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Hometown: New Mexico
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Member since: 2002
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Happy May Day!

Builly Bragg updated the words to the Internationale and I can't find much to disagree with in 'em. So here goes:

It should be noted that Communist countries fell far short of the ideal, installing strongmen who enriched their cronies at the expense of everyone else. Communism as it was practiced is not what this song is about.

Before You Pour All That Maple Syrup on Your Pancakes, Here's What You Should Know About It

And no, it’s not just sweet. “Maple syrup is a lot more complex than sugar,” says Laura Sorkin, who owns Vermont-based Runamok Maple with her husband, Eric. “There’s a lot more nuance than what you would get with granulated sugar.” The flavor can vary depending on the time of year, but Sorkin says toffee, caramel, honey and apple are among the notes she can pick out. There’s also a balance of sweetness and acidity.
Still, here is the rundown of how the government describes the grades aimed at individual buyers (there is a processing grade that can be used by manufacturers making other products), ordered from least to most intense, as well as early to late season:


Good description of FDA grading system. I avoid "Grade A Fancy" because I find it super sweet and lacking in flavor. Health food store Grade B was my go to before the FDA muddied the waters, it was less sweet and a mahogany brown, perfect for almost everything I wanted to do. Granulated maple sugar did the rest, sweeter than sugar and with a pronounced flavor.

Grade C was available and OK for things like maple breads, but it looked as black as tar and wasn't very sweet, at all.

Scientists Ran an Experiment to Identify the Personality Profile of an A-Hole

(from the "was there ever any doubt?" files, I'm sure)

While the field was broad, though, the 'assholes' identified in the study were mostly male, and typically middle-aged.

People perceived as 'assholes' were associated with 315 categories of offensive behavior across the participants' responses, which the researchers categorized into 14 broad themes: aggression, anger, arrogance, bigotry, callousness, combativeness, domineering behavior, externalization of blame, immaturity, inconsiderateness, irresponsibility, manipulativeness, rudeness, and other (including hypocrisy and playing favorites).

When we talk about behaviors, the asshole was not necessarily being antagonistic toward people, but they just didn't really care about what others were thinking or how they were perceived by others."


Tanis: 'First dinosaur fossil linked to asteroid strike'

The sturgeon and paddlefish in this fossil tangle are key. They have small particles stuck in their gills. These are the spherules of molten rock kicked out from the impact that then fell back across the planet. The fish would have breathed in the particles as they entered the river.

The spherules have been linked chemically and by radiometric dating to the Mexican impact location, and in two of the particles recovered from preserved tree resin there are also tiny inclusions that imply an extra-terrestrial origin.


Grrr, BBC and their "we don't know how to do paragraphs, so we separate all sentences." Also, it's a misleading headline. The jury is still out on the dino leg, except it was tipped off the animal and not by a predator. There are a couple of vids with the story that are worth watching.

Still, the fish prove what a bad day it was for everyone.

What We Know About The New Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Spreading Around The World

Some scientists have called BA.2 a "stealth" variant because, unlike the BA.1 variant, it lacks a particular genetic signature that distinguishes it from the Delta variant. While standard PCR tests are still able to detect the BA.2 variant, they might not be able to tell it apart from the Delta variant.
It is worth noting that while BA.1 has dominated case numbers around the world, it causes less severe disease compared to the Delta variant. Recent studies from the UK and Denmark suggest that BA.2 may pose a similar risk of hospitalization as BA.1.
A recent study suggested that people previously infected with the original BA.1 subvariant have robust protection against BA.2.


Those are the main takeaways. The article is readable but there is some alphabet soup in it. They are hoping the vax is as effective as it was against BA1, producing only mild illness in most people who got breakthrough cases. Vaccine studies have been done in Europe but are not yet peer reviewed.

So not to worry, it's not going to be 2020 all over again, so stop panic buying toilet paper. Please.

Oh, and there's also a BA3 variant, but nobody seems to be particularly worried about it, it doesn't seem to be spreading rapidly.

This Beautiful Reconstruction of a Stone Age Woman Feels Almost Like Time Travel

A Stone Age woman who lived 4,000 years ago is leaning on her walking stick and looking ahead as a spirited young boy bursts into a run, in a stunning life-size reconstruction now on display in Sweden.

Although her likeness is new – it debuted last month in an exhibit about ancient people at Västernorrlands Museum – researchers have known about this woman's existence for nearly a century.

During the construction of a road in the hamlet of Lagmansören in 1923, workers found her skeletal remains buried next to the remains of a child, likely a 7-year-old boy.


New Experiments Hint Human Language Likely Didn't Start With Grunts

Two groups of 30 volunteers across different cultures (Australian and Vanuatuan) had to try and convey specified meanings using either gestures or non-verbal vocalizations – a bit like a game of charades.

The same exercise was repeated with 10 sighted and 10 blind volunteers, who were tasked with producing the gestured or non-verbal communications, while a group of undergraduates tried to understand what they meant.


Interesting take on things that are hard wired. Doesn't cover verbal communication, but interesting. I'd always thought the earliest homonin verbal communication was clicks and whistles. It would have blended with bird calls and not called attention to a species that was still a few million years away from being apex predators.

Chimps have been found to use a combination of lip smacks and blowing in face to face communication.

Science Has Devastating News About Pollen Season as The US Climate Keeps Changing

Brace yourselves, allergy suffers – new research shows pollen season is going to get a lot longer and more intense with climate change.

Our latest study finds that the US will face up to a 200 percent increase in total pollen this century if the world continues producing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources at a high rate. Pollen season in general will start up to 40 days earlier in the spring and last up to 19 days longer than today under that scenario.


Great video showing the increase over time. I've already noticed it here in NM, my nasties are mulberry and grass.

Something happening near Kyiv

Cameras swap around, but there are a lot of bright flashes in one particular spot on the outskirts and a lot of noise tonight. Dogs are all going nuts, something they haven't done on previous noisy nights.

If I had to make a wild guess, given the concentration of the flashes, I'd say Ukraininan forces are stopping another regrouped convoy.

I just hope it doesn't get worse, poor doggies.

Radical Plan to Make Earth's Deepest Hole Could Unleash Limitless Energy

Since its launch in 2020, a pioneering energy company called Quaise has attracted some serious attention for its audacious goal of diving further into Earth's crust than anybody has dug before.

Following the closure of first round venture capital funding, the MIT spin-off has now raised a total of US$63 million: a respectable start that could potentially make geothermal power accessible to more populations around the world.


Still highly speculative at this point, but non mechanical drilling could make geothermal energy accessible everywhere.

Right now, it's possible only in active systems, the main problem being "active." Pockets of high pressure gases can exist near magma intrusions and be highly unpleasant or even catastrophic.

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