Round and Round We Go

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:35 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
So it turns out that there is a known problem trying to use ClearCase from a Windows environment on the new physical servers. We are now trying to find me a VM on a different physical server.

Of course, sooner or later, they will want to retire that machine because it is not one of the shiny new servers.

I have to say, it would have been good if some of these issues had been discovered before I got to find them...

Stick Insect

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:01 pm
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Carol and Stick Insect_4


If you volunteer at the zoo (or get an internship), you might get to hold a bug* too.


* Technically, a stick insect is not a bug because it doesn’t suck. It chews instead.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Rosh Hashana 5778

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:55 pm
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[personal profile] filkerdave

Tonight at sundown marks the start of the Rosh Hashanah and the year 5778. May all of you reading this be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.

לשנה טובה
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Prairie Dog_10


I will discharge it in either your straw-colour

beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain

beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your

perfect yellow.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Grackle

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
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Grackle_2


Grackle starting to think this isn’t St. Louis after all.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

One Ping Only

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:30 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
Several months ago, I got an email letting me know that they were going to retire the server that my VM for work runs on and that I would be getting a new VM. This would have been fine if the new VM was actually equivalent to my old VM. However, it wasn't.

See, various development organizations had negotiated with IT years ago as to what type of VM developers needed. That included a big chunk of disk storage, because there are development tools and a metric ton of source code (in multiple versions) that take up a big chunk of disk storage. When the new machines were being allocated, they did not have the agreed upon amount of disk storage, because the new servers did not have as much disk storage per CPU as the old servers. In fact, they did not have as much storage as people were actually using on a per-user basis.

This seems to me to indicate that -- just maybe -- someone did a lousy job of specifying the new server configurations. But these are the servers that we have.

So I went to my boss and, instead of using the quota that had been allocated to me, he gave me a nice shiny new VM with everything that I needed. I configured it and was as happy as a clam.

For about two months, until they decided they were going to retire the physical server that hosted my new VM.

So I have a new VM now on a new machine. I have spent several days configuring it.

It will not successfully talk to the ClearCase server in the same data center.

I am not very happy about this.

Russian Squirrel

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:01 pm
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Russian Squirrel


Squirrel pondering his investment options.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Prairie Dog_8


I do digest the poison of thy flesh,

Being strumpeted by thy contagion.

Keep then far league and truce with thy true bed;

I live unstain’d, thou undishonoured.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Jordin Kare memorial filk at Boskone

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:38 pm
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[personal profile] madfilkentist posting in [community profile] filk
Boskone 2018 will, instead of having a Featured Filker as it has for about 20 years, dedicate its filk program to the memory of Jordin Kare. Tentative plans include a concert of his works and themed song circles appropriate to him (space flight and parody, for example).

If anyone is interested in getting involved in this, I can get you in touch with Priscilla. She's especially hoping to get Featured Filkers from previous years.

(Edited, when I realized that "getting past" Featured Filkers could be misread. :)

Cow

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:01 pm
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Cow


Some cows aren’t tall enough to lick the food out of people’s hands.


Some cows have developed workarounds.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Run, Ruby, Run!

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:33 pm
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It is just amazing how much Ruby the Dog enjoys having Uncle Jeff come to visit. She is one very tired dog tonight. :)

Pallas Cat

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Pallas Cat_7


One of these guard cats only tells lies. The other only tells lies as well.


Basically, cats don’t care about your petty human concept of “truth”.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Prairie Dog_5


“Thou wilt be throng’d to shortly.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Porcupine

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:01 pm
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Porcupine_1


Porcupine that just downloaded the Shazam app and is realizing that it is of no use whatsoever in identifying the plaintful music that he hears in his dreams, echoing strains of melody like tendrils holding his mind hostage until the wee hours of the morning yawn and spread wide to welcome the day.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Orville, Round Two

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:52 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
The second episode of The Orville aired tonight. Gretchen and I watched it in almost-real-time, since it had been delayed by the football game.

It was good. It was actually good enough that Gretchen is now worried about the fate of the series, because she thinks that there is not enough audience that will be able to figure out what it is trying to be.

