[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Alex Kasprak

A chemical compound found in the leaves of the bay laurel may affect mood, but the results are inconclusive and not necessarily relevant to bay leaf smoke.


Oct. 17th, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat


Down pillows are the softest.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
[syndicated profile] burningmanjournal_feed

Posted by Aaron Muszalski

Great news: Today the Playa Restoration team finished MOOPing the entirety of the Black Rock City grid!

At only 6 days, this is the fastest we’ve ever achieved this milestone. As a result, we now have a full week in which to clean other parts of the event site, and may even be able to re-sweep some of the MOOPier areas of the city grid — extra work that is sure to benefit us during the upcoming BLM site inspection.

D.A.’s gameplan for Day 6 — Finish the city grid!


If you’ve been following along with the MOOP Map Blog, you already know that one reason for our rapid progress has been our expanded crew, which topped 180 people at one point. We’ve also benefitted from mostly dry weather, losing only half a day to rain. (Which means we really completed the city grid in only 5 1/2 days — even more impressive!)

Perhaps most importantly, the city has been exceptionally green this year. Every additional green block is a testament to the amazing work that you, the participants, do to keep your city clean, AND a big gift to the Resto crew. The less MOOP you leave behind the faster Resto can travel, and the more thoroughly we can clean the 155 million square feet of Black Rock City. (Yeah, you read that right. 155 million.)

So, from all of us on the 2017 Playa Restoration All-Star Team to you, THANKS for LEAVING NO TRACE, and KEEP UP THE AWESOME WORK!

Now, on to the day’s report.

Your Sister is one of our Scribes, documenting what the line sweepers encounter


It was another cold night last night, and the crew arrived at the shoreline wearing plenty of layers and ever a fur hat or two. It’s hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago temperatures were regularly exceeding 100 degrees out here. Doubly so when you’re waking up to frost on your windshield. Still, at least it was frost and not solid ice today, a small sign that the cold snap may be behind us.

Sure enough, after a couple of hours the day had warmed up enough that hats and hoodies started to come off again, and by lunchtime a few folks had even stripped down to work without shirts. The desert, for all its superficial appearances of stasis, remains supremely mercurial.

Being here to witness that moment-to-moment mutability first hand is one of the most seductive aspects of Playa Restoration. Walking the lines is an opportunity to experience—and understand—the playa in an entirely new way, with little to distract or draw your attention away from the profound subtleties of Place.

Barack Obama (aka Starchild) spreads his wings

Today’s MOOPing efforts were concentrated around the center of the city, including Center Camp and the blocks immediately behind it. We used regular line sweeps to finish the remaining city blocks, followed by a technique called “free-ranging” for open areas like Center Camp Cafe. When free-ranging, the entire crew comes together and freely walks around a targeted area, usually indicated by a central cone or an outer perimeter.

Free-ranging is a good way to get extra coverage of a single area. It’s also a lot of fun, as it brings the whole Resto team together in one place, moving and working around each other in close proximity. Even the Oscillators, who normally follow behind the line sweeps in their pickup trucks, get in on the action, raking the playa to expose subsurface MOOP or using magnetic rakes to collect screws and other stray metal.

Free ranging


Uncle Buck knows if you’ve been MOOPy or nice


Juicy Jake uses a rake to reveal MOOP that may not be immediately visible

Resto ProTip: Line sweep an area at least once before raking it. While raking can help reveal buried MOOP, it can also bury MOOP that was on the surface. So only rake once you’re sure the surface is clean.

Metal MOOP — like these rusty screws — can be picked up using a magnet rake


A magnet rake in action

As with previous days, the areas we swept were predominately green today. This doesn’t mean that we found zero MOOP in those places — only that we found so little MOOP that it never significantly slowed or stopped the line.

“A lot of what we’re finding these days is what I call ‘micro-MOOP’,” D.A. explains. “A small piece of string, a single plastic bead, or particles of sawdust. It’s still MOOP. We still need to clean it up. But because it’s smaller it’s easier to miss.”

Could you spot this tiny piece of playa-colored string? Resto did!


These tiny foam particles are an example of micro-MOOP


A pink plastic gemstone


More micro-MOOP

One of the best ways to reduce micro-MOOP is never to let it hit the ground in the first place. Think about what activities at your camp might generate micro-MOOP, then take steps to minimize or collect it.

“People are leveling up. This year, the Temple crew didn’t just lay down tarps before they used saws or drills, they had volunteers use shop-vacs to catch sawdust as it was being created. That’s awesome.”

The result was one of the cleanest Temple sites yet.

Vacuuming as you drill is next-level LNT [Photo by Temple 2017]

Moving back into the realm of larger MOOP, it’s not uncommon for us to find forgotten tent stakes, rebar and other types of ground anchors during Resto. Despite their size, anchors can be difficult to spot, especially if they’ve been driven all the way into or below the playa surface.

