mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
Zyzzyva is an American weevil (a type of beetle). The word zyzzyva is the last word in many English dictionaries so it is sometimes used to mean "the last word." This is why the magazine ZYZZYVA has the slogan "The Last Word." ZYZZYVA is a journal of West Coast writers and artists published out of San Fransisco since 1985 and edited by Howard Junker.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
Xiphosuran are anthropods of the Xiphosura order, living and extinct. The only living xiposurans are four species of horseshoe crabs. Horseshoe crabs are called "living fossils" because really they haven't changed since about 250 million years ago (around the early Triassic period). Xiposurans were most prolific and diverse during the Paleozoic Era.

For those that don't know, [livejournal.com profile] painted_wolf is currently working as a research assistant helping on experiements to study the circatidal and circadian rhythms of locomotion in Limulus polyphemus. Basically that's a fancy way of saying their looking to see how daylight and tidal patterns affect the activities of the horseshoe crab. Aside from being rather cool stuff, it's important because horseshoe crab populations are on the decline and it's possible that information learned from these experiements might be useful in saving the horseshoe crab.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
The Triassic period lasted from about 250 million years ago to about 200 million years ago and was a transitional period betwen the Paleozoic Era and Mesozoic Era. At the beginning of the Triassic, the world land masses were still joined as one in a formation we know as Pangea. By the end of the Triassic and the beginning of the Jurassic, Pangea had begun breaking up. The Triassic ended with a major extinction event that was especially severe on ocean species. The Triassic was especially transitional for life on Earth as many old species died out and newer species came into existence. While it wasn't until the extinction of the dinosaurs much, much later that mammals really flourished, it was at the very end of the Triassic that the first mammals began to appear. The Triassic was the beginning of the "Age of Reptiles."
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
Infinite Space! Infinite Terror! The year is 2047 and... *shut yo mouth!* But I'm talkin' 'bout physics. *we can dig it!*

An event horizon is a spacetime boundary often associated with (but not limited to) black holes. Events happening within the boundary cannot reach the observer watching from beyond that boundary (on the outside, of course). Once an object crosses the event horizon, fuhgetaboutit. It will never be seen again.

So let's say Major Tom was approaching a black hole instead of just going for a spacewalk and getting lost. He's approaching the event horizon but hasn't crossed it yet.

GC: "Ground Control to Major Tom."
MT: "This is Major Tom to Ground Control. The event horizon looks really far away. And I think my spaceship knows which way to go."
GC: "Ground Control to Major Tom. No shit, sherlock. It's being sucked in by the black hole's groovitational pull. And, uhhh, the event horizon isn't that far away. We can all see it fine here and you're getting close, though it doesn't appear you've crossed it yet. How far out are you, man?"
MT: "I'm pretty far out."
GC: "That's pretty far out, man."
MT: "Tell my wife I love her very much."
GC: "She knows! Ground Control to Major Tom, your circuit's dead, there's something wrong. Can you hear me Major Tom?"
MT: "Here am I floating in my tin can. Far away from the event horizon."
GC: "We can't hear you. You didn't do something stupid like cross the event horizon, never to be heard again, did you? I mean seriously. You don't appear to have crossed the event horizon, but we can't see or hear you."
Mother: "Tommy?"
GC: "Who the hell said that?!"

Okay, okay... I got carried away. So anyhow... if Major Tom was entering the black hole slowly, say in a floating tin can of a spaceship insulated only by fancy tin foil, he would never observe himself crossing the event horizon. It would always seem far away to him. Ground Control, being the distant observer, would never actually really see Major Tom cross the event horizon, but they and several other distant observers at various unique positions could observe and verify what they perceive as a definite event horizon to be crossed.

It's pretty freaky, Bowie.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
See also: Bush Administration, Nazi Germany

Demagogy is the political practice of preying on the public's fears and prejudices to gain political power or achieve a political objective. Demagogy generally isn't so much outright lying as much as it is logical fallacies, half-truths, omissions, distortions, distractions, nationalistic rhetoric, false dilemmas ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."), and/or demonization/scapegoating.

Adolf Hitler is generally regarded as the epitome of a demagogue.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
Catamount is a term used for a wide variety of wildcats, such as those with short tails and tufted ears like the lynx or bobcat, and bigger lion-like cats such as the panther or puma (not to be confused with an armored vehicle that might also be called a warthog and found in certain video games). Most commonly it is associated with the mountain lion.

