Thursday: Hili dialogue, farm rush hour, some cat tweets and a question

November 14, 2019 • 2:38 am

by Matthew Cobb

Hili is feeling chatty:

Hili: We have to talk.
A: What about?
Hili: About anything.
In Polish:
Hili: Musimy porozmawiać.
Ja: O czym?
Hili: O czymkolwiek.
Duck report by JAC: Yesterday was cold, and it’s gonna get colder at Botany Pond. Only four ducks—three drakes and a hen—came for lunch yesterday. We’re hoping that they’re finally getting the hint and heading south for the winter.
Down on the farm, the fowl are all out first in the rush hour:

Mansfield College, Oxford:

Corvid living dangerously:

Poncho cat (sound ON):

An amazing dig:

And some ingenious Chilean demonstrators:

Finally, a couple of tweets are doing the rounds, pointing out that we are coming to the end of the second decade of the 21st century. The questions posed by these tweets are:

A) What have you done over the last decade?

B) What are your plans for the next decade?

Chip in below! My answer to B) is “stay alive and well”. That will do me.

JAC response:

A) wrote two books (WEIT and FvF, as well as a children’s book being vetted), retired, traveled a lot, and finished up my lab work after graduating my last student (one paper still in press)

B) Same as Matthew. Plus more travel.

55 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue, farm rush hour, some cat tweets and a question

  1. I haven’t been reading all the comments, so this may be a repeat question — if so, my apologies…

    But just HOW do the folks “down on the farm” get all those critters herded INTO the barn in the evenings?

        1. Too true. The democrats have been playing this all wrong from the get go. They should have been bribing Trump thus leading him by the nose and gaining leverage. Some appointed fluffers would be a good tactic too.

          “Who got the short straw today? Okay Joe, your turn. Fluff that bastard like our lives depend on it.”

  2. A) having retired from NASA in 08 which now provides time to read what i want pretty much whenever i want to read it: Read WEIT, FvF, and many other books including those by matthew, dawkins, nick lane…thanks gentlemen; kibbutzed with state of virginia to bring k12 stem education curriculum into 21st century with mixedsuccesses and failures; watched grndchildrens’ sporting and academic events.
    B) ditto except for stem ed…i just no longer have the energy to fight the professional educationalists and status quo interest groups.

  3. Not a great deal. We had a grandson born in the dying days of the 20th century who is now a fine young man and a great help and joy to us. He’s the only one of our grandchildren who grew up in town, the others are spread over Canada.

    Three of them presented us with beautiful great grandchildren and keep us supplied with pictures and videos. We have visited them all with the help of our resident daughter and grandson.

    When I was young I never thought that I would see the 21st century which seemed impossibly distant. Now it seems that I’ll make it to 2020.

    The internet has now made it so easy to read and explore the world. Jerry’s reports from Antarctica are a case in point. What a great trip to be enjoyed at second hand. Thanks and keep the columns coming.

  4. A. Moved from NY to Idaho (still in culture shock).

    B. Lots of retirement things like woodworking, photography, travel.

  5. A) Lost my job, spent three years in prison in Florida* (pled guilty to what I maintain is BS — though I am biased, of course — because I didn’t have the money to fight and didn’t want to face the threat of even worse…it’s a long story), wrote several books, started and continue two blogs, recorded a few songs, lost my family, lost my medical license, continued to struggle with dysthymia, depression, and failed back surgery syndrome, tried marijuana for the first time and threw up repeatedly, had my father and my mother die, got a few guitars, turned fifty last month…so, basically, a boring decade.

    B) Oblivion would be wonderful. Or at least it would be oblivion.

    *”Come on vacation, leave on probation,” as they say here.

    1. Indeed, best wishes for the coming decade.

      And also, having never set foot in the State of Florida, you give me one more reason not to want to. (The small amount of non-fiction that I read are Carl Hiaasen’s novels, and being based on actual stories they help support my bias.)

      1. You might enjoy Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard – amusing, fictional story about lewd, lecherous, law-bending Florida jurist Judge Robert “Maximum Bob” Gibbs.

      1. You are correct about laser pointers normally available in USA (typically limited to 0.005 W). Much higher power is illegal here (without permit), since they are blinding weapons dangerous to airplanes. You can get small battery powered hand-held lasers up to 2 Watts or more, which could do the job. Probably these are available in other countries.

      2. Reading the twitter thread, it becomes clear that this drown was brought down in a controlled manner by its operator, who was in the crowd.

        1. Is there an echo in here? LOL

          “The drone belongs to a protester & he’s in the crowd below the drone bringing it back to Earth in a controlled manner”

      3. rickflick on November 14, 2019 at 9:11 am
        I didn’t know commercially available lasers could bring down a drone. Any idea how that works?

        Simple, really. You get a laser pointer and throw it really hard at the drone’s blades.

