Exploring

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A couple of friends and I went up to Extension Ridge this week. They’d done it before in winter and said it was extremely beautiful; we figured it would be a good leisurely day hike.

trailhead by powerlines

The trailhead wasn’t terribly prepossessing, I must say.

Luckily I’d looked up the trail before we went, so the fact that a big chunk of forest next to it had been clearcut this year (it crosses private timber license land) was not a surprise. But as clearcuts always are, it was, well, pretty barren.

arbutus trees in clearcut

I’m not sure why they left the arbutus trees standing. I guess they’re not considered salable? Their forms against the sky were quite beautiful, though.

arbutus trees in clearcut

First point of interest: the Abyss. This is an earthquake fissure, though one source I found said that it was likely to be the result of a collapsed mine tunnel triggered by an earthquake. Either way, earthquake, and I’m glad I wasn’t there when it happened.

the abyss - a rock crevice

the abyss - a rock crevice

The view looking away from the clearcut wasn’t half bad.

view looking away from clearcut to mountaibn

More clearcuts, but higher now, so we got a view of the city and Gabriola and Protection Islands beyond and the Coast Mountains beyond that.

view across clearcutsmall dog between big stumps

The path, once we got away from the clearcut, wandered along the ridge through fir and arbutus trees—far more of the latter than I’m used to seeing. It really was beautiful, and completely worth getting through the shock of the clearcut. We wandered on for a bit and then had some snacks and carried on.

arbutus silhouetted against sky

Arbutuses really are quite indecently beautiful.

closeup of arbutus barkmanzanita

And there was manzanita!

sacred circle

And there was… a thing. A roundabout of sorts in the middle of the woods. I looked it up afterwards. This is apparently known as the Sacred Circle: “A large rock compass that holds offerings from riders and hikers past. Always ride around the shrine counter-clockwise three times!!!”

(This whole area is riddled with mountainbike trails, some of which went over what I would call small cliffs. Eep.)

sacred circle offerings

Some of the shrine offerings are more respectful than others. Though I did like all the dragons.

small dog on top of ridge

Getting closer to the end of the stretch of trail we were doing, we found a lovely lookout, complete with a metal bench. It was a memorial to Astraea, a much loved boxer dog. A great place to sit and nibble some more. I personally did not, alas, have dog treats, despite the hopeful looks.

end of trail

And another unprepossessing trail end. This is where we turned around and headed back. We figure it was about 10 kilometres return, so a nice walk for a September day.

arbutus trees standing in clearcut, silhouetted against clouds

And one last arbutus skyscape, taken on the return trip.

The Fall Fair

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So yesterday was the Fall Fair at the Commons.

the commons entrance

We hopped on our bikes and rode over—a great way to avoid parking problems—which meant that we came in from a side trail, and that meant the first things we saw was the agricultural exhibition; specifically, the animals.

rooster rooster

The roosters were particularly photogenic.

rooster crowing

And noisy.

skinny pig

Roosters weren’t the only thing on show! Look, a skinny pig (hairless guinea pig)!

jar full of beans

There was an opportunity to win… something? by guessing the number of beans in this jar. I don’t think I won.

gate sign to "the orchard"

The Commons is really very beautiful, and they’ve put up some lovely new signs.

dog show

There was a dog show. Every single dog was a Very Good Dog, and every single dog won! (I’m not sure if they were trying to pry the dog out of the tunnel in this one, or what.)

terrier

Our buddy Bonnie.

leonberger puppy

Our buddy Yolanda. (Yolanda is a leonberger puppy. At 13 weeks old, as I recall, she weighed 45 pounds. Right now she is the softest, floofiest snookums imaginable.)

parade

There was a parade, led by the Ken Capon Memorial Marching Band.

salmon float

There was a float! It was all about protecting wild salmon and was pulled, of course, by a dog.

squash racetrack ramp

And there was, of course, the World Famous Squash Race. We left before that happened, but did get a good look at the racetrack.

All in all, as usual, a wonderful Fall Fair.

From the world pool: September 2, 2016

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Socio-political commentary

Feminism AND GENDER ISSUES

This Vote Is Legally Binding. Did you read that awful advice thing from the Men’s Rights Activist called How to Talk to a Woman Wearing Headphones? (Trigger Warning: extraordinary levels of privilege and creepiness.) It spawned quite the internet memes, but this is one particularly brilliant response, from the wonderful Ursula Vernon.

