. . . Science News

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Science News: The miracle of digestion is a glorious thing. Thus the expression, "No guts, no glory." Most of the human body seems to be devoted to the process, often tripping over itself in eagerness to get on with it. Perhaps it would be healthier for the body to occasionally pursue some outside interests, or catch a movie, but no, digestion is pretty much the only game in town -- where "town," of course, means "internal organs." Thus the expression, "Paint the town red."

The miracle of indigestion is slightly less glorious, but it has been attested to by many witnesses since that early morning of April 19, 1743, in the little village of Petite-Village in Bas-Armagnac.

Digestion (and indigestion even more so) comes from the Latin; that is, "di," meaning "two," and "gestion," meaning "jokes." And since no demands seem to be placed on the quality of the jokes, I'd say we've pretty well covered things.

The Queen of Digestion
The pancreas (from the Greek: "executive" + "producer") in happier days

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Science News: Whenever I hear the word "culture," I reach for my petri dish.

. . .

Recently received via anonymous donation: A free-in-every-box informational pamphlet headlined "How to use 100% certified organically grown cotton digital tampons".

I remember back when it was a big deal just to be stereophonic....

. . .

Dreams: The animal trainer was unthawing a frozen bee for its upcoming scene. Since bees don't seem all that smart, I asked how she controlled it, and she said, "Bee Latin. You've heard of Pig Latin? Well, Bee Latin is similar, except that you remove all the vowels and replace every consonant with the letter 'Z'."

. . .

Affirmations: It was probably easier for people to think nice things about the Life Force before they found out about germs.

. . .

Won't somebody please think about the children?

The scary thing about a new Ice Age is that we'll use up all the fossil fuel right away.

But on the other hand there's nothing like an Ice Age to build up the fossil fuel supply!

. . .

Field notes, Audubon Canyon Ranch, March 12, 2000:

Tree fed by solar power

Inconsistent moving power source:
wavering bending growth.

Unshielded power source:
roots widely separated from branches.

Tree fed by alternating current

Consistent stationary power source:
efficient straight growth.

Shielded power source:
roots combined with branches.

. . .

Sharp as mud

Life decreases logical entropy while increasing thermal entropy: local hotbeds of organization become more complexly organized by expending energy into the tepidbed.

Intelligence and free will can be defined as those forces which introduce randomness into an otherwise predictable system. The number of possibilities increases, and so does apparent logical entropy.

For example, when intelligence creates a new conceptualization of a phenomenon, the existing phenomenon is not erased and continued misunderstandings of that phenomenon are not prevented. On the contrary, a new opportunity for misunderstanding is opened up: to wit, misunderstanding of the new concept.

To put it in terms of information theory: The amount of available information can only be increased by increasing the amount of possible confusion. Thus the main by-product of the evolution of intelligence is stupidity, and, as intelligence continues its work through the millennia, the gross amount of stupidity increases. Intelligence is life's little atonement for its sin against disorder, a back-door way to increase logical entropy after all.

And The Hotsy Totsy Club is proud to be part of this effort.

+ + +

To continue with the Science News....

You gotta love people who exclaim over "astronomical odds." (I guess you gotta do something with them, and love's as good as anything.)

Flip a coin. Flip it again. Flip it again.

The odds of getting heads, heads, and heads are 1-out-of-8. What a defiance of probability!

But the odds of getting heads, tails, and tails are also 1-out-of-8. The odds of getting tails, heads, and tails are 1-out-of-8. And so on. 'Cause any given result is 1-out-of-8.

When you flip heads three times in a row, it doesn't mean that you defied astronomical odds. It just means that that's the 1-out-of-8 chance that happened out of 8 possible happenings. The probability that some one of the possible patterns would happen is 100%.

