TNET 44: Manscaped

I am not going to embed any of those or link to their site, but I have got an awful lot of ads on YouTube lately for the products in the title and I totally do not get it. Like, at all, on so, so many levels. It is a male-centered effort similar to the one that convinced women they should shave their legs.

At some time in our evolution, our species has decided for selecting for hair that grows almost indefinitely on our heads and to a very limited degree on other parts. It is a sad fact that cutting/trimming or excessively grooming head and facial hair is a necessity, otherwise it would get too big and entangled and would impede normal function. Those are our species’ equivalent of peacock’s tails or irish elk’s antlers. And I do get why someone would opt for regular shaving instead of regular trimming for whatever reasons – convenience, aesthetic preference etc. We have to chose there one of several options.

But I completely do not get why I should shave my chest or my groin. And I won’t. Regular hygiene is sufficient to keep me comfy and non-smelly and there is absolutely no health benefit to shaving body hair. In my case, there is even a downside which also the reason why I have a beard – I have sensitive skin and I react badly to shaving. However, that is not the point. We are the only species that is capable to alter or even downright mutilate perfectly healthy bodies for mere fashion. I will never understand why some people feel the need to inject pigment into healthy skin, or pierce and cut healthy functional organs in order to put pieces of metal in them. Oftentimes in a manner that impedes normal functioning and sometimes even endangers health.

I am not saying people should not be allowed to shave their balls, tatoo their faces, or pierce their tongues. Your body, your choice, just do not expect a compliment from me and we will get along just fine. But I find it ridiculous if it is a personal choice, doubly ridiculous if it is a fashion trend and several orders of magnitudes ridiculous if it is a concentrated effort of a company to sell me products that I neither need nor want. Unfortunately, they will probably succeed in convincing some, even though not me personally.

Open thread, you can talk whatever you want, under the condition of not being an asshole.

Previous thread.


  1. avalus says

    I got such ads in summer. Now its all stock trading app-adds. I hate both and reminds me why I should not use my phone for the y-tubes.

  2. Jazzlet says

    I have been rather dull and tired, but am feeling a lot better now, it’s always a surprise when we get a few days of winter sun and my mood perks right up, it’s not like it happens every year or anything *rollseyes at self* Jolly pleased that bulbs I managed to plant in the autumn, and before, are coming up all over, the snowdrops run riot in this garden, but I’ve got aconites, iris, even an anemone in flower in the basket by the back door with crocus elsewhere and daffodils shooting up like crazy, so they’ll be more flowers when these have gone. I did try to plant for a succession in the autumn, but apart from that I’m pretty sure there are some tulips somewhere I don’t recall what else I planted, so assuming the mysterious ‘they’ come up I’ll get a nice surprise.

    Mr J has had his first vaccination, AstraZeneca, as have all of my older relatives, he got in earlier than we expected due to the having one kidney and a history of idiosyncratic clotting. No idea when I’ll get mine, but the Government are saying we’ll all be done by mid-summer, it might even be true as so far the vaccine roll-out has gone according to the timetable they set.

    I’ve had to buy a new washing machine, to go with my new whirlygig from the summer. The old machine was well over fifteen years old, possibly over twenty and had decided that it would just whizz round the cycle withoout actually doing any of the washing, rinsing or spinning so we certainly got our moneys worth, no one was prepared to come and look at it for possible repair so that was that. In the UK we have an organisation callled the Consumer Assciation who do a lot of consumer goods testing, as well as getting user reports from members; they recommended a Bosch that had automatic liquid dispensing and which I could control from wherever I was using my phone! I bought an older model that didn’t do either, apart from me using washing powder rather than liquid, I don’t see the point of the controlling with my phone business, I can delay the wash with the one I bought but until a machine can select and load the washing, then hang it out along wit bringing it back inside if it rains I can’t see any advantage in cntrolling it from a distance. Plus I would have been paying nearly £100 for the priviledge!

    Hope you are all doing at least ok and managing to enjoy having a little more light in the day.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m not willing to shave any of my hair.

    I remember an anecdote told by a Finnish blogger/media entrepreneur who as a young man once shaved his balls with a razor, got an itch and was worried that his scrotal skin might get infected, so he disinfected the scrotum with plenty of Neo-Amisept (basically isopropanol). He told (in the blog post) that the burning sensation was terrifying and he went to the kitchen sink (full of dirty dishes) to rinse his groin, which did help, and only then he noticed that his flatmate was also in the kitchen.

  4. says

    Back when there still was something like Spa days, I always wondered if I was the only woman who grew pubic hair before the age of 60*…

    *Despite our reputation of being verklempt, Germans are very much ok with nudity. Nudist beaches have a more than a century old tradition and most saunas are mixed sex and nudist.

    I know what you mean. Also, this winter was especially dark. We had weeks of overhung skies without a ray of sunlight. I’m also with you with this whole “smart home” bullshit. First of all, anything that is connected to the internet can be hacked. Second, as you say, it doesn’t offer any additional service anyway.
    Yay for Mr. J getting his first vaccination. I could sign up, but don’t have an appointment yet. They bumped preschool, primary school and special ed teachers up to group 2.

  5. Jazzlet says

    I did shave my legs when I had to wear proper work clothes, and so tights, but happily turned my back on that long ago. Mr J is bearded and long-haired -- although less long haired than he used to be, he has lost about 10cm of length in the last six months for some reason. I’ve been long-haired since my twenties, between us we have saved a fortune in hair cutting costs over the years.

    Glad you are eligible, is getting an apppointment difficult? Now most of the vaccinations in the UK are the AstraZenica one they are mostly being done by GP’s who just tell you when to turn up. It seems to be the one thing the Government has got right, the fact that so much is being done by existing NHS providers is no doubt making all the difference as they are still fucking thing up -- see the ridicuous quarantine regime for people coming in from some countries, with no effective enforcement -- they’ve managed to mislay someone with the super infectious Brazilian variety -- very much taking people at their word, plus trusting tht they will enter via specified routes.

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 5

    Um, is the vaccination carried out by medical doctors in the UK or do the GPs employ nurses who do the injections? Nurses do the vaccinations here.

    Here the municipality (which is responsible for the health care of the residents) has set up some locations for Covid vaccinations, one in a mall, another in an ice hockey arena and a few in local health care centers. If only we got more doses from the manufacturers…

  7. Jazzlet says

    Ice Swimmer
    I should have said GP practices as it is the practice nurses doing the actual injections. Although I was also wrong about them doing ‘most’ of the vaccinations, as there are also dedicated sites doing them. What confused me is that some of the dedicated sites are run by large GP practices. I have now been invited to book my appointments at one of those, which is good.

  8. says

    I am furious. I have tried to book vaccination appointments for my parents, and the system that our brilliant government came up with is so fucked up that it does not tell you what times are still free. You have to select an appointment time, send the reservation and only after that the site tells you -- in pigeon Czech no less! -- that the time is taken, please select another one. And after clicking through every single option and getting the same answer every single time, the site still did not say “sorry, no free slots left” but insisted that I should just pick another. A high schooler with basic programming knowledge should be able to come up with something more sensible. Not to mention that something that is supposed to help people over 70 requires internet access and more than a moderate amount of internet savvy.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 7

    I should have guessed as much. It’s just that NHS is a mystery to me (a centralized system with some sort of contractors as the general practitioner level, right?).

    Charly @ 8

    Let me guess, there is also a phone vaccination appointment service that lets you call them so they will call you back later if they ever get around to calling you? From what I’ve heard, the phone appointment systems here may not always call you back.

    When I was booking my now canceled (because I really don’t want to do it the same as my covid vaccine, postponing it to a time I’m more immune to the virus makes all the sense for me) dental check, I had problems finding an appointment slot as the first one was 3 months away.

    Not being able to find a slot because the next free one is in June wouldn’t really be any better than having a badly designed appointment booking system…

  10. says

    My sympathies. It seems like our governments have decided to fuck it up royally. Here you cannot book a specific appointment. You can say “gimme my shot” and then they’ll tell you when you can come in. Which I would be ok with, if they actually vaccinated people. there’s a shitstorm against the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is now lying around. Many people in priority group 1 don’t want it (fucking assholes should be pushed back to the end of the line behind the “general public”), and until last week elderly people weren’t supposed to get it. But until the priority group one is vaccinated, Priority group 2 doesn’t get appointments. And now they put the two most corrupt and incompetent doctors in charge of the vaccine taskforce…

    Well, after three Saturdays on my knees I have finally weeded the front yard and filled it up with mulch. Next week we can start with the backyard.

