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There are several books by Noel Streatfeild (note spelling) which are available as kindle audiobooks... but not regular books that I can read for myself via the kindle. Argh.
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of nuns sledding in Central Park.

"We should get a real sled for next year, so we don't have to make another one out of cardboard and garbage bags. Now, admittedly, it was a lot of fun, and admittedly, it was faster than a real sleigh, and admittedly, I'll do it again... but with real duct tape. But admittedly? I want a real sled."
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Scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved

Honest Trailers - The Princess Bride

Arizona city sees success keeping its night sky dark

RBG Writes Personal Note To Girl Who Dressed Up As Her For Superhero Day

Why do killer whales go through menopause? Mother-daughter conflict is key

Massachusetts weighs doing away with winter time shift

Dung heaps are rhinos' Facebook: study

'I have to do this': Why some Catholic women are defying Church doctrine and becoming priests

Bucking a Trend, Some Millennials Are Seeking a Nun’s Life

Each year, half a million horseshoe crabs are captured and bled alive to create an unparalleled biomedical technology.

Superhero culture magnifies aggressive, not defending behaviors

Strep spreads by harnessing immune defenses of those infected

After Teenage Mistakes, Pardons Give Second Chances To Ex-Offenders

With water short, Zimbabwe's farmers turn to capturing rain

Difficulty in noticing that white people are white, new study finds

The so-called "Ferguson effect" - officers backing off of policing out of fear that their actions will be questioned after the fact - has been talked about but never really quantified. A new study suggests the effect is a reality, with three-quarters of officers surveyed saying they are hesitant to use force, even when appropriate, and are less willing to stop and question suspicious people.

The High-Cost, High-Risk World of Modern Pet Care

Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local.

Behind New Zealand’s wild plan to purge all pests

Scientists switch on predatory kill instinct in mice

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

Inside the Lives of White Supremacist Women

The Concussion Diaries: One High School Football Player’s Secret Struggle with CTE

The Crimes of SEAL Team 6

The Mysterious Death of a Muslim Marine Recruit

Abortion’s Deadly DIY Past Could Soon Become Its Future

Inmates' uncertainty on Guantanamo prison's 15th anniversary

Turkey bogged down in Syria as it realigns with Russia
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at a NYPL library branch.

Apparently, the line is around the block.
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With the homeschool group, so tickets were $2.50 each. Sweet! Except that I could only get student tickets, not an adult ticket. And then, at the end of the play, after I hung around Times Square an hour, the ushers said "Oh, we would've let you in, even without a ticket!"


Oh, well.

Things seen while the kids were watching the play:

1. An enormous billboard in Times Square reminding us all that #communismkills. I'm a little concerned about the fact that somebody not only thought it was a good idea to pay for a huge billboard in Times Square on the subject, in 2017, but that they were able to drum up the money for this. There's something bizarre about rehashing the cold war.

2. A sign on the theater's bathroom door, stating that "anyone of any gender identity/expression can use whichever restroom with which they are most comfortable." +100 points for transfriendly, -27 points for sentence structure.

3. Some guy singing This Little Light of Mine in a minor key. It sounds surprisingly good that way.


Take a Virtual Tour of the Firefly Forest, a Kansas Park Turned Gnome Village

Unique microbial photosynthesis discovered

The legacy of Islamic philosophy

How Cab Drivers Changed the London Landscape

The science of baby's first sight

Why did Anthony Gatto, the greatest juggler alive — and perhaps of all time — back away from his art to open a construction business?

Worms have teenage ambivalence, too

For 15 Years, New Orleans Was Divided Into Three Separate Cities

As for-profit prisons go away, companies transfer money-making schemes to inmates transitioning to outside world.

Long-term stress erodes memory

On the Front Lines of a New Culture War

When Obama wouldn’t fight for science

Opposition in the Age of Gish Gallops

Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis

Survey reveals disconnect between police and public attitudes

Combat veterans with genital injuries find little help overcoming intimacy, pregnancy challenges

The American Leader in the Islamic State

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women

When a creature mysteriously turns up dead in Alaska — be it a sea otter, polar bear, or humpback whale—veterinary pathologist Kathy Burek gets the call. Her necropsies reveal cause of death and causes for concern as climate change frees up new pathogens and other dangers in a vast, thawing north.

The Marine Corps taught Sam Siatta how to shoot. The war in Afghanistan taught him how to kill. Nobody taught him how to come home.

Lest we forget: European refugees in India, Africa and the Middle East

In stark farewell, Obama warns of threat to U. S. democracy
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Appendix may have important function, new research suggests

Adorable Photos Of A Young Austrian Boy Who Enjoys A Special Friendship With Shy Marmots

Compared to non-humans, we are the fairies.

