this week i

published on privately-administered special needs plans for americans eligible for both medicare and medicaid, on medical debt across all families

proudly donate to edf, seen here investigating bad climate actors.  jon stewart never left.  is your generation the last of the natural intelligences?


wonder if a reddit and hackernews-style up or down voting system could be incorporated into public comments in the federal register

discard books as i read them, but not songbooks.  is evolution: the series of replications that went wrong in just the right way ?

listened fewer times than i'd like, but still, you know, more than a hundred.  the music makes me feel full the way that food makes me feel full

added a sex scene to the complete persepolis by marjane satrapi.  the calf of mrs. robinson, the relaxation of marge simpson, the hands of morpheus


(1) global petroleum dependency

seven weeks touring the stockyards and slaughterhouses of chicago and interviewing workers.  its publication made him a household name at the age of 27.  meat consumption in the us is said to have dipped for several years after the novel appeared

the power of ninety horses - think of that!  suppose you had ninety horses out there in front of you, forty-five pairs in a long line, galloping round the side of a mountain, wouldn't that make your pulses jump?

when you try to shut oil off from production, it's like you tried to dam niagara falls

his only tender feelings appear to be for oil.  at the height of the teapot dome scandal, the real doheny tried to persuade cecil b. demille to make a movie about his life.  it's safe to say there will be blood wasn't what he had in mind

(2) the lively andean dead

the smithsonian institution currently holds bones from at least 481 peruvians

(3) palaeoentomologist

the cradle of humankind world heritage park northwest of johannesburg

a microscopic pompeii

as long as a fossil isn't blasted into space, it can be handed down to future generations to explore

(4) hobbes at the end of behemoth: 'i have seen in this revolution a circular motion of the sovereign power'


as jean-claude juncker, an architect of austerity, put it in a moment of candor: 'we all know what to do, we just don't know how to get re-elected after we've done it'

the decade that started with the arab spring ended with tawdry insurrectionists high on conspiracy theories storming the us capitol

joe biden put it in an apparently off-the-cuff remark at the end of a press conference with boric - the ex-protester - in november last year: 'there comes a time . . . where the world changes in a very short time . . . . i think what happens in the next two, three years is going to determine what the world looks like for the next five or six decades'


(5) the invisible hand of the market can actually bring you a burrito

tech billionaires often seem more interested in surviving the apocalypse than preventing it

i have never to my knowledge seen any of these billionaires, but by necessity i use their platforms and software and move among their employees.  i live in a city and to some extent in a world that has been radically reshaped by their urges and ideas, which are not my urges and ideas

when i use cash to buy something in a shop, i sometimes joke to the cashier that this stuff is more secretive than crypto


(6) the poem forms a cataphatic theology

married to the moon

temple hymns

interest in edheduana remained confined to the sumerologists, though from the late 1970s feminist writers occasionally pointed out that the world's first author was a woman

lapis lazuli

it is in enheduana's poems . . . that authorship was born

our literary eve

'text' and its cognate 'textile', from the latin texere, 'to weave' 

(7) many years of sailing against the prevailing winds of the amyloid hypothesis

we become unmoored

interfere with the tangles of tau

neurodegeneration is a very hard problem, probably harder than clogged arteries

a drug is not always the only option

(8) there is only one true confrontation: that between the romano-germanics and all other peoples of the world

bolshevism owes as much to russian messianism as to marx

the byzantines had, at the council of florence in 1439, recognized the pope to secure western aid against the turks, thereby betraying the orthodox faith, which is supposedly why they succumbed to the ottomans in 1453.  from that point on, moscow, the capital of the only independent orthodox country until the nineteenth century, became the "third rome," the heir to both rome and byzantium as the seat of christendom.  russians were destined to save the world because, as the monk philotheus explained, "a fourth rome there will not be"

linguist roman jakobson could speak russian fluently in six languages



read cliffs notes of when a man is old, he should do more than when he was young johann wolfgang von goethe's faust by robert milch

napoleon bonaparte was among his most famous admirers, and remarked when they first met, "vous etes un homme"

after a painful struggle with himself, faustus is carried off by the devil at the end of the play

a mysterious black poodle following them

the primal sin is to absolve oneself of the responsibility for motion and activity

with a drink like this in you, take care -
you'll soon see helens everywhere.

