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Cat Noses [Oct. 14th, 2018|01:42 am]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |West Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Me: I Met a Little Doom Bird]

I enjoy touching cat noses. I've been that way as long as I can recall. Alexandra, like all of the cats who've lived with me, is used to it. When she comes over to interact with me, she stretches her nose toward my hand, like she wants to sniff me, and I touch her nose with the tip of my index finger. It's a ritual that takes place before we snuggle, wrestle, etc.

I would *love* to touch the noses of the big cats at the zoo, especially the tiger who comes right up to the glass and leaves nose marks on it. He would find my visit much more fulfilling were the glass not there as well, I think.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/57255.html
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Mammal - Mammal - Bird [Oct. 12th, 2018|12:36 am]
xolo
[Tags|, , , ]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

I got "Privacy Badger" for FireFox, as much for (if we are to be honest) the cool badger logo as anything. I'm impressed, though.

*****

Alexandra (my cat) is sleeping atop my clothes hamper, snoring away :)

*****

Trimming back the vines by mom's back door, and there was a bird's nest in there, no more than two feet from the door. I had no idea. It's in pretty good shape, so probably from late summer. It's too small for a Robin (and no mud), and built all of grass and twigs, so maybe a new world Sparrow, or perhaps some sort of Finch. I had not a clue that they were even there.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/56910.html
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Birds and Doom [Oct. 11th, 2018|08:09 am]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |West Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Me: The Doom Bird Song]

Volcano Bird! How did I manage to get through most of my life without knowing that this even existed? This is just exactly the sort of thing that normally gets beaten to death on children's nature shows, but for some reason this one didn't. I'm guessing the eggs have to be fairly resistant to sulphur dioxide, if they get incubated in hot volanic sand. I wonder too how they get any oxygen buried like that? Also, every bird that I know of has to turn the eggs several times a day for the first few days of incubation, else they just don't develop. Apparently the Maleo doesn't. This is more like how reptiles do their eggs than birds.

I'd be rather critical if something like this popped up in an SF novel.

The little casque on the back of the head makes me think of Gogo Dodo.

*****

OMG! A full-colour magazine ad for Project Pluto! This is probably one of the most nightmarish devices ever dreamt of. Pluto was going to be a low-altitude hypersonic unmanned cruise missile powered by a nuclear ramjet. The engine design was deliberately dirty. This thing would fly around for hours, with the shockwave destroying everything on the ground as it passed over, and the engine spewing fallout in its wake. Some versions would drop atom bombs as they went. Even by Cold War standards, this was an insane weapon. I'm perversely impressed by the abstract, impersonal viciousness of which my species is capable, and even more that we can do it in such a calm, even playful, way. This isn't something done in the heat of battle - this is something that someone had an idea one day, and everyone else was all, "Whoa! That'll fuck 'em up!" It really is a testimony to our ability to think abstractly that we can consider this in the detail needed to make it work, while simultaneously distancing ourselves from what the actual effect of it is going to be. I wonder how much of that is due to having a bicameral brain?

If you've ever seen the magnificent old SF movie "The Lost Missile", that's inspired by this.

What would Princess Celestia think about this?

*****

So far as stuff getting beaten to death on children's nature shows: When I was in elementary school, we got preached at constantly about the Passenger Pigeon, and how they used to migrate in flocks so great that they took days to pass, and would denude the entire landscape, and how exterminating them* was this terrible, irreversible tragedy, and we had to make sure such a thing never happened again.

Well...

Even as a child in 1968 I understood that "extinction is forever" was scaremongering BS. If we keep moving forward, and keep developing our technology, in time we'll be able to have Passenger Pigeons, or dinosaurs, or mythological animals, or anything else we want.

I'm still no clearer today than I was as a child about why it would be a wonderful thing to have pigeons appear in such numbers that they actually strip the landscape of all food in their passing. That doesn't seem a good thing for anyone but the pigeons. I suppose one can justify it as part of nature, but so is getting cancer or being carried off by a tornado, both of which we (quite reasonably) work to stop.

In the end, the Passenger Pigeon advocates made me think, but probably not in the direction they had intended.


*Except that they may not be extinct. For the last 20 years or so, there are increasing reports from Ohio and Pennsylvania of people spotting what they think are Passenger Pigeons, and even a fair number of (never clear, sadly) photos. If I had to pick a side, I'd say there're some still alive.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/56791.html
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So Anyway... [Oct. 10th, 2018|01:27 am]
xolo
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[mood |amusedamused]

There's just something about driving in Columbus that turns people into dumbasses. According to the story he was looking for the Convention Centre. If he was trying to get there on the 315 from Downtown, then he was lost to begin with.

He had to have entered the bicycle path from West Spring - you can see the turnoff here: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9661501,-83.0198107,2a,60y,180h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXWD1IW9T4IqE3kesAW1TXg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 Note the orange plastic bollard, and the "No Motor Vehicles" sign. What about this made it not look like a bad place to drive a truck?

Where he met his Waterloo: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9692658,-83.0220021,2a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxg8INHB1ySlC2c1VcabEkw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

For some reason, it's really fun to look up stuff like this on Google Maps.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/56380.html
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Strange Days Indeed [Sep. 26th, 2018|11:12 pm]
xolo
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Had anyone told me, five years ago, that the day would come when Donald Trump would be hitting me up for money...

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/56220.html
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In the News [Sep. 18th, 2018|11:50 pm]
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It's a tragedy about the Russian transport being shot down by the Syrians. I have to wonder, though - did the Syrian AA battery not have an IFF system, to help them identify friendly aircraft? Did they have one, and just screw up? If they didn't have one, why not? It's hard to imagine the Russians not wanting them to operate such thing with Russian planes flying in their airspace, for just this reason.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/55912.html
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Doves... [Sep. 13th, 2018|11:07 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |West Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Me: Chocobo Song]

Both of the juvenile Doves are still alive and doing well. I thought one had perhaps been eaten by one of the local Hawks when I found a feather on the driveway, but they're both still in good shape as of this afternoon. I went to sit on the front steps, and about 30 seconds or so after I came out, first one then the other emerged from the front shrubbery, where I'm assuming they took refuge when they saw the door opening. They keep about five or six feet distance, but otherwise seem fairly comfortable with my presence. Both were picking and scratching for food in quite a relaxed fashion after they saw it was only me. One (the younger? It's getting hard to tell now) did a really weird, elaborate wing stretch right in front of me.

Doves: "Meh. It's only him."

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/55772.html
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Alcohol was involved... [Sep. 13th, 2018|10:27 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |West Trumpistan]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Me: Chocobo Song]

“There were several items on fire inside the kitchen including some towels … [the man] showed no regard for his safety or well-being by staying in the house even as it filled with smoke.”

To be honest, I'm impressed that he was even able to set the place on fire, much less answer the door after drinking two quarts of vodka in three hours. He should have been comatose. So far as showing a lack of regard for his own safety, it may well be that that a man who can keep his feet after that is also immune to smoke inhalation.

*****

A 19-year-old man in Chicago who had been too drunk to notice he’d been shot in the chest the night before showed up to a hospital Tuesday...

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/55513.html
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Dinner [Sep. 12th, 2018|12:04 am]
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A hot dog, and a bowl of Hanoi-style pho bo. Fusion cuisine. :)

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/55249.html
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Doves! [Sep. 6th, 2018|05:32 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Both of the fledgling doves are already able to fly. I just about stepped on them earlier going out the back door. They flew away with much twittering, the older one looking a bit more skilfull than the younger, as might be expected. They're sticking together, and seem to have made their HQ in the big lavender bush for now.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/54873.html
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