Sea Ice Bioluminescence and Aurora


Last week Adrien Mauduit took Night Lights Films to a beach in Norway. Ethereal aurora paid little attention to waves caressing a pebbled shore. Unexpected, hypnotic and awe inspiring.

Who knew aurora at the beach had more to give? Sea ice bioluminescence took my breath away. Hats off to Adrien Mauduit –

Night Lights Films – YouTube

Bobbitt Worm


Ponder Eunice aphroditois, the Bobbitt Worm. Sightless predatory aquatic worm notable for stealth, dizzying speed and impressive size. Growing up to ten feet long, stinging bristles cover a colourful exoskeleton. Their business end is ringed by five antennae, Bobbitt strikes by turning its throat inside out to expose sharp teeth packed with paralyzing toxin. They prefer warm ocean reefs, evidence suggests this invasive species has a far greater range than once thought.

Viscous a predator as Eunice aphroditois may be, surely “Bobbitt” wasn’t the best we could come up with? Bobbitt refers to Lorena Bobbitt. In 1993, domestic abuse, rape and sodomy culminated in Lorena cutting off her husband’s penis while he slept. John’s penis was reattached, Lorena acquitted and released after a 45 day psych evaluation, John ruled not guilty of rape by a jury. Close as I can tell, an online myth circulated inferring female Eunice aphroditois cut off male organs after mating, feeding it to their young. Since when do worms have penises? I digress.

A co-worker introduced Bobbitt Worms. He shared a link, expressed astonishment, I reciprocated. We spoke of evolution remarkable perfection of species, unfathomable diversity and realization we comprehend a fraction of the natural world. Good talk. Then he said, “anything named for Lorena Bobbitt must be nasty, a real badass”. Whoa, that’s not funny. “I’m serious” he replied with a chuckle. I wasn’t laughing.

What’s wrong with “sand striker” or “trap-jaw worm”? Both common names for Eunice aphroditois prior to Bobbitt malarkey. By what stretch of imagination (other than click bait ) does “Bobbitt” make a species more fascinating? “Have you heard of the giant predatory sea worm named for Lorena Bobbitt? So horrendous it attacks without mercy, slices unsuspecting prey in half without conscience. A horrible creature unashamed of paralyzing bristles, venomous bite.?” WTF people!

We live in a world of embellishment, sensationalism, misinformation, monetized content and parroted hearsay. What’s funny about likening a desperate act by an unhinged domestic abuse victim to behavior of a predatory sea worm? I digress, end of rant. Sigh.

Eunice aphroditois – Wikipedia

John and Lorena Bobbitt – Wikipedia

bobbit-worm-2.jpg (700×443)

20 Facts about Bobbit Worm To Know What This Creature Is – Mysterious Monsters (science-rumors.com)

Truth


From Peter at Embrace Serendipity, the truth about lies –

Embrace Serendipity

‘The Truth Coming Out of the Well’, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1896.

“According to a 19th century legend, the Truth and the Lie meet one day. The Lie says to the Truth: “It’s a marvellous day today”! The Truth looks up to the skies and sighs, for the day was really beautiful. They spend a lot of time together, ultimately arriving beside a well. The Lie tells the Truth: “The water is very nice, let’s take a bath together!” The Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that it indeed is very nice. They undress and start bathing. Suddenly, the Lie comes out of the water, puts on the clothes of the Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find the Lie and to get her clothes back.

The World, seeing the Truth naked, turns its gaze away, with contempt…

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Oh “Deer”


A few hours ago I heard Trump’s asinine assertion that doctor’s make more money when they lie about COVID deaths. See link – https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/trump-covid-death-money-jesus-christ_n_5f9c94d4c5b65662bcc6f565?ri18n=true

Ever since, it’s been my mission to definitively settle on a song or video clip to summarize how I feel about Trump and his catatonic cult. After considerable deliberation, I’ve settled on “Please Move The Deer Crossing Sign”. Can’t think anymore, my head hurts. Sigh and over to you….

Shame On Oscar


Earlier this week reigning bobbleheads at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka, the Oscars), puffed out ever so pleased with themselves chests to announce new inclusion and diversity guidelines. Ostensibly the first stage of a five year plan to promote diversity on and off the screen. Translation – Oscar consideration will be reserved for productions where people of colour, women, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are included in minimum percentage quotas. From actors, marketing, pre and post production, catering and internships to location scouts, camera operators, lighting techs and extra wranglers, every aspect of production just became a box to tick.