helen of troy, the legendary paragon of womanhood

margareta (usually called gretchen, her nickname in german)

the church has an excellent appetite.
she has swallowed whole countries and the question
has never risen of indigestion.
only the church...can take
ill-gotten goods without stomach-ache!

she sits at her spinning wheel and sings

 the poem also illustrates the great influence which the works of shakespeare had on goethe

homonculus (i.e. "little man")..floats to his side and eavesdrops on his dreams

the reclamation of land from the sea

the joy of participation in the continuous constructive activity that permeates the universe


this week i

published longitudinally on elderly and disabled americans with high out of pocket prescription drug spending.  i hit this ridiculous error while polishing health and retirement studypew research center smoother sailing.  claudia sent me a tremendous haiku, people like her prompted people like me to shrug, invent the phrase, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  choosing the correct statistical test another gripping read, plus hey that's me

drew with dilorenzofor people who are not fans of drawing hands or feet.  on my own circe, gwss: is it chilly down here, or is it just me?


saw molly tuttle's first performance after second grammy win alongside some like it hot, joni mitchell.  revati carved giraffe-print statue of liberty


seek opportunities to create and recreate governments based on watersheds

this "balkanization" ... of watershed management

an historical exercise in counterfactualism

create and recreate governments based on watersheds

only the borders of a hand full of states such as west virginia - virginia and idaho - montana were delineated along watershed lines

the borders of the swiss canton valais are wholly based on the rhone river watershed

 in 1776, when george washington (a general and land surveyor) crossed the delaware river on christmas eve in a pivotal battle of the revolution, the dictionaries of the time did not list "watershed" as a word

the boundaries of the greenbriar river watershed in wv constitute a lengthy boundary between east and west virginia



read between ocean and bay: a natural history of delmarva by jane scott.  did you know snapping turtles are ornery motherfuckers?  now you do.

a banded, blue-grey metamorphic rock called gneiss..the main component of a strata ten miles thick below the delmarva piedmont

by the close of the cretaceous period, the class of mammals known as marsupials were common.  our familiar opossum is a survivor

mammoths and mastodons were principally differentiated by the structure of their molars

tobacco..the peninsula's first monoculture

the farmers in this country, if they can be called farmers, is not to make the most they can from the land, which is . . . cheap, but the most of the labor, which is dear
-george washington, 1791

dunghill fowl

the red-cockaded woodpecker is gone and the delmarva fox squirrel threatened

pill bugs (family armadillidiidae)

woodpeckers' feet have two toes forward and two toes behind

cardinals, cardinalis cardinalis

a buck's antlers are deciduous..the most rapidly growing osseous (bony) structures found in mammals

a history of new sweden, first published in 1759

as in most east coast estuaries, the denser salt water moves to the northeast, making the chesapeake saltier on the eastern shore side, and the delaware bay on the new jersey side, a phenomenon that is believed to be caused by the earth's rotation, or coriolis force, the same force that in the northern hemisphere causes water to run down drains in a clockwise direction

the multitude of fireflys glittering in the dark upon the surface of the [elk river] marsh makes it appear like a great plain scattered over with spangles.
-alexander hamilton, 1744
the skeeters were so thick you could twirl a pint cup around your head and catch a quart every time.
-ralph c. wilson, nineteenth century
the musk-rat furnishes a savory dish for any one who will set a choke-snare in the nearest creek, and his skin will purchase the accompaniments to make up the meal.
-robert wilson, 1876

the seaside alder, alnus maritima.  the seaside alder resembles the common alder, alnus serrulata, except for the fact that it flowers in the autumn.  it is endemic to the peninsula..there are also a few trees in a small area of south central oklahoma: it is thought that they grew from seeds or plants carried west by the lenni-lenape

swamp warblers..the flamboyant prothonotary

before world war ii, there was an eagle's nest about every three miles along the convoluted chesapeake shoreline

blackwater's eagles usually return to the peninsula from the gulf coast sometime in december.  before breeding, the pairs indulge in spectacular courtship flights, sometimes locking talons and executing a series of descending somersaults