Every year [profile] painted_wolf and I shrug off our disdain for the local science center (the source of our disdain being that they dug up an Abenaki burial ground to install a septic system. nice.) and visit for NH Day, when any NH resident can get in for $1. They have a few catamounts there, including a pair of mountain lions that apparently recently gave birth to cubs. I was rather concerned when last we attended this spring because the female of the pair was pacing around the enclosure (which if you ask me is WAY too small for them!) as if stressed. I'm not sure if it was the lack of her newborn cubs around or just general stress from being caged in.

New Hampshire definitely has bobcats, and I'm not just talking about the local high school sports teams. I've yet to see one in the wild around here (which I can only assume is a good thing), but I know they're around. There may also be the odd lynx, though certainly not as common as the bobcat. According to painted_wolf, there's some speculation that there might even be mountain lions i the state now, which is supported by not only sightings but also tracks and scat, but this is something that she says the state wants to keep hush-hush, just like the whole rattlesnake thing.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
The Blue Berets is the popular name for the Civil Air Patrol Special Service Corps (CAPSCC), which started as a group of senior and cadet CAP members training in search and rescue and wilderness survival. The program eventually grew into more of a "ranger training" program and airshow team. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP), for those who don't know, is the Air Force Auxiliary.

I was once a member of CAP, mostly because my pepere was and I wanted to be in the Air Force and CAP like him so I signed up. While I never was a Blue Beret (by then it was just about dead because of some folks who got big heads and started hazing and generally being big shot asshats that screwed it up for others), I did take search and rescue (SAR) training as well as wilderness and winter survival training when I was in junior high school and high school. I never got to serve on a SAR mission because the one time our unit was called upon to help with a plane crash in Nashua, my family's phone was disconnected and they were unable to reach me. I was required to maintain a specific set of gear and keep it ready at all times in case I was called for a SAR mission. I would occasionally have to bring it for inspection. I was certified for search and rescue, wilderness survival, winter survival and the detection of radioactive materials.

That last one was a fun one. We were meeting at the National Guard Armory by then and FEMA came in to train a bunch of us. After a good portion of the day was spent reading up on radioactive materials and how to properly detect, locate and secure a contaminated site, we were tested. The instructors tested us by clearing us out of the room, bringing in several cannisters (only a couple of which contained trace amounts of radioactive materials, enough to set off a Geiger counter) and then one-by-one sending us in to find the contaminated cannisters. I don't recall how well I did on the test, only that I was certified to help on a SAR mission involving radioactive materials.

I remember the encampment stories about The Blue Berets and the hazing. I recall one or two of the members of our unit either being Blue Berets (wasn't Hodges?) or at least recalling their attempts at becoming Blue Berets. I had this combination of fascination with the prospect of becoming a Blue Beret and this simultaneous disgust for the apparent machismo in the stories told of them, as I recall, though I admit this could be muddled by my maturity since then and I could have very well aspired to be one whole-heartedly.

I eventually listened to too much John Lennon and turned all hippy peacenik, grew my hair long and quit Civil Air Patrol my sophomore or junior year of high school. My biggest regret was that I no longer got to continue my SAR and survival training and I didn't get to complete my aviation training to get my pilot license.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
My sushi experience is very limited. I've only ever had sushi at the place in Concord, NH, the cheap stuff at Hannaford and the sushi at Thai Smile. I will say it's very nice having a place that does good sushi here in Plymouth because it's not the boring, usual foods one usually finds here and it's very tasty. So far I've had California Roll (imitation crab, cucumber & avocado), Plymouth Roll (shrimp, cream cheese & avocado), Salmon Tempura Roll (salmon tempura & avocado), Tuna Roll, Spicy Crab Roll (real crabmeat, avocado & spicy sauce) and Crispy Sushi (smoked salmon, crabmeat, cream cheese, spicy sauce & scallion). I don't think there has been one yet that I haven't really enjoyed, but then again I tend to have fairly indiscriminate taste in food.

I'm trying to get [profile] painted_wolf to try the Spider Roll (soft shell crab tempura, avocado, green leaf lettuce, cucumber & smelt roes) with me but she gets hung up on the smelt roes. In addition to the sushi, I want to try the nigri and sashimi at some point.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius. It is truly astounding how well he can convey so much with simple body language and motion and so few words through Mr. Bean and also his character in the movie Rat Race. The influence Charlie Chaplin had on his comedy is very apparent. I also thoroughly enjoy his dark, dry wit apparent in the Blackadder series and his stand-up material.

