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A Marsh Orchid

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 22 Jun 2021, 01:38

A Southern Marsh Orchid I photographed a couple of days ago at a local RSPB reserve. The genus name Dactylorhiza means something like 'finger-roots'.


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A timely debate

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 18 Jun 2021, 22:10

The committee couldn’t agree how to described it. One camp favoured expressions such as  “A period of 24 hours” or “86400 seconds of elapsed time”. Others argued for an astronomical definition: for example, “The time taken for the earth to rotate once about its axis” or “Approximately 1 over 365.24217 of the earth’s orbital period”. 

The meeting dragged on and on. Eventually we had to call it a day. 

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Alla Barnen *

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All the kids loved the garden centre.

Except Moses.

He poured weedkiller on the roses.


For those unfamiliar with this genre of Scandi humour, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alla_barnen


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το λευκό τριαντάφυλλο

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Till the white rose blooms again
You must leave me, leave me lonely
So goodbye my love till then
Till the white rose blooms again.




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Crossroads

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 17 Jun 2021, 00:14
Road 1: I’m so pissed off.

Road 2: I’m fuming!
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Proposal accepted

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if you were to say

would you marry me I’d reply (gazing into your pale

brown eyes) yes

oh YESSSS

my love my sweet my darling my honey my angel my beloved mi amore

i would, i would

would


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Heard Down The Pub

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They said, are you choking?

I said no

I’m dead serious.

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Tom Swifty

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"Your soft toy kept me awake all night", Tom snorted.

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At dawn

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Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Richard Walker, Saturday, 12 Jun 2021, 01:32)
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Groaner

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I didn’t used to like French pancakes. But they crept up on me.

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WYSIWYH

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An experiment you can try at home


A stick figure wonders if they hear the word 'bat'. Meanwhile a bat hovers overhead.

What You See Is What You Hear

Equipment

1. Any sound recorder: phone or computer. Anything that will do the job. You need recording and playback.

2. A mirror to see your lips.

Experiment

Step 1.

Start the recorder. As distinctly as you can, and at short regular intervals, record yourself saying rhythmically, with the emphasis on the ‘B’.

Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, …

Do this for 30 seconds or so.

Step 2.

Please read through the steps below before going on.

1. Get the mirror. Look at your lips, as though you were watching the lips of a language teacher.

2. Play back the recording. If you used a smartphone switching to speaker is better than holding the phone up.

As you listen to the playback, silently mouth, rather than speak, the syllables below over and over again, lip-synching with the recording. Try to make very clear lip movements. Imagine you are speaking for an audience who are deaf and rely on lip reading to understand you.

As you mouth the syllables gaze intently at your lips in the mirror. Listen carefully to what you hear. (You’ll find you can do these three things at once quite easily.)

These are the syllables you have to mouth.

That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, …’

You will almost certainly hear ‘that fat bat, that fat bat, …’, and not what you were really saying at all. When you see your lips shaping the consonants Th and F it’s impossible to hear B, whatever your ears pick up. Remember you really just said ‘bat bat bat bat bat…’ and that’s the sound reaching your ears but it’s not what you hear.

Background

This illusion is known as the McGurk effect. There is an excellent Horizon clip about it here.

Notice that it’s immaterial whether you are looking at your own lips or another person’s. Usually people watch a video like the Horizon one but as you’ve seen (or heard) seeing and hearing yourself works equally well.

Reflection

What surprises me even more is this. If I do the experiment a few times running and then only listen to the sound on its own, no lips, I still hear ‘that fat bat…’, so the effect has persistence!

The McGurk effect is all the more remarkable because we process sound quicker than vision. But what we hear – the interpretation we place on the sounds –  can be delayed and modified by related visual information.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Mer S, Friday, 11 Jun 2021, 14:00)
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A Wild Rose

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Haiku by Issa

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花茨ちよつけいを出す小猫哉
hana ibara chokkei wo dasu ko neko kana

poking her nose
into thorny wild roses...
kitten

From http://haikuguy.com/issa/


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One Liner

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I went to a trade fair for honey manufacturers. Came home with loads of freebies.

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Oxalis

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This pretty little wildflower flourishes in my garden. It is a wood sorrel, also called oxalis, which in Ancient Greek was just the name of this and related plants, with nothing known further back. Sorrel is a Germanic word, connected with sour perhaps.



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Aristotle's Nose

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 9 Jun 2021, 00:19

When we were very young we were shown the ‘two noses’ illusion by my Dad.

If you cross your fingers and touch a small object (such as the tip of your nose), there will seem to be two of whatever it is. Not being able to see the object strengthens the illusion, and because you can’t see the end of your nose very well it is a suitable tactile target. Besides, using your nose is amusing.

This illusion has been known for at least two thousand years. Aristotle wrote (Metaphysics Book 4):

“… touch says there are two objects when we cross our fingers, while sight says there is one”

It’s an example of a tactile illusion. There are a lot of optical illusions known but illusions of touch are less common.


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Reach for the stars

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A child on a chair, reaching for the stars

When I was very small I thought I could literally stretch up and touch the stars.

I got a chair, but it still wasn’t enough.



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We all love

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Whatever you

   Say about my 

New plant

Astilbe

    Your friend.

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Ancient Gardener's World

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I was thinking tonight (as a gardener) about the history of gardening.

A watering can is the gardener's friend, and I wondered about watering cans in the archeological record. Here's a handsome example from the ill-fated Herculaneum.


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Disbelief

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Bloke down the pub said he built a skyscraper with a thousand floors. I thought, that’s a tall storey.

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Futurologist

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I predicted my business would make money and it did; a kind of self-fulfilling profit, see.

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Sniffle ergo sum

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Why did Descartes get through so many hankies? Because he had a Rene nose!

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Famous Names

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In a list of the most influential French people I’d put Descartes before Dior.

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Solution to Geometric Problem

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Brain Transplant

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I was going to get a brain transplant, but I changed my mind.

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