[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2013-08-02

Snakes and stones

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 11:38

rocksrockssnake

I was taking out the trash when I noticed that one of the rocks next to our front steps had a spot of yellow on it. I picked up a few rocks, looking at each, and I found three rocks that had letters painted on them: “HYD”, “HYDRANGEA”, and “BLEED”. After stepping back to take a photo, I realized that I’d also found something else. As the saying goes, if it’d been a snake it would have bit me.

It didn’t bite me.

Tuesday, 2013-06-18

Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

Filed under: Art,Books,Ecology,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:58
Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

I read voraciously as a child. I stumbled across Arcology: The City in the Image of Man in the library some time in the late 1970s, and it made a huge impression on me. I immediately created some imaginary worlds for people to live in within these immense structures. I have been thinking about the cyberpunk genre recently, in large part because of some conversations with Chris Helton´╗┐. I made an offhand comment about cyberpunk being the 2020s as imagined by the 1980s, but really, I think cyberpunk has its roots even earlier, in the work of Paolo Soleri and Samuel Delany (Babel 17, Dhalgren).

Friday, 2013-04-12

Squirrel nest

Filed under: Nature — bblackmoor @ 18:59

I watched a squirrel making its nest today. It would climb down to the ground, grab as many leaves as it could stuff in its mouth, climb up a tree next to its nest, jump over to the nest-tree, stuff the leaves in, and then climb down to get more leaves. It did this for as long as I watched it, which was only a few minutes, but it made several trips. It was really interesting to watch.

Susan saw a group of four bunnies this afternoon, chasing each other and playing at the feet of a couple of deer. No photos, alas.

Friday, 2013-01-11

Hypothesis: pointing out facts in a conversation is a waste of time

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 08:31

HYPOTHESIS: People who care about facts look for them before expressing an opinion. People who don’t care about facts retain their opinion regardless of any facts presented. In either case, pointing out that someone’s opinion is not factually based is a waste of time.

Thursday, 2013-01-03

As if science ever accomplished anything

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:50

People who blame weapons for crime or movies for violence have no interest in criminology, any more than people blame homosexuals for hurricanes have any interest in meteorology.

Saturday, 2012-09-29

The wild, wild life

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 16:53
The Hole

The wildlife around here is pretty amazing. Other than the usual birds and squirrels, in the last 24 hours I have seen a bunny, a deer, a huge possum, a tiny frog, and some kind of tiny, ground dwelling yellow-jackets.

The Hole

The possum led us to the yellow-jackets. Last night we were watching Cabin In The Woods (which isn’t bad, if a little slow and predictable). Suddenly, the motion-sensing light on the balcony came on, startling us. Looking out, we saw a huge grey skull-faced animal walking along the railing: a possum! It wandered around, but had meandered away by the time I got the camera.

The Nest

This morning I was out back, spreading grass seed and generally looking around, and I found a huge hole. Could this be why the possum was on our deck? Had it taken up residence? Crawling closer, a bug flew out. I backed off, and it flew back in the hole. Huh? I crept closer again… and a bug came out again and flew toward me. I backed off again.

The Hole

I retrieved the camera and took some zoomed-in photos. Examining the photos, it’s clear that these are yellow-jackets. Did they take over the possum’s hole and drive it away? If so, where has it gone? In any case, tonight I’ll need to do something about the yellow-jackets.

P.S. Here is a photo of that tiny frog.

Friday, 2012-03-09

The TSA is corrupt and incompetent

Filed under: Civil Rights,Science,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:54

I write to my Congress people every so often asking them to abolish the TSA (not reform, not privatize — abolish). If more people did so, at least the corruption would be more obvious.

Thursday, 2012-01-12

One fish, two fish, dead fish, blue fish

Filed under: Ecology,Society — bblackmoor @ 20:06
neon tetras

I have been so busy with the house fiasco and work, I haven’t been feeding my fish as often as I should. Two of my larger fish are missing, and there are suspicious remains in the back of the aquarium. Apparently, even a normally placid fish will eat its brethren when it gets hungry enough.

They are the 99%.

Wednesday, 2011-09-14

Ich Bin Ein Auslander

Filed under: Music,Science — bblackmoor @ 18:27

Went to the dentist today and found out two interesting things. First, my left lower wisdom tooth is chipped. I have a rather less pleasant dentist visit scheduled for next week.

Second, I learned that one’s fillings can act as anodes and electrodes, and generate an electric current using one’s saliva as the electrolyte. The hygienist poked my gums up near one of my back teeth, using her pointy tool of dental stabbityness, and it shocked me. Then she did it again! The dentist explained that what I was experiencing was an unusual but not unknown phenomenon caused by the difference in electrical potential between the stainless steel dental pick and my silver filling.

Science!

“Well, once again, my friend, we find that science is a two-headed beast. One head is nice, it gives us aspirin and other modern conveniences… But the other head of science is bad. Oh, beware the other head of science, Arthur! It bites!”
— The Tick

Today’s “My favourite song” is “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” by Pop Will Eat Itself.

Monday, 2011-08-22

The Mugs of August – Travel mug made from corn plastic

Filed under: Art,Ecology,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 23:06
Travel mug made from corn plastic

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

You might think this is just an ordinary plastic travel mug. Au contraire! This mug is special. This mug is made from corn.

Susan works in the environmental field. From lead and asbestos, to recycling and greenhouse gas emissions, to domestic and international carbon trading programs, she’s done it all. She was given this mug while doing her environmental thing at Philip Morris a few years ago. It’s made entirely from corn plastic.

You see, when we run out of oil in a few decades, we’ll run out of plastic, too. The USA uses something like 200,000 barrels of oil a day on plastic packaging alone. That’s right: 200,000 barrels of oil a day, on stuff we throw away after we unwrap it. In theory, corn plastic will be the substance that replaces all that petroleum-based plastic when the petroleum is gone. Of course, corn plastic isn’t perfect. We still throw away an enormous amount of, well, everything. But you have to start somewhere.

P.S. “Degesch America, Inc. is located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley town of Weyers Cave, Virginia, USA. Degesch is a worldwide leader in the specialized field of stored product pest control.” In case you wondered.

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