02 July 2022

"Grapefruit" rhodochrosite



Image from the IAF subreddit, where the discussion thread is a waste of time, but the title helpfully explains that the specimen came from Argentina, and that the three "eyes" are the result of stalactite cores growing into each other.  Absolutely awesome.  I do like to end the blogging day with a nice photo at the top of the page.

I was today's years old...

 ... when I learned what "today's years old" means.

The phrase came up in this morning's Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, clued as "Age of Enlightenment?"  I had to work around the clue to solve the puzzle, but even then could not suss out the explanation.  I found the answer at Know Your Meme:
"I Was Today Years Old" is an online expression typically used in the title of a post or discussion thread when introducing an interesting fact or trivia that had been previously unknown to the poster, in a similar vein to the phrase "did you know?" and Today I Learned.

On September 10th, 2015, Twitter user @stacilyncharles tweeted the first known usage of the expression saying, "I was today years old when I learned I had been wearing the wrong size bra my entire life". After June 17th, 2018, the phrase went viral after Twitter user @gabrielalvper tweeted an image of a Staples saying, "I was today years old when I found out the 'L' in 'Staples' in really a half open staple". The tweet garnered over 70 likes in two years.
But even with that information in hand, I still couldn't parse how the phrase gained that meaning, until I found the following "explain like I'm five" answer in a Quora thread:
Let’s say I tell you something you knew already. For example, “Did you know that giraffes have blue tongues?” You might respond “I was 12 when I learned that.”

Now, let’s say I tell you something that you don’t know, that genuinely surprises you. “Did you know that human being share 98% of their DNA with chimpanzees?” A humorous way of indicating that you’ve just learned that is to say, “I was today years old when I learned that.”
Not sure why this escaped me for so many years - presumably because its primary domain is social media, which I am not "on."  You learn something every day.

Time to stock up on parmesan cheese?


Several weeks ago I read an article about the ongoing drought in Italy and the falling levels of the Po river.  My immediate thought was of all the amazing artifacts that must be coming to light in the riverbed - probably more interesting than the dead bodies in Lake Mead.

But TIL that the drought there may impact the production of parmesan:
An unusually dry winter meant snow melt was scarce and spring rains only sporadic, which has led to the worst drought in the northern regions of Italy in more than 70 years, a regional agency for the River Po confirmed.  As a result, the Po is hitting record low water levels, according to the European Space Agency...

At Simone Minelli's dairy farm along the banks of the river near Mantova, the prospect is grim. Water is an essential part of the operation to feed his herd of 300 Friesian cattle, he told CNN.  His milk cows produce 30 liters (6.6 gallons) of milk each a day that is transformed into this region's authentic Parmigiano Reggiano parmesan cheese. If his cows don't each drink between 100 and 150 liters (22 to 33 gallons) of water a day or are overheated, the milk won't meet the rigid standards, and the cheese won't be given the coveted seal of approval.

But a bigger concern than the water in their troughs is what they'll eat...

"The last time the river was low was 2003," she told CNN. "This time it is much, much worse. There is a lack of rain, no snow, and high temperatures," she said. "It creates the famous perfect storm. We are in extreme crisis."

High-end American medical care


I photographed this sign at a local veterinary clinic.

Dogbert as a therapist

Social life in Mayberry

The blurb embedded at the right was sent to me by a non-blog friend.  It's typical of the "viral" items that circulate via email and social media - wryly humorous, but commonly exaggerated, skewed, or totally fabricated. 

I'm familiar with The Andy Griffith Show, but never watched it because it was popular when I was in high school (no time) and college (no TV set).  The assertion about no marriages is quite striking, so I decided to check the accuracy of the statement.  I found an article devoted to that very topic.

BTW, younger readers of TYWKIWDBI may find it hard to conceive of a college experience devoid of television.  IIRC, we had access to a television in a "commons room" somewhere, but went there only for events like the World Series or those first two Super Bowls.

One hundred years ago today


Image and text from the Pioneer Press.  Additional details at Wikipedia.

I have vivid memories of a gorgeous summer weekend in the 1960s when a friend tried for the better part of an afternoon to get me up on water skis.  We tried over and over, from the shore, from the dock, and repeatedly from the lake.  My ankles were too weak for me to maintain both skis pointed in the same direction; she did not have any trick skis for me to try, and sit skis had not been invented yet.  I wound up drinking a lot of Lake Minnetonka that day, but the memories are pleasant and will last forever.

30 June 2022

Modern tinikling

"Filipino students of Georgia tech in Atlanta, USA performed a traditional tinikling folk dance but with a modern hiphop twist"
Tinikling is a traditional Philippine folk dance which originated during the Spanish colonial era. The dance involves two people beating, tapping, and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance. It is traditionally danced to rondalla music, a sort of serenade played by an ensemble of stringed instruments which originated in Spain during the Middle Ages. The locomotor movements used in tinikling are hopping, jumping, and turning.

The name tinikling is a reference to birds locally known as tikling, which can be any of a number of rail species, but more specifically refers to the slaty-breasted rail (Gallirallus striatus), the buff-banded rail (Gallirallus philippensis), and the barred rail (Gallirallus torquatus).

It imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers." 

Today tinikling is taught throughout the United States. In grades K-12 the dance is used as an aerobic exercise for physical education classes, to help expand physical movements such as hand coordination, foot speed, and also rhythm. Tinikling is commonly performed at schools and on special occasions, such as the Filipino Independence Day, as a celebration of Filipino culture and Filipino pride.
Details about the technique at the Wikipedia link.  You learn something every day.

New Scotch whisky varieties

"After years in which tequila, Cognac, gin and other spirits pulled ahead in the quest for new customers, Scotch whisky is enjoying a comeback as producers take their cues from makers of those more fashionable drinks.


The revival flows from a decision by the Scotch Whisky Association in 2019 to relax rules that prevented producers from experimenting with such techniques, for fear that the industry might lose its association with the famed distilleries that dot the Scottish landscape and the purity of a simple list of ingredients: barley, water and yeast.

But the new products are generating sales..."
Money always trumps tradition.

"I'm tired of this separation of church and state junk"

The extremist Colorado Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert won her primary on Tuesday night, shortly after attacking the separation of church and state under the US constitution.

I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk,” she said.

On Sunday, two days before the primary and in comments first reported by the Denver Post, Boebert told a religious service: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it.”..

Boebert, however, said she was “tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does”.

The “stinking letter” seemed to be one written by Thomas Jefferson to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802.

The third president referred to the constitution establishing “a wall of separation between church and state”.
More at The Guardian.  Image cropped for size from one at Salon.

Beer made from recycled toilet water

“NEWBrew” is no ordinary beer. The new Singapore blond ale is made with recycled sewage... 

I seriously couldn’t tell this was made of toilet water,” said Chew Wei Lian, 58, who had purchased the beer from a supermarket to try after hearing about it...

Advanced economies such as Israel and Singapore that have limited fresh water resources have already incorporated the technology into their supplies. Cities such as Los Angeles and London are examining plans to follow suit...

Breweries elsewhere have also made beer with recycled sewage. Stockholm-based Nya Carnegie Brewery partnered with brewing giant Carlsberg and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute to launch a pilsner made with purified sewage, while Village Brewery in Canada teamed up with researchers from the University of Calgary and and US water technology company Xylem to roll out their own version.
More details at Bloomberg

Two round pizzas, one square pan


Image cropped for size from the IAF subreddit, where there are lots of minimally-useful comments re pizza.

"Q" is back posting for QAnon

The owner and operator of 8kun, the fringe message board that the anonymous leader of QAnon calls home, has, over the course of the last week, made multiple egregious and obvious errors that provide clear evidence that he is behind the first new Q posts after 18 months of silence.

On 8kun, the members of the qresearch board, where Q posts their “Q drops” are angry—very angry— at what they see as a clear and obvious violation of the rules of the website.

But outside of this small circle of believers, the wider QAnon community is still celebrating the return of Q, oblivious to the fact that the new Q drops appear to be written not by a secret military intelligence insider, but by a 58-year-old pig farmer who’s obsessed with fountain pens.
The rest of the story is at Vice.

26 June 2022

Summer fun in the Midwest

"Six-Time World Champion Lumberjill Shana Verstegen lost her mother to a neurological brain disorder.

Through the Midwest Log Rolling Championships she combines her two passions: lumberjack sports and fighting for a cure for Huntington’s Disease.

Money raised by the Midwest Log Rolling Championships will go directly to help research possible treatments and cures, local patient and family care, and community education in Wisconsin. On a larger scale, HDSA’s coordinated national and international research will also benefit people with diseases related to Huntington’s – diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many dystrophies."

Song at Glastonbury festival dedicated to the U.S. Supreme Court


More info on Olivia Rodrigo (American with three Grammys, Time's 2021 "Entertainer of the Year") and Lily Allen (Brit with Grammy, Brit Award, and MTV Video nominations, and the composer of the song).
In response to the 2022 overruling of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Rodrigo performed "Fuck You" with British singer Lily Allen at Glastonbury Festival. She prefaced the performance by dedicating it to the associate justices who voted to overturn the agreement, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, saying “I'm devastated and terrified. So many women and so many girls are going to die because of this. I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who have showed us that at the end of the day, they truly don’t give a shit about freedom. The song is for [those] justices.” The Guardian described it as a "thrilling and furious" moment.
"Fuck You" was originally composed in response to the far-right British National Party, but has found wider application, and has been popular throughout Europe.  Excerpts of the lyrics:
[Verse 1]
Look inside, look inside your tiny mind
Then look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired
Of all the hatred you harbour
So you say it's not okay to be gay
Well, I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval

[Chorus]
Fuck you (Fuck you), fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please, don't stay in touch (Da-da-da-da-da-da-da)
Fuck you (Fuck you), fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please, don't stay in touch

[Verse 2]
Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small minded?
You want to be like your father, it's approval you're after
Well, that's not how you find it
Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?
'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control of it
And it's really distasteful

[Verse 3]
You say you think we need to go to war
Well, you're already in one
'Cause it's people like you that need to get slew
No one wants your opinion

[Outro]
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
(Da-da-da-da-da-da-da)
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
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