  11. Jazzlet says

    To my enormous surprise the UK Government vaccination booking system is easy to use and won’t let you book the first appointment without also booking the second, so I’ll get my first injection on Thursday week, and my second in June. I don’t know which vaccine it will be, and I don’t care, I’m just happy to have my appointments.

    Ice Swimmer
    Yes GP’s and dentists are contractors, they get paid an amount for each patient they have registered, then more for achieving targets. It is complicated and a result of the historical resistance to the idea of being direct employees from GP’s at the time of the NHS’s foundation. You do get the odd directly employed GP or dentist when none of the contracted ones are providing a service for an area; a friend of mine worked directly while setting up a practice in an area with no NHS dentist, then moved on when they insisted he buy the practice after a few years -- he wanted to be directly employed.

  12. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 11

    Here the health care system evolved from municipal doctors (officials of the municipality, definitely one of the local notables) to municipal hospitals and later health care centers run by the municipalities and central hospitals run by local alliances of municipalities. There have also always been private doctors and dentists as well as some private hospitals, for which you pay out of your pocket, but a part of the cost is covered by the state health insurance.

    I’m speculating that because of the social standing of the municipal doctors there may not have been an incentive to lobby for a system similar to the one you have in UK.

  13. Ice Swimmer says

    I got the Covid vaccine today and got assigned a second appointment for the booster vaccine at the end of May. The AstraZeneca vaccine is much less painful than a flu vaccine, they gave it to me with a thin and long needle. No side effects to speak of, so far.

    The process went smooth, with no unnecessary waiting at any point.

  14. Ice Swimmer says

    The side effects seem to have come with a delay. I had temperature last night and my head is still a bit heavy. However, I feel I’m recovering. The vaccine must be working…

  15. says

    Yay, Ice Swimmer!
    I still got no appointment, but my colleague, who signed up after me, got one… My hope is now that they want to start vaccination at your local GP in April and that things will speed up then.

    Grade five and six are back in school now, though with half size groups on alternating weeks, the rest will be back next week. And my heart is completely torn in two, because I’m so happy to see them, and I know that lockdown was so hard for many of them and so much progress we made has been lost, but on the other hand, I also know that this will drive infections.

  16. lumipuna says

    Today was one of those rare winter days when it’s sunny and the sun is somewhat high because it’s almost spring, but also there’s lots of shiny new snow and it’s not melting in the sun because the weather’s fairly cold.

  17. Gelaos says


    I will never understand why some people feel the need to inject pigment into healthy skin, or pierce and cut healthy functional organs in order to put pieces of metal in them. Oftentimes in a manner that impedes normal functioning and sometimes even endangers health.
    […] I find it ridiculous if it is a personal choice, doubly ridiculous if it is a fashion trend

    Well, as far as tattoos go I think that in some specific cases tattoos can enhance someone’s aesthetic appearance. Sort of like make-up: if done right, it looks great, can be considered as art even. If done bad, it’s simply horrible. Most tattoos fall somewhere in the middle. Also if the tattoos are too extensive (our former presidential candidate is an extreme example), can’t be hidden easily or if the tattooing causes too much pain, then I’m against it. But hey, if someone is willing to pass out from pain just in order to get a tattoo, it’s his/hers choice and I get it. And even if everything is safe, painless, etc., I’d still try to persuade that person to think reaaaly carefully, because -- unlike make-up or bodypaint -- the tattoo is permanent.

    I have a different feeling about body-piercing. If it’s not excessive or health-endangering, go and get it if you wish. But unlike tattoos, I don’t like piercings (including earrings) aestheticaly at all.

  18. says

    Oh, I think that some people have great tattoos. Others are less to my taste. It’s just that I know myself enough to know that I could never be happy with them. Like, 20 years ago I would have half the Lord of the Rings tattooed all over me, 10 years ago probably some steampunk. Now maybe a Pokémon? I’d end up with a whole bunch of them and never be actually satisfied, so I’ll stick with jewellery and t-shirts.

  19. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m afraid of getting allergic reactions to the pigments so I won’t have myself tattooed. Besides, I’m quite hairy, so the tattoos might not look that great. I did think about getting nipple piercings, as my male nipples are otherwise literally useless. But I couldn’t be arsed and I guess a ring on the nipple won’t make it significantly more useful for me.

    As for other people’s tattoos, some may be great, others not so much, but that’s none of my business. I won’t encourage anyone to get or remove tattoos (a proveably reformed nazi skinhead having their facial tattoos removed would be an exception).

  20. says

    @Gelaos, I know people who have tattoos, I have even designed a tattoo for one of my friends. But the truth of the matter is, I personally just do not like them. I have a visceral reaction to seeing tattoos and piercings and that is one of disgust and revulsion.
    BTW, I also do not like ostentatious make-up. The less obvious make-up is, the more OK I am with it.
    I do not know why, it just is that way.

    Today my father finally got a term at the hospital. He is going for radiation therapy and will spend there six weeks. He cannot get the vaccine for Covid until the therapy is over. To say that I am currently a bit worried would be a huge understatement.

  21. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 21

    I’m hoping for the best possible for your father and you. Fuck cancer!

    Grandpa hasn’t been able to get his corona vaccine due to an inflammation. It is also possible that he’ll be in end-of-life care soon for reasons unrelated to the corona or the inflammation. I just hope he can avoid suffering and discomfort and he will live as long as he wishes to.

  22. says

    Damn, I understand why you’re scared, especially with the situation in the Czech Republic being as bad as it is.

    In good news, I got my first appointment for the Astra Zeneca vaccine in two weeks. There’s currently a massive campaign against that particular vaccine that I don’t get. Entire countries have halted the vaccine completely after a few cases of thrombosis that are lower than the number of thrombosis cases you should expect in the population in that time without the vaccine. I mean, maybe we’ll get some more of the vaccine then, since for another reason the EU is currently the last on the list to get the vaccines they ordered. Now, I understand completely that it’s also not fair that we’re hoarding the vaccines and also block the global South from copying them, but this whole thing stinks.

  23. StevoR says

    @ 21. Charly & #22.Ice Swimmer : My sympathies for whatever little they may be worth.


    Thankyou and quoting for truth “Snarkrates” comment #8 somewhere on PZ Myers ‘Pharyngula’ blog a fair while ago :

    “It is my fondest hope that our progeny look back on our time & our prejudices with embarressment. If they don’t it means they will not have progressed.”

    I love and have shared with attribution a paraphrased version of that. Hope that’s okay.

  24. says

    Hey there. I’m still alive, just very tired. After being happy to get my vaccine appointment, everything is in jeopardy again because they halted the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

  25. lumipuna says

    Since I haven’t yet commented on the thread opener,

    I find it slightly odd that shaving/shaping one’s body hair in men is called “manscaping”, which seems to be a recently coined term. IDK if it technically includes shaping one’s facial hair (not to mention the hair on top of head) but that’s a very traditionally popular and actually very male-coded type of personal grooming. I figure the concept of body shaving was first popularized for women, and then someone decide “body shaving” was a feminine tradition, and men needed something separate but similar.

    (Also slightly odd that we call only hair growing below the neck “body hair” or in Finnish “skin hair”)

  26. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 26

    I was wondering how pissed off you would be after hearing the news. They haven’t halted giving it here, at least not yet.

  27. says

    @Giliell, that sucks. I am not an expert, but I think the kaboodle with Astra Zeneca vaccine is overblown. Four people have died out of seventeen million? That is ridiculous. We did not know which vaccine my mother gets prior to the appointment today, but we were in agreement that given the information available, there is no need to not get the vaccine if it is Astra Zeneca.
    In fact, as long as cigarettes remain legal, banning many things is ridiculous.

  28. lumipuna says

    Giliell at 4 wrote:

    Back when there still was something like Spa days, I always wondered if I was the only woman who grew pubic hair before the age of 60*…

    I haven’t gone to sauna with other people in recent years, and back when I did, I generally avoided looking other people’s bodies too closely (my eyesight without glasses isn’t very good, either). How did I learn this prudishness, or dare I say homophobic aversion? Anyway, I haven’t have much exposure to other men’s bodies in person. I vaguely recall that at least full pubic hair seemed to be the standard in my youth.

