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47 minutes ago @ http://markspoils.blog... - Weekly Shenanigans · 0 replies · +1 points

I crave and take every opportunity to do marine biology education. :D I admit I fact-check with online sources before posting, to maximize the chance of accuracy, but I notice where statements in the book merit contradiction.

1 day ago @ http://markspoils.blog... - Weekly Shenanigans · 2 replies · +2 points

More lovely philosophizing about whale anatomy. Whale flukes really are so…majestic, in their living grace and power. In some species, such as humpbacks, every individual has a unique pattern on its flukes, by which scientists can catalogue and track them.

Beautiful writing about the savored superpod of peaceful cows and “pups” (calves), in juxtaposition with the slaughter of other whales there and elsewhere.

“The sperm whale, as with all other species of the leviathan, but unlike most other fish, breeds indifferently at all seasons.” Only partly true. *Sperm* whales can breed year-round, because their food sources are found in the tropical and temperate seas as well as high latitudes. But most baleen whales depend on cold-water prey and must spend their summers foraging at high latitudes where the water is too cold for calves, then migrate to warmer waters for a winter of mating, birthing, calf-rearing, and starving. And while many fish do spawn only at certain times of year, especially the ones that live in the sea and spawn in or near fresh water, and the broadcast-spawners which benefit from spawning en masse and collectively producing huge amounts of eggs and sperm to maximize the chances of fertilization, this is hardly a universal pattern – many species, especially some of the small tropical or freshwater ones, do breed with indifference to the seasons.

Also, Ishmael supposes that a sperm whale pregnancy lasts nine months, but it’s actually 15 months.

More modern sources claim sperm whales *don’t* form harems with dominant males. I don’t know the reason for this disparity; it seems like behavior whalers might have actually seen.

Nice bit of satire on “the Duke of Dunder” and of “The Archbishop of Savesoul’s income of one hundred thousandpounds seized from the scant bread and cheese of hundreds of thousands of broken-backed laborers, all sure of Heaven without any of Savesoul’s help” (though the latter might have been a specific dig at Catholicism more than corrupted religion in general as we might see it now). Not so nice the bits you point out.

2 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +2 points

Oh yeah, I amusedly wondered why those three individual sinners merited that rector and all the others didn't.

2 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +3 points

That came to my mind, too.

2 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 2 replies · +5 points

"Apple juice" generally refers to the translucent yellow version, which has been filtered, pasteurized, and sometimes concentrated and then re-diluted. Non-alcoholic "cider" (sometimes but not always called "sweet cider,) " is unfiltered and often unpasteurized, opaque brown, and tastes variable (depending on the apples it's made of) bur IMO very different from apple juice or the fermented alcoholic version we call "hard cider," which is made from other types of apples.

Fun fact: Sweet cider as an industry (and sweet apples designed for being eaten fresh) was born in the US during Prohibition, when everyone who had been growing apples for hard cider needed something else to do with them. Hard cider production had been declining in the decades leading up to that, after centuries of popularity. Now hard cider is a resurging industry in some places, including my home region (a place already full of wineries, breweries, and distilleries). I learned the info above from a local hard-cider maker, but it's also at https://www.threeriversparks.org/blog/hard-cider-...

BRB, going to drink some sweet cider and eat a Honeycrisp apple. :)

2 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 4 replies · +9 points

As a national park ranger, I sometimes felt ornamental. Especially the time when, as I stood at a scenic overlook to give information and take photos, someone told me "I didn't know if you were a real person or not! You stood so still!" As if the park was decorated with highly realistic ranger statues. So I can well believe in "ornamental" hermits.

Oh dear. When covering for ShireNomad during Small Gods, I might or might not have said that jokes pelted Mark with cobblestones, wine amphorae, and philosophical *conundrums.* I don't remember and don't have time to look. :p

On Discworld, being alive vs. dead is not something you can always be certain about.