The most common reason anchors get left behind is because they get forgotten. This can happen more easily that you might think, particularly when many people are helping to break down camp at the same time.

The best way to avoid forgotten anchors is to keep a written list where you record every anchor or stake your camp puts in the ground. You can then use this list to make sure that the same number get removed during strike. (This is a great job to give to that really meticulous person in your camp.)

You should also avoid driving anchors all the way into the playa. Leaving stakes exposed makes them much easier to find when it comes time to leave. Just be sure to flag every anchor and pad or otherwise cover the tops to prevent injury.

Finally, doing line sweeps of your camp before you leave is a great way to catch any anchors you still might have missed, as well as any remaining MOOP.

Tent stakes are easy to miss when driven too deep. This top of this one was no larger than a nickel.


Using a shovel for leverage, this 16″ stake came out easily.


Another reason anchors get left behind is difficulty in removing them. To avoid this, be sure to bring the correct tools needed to remove whatever anchors you plan on using. If you’ve forgotten to do that, try reaching out to neighboring camps for help. The citizens of Black Rock City are a remarkably resourceful and well-equipped bunch, and the assistance you need is likely far closer than you realize. Just ask!

Handy tools for anchor removal include vise grips, shovels, T-stake removers, and even pocket multi-tools. A common Oscillator trick is to lock a pair of vice grips onto the top of an anchor, then wedge a shovel underneath it to use as a lever. If this isn’t enough to remove the anchor, the shovel can then be used to dig out the playa around the anchor until it comes free. Remember: after you remove the anchor, be sure to replace any playa you dug up.


Flip demonstrates the shovel and vise grip method of rebar removal


Citizen and F’n Andy use a T-Stake puller to remove a length of rebar


Buried rebar may not look like much…


…until you get it out of the ground. Congratulations Citizen. You just saved Burning Man!


Earth anchors are larger, and are normally installed and removed with the assistance of heavy equipment. But it is possible to remove them manually. You just have to be clever about it, and apply some DPW-strength elbow grease.

A crowbar or length of rebar placed through the eye of the anchor can deliver enough leverage to unscrew the anchor from the ground by hand. It may take a few minutes, but as as Barack Obama, Muppet, and LeWrench proved today, it’s totally doable. (Hint: take turns)


Barack Obama and LeWrench use rebar to remove an earth anchor. Thanks Obama!


Remember: teamwork makes the dream work!


Thanks to today’s progress, the Resto crew has been given tomorrow off — just in time to see The Vampirates play at the Black Rock Saloon tonight. The Vampirates are a Reno-based punk band with deep ties to the DPW, and their semi-annual gig at the Saloon has become something of a Resto tradition.

Here’s a quick glimpse of one of their past shows:

So yeah… it’s probably a good thing we’ll have all of Sunday to recover.


If you collapse during Resto, don’t worry — your friends will helpfully try to MOOP you


Here’s how the MOOP Map looks after Day 6 — with the entire city grid completed!

>> Remember: this map is only a rough draft. For final MOOP Map results, wait until the new year and contact the Placement department. <<


[syndicated profile] snopes_feed

Posted by Dan MacGuill

An Irish government official refutes U.S. President Donald Trump's claim, whose source is entirely unclear.


Oct. 17th, 2017 01:41 pm
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[personal profile] labelleizzy
Re: the #metoo
I wonder whether perps of sexual assault even recognize that they're perps. Do they justify and normalize their behavior to themselves? Do they bury what they did deep in their brains? Are they ashamed, or proud of what they did? Do they feel powerful? Or does it matter most to them that they got their jollies/an orgasm out of it?

As a teen I used to not know better than to dump my anger/rage/shame off onto other people. It was a relief to let it go, but I was ashamed because I knew that wasn't how I should treat people. I had to learn how to do better, and it's taken many years. I still fuck up.

Research into bullying and social dynamics is in progress, it's been a long road. Start where you are. Learn to feed yourself so YOU don't make the problem worse. Lashing out makes it worse. Dumping responsibility for your actions onto someone else, makes it worse.

Reaching out and making connection, makes it better. Learning more about others, practicing kindness, self regulation, and community building, makes it better.

Add other ideas in the comments about what YOU can do to make it better.

Dreams, pain, loneliness

Oct. 17th, 2017 12:52 pm
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[personal profile] labelleizzy
I dreamed I was a teenager and that I woke up with appendicitis, or something that blew up my low left belly in a painful distended lump. (I knew I was a teenager because my belly was small and flat and the lump was distinct, painful-tender and hot to the touch)

I called for my dad to help me out of bed and said, "I need to go to the hospital" and he helped me sit up (I didn't know that I remembered his hands) but then he left and found a lot of other things he had to do before he could take me... He didn't listen when I talked to him, and the pain in the dream was enough that I couldn't walk properly.

When I woke to go to the bathroom, the physical sensations from the dream had me bent over and hobbling to protect my belly for several steps till I touched my belly and it was fine, didn't hurt.