The point of statistics is not that it's miraculous that one of those possible patterns did happen. The point is that you'd be stupid to bet on a particular one of those possible patterns happening before it happened. It doesn't matter how low the probability is that life would come into existence on earth in just such a way that at least one grumpy guy named Ray was able to make an 8 AM train to Redwood City ("CLIMATE BEST BY GOVERNMENT TEST") today. The event has already happened, and therefore it was possible, and therefore it just happened to be the possible event that happened out of all possible events that could have happened. That doesn't mean that I 'd lay money on it spontaneously springing from the clog in my bathtub while I was gone.

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Angina dentata

The heart is the only predator that attacks by standing still.

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Sleepy and Happy The Secret Language of Ducks

On a research trip to Vancouver environs a couple years back, Hotsy Totsy representatives (through no fault of our own) ended up in a beautiful stretch of forest nipping into a lake.

There, a coterie of ducks lingered.

We lingered as well. After an hour or so, one of the ducks very hospitably joined us. And that's when we learned...


Most of us (if I may presume) have heard the usual duck quack: panicked, bossy, querulous, much like the boy-o himself.

And some have heard the domestic squabble duck quack: more Donald-like, down-pitching and muttery.

But the absolutely contented we're-all-just-ducks-here duck quack is something completely else. More of a purr, or a trill; kind of between a dove coo and a quizzical cat, which isn't where we'd usually want between.

Being monkeys, we imitated the sound. Successfully! (NB: Ducks don't have ears.) Soon we were surrounded by cozy ducks, like some kind separatist post-patriarchy fantasy or nineteenth-century French naturalist or something.

And, not wanting to break the mood, we didn't cook them. Mmmmm, duck....

The weird thing is duck-speak is universal (or North American, same thing). 'Cause not long ago one of the Club members was down in Redwood City visiting an Oracle worker at the Oracle lake and she demonstrated the Secret Language of Ducks and the duck she demonstrated it on followed her all the way to the Oracle parking lot to get cozy. Very embarrassing.

Seduced and abandoned Please be careful with the Secret Language of Ducks.

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Science News from Fjord Norge AS Travel Guide 2000:

Solving the mysteries of the fjords

How did the fjords come to be here in the first place? It's a question often asked as your cruise boat rounds a spectacular corner and another incredible vista unfolds in front of you and above you. But the fact is that there were no fjords in the first place.

And more science news from this month's conference of The Society for Neuroscience as reported by The New Scientist:

. . .


A reader who wishes to remain anonymous queries re our most recent Science News:

Shouldn't that be "fnords"?
And Tom Parmenter wades into Election Madness with "a jump-rope rhyme for Florida's children by Montana Miller":
Butterfly, butterfly! Bush or Gore?
Count those ballots -- who got more?
My grandma went to the polls,
But she punched the wrong damn holes!
Who's the hero? Who's the goat?
How many times can grandma vote?
One, two, three, four. . . .
[If you mess up, recount: One, two. . . .]
He won't let go the apple

. . .

Fac-simile Telegraph

A reproduction of a drawing made in pencil on common drawing-board, and sent through a wire by this apparatus. This very ingenious system is called the Fac-simile Telegraph. It has been tried between New York and Philadelphia, though not used as yet for commercial purposes. It is a system promising many advantages, because it gets rid of the Morse operators, and does away with the expense of copying the message.

  Science News from "The Telegraph of To-Day," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, October, 1881:

The needle at the transmitting end glides over the paper so long as the paper is smooth. When it meets the slight dent made by the lead-pencil tracing the message, it drops into the depression in the paper and closes the circuit by touching the fingers on the arm that supports it. The closing of the circuit makes a mark at the receiving end, and the aggregate of all the marks reproduces the message, be it words, plans, designs, or figures, exactly as it was drawn or written.

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Science News

Hotsy Totsy readers have likely already seen this smasher mantis story and stomatopods portal via Honeyguide, but I can never resist an E. C. Segar opportunity, viz:

  Just a shrimp

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Science News

What's your Cypress Knee IQ?

