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No, it’s not a poop

Did you see this story today? This is the 5,700 year old wad of gum that scientists in Denmark have used to analyze an ancient woman’s DNA.

Based on the findings, she had dark hair, dark skin and blue eyes. I wonder what the relationship is between her and modern Danes and why that combination is rare now?

They also were able to sequence some bacteria from her mouth and ascertain her meal before chewing gum included duck and hazelnuts.

Not exactly gum. It was birch sap, which has some antibacterial properties that help preserve all this junk.

There were some related articles about things they’ve learned about the prehistoric diet from analyzing tooth plaque, but most of the links I hit were behind the paywall. I used to read Science News religiously in the States. Every time I think I’ll break down and buy a subscription, they run another article on global warmening and it gives me a sad.

December 17, 2019 — 8:54 pm
Comments: 6

Oh, what fun…

Have you run across the website This Person Does Not Exist? Try it. Then come back.

He explains how it works in one article and three videos: 1, 2, 3, 4.

I read the article. It was a bit technical for me to understand fully, but basically it has a module that generates faces and another that critiques them. It starts out comparing real photos to the generated ones at four pixels by four pixels. When the program gets good at that, it goes up to eight by eight. And so on to 1024 by 1024, which is the size you’ll see on screen.

I found it because someone told me they used it to create a profile pic for social media and didn’t want to use a real picture.

p.s. it sucks at cats, obviously.

December 16, 2019 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 4

Christmas came early

Please. Stop. I can only take so much schadenfreude. Twitter has been a delight today. (Above is antifa, flailing their little noodly arms at London police tonight).

Turns out, this was Labour’s worst showing in an election since 1935.

But my favorite story was the LibDems. They were the only party that ran specifically on the slogan “Stop Brexit” and were poised to pick up all the Remain voters who were disenchanted with Labour’s waffling on the issue. At one point, it looked like this election could really revive their brand.

Two things happened. First, even a lot of Remain voters had second thoughts about totally ignoring a democratic vote.

And second, their leader, Jo Swinson, did the talkshow circuit in the runup to the election. She stubbornly and repeatedly insisted that there was simply no reliable way to tell human males and females apart.

Turns out, her party took very large money from a company that makes puberty blockers. This enraged the feminists who might otherwise have voted LibDem. She ended up losing her own seat by 149 votes.

But the best moment in the election was Diane Abbott’s shoes.

December 13, 2019 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 18

Muh boys

These are my two pekin cockerels. The one on the left is Mo, the one on the right is Sam (hatched on the Fourth of July). Sam is the dominant boy and king of the garden.

They’ve been raised together from hatch. They’re about eighteen months old now. They scrap and belly-bump a little, but nothing serious. I’m short of chicken runs, but luckily I’ve been able to house them together.

Until two weeks ago. The day Mo decided Sam had to die.

I didn’t know this. I came out to put them away and bossman Sam was missing. I called and called and he finally he slunk out of some hidey hole the saddest, muddiest, bloodiest rooster you ever saw.

Nothing serious. Comb and wattle injuries bleed like a bastard and he was pecked up good. I brought him in the house and gave him a warm bath in a bucket and put him in chicken hospital (a dog crate full of straw) until he’d dried out and recovered a little.

Now I spend the short afternoons making sure every boy gets some time to run free in the garden. Except they don’t; the free cockerel spends all his time trying to murder the captive one through the bars.

I have FOUR boys. Never again from the incubator!

December 12, 2019 — 9:52 pm
Comments: 22

I called it!

Nobody told me Ted Cruz grew a beard! I! Me! This weasel! advised him to do that way back when he was the first hat in the ring for 2016 (on account of he has a prissy little mouth).

Pic on the right is my Photoshop. I like his actual beard even better — a tidy thing with a hint of gray. Looks so much better.

I feel like freaking Grace Bedell.

A reminder: Hillary was much improved with whiskers, too.

December 11, 2019 — 9:11 pm
Comments: 7


This would be kind of neat. Can you imagine making a melty little ice Stonehenge around the cheese cubes and canapés? I’d like that.

But Uncle B wouldn’t. He’s British. They don’t do ice.

We get catalogues and emails from all the heritage sites and museums. There’s some really nice things in there and OH HOLY SHIT IT’S £600.

p.s. you can rule out anything that involves a trip to London. Only crazy people go there now.

December 10, 2019 — 10:16 pm
Comments: 18

A nasty, wasty weasel


We make a big deal out of Christmas. I insist. I love festivals of self-indulgence.

Maybe being childless does that. Or maybe I’m naturally a selfish piece of shit.

But it finally happened this year: we have run out of ideas for gifts. Anything either of us could possibly want we either already have or can’t afford. We had decided on a frugal Christmas for sheer lack of any great desire, and we’re still coming up short.

I know a little weasel who’s going to spend the next couple of days paging through amazon.com.

p.s. I made Uncle B sit through The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It doesn’t travel well.

December 9, 2019 — 9:45 pm
Comments: 22

Location: my lap

Kitteh has decided he can’t bear to sleep anywhere but my lap. Must be a winter thing. He wuv me soooo much.

It’s really buggering up my hips and knees. I prop my feet up on a footstool and he settles on my upper thigh and it’s bending my joints wrong. Little dude is getting heavy.

Anyway, I’ve escaped for a moment (he’s gone outside for a wee) to wish you a good weekend. Good weekend!

December 6, 2019 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 8

No sooner finish one turkey…

I put down a deposit on our Christmas turkey today. As soon as we take out a second mortgage, I can pay off the rest.

Going to be around £45 for the smallest turkey they offer (a ten pound bird), which is about $60 at today’s exchange rate. I was pissing and moaning about turkey being a cheap meat in the States, and Uncle B said I’d better ask around to see if it still is.

We hear rumors that things are getting expensive over there.

Bear in mind, this is a free range bird that probably had a name. What would you expect to pay for such in ‘Merica today?

December 5, 2019 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 21

The wheels of the bus go ’round and ’round…

I never had to ride buses much growing up, so I don’t share an anti-bus prejudice. Riding in the top is actually kind of fun.

If I hadn’t had to get up before dawn and crack the ice on the chickens’ water, anyway.

Anyway. Made it there and back and had my chest x-ray which, all credit to the NHS, was very low-key and painless. Thanks for all the lung advice. I haven’t had good lung capacity since a bout of pneumonia some years ago. That’s when I learned that lung capacity and stamina are the same thing!

Let us hope I won’t have to repeat that journey any time soon.

December 4, 2019 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 4