For some reason
I found it disconcerting this December to see people driving down the street with a Christmas trees strapped to the top of their cars...as they went by hundred-foot pines lying on their sides.
of January my hours – along with everyone else at work who works evenings – were shifted from their regular 11-9:30 to a painfully early 6:30-5. The theory is that if we close everything
on campus at 5pm, we'll save money (somehow) during this month of being between semesters. Myself, I'm not sure it will work and I am
sure it isn't worth it. I've spent, well, my entire
working life (starting with Carls Jr in the 70s) in the afternoon/evening time slots. Heck, even arriving at work before noon is a relatively new thing for me. So trying to shift thirty-plus years of habit to a new morning schedule for a month isn't working too well and I basically spend the first half of each day at work desperately trying not
to fall asleep, face-first into my keyboard. This can not
be a good use of my time! Fortunately, with the end of January I'm back on my real schedule...and maybe then I can get some more work done...
the Christmas break, I ready the very interesting The First Fossil Hunters : Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman times
by Adrienne Mayor. Basically, she points out that fossils of extinct animals weren't just something that were discovered in the 18th
Century, but were known, commented on, and wondered about far, far
in man's history.
First she brings out the example of the griffin. Here's a creature that's described as a lion-sized quadrupeds with large claws and a raptor-bird-like beak that laid their eggs in nests on the ground. More, they were described as living in the Scythian lands of Central Asia in areas rich with gold.
And if you head out today
to that part of the planet, one of the things you'll find near those gold-bearing strata are lots of really good fossils of protoceratops – a large quadruped with claws and a bird-like beak – and their equally fossilized nests of eggs...
Fossils often got used as “hero's bones” in Classical times, as there was a belief that people (and animals) were much bigger back in the Good Old Days (though one has to wonder what came first, the belief or the bones...). A wooly rhino bone made for a nice arm from some Golden Age hero – look how thick and strong it was! Elephant and mammoth skulls made very good cyclops skulls – at least, until the Greeks met real elephants. Remains of aurochs and other ice-age hoofed giants fit well as the bones for Geryon's herd of giant cattle.
Other philosophers, however, did make the connection that these bones – heroic or not – showed that animals that no longer lived in the area – or at all
– had once walked the land. That these were the remains of something that had gone extinct
. That many of these animals showed up on several islands showed that the land between them must once have been above water and have sunken since. Then, their finding the fossils of sea creatures, large and small, on the tops of mountains allowed them to deduce that these mountains must once have been under
the sea and have risen to these heights.2
All in all, it showed that their world – and the life in that world – changed through time.
In the end, it's almost
a pre-adaption for developing a theory of evolution (and some decent geology) back in Greek or Roman times and maybe – say, in a timeline without an Aristotle – perhaps a full-fledged theory could
have been developed even before Caesar took that little trip of his to Gaul. Your guess is as good as mine as to how much that would effect the next thousand years of medical and biological thought.
Anywho, good book. Originally put out in 2000, it's been reissued with some updated notes and a new introduction. Well worth the read.
an eye on the Paleofuture blog
and recently they had an article on the first “wireless” portable carphone...
from 1920. It was in Hugo Gernsback's (yes, that
Hugo Gernsback) magazine The Electrical Experimenter
Okay, maybe it's “portable” only in the military sense ( “if it has a handle, it's portable” ), but radios, cars, heck even phones
are only a few decades old here and already someone's decided that not only should they be able to make phone calls from their car, but with a portable device that you can carry around to make calls anywhere else
you like, and not just
in the car!
And he's solved the “distracted driving” problem by having his chauffeur do the driving while he makes his calls. Perhaps not the most universally
applicable solution, but...
Most interesting is that, when asked about a possible future for his invention, he instead responded with a historical
“If this could have been ready for us in the war, think of the value it would have had. A whole regiment equipped with the telephone receivers, with only their rifles as aerials, could advance a mile and each would be instantly in touch with the commanding officer. No runners would be needed. There could be no such thing as a ‘lost battalion.’”
I wonder if anyone has done a story with this
as their POD?
with the show!
Divergent Opinions - Comments on P.O.D. 68
this disty...and didn't quite make it.
Part of the problem was the above-mentioned change in hours for the month of January. When most of your day is spent trying to not-sleep, very little actual writing gets done. And what little time I had, I filled up making overly detailed maps of the town of Furusato, on Pasadena-D's Terminal Island.
Then came February and I could do some more writing on this. Unfortunately, bits of it suggested changes I need to do to early parts. Worse, those changes suggested things I could change in, of all things,
, which I also started writing some more on. Which would have been fine, except now I wasn't writing this.
Then I needed to find out what word I used previously as TrolleyWorld's term for “movies” ...which led to reading through some of the old TrolleyWorld stuff (both the story and the notes/reference materials/timelines/etc)...which led to rewriting changing some of
both to fit the new story and simply because, as Dale has discovered, stuff you've written years before often seems...not up to standards any more.