    1. I didn’t believe that video clip & I read the Tweet thread. It is ‘fake news’ – normal handheld civvy lasers can’t damage a drone [other than blinding sensors temporarily]. The drone belongs to a protester & he’s in the crowd below the drone bringing it back to Earth in a controlled manner.

      In the thread there’s also a video of a police land rover [or similar make] rolling slowly backwards with handheld lasers pointing at it & flames around the bonnet [hood] area. Obviously a Molotov & not laser. Not sure if Chile, HK or somewhere else.

      I suppose the reason there’s so many toy lasers in the crowd is to deter chopper pilots & I suppose it makes it harder to take photos/video of individuals.

  6. Seems like quite a bit. Moved (hopefully for the last time). Bought my first house ever. Admitted that what I had was more like a comb-over than not. Got laid off from two jobs. Found what turns out do be my dream job. Got a daughter through college. Bought a new car (yep, only one; the old one was thirteen years old). Plans for the future: Keep on keeping on, pay off the house.

    1. Well, nothing wrong with a mortgage. Until Trump screwed it all up with the tax thing a few years back, the mortgage allowed us to pay the bankers instead of dishing out more to the government and owning nothing. However, doubling the standard deduction finished that off for all but the rich, which is all he cares about. The incentive to own a house is not what it use to be but it still beats rent. I have done both over many years and lots of moves and my experience, even without the great tax break it use to be, is better.

      1. It does, indeed, beat rent. And landlords. When I was up in Chicago, it just wasn’t feasible. We got lucky down in Florida, and now my mortgage payment is less that I’ve paid for rent since I was single.

  7. “”…the end of the second decade of the 21st century…””

    Hmmm! Just like the 1999 parties… One year early! The end of the second decade of the 21st century will be on December 31st, 2020.

  8. Well, since you asked,
    A) Retired 2012, last scientific publication of about 80 (J Exp Biol) dated 2014, bought Victorian mansion 2014, patent submitted in re. rapid ID of infectious bacterial species 2016, graduated from mason’s laborer to apprenticeship 2019, stop presses, co-authorship on just-accepted paper in J Biomed Optics, so the CV continues, patent about to be granted, and shortly to be part wrap-up of the 50th Anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers ad campaign.

    B) Continue laying bricks, stoke the patent whenever possible, and get my ’51 Packard back on the road.

    1. I’ve seen skeletons of saber-toothed horses in Nebraska. Always struck me as strange for herbivores to have saber teeth, but maybe horsies were not always herbivores??

      1. Ten million year old sabre-toothed deer fossils are to be found at a presumed ancient water hole @ Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. I don’t know how they relate to the modern day musk deer* Moschus moschiferus, which is a saber-toothed herbivore – the males use their extended canines to fight each other during the mating season & perhaps tooth length also impresses female deer. I think it is just the males who have the long canines in the musk deer case.

        * According to Wiki not a true deer – they have no antlers & “recent studies have indicated that moschids are more closely related to bovids: antelope, goat-antelope & wild cattle”

        1. You’re right, Michael. They were saber-toothed deer, not horses, I saw at Ashfall. Still strange. Not to mention the rhinos, which were surprising to see in Nebraska. Ashfall is a fascinating place, for anyone doing a cross-country roadtrip. I read about it in Bill Bryson’s A History of Practically Everything and thought “Wonderful, somewhere interesting to stop in Nebraska.”🤓 The ash apparently blew all the way from a volcano in Oregon, burying many layers of critters. Some guy noticed the rhino skull in the side of a hill in the 50’s, I believe.

          1. I found THIS EXCELLENT 2017 ARTICLE</a> by Terri Cook. Worth reading, especially because it has a good map of the extent of the devastation.

            SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

            …Palaeontologist Mike Voorhies […] discovered an intact baby rhinoceros skull […] – 12 million years ago, north-eastern Nebraska was a lush, Serengeti-like savanna teeming with herds of exotic wildlife […] a cloud of ash from a massive volcanic eruption suddenly swept across these grasslands. As the cloud blew eastward, tiny shards of volcanic glass filled the air. Within hours, the abrasive, airborne ash killed the birds and other small animals whose remains were found at the very bottom of the ash bed. […] the larger animals survived the initial dust storm, but the ash soon covered and destroyed their food supplies and filled their lungs. Many bones from the large- and medium-sized mammals found at the site have abnormally rough and porous patches on their surfaces, characteristics that are often pathologically associated with lung damage or disease […] the animals slowly suffocated over a period of weeks rather than hours or days. […] hundreds of rhinos, camels, horses and other creatures sought relief from the ash at a local watering hole, where they slowly succumbed to the effects of the eruption. Their relative positions in the ash bed indicate that the largest creatures — the rhinos and giant tortoises — were the last to perish.