The Elaborate Wig-Snatching Schemes of the 18th Century

The Barbie Typewriter has a hidden built-in cryptographic capability. Specifically, four alphabet substitution cipher modes that were explained in the manual for the original Mehano electronic typewriter that served as the basis for the Barbie Typewriter. However: As it was probably thought that secret writing would not appeal to girls, the coding/decoding facilities were omitted from the manual. Nevertheless, these facilities can still be accessed if you know how to activate them. (Obviously, nobody at Mattel has ever met a girl, ever.)

The Couple Who Saved China's Ancient Architectural Treasures Before They Were Lost Forever

The Long, Unusual History of the Pickled Cucumber (Be sure to watch the Vlassic commercial. It's surprisingly cute.)

Think chicken: Think intelligent, caring and complex

Blood Pancakes Are The Most Metal of All Flapjacks

Scientists use light to control the logic networks of a cell

The Real Estate Deal of a Lifetime

How The West Was Wrong: The Mystery Of Sacagawea

Relics Of The Space Race, School Planetariums Are An Endangered Species

"We need to talk about pockets." (Link to Metafilter. It doesn't take long for somebody in the comments to opine that clearly, the lack of pockets in women's clothing is the fault of women, because if we just wanted them badly enough the market would respond. Say it with me: You cannot buy what they don't sell.)

Immigration boosts wealth, does not increase inequality: IMF

The Rich Already Have a UBI

I Am Fully Capable of Entertaining Myself in Prison for Decades If Need Be

Scientists discover concussion biomarker

How a KGB Assassin Used the Death of His Child to Defect

Nomads no more: why Mongolian herders are moving to the city

The case against sugar

While The Rest Of The World Retreats, China Expands Investment In The Arab World

State GOP wary as Republicans push repeal of health law

The Brutal (and Fact-Checked) Numbers on Killing Obamacare

Living near major traffic linked to higher risk of dementia

Study: Hiring more black cops won’t stop fatal police shootings of black citizens

Can States Make People Pay Even When Their Convictions Are Overturned?

China's poorest, trying to stay warm, add greatly to smog

The Ghosts of Emmett Till

Getting Away With Murder: Researching lynching cold cases, law students restore history.

Domino effect—the loss of plant species triggers the extinction of animals

The War on Public Schools

Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You?
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prickly on the outside, squishy in the middle. (She's never read Wizard's Hall, and I can't find my copy, but whatevs.) She denies it very loudly and made me promise not to say it in front of her friends ("they don't know about that!") but I'll point out that when I told her that in a year or so her cactus necklace, Huxley, would have to be repotted she said, in the dreamiest, gooiest voice you've ever heard "Oh, that's right, he's going to grow big and strong!"

Yeah. That's Ana. She's a marshmallow.
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Yesterday, she approached me while I had the dog in my lap, tail up, and purred while I pet her. Then she got up and sniffed the dog's tail. This is amazing progress, and I am super proud.


Math Goblins

Hummingbirds see motion in an unexpected way

This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization

Man who used life savings to buy a field discovers ruins of an entire lost city under the ground (This makes it sound like he stumbled across the city, but in fact, he bought the field thinking the city might be there.)

Meat-eating pitcher plants raise deathtraps to an art

Centuries of New York History Prepare for a Move

Growing crops in the city, without soil or natural light.

Using fat to help wounds heal without scars

Watch a Melodramatic Communist Ballet from 1964

Trailblazing Hasidic woman judge: 'It's the American dream'

Scientists learn how to ramp up microbes' ability to make memories

China’s Sinuous ‘Lucky Knot’ Bridge Has No Beginning and No End

How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender

Refugee youths find safe haven in Boy Scouts of America

A ‘World Unto Itself’ in New York Area Yeshivas: Floor Hockey

How long did it take to hatch a dinosaur egg? Study says 3-6 months

How to Become a ‘Superager’

A statistical analysis of the art on convicts’ bodies

Uprooted by war, fearing troops, Myanmar girls learn karate

Did Inadequate Women’s Healthcare Destroy Star Wars’ Old Republic?

$150 homes revive ancient techniques to fight climate crisis

Animal study shows harmful effects of secondhand smoke even before pregnancy

Automated book-culling software drives librarians to create fake patrons to "check out" endangered titles

Devastated by militants, 3,000-year-old city left to looters

House Republicans reverse course following ethics fiasco

Shielded Native American sites thrust into debate over dams

Americans — not just liberals — have a religious literacy problem

Navy, Trump planning biggest fleet expansion since Cold War

The legacy of Vietnam still shapes America, even if most of us are too young to remember it.

If You're a Federal Employee and Congress Doesn't Like You, They Can Slash Your Pay to a Dollar

Ivory Coast president says deal reached to end army mutiny

The Atlantic Ocean and an Actual Debate in Climate Science

Global warming hiatus disproved -- again

When I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.

