Monday, July 24, 2017

Update on the Photobucket Fiasco, and the missing pictures on this blog

I've been diligently working through the missing pictures. I started using botofuckit in October 2008, and I've found and replaced nearly all the missing pictures from then until September 2009. Luckily, I stopped using the "service" a couple of years ago, so I only need to go up to 2015. I've also fixed as many broken links as possible, and man are there a lot of them.

I'm only about 15% through the relinking, but as before, if you land on a post and you want to see a picture that's been replaced with photoscrewit's ransom demand, leave a comment on the post and I'll find it and re-up it as soon as I can.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Peromyscus in the news again

And not for a nice reason, either. The little White Footed mouse is apparently "not fastidious" and doesn't mind ticks attached to its body. It also has a crap immune system. This means that the Borrelia burgdorferi it often carries gets into the ticks, which, when they are grown up, bite humans and give us Lyme Disease. They eat acorns, so a good acorn year is followed by a good mouse year, which is followed by a good (for B. burgdorferi) Lyme year.

Washington Post has the full story (text here).

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Important notice re: Earlier images on this blog are disappearing

Photobucket, the 3rd party serving photo-hosting service, has emailed me (and all others) to say they will no longer host 3rd party images.

To continue using Botophucket, all I have to do is pay $400 a year!

Needless to say, I'm not going to pay $400 a year (actually it's $399), but to help force the issue, Photofuckit are replacing all the hosted images with thumbnails containing their ransom demand. So those of you who read my blog here at http://peromyscus.blogspot.com/ are going to find it looking a little measly with many of the older pictures replaced by those thumbnails. 

My apologies, but it it will take some time - perhaps forever - to change all those links, especially as Photobucket's download button only downloads one picture at a time. One at a time!

If you are searching for a picture (e.g. one of the historical Led Zeppelin pictures) and think the image may be underneath the ransom demand email, leave a message here and I will attempt to find it on my hard disk and re-upload it or send it to you. Same deal for any postings in message boards or fora that you think may have been by me (e.g Elixir_Sue, Lyle Hopwood, Peromyscus). 

Sheesh.







Saturday, May 13, 2017

Doctor Who's Oxygen: What would really happen to a human in a vacuum?

I know everyone who just watched Doctor Who will be thinking, "I wonder what would really happen if the human body was exposed to a vacuum?"

Good question. NASA used to have the answer on its pages, but it disappeared a couple of years ago. Luckily, nothing is truly gone from the Inner Tubes, and so I proudly present their answer, ripped from the Wayback Machine.  [Their answer is ripped from an even earlier page, referenced in the text.]



Ask an astrophysicist: What happens to a human body in the vacuum of space?

The Answer
From the now extinct page http://medlib/jsc.nasa.gov/intro/vacuum.html:
How long can a human live unprotected in space?
If you don't try to hold your breath, exposure to space for half a minute or so is unlikely to produce permanent injury. Holding your breath is likely to damage your lungs, something scuba divers have to watch out for when ascending, and you'll have eardrum trouble if your Eustachian tubes are badly plugged up, but theory predicts -- and animal experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do not freeze. You do not instantly lose consciousness.
Various minor problems (sunburn, possibly "the bends", certainly some [mild, reversible, painless] swelling of skin and underlying tissue) start after ten seconds or so. At some point you lose consciousness from lack of oxygen. Injuries accumulate. After perhaps one or two minutes, you're dying. The limits are not really known.
You do not explode and your blood does not boil because of the containing effect of your skin and circulatory system. You do not instantly freeze because, although the space environment is typically very cold, heat does not transfer away from a body quickly. Loss of consciousness occurs only after the body has depleted the supply of oxygen in the blood. If your skin is exposed to direct sunlight without any protection from its intense ultraviolet radiation, you can get a very bad sunburn.
At NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (now renamed Johnson Space Center) we had a test subject accidentally exposed to a near vacuum (less than 1 psi) in an incident involving a leaking space suit in a vacuum chamber back in '65. He remained conscious for about 14 seconds, which is about the time it takes for O2 deprived blood to go from the lungs to the brain. The suit probably did not reach a hard vacuum, and we began repressurizing the chamber within 15 seconds. The subject regained consciousness at around 15,000 feet equivalent altitude. The subject later reported that he could feel and hear the air leaking out, and his last conscious memory was of the water on his tongue beginning to boil.
Aviation Week and Space Technology (02/13/95) printed a letter by Leonard Gordon which reported another vacuum-packed anecdote:
"The experiment of exposing an unpressurized hand to near vacuum for a significant time while the pilot went about his business occurred in real life on Aug. 16, 1960. Joe Kittinger, during his ascent to 102,800 ft (19.5 miles) in an open gondola, lost pressurization of his right hand. He decided to continue the mission, and the hand became painful and useless as you would expect. However, once back to lower altitudes following his record-breaking parachute jump, the hand returned to normal."

