Friday, January 27, 2012

Blizzardy blunders, unsurprising scientific results, and words with interesting meanings

I've been having the strangest setbacks, lately! And yes, it did start with the days-long snowstorm that had me literally clearing the streets of my neighborhood with my superhero Lou Ryan and my housemate, Brianade. Here I've zoomed in from about a block away, looking up at one of the two streets that are our only way out of the neighborhood:

jan 144 Kids on the hill

On the upside, a tsunami will never reach us up here! If you think that's something, I didn't actually have a shovel and so had to 'broom' the snow instead:

jan 117 Me an' my snow-clearing  broom!

This is indeed what I had been using before Lou and I could get to the store in order to actually buy two snow shovels -- one was to replace the neighbor's, which we had broken on the snow! The next day, we used both the new shovels and the broken one in continuing to be "neighborhood heroes" (according to certain people) on our cross-street and in people's driveways!

jan 145 Shoveling the other street

Nevertheless, we had to tackle this hill -- the shallower one -- in order to drive anywhere. But first....

jan 151 On the sled!

After what seemed like hours of shoveling and sprinkling ice-melt, the car finally made it up, and we could continue on pretending that there was no cold, fluffy water seeming hell-bent on keeping us at home.
` Unfortunately, just as I was about to get back to blogging the next morning, the blizzard actually caused an internet outage! Since I didn't have much to do that day, I decided to write other parts of the blog post on WordPad and then paste them on my blog when I was able to access it again.
` Fifteen hours of mostly-writing later, I was sitting on the couch (as it was just too cold to be in my office, what with its wall of single-pane aluminum windows), when I noticed that the internet was up again. I told Brianade about this, and he said, "Hey, let's look up those hilarious YouTube videos we were talking about!"

Although I had been about to put what I had written on my blog, I thought to myself, "Well, considering how late it is, I should just stop work and continue tomorrow," as though that type of thing ever goes as planned.
` I and my roommates Troy and Brianade watched all manner of bizarrities until my laptop's batteries were running low, so I said, "Let's call it a night!" and plugged my laptop into my office's UPS.

The next morning, not only did I find that my computer had reset itself (apparently I hadn't been fast enough at plugging it in), but there were also no backup copies of the document I had been using to write my blog post on, since before I had started blogging on it!
` I stared aghast, and looked for the 'recovered' version of this WordPad file -- as I would normally expect to find -- but to no avail.

Therefore, I am Fail at blogging once again, just as much as this junco is Win at surviving the storm by foraging for mint seeds on our deck.

jan 135 Junco perching on mint plant eating snow

The next day, I was at school and other various buildings for half the day, and the other half I was at home finishing homework, doing really important things, and putting together some shelves with a screwdriver (which took all of five hours), so I literally had no time to do anything else.
` In fact, right now I am stealing some time in between moving those shelves in place (which involved some cleaning beforehand) and karate class. In fact, I had better get on my gi right now. I'll be back to finish this cockamamie post!

A few days later...

DERP!!!! I did actually get back on my computer (in the living room, again!) when I had said I would, but then a party sort of happened around me and I couldn't focus, and I was about to find a quieter region of the house when Troy and Brianade gathered around and we wound up getting distracted and researching internet memes such as Derpy Hooves -- a My Little Pony that started out as an animation glitch. (Note to self; write post about memetics.) By the time the party had broken up, bedtime was imminent!

Besides all this constant running around (I swear IT NEVER ENDS!), I've also been too busy to even be on my computer much because I have been doing BlogResearch that involves finishing all my library books.

Let's just say... I Am Disappoint.

However, although WordPad didn't back up a thing, Firefox did save all those tabs from cool articles I never did actually read but had meant to at some point. Unfortunately, only two of them are short enough to read in one sitting, and both of them happen to involve lists of things:

Questioning our assumptions is key in science, because when this happens, things are often discovered to be not as they seem at first glance. An obvious example is that many people once thought that airplanes were an improbable, or at least impractical aspiration, until experiments (such as inventing airplanes) were performed in order to see whether these assumptions could be proven wrong.
` Although to this day many scientific discoveries are quite counter-intuitive (and frequently stumbled upon by accident), sometimes things are found to be as they seem at first glance. For example, pigs love mud, and driving while high on marijuana is dangerous!
` Also, even when parents think that probably most kids are doing their own pot-smoking or drinking, their kid probably isn't one of them! That leads me to wonder; how many kids actually do get intoxicated?
` These and more such findings -- whether very well-established or not -- are to be found in Duh! 11 Obvious Science Findings of 2011, by Stephanie Pappas.

On a very different part of the interwebs is a list of something far more novel to the ordinary person -- words with such a specific meaning that they have no equivalent in other languages. This article, Twenty awesomely untranslatable words from around the world, covers some interesting examples that get me thinking about different possible ways of expressing an idea, depending on the language.
` Next time you hear a jayus, or find yourself tartling, you'll at least know there's a word that fits that texture of meaning. (Not sure I want to know the texture of a word that sounds like 'tartle', though.) Actually, I have a whole book of these -- somewhere in my office, which I'm not in at the moment -- which I'll read as inspiration when I find it.

So, I hope that makes someone's day more interesting -- meanwhile I haven't even done any further research after the archaeology lecture the other day about the earliest, mastodon-hunting Native Americans, which I think are frickin' awesome! What is wrong with me?

jan 182 Martha Young, archaeologist

Must be the ADHD. Hey, lookittt! There's a couple o' giant hummingbirds!


That one's circlin'...

jan 185 The helicopter close up

..and that one's watchin' the whole thing!

jan 189 What are they filming?

There must have been something crazy going on, but I can't seem to find whatever it was on King 5's website.

jan 187 Searching helicopter and news helicopter

Ah, the excitement never ends! Anyway, I really have to get somewhere right now, but just know that I'm trying to re-glue myself to my computer just like in the olden days -- except now that other people aren't used to it, it's kind of irritating them! Like right now! So, I'd better go!

And while I'm out, I'll see if I can find a place that sells a product my English teacher says is most essential ingredient for writing -- it's this stuff for your chair, called "butt glue". (That's really what she calls it!) Sounds good to me -- sort of!

Let's just say, I'd rather my blogging/writing habits wind up inconveniencing everyone -- slightly -- than continue on a path to Torschlusspanik!

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