            the source was an enormous eruption in the Bruneau-Jarbidge volcanic field, located nearly 1,500 kilometres away in what is today south-western Idaho […] this volcanic field resulted from the Yellowstone hot spot, which produced a line of progressively younger volcanoes stretching from north-eastern Nevada to north-western Wyoming as the North American Plate moved across a stationary, rising magma plume. This volcanic province includes half a dozen enormous calderas — depressions created after each supervolcano erupted and the overlying material collapsed down into the empty magma chamber. The youngest caldera in the chain, the Yellowstone Caldera in Yellowstone National Park, last erupted about 600,000 years ago and is about 48 kilometres across. The Bruneau-Jarbidge caldera, by comparison, is about 80 kilometres across, and the eruption responsible for creating it and the Ashfall Fossil Beds was about 1,000 times larger than the 1980 blast from Washington’s Mount St. Helens.

            1. This is one of the most interesting sites I’ve ever visited, including Serengeti etc. So many of the fossils left in situ, and students unearthing more all the time as we walked around. I was there about 15 years ago so don’t know how much it might have changed in terms of accessibility to random visitors. Time for another visit!

              1. I don’t mean accessible in that way, just whether they’d continue to allow visitors so close to the critters. It was almost deserted when we were there. Now there are probably velvet ropes…

            2. Very nice park. Thanks for pointing this out. The Bruneau-Jarbidge caldera is just about in my back yard (I’m glad I was not here when it blew). I hope to learn more about the geology here. I wonder if the ash layer can be found around my area. A visit to the fossil beds is on my to-do list.

              1. Please report back if you do go. I probably won’t get back there for another few years. Planning a road trip to Newfoundland next summer.

              2. One to two foot of ash fell from the Bruneau-Jarbidge caldera onto where you are, but there have been a few other ashy eruptions & pyroclastic thingies before & after in your area too. I’m not sure they exist any more in some parts of the Snake River Plain [water action inc. massive ice age floods] & in other parts of the plain it all got plastered over with lava.

                When Stephen B. had his photos posted here back in 2013 [I think that year] he mentioned Craters of The Moon Nat. Park & how strange a place it is & I looked up the colourful geologic maps – what an incredible jumble. I suppose all the layers are represented up there in one spot or another. That’s when I learned the word “tephrochronology”!

                GOOD MAPS HERE if you hunt about the website.

              3. Merilee – I take plenty of fresh film. 😎

                Michael – Yes this place has had a lot of erosion activity over the millennia. The soils around here are mostly a conglomerate mix of sandy loam and river eroded pebbles about the size of potatoes. I have to clear the rocks out when I plant anything. Not fun. The great Bonneville flood occurred around 14,000 years ago. It covered the entire Snake River Valley. “At the peak of the flood, approximately 33,000,000 cubic feet per second (930,000 m3/s) poured over the Snake River Plain at speeds of up to 70 miles (110 km) per hour and deposited hundreds of square miles of sediments eroded from upstream. The flood scoured the 600-foot (180 m)-deep Snake River Canyon through the underlying basalt and loess soil, creating Shoshone Falls and several other waterfalls along the Snake River.”
                So, it doesn’t seem likely there will be much left of the ash in this area. But, I’ll be looking for it.

            3. Excellent and interesting. Thank you for that link Michael.
              However, sorry to plough on, what about these weird teeth of these Roman horses in Croatia.
              A kind of atavism (did horses ever have tusks)? Vestigal organs out of control? A mutation inhibiting the inhibition of canines in horses? Are there any extant horses with such a dental array? I draw blank on Google (well, not blank, but nothing eve closely related). Is there anybody able to shed some light?
              If not, there is are a paleontology and a genetics thesis waiting to be made, I guess.

        2. I gather these skeletons are basically contemporary: Roman chariot.
          I know about deer with highly developed teeth, especially in the upper jaw, but never heard about these ‘werehorses’. Is there a horsetooth universe that I missed out on all these decades?

    2. I’m not a horsologist Nicolaas, but I’ll take a stab. See the image below.

      Here is the horse skull with three bone-like objects at the jaw & inset is the other horse skull in the grave with no bone-like objects in that position. Below that is a typical horse skull:

      Notice that there is a bridle below the skull & a bone-like finger-shaped object on white paper below that. And on the spine is another bone-like object.

      If you look at the typical horse skull there are no teeth at all where those three bone-like objects are resting & if those bone-like objects were teeth it would be impossible to fit a bit into the horses mouth.

      I think those bone-like objects are random unrelated pieces of something else as they were found in-situ OR the remains of a horse head-dress [unlikely I think]

      I think this is a Roman circus sports chariot & pair of horses – all entombed together in the correct positions probably. I wondered if the horses were killed after they wheeled the chariot into the chamber or were they left to starve/suffocate?

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