Yes, Mark, you should go pick apples. And drink cider if you don't already do so. (My goodness, I drink cider as often as I can get it, year-round. Non-alcoholically *sweet* cider, mind you, what's called "apple juice" outside the US despite being totally different from the stuff *we* call apple juice.) If you get a chance to make cider at a retail-scale facility, go for it but be prepared to get covered with it from head to toe in the extremely messy process.

In-world, I wonder if the reference to hermits living on poles in the desert refers specifically to the legendary St. Ungulant, or if there are others.

Heh, "Malus equilibria"

Heh, "cold as charity and raining down so fast it had to queue up to hit the ground"

Vimes, you should know by now how a cow looks. And sounds. And *doesn't* look or sound. :p

3 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +3 points

Ditto ditto. I can fall asleep with steady backftound sounds like waves or my conveyance's motor, or even traffic to some extent. But my mind would seize on every word or possibly-word-sound and refuse to relax. I used to always fall asleep with earplugs, though they usually came out of my ears before I awoke. But not that I'm a bit less sound-sensitive and don't want to risk not being awaked by my alarm on days when I need to get up at a certain time, I sometimes don't wear them. Or, just like you, I'll put a plug in one ear and try to muffle the other with the pillow under my head. It doesn't help when a neighbor slams the apartment building door and thunders up the stair late at night, or lingers in the hall outside our apartmenr to talk with his friends, but the former is tolerable and the latter is rare.

4 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +3 points

Interesting. When I was a kid in the '90s, I had a plastic horse big enough to sit on, which was in a sort of spring-loaded frame so the motion of "riding" it was more up-and-down than forward-and-backward, IIRC. Somebody (not me, IIRC) named it White Jamal for some reason. I don't think it had notably large teeth.

4 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 4 replies · +7 points

I used to be incapable of falling asleep if there was any audible hint of human voices. I still probably couldn't sleep while people were talking around me, but Ive recently dozed off while listening to audiobooks and yesterday evening I kept slipping toward sleep in a group of *chanting/singing people.* But I think that's due to increased sleep deprivation more than environmental change.

I beg to differ with these two on marriage prospects, though they're probably accurate in that setting of gender roles and transactional marital alliances. I'm petite, blond, enormous-bosomed, and a halfway-decent cook, and I'm never had a romantic or sexual relationship, let alone a husband. (OK, I have rejected a few romantic advances, including a guy friend who I'd had sort of an incoherent thing with in middle school and who basically proposed to me after we had been geographically and socally separated for a while, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about lack of experience wirh *mutual* attraction). And "a strange girl" who's "quite interested in frogs" would probably be attractive to me, provided she wasn't interested in *cruelty* to frogs.

My physical inability to make eye contact hasn't entirely saved me from getting harassed and creeped on. But maybe it helps.

The phrase "whirling housemaids" brings to mind a busy restaurant in Wisconsin -- Friar Tuck's, in Oshkosh, IIRC -- where my family's table was in the middle of a room and waitresses were hurrying all around us. We still joke about the place with its "swirling waitresses."

Young Sam amid the unplayable amount of toys brought to mind Wentworth amid an uneatable amount of candy in TWFM, though Sam is "standing wide-eyed" insead of throwing a howling tantrum.

As someone noted in the Wyrd Sisters discussion, regicide is a source of heritable stigma in Ankh-Morpork but was accepted as a common and undersrandable means of succession in Lancre, at least nominally. Though WS also featured an attempt to change the social narrative and make the guilt-wracked killer a hero. That didn't succeed, but Vetinari etc. succeeded in reframing Ankh-Morpork *history* to make an erstwhile villain a hero without actually denying the person's actions. That (and the reverse) happens a lot in our world.

4 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +3 points

I enjoyed their first Harry Potter read, and enjoy the ongoing Spoil Me coverage of a few books/serieses I've read. But my favorite is Natasha's first, the long-finished Song of Ice and Fire coverage with Brendan while they were married. I don't know what the ASOIAF coverage by RoShawn and Natasha will be like -- Brendan's punny jokes and occasional yelling-fits are what made the first round so hilarious -- but I look forward to it.