studies done on an osprey colony in nova scotia have shown that the birds actually exchange information about good fishing grounds and even discriminate between fish species.  an osprey returning with an alewife, for instance, will cause other birds to take to the air and retrace his flight path, yet one returning with a flounder will not.  the birds seem to know that, because alewives move in large schools, they have a good chance of getting a fish for themselves.  catching a bottom fish like a flounder, on the other hand, is a random occurrence, not likely to be repeated

the males are smaller and have appendages that look like boxing gloves, called pedipalps.  they are designed to grasp the carapace of the female during mating..then on a moonlight night in early may, millions of male horseshoe crabs appear on delmarva's beaches..female crabs rise out of the water behind them.  the males scramble after them waving their tails like sticks in the surf..they then cover the egg mass with sand and return to the water.  that is, if they are lucky; many crabs are flipped by the surf and cannot right themselves.  they die on the sand before they can be rescued by the next incoming tide

semipalmated sandpipers

the american oystercatcher..loosens the muscle from its moorings and inflicts rapid well-directed blows until the shell breaks.  if the bird breaks its own bill in the process, he can grow a new one in two to three weeks

a snowy egret feeds by stirring up the water with his foot to flush out tiny shrimp and aquatic insects.  they grow handsome plumes in the breeding season, and were once a prime target of the millinery trade

herons, night herons, and egrets, as well as the bitterns, all belong to the family ardeidae whereas ibis are in the family threskiornithidae with the tropical spoonbills

the ship, which was bound for spain in the early 1800s with a cargo of gold and silver from peru, ran aground on assateague after breaking up in a gale.  also on board were one hundred small draft horses that had been used by the spaniards in panamanian mines.  the horses, bred to be small in order to work in mine tunnels, had been blinded by the spaniards to make them easier to handle underground


this week i

drew the milky way galaxy, plus dominoes on exercise mat.  as you can see, the orion spur survives the galactodominopocalypse


fed samira the orange trinity between east, west wings of the national gallery.  this statue is kinda like 🖕


stood in the embassy echo chamber. so if you lie down at just the right angle you can get the canadian flag above the us capitol #warof1812

argued north or south american marsupials cooler.  oh as if your disputes more important.  my favorite sam mcgee though: his recline smile inferno

watched nordic crusaders like antonius block flee black plague in the seventh seal

imitate a bear

emptiness in the moonlight

my herbs could have purged you of your anxiety about eternity, but now it's too late



(1) a 'statistical standing army'

on 27 april, for example, the cover of the saturday evening post was norman rockwell's depiction of a census-taker making notes as a large woman counts on her fingers the names of the red-headed, freckled children who peek out all around her

no census, no feeling, a slapstick short featuring the three stooges

harriet beecher stowe was one of those who expressed outrage that 'the most important statistical document of the united states has been boldly, grossly and perserveringly falsified' and appended a discussion of 'fact v. figures' to her 'key' to uncle tom's cabin

it was only after 1970, when a postal census was widely implemented, that people were finally able to represent themselves, albeit within the limits of the categories offered

of 'taking the census in alabama,' he signed it 'by a "chicken-man" of 1840' - a reference to the common belief that his job was to identify (for tax purposes) every chicken, cow, and loom

what statisticians call a differential undercount.  'none shall escape me and none shall wish to escape me,' walt whitman declared in 'carol of occupations', one of many poems in which he presents himself as a kind of ideal census-taker.  in reality the poorest and most precarious parts of the population often escape the purview of the census, whether they wish to or not

not until i came to harlem that one day a census-taker dropped around to my house and asked me where i was born and why, also my age and if i was still living

(2) france must pay a fair price for nigerien uranium

on 16 september, mali, burkina faso and niger signed the liptako-gourma charter establishing their own tripartite 'alliance of sahel states'

(3) the continuing statelessness

before, i used to say that gaza is an open-air prison.  now i say gaza is an open grave . . . you think people here are alive?  they are zombies

to overcome its humiliation by hamas, the idf has been no different from - and no more intelligent than - the french in algeria, the british in kenya, or the americans after 9/11

grotesque asymmetry

(4) mammalian milk least as biochemically elaborate and dynamic as blood

perhaps you'd like your cafe au lait black

in 1950 the average cow in the united states produced 5,314 pounds of milk per year.  by 2019 that annual output had more than quadrupled, to 23,400 pounds