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You Can Tell Time But You Can't Tell It Much

It's very annoying that whoever invented the 12-hour clock decided that there should be two separate wraparound points. If you have an increasing numeric sequence (9 PM, 10 PM, 11 PM...) and then go back to the beginning of the sequence, distinguishing it with a new suffix (1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM...), wouldn't it have been more sensible to change the suffix at the point that the sequence is reset (11 PM, 12 PM, 1 AM), rather than leaping dramatically from 11 PM all the way across the intervening AMs to 12 AM and then leaping all the way back across them again to 1 AM? So I wish I could believe the Useless-InfoMaster. But I can't, because there's no worming around 12:01 AM.

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Science News

We're accustomed to the obscuring of cultural artifacts by commercial interests and the destruction of natural ecologies by commercial interests, but it's rare to find a story that combines both processes as well as this one, passed along by Californian Juliet Clark:

"We hope to work with many people in Calaveras County who have expressed to us they would like to have Mark Twain's frog come home," said Patricia Foulk of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

California once had millions of the frogs, but now only four places in the state are known to have more than 350, said Peter Galvin, a conservation biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Not everyone in Calaveras County is enamored of the red-legged frog, which has not been found in the county for years.

Since 1928, the bullfrog has taken center stage at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Fair organizers and officials lobbied lawmakers over concerns that designating the county as a protected area for the red-legged frog would send the bullfrog packing and kill the event credited with bringing $1 million a year to the area.

"To establish red-legged frogs in the area they'd have to kill bullfrogs. That's tied to our economy," said Tim Shearer, city administrator for Angels Camp. "If they kill them, the frogs are not there for the tourists."

It's kinda like if Disney stocked Copenhagen harbor with non-dysfunctional merpeople or massacreed the Himalayan bear ("Does every character we do have to be that yellow?") for the benefit of the Phil Harris gray....

. . .

Natural born veterinarian Juliet Clark showed us a New York Times article that will soon no longer be available even though it addresses the important issue of donkeys, and specifically the donkeys of Brazil:

The donkey has more than 100 affectionate nicknames in Brazilian Portuguese, including "drought endurer," "reservoir maker" and "earth smoother." [Not "donk-donk," though, because that's English.]

[But] "Nowadays people think they have to be modern and only want to hear about tractors," said Fernando Viana Nobre, president of the Donkey Breeders' Association of the Northeast. "A tractor gets the job done, but it's not a substitute for a donkey, because a donkey doesn't require gasoline at $2.50 a gallon, need spare parts or throw you into debt with the banks."

As recently as decade ago, when a national census put the number of animals at 1.3 million, a donkey fetched up to $100 at bustling livestock markets like the one here in Currais Novos, whose name means New Corrals. Now, in contrast, sturdy young males can be obtained for less than $1 a head, compared with $3 for chickens. "A cow gives milk and a chicken lays eggs," explained Josť Mata, a subsistence farmer here. "But what does a donkey do nowadays except eat and reproduce?"

Out in the countryside the Federal Highway Police have set up a special donkey patrol.... Since the beginning of 1999 the unit based here has captured more than 1,600 of the animals, ranging from single strays to entire herds wandering on roads. So many of the animals are now roaming unattended that collisions on highways are routine and the number of motorists killed or injured is growing. Truck drivers in particular complain that donkeys have become a pest and a menace now that people have no use for them.

During the 1970's and 80's, Brazil's donkey population was stabilized by exports of meat, primarily to Japan and France, where the lean meat was especially relished. But African nations have pushed Brazil aside in those markets, with help from Brazilian animal rights groups that objected to the meat trade and forced the closing of more than a dozen slaughterhouses.

Note the avoidance of sterilization as a solution..... I mean, I love donkeys. But not that way.

+ + +

Annie is a good kittie. (via Caterina once removed, Calmondin twice)

. . .

After several a summer dies the horny swan

Futurologists (via Geegaw) notice what's changing exponentially. They then center their "laws" on those changes. What they never learn (because then they couldn't be futurologists) is that changes stop (or, for the Heracliteans in the room, changes change). Exponential changes just stop faster.