    I also notice that commercial imagery tends to erase body hair in both men and women, although imagery of women’s bodies is much more pervasive. Most of the time, I don’t even think about it, namely that my mental image of generic male and female bodies is biased in this way. Then, some days, I just admire my own body and find it to be “surprisingly” hairy, especially nowadays, since my chest and back hair has only gotten started growing as I approach middle age. I feel it looks kind of good, though in a different way that male bodies are “supposed” to look good. It feels slightly exotic, but also very much like my own body. Having a mostly hairless body would be nice, but extensive shaving would be not only too tedious for my lazy ass, the whole idea feels just wrong.

    Intellectually, I think my hair growth pattern isn’t remotely unusual, at least for my racial background. I’ve seen some data suggesting that people from Nordic region and Middle East are the world’s hairiest. (One common racist stereotype here in Finland is that Middle Eastern men are “more hairy” than us, possibly because their hair is darker and therefore more visible). I also try mentally remind myself that women tend to have leg and armpit hair, not to mention the pubic hair, which I actively appreciate in terms of erotic aesthetics.

    *Despite our reputation of being verklempt, Germans are very much ok with nudity. Nudist beaches have a more than a century old tradition and most saunas are mixed sex and nudist.

    Finns tend to think we are very much ok with sauna nudity as a nation. In reality, I get the sense that many of us only barely (hah) tolerate shared nudity for the sake of enjoying sauna. Our sauna is usually gender segregated, or at most mixed within nuclear family. It may be that in Finland sauna is traditionally meant for everyone, whereas in Germany it’s mainly for those who find shared nudity truly comfortable?

    Wearing of swimsuits in public saunas hasn’t really caught on, because it’s not traditional, because it was long thought “unhygienic” and because the facilities at public pools and spas are already built to be gender segregated anyway. In private family saunas, people may prefer to go one at a time, like in my family, since heating energy is cheap in this modern day. Nowadays in public facilities, there’s some pressure to normalize the choice of wearing a swimsuit in sauna for people who are really shy or gender nonconforming or from whatever cultural backgrounds.

  29. says


    Finns tend to think we are very much ok with sauna nudity as a nation. In reality, I get the sense that many of us only barely (hah) tolerate shared nudity for the sake of enjoying sauna. Our sauna is usually gender segregated, or at most mixed within nuclear family. It may be that in Finland sauna is traditionally meant for everyone, whereas in Germany it’s mainly for those who find shared nudity truly comfortable?

    In Germany you have textile saunas and also nudist saunas. There are segregated saunas, and mixed saunas. the local swimming pool has reserved one afternoon for men, one for women. the spa where we go has a textile sauna but also a nudist area, though the latter is much bigger and more frequented. Given that people will run around, rub salt and honey on themselves and their partners, go to the communal shower or dip in the basin, you simply see lots of nekkid people. In fact, it would make people uncomfortable if you tried to not see them on purpose.

    I don’t get it either. If we vaccinated my whole Bundesland with AZ twice, we#d get 8-10 cases of thrombosis, and that’s cases, not deaths. So far more than 900 people here have died of Covid… But I have to risk catching Covid, but am not allowed to take the risk with the vaccine…

    We now get two quick tests a week in school, only on a voluntary basis, of course. Or as a mother said: “I don’t want my daughter to get tested because I think she may be positive…

  30. Ice Swimmer says


    About my comment @ 28, I’m sorry, I was tactless. I didn’t mean to rub your misfortune on your face, but I think my comment turned out thusly.

    At least EMA made a seemingly sensible decision, I’m hoping your govt follows it.

  31. Jazzlet says

    I hope yur Gvernment change their mind in time for you to have your vaccination on the appointed day/

    I got my AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this afternoon. For some reason their were signs up telling us how many steps we would take to get to our vaccination and, afterwards, how many it would take to get back to the car park, not sure what that was about. I had to go to SportCity which is part of Manchester City’s stadium complex, I could theoretically have driven to the tram and got that in, but I drove all the way so I could go on to the largest Chinese supermarket around here. Lots of goodies like buns for steaming and other dim sum, plus some basics like light soy sauce which we’d almost run out of -- you can get it in supermarkets, but in piddly small bottles at twice the price of the ones at Wing Yip

  32. StevoR says

    @ ^ Jazzlet : No worries. Imagien howI feel! ;-)

    ( Icannot type for S and somehow only ever see typos later, mea culpa


    Grimly interesting article & set of true stories here -- WARNING : Gender role bigotry, confronting content :

    I guess a lot of people have already heard of recent Aussie events re: our accused (known -- I believe Kate as do most people I think .hope) ) rapist AG Porter but fro those who haven’t seen and might want to the Four Corners episodes in question here :

    Part I & here Part II :

    WARNING : Sexual assualt, misogyny, Scotty from Marketing Morrisson refs.

  33. StevoR says

    In much better more hopeful news :

    This is rocket science and shows what we can achieve when we work together intelligently and co-operatively, .
    I find it a sign of hope and potential and really hope it gets to fly.

    In other astronomy news Vega seems to be hosting the literally second hottest planet yet found :

    Plus turns out insteller visitor Oumuamua might be a fragment of a once Pluto-like planet round another sun :

  34. StevoR says

  35. lumipuna says


    In fact, it would make people uncomfortable if you tried to not see them on purpose.

    I suppose so, if you took it too far. It’s not like I try to never see anything at all.

    On the topic of body hair positivity, this cartoon (and the author’s comment) is kind of adorable. Also, mildly NSFW.

    What’s the punchline? I think there’s some inside joke, if you’re sufficiently familiar with the Danish author’s other work and online persona. Otherwise, it’s just deliciously bold and sexy.

  36. says

    Jazzlet, don’t worry, I took in the spirit you meant it. It looks like all appointments here are still valid. Sometimes being a small place has its advantages. After the stop they didn’t halt vaccination completely or partially and simply switched to Biontech using some of the reserves.
    Yay for getting your first shot and some nice food.

    BTW, science is amazing. They already figured out the mechanism behind those rare forms of thrombosis and could therefore tell hospitals what treatment would be most effective.

  37. lumipuna says

    Speaking of the AZ vaccine, Finland has just now halted its use for a week (WTF????) after two people had severe complications. Also Sweden and Norway are still investigating the connections, while most other countries are resuming the use of the AZ vaccine.

  38. Jazzlet says

    Well I seem to have had no side effects at all, possibly a bit of lethargy, but that could just be the normal run-of-the-mill for me lethargy. Which may be down to my iron levels still being low or may not. Must buy some liver, the usual vegetable and small amounts of meat sources clearly not being enough.

    Glad to hear that, hope you have mild or no side effects.

    That seems pointless, except as a “look we’re not ignoring this!” performance.

  39. Ice Swimmer says

    I think they wouldn’t have halted the vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine if Astra would be delivering more doses to Finland than they are currently.

    We got 12 000 doses last Friday and further 13 000 doses on Friday. The health care system is doing nationally on average over 20 000 doses/workday. Pfizer delivers over 100 000 doses/week. I suspect that part of the reason for the break is putting some pressure on AstraZeneca to provide a more consistent supply of vaccines.

  40. Oggie: Mathom says

    Hi, all,

    I have officially filed for disability retirement. I have radiculopathy, C7 & C8, permanent nerve damage to both right and left arms, plus the arthritis in my hips thanks to limping since I left the army 30 years ago, and the degenerating discs in my lumbar from falling off a cliff back in 17. My neurosurgeon told me that ‘it is what it is and it ain’t gettin no better.’ But things work. Sort of.

    Had to give up my car and get one with an automatic. Had to give up the banjo — I can flat strum a guitar, but picking a banjo? Cooking now requires an assistant to chop, dice, and mince. Dressing occasionally requires help with buttons. Work has decided, in writing, that I cannot do my job as a park ranger and they have nowhere else to put me.

    Fuck. I’m only 55 and I feel like I’m 75.

    On the plus side, I get to spend a great deal of time with my twin grand daughters. They talk to each other lots. I just cannot understand this younger generation. Or they are using a twin language. I love them. Though I am looking forward to post-diapers.

    It feels weird to be only 55 and will be retiring soon.

    Ice Swimmer: Our last snow melted, here in the valley, last week. Today it hit 77. Lots of wind, but the house is opened up and the heat is off.

  41. Oggie: Mathom says

    Oh, forgot. I got vaccinated through the VA (mild flu-like symptoms for the first Astra-Zeneca shot, next shot is on the 7th) and Wife got vaccinated through the school — she got the one-shot J&J. She felt like shit for about a day. But this means that, when school is out, we can visit my parents and her parents. Mine are in Maine, and I haven’t seen them since February, 2020. Hers are in Florida and we haven’t seen them since December of 2019.