It's sort of like it's trying to be funnier than, say, Castle, but not as over-the-top as Quark.

And it's not any sillier in the important plot points than Star Trek: TOS.

I'm encouraged.

I'm also encouraged that FOX hasn't thrown it up against the future Big Bang Theory Thursday night time slot to die.

We'll see.

A Good Try

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:44 pm
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Katie's softball team was playing one of the team's from the "major" division in the league. These are generally the older, more experienced girls. Despite this, they came very close to winning, taking an 8-4 lead, but a bad inning did them in and they lost 9-8.

It was a heckuva game though. They done good. :)

Pallas Cat

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Pallas Cat_6


Pallas cat kittens are not all equally brave.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Meerkat performing Hero and Leander

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Meerkat_6


And then he got him to a rock aloft,

Where having spied her tower, long stared he on’t,

And prayed the narrow toiling Hellespont

To part in twain, that he might come and go;

But still the rising billows answered, “No.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Giant River Otter

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Giant River Otter_56


Giant river otters play in the water just like small ones.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Lessons in Sportsmanship

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:09 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
So last weekend, Katie's team lost to a team that we've played in the past in other incarnations of the league. They're a good team, but they tend to be, might I say, a little aggressive about the rules. Aggressive to the point where, on at least one occasion, the folks organizing a tournament had to tell them "No, you can't do that," after they had pushed the ump into allowing them to do a certain thing against our team. Of course, that didn't help us; only the teams they played subsequently.

Anyway, last weekend, we got caught by a rule that is supposed to allow teams that are trailing going to the last inning a chance to catch up by allowing an unlimited number of runs to be scored in a half inning instead of five. The problem was that we hadn't done something that is required by the letter of the rule, so the spirit of the rule could go to heck. Ok, our fault. I've talked with the manager and we're adding armor to our process so that this doesn't happen again.

As it happens, the other team from Des Plaines was playing this team this weekend. So both our manager and I had briefed them on what had happened to us.

This time around, it happened that the Des Plaines team had a big lead. They scored five runs in the top of a late inning and called their girls off the field. The manager of the team that we had played then came out to argue that this was the last inning and that the inning should continue so that they would have a chance to score unlimited runs in the bottom of the last inning and, thus, have a chance to win.

That is to say, they tried to talk the ump into doing exactly the opposite of what they'd asked to have done the previous week when they were playing us.

Properly briefed, the other Des Plaines team pulled out the rule sheet, pointed to the rule and said, "We don't think so."

And the team that had (admittedly correctly) had the rule enforced against us last week got it enforced against them this week.

Oh, darn.

The rule is actually fundamentally broken as written, because it requires both managers and the umpire to agree that the last inning is the last inning. If one team is ahead by more than five runs going to what would obviously be the last inning, then I cannot understand what -- other than a belief in sportsmanship that appears to not always be in evidence -- would cause them to agree that this is the last inning. I mean, the sixth inning is the theoretic last inning, but since there is a hard two-hour time limit on the games, none of the regular season games go six innings. Most go four.

Ah, well. In any case, justice was served today.

Cold. :)

Wombat

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:01 pm
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Wombat


The wombat enclosure at the LA Zoo is kept so dark that it is almost impossible to see anything. For those who follow such things, this show was a 1/6 of a second exposure at f/3.3 and ISO 12,800. I am optimistic that my newer experiments with low light photography will allow me to do better the next time I visit.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Dead Tree

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:34 pm
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Dead Tree_1


Some people are taking civil war erasure a bit too far.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Short Nosed Echidna

Sep. 16th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Short Nosed Echidna_20


The echidna is a monotreme like the platypus. They can be found in some zoos but, with them being very nocturnal, it can be very hard to get good photos of them. I lucked out that on this one day, there were two of them just wandering around as if they didn’t know it was daytime.