Small percentage of hate crimes aimed at whites

Reprisals, Rape, and Children Burned Alive: Burma’s Rohingya Speak of Genocidal Terror
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Topics covered: Cancer, why TV is shit (too many ads about cancer, basically), dyslexia, full mastectomy vs. lumpectomy and radiation, the high school admissions process, and the inauguration. (This was all with the doctor, by the way. My mom likes to chat. These doctors let her.)

Turns out, my mother's idea for an anti-Trump protest is brilliant. She thinks we should all just not show up. Don't go to DC, don't watch it on TV, don't write editorials. Just ignore it as a non-event.

Oh, yuck.

Jan. 7th, 2017 04:21 pm
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Went to the store today. Went to get for the weekend, ended up shopping for the week.

Bought spinach. Normally I like to get savoy spinach in a bag (no washing), but I'll take baby spinach if I have to.

Got home, looked at my bag, recoiled in horror. I'd apparently bought organic spinach, which wouldn't normally be a problem, except... they don't exactly put their charity dollars where I'd like. Is there nowhere that is free from the scourge of Autism Speaks!?

I just didn't think I had to check my produce. I'll be sending off a firmly worded email soon. After I put away these groceries, shovel (again), and clear the back hall.
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is the idea that neighborhoods can change names. Not just residents and culture and character, but actual names.

When my mother goes to chemo, she usually takes a cab up and a bus back. Now, the cab drives past "Two Bridges Apartments", and I noticed when we did high school admissions that many high schools Ana was interested in were listed as being in "Two Bridges". I would call that neighborhood Chinatown, and that's what InsideSchools calls it, but the DoE says "Two Bridges" is not quite the same as "Chinatown". And then we take the M15 back through that same neighborhood at the end of the day, sandwiched between those same two bridges, and pass The Five Points Mission. That name is above the door. Same location, three neighborhood names.

I live in Stapleton. Stapleton has a reputation, so if you live up on the hill a bit you might say you live in "Stapleton Heights". This isn't really a thing, but it kinda is - larger, older, costlier homes, with all that implies about the residents compared to two blocks away.

Meanwhile, when we read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last year, Williamsburg is still Williamsburg, except nowadays nobody would describe it as a slum.

I have undoubtedly thought more about this subject than it really deserves, so now I'm sharing the love.
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Once, many years ago, the father of one of Ana's friends, who is also Belgian, drove us home and, passing her house, said "You know, she's Belgian too!"

It really is like a very small social group.

Anyway, today what she said is "I haven't seen you in so long! And how is your mother? I always think it's so funny there's another Belgian on my street and I don't see her!"

She then went on to tell me that the nieces are so polite and so kind and so friendly, until I wondered if she had me confused with some other Belgian-American. But then she said they're very smart and creative, so I knew she had the right kids :)

I was on the bus, by the way, because I was heading down to the CVS to pick up a prescription. The pharmacist at the counter was Very Tall Pharmacist, and the answer to "how tall is he?" is 6' 7". I know, because he wrote that on his nametag. I guess somebody got tired of being asked! (And now I know his actual name, too, but I believe I'll probably always think of him as Very Tall Pharmacist.)
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Which means TurboTax is sending me spammy emails. Tax season approacheth.

Which makes me think. Supergirl is working for the DEO, so... are they giving her a paycheck? If so, whom are they making it out to, and how does she report this on her taxes?

I guess maybe it's an unpaid position, then... but wow, that's so dodgy. We should all stand up against the scourge that is unpaid internships. Shame on Supergirl for setting a bad example.
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but the cats are surprisingly pleased with it.


(Yes, I know, just like dogs should not eat cat food, cats should not eat dog food. Try telling them that! I have no idea how to divvy up the food bowls so everybody can access only their species-designated food options. At least the humans haven't been caught eating the pet food. I should count my blessings.)


Jan. 3rd, 2017 12:44 am
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She eats cat food and is ecstatic about cat treats.
She sits on laps like a cat.
She doesn't bark, in the same way cats don't bark.

And yet, she doesn't purr. We pet her and snuggle her, but I'm always left with a nagging feeling that maybe she doesn't really enjoy this. How can I tell? She isn't purring! (To be fair, I sometimes have that problem with humans.)

She is a complete failure as a cat. OUR DOG NEEDS TO LEARN TO PURR.
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And this one episode (season 2, episode 3) is taking forever due to connection problems argh.

So, our alien visitors will be automatically granted the rights and privileges of citizens? Is that really what you mean to say, Madame President? Because if that's the case, I really want to know what the usual immigration policy is over in Supergirl's world. How many Syrian (and other) refugees did they admit last year?
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All pop culture needs to just halt while I catch up on everything I want to catch up on, thanks.

How many aliens are on earth, anyway? )

Yeah, yeah, metaphor - it doesn't make any sense on face value, which means it really fails as an allegory. (Is there a comics canon answer for this?)


Dec. 31st, 2016 04:10 pm


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