tell us something about the formation of planets around its unknown parent star.

    The latest analyses with ground-based telescopes show that ’Oumuamua is quite similar to some comets and asteroids in our own solar system. This is important because it suggests that planetary compositions like ours could be typical across the Galaxy.

    It is thought to be an extremely dark object, absorbing 96% of the light that falls on its surface, and it is red. This colour is the hallmark of organic (ie carbon-based) molecules. […]


    The column goes on to report on an amazing calculation that suggests there could be about three (3) similar objects entering, and another three leaving, the solar system every day.

      † As the readers’s comments point out, whilst “extraterrestrial” is not-wrong, the intended term is very probably “extrasolar”.

  58. blf says

    Lofty@106, Thanks (I already knew that). At the moment I am more concerned with getting its rendering of FtB to stablise. I didn’t really mention that the weird font- — and, I now realize, a second problem of column-size — changing happens every now and then on a refresh or similar, without any explicit action / command by me. It’s fine, I refresh, then it’s not. Maybe. It might still be fine. And after another refresh it might change again (switch back, I think?). Most exasperating!

  59. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 107

    Interesting indeed.

    I wonder what kind of chaos gave that thing the escape velocity from the originating solar system.

  60. blf says

    Ice Swimmer@109, An earlier article (from about when the object was first discovered a month or so ago), Mysterious object seen speeding past sun could be ‘visitor from another star system’, speculates it was throw out of an extrasolar system’s Oort Cloud:

    “Computer models have suggested that disturbances to the Oort cloud do send some stuff in towards the inner solar system, but it would also send stuff outwards as well — so we might be throwing out icy bodies to other star systems” [said Dr Edward Bloomer, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich].

    If so, Bloomer said, there is no reason to suspect that disturbances to other star systems, as a result of gravitational interactions or other processes, wouldn’t throw material out too. “Just statistically, some of them are going to reach us,” he added.

    Several other speculations are also given, but notes the object does not seem to be icy, unlike most Kuiper Belt objects.

  61. John Morales says

    blf, the new FireFox update screwed up my two most important add-ons, to wit NoScript and
    RequestPolicy. Very annoying!

    Easy enough to back out, just reload an older version. Also, disable automatic updating.

  62. John Morales says

    PS this very site is horrendous. I’ve only enabled enough functionality to use it adequately, which is approx. 1/3 to 1/4 of the domains included. Mostly ad-servers and activity-monitoring domains.

    (Ads? What ads? ;) And yes, I know I could pay to avoid the worst and still use vanilla browsers)

  63. Hekuni Cat, Social Justice Ninja, MQG says

    Happy Birthday, Caine!

    I’m sorry to say your card will be late -- a recurring theme for me this year, unfortunately. Campaigning and phonebanking for the elections here in Virginia consumed much of my time. That said, it was a glorious victory. The candidates for every campaign I worked on, including Danica Roem, won. :) (Overall, I worked on 9 different but coordinated campaigns.)

  64. says


    How much longer do you have to endure this?

    If I somehow manage to scrape by a “pass”, six months. Come 25th of May, all exams will be over.
    I love teaching. Even the rascals and the kids who need a good being transformed into a ferret and banged against the ceiling.
    Today I started visiting the class where I will have one of the big exams in, so I can get to know them. Some of the girls were also in the Spanish class where I oh so failed. They squeed when they saw me.

  65. says

    John, you’re far from alone in the complaints about FTB. I’m sort of the official nag, and I do. There will be a concerted effort soon to get things fixed up. A whole lot is screwed up for us bloggers, too. Ed no longer handles things, but PZ has not had time to dig around and try to address the fucked up advertising we’re still stuck with.

  66. says

    “bootmgr is missing, press ctrl+alt+del to restart”

    This morning did not start well. First I got blue screen of death before I finished cooking my tea, and after restart I had to dig around to find out why the hell the OS does not even start.
    Turns out somehow the BIOS on my spanking new motherboard got confused and started to boot from a disk without OS.
    Scratching my head now, how the hell did that happen? Thanks goodness for internet in Phone, otherwise I would not solve the problem so quickly, if at all.

  67. StevoR says

    Interesting I hope :

    After a car accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, Larissa MacFarlane started to see the world differently. Things like buildings, colours and flowers had taken on an unfamiliar shape. Her interests had shifted too.


    An opportunity to learn more about this vanished killer-whale sized Dugong like animal hunted and starved into extinction 27 years after humans found it :

    Co-incidentally that days wikifeature article was on the sea mink ( another remarkable tragically extinct mammal.