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Inspiring barnyard fowl of the day

Inspiring & Uplifting

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More Warning Signs

At the doctor's office yesterday (it's been a busy week here), I saw a poster with a dozen cute little cartoons of the Warning Signs of Diabetes. "Excessive Hunger" was a guy shoving a cake into his mouth, "Sexual Dysfunction" was an sad-faced man lying in bed with a sad-faced woman, and so on. But "Vaginal Infection" was a woman holding a sign in front of her torso that read "Vaginal Infection." That is to say that the warning sign of a vaginal infection is literally a "Vaginal Infection" warning sign.

Maybe this is only interesting if you're reading Wittgenstein....

. . .

And in our top story tonight: a heroic giant bullfrog saves some tadpoles. (feel good news via Honeyguide)
The hoatzin   Elsewhere:
"A large, rubbery callous the size and shape of a human thumb joint is positioned on the end of the hoatzin's sternum, or breastbone. After a gluttonous bout of feeding, the bird squats down and rests its distended crop against a branch, using the callous as a tripodlike third leg. I quickly grew to loathe this behavior."

. . .

Those who've wondered whether the world would be a better place if this site was updated less often should have sufficient data by now, I reckon....

Being neither a Bush, a tobacco company, nor a gun purchaser, I have no secrets. It's just that my list of delays offers little in the way of instruction or entertainment -- save perhaps the following:

2001-11-22 - Better to dive than to crash
A seal's head emerges, facing shore; it pivots 180 degrees and spots the oncoming swell -- an exclamation mark sproinging into existence overhead -- and the seal ducks straight down, its tail waving in the air for a dubba-duh-dubba-duh instant before disappearing.

2001-12-05 - Consumer report
The much-linked-to but underreported-on hardware vendor turned out to be another front for "Florida Computers" (aka USBGear aka QualityCables): a professional-looking ecommerce site in which no links worked except those directly related to taking money. Phone calls weren't returned, the "online order tracking" form simply reloaded the page, and email was either unanswered or (in the case of "") bounced back. My order eventually showed up, but the experience could only be recommended to the hardiest of online shoppers.
Update - On January 28, 2002, APDrive's Rad Rozycki finally sent a response to my queries of December 5 and December 6, 2001, with the following added note: "I do not appreciate the link you gave us and would kindly ask for removal of this information!" The next day, he sent eleven more vehement emails ("Last time I checked if someone accuses you of something they better have some proof or a very good lawyer!") and posted a denunciation of me on his company's website. I can't say that this tardy outburst of attention has improved my opinion of his customer support, but Your Reaction May Vary.

2001-12-09 - Beginning of an era
On this day, I encountered the exclamation "Gosh all hemlock!" in two completely separate sources: email from Joseph Whitehill to me and a letter from Jonathan Williams to the London Review of Books:

In her article about J.R.R. Tolkien, Jenny Turner (LRB, 15 November) mentions that 'Tolkien was immediately and enduringly popular, unlike the writers of OuLiPo or the Black Mountain School.' I don't know what OuLiPo is, but I must yell out as one of the few Black Mountain writers left on foot. I read The Hobbit in 1940, at the age of ten, and Lord of the Rings in my twenties. The other great fan in our circle was the poet Robert Duncan. Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn and Joel Oppenheimer wouldn't read stuff like this. Leave it to the fruitcakes! It puzzles me to read Turner (and Philip Pullman on several occasions) going on about Tolkien's 'dreadful prose style'. Tolkien is even taken to task for using the word 'noisome'. Gosh all hemlock, as people used to say. Philip Sidney used 'noisome'. And a decade or two before Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft used 'noisome' like there was no tomorrow. I have reread Lord of the Rings maybe five or six times over the past forty years and every time I am thrilled by the language. The style is direct, transparent and unadorned, making it perfect for all the descriptions of the landscapes, while the characters say affectionate and modest natural things to each other. What could be better?

