I have things to say, but no time to compose them. But certainly the world is (literally, terribly) on fire, and you can vent here. Or whatever.
Moosy Chooracter sends in:
1. (It has amazing photographs too.)
Hoobie's take: Why don't I flesh these out a bit?
1. "The Deadly Winters That Have Transformed Life For Herders In Mongolia":
A stunningly cold, snowy winter changed Oyutan's life forever. Several animals died every few days from starvation, illness and exposure to the elements. By May, he had lost 100 head of livestock -- and his entire livelihood.
The cause was a phenomenon that Mongolians recognize with a specific word. They call it a dzud -- the deterioration of winter weather conditions leading to a mass death of livestock from lack of food and/or water. Dzud winters vary, characterized by harsh cold, too much snow or not enough, ice and other factors.
Dzuds, unique to Mongolia, are homegrown natural disasters born out of the country's unusual environment: landlocked, semiarid and prone to swings in temperature and precipitation. Historically, dzuds occurred once or twice a decade. Four dzuds in a single decade overwhelmed Mongolia's government. It lacked the resources to adequately respond to this magnitude of natural disaster.
Moosy is right that the photographs are stunning.
2. "Climate change threatens reindeer herders' way of life in Mongolia's north, and yields clues to their past"
The team of American archaeologists discovered two worked willow branch artefacts from an ice patch that had completely melted. After consulting the Dukha nomads, the team identified them as parts of an antique fishing rod.
I heard a rumor that Obama is very passionate about one particular candidate, but is keeping it under wraps because he doesn't yet want to jump in the fray.
(I'll give you a chance to register your guesses.)
It's Beto. Which makes sense on a number of levels:
1. Obama sees himself in Beto
2. Obama doesn't yet see fit to alienate Biden, or whoever the eventual nominate may be, so he's being so secretive
3. This is why Beto is still convinced he has a shot, because he's got this ace in the hole, whispering in his ear.
Will I be amused all year long that the 19-20 school year sounds so old-timey? Maybe! (Mostly just because the current year is '19, I have screwed up the date and written years as 19XX a few times.)(My mom sent me a check recently where she first put the year as '98, then crossed that out and wrote '20, and left it like that.)
Anyway, our kids don't actually go back until next week, but it's the first day of faculty workshops, and thus begins my least favorite six week stretch of the entire year: the wearing of professional clothes in 90-100+ degree weather. There needs to be a Groundhog's analogue for summer.
Nick S. writes: I have been thinking about recommending the "tedium" newsletter for a while. The most recent piece is not representative, but is a wonderful essay which offers a thinking through of the nature of the connection between risk and adventure seeking in a niche community.
[W]hen I look back at the article [from 2016], I wonder if I was too reductive about the pilots' relationship between risk and the sport that quickly became their "obsession"
My thesis was essentially that the rewards, largely neurological and emotional, outweighs the risk. While this is still very true for many paramotorists, it ignores much more significant questions. And in light of recent events within the community, Ernie asked if I would revisit the topic, and that would mean reconnecting with James.
Paramotoring is not an activity anyone just falls into. The equipment is expensive and training to get into the sky takes time. Even the most basic activities are dangerous. One of the first things a pilot learns how to do is "float" their wing from the ground. This involves simply catching enough air to keep the modified parachute used in paramotoring off the ground. It is actually quite difficult to do for any period of time but practiced paramotorists can do it all day. Even this basic training can potentially lift someone off the ground if they're not careful.
Heebie's take: "Tedium" is a good name, but it's unfortunately close to "Medium". Here's the blurb from their front page:
We're on a mission. Twice a week, internet obsessive Ernie Smith (formerly of ShortFormBlog) takes a deep dive towards the absolute end of the long tail, and he's putting his findings in your inbox.
The essay itself is a bit disjointed - I was surprised when I got to the end because I kept thinking it was building up towards something else - but still interesting.
I am so very far from the type of person who finds physical risks exhilarating. I can enjoy a rush of adrenaline, especially social adrenaline: the adrenaline of performing in front of other people or successfully charming a person that you're meeting for the first time. But I find the adrenaline of physical risk viscerally unpleasant and off-putting and absolutely cannot imagine strapping on an industrial fan and enduring all that face-planting.
We've now done ordered weekly grocery online twice now. I still instinctively dislike it, but probably not for very good reasons. (Reverse snobbery or a sense that it's less virtuous? I like picking out my own fruits and vegetables, but I'm not precious about it. The ones that they've grabbed seem fine.)(I apologize for implying that you're being precious.)
Anyway, there's no going back from the time savings, at least until I have a lot more disposable time. The web interface on ours is well done. I like being able to easily compare items that are located in very different sections: wait a minute, frozen X is more expensive than fresh X? That never occurred to me to check. Etc.
I'm not clear on how reusable bags figure into all this. I mean, I'm clear how they figure in, in Texas: they don't. But how does this work elsewhere?