21 May 2019

"Sinnerman" (Nina Simone)


While watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople a couple nights ago, I heard this song in the soundtrack, and remembered hearing it in The Thomas Crown Affair.  Found more information at Wikipedia:
"Sinner Man" or "Sinnerman" is accepted as an African American traditional spiritual song that has been recorded by a number of performers and has been incorporated in many other of the media and arts. The lyrics describe a sinner attempting to hide from divine justice on Judgement Day. It was recorded in the 1950s by Les Baxter, the Swan Silvertones, the Weavers and others, before Nina Simone recorded an extended version in 1965...

Simone learned the lyrics of this English song in her childhood when it was used at revival meetings by her mother, a Methodist minister, to help people confess their sins. In the early days of her career during the early sixties, when she was heavily involved in the Greenwich Village scene, Simone often used the long piece to end her live performances.
Reposted from 2016 to add the lyrics;
Oh, sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Sinnerman where you gonna run to?
Where you gonna run to?
All on that day
We got to run to the rock
Please hide me, I run to the rock
Please hide me, run to the rock
Please hide here
All on that day
But the rock cried out
I can't hide you, the rock cried out
I can't hide you, the rock cried out
I ain't gonna hide you there
All on that day
I said rock
What's the matter with you rock?
Don't you see I need you, rock?
Good Lord, Lord
All on that day
So I run to the river
It was bleedin', I run to the sea
It was bleedin', I run to the sea
It was bleedin', all on that day
So I run to the river
It was boilin', I run to the sea
It was boilin', I run to the sea
It was boilin', all on that day
So I run to the Lord
Please hide me, Lord
Don't you see me prayin'?
Don't you see me down here prayin'?
But the Lord said
Go to the Devil, the Lord said
Go to the Devil
He said go to the Devil
All on that day
So I ran to the Devil
He was waitin', I ran to the Devil
He was waitin', ran to the Devil
He was waitin', all on that day
I cried, power, power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Well, I run to the river
It was boilin', I run to the sea
It was boilin', I run to the sea
It was boilin', all on that day
So I ran to the Lord
I said Lord, hide me
Please hide me
Please help me, all on that day
He said, hide?
Where were you?
When you oughta have been prayin'
I said Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin', Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin', Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin', all on that day
Sinnerman, you oughta be prayin'
Outghta be prayin', sinnerman
Oughta be prayin', all on that day
Up come power (power, Lord) 

Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
(Power, Lord)
Hold down (power, Lord)
Go down (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Woah, ho

Ha-ha-ha-ha
Ha-ha-ha-ha, oh Lord
Nu, nu, nu
No-no-no-no, ma-na-na-na-na, don't you know I need you Lord?
Don't you know that I need you?
Don't you know that I need you?
Oh, Lord
Wait
Oh, Lord
Oh, Lord, Lord

Gleanings from The Island of the Colorblind


I've had Oliver Sacks' The Island of the Colorblind on my bookshelf for 20 years now, awaiting a final re-read, which I got done this week.  Herewith some excerpts and interesting bits...
"... and a brilliant yellow lichen on some of the trees.  I nibble at it - many lichens are edible - but it is bitter and unpromising." 
He is braver than I am.  But a search yielded this info:  Iceland moss "forms a nutritious and easily digested amylaceous food, being used in place of starch in some preparations of cocoa."  Rock tripe "is the common name for various lichens of the genus Umbilicaria that grow on rocks. They can be found throughout northern parts of North America such as New England and the Rocky Mountains. They are edible when properly prepared and have been used as a famine food in extreme cases when other food sources were unavailable, as by early American northern explorers."  I found several others on a websearch, but I never expect to be that hungry.