The Disappearing Act. How women in science and academia get erased. “Take one 11th century Italian physician named Trotula who gained both fame and respect in her own lifetime for treating women’s ailments. By the next century, a historian assumed someone so accomplished couldn’t be a woman and changed her pronoun and name to the masculine form. (via @KameronHurley)

Equal Means Equal: A Wake-Up Call to Women WRITER-DIRECTOR-ACTRESS Kamala Lopez is an outspoken proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment. She believes that, more than any other legislation on behalf of women, the ERA could turn the tide on the systemic sexism and biases against women — including the gender pay gap, sexual assault and rape, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, female poverty and homelessness, health care and reproductive rights — by its assertion that “civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex.” Her film Equal Means Equal takes on these weighty issues in a sobering 94-minute wake-up call to American women on the vast inequities they face in the United States, while providing a compelling argument for the urgency of ratifying this constitutional amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 and passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972.

It’s hard to believe that it’s never passed, isn’t it? Or maybe not so hard to believe.

Watch Helen Mirren shut down the patriarchy in this incredibly sexist 1975 interview. This cheered me up a bit.

The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit. “If this were a simple case of sour grapes it would fade with few caring. But the stakes are far higher. The IAAF is going back to Cas to defend a policy that it accepts discriminates against women. A policy whose explicit aim is to make women slower. That benefits no one.”

Globalization

The Court That Rules the World This is scary stuff. “A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment.”

Diversity and Racism

Video presenting people with their DNA results forces us to confront our biases against others (via @tressiemcphd)

What is the “Alt-Right”? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media  (via @eilatan)

The Legacy of Lynching, on Death Row. “Lynchings, which took the form of hangings, shootings, beatings, and other acts of murder, were often public events, urged on by thousands, but by the nineteen-thirties the behavior of the crowds had begun to draw criticism in the North. ‘The only reason lynchings stopped in the American South was that the spectacle of the crowds cheering these murders was becoming problematic,’ Stevenson told me. ‘Local law enforcement was powerless to stop the mob, even if it wanted to. So people in the North started to say that the federal government needed to send in federal troops to protect black people from these acts of terror. No one in power in the South wanted that—so they moved the lynchings indoors, in the form of executions. They guaranteed swift, sure, certain death after the trial, rather than before the trial.'” (via @eilatan)

Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk? “Additional analyses suggested that it was indeed participants’ judgment of the parent’s immorality that drove up their assessments of risk. The authors sum up their findings like this: ‘People don’t only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous.'”

White Nonsense Roundup: on Facebook and on Twitter.  “White Nonsense Roundup (WNR) was created by white people to address our inherently racist society in our own communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color. We are a resource for anti-racist images, links, videos, artwork, essays, and voices. These can be used by anyone for a DIY white nonsense roundup, or by the WNR team to support people of color upon their request.”

How To Talk About Privilege To Someone Who Doesn’t Know What That Is. “The actual privileges we inherit because of our identity don’t define our character, but what does is whether we choose to act to change the system of oppression that affords us those privileges.” (via @nowhitenonesense)

Think Before You Appropriate: The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. The researchers there have created a resource titled: “THINK BEFORE YOU APPROPRIATE” and CARFAC is urging all artists to give it a read.

Think Before You Appropriate provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation, and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities. This is an important tool for all peoples in Canada as we move towards reconciliation and respect for Indigenous cultures and peoples.

Environment

Well, this is depressing.

“Our living dinosaurs:” There are far fewer African elephants than we thought, study shows. “The current rate of species decline is 8%, meaning that elephant numbers could halve to 160,000 in nine years if nothing changes, according to the survey — and localized extinction is almost certain.” (via @ChrisBoese)

Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years, animal rescue charity warns

Art + Design

Artist Turns Old Farm Equipment Into Incredible Animal Sculptures You’ll Ever See. I kind of want one for my yard.

Just cool

Wow. Meet The Closest Living Relative To The Extinct Dodo Bird With Incredibly Colorful Iridescent Feathers  (via @fozmeadows)

Just for fun

Watch. The. Whole. Thing.

There is honestly no point in doing anything but this guy’s job.

From the world pool: August 19th, 2016

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I think it’s time for a cheery set of links. (It’s a short list because I last posted links just a few days ago.)

