I didn't technically leave my mathematics blog fallow this past week. This coming week, maybe. But if you missed it, here's what you missed:
- Reading the Comics, October 12, 2017: Busy Saturday Soon Edition as last week looked ready to fit into a single Reading the Comics post ...
- Reading the Comics, October 14, 2017: Physics Equations Edition ... and then Saturday happened so let's change plans.
- A Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z Appendix: Are Colbert Numbers A Thing? as I wonder whether this thing is named for the person it was obviously named for.
- Reading the Comics, October 21, 2017: Education Week Edition and a slow week of mathematics comics means I don't know what I'll post midweek next week.
And do you know What's Going On In The Phantom (Weekdays)? Did you miss the end of The Curse of Old Man Mozz and maybe the Phantom's death? Did you miss the start of The Return of the Locust? Your chance to stay informed here. So how about that Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, huh? Enjoy. A lot.
Of course Bronner's has rabbit-themed merchandise, although I think this tag might just say everything. A gift for porsupah's improving spirits.
I may have mentioned but point your camera anywhere in Bronner's and you have an interesting picture. Here, looking up: Santa and reindeer suspended from the ceiling. Also lots of decoration even that high.
I don't deny that there are more dog ornaments than there are penguin ornaments. You maybe noticed there's three signs just in view guiding people to dogs. But still: they've got a section worth labelling that's nothing but penguin ornaments.
If you're one of those people who decorates their trees with bees and ceramic honeycomb but don't know where to go, I can tell you where to go: it's wherever these shelves are. PS also spiders.
Also aliens and some ornaments labelled ``Robotics'' in case you want your Christmas tree to celebrate the concept of doing things with self-governing machinery.
So that friend who wants to put sloth ornaments on his tree? Did he need a selection of sloth ornaments? Because, look at the figures: the ones on the right are a different style. Also underneath are some kind of dinosaur.
Trivia: Atlanta banned cattle from the public streets in 1881, against the objections of a large number of working people. (One J D Garrison described the law as ``the dictation of a codfish aristocracy,'' calling it ``an issue [ ... ] between the front yard of the rich man and the sustenance of the poor family''.) Source: Down To Earth: Nature's Role In American History, Ted Steinberg. (Garrison wasn't speaking crazily; laws against farm animals in the city did deprive poorer people of their milk, meat, and egg supplies. And leave them responsible for cleaning food waste off their streets. Nothing's ever completely straightforward.)
Currently Reading: The Greek War of Independence: Its Historical Setting, C M Woodhouse.
- There are, happily, new breeds of coffee plants being bred to cope with climate change. The Toronto Star reports.
- High labour and infrastructure costs means that Ethiopia is the only African power likely to challenge China in manufactures. Quartz reports.
- Wired's Kevin Kelly is perhaps on a limb in suggesting the lifestyle of Mongolian nomads is a viable world model.
- The flowing waters of icy Mars were icy, as Universe Today reports.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on the naming of the features of the surface of Ceres.
- D-Brief notes that small-scale robotic manufacturing is now a thing.
- The Dragon's Gaze reports on a new study of exoplanets and their stars.
- The Dragon's Tales has a nice round-up of news on hominin research and primates generally.
- Hornet Stories notes that there is apparently a debate about women as drag queens. I don't see why they should not, frankly.
- Joe. My. God links to a Rolling Stone article celebrating Erotica and Sex, by Madonna, on their 25th anniversary.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the way Dollar General caters to a permanent underclass. Like Dollarama in Canada?
- Language Hat notes that Xibe, related to Manchu, is receiving protection from China.
- The NYR Daily reports on the mass killings, approaching genocide, in Indonesia in 1965.
- Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel reports on the proofs we have for the current age of the universe.
After the bookstore we wandered around for the other scenes in town. A couple of art galleries --- the peninsula is thick with art galleries --- and antique shops. Also the curious shuttered and abandoned building named The Pier Group Shops, according to a sign that looks like it was abandoned in place in 1982. It turns out the place was abandoned in place in 1982, the result of some impossible-to-follow argument among people with money in the thing. The building's shockingly dilapidated considering how much tourist money there is in town, and even the sign is growing so shabby as to be almost too affected. The 'E' in ``Pier Group'', for example, had two of its nails rust through, and so it dangles, almost upside-down, from the last, below the line of the text. Plans to do something with the property are allegedly under way, according to what is clearly not the same local news article that's run every sixteen months since 1983.