Now I just need to photograph three more species of echidna and a platypus and I’ll have collected the whole set.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Tasmanian Devil

Sep. 16th, 2017 02:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Tasmanian Devil_17


Tasmanian devils are unpopular at parties – they always hold onto the joint.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Tales of the Mighty Hunter

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:08 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
Of course, I'm talking about Ruby the Dog here.

You may remember the invasion of the chipmunk from several weeks ago. The chipmunk decided to come back into the house a few days ago, earning him his new name, assigned by Gretchen who watched him pop in through the open back door, right onto the must-smell-exactly-like-dog rug that Ruby likes to lie on in front of the door.

That would, unsurprisingly, be Dumbass. Because you just have to be exceptionally stupid for a chipmunk to come back to play with the dog again. Happily, Dumbass was easily chased back out the door this time, without ending up underneath various bits of furniture. I missed all of this excitement, not having gotten downstairs yet.

But I did not miss last night's excitement.

See, I had promised to take Katie (and by extension the rest of the family) out for frozen custard last night in repayment of some minor slight that she felt that she was suffering through. It was getting late enough that it was definitely time to be going, so we just needed to let Ruby in from the back yard, get her in her kennel, and proceed on our way.

Ruby was on the back porch, so it was a simple matter of getting Julie to let her in.

"Aaaugh! Ruby's got an animal in her mouth."

And Gretchen said, "I don't do dead animals".

Julie: "She dropped it. It's breathing!"

Me: "Ok, not a dead animal."

Gretchen: "Oh, no. You don't try that, mister!"

Me: "Everybody out to the car. I will deal with Ruby."

Julie: "But it's alive! She's licking it!"

Me: "Go to the car."

Julie: "I can hold the flashlight for you."

Me: "Everybody go to the car. Now!"

Finally, everyone else was kicked out the door. Let me grab a Pupperoni to lure Ruby into her kennel. Hand into bag of treats.

Bag of treats is filled with dust.

Ok, I can grab the Beggin' Strips that I bought at Sam's Club. They're right here. Let me cut the two bags apart. Now I will tear off the easy-open strip and--

The bag won't open.

What you don't know is that the bruising on my injured left foot has progressed to the point where standing in one place hurts like hell. Moving is fine. What can I say?

I am now standing in one place and becoming progressively more furious because I had had to stand around (ouch!) waiting for everyone to get out the door, then stand around to open this lousy bag, then find some scissors to work around the not-so-well-designed easy-open strip. Yes, there is nothing like pain to improve one's mood.

Eventually, I got some fakin' bacon out of the bag and opened the back door cautiously to let Ruby in. I did not see an animal either in her mouth or on the porch. Hmm.

I got Ruby in her kennel and eventually figured out where Julie had put the flashlight so I could shine it out on the stoop. Nothing there.

On the other hand, the brightly glowing blue and orange running shoe belonging to Katie was obvious at the edge of the grass where Ruby had stolen it in an effort to get someone to chase her outside and play with her. I suppose I had better get the shoe back.

And at the edge of the patio, curled up in a little ball, was a very bedraggled and damp looking baby possum, about the size of a saucer. It wasn't moving.

I recovered the shoe and went inside. I considered the chances were fair that the possum was, as possums do, playing possum. I went to the car and reported this to the family.

When we got home, I checked the patio. There was no possum to be found.

We will now see if the possum is smarter than Dumbass...

Cinereous Vulture

Sep. 16th, 2017 02:07 am
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Cinereous Vulture


“Cinereous” means “color of ash” because “grey vulture” sounds stupid.


As I was reading about grey, I stumbled upon the claim that you can define grey as all solutions of the inequality: 0 ≤ (R = G = B) ≤ 255


There are rather more than 50 options.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Tapir

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:01 pm
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Tapir_7


The tree is starting to worry that the dwarven armorer she met in the previous village might not have been entirely truthful about the magical properties of the chain mail he had sold her.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Perente

Sep. 15th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Perente_1


This lizard doesn’t think it’s right that Minnesota’s abbreviation “MN” looks more mountainy than all the other states and thinks it should swap names with Colorado.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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[personal profile] filkerdave

It pretty much kills any real social media time, especially longer-form stuff like DW. I could probably do more if I turned the computer on at night but I really try never to do that when I'm on a project. There's no reason to.

