Random (but not really)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Unexpected or Amusing: I’m There for It

We saw some interesting things on our drive yesterday.

One was so unexpected that I might have squealed, slammed on the brakes, and all but done a U-Turn in the road.

Sereniy Semi

Michael’s Favorite Sign

MIchaels Favorite Sign

This just delighted me. It’s like someone let me name a road.

Old Oldtown Road

We opted to starve to death, but stopping was briefly was considered.

Eat Here or Starve to Death

Written by Michelle at 8:14 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs,Photos  

Thursday, October 10, 2019

That’s Not… I Mean… Have You Ever Even SEEN a Woman?

I’m creating a class on Facebook, and am looking for pictures to go with the various scandals and problems I’m discussing. So I thought I’d look for some of the artwork that FB had banned because it showed breasts.

What I discovered is that there were a LOT of painters who had apparently never seen a naked woman.

Or even paid any attention to the female form.

Written by Michelle at 5:47 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs,Politics,Religion & Philosophy  

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Yesterday on our hike I started to wonder about apples. Specifically: Why are apples typically portrayed as red?

The majority of apples we find at our Farmers Market are green or green & red. Yet when you think of an apple, you generally think of a shiny red apple. Why?

Considering that the most common red apple is the misnamed Red Delicious, which was bred not for flavor but looks and storage, it’s amazing that anyone would want to think about Red Delicious when they think “apple”.

Vaguely from my plant biology classes, I remembered that color was often dependent upon light. So might where apples were red be related to why red is seen as the color of apples? Were red apples more common in Europe?

But it’s even more complicated than that.

Apples do not breed true from seed. If you plant apple seeds you will not get an apple tree that bears the fruit of the apple you planted, most likely you’ll get a cider apple (which is what Johnny Appleseed was doing–planting seeds for cider apples, not the fruit).

You have to graft to get a reproducible apple variety.  So what grows in an area is dependent not just upon hardiness, but what humans have chosen to grow in any particular area.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up what influences peel color in apples, and although light is important, temperature is also important, and colder temperatures increase anthocyanin production. Which makes sense in retrospect, since anthocyanis are protective. So you’ll get red apples where there is a lot of sun, but also where there are colder temperatures.

So red apples would seemingly be more likely to thrive in areas with harsher conditions (more UV or lower temperatures).

It still doesn’t make Red Delicious apples taste better, but it does help explain why we might have developed a preference for red apples.

(FWIW our other indepth discussion yesterday was use of silver to kill paranormal creatures and what kind of ammunition would be best (and easiest) to defend yourself. So don’t think that I spend my time pondering highfalutin topics.)

Red Color Development in Apple Fruit
Traverso, Amy. The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. W. W. Norton & Company.

Written by Michelle at 11:51 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Food,Non-Sequiturs,Science, Health & Nature  

Monday, August 20, 2018

House Size Vs Household Size in the US

I came across an article on how the size of houses has changed over time in the United States. I found it interesting how there was a slow decline until WWII, then the square footage drops for the only time, after which house size skyrockets.

Now this is interesting in and of itself, but I know that my great-grandmother had (IIRC) ten kids, most of whom survived to adulthood (many of whom lived to 90, but that’s another tale), so I was curious as to whether the household size briefly increased once modern medical techniques came to the fore before decreasing.

Interestingly, the data I found didn’t show a bump in the 1900s, just a steady decline. (You can also check the census data.)

So of course, being me, I wanted to see how this data looked.

It turned out to be far more linear than I was expecting, although it did make a nice X.

Now to be clear, we’re looking at household size here, not total population, so that number should include not just children, but parents or grandparents or other extended family members. Which is why I found the steady decline so interesting.

But even more fascinating–and horrifying–is that as households got smaller, the size of the house in which those smaller families live has gotten steadily larger.

Don’t get me wrong–I live in a very small house and there have been many occasions where I desperately wished my kitchen was bigger, or that I had a separate dining room, or that I had another bedroom, or that I had more storage space. But for the most part I like living in a small house.

