Going Squirrely

I don’t know which natural forces had been responsible for the opening into the cavern, but I appreciated them as I walked through this new entrance.

Here I could bring in my mate and we could start our family.

Proceeding a few steps inside, I wished I had a light. But there was none in here and I had to go by feel.

The cavern was huge, much larger than the home I had made for myself. Here I could bring in my mate and we could start our family.

But… there was sound emanating from down below. I listened for a full half hour. It was not quite the mating song of the mouse, it was much too low pitched for that. But it had that quality. Well at least one of the voices I was hearing did. There were other voices that were more rhythmic sounds. It was fascinating how much change was possible with all this.

Still I decided to move myself in. A few days later I had a full store of food and trails to guide me. This place was also safe from marauding raccoons and other large creatures. The chamber wasn’t high enough for them even if the opening was bigger.

I was fascinated and wanted into this lower chamber.

More of low mice songs played. I was fascinated and wanted into this lower chamber. So I scratched. Maybe one day I would have the secret of the song.

I was inside one day when I heard the large creatures about my opening. I was terrified and stayed as far away as I could get in my chamber. They were fascinated by the opening. Perhaps they wished to spring a trap for me. But I could hear that they were dumb, slow, poor climbing humans. A pounding arose from them and I wondered what it was for. I had heard it before, many times but it was further away. I was so close this time.

Eventually the pounding stopped. And in a short bit I realized that the humans had left. But I was immune to simple trickery. I did not leave until the next morning.

The opening was puzzling. Of course it smelled like humans but this time it didn’t let in even a peek of light. I knew it was day by the sounds I could hear outside. I waited for the humans lying in wait so they could grab at me. Nothing happened for a long while.

I knew I had to go outside. That was where all my food would be. Sure I had some stored but how long would that last. I pushed at the new opening. Something gave and I pushed right out into the bright sunlight.

“SLAM!” went the opening. I jumped a few steps but nothing else happened.

“SLAM!” went the opening. I jumped a few steps but nothing else happened. I decided to get some buried nuts and attempt to store them in my chamber. In only a moment I was back. But the thing that slammed stayed shut. I even felt at it, hoping I could somehow jar it open. Nothing. I scratched at it. Never underestimate scratching. Sometime it can lead anywhere. By that night I realized my new home was done.

 

 

Every other year that I’ve lived in my home, squirrels have gotten in between the ceiling and the roof. This is my imagining of what goes on from the squirrel’s point of view.

The Unheard Voice of the Science Major

I had to live through two strikes while I was taking physics at York University in Toronto. One was a strike of T.A.’s or tutorial assistants at the university and the other was a strike of the TTC or public transit in Toronto.

Realizing the import of the T.A. jobs, I wanted to support the strike

For those continuing to take science into a masters program or a doctorate program, the strike of the T.A.’s was of paramount importance. You see graduate students can make money by being in charge of tutorials or by marking papers. These are the jobs of the T.A. Graduate students can make enough money to pay for their post degree programs. Or they can if the university is willing to pay them enough. School is expensive. Without T.A. jobs, the schooling of a Ph.D. can cost the victim well over $100,000.

Realizing the import of the T.A. jobs, I wanted to support the strike by not going to classes. But I had a sneaking suspicion of my fellow science students. So that first day I investigated all my classes. Everyone was there. My fellow students had a sneaking suspicion of me, too.

Besides, what is a science major to do? Our classes were hard and we kept having to learn math in our physics courses before it is ever brought up in our math classes. This physics hurrying is because the whole undergraduate program is crammed with too much stuff already. We couldn’t slow down for the slower math classes.

There really wasn’t any time to waste while learning stuff and if anything it’s gotten worse. Employer’s expect us to know everything we are required to know. If we miss classes due to strike sympathies the only place to make it up is in the summer holidays. And professors (our teachers), have plans for the summer that does not include teaching us.

In the public transit strike, I was living off campus and I fortunately was given access to a car from nice relatives. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go in to check my classes to find that no one was missing any classes during the strike. Having been in a union at a lumber yard I would have liked to show brotherhood or sisterhood with the striking union and not go into school. But again this is impossible for a science major.

The only time my political opinion counted for something was in my very last year of university. I was given the opportunity to write and draw political cartoons. This slight bit of political power was way in excess of what other science majors had so I was grateful.

I still think that science majors should be given a political voice.

But I still think that science majors should be given a political voice.

Right now, scientists in the US are finding out what it’s like to have no political voice. Unheard of years ago are science marches, sharing results and observations overseas and other acts of disobedience. No longer is it a given that whomever in power will value the contributions of scientists.