Jonathan Williams
Highlands, North Carolina

2001-12-15 - Better to dive than to crash, cont.
From L. A. Weekly's "Woman Seeking Man" personals:

EX-VEGAS DANCER, with full moon eternally lit, has tattoos and hip hop
body, seeks wild man from surfworld; intensely funny, hard worker, hard
lover. Please be pretty like me. P.S. Lost legs in surfing accident.
(Pasadena) Call Box 3009.

. . .

But I'm always true to you, darling, in my fascism

Her Majesty's decentered subject Paul McEnery bellies up to the bar:

Matt Ridley's The Origin of Virtue weighs in with a good Darwinian argument about altruism as an optimal strategy (so long as you're sufficiently snarky), which I've probably mentioned in passing before. For him, it's all about ownership (personal or collective) as opposed to the tragedy of the commons. Linking economic and social concerns to a project means that people actually care, funnily enough. Same problem as with running an underground magazine: if you don't engage with real fiscal issues, the content runs out of steam and spirals into solipsism.

My feeling is that liberals get things typically wrong by posing it as an issue of disinterested virtue. For a start, then you get a bunch of limp-wristed Marys doing all the charity work and turning into a sexless, gutless business which is in denial of basic, grubby human nature. Whenever you don't have skin in the game, you don't play as if you mean it. Hence PBS and NPR being a load of dookey compared to the BBC.

I'm led back to Crowley's analysis of the three mystic traditions: the grim, the detached, and the engaged. Liberalism has led us up the blind alley of the detached, while the underground holds fast to its antinomian rejectionism. To really make an impact calls for getting your hands dirty, I think. Not that I'd know...

I agree that engagement seems necessary. I'm merely suggesting that the range of human engagement is wider than our dominant rhetoric can handle.

PBS and NPR have to beg for donations from corporate sponsors; I don't think you could make a case that PBS is livelier now than no-strings-attached NET was in the late 1960s. Some unfunded magazines die because the publisher is broke, some because it only took one or two issues to say everything they had to say, and some through a combination of slaked desires and straitened finances.

I haven't read Ridley's book, relying on his unseductive Atlantic piece and a second hand slap that sounded solid enough. Intersect the gappy guesswork of evolutionary theory with the fad-ravaged cultural specificities of psychology, and you only get metaphors, anecdotes, generalizations, and wild leaps of common sense -- the tools of popularized science writing. No wonder it has such a vogue. I'll stick with phrenology.

At any rate, I'm not interested in trying to explain unselfish behavior. I just want to acknowledge that it exists, and that it isn't necessarily any more deceiving, half-baked, half-assed, unnatural, or disinterested than grind-the-bastards-down competition.

When and where I went to college in the late 1970s, liberals were a major social annoyance. That changed with Reagan and Thatcher. Since then the leading pain suppliers have been libertarians, fundamentalists, crybaby greedheads, fashion anarchists, golfing CEOs, passive-aggressive identity politicians, superconsuming cyberutopians, trust fund artists, doltish enforcers of political incorrection, and obsessive self-helpers. Dragging the sad old liberal corpse out for another spray of spittle is like trying to beat down wantonness with photos of tertiary syphilis.

But the shameful impulses will have their way. It doesn't take much questioning before "I have to make a living" falls back to "I do what I can stand to do," where the unexamined indefiniteness of "what we can stand" is the big fig leaf.

. . .

Sweet Gene Vincet

Paul McEnery's genetic programming remains unaltered by me and the Orrs I rode in on:

Orr is a world class point-misser. Ridley's story is as convincing a piece of post-Dawkins biology as you can find, and for that matter, he's not saying anything that isn't bloody obvious when you think about it. Granted competition, some version of altruism will emerge inevitably as a strategy. Which kinda goes without saying, since altruism has emerged, and therefore must have present some sort of adaptive advantage.

Orr's criticism is one of those "romantic liberal attachment to the enlightenment individual" pieces of crap. Unable to face the brute truth of sociobiology, he skirts it, skates over it, pokes at it, examines it trunk, leg and tail, and does just about anything but call it an elephant. I bet he's a Catholic. And certainly not an anarcho-socialist.