Which is why I find the increase is house size so bizarre. What on earth do people PUT in these houses? Do people in houses three times as large as my house even see each other over the course of a day?

So that’s one of the things that has been on my mind recently, and now I’ve nattered on about it I can close a bunch of browser tabs.

ADDENDUM the FIRST: The reason there was no household data in 1920 was because apparently the census takers didn’t count large households the same as was done in other years.

Written by Michelle at 8:50 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: History,Non-Sequiturs,Religion & Philosophy  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock

Last year they started putting up maps at the heads of the various trails, showing you the elevation etc. This year they seem to be replacing the signs at trail heads and intersections, which is how we learned that the Reservoir Ski trail is now the Headwaters Trail. Curious to see if any other signage in the park has been added/changed. (The official park maps still have the old names. Which doesn’t surprise me. If the forest service had to lay off fire fighters, I’d hope they’d lay off web designers first.)

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Roadside, Headwater, Scotts Run Trails
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 2297-2017 feet
Temperature: 70-79 F

Written by Michelle at 3:20 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

We’re Goin’ to the Zoo Zoo Zoo

I was trying to remember the last time I’d been to a zoo, and figured it must have been before my cousin Liz was born. Which is fine, because I find zoos distressing. Not quite as distressing as they used to be, but as someone who doesn’t eat mammals because of cruelty issues, zoos are complicated.

But Jules’ birthday party was at the zoo, and I wasn’t going to miss that for anything, so I went.

It wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered–the Pittsburgh Zoo has had major renovations since the last time I was there as a kid. In fact, you can actually see some of the old outdoor pens–one of which has been converted to a sort of beer garden, which was amusing.

There were also signs, such as that outside of the polar bears, that seemed to be saying the polar bears had ended up in the zoo because they kept getting into human garbage and other parts of human settlements. I’d much rather an animal be in a zoo than shot because humans have taken over it’s space.

But I still was made very uncomfortable with the primate area. It wasn’t too bad initially–after all, the sloth seemed super happy with his surroundings, and there was a one-armed primate who obviously wouldn’t have survived in the wild. But the large primates? I didn’t see signs insinuating or detailing how they ended up at the zoo, and although their area was large with trees and a stream and plenty of entertainment, it was still disturbing seeing an animal so like us, behind the plexiglass. So I wandered off quickly and looked at other things while everyone else finished with the primates.

I only took one picture of a large mammal, and that was because I was zooming in with my camera to see if there was something wrong with this lion’s eye (there wasn’t) but I ended up liking the picture that came out, so here it is.

20170528_Jules_Birthday_193

Pittsburgh Zoo has an aquarium, but I found it… unimpressive. Also hot and insanely crowded, which didn’t help.

But there were interesting aquatic creatures, many of which were explicitly rescued (including the sea turtle with the paralyzed rear fins and “bubble butt”. (I didn’t get a picture of him, because that window was insanely crowded.))

20170528_Jules_Birthday_141

20170528_Jules_Birthday_143

20170528_Jules_Birthday_153

The window of the single tank of jellies was very crowded, so I got almost no decent pictures. But I did enjoy watching them.

20170528_Jules_Birthday_155

Also:

NO SWIMMING IN THE GRASS!

20170528_Jules_Birthday_213

I know, those are daylilies and not grass, but it still amused me.

Another plus was that instead of lawns and such, most of the areas between sections were of wild grasses and wild flowers, which I did like very much.

In the end, I won’t be going back to this or any other zoo, but it was not as bad as I was fearing it would be.

Oh! One last picture–this abandoned stairwell was behind a fence.

20170528_Jules_Birthday_160

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs,Photos  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Music for the Day

Here’s some happy music I’ll be listening to today.

R.E.M – Exhuming Mccarthy

Mexican Institute of Sound – Yo Digo Baila

Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder


(more…)

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: music,Non-Sequiturs  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress

books main pictures cats e-mail