More info and references are at the link.

So I think Doctor Who got it right, don't you?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Geoffrey Bayldon, RIP

RIP Geoffrey Bayldon, known to many people as Catweazle, but to those of us in the know as Marc Bolan's neighbor and his hamburger butler in Born To Boogie.


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Knock Knock - the woodlice

Knock Knock!

Knock on wood!

Can you shoot an episode of a tv series about the relationship of these two unrelated sayings? Doctor Who can.

Do you think Doctor Who writers research whether English terms are used in the US? (Or Australia, or wherever, but I'm thinking of BBC America here.)

Doctor Who's bugs are clearly pillbugs.

Last night's episode was about alien pill millipedes, which they kept calling woodlice - often just lice - even though the pilling kind and the woodlice kind are entirely different. The pilling kind are Myriapods (millipedes), and the woodlice are Crustaceans (like crabs). And they're called sowbugs and pillbugs around here in the western US. They have lots of other names around the world - like roly-polys and wood pigs - and the woodlice name seems to be relatively uncommon. 


Pillbugs, unrolled and rolled.


Woodlouse. That's the way a woodlouse rolls, i.e. it doesn't roll at all.

I was especially revolted by a killer pillbugs plot as I have just started a farm (with both pillbugs and sowbugs, since my yard teems with both) because my chameleon ADORES eating them, but they're known to be parasitized in the wild. No, I'm not talking about the Isopods that ARE parasites like the famously off-putting fish-tongue-eating Isopod, Cymothoa exigua, that continues to live in the fish's mouth and perform tongue duties as the price of its meals; in their turn our garden Isopods can get a parasite that makes them walk above ground in the sunshine where they're easy prey for birds, who are in turn colonized by the parasites. (They're called Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus. Calling Charlie Stross!) I thought a farm would be a good idea as I can keep the birds away and hopefully raise a generation of healthy sowbugs and pillbugs. I did not expect to see cheap CGI of them eating people.


I suppose I shouldn't agonize too much over the comprehensibility of their common name since the characters in Doctor Who kept calling them insects, which is like calling humans a type of bird. (We do have two legs, like birds.) Since the young housemate characters were all students, I'm hoping none of them is a zoology student. 

Loved the pun about, "How do you feel? Rotten?" though. Hahaha.


Spoilers below.


The common name of the Isopod  wasn't the most confusing thing about the episode, however. They presumably went with 'woodlouse' because the wood of the house - the 'fabric' as the doctor called it - had something to do with the plot. As did the wood of the trees outside, since they also attacked a character. But it didn't really hang together - the woodnymphs, the dryads, the tree spirits, the tower, the wainscotting, the woodlice, OK. Eating someone's vital essence to preserve someone else's life as they turned to wood, OK. Yet, somehow the victims themselves being preserved forever - or so the landlord said? In what way was Pavel preserved as part of the house if he'd been used up? Aliens summoned by a tuning fork or a musical box, and yet halted from action by a stuck record? Seems a bit, well, rushed, to put it charitably.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Killing in the Name by the Wackids




KILLING IN THE NAME (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE) // ROCK'N'TOYS SESSIONS (THE WACKIDS)

That amazing solo instrument is an Otamatone, and I want one. There seems to be a plethora of YouTube vids of rockers making music with them and at least half the fun is the smile on the little guy's face as they do so. 

Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball


Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jack White with Alison Mosshart: Love Interruption (Live video Dublin 26/6/14)



Thanks to uploader acquiescefc, Jack White's Love Interruption from his debut solo album Blunderbuss, performed with his male backing band The Buzzards - and Alison Mosshart.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Old Millennial vs. the Young Millennial

Jesse Singal, writing in NY Mag, argues that there is a difference between "old millennials" and "young millennials".

As someone who graduated directly into Thatcher's Britain and consequentially can't stand to be labeled a "Baby Boomer", I feel for him or her.