This in a chapter discussing the amazing site Nan Madol.
"He did not refer to, and probably did not know of, the other megalithic cultures which dot Micronesia - the giant basalt ruins in Kosrae, the immense taga stones in Tinian, the ancient terraces in Palau, the five-ton stones of Babeldaop bearing Easter Island-like faces..." 
Today I (re)learn that some plants can generate heat other than by basking in sunlight:
"Botanists  have known for about a century (and cycad gatherers, of course, for much longer) that cones may generate heat - sometimes twenty degrees or more above the ambient temperature - as they redy for pollination.  The mature cones produce heat for several hours each day by breaking down lipids and starches within the cone scales..." (since Sacks is British, he is probably referring to degrees Celsius here!)
More about cycads:
"It was true that cycads had the largest growing apices of any vascular plant, but, equally to the point, these delicate apices were beautifully protected by persistent leaf bases, enabling the plants to be fire resistant, everything resistant, to an unusual degree, and to reshoot new fronds, after a catastrophe, sooner than anything else. And if something did nonetheless befall the growing apices, the plants had an alternative, bulbils, which they could fall back on. Cycads could be pollinated by wind – or insects, they were not choosy: they had avoided the path of overspecialization which had done in so many species over the last half-billion years. In the absence of fertilization, they could propagate asexually, by offsets and suckers (there was a suggestion too that some plants were able to spontaneously change sex). Many cycad species had developed unique ‘cor-raloid’ roots, where they symbiosed with blue-green algae, which could fix atmospheric nitrogen for them, rather than relying solely on organic nitrogen from the soil. This struck me as particularly brilliant – and highly adaptive should the seeds fall on impoverished soils; it had taken legumes, flowering plants, another hundred million years to achieve a similar trick.

Cycads had huge seeds, so strongly constructed and so packed with nourishment that they had a very good chance of surviving and germinating. And they could call on not just one but a variety of vectors for their dispersal. All sorts of smaller animals – from bats to birds to marsupials to rodents – attracted by the brightly colored, nutritious outer coat, would carry them off, nibble at them, and then discard the seed proper, the essential inner core, unharmed. Some rodents would squirrel them away, bury them – in effect, plant them – increasing their chances of successful germination. Large mammals might eat the entire seed – monkeys eating individual seeds, elephants entire cones – and void the endosperm, in its tough nut, unharmed in their dung, often in quite far-removed places."
And two more blogworthy items:
"It was only in 1986 that Guam's 'ecological murder mystery' was solved and the bird-eating tree snake, Boiga irregularis, was proved to be the culprit... It was estimated in the mid-eighties that there were now thirteen thousand snakes to the square mile, three million on the whole island.  Having consumed all the birds by this time, the snakes turned to other prey - skinks, geckos, other lizards, and even small mammals..."

"... branchial myoclonus, arising from lesions in the brain stem.  Here there occur rhythmic movements of the palate, middle-ear muscles, and certain muscles in the neck - an odd and unintelligible pattern, until one realizes that these are the only vestiges of the gill arches, the branchial musculature, in man.  Branchial myoclonus is, in effect, a gill movement in man..."
Credit for the cycad photo to San Diego Zoo.

20 May 2019

This is not a fish


It's a nudibranch (sea slug) that has evolved a flattened morphology in order to hunt in a pelagic rather than benthic environment.  Details at Deep Sea News.

Management track

Easter fireworks battle


Rouketopolemos (Greek Рουκετοπόλεμος, literally Rocket-War) is the name of a local traditional event held annually at Easter in the town of Vrontados (Βροντάδος) on the Greek island of Chios. As a variation of the Greek habit of throwing fireworks during the celebration of the service at midnight before Easter Sunday, two rival church congregations in the town perform an Rocket War by firing thousands of rockets across the town, with the objective of hitting the bell tower of the church of the other side.

The origin of this event is unclear, but local tradition holds that it goes back to the Ottoman era. According to local lore it was earlier performed with real cannons, until Ottoman authorities prohibited their use in 1889.

Reposted from 2008 to add this newer video:



Via Neatorama.

Our dystopic world


Found at The New Yorker.

"Falsies" for calves


Discussion thread at Instagramreality.

My grandparents' wedding photo


I was digitizing this old family photo yesterday to distribute to family members, when I noticed something odd.

The occasion is the 1912 wedding of my maternal grandfather, Knut Olaus Finseth, to his new bride Selma Aline Distad.  They and the others in the wedding party are standing in front of their apparently-new home in rural Minnesota.  They were both teachers, but farming would become his full-time occupation.

