Daily Archives: June 24, 2012

Lonesome George c. 1912-2012

It has just been reported that Lonesome George, the Galapagos Tortoise who was considered to be the last of is kind, has died.

the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old.

Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year.

“This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless,” the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, told Reuters. “His life cycle came to an end.”

George is not the last of a species, but he is the last of a subspecies. A necropsy will be performed to try to determine a cause of death. George, roughly a century old, was not particularly old for his kind.

For the record, Charles Darwin dies in 1882.

Photo by doriana del sarto

Happy birthday to me

Yes, thanks to Facebook and Chris Rodda, the word’s out; it’s my birthday! One year has gone by since I promised myself to use a semi-colon at least once in every blog post for one year; that’s done with. And I want to thank all the people who have sent me birthday wishes on Facebook; I tried to “like” all of them but Facebook has rounded out my feed so at one point I see a single entry that says “175 people have wished you a happy birthday” and there’s a picture of about nine people there.

I’ll figure that out later.

Every year, there is one thing I want for my birthday, and Julia finds out what it is, and tells everyone else, and then they don’t get it for me usually because it is not spec’ed out, and later I buy it myself. This year my birthday present will be a small propane grill. Very small. Portable, even. Not a propane stove, but a propane grill. Weber makes one, it’s called the Weber 1520 Propane Gas Go-Anywhere Grill. We don’t grill much at home but when we do the charcoal grill is overkill even though it’s very nice (it was a birthday present from a few years back). And we’ll still use the charcoal grill now and then. But there are those times when pulling the charcoal grill out onto the driveway, getting the coals lit and ready, cooking two hot dogs and a potato or something followed by having this hot grill ready to be knocked down by the toddler for the next two hours seems like the wrong way to go. The small propane grill will require that I get a new and more useful table, which is actually a good thing. It is also portable so we can go down to the river now and then and cook our potato there.

There is also one thing I want for my birthday every couple of years that is too expensive and extravagant but Amanda gets it for me anyway; this was one of those years and the thing is a lens. Since I didn’t bring that camera up to the cabin I can’t show you anything yet, but in a few days you’ll see, I’ll finally be a great photographer! (It is all in the equipment, right?)

The other thing I got for my birthday was this: Two shirts from JC Pennys. Absolutely appropriate since this year my birthday falls on Pride Day in the Twin Cities.

Oh, and about the semi-colon; I was kidding.

Happy Birthday everybody! (Who’s having one, that is.) And thanks for the good wishes.

A sense of proportion

Despite the fact that we observe the world around us everyday, for many common phenomena we have a very poorly developed sense of the important variables of size, shape, position, and motion. As I sit here by the side of the lake and look around numerous examples come to mind. One example arises from a (somewhat) rare phenomenon I’m seeing right now. I’m looking north at a lake. To my right, east, is a cloud looming over the rising sun. The cloud is bight white and the contrast between the top of the cloud and the blue sky above it is sharp, and I can see structure to the cloud … puffiness, wisps of cloudosity, all that. Beneath the cloud is more blue sky, including some distant clouds, then the treeline, and then the lake shore. Although I can not, technically, tell how far away this big cloud is, or how big this distant cloud may be, as my primate three dimensional vision does not work beyond several feet and there is no object for perspective, I sense it is big, far away up in the sky and not anywhere near me. Continue reading A sense of proportion