They argue that there's a split that occurred due to the introduction of the iPhone (2007) and the Great Recession (2008) that caused a major difference in young people's outlooks.  I can believe that; it seems more likely that cell-phone availability and job insecurity is a much likelier contributor to cautious vs. risk-taking personality than the arbitrary Arabic numeral group giving your birth cohort.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It Might Get Loud, Revisited



When It Might Get Loud came out in 2009, I was just getting into Jack White’s music and at the peak of a rediscovered Led Zeppelin fanaticism. I loved the hell out of the idea of the film. Thesis: take three guitarists and examine the role of rock guitar in music, and what drives the players to learn and excel at it – starring Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge.


The premiere was in LA and when I phoned up for tickets, they said there were two premieres. I asked what the difference was, and she didn’t tell me the truth, which is how come I went to the second premiere that didn’t have Jimmy Page and Jack White in attendance. But never mind! I saw it another two or three times in the cinema, and then bought the DVD. I gushed about it several times on my blog, and other bloggers – cooler heads, one might say – did try to tell me it wasn’t very good, but I wasn’t having any of it.

I re-watched it just now. There’s things I still love about it. Jack’s laconic gunslinger outsider shtick, Jimmy’s palpable excitement at listening to Link Wray’s Rumble and his enthusiasm with the other players; Edge’s self-deprecation and brief Wanderer-of-the-Wasteland episode ending when the looming tangle of trees suddenly resolves into perfect rows with clear paths between them; the cows listening to Jack’s Diddly Bow; the slide guitar jam near the end; the White Stripes performing for a room full of puzzled Chelsea Pensioners. And although the three men seem to be mostly there because they were the three who answered the phone, rather than anyone’s idea of a broad selection, they settle into their roles as Jack (heart), Edge (head) and Jimmy (groin).

The cooler heads were right, however. The exercise was flawed in numerous ways. Neither producer Thomas Tull nor director Davis Guggenheim demonstrate an understanding of the guitar nor are they able to pull together a cohesive account of the electric guitar or its place in rock. The narrative used is a three-act drama, which means that at the top of the second act, someone had to have a crisis, reach rock bottom and be forced to develop new strengths to overcome adversity and ultimately triumph. This is a really strange thing to have in the middle of a factual film that is not a biography. It’s shoehorned in by bending poor old self-effacing Edge’s story, having him go into exile to learn songwriting skills. Which he does, but the sought-for emotional catharsis is blunted by its artificiality. As a more concrete example of a flaw, Jimmy’s first electric guitar is labeled onscreen a ‘Stratocaster’ even though it’s a Grazioso, and Jimmy was one of the least likely rock musicians to be seen with a Strat at any point in his career.

More obviously (and loudly) two of the three guitarists refuse to stick with the script. Jack’s first love is the drums, and he’s portrayed as switching to guitar mostly because his upholsterer boss Brian Muldoon already played drums and he wanted to jam. Apart from a fair amount of drumming, the bulk of Jack’s music in the film is thumped out on piano, so Guggenheim must have been overjoyed to get hold of the footage of him bleeding for his art all over a guitar pickguard. Jimmy loves guitars – literally – but spends a lot of time talking about producing music (mostly drum sounds) and plays a lovely mandolin bit. At least he can tell his spooky story about the guitar “intervention” when his first guitar turned up mysteriously in his house just as he became interested in music. Edge sticks to guitar, but his style – very simple riffs compounded into lacy ruffles by echo, delay and other effects – means that the film spends most of its time marveling at his equipment and following his guitar tech around.

The ’summit’, where all three guitarists meet for the first time, with their equipment set up around them, is evidently supposed to be a climax. In the event, all three seem a little shy, and you watch The Edge, ever eager to please, trying to keep the conversation going by asking Jimmy questions but aware that he needs to avoid the minefield of disallowed inquiries that have tripped up many a professional journalist and gotten them yelled at by an irate Page. (He steps in it with the Kinks question, but manages to get out with both feet intact.) They demonstrate one of their famous riffs each, teach it to the others, and then join in on the ultimate song of the movie. It’s… The Weight, that old chestnut, played on acoustic guitars, and there’s nothing about it that you wouldn’t see at any house party where three or more of your friends brought or found an acoustic instrument and downed sufficient beers to have a loose jam.

It’s worth watching, because we care about the people and what they have accomplished, but as a movie, alas, it’s strictly third-tier.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lawn Maintenance

Since the media still loves divide and conquer tactics - as both attacked and attackers will click on the content - Boomers vs. Millennials is one of today's big Let's-You-And-Him-Fight matches.  I'm not happy with being shown how to hate on a daily basis, but it is - as the annoying Gen X folks always used to say - what it is. 

Just this month I've seen the following headlines:

Sorry Millennials, Boomers May Be Better Drivers Than You



I found a couple of more recent articles about inter-generational sniping in my bookmarks. Anyone who's amused by the current Millennial/Baby Boomer social media battles might find them familiar.

