Open Thread For August


Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

328 thoughts on “Open Thread For August”

  1. Emma Thorne is a productive Youtube skeptic.
    Here she goes through some of her hate mail (I have always regarded really stupid hate mail as the premier sign of success. Martin, work harder!).


  2. Hillary Clinton has shared a photo of herself dancing in a salsa bar in solidarity with Finland’s prime minister.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I got out this morning I soon heard wren alarm calls, robin alarm calls, and wren contact calls. Leaving the complex there was the call of a bird I did not recognize. The cat was not there again, but its dish was present. Cresting the hill the bird activity fell to none. Nearing the wooded area I heard wren alarm calls and a few distant unidentifiable calls. At Notre Dame there were a number of staff arriving; I soon may stop my sunrise walks as the lateness of sunup is putting me into the schools arrival time. The idea of walking a street with numerous harried parents in SUVs and teenage drivers makes me cringe. The driving nun was riding alone, my accusation of scandalous behavior on her part was apparently mistaken. I heard distant crow caws and little else in the school and church area. Returning I heard the typical towhee call at the wooded area and climbing the hill, there was a catbird or more likely a mockingbird imitating one. The cat was on its porch again and looked comfortable. Arriving at the complex there were some robin alarm calls, but no wood pewees were vocalizing. Is it getting too late in the year?

    The air was humid and the sky tropical. Cumulus clouds were already building and there was significant upper atmosphere activity. The level of atmospheric instability makes the NWS prediction of rain as early as noon quite credible.


  4. As you will have heard, Michail Gorbachev has died after a long time of poor health.
    The people who grew up after the cold war have no idea how important he was. He was the first Soviet leader to step down voluntarily.
    BTW the co-worker who I work closest with was born a year after the end of the Soviet Union. Weird.


  5. Birger, it seems that brown noise might be better than white noise. I can’t play it because TikTok decided they were not going to operate in HK. No idea why. They operate in the Mainland.

    One third of Pakistan is underwater. Mind boggling. I presume the last thing Pakistanis need right now is pink noise. Cue another flood of millions of refugees. I’ve got a feeling that, with climate change, we are going to see a lot of that.


    1. Oh, I can get the Youtube version OK. I think that noise is what I was thinking of when I suggested white noise to you a way of masking background sounds preventing you from sleeping – it’s very close to the sound of an air conditioner running on a low setting.


      1. My daughter has a Tibetan singing bowl that she brought back with her from the Mainland. I love the sound of that thing. Such a pure tone, and it goes on ringing for a long time – if you just get it ringing and don’t damp it, you can’t actually tell when the sound stops, it just gradually gets less audible until you can no longer hear it, but you can’t actually identify the moment when it ceases to be audible.

        And there was a big gong hanging up in Phuket that I loved the sound of – such a pure tone. Didn’t need to hit it hard, just barely touch it with the donger (whatever it’s called) and that beautiful pure tone would ring for ages. The guys at the restaurant didn’t mind me doing that, I guess because I wasn’t bashing it, really just stroking it gently. But I guess that one got wrecked in the tsunami – it was in front of a restaurant right on the beach front, so yeah, that would have gone. Probably in the depths of the Andaman Sea now.


  6. LOL. Under the heading of “What were they thinking?”, an Italian ‘fashion house’ that shall remain nameless (Diesel) has erected a gigantic blow-up doll in the middle of Shanghai, much to the horror of the residents.

    They’re right. It’s absolutely hideous.


  7. 8/31/2022

    The local avifauna activity was low again this morning. Leaving the complex, I heard blue jays and nothing else. The cat was comfortable on its porch. When cresting the hill I heard no bird sounds, while approaching the wooded area there were wren and nuthatch calls. In the Notre Dame area there was no bird activity at all, some staff and students were arriving as I got a late start. I found the vehicular activity barely tolerable. I was late starting as I was watching movie clips on YouTube, including the Lord of the Rings and Battle of the Bulge. At the Congregationalist church there was a discussion involving multiple abrasive mockingbirds. At the Spiritual Director’s house there were cardinals. Returning I heard no birds to speak of through the wooded area. Near the top of the hill I heard nuthatches and what sounded like an accipiter calling high in a tree. The presence of a bird hawk may account for the extremely low level of avian vocalization, though it could be my start being 15 minutes after sunrise was a reason.

    The sky was completely clear for the first time this month. No rain is predicted today, which would obviously follow. It only rained for a couple of minutes locally yesterday, though other parts of town got a fair amount of rain. There was fog in the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee, but nowhere else.


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