I was extremely disappointed in the first Bean movie because it was very much America taking something British and ruining it by assuming Americans were too dumb to enjoy it, plus adding in the assumption that no one had seen Mr. Bean here and so most of the gags were watered down retellings of the episodes. Maybe I just watched too much PBS growing up? *shrug* I was very much fond of the new Bean movie because they let Rowan Atkinson write a whole new Bean story as a feature length film, which is precisely what a Bean movie should be. It was like watching a much longer, bigger budget Bean episode, which made me very, very happy.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
I'm probably going to butcher this and I'm going to tag my friends [profile] quantumswordsmn and [profile] kuantum_fizax to set the record straight where I goof up, so please bear with me. My understanding of quantum mechanics is elementary at best. I'm lucky if I get much better than knowing that somehow it involves a cat who lives in a steel box, curled up with a Geiger counter and a flask of acid, and theoretically belongs to some guy named Schrödinger, who ponders whether the cat is alive or dead and postulates that in fact it is both at the same time until the moment of revelation. Yay superpositions!

But seriously, quantum physics or quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that views energy as not constant but being broken into packets called quanta, and also viewing energy as both particles and waves. Quantum mechanics is used to describe systems on the atomic level and smaller and deals a lot in probabilities of outcomes. It is one of two sound theories that led to modern physics, the other being general relativity. The two are seemingly contradictory so there has been a lot of effort expended in trying to find a unified theory. Neither of these should be confused with classical physics, which is all that stuff that Newton loved so much and really applies more to larger systems.

So that's my understanding of quantum mechanics in a nutshell, but I realize it's likely very simplistic and almost certainly quite flawed, so stay tuned for corrections from my more able-minded friends.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
I don't know much about poodles except that for the longest time I thought toy poodles were poodles and was surprised to learn one day that actual, honest-to-goodness poodles are freaking huge!

When I was younger, we used to frequently visit my Grandpa and Grammy in Caanan, NH, where they lived, ran a store and had a toy poodle named Coco. I used to love spending time with my grandparents and Coco and I still have fond memories of her. I remember how my Grandpa used to feed her the occasional nibble of a Hershey bar, which I later learned is actually bad for dogs. Coco used to always have a bow on her head and my Grammy would always paint her nails. It was actually quite adorable! I was very sad when she passed away, but she was quite old and she had a full and wonderful life with my grandparents. I think my Mom still has a photo of Coco to this day.
mandysee_mandydo: (Alphabet)
I have two answers for this one...

First, for a more mild fantasy, I really enjoy the fictional town of Pine Cove created and visited thrice by Christopher Moore in Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and The Stupidest Angel. While for the most part it's a normal place, there seem to be these frequent supernatural or comicly absurd events that happen there. I like how Moore combines the lives of ordinary people with these extraordinary events.

If you're talking more serious, hardcore fantasy, I rather enjoy the setting of the Talislanta roleplaying game, which is heavily influenced by Jack Vance. I've not read any Jack Vance but I think I should like to at some point. A friend of ours ran a very long but incredibly intriguing campaign in this world setting that was most fascinating to watch and, for a very brief stint, play in. I think anyone who knows the game is quite familiar with the two-word phrase associated with it: "No Elves!" Most of the friends I have that enjoy this game are very familiar with it to the point of it being a mantra. I really enjoy how different it is from the cliche Tolkien fantasy setting and how rich the writer of the game made the world setting.
mandysee_mandydo: (Evilman)
Swiped from [profile] vireo_blues:

1. It begins with a list of all 26 letters of the alphabet.
2. Comment with something for me to talk about that starts with one of those letters. Make me babble about anything -- TV shows, actors, actresses, food, discover what I really think about stuff!
3. One topic per letter -- I don't care how many letters you pick! I will update the list as topics appear.
4. You can comment multiple times, but only if the letter you chose hasn't already been taken.
5. I will post a new post for each topic talking about all 26 topics given to me.

Anything's fair game.

A is for Afterlife
B is for The Blue Berets
C is for Catamount
D is for Demagogy
E is for Event Horizon (not the movie)
F is for Fantasy World
G-
H is for Hawayo Takata
I-
J-
K-
L-
M is for Medieval Warfare
N is for Nyquist Sampling
O is for Oort Cloud
P is for Poodles
Q is for Quantum Physics
R is for Rowan Atkinson
S is for Sushi
T is for Triassic
U is for The Unknown
V-
W is for Wham!
X is for Xiphosuran (yeah I could have taken H for a similar result, but why be that specific?)
Y is for Yak
Z is for Zyzzyva

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Jamie Amana Capach

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