Local environmental activism

Biologist Single-Handedly Repopulates a Rare Species of Butterfly in His Backyard  “The California pipevine swallowtail butterfly was once suffering a fate that so many creatures face—the loss of its habitat in San Francisco was causing their population to decline. But thanks to one man’s DIY efforts, the iridescent blue-winged insect is flourishing again. California Academy of Sciences aquatic biologist Tim Wong single-handedly revived the flailing species by building a home for them in his backyard. Now, over three years later, the stunning butterflies have slowly returned to the Golden Gate city.”

Art + Design

Oh, now this is cool.  “Raubdruckerin uses drain covers as a printing module for textiles and paper. By pressing a garment on a drain cover coated with paint, the surface is being transferred as a graphical pattern onto the desired object. After first experiments in 2006 Raubdruckerin is meanwhile printing in streets all over the world.

Discover NYC’s Over 1,000 Public Artworks with a New Interactive Map
(via @brainpicker)

Geeking Out

I’m not sure if this should be categorized as art or geekery. Both, maybe? MIT and Microsoft Research made a ‘smart’ tattoo that remotely controls your phone   “The paper presents three key use cases for the tattoo: you could use it to turn your skin into a trackpad, design it to change color based on temperature, or pull data from the tattoo.”

From the world pool: August 14, 2016

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Socio-political commentary

Collected over the last month. I’m not doing nearly a good enough job keeping up with this!

US politics

Trump’s Assassination Dog Whistle Was Even Scarier Than You Think  Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” Let’s break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But we can predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future. Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog. (via @PatrickWeekes)

This is particularly terrifying in the context of this recent poll: New Poll Shows Trump Supporters Mostly Believe Whatever He Says

And this chart: Who Lies More: A Comparison

In talking about Trump and the baby  “Sometimes brevity is the enemy of an accurate picture of just how bad something is.” (via @tressiemcphd)

Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing  (via @sarahkendzior)

Laurie Penny: I’m With the Banned

LikableBecause Hillary Clinton, you see, would like to be President. And the thing is, there’s no right way for her to do that, either. The problem is that, if she campaigns too hard, or works too much, she (again) looks “pathologically ambitious,” obsessive, “ruthless,” selfish, and over-confident in her own abilities. (Unlike, say, anyone else who thought they deserved to be the leader of the free world.) On the other hand, if she actually wins anything, or succeeds in any way, everyone is pretty certain that she didn’t earn it: She slept her way to the top! The media is being unfair to Bernie! This whole thing is rigged!!!! She works too hard, and wants to succeed too much, but when she succeeds, it’s apparently never due to all that hard work. The only way for her to campaign “appropriately,” in this scheme, is to sit back and let a male opponent win. Or to not run at all. (via @juliedillon)

Bernie or Bust Supporters Continue to Sabotage Clinton Just to Prove a Point  They are so desperate to see Hillary lose, several thousand have now huddled up around Jill Stein as the third-party spoiler. That means that their need for revenge is bigger than their need to preserve a moderate to liberal Supreme Court. It’s bigger than the safety of Muslim Americans under a spiteful Trump presidency. It’s bigger than respecting millions of hardworking Latino immigrants. It’s bigger than the fate of LGBT families whose rights will be stripped and reversed under a conservative Supreme Court. It’s bigger than the bare bones austerity budget Paul Ryan wants and needs to pass, reversing the course of decades of post-Roosevelt social policies. It’s bigger than demanding equal rights for women not be rolled back. It’s bigger than the environment because Trump has made it very clear that he doesn’t believe in climate change and wants to drill baby drill, burn coal till there’s no more to burn, and “bomb their oil and take their oil.” Their need for revenge is bigger than any other concern facing anyone poor, struggling, needy or oppressed. It has only to do with their anger and rage, their sense of entitlement, their hatred of women. (via @juliedillon)

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter did something huge today

Feminism

The Intersectional Woman’s Reading List

Environment

“CHASING ICE” captures largest glacier calving ever filmed On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

As a visual spectacle, this is just amazing. But it’s scary, too: think global warming.

Censorship

Scaling the firewall: Ways around government censorship online

Education

In debt and out of hope: Faces of the student loan mess  I am so very glad I’m not living in the US with a student loan.

Art + Design

Simon Stalenhag

Getty Likely To Settle $1B Suit By Photographer For Appropriating Her Public-Domain Work “Getty Images was perhaps a bit overzealous when it attempted to collect money from prolific photographer Carol Highsmith for using her own photograph without Getty’s permission.”

Understatement, I’d say.