  68. StevoR says

    PS. There’s also this on Ross 128 b probably a better chance of being a habitable exoplanet than Proxima Cen b althoughs tillso much unknown and uncertain here :

    Also fascinating article on a marvellous supernovae and its captured light echo plus more :

    Finally, guess you all know by now but -- YES -- Love won in Australia 62% to 38% over Homophobic anti-equal marriage bigotry nationally :

    Now we just need our useless politicians to finally just do their fucking job and pass equal marriage into law like they should have done years ago. Still a good day and mostly good result for all the whole hundred million dollar non-binding postal survey was needless.

    In other news everyone already knows, an extremely elderly and bombastic President of highly dubious electoral validity who has long horrified and appalled the world with his outrageous and ridiculous pronouncements has resigned. Pity it was Mugabe not Trump.

    Oh & I saw my first (so far only) Bandicoot* for this year in Belair National Park -& it was a juvenile a third the size of the one’s I’ve seen before -- last year -there. Very great moment! (No camera on me at time sadly.)

    * To be precise Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) -- rare and secretive and wonderful native critters here.

  69. kestrel says

    SteveoR congrats on seeing a Bandicoot! That is really cool and very exciting. Too bad about the camera, isn’t that the way it always works.

    We have an interesting falcon flying around. It’s a migrant, not a resident, so I’m not sure what it is. It makes a very distinctive cry that sounds an awful lot like a kildeer. I’m attempting to find out what it is. Must try and make some good observations of it, so far it’s stayed pretty far away.

  70. Ice Swimmer says

    Had to see what’s a dunnock. It’s Prunella modularis, here they are called rautiainen and they migrate from here to Central and Southern Europe. Not sure why it’s rautiainen, perhaps the brown colour is reminiscent of iron (rauta in Finnish).

    Rautiainen is also a common surname. Today I’m going to see one Rautiainen sing and play the guitar (Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus* have a gig in Helsinki).

    * = in English Trio Neckshot. It isn’t a trio and they don’t shoot you in the neck. They play metal.

  71. StevoR says

    @124. kestrel : Thanks! I was very lucky & yeah, cameras, Murphy’s;law applies.


    For other Aussie readers here -- there are multiple rallies on tomorrow -- “SOS Manus refugees” via Get Up / Australian Greens fb :

    Adelaide -- 12 noon Parlt House // Brisbane -- 12 noon King George’s Square // Canberra -- 10 am Parlt lawns // Darwin -- 2 pm Nightcliff markets // Hobart -- 12 noon Salamanca lawns // Melbourne -12 noon Federation Sq. // Perth -- Perth Cultural Centre -- 2 pm // Sydney -12 nonn First Fleet Park.

    Protesting, well, most of you already know (?) but this latest set of cruelties towards refugees :

    PS. Listing of (past?) events here too -- but seems to NOT be up to date given what I’ve seen elsewhere on facebook :

    Hopefully handy info file /source here :

    PS. Queensland elections news on in background -- seems reasonably good so far I think. One nation doing badly -- which is good! Malcolm Roberts (terrible human being, formerly though turned out to be ineligible Aussie Senator & infamous Climate reality Denier) has lost his bid to enter State parlt.

  72. StevoR says

    Sorry about the typos.

    For those unfamiliar with Roberts & One Nation see :


    Pauline Pantsdown “I Don’t Like It” song that sums her & her group up excellently.

    One Nation = our (once?) fringe racist far-right party.

    For more on the situation with the refugees on Manus island read -if you can bear it :

    WARNING : Confronting and upsetting material, references to pretty much all forms of abuse :

    Powerful but horrific.

    ABC TV (Aussie) giving Qld election ALP 41, LNP 37, 2 Independts. No ONP

  73. Ice Swimmer says

    The gig was good. No complaints about the song choices or the energy and musicianship. I was quite sweaty in the end.

  74. says

    Oh dear
    We’Re trying to finally install the exhaust hood over the stove. Since the stove top is 80cm and in the middle of the room, the hood needs to be big (it weighs almost 30 kg) and attached to the ceiling. Only that it took us two days to find a solution. Just a solution, mind you, not actually fixing it.
    Since we found no purchase in the ceiling, we now drilled through the whole thing till we reached the upstairs floor. We’ll hang it from steel rods that are fixed to the floor above…

  75. says

    I’ll have photos and the regular stuff up [my] Monday morning, but I’ll be taking the day, and the rest of today, as well. My pain levels are crazy bad high; it’s not just the regular stuff, but referred pain from whatever the fuck it is trying to kill me, and I don’t go for the major tests until the 19th December. *grumbles*

    Short form: bundle of cranky. Takin’ a couple of days.

  76. says

    Thanks, Ice Swimmer. We’ll see how today goes. Yesterday, I just gave up and in, and brewed up an electuary of my own, and it worked great, I’m feeling much better today.