NB: "But these theoretical worries pale in comparison to the empirical problems besetting tit-for-tat. Animals just don't seem to do it. With a few exceptions, experiments have simply failed to find tit-for-tat--or any related form of reciprocity--in nature."

Um, exactly what the book does in fact establish. Or rather, slightly more complex versions. Vervet calls. Chimp meat eating. Fish who investigate danger with first one, then the other getting closer. The wolf who leaves the pack to investigate. And so on. Plus Orr's rather annoying moment when he can't see that selfish genes would like social cooperation. The numbskull can't grasp that it's the distribution of selfish genes across first a family, then a tribe, that leads to any form of cooperation, like the bloody non-breeding ants and bees.

Ridley only gets weak when he gets up to the more complex levels of business, but it's a typical weakness of not taking his theoretical basis seriously enough. Taking it the extra step myself, I come up with:

Big businesses work on linear logic, nature works on non-linear logic, therefore the approximations of business wind up with a mess. The only method to bring reciprocity back into the game is regulatory organs with their own stupid linearity so that the interaction between them restores non-linearity.
Um, and so on.

As a morbidly religious child, I found no behavior untainted by the sin of pride; as a complacently carousing adult, I find no sustainable way to remain purely acquisitive. Social impulses are neither strictly selfish nor strictly altruistic. I'm content to rest at that rather than insist on the validity of a Personal Darwin.

To me, biological reductionism seems as transparent an ideology-rescue here as when eighteenth-century slaveholders called rape betterment of the primitive races.

As transparent but not nearly as evil, and so I'll leave you to it -- with thanks for your answer to Ridley's free market bias. (On second thought, with thanks for the whole thing. Given JP&SP's findings, we need all the "It's not really altruism..." defenses we can get.)

I'd still rather my political world wasn't divided between those who deny the nonselfish and those who are out to kill us, but maybe secular Jesuitism wouldn't be that nifty either.

. . .

Science News

PHONEY PHONE doesn't do a darned thing except confuse people and make them stare at you at parties, on the street or in an elevator. Light weight telephone hooks on your belt or fits in attache case, and looks very real with regular cord, etc. Get a small bell for your pocket if you want to 'answer calls'. A real zany gift for the lighthearted.
Taylor Gifts 1969 Catalog
  And another great gift idea, from "Radium the Revealer" by C. W. Saleeby, Harper's, June 1904:

The spinthariscope is a little tube, about an inch and a half long, closed at one end, and having a couple of magnifying lenses at the other. On the inner surface of the blind end is a little bit of paper covered with tiny yellow crystals of a salt called zinc sulphide. A little metal pointer, like the hand of a watch, stands out in front of this piece of paper, and on the end of the pointer is a speck of radium. Go into a dark room with the spinthariscope and hold it as close as possible to one eye. At once you see a shower of points of light, that come from the surface of the zinc-sulphide paper. That shower of sparks never ceases....

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Science News

When my feet get sore, or I can't find a parking space, or I knock a champagne flute over, or I fall down the back stairs, or an abandoned mineshaft, I can get pretty irritated with gravity. However, in its defense, it does make it easier to meet people.

. . .

Science News

Dr. Earl Jackson, Jr., reports from Hawaii:

I'm glad queer theory is forging new territory. Look at this book published by Chicago UP! Interesting managerie, isn't it.
Peacocks, Chameleons, Centaurs
Gay Suburbia and the Grammar of Social Identity
by Wayne H. Brekhus
University of Chicago Press
Due/Published October 2003, 248 pages, paper
7 Vegan Peacocks, Christian Chameleons, and Soccer Mom Centaurs: Identity Grammar beyond Gay Identity
8 Duration Disputes: Identity Stability vs. Identity Mobility
9 Density Disputes: Identity Purity vs. Identity Moderation
10 Dominance Disputes: Identity Singularity vs. Identity Balance
11 Conclusion
Appendix: Grounded Theory and Analytic Fieldwork
"You are welcome, sir, to Secaucus.--Goats and monkeys!"