(5) the ukranian word volia, which means freedom but also the will to fight for it

europeans again said, "never again!"  now it has happened yet again.  this is the "never" that seemingly never comes

we're not afraid of anything

 europe doesn't end at any clear line - except possibly the north pole, where it ends at a point.  in all other directions, europe merely fades away: across the vast expanse of russia, somewhere between st. petersburg and vladivostock; across turkey, somewhere between istanbul and the iranian frontier; across the mediterranean, that mare nostrum (our sea)

canada would be an ideal member of the eu

the now 830 million africans under the age of twenty-five.  (for comparison, the total population of the eu is 450 million)


(6) a new international right to cognitive and mental privacy

cognitive liberty

apple, for example, has a patent to integrate sensors that track brain wave activity into its earbuds; these sensors can determine if someone is alert and paying attention, or dragging and disengaged.  this sounds benign until you consider who, in addition to yourself, might want access to that data

implant sensors directly into the brain in order to merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence.  since this could open our bodies to malware, it suggests a whole new way of losing our minds

rights do not protect us from ourselves if we are willing to waive them

no quantitative measures to determine whether and how much..treatments work: an anti-psychotic "works" if a patient looks and feels less psychotic

(7) deserves a place in the pantheon of women with no fucks left to give

the new york society for the suppression of vice

the heirs of polyanthos and the national police gazette continue at fox news and newsmax

(8) aracataca

a dense cloud of yellow butterflies

nothing interesting happened to him after the age of eight

those first eight years, spent with his maternal grandparents in aracataca..gave him enough material for the whole of his writing life

united fruit took everything

true in another way

the endless line of people who waited more than twenty-four hours to pay him tribute in the palacio de bellas artes in mexico city, and one man in that line who told a tv news camera that he learned to read so he could read one hundred years of solitude

one hundred years of solitude - a book that, for readers who came after, has always been there

(9) killing eighty thousand people instantly

the bombs..had deliberately been aimed at people's homes

the true objective of the bombings had been to intimidate the soviet union and render stalin more amenable to american demands regarding eastern europe

american voters would not forgive any concessions after years of hirohito's vilification..the emperor could stay on his throne, but 'subject' to the authority of the supreme commander of the allied powers'.  it was an artful compromise, bellicose in tone but conceding on what had long been the major impediment to surrender

(10) how to turn a crowd into a nation

cuiaba - "our tropical siberia"

the only brazilian to have a state named after him

(11) laughing francis hurling doves from his hands

what a nun who is also a widow would wear to the y

unaffected by a papal audience..'if i were there, i would just be like "hey"'

he smells like ten men

across the aisle, naked and rosy, dangles the largest baby foot i have ever seen.  i text my friends a picture of it, to give them an idea of the infant's proportions.  king baby, i call him, and steal looks at him throughout the flight; reassured, protected, in the presence of a monument


 me in the bathtub like whoopi goldberg, covered with unblessed hosts

this is constantly happening to me

'yes, i'll take these.  and the torso,' i tell her, pointing to the window, where a little tin belly button winks in the afternoon light


a little rulepig

before leaving that morning, we stuffed my bag with all sorts of objects, reasoning that if the pope blessed me, anything on my person would be blessed as well..there's a tampon in there that going forward i will hesitate to use

i walk forward to meet him, i glitch.  i tell him my name, which seems untrue.  'i hope your stomach feels better,' i say, insanely, pointing to mine.  possibly i even say tummy

let every chair that was not invented by this guy break instantly under my ass for the rest of my life

rose petals instead of a head, for believers

(12) against "woke" education

rutherford's pamphlet a measuring rod to test text-books, and reference books in schools, colleges, and libraries laid down instructions as rigid as those of a soviet cultural commissar

companies sometimes published separate editions of a textbook for north and south (the latter were known in the trade as "mint julep" editions) disgruntled author complained that "to write a history of this country, without giving offense to anyone, one should stop at 1492

a mcclatchy-marist poll in 2015 asked a national sample of american adults, "what's your impression of why the civil war in this country was fought?"  only 42 percent said it was "mainly about slavery"; 43 percent said "mainly about states' rights"

