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lol no

pimientos

To be fair, that’s a 24-pack, so it’s really only £8.28 ($12.40) per four-ounce jar. Yes, I really had been shopping for pimientos. I crave the weirdest things from the past, in this case pimiento cheese.

Not craving it that hard.

This is a strange story to grow out of DNA analysis. Half of modern men in Western Europe are descended from a single man who lived 4,000 years ago.

I’m having trouble understanding that. Something like 10% of men inside the borders of Genghis Khan’s old empire are descended from him. But he only lived about 750 years ago and we have tons of documented evidence that he murdered the men and screwed the women on an unimaginable scale.

So how can half the male population be descended from one ancestor? I’m thinking he must have murdered, screwed AND had some natural catastrophe wipe out most everyone else. Also, this paragraph from the link:

He was part of a new order which emerged in Europe following the Stone Age, sweeping away the previous egalitarian Neolithic period and replacing it with hierarchical societies which were ruled by a powerful elite.

Egalitarian, huh. Hard science or hippie bullshit? You decide!

Finally, to get you in the mood for the weekend, enjoy this stroll down the romantic streets of Paris. Y’all have a good weekend, y’hear?

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September 16, 2016 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 19

Who burnt the cheese?

cheese

This is a fun one. Archaeologists in Denmark dug up a completely intact bronze age pot. It had been flung, whole, into what was a garbage pit in the street. Finding a whole pot was unusual enough, but there was a substance clinging to the bottom they couldn’t quite identify.

After spectrometry, they have decided it’s cheese. Burnt cheese. Somebody accidentally burned a batch of cheese and threw the whole mess away. Probably.

The writer of the article has fun speculating about the possible bronze age family drama that ensued, or perhaps Cheese Burner was trying to hide the act by getting rid of the pot?

Phun phart phact: Britons do not use the expression “cut the cheese.” This matters because my employers like to host little wine and cheese get-togethers and there’s always much discussion of who’s going to cut the cheese and who cut the cheese last time and whether the cheese was cut fine or coarse. I swear I’m going to lose it some day.

Like when my mother in law exclaims, “blow me!”

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September 15, 2016 — 10:13 pm
Comments: 10

Shhhhh…here’s a kitten

I ran across this picture today, looking for something else. First pic I ever took of Mad Jack. As he has just passed his third birthday, I figured I’d repost. (Big and in color. You know you want it).

I got jammed up this evening proofing a book for my employer. With the best will in the world, I really don’t think the general public would be interested to know more about the local officer in charge of Land, Allotment Gardens and Shrubberies for 1923.

Historians, eh?

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September 14, 2016 — 10:21 pm
Comments: 10

Take care, big guy

geralt

Dude in the picture is Geralt of Rivea, a professional monster slayer and the protagonist of the Witcher books and computer games. I have spent a lot of time with this guy.

I know I’ve posted about Witcher 3 Wild Hunt before. It’s the last of the series and it is absolutely huge. Like, physically huge on disk (53 gigs, as opposed to Skyrim’s 14) and huge to play, with literally hundreds of side quests and places to visit. Which you can do in more or less any order you like, which makes it feel more like a place and less like a movie.

There’s even an in-world card game that you play against characters you meet, sometimes for important stakes.

The game has been an enormous hit, equally because it’s beautiful and because it’s well-written. Many of the side-quests are their own complete novellas. It’s won a shit-ton of awards. They announced from the beginning there would be two expansion packs (essentially, groups of new stories around a main story set in this world) and then that would be it.

I have just finished the second expansion.

And that’s it.

I feel surprisingly sad about it, the way I used to feel on the last page of a long book series that I enjoyed (I don’t read fiction any more; I’d almost forgotten that feeling).

Near the very end of the game, Geralt sits around a campfire drinking with one of his buds (he drinks a lot, which is fun) and shooting the shit about the future and he takes a big sip and says, “I think I deserve a rest, don’t you?” And then the sumbitch looks at me. Up there. That screen cap.

It’s supposed to be a bit of light fun, but I admit I kind of. Hm. Now I remember why I don’t read fiction any more.

sock it to me

September 13, 2016 — 7:09 pm
Comments: 10

Pff! Guys, she’s fine. See?

zombiehillary

Have you ever laughed so hard, your soul came out your nose?