Initial coverage centred on warm fuzzy kudos for Academy acknowledgement of trending social issues. Were we supposed to gush praise for enlightenment of an old guard white establishment? Sleep tight knowing another behemoth influencer feigned understanding or compassion for systemic injustice? What a farce!

Lets talk fine print before weighing in on the absurdity of hollow, insulting percentage quotas. New rules don’t apply to films vying for 2021 Oscar nods. Not until Oscar 2024 will films have to meet quotas in two of four standards. The four standards cover “diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.” Take your pick, no pressure. Pad the crew with a sprinkling of trans black lesbians, contract first aid to a immigrant Iranian doctor formerly flipping burgers to support his family because his degree isn’t recognized in America, hire amputee survivors of Rwanda genocide to sew costumes, recruit unpaid interns at predominantly black colleges, take a page from Netflix and script obligatory same sex intimacy in every production. Mission accomplished, standards fulfilled, business as usual.

What’s wrong with these people? Do they actually think spotlight posturing makes a difference? Believe marginalized people seek validation based on arbitrary quotas? It’s SO PAINFUL! News flash -we’re all the same. Black skin the same as freckled white, same sex union no different than traditional marriage, nation of birth, faith or lack thereof – all irrelevant. Diversity quotas prevail for purposes of corporate optics. Look at us, click, like, follow and share our trending abundance of social awareness. Shame on Oscar.

https://nationalpost.com/entertainment/oscars-academy-sets-out-new-diversity-standards-for-best-picture-contenders

Dogs Trained To Sniff Out Coronavirus


Lead researcher Dominique Grandjean at France’s National Veterinary School of Alfort is training dogs to sniff out COVID-19. Since March eager canine noses have been exposed to sweat samples from people infected with coronavirus. Accurate detection requires 6-8 weeks training for dogs already primed to detect other triggers, 3-6 months training for rookie canines. Once dialed in, dogs exposed to a line of sweat samples can identify COVID with close to 100% accuracy. Notably identifying asymptomatic persons with remarkable acuity.

These dogs are trained to sniff out the coronavirus

Muzzle of a white dog, closeup on its nose.

On average, dogs have about 220 million scent receptors. Image via Shutterstock/

Today, COVID sniffer dogs are being trained in the UAE, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium. In the UAE (United Arab Emirates) COVID-19 detector dogs now patrol airports. The ability to identify asymptomatic infection is huge, perhaps the difference between boarding a plane safely, or sitting next to someone unaware they’re carrying the virus.

15% Pledge


Aurora James, founder of “sustainable retail” store Brother Vellies in Brooklyn, New York launched the Fifteen Percent Pledge on May 31, 2020. A “You asked how you can help. This is your opportunity.” social media campaign aimed at large market share retailers in America. The likes of Whole Foods, Home Depot, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barnes and Noble. In total, calling on ten mega retailers to rethink business strategies and marketing to include 15% of shelf space allotted to black owned enterprises. Why 15%? Approximately 15% of U.S. citizens are black. All ten declined,  preferring to focus on their own “racial diversity measures.”

See the source image

https://www.15percentpledge.org/pledge

Fifteen percent pledge momentum blossomed without help from corporate behemoths. In June Sephora stood in line, followed by Vogue magazine and countless online fashion, health and wellness retailers. Make no mistake, fifteen percent is building steam. Fair enough, but am I the only one who sees misplaced red flags?

Fact – racism is rampant, black Americans are twice as likely to contract coronavirus than their white neighbors, 40% of businesses closed due to COVID-19 were owned by black Americans, compared to 32% Latino and 16% white businesses. Awareness, dialogue, equality are fine and dandy, but it’s a slippery slope when these initiatives serve as feel good substitutes for fundamental change.

The fifteen percent pledge is a band aid. White participants mean well, they’re pleased with themselves, subscribe to social media trends of the moment. Fifteen percent pledges are a marketing banner. Sales spike with every law enforcement murder of a black citizen, fall when protest subsides. Sure, a handful of black entrepreneurs might benefit in the short term, but how does that combat racism?