  42. Ice Swimmer says

    Oggie @ 46

    I’ve been thinking about you every now and then. My warm thoughts for you! That sounds a lot of nerve and joint pain, I’m hoping the doctors can mitigate the symptoms.

    On the other hand, yay for the little ones and their antics (minus the diaper stuff)!

    Last night it rained and today was bright at first (7 ℃), but it’s going to be slightly foggy for the next week or so. A lot of snow has melted, but a lot of it still remains in the more shadowy spots and snow piles.

  43. says

    So good to hear from you. I’m sorry your body has decided to be ahead of its time. How old are the girls now? I mean, yeah,m language is all about communication and obviously the two have already found their favourite conversation partner and don’t want nothing to do with some ancient beings.

  44. says

    Hi. Oggie. I do hope for the best for you. It sucks to have such poor health at your age. Fingers crossed for the best possible outcome for you.

    We got snow again yesterday. It melted today, but in the morning everything was completely white.

  45. says

    Sorry for being rather quiet, but it’s the Easter holidays. Mr is home this week so I have little time for the computer. I got my first Vaccine shot on Monday, before they halted Astra Zeneca for under 60 yo on Tuesday. So far a bit of a sore arm but nothing else. What will happen with my second shot isn’t clear yet. They’ll probably switch to one or two shots of mRNA vaccine. That#s only due in June, though, and I hope that until then they have figured that out. Our Ministerpräsident has decided to turn us into guinea pigs by making us a “model region” for opening up with quick tests. This makes total sense. I mean, really, they have convinced me that testing will prevent infections. That’s why we’ve thrown away the condoms and bought a multipack of pregnancy tests instead as contraception.

  46. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 53

    Nice to hear that you didn’t get any worse symptoms. I think there’s a chance that they’ve figured out who really are at a risk from the AZ vaccine, by the time our boosters are due.

    First-wold problems:

    Finland has run into a new problem as bars and restaurants have been çlosed down or have restricted opening hour in the most corona-afflicted areas: Spoilage of beers and liqueurs (esp. stuff like like Baileys or Advocaat) in storage. The news here featured a bar that applied for a permit* to sell beer for off-premises use. It took the officials 4 months to grant the permit, but luckily the bar was able to sell most of the beer stock in danger of spoiling.

    As selling liqueurs for off-premises consumption is illegal, they did have to dump the contents of all the liqueur bottles that have been open for too long down the drain.

    * = This is the new, liberalized and streamlined alcohol sales and serving regulation system introduced by the previous govt.

  47. lumipuna says

    According to a recent poll, men aged 30-39 (that’s me!) are the least religious demographic in Finland.

    Curiously, younger men have just recently become more interested in religion (both Christian and “alternative” stuff), reversing a longstanding trend of younger generations losing interest in religion. Meanwhile, Finnish young women are less religious than young women just about anywhere else.

    Somewhat amusingly, the article refers to Easter* as “originally a Christian holiday”, implying that secular celebration is the default for modern Easter. This is largely the much the case with Lutheran Finns (not to mention post-Lutheran folks such as myself). To some extent, religious celebration Easter is even perceived as somehow specific to Eastern Orthodox Christians, who are a tiny minority in Finland.

    *Since Finnish *pääsiäinen* also means Passover, one might quibble that it’s technically originally a Jewish holiday. In Finland, the existence of Jews and their traditions tends to be very much ignored in public discourse. Meanwhile in English, one might argue that “Easter” is technically originally a Pagan holiday based on its name.

  48. chigau (違う) says

    I am going to bed now.
    With the window …. open.
    It is +10 outside and +25 inside.
    I will be up to pee in an hour or so, so I can adjust things …

  49. chigau (違う) says

    that’s how long that lasted
    the wind shifted to put a norther right into my window
    inside temp went to 21.9
    then I shut the window

  50. StevoR says

    @ Oggie: Mathom : Respect and best wishes from me. None of us get any younger sadly. Glad you are still here and good to read you commenting here.


    In case people are wondering -- Ingenuity is set to fly into Martian skies on the 11th of April -see :

    Plus fascinating mini-doco on the seafloor and how burrows ended the Ediacaran here with even tiny-soft-bodied little prehistoric critters havinga huge environmental impact :

    Plus :

    Blooming too early
    Sakura flowers
    Seasons broken by us.

  51. Ice Swimmer says

    Grandpa died, peacefully. He was 92. Mom and Aunt visited him today and he was mostly sleeping. A while ago Mom called me and told that the people at old folk’s home called and said that he had passed away.

    He had paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (which is supposed to be a disease young people have, not people n their 90s), and thus had chronic anaemia. He quickly got tired of the blood transfusions and the visits to hospital to carry out them and refused to get them. He had been healthy most of his life. His strong muscles and quick movements combined with the low hemoglobin got him to pass out and fall over many times during the last few months.

    I knew this was coming and it’s a good thing he didn’t have suffer any more, to feel weak and dizzy. Still the grief is there.

  52. Jazzlet says

    Ice Swimmer I am sorry, it doesn’t matter how much you expect someone’s death, if you care for them it still hits you.

  53. chigau (違う) says

    well golly
    today is my birthday
    I almost missed it but Google sent me a message.

  54. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 65

    Congratulations and many happy returns!

    A storm is building up here, the wind is speeding up to gale force and it’s raining. It’s been often windy lately, but now gusts of 20 m/s wind are possible. I think the plastic fences of the light rail line construction site are going to fall over or fly tonight.

  55. Oggie: Mathom says

    Ice Swimmer:

    My condolences.

    hat sounds a lot of nerve and joint pain, I’m hoping the doctors can mitigate the symptoms.

    I get a quarterly shot for my lumbar DDD. Which works for about 60 days. As for my neck? Oy vey! The two lower cervicals that have the screws in them have bone pain. Nothing works except a sleeping pill. The joint and nerve pain can be treated with NSAIDs and muscle relaxers, but I have to be careful with the NSAIDs as my BP keeps skyrocketing (but is being managed). My neurosurgeon says, and I quote, “It is what it is. Eighty per cent is better than where you were.” And reading that over makes it sound a lot worse than it is. To top it off, I gave up cigars a year ago.

    Hi, Chigau and Charly.


    How old are the girls now? I mean, yeah,m language is all about communication and obviously the two have already found their favourite conversation partner and don’t want nothing to do with some ancient beings.

    The twins are 23 months old as of the 15th. Their vocalizations are incredibly complex. It sounds like they are speaking a foreign language. I just don’t understand this younger generation.


    Respect and best wishes from me. None of us get any younger sadly. Glad you are still here and good to read you commenting here.

    Yeah. If I had known just how bad getting old could be I would have been a lot nicer to my body when I was younger.


    I’m currently making a batch of ciabbatta bread. Using a new recipe that included starting a biga yesterday. It really smells right. Also makes me very glad to have a big stand mixer — there is now way I could have hand mixed the really thick batter/really watery bread dough for a half hour even before the nerve damage.

    Going to have meat loaf and a salad with the bread.

  56. chigau (違う) says


    Yeah. If I had known just how bad getting old could be I would have been a lot nicer to my body when I was younger.


  57. says

    Ice Swimmer
    My sympathies and hugs if you want them.

    Belated happy birthday. Yeah birthdays aren’t what they used to be before you hit 2 digits.
    Sorry everybody for being awol. Things are still very stressful here with our government simply abandoning us in the middle of the third wave.
    At least I got my first vaccine shot. And of course all the talk about the Astra Zeneca vaccine has driven me crazy, because rationally knowing that I have little to worry about and not worrying are two different things.
    I’ll get my second shot in June with Biontech. Aaaaaand my sister finally got an appointment next week, on our grandpa’s 100th birthday (we wanted to celebrate Big. Just because he’s been dead for decade doesn’t mean that we don’t get a party), so in about two weeks it will be safe enough for us to hug.

  58. lumipuna says

    My parents have started getting vaccinated. I and my sister will likely get at least first shots by late June. That’s cool, since early July is usually when mom wants to do an annual family gathering.

    (We did it last summer, since infection rates in Finland were very low at the time)

  59. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 71

    Thank you!

    We’ll what they are going to give to us who got the first AZ shot. I’m hoping they’ll find out who are actually vulnerable to the blood clotting by the time I’m due mine. OTOH, I think there will be a third shot of some corona vaccine anyway, because of the newer variants.

