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July 18th, 2014
11:10 am

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Seaworms!


13 favorite seaworms-- this is more cracked than Cracked!

A number of the creatures should be of extreme interest to science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

One of the seaworms lives under the edge of the shells of limpets-- normally a limpet is extremely vulnerable to starfish, but the seaworm feeds on the tender suckers of attacking starfish. Doesn't this want to show up in milsf somehow?

There's a seaworm which is an inverse hydra-- up to thousands of bodies hanging off one head.

And another which specializes in eating the bones of dead whales.

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July 17th, 2014
11:40 am

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The Cranky Movie Watcher: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The movie was a triumph of CGI-- the fur was maybe a little stiff, but the apes were basically satisfactory. The message, played out through many plot twists, was that there are primates who want peace and primates who want war, and that's a more important distinction than ape vs. human.

However, I don't think they knocked themselves out thinking about the details.

Nitpicks follow, some of which are spoilersCollapse )

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10:12 am

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Pigeon theory
Thank you to the commenters on my previous post-- I now have enough information to put together a theory that makes me happy.

The idea that city pigeons have varied patterns because they've cross-bred with fancy pigeons didn't feel right-- surely fancy pigeons are too rare to make that much difference.

However, ritaxis contributed the idea of a brindle gene which contributes irregular coloring.

If I assume that the brindle gene was picked up from fancy pigeons and it helps with camouflage in the cluttered city environment, the way city pigeons look makes sense. It's not a matter of fancy pigeon genes in general-- some features, like curly feathers, just aren't practical for a wild bird.

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July 11th, 2014
02:04 pm

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Wondering about pigeons
Most animals look very similar to other members of their species in the same locality, but city pigeons' feather patterns haven't converged. Any idea why?

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June 21st, 2014
12:47 am

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If you imagine that children are sentient.....
Teaching children rhetoric so that they know how to argue well

I especially liked "Instead of “Use your words,” I would say, “See if you can talk him into it.” ". It's a goal instead of a rule-- and Jay Heinrichs has also been teaching how to achieve the goal.

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June 20th, 2014
12:41 am

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On cursing
Ann Leckie weighs in, very politely.

I absolutely agree that cursing is a distinct neurological state-- I learned to curse when I was about 12, and using bad words feels drastically different from normal language.

The link has a *lot* about both cursing and restricting cursing being ways of enforcing status. There's probably a parallel about making and forbidding loud noises.

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June 11th, 2014
10:55 am

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What would it take to allow Russian homosexuals into the US?
Homosexuals are being shut out of being able to live in Russia. Their organizations, homes, jobs, and probably eventually their children are being taken from them by law and regulation.

David Neiwert said:
It is now time for Americans to begin organizing the means to help members of the LGBT community in Russia emigrate and escape the awful fate that hangs over them now. Because fascism, the real thing (and not people's polluted understanding of it) is truly descending on Russia now, and gays are the first and foremost target (immigrants are not far behind, and of course, there eventually will be others).
....

Russian LGBT folk are in the same position as German Jews were in the 1930s -- and one of the truly historic shameful failures of Americans during those years came in failing to help Jews escape the fate that awaited them.

Post your ideas here: What can we do to help?


I have no idea. Petition.org? Repost on social media? Email your representatives?

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June 7th, 2014
12:28 pm

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Something charming


Janis Ian sings about writing an autobiography.

Variant lyric: "I'll say I slept with the Kennedy's, the Reagans and the queen. When they all got tired of me, I slept with Charlie Sheen."

Link thanks to Gale Hellbender Mead.

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June 3rd, 2014
11:10 am

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Ladino etc. music on Wednesday
Drexel Mediterranean Ensemble:
Ladino, Klezmer, Liturgical and Raga inspired music to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Shavuot*. Distinguished guest artists joining the ensemble for this performance include Donna Morein (mezzo-soprano) Steve Kramer (cello), Dave Posmontier (keyboards) Kenny Ulansey (woodwinds) and Bill Koutsouros (strings and percussion). Plus student special guest artists: Thao Duong (piano), Ananth Bevinahally Raghunath (vocals) and Beartin Kocibelli (violin).</a>

7:30 PM, Mandell Theater, Chestnut and South 33rd St.
Free concert

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June 2nd, 2014
11:05 am

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Almost sold buttons at Balticon
A batch of buttons (possibly 28 buttons and papers to be made into buttons) got left at Balticon because there was no obvious way to pay for them-- paypal would have worked, but I wasn't at the table to say there were options beyond cash and checks.

If you happen to be the person who ordered or have heard someone talking about that happening, could you contact me?

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