Yeah, I should have spent more time on the finishing touches. But I’ll be honest, fam, this thing was freaking me out.

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September 12, 2016 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 14

A Friday miscellany

plague

They’ve been replacing the fusebox at work for two days. It means I haven’t had power, so I couldn’t really work, but I had to be there to babysit. No power for two days means the battery ran flat on the burglar alarm. Do you know what happens when the battery runs flat on a burglar alarm? It uses a backup battery to scream its lungs out.

I asked the alarm company if I could just pull the battery, and she said, “oh, god no! Don’t do that!” So I have sat under a howling alarm for six hours today, surfing the internet on a wifi signal stolen from the business next door. Coherence, I hasn’t any. Have some miscellaneous links instead.

Ah, now I know why the plague has been in the news lately: they’ve confirmed the plague organism of the Great Plague by DNA testing skeletons they dug up during Crossrail. I thought they did that ages ago, but I guess that was the Black Death of 1348, not the Great Plague of the 1660s. And, yes, in both cases the organism was Yersinia pestis.

On my morning slog through cute cat pictures (don’t judge me!) I ran across this article, making the case for a “tortoiseshell personality.” I’ve never had a tortie, but I surely believe from experience there’s a ginger personality and a tabby personality. The interesting nugget was this: “And now that there is a a study correlating coat pattern with behavior, our characterizations have been validated.”

Oh, how I want to find that study. And also point out if you correlating coat pattern with behavior in human beings, you’d be up on charges. Which brings us to our next article.

Apparently, AIs are turning white supremacist. The idea that feeding tons of data about white people into the database gives the conclusions a bias toward whiteness is perfectly sensible. Though I would also suggest that “risk of reoffending” data targetting blacks may not be a distortion of the data.

Finally, have you seen this? Wikipedia is trying to get people to take pictures of local monuments for them. The prize seems to be “Wikipedia will use your picture in Wikipedia,” so…woo, I guess. Anyway, I checked the interactive map to see which of my local monuments were in demand and discovered…our house made the list!

This isn’t a thing, really. They’ve obviously just used the data for listed buildings, of which there are 200K in the UK. Still cool. And no, I’m not sending Wikipedia a picture of my house.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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September 9, 2016 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 11

Oh, now *seriously*

cranefly

Plague of 200 billion daddy longlegs heading our way after warm, wet summer. Following drunken German wasps and giant spiders, the warning has gone out that there will be even more daddy longlegs this year.

I said I’d quit this newspaper, didn’t I?

Fortunately, they mean crane flies, not those spooky harvestman arachno-things from my childhood. Brrrr, I hate those bastards.

I remember something about them congregating in stumps. Unfortunately, a tentative Google search turned up this video. I am sorry I watched that.

No, no…I’m not going to fob you off with this lameness a third day in a row. Please enjoy this long, interesting article from the BBC on the relationship between the Underground and plague pits. Wooo! Including bonus map. Hey, we lived near a plague pit!

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September 8, 2016 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 9

Okay, I’m not reading this newspaper any more

spider

Okay, that’s it. From the newspaper that brought you “drunk, unemployed and angry German wasps” comes the headline, Sex-crazed spiders as big as mice set to invade Sussex homes. They’ve got a joker for a headline writer.

Or a furry, maybe.

Spiders. Ugh.

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September 7, 2016 — 9:12 pm
Comments: 9

WARNING: Swarms of “drunk, unemployed and angry” German wasps could hit Sussex

yellowjacket

I thought this was yet another story about Brexit, but no — that’s the actual headline of an actual story about actual wasps. German wasps are what they call yellowjackets here, I guess (Vespula Germanica) and they’re all done mating and they’re bored and hitting the fermented fruit and lookin’ to sting a body. I guess.

I guess.

Yes, they are still running Brexit warning stories here. The BBC is especially hyperventilating about it. I don’t know what they hope to gain. Maybe they think if they panic everyone, we’ll demand a new referendum.

Thing is, as the days go by, it’s increasingly obvious that nothing catastrophic is going to happen. In fact, it’s all been rather…boring.

Except for that Remainer neighbor of ours who took to her bed for a week.

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September 6, 2016 — 8:35 pm
Comments: 17

What I did this weekend

sleepy

Oh, and pretty much today after work, too. Hope you’re having a splendid Labor Day.

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September 5, 2016 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 5