  60. StevoR says

    From :

    Leslé Honoré Poetry


    When black boys are born
    We mothers kiss their faces
    Twirl our fingers in their curls
    Put them in carriers on our chest
    Show them to the world
    Our tiny black princes

    And when they start school
    As early as 3
    We mothers
    Place huge back packs on their backs
    And we slowly fill them with bricks
    Etched with tools
    Tattooed with truths
    Hoping to save them

    Don’t talk back
    Don’t get angry
    Say yes ma’am
    Say no sir
    Don’t fight
    Even if they hit you first
    Especially if they are white
    Do your best
    Better than best
    Be still
    Worker hardest

    they get a little older
    And we add more

    Keep your hands out of your pockets
    Don’t look them in the eye
    Don’t challenge
    Don’t put your manhood before your life
    Just get home safe
    Don’t walk alone
    Don’t walk with too many boys
    Don’t walk towards police
    Don’t walk away from police
    Don’t buy candy or ice tea
    Don’t put your hood up
    I’ll drive you
    I’ll pick you up
    You can’t be free
    Don’t go wandering
    Come home to me

    They get a little older
    And we add more

    Understand you are a threat
    Standing still
    Your degrees are not a shield
    Your job is not a shield
    Your salary makes you a target
    Your car makes you a target
    Your nice house in a nice neighborhood
    Makes you a target
    Don’t put your ego before your safety
    Don’t talk back
    Don’t look them in the eye
    Get home to your wife
    Your son

    They weigh them down.
    This knowing
    Of having to carry the load
    Of their blackness
    the world hasn’t changed
    The straps just dig deeper into their skin
    Their backs ache
    But their souls don’t break
    Our beautiful black men

    When you say to me
    I simply ask
    Will your son die
    At a traffic stop
    Will your son die
    For a 20 dollar Bill
    Will your son die with the a knee
    on his neck
    Mine have

    #DaunteWright #airfreshener #defundthepolce #BlueLivesMurder #BlackLivesMatter #minneapolis #TrafficStopsMeanDeathIfYouAreBlack #Backpacks
    #BecauseThisIsGroundHogsDay #LatherRinseRepeat #BlackDeath #WeAreGrievingPerpetually
    #ArtByHalltoons #Halltoons

    Quoted in full because I know a lot of folks here aren’t on fb & powerfully moving poetry worth sharing.


    PS. My dad has had the covid vaccine, -- he volunteers ian ahospital. No one else in my family (myself included) has yet had it. Our pathetic deplorable excuse for a PM & corrupt, disgusting misGovt has bungled the vaccination program here in Oz but thankfully we’ve not been too badly affected given the state premiers and people have mostly done a great job and listened to science so fewer and less severe outbreaks.

  61. StevoR says

    So the forgotten again Afghanistan war / American war number how many again now? has finally (almost) offically ended having taken double the time of the mythical (?) Trojan war.

    Anyone remember what Arundati Roy said at the time esp :

    “Each innocent person that is killed must be added to, not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who died in New York and Washington.” -- Arundati Roy.

    Something totally different :

    Evocative, atmospheric, short ( 8 min) walk on my fave planet -- and the part that marvellously resembles botha heartand an open book.

    Oh and then closer to home but still with a sense of chills both physical and emotional :

    The eponymous seals of the Caspian Sea.

  62. lumipuna says

    I’ve been growing a snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) from a cutting for the last couple years. These are super hardy popular pot plants, nearly impossible to kill, but in a suitable environment they will look healthier and more decorative than usually, and might flower in springtime. Many people don’t even know it’s possible to get them to bloom. My glasshouse balcony is an ideal environment during summer (inasmuch as it’s possible to make a tropical xerophyte thrive in these latitudes), making the plant healthy enough to grow flower initials before winter. Now, when a new summer is approaching, the first flower stalk is growing out.

    Meanwhile, my pearl hyacinths have grown leaves but failed to flower. I dissected some of them and found small dead flower buds between leaf bases. I suspect the buds froze, because they developed too far during the unusually warm autumn, and then were vulnerable for normal winter frost.

  63. says

    @Ice Swimmer, allegedly people susceptible to the blood clotting are women between 20 and 40 years of age.
    @lumipuna we used to have snake plants (called “mother-in-law’s-tongue in Czech) and I think they did blossom once. We do not have them anymore and I do not remember what happened to them. But they are really hardy and easy to propagate from cuttings, although I think that to propagate those with yellow edges you cannot use a cutting but have to use a leaf bud. It is not that they do not propagate from a cutting, but the new plant does not develop the yellow edges.

  64. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 79

    Yes, they might be most vulnerable, but that’s still a bit of a broad category (no pun intended, ok maybe a little). However it can take years for the matter to be solved fully and to narrow down affected group.

    It took about 11 years (from2009/10 to this year) to identify the mechanism with which the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix caused narcolepsy. Not sure how long it took to identify the gene, which makes people vulnerable to the autoimmune reaction causing narcolepsy. It was yesterday in Finnish news that our researchers have found the mechanism which creates an autoimmune reaction against one of the enzymes keeping us awake.

  65. lumipuna says

    Re: Sansevieria. It’s also called mother-in-law’s-tongue in Finnish, and (according to Wikipedia) sometimes in English. I much prefer the name Sansevieria, or actually any other name.

    Tomorrow is May Day, and it looks like the first flowers might open then. There’s about 100 small buds developing on the flower stalk.

  66. lumipuna says

    On a completely different topic:

    When the much-talked about musical Hamilton came out several years ago, I wasn’t remotely interested in seeing it, despite having a geeky interest in US history. I’m not generally into either musicals or stage productions, and wasn’t at all familiar with Alexander Hamilton. I didn’t even notice the release of Hamilton’s movie version last year.

    Now, I just found that various youtubers have not only posted clips of Hamilton’s individual song pieces but also produced animated visuals for them in some system called Animatic (?). I especially like the style of youtuber Szin, who has animated about half of the total 40-something pieces. Szin’s characters are incredibly cute and expressive and frankly sexy, possibly more so than any live action cast you’ll see. The story turns out to be something of a tearjerker: a somewhat fictionalized, romanticized and whitewashed story of the life of Alexander Hamilton and the founding of United States.

    The music is really cool too, though I feel that watching it all (over two hours) at once would be way too much to digest. I started watching some random animated song pieces, and then went obsessively reading Wikipedia on Hamilton (both the real guy and the musical’s plot synopsis) as well as YouTube comments to make sense of the story. There are some “whole musical” compilations of the animated clips on YouTube, but I find these cumbersome to watch or navigate. There are also some 7-minute short editions that perhaps aren’t very helpful as plot summaries. Here’s one by Szin:

    Many of the animated clips have a subtitles available, which is really helpful because I struggle to follow the English song lyrics by hearing. Oddly enough, often there’s a Finnish language option (which comes out as default in my location). I don’t know how the translation is provided in these clips; certainly it’s far too good to be machine generated.

  67. Ice Swimmer says

    Eagle-owls in Helsinki again.

    Eagle.owls used to be birds mainly seen in the wilderness, but they have learned to live in urban environments in the last decade or two. The eagle-owl in the first picture is in Viiskulma, a crossing of five streets in Southern Helsinki, quite an expensive area. The photographer was worried about the eagle-owl because it didn’t seem to react in any way to the magpies pecking it and called the University Animal Hospital. However, the bird was seemingly ok and went on its wings, before any help was even close, with no problems.

    Also, there have been spottings in the Olympic Stadium (in which renovations are almost done), an eagle-owl is a frequent visitor there and in Viikki where the Agricultural Science faculty of University of Helsinki is located (the second picture). Altogether, there are about 5-6 eagle-owl territories in the city. Rats, feral rabbits and birds are probably the main diet of the urban eagle-owls.

    As a bonus, here’s a video of an eagle-owl on the roof of Postitalo (the now former HQ of Finnish Postal services) in the busiest part of downtown Helsinki, from March 2009. The bird was eating, but then noticed the buzzing camera. It seemed to have been much more interested in the camera than the corvids trying to gang up on and chase away the eagle-owl.

  68. says

    Birds attacking eagle owls is very common, even small songbirds will gang upon them during the day. It is actually a way ornithologists catch birds to give them rings -- they put up a stuffed eagle owl and surround it with birding nets. Small birds fly in to attack the owl and get caught in the nets. And it was also used to hunt birds, but that practice is banned in some areas, especially with the use of a living owl.