The first one is from the New Statesman.

"The growing public approval of anti-culture is itself, I think, a reflection of the new cult of youth. Bewildered by a rapidly changing society, excessively fearful of becoming out of date, our leaders are increasingly turning to young people as guides and mentors. If youth likes the Bieb, then it must be good, and clever men must rationalize this preference in intellectually respectable language. Indeed, the supreme crime, in politics and culture alike, is not to be “off the hizzle”."

Actually, I changed four words there. The original is from Bill Deedes (b. 1913) throwing shade at the Beatles in 1964. It's a great piece of sniffy fuddy-duddyism. It's worth a glance at the whole thing.

And from a decade later, we get another Bill - this time it's Grundy - tipsily attempting to out-snark Siouxsie Sioux and the Sex Pistols (Rotten, Jones and Matlock) on his TV show in 1976. The show was a disaster for the Pistols, as most of the country weirdly sided with Grundy (b. 1923) and the Pistols subsequently found themselves persona non grata, but at the time it was hilarious.

"GRUNDY: It's what?
ROTTEN: Nothing. A rude word. Next question.
GRUNDY: No, no, what was the rude word?
ROTTEN: Shit.
GRUNDY: Was it really? Good heavens, you frighten me to death.
ROTTEN: Oh alright, Siegfried...
GRUNDY: [Turning to those standing behind the band] What about you girls behind?
MATLOCK: He's like yer dad, isn't 'e, this geezer?
GRUNDY: Are you, er...
MATLOCK: Or your granddad."
Transcript from The Guardian 


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Black is black (I'm feeling blue)


Remember the blue and black (or, for some, white and gold) dress from two years ago?



At the time, I said on this blog,

The picture was 'obviously' light blue and gold - to me. I assumed the people who saw black and blue were somehow processing the white balance in their heads, which is pretty damned clever. It's as though they weren't seeing what color the picture was, but estimating what color the real dress is and reading it back without realizing that's not what was on the monitor. The real dress is, equally obviously, blue and black.
But apparently, I couldn't have said that, because nobody knew how color perception worked at that time, at least according to this Slate researcher.


Two Years Later, We Finally Know Why People Saw “The Dress” Differently
Remember “the dress”? It disrupted our understanding of color, and, yes, it took science two years to catch up.
No one had any idea why some people see “the dress” differently than others—we arguably still don’t fully understand it. It was like discovering a new continent.
Two years later we have a much better idea of what may have been a reason for the varied perceptions: People’s perceived color is also informed by their perception of lighting. And the image of the dress, taken on a cellphone, contained a lot of uncertainty in terms of lighting conditions. Was it taken inside or outside? This matters because it implies artificial or natural light. Was the dress illuminated from the front or the back? This matters because if it was back-lit, it would be in a shadow, otherwise not.
 
I'm glad they cleared that up. 


 

Friday, April 07, 2017

Dexter Romweber of the Flat Duo Jets

The Flat Duo Jets in a movie called Athens, GA: Inside/Out which is apparently from around 1987.



Wild Wild Lover from a 1990 Letterman show.



I may have posted this before, but here is an MTV video from the 80s, interviewing Dex Romweber in his little house, "The Maus".



It's sub five minutes of rock and roll background and a ramp to great tunes. It's the one I love the most.

I saw Dex in 2010 and he's touring now. Don't hesitate.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Mastodon

I joined http://mastodon.social . If you're my friend here and you want to be included, why not join and follow? I'm LyleHopwood there. :)

It promises to have fewer assholes and more granularity than Twitter, but I'm yet to experience that because I don't have any friends. Luckily there is a timeline that streams everything 'local' so if I want to respond to a stranger's post, I can. (And they can respond to mine.)

I haven't found a button to share these posts to Mastodon yet. It's kinda new.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pictures from the Phoenix trip

More from the Phoenix trip. 

Phoenix's mountains are fossilized Sorting Hats. 



The aquarium has some nice jellyfish, among other things. (I went to the zoo too, but didn't take any photos.)


The Trump billboard went up the day I arrived and generated a lot of buzz. What the articles didn't show is the billboard is in an artist's community, not over a main highway. 



 The back of the billboard.


The billboard has since been vandalized, hey, it's the libs who always cause the property damage, son, the right wing people always respect property. 

A screen in Taliesin West. I assume the decoration is a representation of the property. I forgot to ask.




The legendary Sa Gyu Ro cactus of the S'Morean dessert.


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