Maybe things will even out a little. I'd made a commitment to myself to write here regularly, and I haven't quite been able to do it for the past few weeks.

On the bright side, Baltimore is a nice town so far. I'm sure there are parts that aren't nice, but that's true of every city, isn't it?

Peninsular Pronghorn

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:01 pm
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Peninsular Pronghorn_12


The pronghorn is doing fine. This is, however, a sub-species of pronghorn that lives on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.


It looks almost entirely like the regular pronghorn, from which it has been isolated long enough to start to form its own species. However, this particular breed of pronghorn is down to 150 individuals in the wild. Several zoos are working to species.


But what happens if they fail? If we lose this species, and the Baja area no longer has these “ghosts of the desert”? Will we let them fade into myth, a fading memory that only pops up here and then when someone gets a glimpse of white and tan in the far distance? Will this become their Loch Ness monster, their Bigfoot?


Or will we take some of our existing pronghorn from elsewhere in North America and just plop a herd back in that area? If we did that, would it be the same? For many, yes. Could the transplanted animals thrive? Quite possibly. Would there be any practical difference between letting the current pronghorns die out and just replace them once the land has been repaired? Most would say no.


150 would say yes.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Everyone Knows It's Windy

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:14 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
It was a happy surprise to discover that Gretchen's brother, Jeff, was in town and had called Gretchen to arrange to meet us for breakfast over at T-Bob's this morning. The conversation was very silly, to the point where I do not remember what prompted this to come out of my mouth, but suddenly I announced:

"That's it! Gale Force Boobs!"

I am not sure exactly what this would mean or how they might work, but I have this nasty suspicion that they have something in common with Earthquake Pills...

Bongo

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Bongo_12


Bongos prefer the caramel bits.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Harpy Eagle

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Harpy Eagle_4


According to a recent study by Aguiar-Silva, the type of prey most preferred by this fast-flying predator with razor-sharp beak and talons is … the sloth.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Giant River Otter

Sep. 14th, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Giant River Otter_11


The giant river otter is difficult to find in zoos and in the wild. They are about twice the size of the North American river otter. Previously, I had only seen these otters at the Birmingham zoo, where the exhibit was indoors and the light made photography difficult. At the LA zoo, they have truly impressive amount of outdoor space … even more impressive given the value of land in the area. I suspect these otters work consulting jobs when the zoo closes to be able to afford it.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Back to Baseball

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:59 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
I finally made it back down to Wrigley Field with a friend of mine and we watched as the Cubs demolished the Mets. Seeing the Mets get demolished is generally a good thing, even in their current piteous state...

Carmine Bee Eater

Sep. 14th, 2017 02:07 am
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Carmine Bee Eater


Sometimes you read a name and go “hmm”. This often leads to wikitrails.


In this case, the word carmine is a word for deep red. It is linked to cochineal, which is a sort of insect from which red dyes have traditionally been made.


From wikipedia, the etymology goes: carmine <- carmin (12 century French) <- carminium (medieval latin) <- qirmiz (Arabic) <- carmir (Middle Persian). The word "carmir" means, as one might expect, "red". So far, so good, but here it gets interesting ...

"carmir" is believed to come from "kṛmi-jā", the Sanskrit word for "insect-produced", as "krmi" means "worm" or "insect". But that's okay, right, because the cochineal makes the carminic acid from which the dye is made. However, while today they are rather wide-spread, back in the days that Sanskrit was commonly spoken, the cochineals were only found in central and south America. Barring some of the rather interesting and, shall we say, wildly hypothetical, websites out there, between 2000 and 600 BCE there was very little knowledge in India about how the Olmecs were making cloth in what we now call Mexico.

So how did this happen?

The answer is that, in the Mediterranean area, a scale insect called "kermes" also produced a red dye, from which we get the word "crimson": crimson <- carmesinus (Latin) <- qermez (Arabic) <- kṛmi-jā (Sanskrit, again). Carmesinus, of course, is where we got the word "carminc" for the acid.

