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Member since: Thu Oct 10, 2019, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 16,444

Journal Archives

Nova program on the history of cat domestication

This is the story of the evolution of wild cats into domestic pets, based on mtDNA studies. It covers domesticated cats in different cultures and time periods and how they spread from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

Nova program, Cat Tales - the history of cat domestication

This is the story of the domestic cat's wild ancestors determined by feline mtDNA studies, and their evolution into domesticated pets. It tells the history of domestic cats in various cultures and time periods and how they spread from their Middle East origins to the rest of the world.

Jordan Klepper traces the origin of the belief that JFK Jr is alive

In a podcast with two guests, Klepper discusses how this conspiracy theory started, who is most likely to believe it and why.

One guest is an expert on political conspiracy theories and the other is a doctor, but I didn't catch what type of doctor. They talk about the effect that believers have in real life, where Qanon might go in the future, and how many people are actually dedicated believers.

Jordan Klepper traces origin of belief that JFK Jr is alive

In a podcast, Klepper discusses with two guests the origin of the conspiracy theory about JFK Jr being alive and becoming Trump's VP so they can fight the Deep State together. One guest is an expert on political conspiracy theories. The other is a doctor, but I didn't catch what kind of doctor (PhD, MD, psychiatrist?).

They talk about why people fall for this belief and who is most likely to believe it. They also discuss how these believers affect real life, the future of Qanon, and how many people are actually dedicated believers.

Uh-oh. Western NY weather. Here we go again.

After a week of 40 F degrees and melting snow, the forecast for some parts of western NY tomorrow is more lake effect snow. But this time, high winds are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph.

Thanksgiving ghost story

With the heavy snowfall here in western NY so close to Thanksgiving, I'm remembering another snowy Thanksgiving many years ago when I was 6 years old.

We lived in Erie, PA. My mother's cousin, Wilford (whom we called Willie), and his wife, Jenny, drove to Erie from Buffalo for Thanksgiving dinner with us. They planned on staying overnight with other Erie relatives. Willie would not stay in our house after dark because my parents bought the house from an old family friend whose husband, Joe, had died in an upstairs bedroom. Willie was a firm believer in ghosts and haunted houses.

Erie (not Buffalo that time) got hit with a lake effect storm on Thanksgiving day. By the time that Jenny and Willie realized how bad the storm was, they were too close to Erie to turn back. No expressway between Buffalo and Erie then, and no cell phones in those days (1956 - yes I'm that old). They arrived 2 hours late.

By the time we finished dinner, their car was totally buried, visibility was zero, and all streets were completely impassable. They had no choice but to stay overnight with us. My brothers offered their room, said they would go to the living room with their sleeping bags. But Willie refused to sleep on the second floor so he and Jennie took the couch and a lounge chair.

Shortly after we all got into bed, I heard Willie go into the bathroom, which was next to my bedroom. He had passed my brothers' room on the way, so my oldest brother, the family prankster, stood in my doorway, outside the closed bathroom door and called out in a spooky voice, "Wiiiiiiillie, Wiiiiiiilie."

Willie, who was over 6 feet tall and had a deep, gruff voice, snapped back, "What? Who is it?" My brother used a whispery voice to say, "Willie, it's your friend, Joe." I struggled to hold back the giggles while my brother held his finger to his lips to silence me.

Willie ran out of the bathroom yelling, "He's here! I heard him!" Everyone ran into the hall and my brother blended in, acting innocent and curious. My father insisted that it was "mind over matter because there's no such thing as ghosts."

At breakfast in the morning, Willie and my father were still arguing over what had happened. I could not hold back the giggles, even though my brother kicked me under the table. My father noticed and said, "Willie, I think I found your ghost." Jenny burst out laughing and told my father that it was too funny and harmless to punish us.

The snow had stopped but we could not open our doors because it was drifted halfway up them. We had a detached garage and the snow shovels were in there. The prankster brother dropped into the snow from a dining room window where it wasn't drifted so high. He had the kitchen broom and pushed aside just enough snow to open the back door. Willie and my father joined him to make a path to the garage and clear enough snow to open it.

But the side streets like ours were still impassable, so a relative with a 4 wheel drive jeep met Jenny and Willie at the corner of our block where a major street had been plowed and took them to his place.

For many years afterward, we kids would say, "Wiiiiilie," and laugh our asses off.

Gov. Hochul declares state of emergency for Buffalo region.

Weather forecast is 4 feet of snow between tonight and Sunday morning for Buffalo. Areas around Buffalo are already getting hit. The NY Thruway (Interstate 90) is closed from Buffalo to the PA border due to slippery conditions and low visibility. Reports of tractor trailers jack-knifed on I90.

I am near Buffalo. We've had heavy snow in my area since early this morning, but in the long run, are not expected to get as much as Buffalo will. I am farther inland than Buffalo, so not as badly affected by lake effect snowfalls.

UPDATED EDIT: The 4 feet are expected farther north in NY. Buffalo area has a 3 foot forecast. Interstate 90 closing is extended from Rochester (east of Buffalo) westward to Buffalo and southwest west to the PA border. Highways and expressways inside of Buffalo are closed to commercial traffic. The Skyway Bridge in Buffalo is closed.

Buffalo and suburban schools are closed tomorrow.

The battle of the snowflakes is on again.

Every year, when the snow starts, Ember the cat wages a valiant battle against all flakes that dare to touch or come close to the living room window, her favorite perch for looking outdoors.

Is it the feline instinct to chase anything that moves? Or is it hostility toward those white swirls that block her clear view of the outside world? Maybe it's both. Whatever the reason, she races from one end of the windowsill to the other, paws swatting frantically at every passing flake.

After a few weeks, she no longer rises to the challenge. She gets accustomed to (or resigned to) the fact that snow is here to stay for a few months. But until then, she is addicted to the battle, ignoring my attempts to distract her.

Powerball fantasies

So the huge Powerball payout has been won. I very rarely buy any lottery tickets and did not buy one for this drawing, either.

But sometimes I wonder what I would ever do with so much money. What would you do with a billion dollars in winnings?

I would enjoy traveling. At my age (73) my personal needs are small. I'd move out of my apartment and back into a house, knowing that I could afford the upkeep and to hire people for things I can't do myself. It would be a small, one story house, though, with priorities on space for a library/office and a fully equipped kitchen. Location in a blue region of a blue state, suburban or semi rural, with space to add a dog (probably a border collie, maybe a golden retriever) as companion for my cat and me.

I'd get a new car, but have no need for, or interest in, an expensive one.

The rest of the money would go into donations, trusts, and foundations for favorite causes: legal and counseling aid for victims/survivors of domestic violence; recruiting and promoting diverse liberals for public service as candidates and government appointees; funding for projects developed and operated by and for Native American communities, e.g. education, health care, preservation of language and land.

What would you do if you won a lottery of a billion dollars or more?

Help for Ukrainian people this winter

Power shortages are common in Ukraine now due to Russian attacks on civilian targets. Ukraine rations its electrical power in order to keep hospitals and other essential services operating.

Ukrainian winters are brutally cold.

Is it feasible that we could provide Ukrainian people with heat and light through a massive fundraising and purchase of battery powered lanterns and blankets, with a huge supply of batteries? Some battery operated blankets, sleeping bags, and camping heaters are rechargeable. People could recharge then during periods when rationed power is available to them.

It would mean purchasing several thousand of these items and shipping them to Ukraine.

Could this be done?

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