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It seems that we will be serving a special dinner when Kinan and Dinuk return for their concert next month.  On the drawing board:  Indian (as a proxy for Sri Lankan), unspecified Mediterranean (proxy for Syrian), Italian, and Korean foods.  The unspecified Med’s a big place.  With big food.

I think that whatever they choose, these foods will work well together.  It won’t be like the potluck at the 142nd.  When I was in grad school the first time, I still had two years left on my enlistment in the Utah National Guard but I didn’t really want to commute even once a month from Logan to Salt Lake.  I’m pretty lazy and didn’t like to think about how early I’d have to get up those Saturdays.  Women couldn’t be in field artillery units, so I took a Russian aptitude test and squeaked into the MI linguist unit as an interrogator.  I’m not sure on what subjects I might have been able to interrogate any Russians at that point, but I had recently done fairly well on an oral exam in my second-year Russian class — my topic was “о чем погибель динозавры?” which in hindsight looks a bit idiomatic, but I conveyed the idea that there were dinosaurs, they died, and some big thing had killed them, and that’s what mattered.

“о чем погибель динозавры?  Was it you, scum?  Talk!”

Anyway, this intel unit was unusual because everyone had to have a language.  Didn’t really matter which one.  Most of the others, apart from us Russian speakers, had learned the language for their LDS missions and had a lot of experience with the local cuisine.  At the potluck we had borscht, crepes Suzette, enchiladas, egg rolls, kimchi, sauerbraten, and a lot of other stuff.  Everything separately was delicious.  Everything together failed to achieve detente.  But that was during the Cold War, after all.  Dinner will turn out fine this time.


(image source:




Ernst Haeckel’s ammonite forms

“The chambered part of the ammonite shell is called a phragmocone. The phragmocone contains a series of progressively larger chambers, called camerae (sing. camera) that are divided by thin walls called septa (sing. septum). Only the last and largest chamber, the body chamber, was occupied by the living animal at any given moment. As it grew, it added newer and larger chambers to the open end of the coil. A thin living tube called a siphuncle passed through the septa, extending from the ammonite’s body into the empty shell chambers. Through a hyperosmotic active transport process, the ammonite emptied water out of these shell chambers. This enabled it to control the buoyancy of the shell and thereby rise or descend in the water column.”


You would think the nautilus is their closest living relative, but you would be wrong:  it’s the Coleoidea (octopus, squid, cuttlefish).  They would all be swimming together today, if the ammonites had survived the K-T event.  Medieval Brits thought fossil ammonites were snakes turned to stone by St. Hilda.  Judging from their global distribution, she was exceptionally generous with her time.

ART Evolved:  Life’s Time Capsule:  Gorgeous synapsids, dinos and more.

Here.  Find out about the taxonomy and distribution of all your favorites.  Look at maps and virtual globes.  palaeontology, cladistics, geochronology.

pretty birdy!



I was looking up the elephant bird (Aepyornis maximus) and saw that this was a bit larger:



Elephant bird and more bigwonderful extinct animals



The Ratel Motel