Geeking Out

How Pokemon Go Simulates the Ravages of Old Age Through Terrible Game Design.  All right, I confess, I’m playing it, in a very laid back sort of way, not trying to capture the local gym (our post office) but just collect, which is a challenge in a rural environment. I hope these are things they fix. (via @kyliu99)

Thought-provoking

A dissertation finds her readers.

The Case Against Honeybees  (via @KameronHurley)

E = E-commerce  As humans, we don’t prefer low quality. It was only through the rise of fast fashion — a business model based on the artificial creation of short-term trends combined with clothing that doesn’t last, what other industries call “planned obsolescence” — that consumers were, with of course very large marketing budgets, convinced to accumulate all of this stuff.

Useful!

How to Email Your Professor (without being annoying AF) Every semester, I see the tweets and Facebook posts. My professor friends, they are annoyed. Their students do not know how to write emails, they say. What they really mean is that their students don’t know how to follow the conventions of email etiquette in the academy. I used to be exasperated by student emails too. Until I realized that there was a simple explanation for why they didn’t know how to write them — they’ve never actually been taught how.

Wish some of my students had seen this.

On Writing

The Boy Who Lived Forever  You can see both sides of the issue. Do characters belong to the person who created them? Or to the fans who love them so passionately that they spend their nights and weekends laboring to extend those characters’ lives, for free? There’s a division here, a geological fault line, that looks small on the surface but runs deep into our culture, and the tectonic plates are only moving farther apart. Is art about making up new things or about transforming the raw material that’s out there? Cutting, pasting, sampling, remixing and mashing up have become mainstream modes of cultural expression, and fan fiction is part of that. It challenges just about everything we thought we knew about art and creativity. 

Quote of the week

I wake up from my reverie and we are still parked at South Station. I tune into the conversation around me and hear the kids. Let me emphasize KIDS. Kids making a game plan for what they will do if the police start to shoot them.

I glance up at the boy across from me. He is squirming. He wants off bad. He is texting fiercely. I’m assuming he’s telling someone what we are both observing.

The girl next to me notices my presence and says “Sorry for messing up your ride.”

I say “Don’t worry about it.”

My voice catches on the last word. My throat starts to sear. She asks “Are you upset?”

I respond “Yeah, I guess I am. I just don’t understand why they are calling the cops.”

She says “Because we are black.”

The 12-year-old turns to the group and quietly says “Black lives matter.” They all murmur in agreement.

This week I had one of the most disturbing train rides of my life – and it changed my perspective on Black Lives Matter (via @pericat)

Just cool

Jupiter Approach NASA/JPL is excited to share the unprocessed images that comprise the approach movie acquired by JunoCam as the Juno spacecraft approached Jupiter.

When you really think about it, this is just so amazing.

Just for fun

Radioooo  Pick a country and a decade and listen.

Cat reacts to watching horror movie

Goldenrod crab spider

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goldenrod crab spider, misumena vatia, on white tarp

When I was taking down the tarp from the deck party yesterday I found this little spider; she’s a lovely white colour just tinged with the faintest green. She’s a goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia).

goldenrod crab spider, misumena vatia, on white tarp

They’re hunters who lurk in flowers and then grab their prey with the two oversized front legs. And they can change colour, at least between white and yellow, how cool is that? What she was doing on the tarp I can’t imagine, unless she just liked the whiteness of it.

DSC_0965 goldenrod crab spider.

I think I might be a little too big for you to grab, sweetie.

 

Going, going…

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two baby robins

July 25th

One of the babies has climbed out of the nest entirely.

one baby robin sitting on edge of nest

July 26th

The older chick has gone; this is the only one left in the nest, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be here much longer. Handsome little thing, isn’t it?

empty nest

July 27th: gone!

The nest was empty when I checked it this morning.

I don’t think it had ever quite sunk in for me just how fast robin chicks grow. Just as a reminder, this was the first photo I took, 12 days ago:

robin chick

I’m not even sure there were two of them at that point. There might have been; but in any case, this one couldn’t have been more than two days old, if it was that.

All I can say is… wow.

 

Lichen

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lichen tendrils

This is a ground-growing lichen I spotted while we were out having a picnic today. I’m not someone who knows much about lichens, so I can’t tell you which exact one this is, but the rooty-looking things are rhizines, used to anchor the lichen (I assume it had been disturbed from its usual position). I think that the bulbous tan-coloured things at the tips of the lobes are apothecia, fruiting bodies. Beautiful, aren’t they?