  69. Ice Swimmer says

    Lumipuna wrote about the church bell mishap in Turku (the timing mechanism malfunctioning and the bells of the cathedral ringing for hours) in a Pharyngula comment a while ago. Turku is in the southwestern corner of Finland, in the historical province of Finland Proper.

    Now, in the night between 30th May and May day, there was another timed audio mishap in the southeastern corner of Finland, in Lapppeenranta, which is in the historical province of Karelia. They had installed a PA system downtown on the roof of the stage of the city theatre to play an instrumental version of the anthem of the province of Karelia (Karjalaisten laulu, the Song of the Karelians) each night at 8 pm. The roof of the theatre building is quite high, so the the song can be heard in a wide area, about 5 km in radius. The timing system malfunctioned and it started playing non-stop in May 1st at 1 pm. It took the staff almost an hour to find the keys and to be able to go and disable the system. Now it’s set up so that the PA can only get powered around 8 pm.

  70. StevoR says

    Possibly too late -klast few hours with thedeadline for this being 5 pm SA time (its appraoching 1.30 pm here) but pelase if youcan and wiash to put ina submission against soccer pitches taking over a large part of Belair National Park including approx 200 trees some over 200 yeras old and many endnageed species here :

    Lofty still here and seen / heard of this I hope?

  71. chigau (違う) says

    I did my Canadian Census (short form) on-line just now.
    One page asked for my sex (assigned at birth, male and female check boxes) AND my gender (male and female check boxes plus a fill-in-the-blank).

  72. StevoR says

    We won! People power has stopped the proposed SLFC soccer pitches in Belair National Park proposal :

    So happy and relieved by this. Though don’t trust the current misGovt at any level esp satte and federal to still try something dodgy here.

    In other news -- that Chinese space junk rocket is down :

    and seems we have another natural exastronomical explanation for the mystery of Tabby’s Star :

    involving a companion star and a bunch of comets. 555

  73. says


    One page asked for my sex (assigned at birth, male and female check boxes) AND my gender (male and female check boxes plus a fill-in-the-blank).

    Oh noes, what a terrible erasure of women!

    I hugged my sister today. First time in six months. Way too long.

    But yesterday I had a fight with my friend, you know the one. Now everybody can sign up for Astra Zeneca, since the damn boomers won’t take it, so my friends are rather happily taking the small risk to sign up for it.
    Only there’s a catch: Our asshole governments have decided that people who have been vaccinated twice will get more freedoms, but full vaccination with an mRNA vaccine like biontech or Moderna takes 6 weeks, while with AZ it takes 14 weeks. For example I got my first shot with AZ in March, and although I’m now scheduled for Biontech, I still have the original 12 weeks gap, so I’ll get my second shot in June, despite this not actually being necessary. I don’t care. Because I care about not dying (getting my first shot) and the pandemic ending asap (as many people as possible being vaccinated) much more than about “freedom”, especially since my kids can’t even be vaccinated yet.

    In order to get the people to still take it, they are reducing the span to 4 weeks. But if you get the second shot after 4 weeks, it’s basically useless. It raises your protection against any symptomatic infection from 50% to 55% instead of 80% after 12 weeks.
    So I told my friends that for maximum protection they should still wait for their second jab. She told me she needed both shots asap to protect her elderly father, and of course I’m the baddie for telling her that this will actually put him at a higher risk.

  74. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 92

    Aargh, there’s something (fuck the pandemic and its consequences) that badly interferes with her ability to reason.

    As for the second jab, I didn’t realize the AZ vaccine needs that long a span, I thought that it was just that UK and Finland (among others) were trying to get as many first shots as possible done in the shortest possible time. We do the 12 weeks also with Pfizer and Moderna to stretch the supplies, which is probably why the AZ timing hasn’t been discussed much here. However, the accelarating effect of this is getting smaller because the number of people scheduled for the booster is increasing, echoing the accelerating pace of vaccinations during the winter and spring.

    I’d be getting the second AZ Vxzvr* jab if I could, but as I’m not 65, i can’t, the officials here consider it too risky. So they’re going to give me a Pfizer shot as the booster, unless some new info on the AZ side effects occurs in three weeks.

    * = Vaxzevria. It had a more sensible name when I got it, but they wanted to change it to something less boring and more stupid.

  75. Jazzlet says

    Yay for hugging your sister, but sorry about your friend, it sounds as if she has really been damaged by the whole COVID business :-(

    My understanding with the AstraZenca vaccine is that the original trials were done with a more usual shorter interval, but that when the UK Government decided to give the second jab at twelve weeks a trail was simultaneously set up to examine what effect the longer gap had. That trial showed the longer ggap acttually gave better protection than the shorter gap. But I could be wrong about that so I don’t recommend relying on it without checking an authoritative source.

  76. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 94

    I see.
    It seems that the partial lifting of restrictions and possibly May Day celebration have stopped the improvement of the epidemic situation here. We’re now approximately where we were in the beginning of November when the second(?) wave began. That means 14 day incidence of around 100/100 000 people in worst areas, which isn’t comparatively speaking that bad, but it doubled in about three weeks in November. I think they should have kept the restrictions we had from February/March for a few weeks more to push the incidence lower.

    Hopefully the vaccinations will start to have an effect soon, about 35 % of the population (way behind UK, a bit ahead of Germany) has got the first dose and people in their forties and fifties are now being vaccinated. I think this is significant because the absolute number of Covid infections here throughout the epidemic among people who are 60 or older is approximately equal to the number of infections among people aged 50 -- 59 (both are about10 000) while 40-somethings have had almost 40 % more infections than 50-somethings, 30-somethings more than 60 % more infections than 50-somethings and 20-somethings have had close to 90 % more infections than people in their fifties (even though there are fewer people born 1992-2001 than there are people born 1962-71 here).

    The vaccinations seem to have had mostly an effect on the mortality and rate of hospitalization, which is of course very important, but choking the epidemic would be nice.

  77. says

    That means 14 day incidence of around 100/100 000 people in worst areas, which isn’t comparatively speaking that bad, but it doubled in about three weeks in November. I think they should have kept the restrictions we had from February/March for a few weeks more to push the incidence lower.

    my words. Push cases down, down, down, then open. That would also be good and fair towards youths, who really cut back their lives for a year, only the be last to be vaccinated / not vaccinated at all, and families, who won’t be able to do shit despite the parents being vaccinated.
    I guess the AZ issue will fade out as the EU doesn’t renew its contracts. Probably not such a good idea to treat them like that, business wise.

    Yesterday my mum* asked the kids if they’ll get the vaccine once it becomes available. The both replied “Yes, of course!” with an air of “do you think we’re stupid???”
    We’ve been really lucky with the age of the kids during all of this: They’re old (and trustworthy) enough to stay at home alone so I never had to juggle childcare on top of everything (I’m not saying homeschooling and everything hasn’t been hard and full of tears, just that I could leave them home alone), but they’re also young enough that they don’t need to worry about school leaving certs and vocational training yet.
    #1 will be 14 in a few weeks, the little one turns 12 in October and I think that since she has only one kidney I might be able to get the paediatrician to vaccinate her a few months early.

    *She’s staunchly pro vaccine, no worries there

  78. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 96

    my words. Push cases down, down, down, then open. That would also be good and fair towards youths, who really cut back their lives for a year, only the be last to be vaccinated / not vaccinated at all, and families, who won’t be able to do shit despite the parents being vaccinated.

    I’ve been thinking that perhaps they should vaccinate 20 -- 24 -year-olds here when people over 50 and high-risk groups have been vaccinated. This is because they have probably more covid infections than any other 5-year cohort and they are along with people 45 -- 49 the smallest age cohort among people aged 20 -- 75 here.

  79. StevoR says

    Random endangered species -- now up to 397 and been doing these on fb for over a year FWIW :

    You don’t get much more critically endangered than having only one member of a species left -- sadly that is the case for today’s Endangered Species of the Day the Ton Pariwat Stone Oak or as it is botanically known Lithocarpus orbicarpus, a name meaning “stone
    fruit, orb fruit.” Recently discovered in the form of, yes, a single solitary tree in Thailand’s Ton Pariwat Wildlife sanctuary in southern Thailand which was only found in 2014 by a joint team of botantists from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (China) and the Forest Herbarium (BKF -- Thailand). It is part of the Stone Oak family which contains a huge number of species and -- although we tend to think of Europe more than Asia when we hear the word “oak” -- there are many oak species like this in Asia including of course this singular one. Unsurprisingly we known precious little about it and images of it are also few.* We do know that it :

    “…is a medium to small tree with simple leaves. It can be easily distinguished by its spherical acorns covered with a dense pattern of irregularly placed scales that completely conceal the nut, except for a tiny opening at the top, and which are arranged in dense clusters on upright spikes.”