As I zoomed the photo to view the bride and groom (in true Norwegian fashion holding in their abundant joy behind a dour visage), I noticed a white object in Grandfather Knut's right hand.  It looks ever so much like a golf ball, but I'm sure he would have consigned golf to the same category as pool and solitaire - as tools of the Devil to distract people from their chores.  So what is it?

I would venture to guess it might be an egg.  I am not sufficiently au fait with traditional Norwegian wedding customs to know whether an egg might be incorporated into the festivities as a token of fertility.  Or maybe he just came from the henhouse...

I also don't know what the raptor-talon-shaped object is at my grandmother's waist.  Her left arm is at her side, so I presume it is some kind of floral bouquet tucked into her waistband.  Both of them were very much old-country traditionalists, so again there may be some symbolism involved.

Related:

The Finseths arrive in the United States.

Ole K. Finseth's children, Kenyon 1903

The Finseth Band Stand at St. Olaf College.

Distad, Norway.

Addendum:
A hat tip to an anonymous reader, who found the photo
at the right (cropped from the original here), showing a woman from approximately the same time period wearing a "waist corsage."

I did find a writeup of the wedding in the Olmstead County Democrat which says that my grandmother "was attired in marquisette over messaline" and that she and the bridesmaids carried pink and white roses.

I suspect the white flowers are just inapparent against the white dress in the wedding photo.

Of interest, the wedding report also notes that "following the plighting of vows, a seven-course dinner was served to sixty guests."  That would have been prepared on a wood-burning stove...

Now if I could only figure out about that egg in grandpa's hand.  I'll see if anyone in the family can track down an elderly Norwegian relative...

Reposted from 2015 to add this contemporary wedding photo that was enhanced by the unexpected appearance of a pig:

Via OldSchoolCool.

Self-solving Rubik's Cube


"Once the cube senses that it has been scrambled, it sets to work on the solution, walking all over the table in the process. It’s clearly not just recording the scrambling steps and playing them back in reverse; the video shows far more moves to solve the cube than the 15 it took to scramble it."

Circumhorizontal arc


The Astronomy Picture of the Day:
Sometimes known as a fire rainbow for its flame-like appearance, a circumhorizon arc lies parallel to the horizon. For a circumhorizontal arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. Therefore, circumhorizontal arcs are quite unusual to see.

No wasted space

"It’s a rolling tower of shelves made by Japanese home goods company Yamazaki and it renders functional that half-foot wide space between the fridge and counter, between the washer and dryer, between the sink and tub. It’s made from sturdy steel and wood and comes with three shelves with guardrails to keep stuff from tumbling off..."
Via.

14 May 2019

The Southern Crab Nebula


Photo from the Hubble Space Telescope (cropped for size from the original)
In celebration of the 29th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers captured this festive, colorful look at the tentacled Southern Crab Nebula.

The nebula, officially known as Hen 2-104, is located several thousand light-years from Earth in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus. It appears to have two nested hourglass-shaped structures that were sculpted by a whirling pair of stars in a binary system. The duo consists of an aging red giant star and a burned-out star, a white dwarf. The red giant is shedding its outer layers. Some of this ejected material is attracted by the gravity of the companion white dwarf.

The result is that both stars are embedded in a flat disk of gas stretching between them. This belt of material constricts the outflow of gas so that it only speeds away above and below the disk. The result is an hourglass-shaped nebula.

The bubbles of gas and dust appear brightest at the edges, giving the illusion of crab leg structures. These "legs" are likely to be the places where the outflow slams into surrounding interstellar gas and dust, or possibly material which was earlier lost by the red giant star.

Opening a clogged drain



It looks like the technician pushes in 10 feet of cable and pulls out 30 feet, but the attachment at the head of the cable has a jet shooting water backward that propels the cable forward.  A second explanatory video is at Neatorama, plus a link to more drain-cleaning videos.

World's shortest international bridge


Located hereVia.

European locations with over 1,000 inhabitants


Best viewed after zooming larger.  Via the Europe subreddit.
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