Perhaps these professors who are now organizing could one day give some power and clout to their lowly undergraduates. Maybe if they have experience in civil disobedience early, this can all become easier than it is today.

Who Wore it Better – Lightning Bolt Edition

lightningboltt This is Larry Russwurm with a “lightning bolt” on his face.

 

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=david+bowie+lightning+bolt&t=canonical&iar=images&iax=1&ia=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache-ec0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2Fd4%2F78%2Fa7%2Fd478a7f17dd3f402be430b2c6c71b1d1.jpg

This is a link to David Bowie’s famous “face with a lightning bolt” picture. Who wore it better? It is expected on this being the date of David Bowie’s death, that Bowie will win handily.

However Bowie’s lightning bolt is mere makeup. Whereas Russwurm’s lightning bolt is made of actual light. It was made by the setting sun through a gap in the fence of his balcony. It only occurred one May day last year and Russwurm hopes to get it again this May as long is it is not overcast on the right day.

Santa Claus is the True Meaning of Secular Christmas

My large family started as a Christian family. But as the years went by about half of us ended up not believing in God or Christian values. All of us continued to celebrate Christmas, though. There was no conscious thought to change much about the holidays so little changed. Secular Christmas is everything Christmas except that little thing about being the birthday of the son of God.

Secular Christmas is everything Christmas except…

If you say “Merry Christmas” to me I will say it right back. If you send me a Christmas card, I will be sure to send you one back. Don’t expect a baby Jesus mention in my card. I don’t mind this time of year being called the Holiday Season but I am more likely to call it Christmas and the New Year.

I’ve always liked receiving gifts and giving gifts so I have never missed the gift exchange at Christmas. I like eggnog and peppermint ice cream and consume both near Christmas. I don’t even mind bringing trees into the house to decorate. Personally it is easier to have an artificial tree which is what I have.

I sometimes use the cutesy Xmas shorthand and secretly like the idea of there being no Christ in it.

I sometimes use the cutesy Xmas shorthand and secretly like the idea of there being no Christ in it. My Christian friends think “Well at least it has a cross in it.”

I even think it quite likely that Secular Christmas is spreading. In my town, Syrian refugees were allowed to get Christmas gifts for their kids at some charity thing this year. I believe they will give those gifts to their children and just say it is the time of year to give and get. I will lay odds that 98% of them will remain Muslim and will just start this new Secular Christmas as a part of being Canadian.

So for all you Christian people who complain that you can’t say Merry Christmas anymore, Secular Christmas allows you to do this. Just don’t expect the Merry Christmas you hear back to mean anything about the baby Jesus.

Secular Christmas means Santa Claus and commercialism.

Secular Christmas means Santa Claus and commercialism. It means all those delightful traditions you’ve been doing all along. Just don’t expect everyone wishing you a Merry Christmas to attend your church’s Christmas mass.

A hot chocolate toast, then (it’s what I happen to be drinking), to Secular Christmas.

Justin Trudeau’s Progressive Record

Let’s take a look at Trudeau’s progressive accomplishment. He made women comprise 50 % of his cabinet. While this looks impressive from the outside (he made international news with this one) the sad fact of the matter is that Justin still holds 100% of the power in the Liberal Party. So those women are the most powerful female toadies in all of Canada.

those women are the most powerful female toadies in all of Canada

Maryam Monsef has been in charge of cross country meetings about electoral reform in Canada for the Liberal government. The Liberal party vowed to change systems to one that is fairer to voters by next election. She started the consultations at the end of August. On September 22 of the same year it began to be broadcasted that Monsef (or whoever acted on her behalf) had incorrectly filled out her immigration paperwork as having been born in Afghanistan while really being born in Iran.

This incorrect paperwork means that Maryam Monsef is at risk of being deported. With such a tenuous position Monsef has echoed the prime minister to a T even saying that there was no broad majority of opinions when 88 % of the speakers were for proportional representation. If the government wants a broader consensus than that it is up to them to hold a clear referendum or do a true consultation with Canadians. The cards they sent in the mail and the poll it takes at the referred website is a joke. This is not democracy.

With such a tenuous position Monsef has echoed the prime minister to a T

The electoral reform committee came back with its decision that proportional representation is the favoured mode of governance and a clear referendum could now be put to all the voters. The Liberals on the committee called its findings “radical” when some of our closest countries have democracies that work quite well with proportional representation. Again the Liberals are just being toadies to Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau’s policies have consisted of policy that is just as far right as the last government

The rest of Trudeau’s policies have consisted of policy that is just as far right as the last government under Stephen Harper. Sure Trudeau says he is going to push this that or the other progressive scheme but he doesn’t deliver. Meanwhile he has approved more pipelines than Harper. It is a push. What do I think Trudeau is really gunning for? I think he wants the rich, rich party donations that Harper used to get. For years the other parties were afraid of his advertising war chest. This is what I believe Trudeau covets most. And that, sadly, is the place he appears to be coming from.