(13) the new heart of darkness

governor muyej used to call his province "the saudi arabia of cobalt," and the comparison is apt, if a little ungenerous: saudi arabia produced 13 percent of the world's oil in 2022, while almost 70 percent of last year's global cobalt output was mined in congo

the feverish excavation of cobalt in medieval conditions

the filth-caked children

(14) dinosaur renaissance

"dragons of the prime/that tare each other in their slime," alfred tennyson wrote of dinosaurs in 1850, in a poem we best remember today for the expression "nature, red in tooth and claw"

lizard-hipped dinosaurs unalike to bird-hipped dinosaurs

a t. rex, a triceratops, a sail dinosaur, perhaps a pterodactyl..the age of thermal plastic that turned loving dinosaurs into a recognized phase of childhood development

skeuomorphism: the sentimental or surplus mimicry of a mechanical feature within a digital one - the way that programmers have added the sonic effect of a snapping lens shutter to phone cameras - naturalizing the novel technology by wrapping it in the trappings of the old

no stegosaurus ever choked on a shopping bag.  no ichthyosaur expired in the sludge of an oil spill

the continents unstitch along their tectonic boundaries and shuttle to and fro

the primordial origins of multicellular life..bottled up in a single mysterious species scientists call luca, the last universal common ancestor

the moon..twelve thousand kilometers nearer and some 15 percent brighter than it is at its modern-day perigee

the lives of charismatic megafauna

world-forging cataclysms


(15) all the power and force of constitutional law pushed against public health interventions

democratic-appointed judges rejected the religious claims and ruled for the government 80 percent of the time, while republican-appointed judges accepted them and ruled against the government 77 percent of the time


(16) alexandria in the cloud

the mickey mouse protection act

copyright legislation has only gone downhill

of the 10,000 us books published in 1930, only 174 were still in print in 2001

(17) named after its superficial resemblance to the placental lion and its ecological niche as a large predator

apex predator within australian ecosystems

their inclusion within vombatformes..only two families represented by four herbivorous species (koalas and three species of wombat) have survived into modern times

marsupial lions were found to be unable to use the prolonged, suffocating bite typical of living big cats..incisors would have been used to stab at and pierce the flesh of their prey while the more specialised carnassials crushed the windpipe, severed the spinal cord, and lacerated the major blood vessels such as the carotid artery and the jugular vein

syndactyly (fused second and third toes)

a hypercarnivore

the marsupial lion may have cached kills in trees and in a manner similar to the modern leopard

the arrival of humans in australia and the use of fire-stick farming precipitated their decline

(18) roosevelt's unfinished second bill of rights

the tragic errors such as ostrich isolationism

mr. churchill, and marshal stalin, and generalissimo chiang kai-shek

disunity at home - bickerings, self-seeking partisanship, stoppages of work, inflation, business as usual, politics as usual, luxury as usual

people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made

the whining demands of selfish pressure groups who seek to feather their nests while young americans are dying

benjamin franklin on july 4, 1776: "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"

(19) fordism is the foundation of musk's business model

"i am the alpha in this relationship," he whispered to his first wife, justine, while dancing at their wedding.  later, he would often tell her, "if you were my employee, i would fire you"

behind cupertino sits zhengzhou, where workers assemble phones for apple; behind mountain view sits nairobi, where workers moderate content for facebook


(20) child poverty more than doubled between 2021 and 2022, jumping from 5.2 percent to 12.4 percent

for every dollar distributed through the ppp, 75 cents found its way into the hands of families in the top 20 percent of the income distribution

the american rescue plan..reduced child poverty to its lowest rate in us history, driving it down by 44 percent in six months



this week i

sent holiday cheer via reindeer charioteer. the crucial moments of our lives / innately come as a surprise. canadifferences: about, sorry, zed, quebec

when you think about it, giraffes are more impossible than unicorns

how many times do you check your work? // until it stops smelling like poop

that's a terrible photograph // well, you're in it, got to work with the material you've got

do you think i'll get more nice emails from people at nchs? // notice he didn't comment on the haikus

envision antony and cleopatra act 1, scene 5, line 25 o happy horse, to bear the weight of antony! plus three-letter arcade top scorers hdn, wam, lvb

credit rembrandt with invention of the non-player character (npc). anatomy lessons were a social event in the 17th century. check my mean baleen

danced to beach boys pet sounds, peak instrumental creativity. school of athens, four terrain home, lucas cranach the elder, punic war with dinosaur