We went to the ice cream shop next to the water wheel restaurant. bunny_hugger had been in there way back in the day, before it was closed to all but private functions. We sat on the open porch and drinking coffee and tea and watching the small river and the wheel. It turns out the wheel was always an affectation, and never did any milling or other work. I seem to remember there also being some story about the wheel being built without construction permits, but that's been forgiven because now it's been around a long while and people take pictures of it and stuff. I may have the details wrong. It's in too damaged a shape to turn, which somehow puts it in that weird class of things that improve the look of the area by looking like ruins.
North of town is a mill pond and we went up there to look for wildlife, particularly fish. When we'd been there before we would look into the still water and consider how we didn't see any fish, and then we blinked and suddenly we saw them all. This time, despite being open to it, we never did see fish. Maybe we were too early in their life cycle; the 2013 visit was in early August, after all. We didn't see any fish to speak of. Just the occasional --- splash!
And then we did see something. A good-sized mammal, puttering its way across the pond. Then another going back the other way. We were too far away to get a good look at it, but I did my best to take photos and a movie and that ... doesn't quite clear up what we saw. A beaver seems like the obvious guess. Possibly an otter, although its head seems a bit stocky for that. Something that's able to dive under and stay a good while and will vanish into shore-side wood-lined burrows anyway.
After this crossing we waited a good long while hoping to see a return from these creatures. They never came back, and eventually we walked back to the main areas of town, along the way spotting a red squirrel with some harsh words for us.
Though we had been to the beach at Omena and at Suttons Bay we hadn't done much beach-walking this trip. And bunny_hugger wanted to find a fossil. So we went to the marina and wandered around the sand there, at least once a flotilla of geese finished their march through the lawn, beach, and water. While bunny_hugger looked I tromped along this wedge of grass that was on the verge of caving in to the waters beneath. (It would be a drop of like two feet, but you could photograph it to look dramatic.) She would have a magnificent find: a Petoskey stone. These are fossilized coral, named for the town of Petoskey in northern Michigan where they came to public attention, and who knew you could just grab one like that? She's got an eye for fossils that I just haven't.
We were going to meet bunny_hugger's father and brother for dinner. Her mother still wasn't up for going out anywhere. We got back to the house to find that they had gone already, to the restaurant, in Northport, where we had just come from. I concede we could have better organized this. The restaurant was the one that had the dog prints in the cement out front, which it turns out is just part of the chain's gimmick. The place has some decent 10-to-20-dollar dinners (bunny_hugger's father was particularly taken by the au jus sandwich, and insisted on going back the next day, when he did not get the au jus). And it has an arcade. It's not as frenetic a blend of restaurant and arcade as, say, a Dave and Busters, but it does give kids something to do besides trying to sit still and read the menu.
Among the things it gives: pinball. They had a Junkyard, a late-90s Williams table that's familiar enough from home, but still a pretty reliable game to play. We gave bunny_hugger's brother the quick explanation of what to shoot for (it's the wrecking-ball crane in the back of the playfield) and had a three-player game in which he beat bunny_hugger. We took another round and this time he beat me.
Still, it's an appealing combination of things. They also had a two- or three-lane bowling alley, bringing to us thoughts of how we like bowling, although not enough to actually bowl.
Back home we'd continue our progress through Mice and Mystics and after a couple handily successful rounds we started to believe we just might finish the last chapter while on this vacation, with bunny_hugger's brother composing the whole story about how the archer-mouse Lily would become the ultimate hero. It didn't happen that Thursday, but we'd have two more days to try.
Trivia: After the defeat of Western Union's Americal Speaking Telephone Company in patent suits in 1879, stock in the Bell Telephone Company rose from $50 a share to nearly $1,000. Source: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale Of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard.
