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bear by san

March 2017



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lion in winter oops

There's an interesting--if maybe a little thin--Ron Rosenbaum article on Slate about bootleg Dylan and Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Today, tnh, Jim Macdonald, mac_stone, and I went for a walk along the ocean during a break in the weather. I picked up some whelk shells and Jim found a periwinkle. We found any number of dead trilobites (horseshoe crabs) cast up by last night's nor'easter. We also found a ton of slipper limpets and jingle shells. The weather was misty and weirdly lit; that rich coastal New England light that makes all the colors seem saturated and almost pulsing with reality.


Now it's warmer and the air smells of tropical storm. Kyle is tracking further east, which may be good news for all of us getting home on time, but does suggest that Teresa may not get her hurricane (and may be bad news for Nova Scotia). The storm is close enough to smell, though, even over the smell of the Sound, but we're in a break between bands of rain.

On the subject of hurricanes, however, there is a category-5 supertyphoon, Jangmi, which is bearing down on Taiwan and Shanghai, with winds sustained at 144 mph and gusting to 190 mph, and a tight, brutal eye.



Jim Macdonald and Debra Doyle

Please tell Jim and Debra that Lisa and Joe from ReaderCon say hello!


Lisa Iriarte
This makes this blog literally the first US media of any sort that I have ever seen giving equal attention to storms inside and outside the US. Though the storm won't make landfall for a while yet, the winds and rains are already hitting Taipei. I keep hearing banging noises outside my window from objects caught up in the wind.

And just to bring it full circle. Whiskey and Water is being read in at least one Taiwan household during this storm! In a copy signed and sent by the author, no less.

Fortunately the storm will of course weaken as it approaches land, and Taipei is protected by mountains, as in Hsinchu - not sure about Tainan or the other cities. I wouldn't want to be in a coastal town right now, though.
No. Neither would I. We have nice warm tropical rain bucketing down currently. Aieeee.
I hope you won't be stuck there longer than you want to be.

Also, what I meant to say above re the equal coverage (and didn't because I'm an idiot) is thank you. I mean, I always knew how Ameri-centric English-language news is, but it was borne in on me depressingly during the last typhoon here when I needed to know what to expect and all I could find was news on Ike.
Oh, you're very welcome.

I am a weather underground junkie, and they do worldwide tropical coverage.
The other one I watch is Tropical Storm Risk. They have good information but they only update twice a day and it's annoying having to convert from Zulu time. One thing I like about the Weather Underground is that they use Japan Standard Time for Pacific storms.

I learned about Weather Underground last time I was taking flying lessons - a lot of the CFIs were using it for aviation weather forecasts, which is a tribute to how much information it provides.
Ah, yes; Weather Underground is great -- beyond just the name.

Has everybody read this about how Jeff Masters ended up giving up hurricane hunting and went to work at Weather Underground? Great article!
I have a habit of collecting jingle shells when on the beach. I can be an avid beachcomber in general, but jingle shells have a particular fascination. oddly enough, I tend to forget what they're called. as a kid I referred to them as 'silver and gold'. ^_^

I hope your travels across the water and back home are low-key.
Last I heard, Kyle was heading straight for Saint John, New Brunswick. Really heavy rain is expected there.

warning- prolonged bio-geekery follows...

Sad to hear about horseshoe crabs washing up- they get hammered on all sides- the effects of natural predators far surpassed by fishermen chopping them up for eel and bass bait, not to mention the loss of some (but surprisingly few) as they are gathered, bled, and released for the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.
Why bleed these last members of Class Merostomata, you ask? (this group also includes the extinct eurypterids, or sea scorpions- quite the badasses half-a-billion years ago) Well, their rather pretty blue blood is used to test the purity of i.v. drugs, vaccines, and medical instruments, to be sure they are free of bacterial contamination. It's a long story; I can provide some links if anyone's interested, Bottom line- pretty much every last person reading this blog has reason to thank these truly archaic beasties. It's a real quandary; the blood's worth about $15,000 a quart, but overharvesting them will eliminate the resource. The blood-collectors take pains to keep from killing the crabs . But the fishermen are not taking kindly to being told they cannot haul the crabs up by the boatload to chop into fish bait...

A really great documentary about horseshoe crabs and a species of bird whose fate is tied to them is "Crash: A Tale of Two Species", a PBS production. It came out last year, and I'm trying to pry the space in my class to show it this year- it works on so many levels. I'd title it "A Tale of Three Species", since we're in there, too, but it's not my movie. ;)

Figures- these charming little arthropods have survived all the evolving predators,climate shifts, plate tectonics, meteors, glaciers, and every other punch the planet has thrown at them- unchanged for millions of years- and we may take them out in less than a century. Sometimes the monkeys suck.

P.S. The whole reason I started to post was to mention that horseshoe crabs are the closest living relatives of the the trilobites (Class Trilobita), but sadly, not trilobites themselves. When horseshoe crabs are first born they don't have that tail spike, and are given the misleading nickname "trilobite larvae". It's kinda like birds being the closest living relatives of T. rex... close, but not the same thing. Does make me look at the Wonder Chicken with different eyes sometimes...

Re: warning- prolonged bio-geekery follows...

(In which [Unknown LJ tag] is somewhat literal-minded....) *g*


Re: warning- prolonged bio-geekery follows...

OK, I be LJ-ignerant- what does [Unknown LJ tag] refer to?

Re: warning- prolonged bio-geekery follows...

*g* It was me failing to type very well, and was supposed to be webwyrm's handle.

Mmm. Deep fried T-rex....
What, pray tell, is a "slipper limpet"? (It sounds like a woman of ill repute, or a variety of perfume.) I ask because some of my family collect "butterfly stones," and I want to know what kind of fossil they really are.
It's a seashell that looks like a slipper.
Far and away one of the best memories I'm taking home with me from the island this year. Was a lovely walk, indeed.