But wait! Did India trade with the Mediterranean world when Sanskrit was being spoken? After all, if the kermes only lived in the Mediterranean world, how did kṛmi-jā come to be borrowed in the first place?

We know that Scylax, a Greek explorer, was sent to explore the Indus river in 515 BCE. Is it possible that he traveled so far, he fell through a time portal and went back at least another century to land in India where people could marvel over his red clothes and, as he explained how they were made, they came up with "kṛmi-jā", so we could eventually get the words "carmine" and "crimson"?

I'm sure there is a website out there somewhere that offers this as proof, but this explanation seems somewhat far fetched to me.

However, according to Mira Roy who studied the red dyes of pre-colonial India in 1977 (aren't you glad someone did?), the word krmi/kermes does appear to enter the language in the post-Vedic period (500 BCE to 300 AD). More interestingly, she points out that there were three insects from which red dye was produced:

- The lac* <- lak (Persian) and lakh (Hindu), whose name comes from "hundred thousand", referring to the number of eggs it took to make the dye (though I doubt they actually counted them to that level).

- The indragopa which is mis-translated by Mira Roy (and many Indian dictionaries) as the cochineal. As noted previously, this can't be right, because the cochineal is South American and didn't reach India until well after the name kṛmi-jā was applied to mean red. This is covered in decent detail by Siegfried Lienhard who concludes it's actually a red velvet mite, which is bright red, but not useful for creating dyes.

- And finally, our old friend, the kermes or krmi, which was very popular in Europe for dyeing***, but that as Mira Roy notes, was only discovered to have the dye-producing properties in the POST-Vedic period.

So what do we have going on here?

1) We have a word that is believed to originate from a Sanskrit word
2) An insect that was known to make that red dye in Greece, but before the Greeks encountered the Indians speaking Sanskrit
3) An insect that was known to make that red dye by the Olmecs, who (we sure hope) never encountered the Indians at all
4) An insect** that is bright red, was known to the Indians speaking Sanskrit, but that cannot be turned into dye

All of this probably means that the word "kṛmi-jā" is a false etymology. It is more likely that the root of both "carmine" and "crimson" has nothing to do with mites or scale insects at all, which makes sense because neither does this bird. It eats bees.

----------------------------------------

* Amusingly, these insects are referred to as subsisting on trees that produced "electrum", which meant both an alloy of gold and silver and what we now call amber. It likely meant the latter first and was later applied to the alloy because of the yellowish colour of the alloy, even though we now know amber exists in many colours, only one of which is called "amber".

** Technically not an insect

*** This is where "in the grain" comes from, as the kermes eggs were so fine they were referred to as "grains", but that have nothing at all to do with actual grain.


More information:
- Siegfried Lienhard on "indragopa": http://www.indologica.com/volumes/vol06/vol06_art14_Lienhard.pdf
- Philip Smith on amber: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Electrum.html
- Mira Roy on Indian dyes: http://insa.nic.in/writereaddata/UpLoadedFiles/IJHS/Vol13_2_2_MRoy.pdf
- Sanskrit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit
- Crimson etymology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson#Etymology
- Carmine etymology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine#Etymology
- Kermes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermes_(dye)
- Cochineal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Meerkat performing Hero and Leander

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Meerkat_3


“Wide open stood the door, he need not climb,

And she herself before the pointed time

Had spread the board, with roses strowed the room,

And oft looked out, and mused he did not come.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Hippo

Sep. 13th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Hippo_8


Well, they can’t be hungry all the time.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Gorilla

Sep. 13th, 2017 02:00 pm
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Gorilla


This gorilla thinks your excuses need some work and suggests you re-read the syllabus.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Half Day

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:36 pm
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[personal profile] billroper
The girls had a half day off from school today, which maximized the amount of chaos around the house. But nothing too odd happened, so...

I am continuing my work on porting our C++/C# code up to Visual Studio 2017. This would be less entertaining if Microsoft hadn't changed their locale support in the CRT library around to hide all of the internals. Gack!

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