(1) in guatemala..digging up mass graves

whenever you get into a confrontation with the police, the guy with the biggest badge wins

work in the day and cry at night 

(2) unlimited liability for trivial errors could return


(3) light as a spiritual phenomenon

vermeer's virtual disappearance from the record is usually explained by the small size of his corpus - modern scholars estimate that the entire oeuvre consisted of some forty-five to fifty works, as compared to more than 350 currently attributed to his great compatriot rembrandt


(4) banned in south africa

shoot a reel of film and fade away like a wraith

cole's ice-cool forays into dangerous territory often look poised and considered, as if he'd been assigned to shoot a commercial or a sports day prizegiving

on a hospital tv, a week before he died in february 1990, he watched mandela walk away from victor verster prison

one of the great witnesses to the apartheid years


(5) if you're in kyiv, and you only speak russian and english, it's politic to try english first

relief, perhaps, that it was someone else, putting a shiver of triumph in your own working limbs and heartbeat

volunteers gathered by a project called repair together, which combines reconstruction work with weekend rave parties

taboo on happiness..most people not on the front line had a feeling of guilt

half the windows in a nearby skyscraper were missing

even in wartime, flowers bloom


(6) child soldiers, bullet-riddled corpses and squalid refugee camps set in a candyfloss landscape

the deep greens of the congolese jungle as hot pinks and purples

the humans and their baleful work

the blazing, contaminated, violent frontier of a planetary-scale disaster

(7) the overkill hypothesis

mammals..began to fill the ecological niches that the asteroid emptied

homo sapiens giving the chicxulub asteroid a run for its ecocidal money in the twenty-first century

a mastodon roast in virginia


(8) improperly stored next to..twenty-three tons of fireworks and a thousand car tires

sahar fares, a twenty-seven-year-old firefighter whose smiling face, as she leaned out the window of a fire truck, became a national symbol..her body was identified by her engagement ring


(9) we might, in fact, be past it already, treading thin air like wile e. coyote before the fall

government reports from the 1970s and 1980s are eerily similar to climate projections today: 'nuclear smoke clouds generated by a relatively low level of explosions (e.g. a hundred megaton) could cool the earth's surface by 36° to 72° fahrenheit'

instead of trying to fabricate precision out of desperation, or calculating just because we can, we need to take stock of what we do not or cannot know

the shapes of many of the pdfs are pretty much unknown, even unknowable.  we could just assume everything is normally distributed, make an informed estimate of each pdf's centre (the mean) and standard deviation (the degree to which the distribution is spread out), and hope for the best.  this is in fact standard practice when modellers have nothing more to go on

computation, which is what modelling is all about, suggests precision, even when it shouldn't

(10) public-private partnerships have become the magic formula

for every persian gulf potentate or monroe doctrine satrap on whom the us lavished arms and accolades, there was a mohammad mosaddegh or jacobo arbenz or salvador allende who dared to threaten euro-american corporations' god-given right to these countries' resources


(11) if people are arguing about your numbers, you're winning

the word comes from the german: statistik, of or pertaining to the state or government

the winner in the no-census stakes is lebanon, which hasn't had one since 1932

the dry records of name and number give the faintest hints of the dramatic individual changes in circumstance they record.  frederick douglass appears in the 1830 census as a number: he is probably the '1' indicating a male slave aged between ten and 24 living in the baltimore household headed by hugh the 1840 census frederick douglas is listed as a head of household in new bedford, massachusetts

he was talking about market research, and when i said something sensitive and thoughtful about it being mostly bullocks, he replied: 'no, it can be very helpful, but the thing you have to remember is that it is delphic.  it answers the question you ask, but it doesn't tell you what to do

thatcher's conservative government changed the way unemployment was measured more than thirty times

goodhart's law: 'when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure' 


(12) scribblers, pirates and mystagogues wrote their prospectuses

franchising their sovereignty

the grand trunk pacific railway got federal guarantees and crown land to connect atlantic canada with a deepwater port on the closest ice-free harbour to asia, in remote british columbia 