    This small tree may not look overly distinctive or spectacular but as the only one currently known of its kind only a handful of people masybe less than than have visited our Moon have ever knowingly seen this species.

    Whether it was always rare or has previously been unidentified and logged, it is clearly in a seripous predictament and one of all too many species indnager of vanishing virtually unknown. Who knows what other species may already have done so?

    * This is a rare species that is (so far?) NOT found on wikipedia the IUCN RedList or Youtube!

    See :


    Also on a totally different topic but of possible interest here :

  80. StevoR says

    @ ^ lumipuna : Yikes. Atmospheric CO2 passed 420 ppm approx a month or so ago too. In Ice Age minima it was 180 ppm, pre-Industrial levels were 280 ppm, NASA cklimatologist Jim Hansen calculated the safe level for a stable liveable climate is 350 ppm. Incidentally have you seen thsi site which monitors ice loss from both poles on our planet here? :


    Please can we listen to the messages of Cenk & Gabor Mate here :


    From back in 2014 yet painfully, depressingly, horribly still relevant today too.

  81. voyager says

    Here I am. Sorry, but life has been crazy. I’m hoping to tell you all about it soon.

  82. Ice Swimmer says

    voyager @ 105, Charly @ 106

    I’m glad you are here/there. Take your time and recuperate as you see fit.

  83. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 109

    It’s chaos. I’m happy it isn’t 32 ℃ here. I’m fairly content with Normal Finnish Summer Weather.

  84. says

    @chigau, that is great. My mom is fully vaccinated already, but my father is still at the hospital and it is still unclear when he can be vaccinated. I have an appointment for the first dose on Wednesday. It is good that you have no severe side effects now. My mother said that after the second dose there were even fewer than after the first one.

  85. StevoR says

    Stumbled over this today :

    A great new take on an classic old song.

    One more beautiful thought-provoking pale blue dot image here --

    this time from China’s Chang’e 5 lunar sample return spacecraft. That blue speck is all of us as Carl Sagan wonderfully said.

    Also seems a familiar, astronomically fairly famous, superb, double star may hide a very massive secret as Phil Plait explains here :

    Meanwhile, in personal news tomorrow I’m getting knocked out and losing teeth

    -- by the anaesthetist using gas & then the dentist of course. Dreading it but got no choice sadly. 6 extractions. Really wish dentists could have found a way to cure and reverse tooth decay rather than having to needing this. Ideally a pill…I so hate having people mess with my mouth. :-(

  86. Jazzlet says

    Hope today goes well StevoR, and that your recovery is swift and straight forward.

    In case your dentist neglects to mention it, if any of the extractions are of upper teeth do not blow your nose until the healing is well under way, it’s all too easy to blow the clot out of the socket and nasty bacteria and viruses into the socket, which will at best delay healing and at worst lead to infection.

    I really wish we could have a few days without rain.

  87. Ice Swimmer says

    StevoR @ 115

    Wishing for the best! It would be nice if we had renewable teeth like crocodiles and sharks do. However, then we might have problems in the tooth re-absortion and re-growth processes.

  88. lumipuna says

    Best wishes, StevoR!

    In case your dentist neglects to mention it, if any of the extractions are of upper teeth do not blow your nose until the healing is well under way

    I never heard of that, and I blow my nose all the time. Then again, the two teeth I’ve had removed over the years weren’t too big or deep-rooted.

  89. says

    I hope the extractions are going /have gone well, StevoR.
    I’m a constant guest at my dentist’s as well.I always joke that usually businesses where you pay that much money to have pain inflicted on you advertise with red lights…

    Sorry y’all for being pretty absent. I’m about to post some updates later

  90. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 118

    Back in November, when I had to have one of my teeth on the upper jaw removed, the dentist checked that there are no leaks between the mouth and nose, IIRC by asking me to make some air pressure in the nose. Of course, this was before the blood was clotted in the socket.

  91. says

    @StevoR, I hope your visit at the dentist went as well as possible, under the circumstances.

    Today I got my first shot of the mRNA vaccine. My shoulder feels like I have been kicked by a mule, but other than that so far nothing. I expect that if I should have some really bad adverse effects, they would have shown by now, but I will probably take it slow tomorrow just to be sure.

  92. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 121

    Congrats for the shot! I’m hoping the kicked feeling goes away quickly and you won’t get any more adverse effects. I think the tenderness/pain shows that your body is reacting to the vaccine. They are also vaccinating people in our age range (40-somethings) here right now.

  93. says

    Yay, Charly.
    Being in that weird AZ first, Biontech later cohort, my second shot will be in three and a half weeks. By now almost all adults in my immediate framily have been vaccinated at least once and I’m crossing my fingers for today’s decision about the Biontech vaccine for teens. Although the government has already decided that there won’t be special vaccination programs for teens and the institution inn charge of making vaccine recommendations as well as the professional organisation of paediatricians are completely nuts being apparently opposed to vaccination of teens as it won’t be “beneficial” for them.
    I mean, WTF?
    Not only does long Covid in kids exist, we’re also dealing with a virus that happily mutates in ever more infectious ways, with British school kids already being infected at rates of up to 1%, it will also have a clear psychological benefit for the kids.

    In good news, I met my friend yesterday, you know, the one I was having regular fights with, because she’s interested in buying a house up the street (that would be great, I just hope she can afford it) and she apologised for having been an ass, and I apologised for having been an ass. We’re probably both at the end of our tether, I just hope that we can all meet over summer for nice outdoor barbecues to catch some air.

  94. StevoR says

    Thanks everyone for the well wishes.

    Pretty miserable and sore but recovering here. Theyended up taking out more teeth than they told me -- 9 instead of 7. Gradually getting better now. Good new sis its soup weather here, bad news is I’m starting toget pretty sick of just having soup (& custard, yoghurt etc ..) still. At least its over & thanks again y’all.

  95. Ice Swimmer says

    StevoR @ 124

    Are you getting dentures at some point? 9 teeth is a lot.

    Anne @ 125

    Meow! Observing in high places and being cosy in cosy places.

    Got my booster corona vaccine on Monday. Pfizer, the first shot was Astra, but they’re no longer giving it to people under 65 here. The injection hurt quite a lot (maybe the muscle was a bit tense) and the arm is a bit sore now, but otherwise no ill effects. They were a bit late on the schedule so people had to wait outdoors (the weather was good so no problem). They had posted a guy to shout out periodically to people who had their appointments at a certain time, to enter, according to the appointment time. Once inside, the process was very smooth again.

    I’m actually glad they were late, because I got lost thanks to Google Maps directing me to a construction site, which I couldn’t cross. I don’t know the Tapiola Sports Park area (where the ice hall/arena used for vaccinations is) very well and I used a different route last time. Furthermore, the privately-run facilities in the sports park are so comprehensively fenced around that going through their parking lots and courtyards is impossible.

  96. Jazzlet says

    Anne, what a pair of lovelies!

    The advice not too blow your nose after an upper jaw extraction came from a friend of mine who was a dentist before he retired. He had dealt with people who had got infections that way.

  97. says

    I had another dentist appointment today and for the first time in half a year I can almost normally chew. We’ll hopefully get the crowns done in 3 weeks.

    The two are lovely. I always enjoy your pics on Twitter

    Ice Swimmer
    I’ll get mine in two and a half weeks. They make me wait the original Astra 12 weeks despite getting Biontech* like you
    *of course in Germany we call it by the German company that developed it

    Urgh, what a week. And it’s only Wednesday. I’ll probably write a blog post about it, because nothing in my whole education to become a teacher ever prepared me for this.

  98. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 128

    Pfizer is shorter, but Biontech is easier to pronounce.

    I got my open university courses done. The final thing had the deadline on midnight, but I got it done more than an hour early. I still hate writing reports (and there was a lot of it). I much prefer creating simulations, designing things or doing math, but the writing is of course inevitable. Drawing diagrams is also nice, but it’s a hell to do if you’re in a hurry, because it takes a lot of time.