Currently Reading: The Greek War of Independence: Its Historical Setting, C M Woodhouse.
PS: OK, but what does Bronner's have in raccoons and guinea pigs? More than just this.
Animatronic raccoon drummer. This critter would keep swaying back and forth and hitting the marshmallow drums and if it doesn't make perfect sense what he's doing, so what?
A flock of guinea pig ornaments. More guinea pig ornaments than I imagined to exist, although they missed the Abyssinian breed, the one with the complicated sworls of fur that look all crazy. The guinea pigs shared space with hedgehogs.
Hiking and log cabin ornaments! And I know you're thinking to joke about that clearly being a German-made hiking raccoon, but we know better. Would he only have the one walking-stick if he were German? Yeah.
- Bloomberg notes that the people and businesses leaving London for the EU-27 will enjoy lower rents.
- DW reports on potential British interest in joining NAFTA, if Brexit talks with the EU collapse entirely.
- The remarkable Bombardier deal with Airbus may yet save the Canadian company from American tariffs. Global News reports.
- Global News takes a look at the provinces and economic sectors in Canada to be hit hardest by the end of NAFTA.
- The area of Humber River Bay may yet be radically transformed by the development of the vast Christie's site. The Globe and Mail reports.
- Torontoist notes how the City of Toronto is starting to let apartment dwellers know if they might die in a disastrous fire like Grenfell.
- Wired reports on the vast Google plan to make not just Quayside but the entire waterfront a high-tech prototype.
- TVO's John Michael McGrath argues that the city does not need Google to design good neighbourhoods.
- Apparently many people are escaping the Toronto affordable housing crisis by moving into vans. The Toronto Star reports.
- Catrine Jarman notes how Easter Island's history has been badly misread. The island was sustainably run, after all.
- Dead Things notes how DNA studies of ancient Rapa Nui suggest there was no South American immigration. No contact?
- Will the new airport at St. Helena open up new potential for tourism for the South Atlantic island? Global News reports.
- Iceland is enthusiastically trying to restore its ancient forests, downed by Vikings, so far with not much success. The New York Times reports.
- Ottawa has been urged to give farm workers from Dominica, ravaged by hurricanes, extended work permits. The Toronto Star reports.
- The island of Vieques, already hit by American military testing, has been prostrated by Maria. VICE reports.
- CBC shares the story of Maxim Lapunov, a surviving victim of Chechnya's gay pogroms who escaped to Canada.
- Kristi Penderi writes about his LGBT activism in Albania made a difference, even though he had to eventually leave.
- Jessie Randall writes about her struggles to become an aspiring young mother as a coupled lesbian.
- Naveen Kumar at VICE shares stories of gay men who donated sperm to lesbians and helped create new families.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at enormous, explosive Wolf-Rayet stars, and at WR 124 in particular.
- The Big Picture shares heart-rending photos of Rohingya refugees fleeing Burma.
- Centauri Dreams considers the potential of near-future robotic asteroid mining.
- D-Brief notes the discovery of vast cave systems on the Moon, potential homes for settlers.
- Hornet Stories exposes young children to Madonna's hit songs and videos of the 1980s. She still has it.
- Inkfish notes that a beluga raised in captivity among dolphins has picked up elements of their speech.
- Language Hat notes a dubious claim that a stelae containing Luwian hieroglyphic script, from ancient Anatolia, has been translated.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the question of preserving brutalist buildings.
- The LRB Blog considers how Brexit, intended to enhance British sovereignty and power, will weaken both.
- The Map Room Blog notes that the moons and planets of the solar system have been added to Google Maps.
- The NYR Daily considers how the Burmese government is carefully creating a case for Rohingya genocide.
- The Power and Money's Noel Maurer concludes, regretfully, that the market for suborbital travel is just not there.
- Visiting a shrimp festival in Louisiana, Roads and Kingdoms considers how the fisheries work with the oil industry (or not).
- Towleroad reports on the apparent abduction in Chechnya of singer Zelimkhan Bakayev, part of the anti-gay pogrom there.
- Window on Eurasia notes that rebuilding Kaliningrad as a Russian military outpost will be expensive.