I know my brain got the belly-pain from my recent gastritis/incredibly painful gas that wouldn't pass for days. Don't wanna think about where I got the lonely-he-refuses-to-listen part.

I'm definitely feeling sad today. It's probably partly from whatever brought up a dream like that... But too, California is still burning, and that acts on my mind at a subconscious level.

I'm going to set up some social time with my people for the next two weeks so I have something to look forward to. Hopefully that will help me feel better.
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1 - Tasmanian Devil Joeys

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of two healthy litters of Tasmanian Devil joeys! According to keepers, this is one of the most successful years to date for the Zoo’s Tasmanian Devil conservation breeding program.

The first litter of three joeys arrived on March 19 to mother Lana. Keepers were recently able to take a close look at each joey and confirm their sex (two males and one female). Another female, Pooki, birthed four joeys more recently on June 19, which are yet to emerge from the pouch.

“We’re very pleased to see nurturing, maternal instincts from both Lana and Pooki, who are both two-year-old females and first-time mothers,” Taronga Western Plains Zoo Senior Keeper Steve Kleinig said.

“The three joeys born in March…are now weaned (meaning they have left mother Lana’s pouch) but they still remain close by her side. They are now playing with each other and exploring independently outside the den.”

“The four joeys born in June are starting to open their eyes and become more aware of their surroundings. While they are still attached to their mother's teats, we’re expecting they will begin to leave their mother’s pouch in the coming weeks,” Steve said.

2 - Tasmanian Devil Joeys

3 - TWPZ Keepers Hayley Brooks  Karen James and Rachel Schildkraut with Tasmanian Devil JoeysPhoto Credits: Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Image 3: Keepers Hayley Brooks, Karen James, and Rachel Schildkraut)

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is part of a national insurance population program designed to help save the Tasmanian Devil from becoming extinct as a result of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease*.

The Zoo’s breeding success this year is the result of a more targeted approach, and has benefited from favorable breeding recommendations. These are based on the unique characteristics and genetics of a breeding pair and, combined with their compatibility upon meeting, can determine breeding success.

“We are continuing to collaborate with other breeding institutions to improve the long-term viability of our program, such as Devil Ark in the Barrington Tops, where Lana and Pooki came from, and Tasmania’s Trowunna Wildlife Park, where the father originated,” Steve said.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has two breeding facilities for the Tasmanian Devil located behind the scenes. The Zoo has bred 31 healthy Tasmanian Devil joeys so far - a significant boost to the regional zoo-based insurance population of this endangered species.

With Tasmanian Devil numbers in the wild currently dwindling to between 15,000 and 50,000 individuals, every birth is significant. The mainland breeding program of which the Zoo is a part could play an important role in helping to re-establish healthy wild populations of the species in Tasmania if needed in future.

The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae. It was once native to mainland Australia, but it is now found only in the wild on the island state of Tasmania, including tiny east coast Maria Island where there is a conservation project with disease-free animals.

The Tasmanian Devil is the size of a small dog and became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the Thylacine in 1936. It is related to Quolls and distantly related to the Thylacine.

It is characterized by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odor, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. The Tasmanian Devil's large head and neck allow it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby.

A breeding Tasmanian Devil female can produce up to 50 young that are about the size of a grain of rice. Competition for survival is fierce, and only the first four joeys are able to latch onto the mother’s teats.

In 2008, the Tasmanian Devil was assessed and classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. In 2009, the Australian Government also listed the species as “Endangered”, under national environmental law.

*Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is an infectious cancer that only affects Tasmanian Devils, and is transmitted through biting, fighting and mating. Since the first official case of DFTD in Australia in 1996, there has been a decline of up to 50-70 per cent of the Tasmanian Devil population across the majority of Tasmania.

Working again!

Oct. 17th, 2017 02:20 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat
Hey look! They fixed the Wordpress posting to DW problem. With any luck, my photos will work from now on.

If you care about getting caught up, the first photo that was missed was this diving beetle. If you go there, you should be able to click on "next post" to see all of the others up to this one.
[syndicated profile] icanhascheezburger_feed
hedgehogs with long ears

Long Eared hedgehog are different to their close hedgehog cousins due to their huge ears, the length of which varies from 3 to 5 centimeters. This size of the ear is an adaptation to the hot climate area, which is inhabited by these animals. Long-Eared hedgehogs are found in deserts, semi-deserts and steppes. Check out these adorable photos. Via: Sharesloth

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Tagged: long , ears , hedgehog

Going To Texas

Oct. 17th, 2017 02:04 pm
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[personal profile] wcg
I'm going to be in Richmond TX from November 5th through 12th, working with All Hands Volunteers to repair some flood damaged homes. If anyone reading this might want to join in, or donate to the effort, you can find out about it here.


kshandra: The Burning Man effigy, lit in blue neon, arms by his sides; an orange half-moon is visible over his shoulder. (Default)kshandra

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