Pragmatism Rarely Fully Works in Science Fiction

There are some critics of science fiction that say that science fiction should keep as close to real science as possible and never stray.

Sure science is powerful in the day. But it only deals with what is, and its attempts to dominate what will be, routinely end up wanting.

science fiction writer from 1900. Let’s say s/he aligns their work very strongly to the mighty theories of gravity and evolution

Let’s first look at a science fiction writer from 1900. Let’s say s/he aligns their work very strongly to the mighty theories of gravity and evolution. S/he agrees with all the ins and outs of both theories and in fact uses them as plot devices. That might be great for 1900 but only a few years later both theories changed drastically.

Einstein’s theory of gravity was found to be more accurate than the older Newtonian theory of gravity. And in evolution things still changed slowly but the “incomplete” fossil record said that there are times when living organisms change rapidly, usually under pressure or in crises. There arose the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution. This allowed species change to be less obvious day to day and allowed all the differences we see in creatures to occur in a smaller amount of time.

That writer from 1900 becomes extremely out of date and fast. ‘If only,’ s/he laments, ‘I stuck to the logical bases that everything on earth falls and that change makes organisms change. These two smaller-than-a-theory observations were logical in 1900 and might stay logical until the end of time.’

Sticking to known theories is also a bit on the conceited side. You are essentially being very stubborn about these theories and saying “We live at the end of science.” This is because science can’t change or your stubbornness is wrong. Science is continuing with both guns blazing right now – there is no evidence that it will end.

Shouldn’t science fiction writers do the same thing and follow their curiosity?

So to you boring science fiction authors who say Einstein’s theories of relativity are paramount and we will never go faster than light – you are guilty of this conceited stubbornness.

One more thing. Science continues its unabated growth due to scientists following their curiosity. Would you have the same thing constricted for science fiction authors? Shouldn’t science fiction writers do the same thing and follow their curiosity? As long as their speculations remain logical, I see no problem in this whatsoever.

Dr. Oz Wants a New Underclass

Most medical doctors have a blind spot for smoking. “Quit,” they say without giving a person’s brain a true chance to quit. They think that pointing out the obvious is going to somehow extend your life. It’s usually a good idea to mostly ignore an M.D. on the topic of quitting. Better strategies come from the realm of psychology.

It’s usually a good idea to mostly ignore an M.D. on the topic of quitting.

Try to break the craving by thinking, doing, or both things in the goal of replacing the craving say the psychologists. That something should last a few moments and it might be surprising to the addicted smoker that, once through the crucial few minutes of a craving, they might be fine again for another hour.

Smoking is an addiction and needs to be treated like one. It is much like overeating, something that medical doctors are also ignorant of the best strategies to cope.

But smokers are completely fine mentally except on the topic of smoking. I’ve even heard that smoking can improve your cognition. Smokers are able to carry out almost any job there is. The only problem with smoking and working, by a non smoker’s point of view, should be second hand smoke. And there are usually simple solutions for this.

But Dr. Oz, that blustering blowhard of daytime TV, has come down firmly on the side of making smokers into the underclass. We aren’t allowed to come down on any group anymore in our time except perhaps the doctor unapproved groups like the smokers and the overweight. I’m currently unaware of underclass actions against the overweight, but I don’t expect they will or have remained untargeted. That might be the second battle.

Dr. Oz, that blustering blowhard of daytime TV, has come down firmly on the side of making smokers into the underclass.

But Dr. Oz and his cronies have come down hard on smokers. They have or are trying to make smokers ineligible for government jobs. These scum have decided to make it unfeasible for smokers to gain employment. They say they are saving public coffers because of the increased cost of sickness and death enjoyed by smokers. They are making it more economically important for smokers to quit. Really they are taking away a smokers right to a half decent life.

This bad line of reasoning leads to a permanent smoker underclass. Are businesses stupid and haven’t seen the cost benefits of not hiring smokers? No. Once able to shirk their duty to employ fairly, they will weasel out of it just as government has been doing. And in only a few years we have the smoker underclass.

I will not watch his TV show and if you wish to do the same but don’t know where to find all the health advice, find a better system online at NutritionFacts.org

Look if smokers do not have money they can’t use any of the treatment options available to them. So drug companies and government will have no reason to come up with the cure to this addiction. So the underclass becomes permanent.

Dr. Oz and his cronies are scum to make a new underclass. I will not watch his TV show and if you wish to do the same but don’t know where to find all the health advice, find a better system online at NutritionFacts.org .