Actually, I believe the species most commonly discovered by pop ethnographers is the chimera, usually while on a snipe hunt.

i think the questioning bisexual trapped in a transgendered screenname analog would be best represented by the blast-ended skrewt.
[a jackson chameleon]

+ + +

Juliet Clark points to another zoological controversy:

If I were a Moomin I'd never stand for being demoominized by your categorical litmus test of queer fashion looks.

. . .

Science News

A first time visitor to central northwest Missouri might wonder at the raccoons which lie quietly beside the highway.

Interestingly, they represent one of the state's great successes in cooperative diversity.

In thinly populated areas, the peripatetic raccoon, the only non-human resident with a thumb, relies on hitchhiking to reach fresh garbage-rummaging opportunities. Since raccoons are nocturnal creatures, they ride with amphetamine-aided truckers and drowse through the day. The plump little fellows you see are most likely sleeping off a bender.


"Burning raccoon" Why bother when you have a... oh never mind.

. . .

The Journal of Lower Education

Oh, Spengler's all just fun and games until someone starts a world war.

* * *

Subatomic phenomena may be "like" particles, but they aren't like grains of sand. They may be "like" waves, but they aren't like the surf at Ocean Beach. Trying to talk about things that can't be seen or felt, we use models and analogies. If those models and analogies don't completely fit, that's not a paradox: it's only to be expected.

* * *

To promote the town, it became necessary to destroy it

Pop science, Cliff Notes: In hopes of getting bread faster, we skip the harvest and torch the wheatfield.


I hate sloppy analogies like Macbeth

Oh, yeah, and nerves aren't wires.

. . .

Dere's a riod goig od

I am Dew-Drop Inn, I contain multitudes.

. . .

The Hunsecker Equation

"The cat is in the box and the box is indeterminate."


thinking outside the cat?
Traffic cop Hotzmeister: "Mr Totzinger, did you know that you have a dead cat in your trunk?" Totzinger: "Well I do now."

. . .

Leaves from an old notebook

The world of Big Boys and Royal Crests and Pheasant Lanes drains into a tiny graveyard clogged with leaves and empty spring water plastic bottles.
An artificial flower with holes in the leaves. "Hey, this silk's got worms!"
The wet arm goes numb. The wet days go blank. Large dark leaves which seem to have dropped onto tightly bunched smaller lighter ones are instead straight-stitched in place by thin branches.
At the bank, adults indulge in slapstick; on the train, children sit sullenly with strangers. Dead leaves jam themselves into the window corner: "Please take us away from this terrible place!"
The bartender at Doctor Bombays said, "It's been a scary day. A huge guy came in this afternoon, really mean looking, bald, about 6' 5", with this beat-up leather jacket, no shirt. I think uh oh. He looks around real mad. Then he orders a Heineken. He takes it, takes a gulp, and paces back and forth really fast. Then he comes back and slams the bottle down as hard as he could exactly where you're sitting. Everyone looks, right? Then he walks out really fast. So Julie comes over to check the bottle, there's beer splashed all over the counter. She picks it up, there's about this much left in it. I'm like, uh, Julie, I don't think you want to pick that up just yet. Sure enough, about five minutes later the guy comes back in, looking really mad, grabs the bottle and starts pacing again. He takes another swig and slams it back down and leaves again. I can tell you, I didn't touch that bottle for the rest of the afternoon." (My theory is the guy really wanted a Heineken Light but was embarrassed to mention it.)

. . .

Science news

EL CERRITO, CA - Several hours before dawn, this hipster enclave hosted its latest innovation: the first public trial of a new approach to California's devastating drought.

After a brief transition signalled by translucent green curds, tap water was replaced with streams of guacamole. Constructed through a public-private partnership between local government and a nearby grocery chain, a novel cascade of steel rollers provided both hot and cold running guacamole to wary residents.

Normal service was restored by 5:30 AM.


Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.