More biscuit crust, please

Awesome! If I ate like a Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), a frugivorous bird of the American Southwest in the Silky Flycatcher family, I would consume 42 pints of blueberries every day!

Posted in Birds and Birding
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I didn’t need to take the quiz to figure this one out

I am

Which Siglum From Finnegans Wake Are You?

wood s lot

Posted in Literature, Memes
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Rewrite: an update

Tech rehearsals this week for Rewrite have been clean. Folks from the other three shows on the night have been watching the runs, and they seem to think the show is hilarious. This is one of my favorite costumes on the comfy scale: sweatshirt, baggy khakis, and boat shoes; Linus and Dan get to wear the sight gags. My third show for the Stage where most of my action is to sit and type gibberish—easy peasy. There’s one passage where the blocking still feels awkward, but it’s very short. I really like the way Tom Moran (the playwright) has crafted the Author’s texts (the Author is a mediocre-at-best novelist and we hear his first drafts): the Author’s “writing” is flabby and free-wheeling at the same time, and I hope that audiences will find it funny.

Posted in Backstage
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A milestone: 6

It’s been ten years since my first Wikipedia edit. I’ve been a lot more active in the last two years than the previous eight.

Posted in Blogs and Internet
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Epiphany in the gap between paragraphs

Middle age is a wonderful country, all the things you thought would never happen are happening. When he was fifteen, forty-six would have seemed the end of the rainbow, he’d never get there, if a meaning of life was to show up you’d think it would have by now.

Yet at moments it seems it has, there are just no words for it, it is not something you dig for but sits on the top of the table like an unopened dewy beer can.

—John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich
Posted in Quotable
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Work stoopage

It’s a good week for the clueless ones.

Here’s a snippet of an e-mail solicitation I received. At least I think I’m being solicited: it’s a little hard to tell.

Subject: Natural One Way Link Building Proposal

Hello Dear,

Hope you are doing well.

We would like to inform you that, We cant go ahead with you your email because of Google’s Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates. In Sept -2013 maximum websites was affected by Google’s updates and to reflect these loss we ware stooped the work. Now, we come out of these updates and now we have continued the work again. We want to aware that we build one link for each keyword in a day and we give you min 100 links/month for each website. if you have more keyword then we build more links. By Google’s parameters we can’t over optimized websites. more package : [REDACTED]

But we are come back to you with some special offer of this November regarding link building campaign, now purchase our link packages then you will get

If you want to purchase our Platinum Package online then please visit: [REDACTED] If you will see 200 links online then don’t worry about it we will provide you 10% extra links.

If you interested in our service then send me site details and we will start work for your project from next working day and you will get report accordingly.
URL: ?,


Des: ?

We will provide weekly update of the off page links. So that, you can check the progress of your project of weekly basis.

We wish you the best of luck for your business and looking forward to a long and healthy business relationship with you and your company.

Work with us and you would see the difference.

Best Regards,

-Kasib Khan

Head of Technical Department

Posted in Annoyances
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Silver Line progress report: 39

Something that we’re still waiting for: silver-colored line markers in the rail cars’ destination signs. The 7000-series cars that will be trickling into service this fall will be equipped to show a Silver Line-ish hue, but Metro has not committed to retrofitting older cars.

The 1000s and 4000s will be retired in the next few years, so they probably won’t have retrofitted or new signs. But the 2000s, 3000s, 5000s, and 6000s will be carrying passengers for many years to come, and it might be helpful for those trains to be able to show the silver color on signs.

Posted in Transit in D.C.
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Truth in advertising

Reporting on the recent FDA food labeling standard for gluten-free foods, Allison Aubrey does a great job of unpacking the various consumer constituencies who care about gluten in their diet. The blog post doesn’t dwell on this point, so listen to the audio from the All Things Considered two-way with Audie Cornish. Aubrey identifies three groups:

  • people who are on the gluten-free bandwagon and will fall off eventually;
  • people who experience gluten sensitivity, who do better avoiding wheat and related grains, but can tolerate a little or a lot;
  • people with true-blue celiac disease.