  99. Ice Swimmer says

    A random question:

    What kinds of euphemism or slang expressions do other cultures have for vomiting. In Finnish speaking Norwegian is one (puhua norjaa). Norwegian is often spoken into a porcelain phone (posliinipuhelin, puhelin is telephone), that is into a toilet seat. One could for example say: “Pekka puhuu norjaa posliinipuhelimeen.” That is: “Pekka speaks Norwegian into the porcelain phone.” or “Pekka vomits into the toilet.” Pekka is a Finnish male name (with the same ethymology as Peter), that at least Norwegians are said to use in their jokes about Finns.

    Other way to say to vomit is “yrjötä”, which is both onomatopoeic and refers to the male name Yrjö, Finnish for George, so it’s kind of like “to george”. There are also an euphemisms “ylenantaa” and “antaa ylen” (approximately ”to give overly”, it’s difficult to translate). As the imperative (and parts of some other forms) for “antaa ylen” is “anna ylen”, a fictional woman called Anna Ylén* is sometimes spoken about when it comes to vomiting.

    * = Ylén would be a last name that a family of priests could have and it could have developed from a Finnish last name such as Yletyinen, which would be first Latinized to Ylenius (when the first aspiring priest of the family was attending the university) and then shortened and Swedefied into Ylén with the French-style accent mark as the originally Finnish-speaking priestly family would become Swedish-speaking and a part of the local elite.
    I’ve heard that Aussies have numerous expressions for vomiting, is this true?

  100. says

    Other way to say to vomit is “yrjötä”, which is both onomatopoeic and refers to the male name Yrjö, Finnish for George, so it’s kind of like “to george”.

    We got that one as well, you can “call Jörg” (Jöööööööööööööörg).
    Another one is “kübeln” (to bucket), probably from where you puke into, and “reihern” (to heron), because we all know that herons do in fact, “heron”.
    The “most polite” one is “sich das Essen nochmal durch den Kopf gehen lassen”, to let the food pass through your head again. “to let something pass through your head again” is a common expression for saying that you have to rethink something. And of course it literally describes vomiting…

  101. StevoR says

    @ Ice Swimmer -- 130: Yes, its true with a lot of different slang terms. Inccluding -but not ,limited to talking on the porcelain telephone (toilet), to ralph, to puke, to chuck, to chunder, spew, technicolour yawn, toss up, throw up, barf…

    &126. Dunno, we”ll see later. Not looking forward to seeing dentists again..


    Anyone happen to have any idea why the Natal Shyshark (Haploblepharus kistnasamyi, my Endangered Species of the Day #410! -- see :


    (Very technical but scroll down and click on the figures for photos there.)

    Would be called the happy chappie?!

    Apparently this family of Shysharks get their name from its habit of -- I kid you not -- curling itself up and covering its face with its tail! (Though I haven’t found any footage of that behaviour online but several sources saying so so ..hmm.)

    The Natal Shyshark is also weirdly listed as only vulnerable- though as critically endangered in other places -- despite being rarer than the endangered species it was formerly thought to belong to (Puffadder Shyshark, Haploblepharus edwardsii) so not really sure why that would be..

  102. says

    Ice Swimmer, I’ve always used “barf” or “vomit” for humans. For cats, it’s “hork”, but I have no idea where that came from. Onomatopoeia, maybe.

    I hope everyone is doing well, and the cats thank you for all the compliments. Norma learned last night that when she sits on my footstool by my legs, she gets lots of pets and scritches. She’s already figured out how to spread out and push my feet off. They’ll be taking over our chairs by next week.

  103. StevoR says

    Stacey Abrams on the Aussie TV news program The 7.30 Report :

    Hope the transcript at least works and folks can see this. I know we’re not meant to have heroes (& for good reasons) but,, Wow. Huge respect and admiration for her here.

    In much less happy news. (Understatement.) :

    What can I say? Tharnicaa -- and her parents Priya and Nadesalingam and all the other refugees -- did NOTHING wrong. They don’t deserve this. No one does. This is so utterly appalling and wrong and downright evil by our heartless, incompetent, disgusting excuse for a govt I don’t know where to even start.

    On to a whole other tangeant :

    A sauropod of course.

  104. lumipuna says

    Today, an annular solar eclipse visible in parts of the Arctic (for example Iqaluit, Nunavut):,_2021

    Partial eclipse visible in the Arctic, Europe (mainly northern), parts of northern Asia and eastern North America. Peak around 11 GMT, duration around 10-12 (people in North America will likely sleep over it, if they aren’t already prepared to get up early).

  105. lumipuna says

    I went on a walk with a friend, not so much to watch the (not very impressive) partial eclipse, but to chat and to appreciate the (currently very beautiful) suburban nature.

  106. lumipuna says

    I got my first vaccine shot yesterday, incidentally just when Finland’s first shot coverage surpassed 50 % of total population.

  107. says

    Yay, Lumipuna!
    I’m getting my second shot on Monday, finally. But then I should have the extra effective combination of one dosage Astra, and one Biontech. No signs yet for getting the kids vaccinated. The vaccine is approved, but not recommended for kids without certain conditions. And in my opinion the responsible institution fucked it up and I think the reason was political, because we still don’t have enough vaccine. Now that a lot of people are due their second shot, we’re hardly making any progress on first dosages.

    I’m also never ever going to make fertilizer from cats tail and stinging nettles again. It smells like a big cattle herd pooped in my garden…

  108. StevoR says

    Wise words from David Attenbrough here :

    Grim news abvout the state of the Arctic here :

    Plus the Bad Astronomy has a good post here about a stunning barred spiral galaxy witha great quote at the end on science and art :

  109. Ice Swimmer says

    I attended the online graduation ceremony for my Master’s (which I got in August). Now I have to try and make an appointment with the student services to get my certificate.

    lumipuna @ 138 and 50 %


    Giliell @ 139

    I’m expecting Finland to be in the same bad vaccine situation in July. We get 400 000 doses/week now, but they expect it to be 240 000 doses/week in week 27 (first full week of July). I guess that not many 20-somethings will get a dose in July, if there won’t be more doses available.

    So you cut the middle cow/ox and and got the manure directly, including the smell. I’m hoping your fertilizer will decompose sufficiently quickly and stop smelling.

    I’m not sure which smells worse, cow manure or dried and pelletized chicken manure (which is the most common commercial biofertilizer here). Any way, an old saying here is: “Manure is the lord of the field.” (Sonta on pellon herra.*)
    * = Sonta or lanta is manure, pelto is a field used for growing something (pellon is the genitive form) and herra is both mister and lord. Both pelto and herra are Germanic loan words.

  110. lumipuna says

    In other news,

    Well, it was a lovely couple weeks between a rainy, muddy spring and what promises to be an exhaustingly hot summer. I almost got around to starting the spring hiking excursions I’d thought about. I increasingly feel like I need sunlight to function/enjoy life, but then I start instantly melting if the weather is slightly hot.

    Aside from being sensitive to heat, I just developed a health issue that will limit my mobility for weeks (hopefully not longer). I’ve long had a spontaneous, persistent sore on my left ankle, and now I was fitted with a compression bandage that should make it better. The bandage is somewhat difficult to fit in a shoe, and also complicates showering, and needs regular refitting. This summer, I’ll break a sweat many times just getting to the doctor and back.

    The doctor estimated I must have some unusual tendency to lower limb vein dysfunction, and therefore I can expect difficult leg sores/wounds in the future. AFAIK this kind of stuff typically happens to smokers, diabetics and people much older than me. The doctor prescribed me custom made compression socks I’m supposed to wear regularly in the future, as a preventative measure. They’re apparently hugely expensive (for just two new pairs per year) but at least I don’t have to to pay most or any (?) of that cost.

  111. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 142

    Thanks! I’ll be getting my degree certificate on Monday, I got an apppointment with with a study office person and she’ll hand the certificate to me. If it weren’t for the covid, I would’ve been able to get it in September 2020. Since February, I could have had it sent to me by a registered letter, but that felt a bit of a overkill as they would send it to me from a place in a 15 minute walking distance, and the letter would first go to Ilmala and from there to some Posti’s service point to which I might have to take a bus or metro.

    lumipuna @ 143

    Ouch. Dad had leg sores and they weren’t fun. He was a diabetic, older than you are and did smoke for a long time (but he quit). He didn’t get compression socks. On the contrary, he used non-elastic socks. Perhaps the compression socks wouldn’t have been a good thing for a diabetic. I’m hoping the socks will help you. At least you don’t have the diabetes and nicotine to damage your circulation.