Blacks don’t want fifteen percent pledges, they want equal rights. They want equal opportunity based on merit, not skin tone. Those with red hair, freckled white skin and green eyes are no different from persons with tightly curled locks and dark pigmentation. Latino or South Asian citizens aren’t privy to fifteen percent pledge initiatives, so why blacks? Why not aboriginal citizens or non-Christian immigrants? Sigh.

 

Worst Year of Your Life? Really?


A recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing in partnership with the Association for Canadian Studies asked – “Up until now, is 2020 the worst year you have ever lived?” 50% of Canadians, 58% of Americans answered yes, 2020 is the worst year of my life. Canadians and Americans, 41 and 46 percent respectively cited death of a loved one as reason. (Not specific to COVID-19), followed by stress, anxiety and future uncertainty at 41% for both countries.

Sure, it’s been tough. Took some time to adjust, adapt and digest, but worst year of my life? Not even close.

Pessimism flourished along geographic and demographic lines. 62% of respondents living in southern U.S. states declared 2020 worst year of their life. In Canada 56% of those aged 18-54 declared 2020 the worst, compared to 47% over 55.

https://nationalpost.com/news/half-of-canadians-say-2020-has-been-the-worst-year-of-their-lives-with-younger-people-more-pessimistic-poll

In my mind, 2020 as worst year of life represents collective misappropriation of frustration. Worst year of life internalizes external circumstance, it creates dismay rather than sparking unity. Worst year of life is a personal declaration, it’s lonely and depressing. Granted, I speak from a Canadian perspective. ( 121,00 cases, 9,004 deaths compared to 5.15 million cases, 164,000 deaths in America ). That said, cause and effect can be debilitating, or it can facilitate a fundamental shift in perspective – reevaluation of priorities leading to social awareness, empathy, government foibles and personal responsibility. Is that so bad?

COVID-19 is a cautionary tale, how humanity responds defines our future. Unexpected, devastating, inconvenient, sobering, contentious, political, alarming, needlessly fatal – yes. Worst year of our lives? Only if its lesson eludes you.

Chinese Take-Out Ponder


Once upon a time I’d jump at suggestion of ordering Chinese take-out. Chinese food of my youth, small town 1960’s take-out was much like Wonder bread or Tang, novel for its homogenized predictability. Special fried rice with baby shrimp and bright green peas, beef and broccoli, lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork smothered in artificial red dye stickiness. Fresh, satisfying indulgence reserved for special occasions.

Taste-Buds-Kitchen-chinese-take-out-1.jpg (832×555)

I grew up, moved away, left Chinese take-out nostalgia behind. Try as I might it never tasted as good again, I could take it or leave it. Given a choice, Chinese take-out wouldn’t evoke enthusiasm. It just wasn’t the same. My first pregnancy came with inexplicable aversion to the smell of Five Spice, sight of BBQ Duck displayed in Chinese market windows. Both produced involuntary gagging. Go figure? If my husband craved Chinese, he ate it for lunch at work.

Three pregnancies and ten years later I caved to Chinese take-out pressure. My family loved it, me not so much. Certainly nothing special about it. Special fried rice contained tiny canned shrimp, dry garlic ribs were nothing but bone and gristle. WTF? Last straw arrived late one stormy night when a co-worker and I happened upon back alley horror. Driving to the office after a catering gig we took a short cut up an alley close to the shop. It was pouring rain, a screen door flapped in the wind, six pigeons with clipped wings scattered out the swinging door followed by a frantic cook attempting to corral them. Oh hell no! Remind me not to order from that Chinese restaurant.

Repeated story to another co-worker. You think that’s bad. she replied. Seems her brother works for the gas company. They got a call to attend a mall food court for suspected gas leak. On arrival they investigated service corridor, determined gas odor came from back room of Chinese restaurant. Gained access, discovered employees blow torching hair off dead rats. Double, oh hell no! That was five years ago.

A few days ago my husband really wanted Chinese take-out. Far from thrilled, I took one for the team. Suffice to say it didn’t go well. Five items for $84, are you kidding me? Greasy fried rice with 4 shrimp and 7 peas, sweet and sour pork sans pork under generous clumps of fried batter, soggy lemon chicken coated in thick layers of raw at the centre dough. Nothing to do but laugh, vow not to go there again.

Chinese take-out can live in childhood memories. Grown up Notes is done.