Aubrey identifies the third group as those for whom gluten is a real problem, not just something to be avoided casually. These are the three million people who, in her deft description for radio, suffer from a “chronic auto-immune disorder that can destroy the lining of the small intestine… even a little gluten can make them sick.”

Posted in Food and Cooking, Health and Medicine
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The E does stand for Entertainment

Allan Savory gives a rubbish science TED talk and gets 2M page views. George Manbiot looks at the peer-reviewed literature and finds no evidence to back up Savory’s claims.

When faced with the claims of a Savory, Leta and I like to quote Brick Pollitt, in the last line of the play as Williams originally wrote it: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was true?”

Lili Taylor

Posted in Agriculture, Annoyances
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tenth and marketthird and marketAlong the broad swath of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania’s Market Street (surprisingly, Market is not the north-south axis: rather, it’s the narrow nondescript Center Street two blocks over) can be found some lovely old street name signs suspended from scrolled brackets. There are variations and simplifications of this design (clips instead of hangers, utility poles instead of purpose-built supports), and eventually the newer signs give in to the conventional perforated post and crosstree design. But still, these that remain are graceful and quite fine.

the fountain is onAt Market and Main across from the Civil War monument is this well-maintained fountain. The only flaw in its design is that there’s insufficient dallying space next to it: lingerers are likely to get wet.

no creditNot all of the businesses on Main Street are thriving.

Posted in Like Life
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Nescopeck State Park

hemlocksI had a couple of hours between events in Bloomsburg to take a ramble through Nescopeck State Park. The traces of earlier uses of this land are easy to read: the Wood Frog Way Loop trail is almost rectilinear. There were many more annoying dipterans than charismatic lepidopterans to be found on this cloudy Saturday morning. But hunting in the park has apparently kept the deer population in check, and hence the understory looks to be in good shape. And I found a couple patches of healthy-looking Eastern Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis), hopefully adelgid-free.

Posted in In the Field
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Don’t ever stop being you, Pennsylvania

In the commonwealth of economic development by pointless naming, PA 424 in Luzerne County is officially designated the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Beltway. This 6 km-long bypass, a straight shot between I-81 and PA 93, used to be named simply the Hazleton South Beltway.

Posted in NOC
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Brutal in the suburbs

The very first service alert that I’ve received from Metro pertaining to the Silver Line:

On Aug 2, 2014 8:42 PM, “MetroAlerts” <metroalerts> wrote:

Silver Line: Single tracking btwn McLean & E Falls Church due to a deer struck by a train outside of E Falls Church. Expect delays.

Posted in Transit in D.C.
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Kriston Capps mounts a thoughtful defense of the unloved, unlovely FBI HQ.

So much of the criticism of Brutalism treats it like a failed quiz—a problem to be solved, a problem for which there are correct answers, not a piece of history that could be preserved and improved upon.


Posted in Art and Architecture
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Secondary factors

Robert W. R. Parker and Peter H. Tyedmers present research results that indicate that energy consumption by fishing fleets has a significant greenhouse gas effect, perhaps even as important as the tropic level of the fish that’s caught. Fishing for small fish like mackerel and sardines is the least energy-intensive, while going after crustaceans like shrimp and lobster can be worse by a factor of 50, consuming nearly as much energy as raising terrestrial livestock. The disparity is even more pronounced in Europe, where crustaceans are scarcer. April Fulton interprets the results.

So why is all this fuel getting burned? As the fishing industry has evolved in the last century from throwing out a few lines over the local dock to industrialized operations, we’ve been able to fish in more parts of the ocean and freeze our catch right on the boats….

And the boats – not the packing plants or trucks transporting fish to the store — are where the bulk of the burn comes from, Parker says. The energy needed to get fish to the dock accounts for 60 to 90 percent of the fishing industry’s total energy use and emissions.

Posted in Climate Change, Energy Sources and Consumption, Natural Sciences
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