(13) nantucket sleighride

orca communities are very conservative and tend not to mix with one another..some studies even call orcas 'xenophobic', so pronounced is their distaste for unrelated communities of their own kind

they would alert the whalers by breaching and lob-tailing (slapping their tail flukes on the water) before guiding the whaling crew to their prey and assisting in the kill, leaping on the backs of the stricken whales and trying to cover their blowholes.  their prize was delivered under what became known as 'the law of the tongue': the whalers would anchor down the carcass and leave it for a day or so to allow the orcas to prise open the whale's mouth to eat the tongue and lips (these are typically the only parts of a large whale that orcas consume, even in groups where baleen whales are their only prey; similarly, the south african pods that have recently been observed hunting fully grown great white sharks eat only the liver, which they extract with startling precision)

the appearance of orcas around ten million years ago correlates with the sudden and mysterious disappearance of more than half the known species of cetaceans, seals and sirenians (dugongs and manatees) from the fossil record.  as with the widespread extirpation of terrestrial megafaunt from areas colonised by humans during the pleistocene, one hypothesis is that orcas, as they expanded into new marine ecosystems, hunted many existing sea mammals to extinction.  it 'seems very likely..killer whales have eradicated whole species, perhaps many species' 


(14) early buddhist art is shot through with the cosmology of ancient animist cults that existed before the arrival of the new teachings

this forgotten world of the early deccan

hungry ghosts

nirvana, which means simply "a flame blown out by the wind"


(15) wage earners and their sympathizers

when the smith-connally act, passed over roosevelt's veto, banned union contributions in federal elections in 1943, the congress of industrial organizations (cio) got around it by inventing the political action committee

(16) the fungal pandemic

a cave near albany

hibernating bats are easy to census

their snouts were covered with a white powdery substance, as if they'd been snorting cocaine

like people and indeed like all animals - but unlike viruses or bacteria - fungi are eukaryotes, which is to say their cells contain a clearly defined nucleus.  the similarity in structure.."makes fungal cells difficult to target and kill without damaging our own cells"

(17) everyone now knows that corvids are intelligent and octopuses have brains in their arms

animals bred to have abnormally large appetites and which grow so fast that their legs cannot support their weight (in 1925, it would take a chicken sixteen weeks to reach 2.5 lb; today's 'broilers' reach 6.5 lb in the five to seven weeks they are allowed to live

insect sentience is a contested area

(18) what memory might struggle to retain

finger-counting, or dactylonomy, which assigns numbers to joints and hand positions, transforming multiplication and addition into a business of folding fingers and brushing knuckles..the english 'digit' derives from the latin digitus, finger or toe

the benefit of logarithms is that they allow you to transform multiplication and division into the simpler operations addition and subtraction.  imagine you want to multiply 8 by 16.  if you express these numbers as multiplications of two, it's the same as multiplying 2^3 by 2^4.  instead of doing that, however, you can just add together their logarithms, 3 and 4.  so 8 times 16 becomes the same as 2^7

 rare indeed was the kitchen drawer . . . that did not hide at least one broken calculator..its lcd display clouded or its battery compartment crusted with the lifeblood of exploded aaas

(19) roads with more than 10,000 vehicles per day should be considered absolute barriers to most wildlife

by 1995 deer were a factor in more than a million crashes a year, with two hundred human fatalities - making this gentle creature "north america's most dangerous animal"

the sole road in denali national park is now open only to buses carrying tourists, in part to reduce the noise of cars.  (evs will be scant help here - above thirty-five miles per hour, it turns out, tires produce more noise than engines)

"the story of the rainforest's unraveling is that of its highways, the 'lines of penetration' through which logs poured out and agriculture flooded in"

phoenix now has 12.2 million parking spaces, or three per person; des moines has twenty parking spaces per household.  little rock, newport news, buffalo, and topeka devote more land to parking lots than to buildings.  by square footage, there is more housing for each car in the us than there is housing for each person


(20) dole, then extolling viagra on television, contended that their legislation had never been intended to control drug prices

in 1847 the founders of what became the american medical association (ama) adopted a code of ethics that declared it "inconsistent with beneficence and professional liberality" to patent a medicine or prescribe a medicine that was patented