Tag: Nature

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Summer is trying to turn to Fall here in Northwest Florida without much luck. It’s Hot, Dry – no rain for 35 days. I watch the birds, bees, and butterflies take turns sipping from the bird bath and fluttering through the cold water spray from natural springs below ground when I turn on the sprinkler. […]

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February 15, 2019 is the first day of the twenty-second annual world-wide Audubon Backyard Bird Count, an annual weekend event that draws in over 150,000 volunteer “counters” in over 100 countries, and which last year reported counts on approximately 6,500 different species of our avian friends. More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Am a Toad and I Live in a Swamp

 

Toad Hall is situated on a hill overlooking the beautiful Swartekill, or Black Creek, Swamp. Usually around Memorial Day, we have an influx of snapping turtles, and occasionally other types of turtles like painted turtles, coming up out of the swamp to lay their eggs in our warm flower beds and compost piles. Turtles, being reptiles, lay eggs that must be kept warm to incubate and hatch. My fluffy, sunny flower beds are apparently irresistible.

Yesterday, we saw several turtles in the yard. One mama got out on top of an old stone barn foundation, about ten feet high, and then fell. Fortunately she is a sturdy reptile and she landed in a flower bed, so she was fine. Here is a picture of her at the bottom of the wall. Her shell was probably about 15-18 inches or so:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Judaism – The Unnatural Faith

 

From the artificial seven-day week, to its refusal to recognize any deity within the forces of nature, the Torah pioneered the idea that G-d is not found within nature. G-d is not in the ocean or the sun, or any physical force. When Adam was created, he was not described as being an animal (though physiologically we are, indeed, animals) — but was instead described as being made of dust, and also ensouled by the divine breath. G-d in this world is only found inside each person.

As Rabbi Sacks points out in a brilliant piece, the descendants of Avraham who were rejected from the covenant that became Judaism were similarly described as being like animals, great men of nature. In any other culture, being a passionate man who was a great archer would make one a hero – think of Davy Crockett and many other classic and folk heroes. But not in Judaism. The archer, Ishmael, was likened to a wild donkey, while the great hunter in the forest, Esau, was described as having “game in his mouth,” evocative of a cat with a bird in its teeth. Both were rejected, replaced by Isaac and Jacob, respectively.

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Think about the ancient Planet Earth. Billions of years ago, shortly after the new planet had cooled down enough, and had developed an atmosphere, and liquid water. Before there was any life on Earth, there was water. In fact, it is postulated that the first life on Earth developed in the water. Before cells, before […]

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Sorry for the reflections, taken through my kitchen window this afternoon. More

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. More

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We have now seen several forms having different requirements. Rather than learning something totally new today, we will look at a form that developed out of the tanka. Brief History: The haiku is a Japanese form. It started out as the first three lines of the tanka, which would be used in an extemporaneous chain […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

“Here’s a riddle for you: when is it impossible to choose the lesser of two weevils?” I asked my husband as he walked through the door last night. “Lesser of two evils?” he asked, saying what many of us were undoubtedly thinking. “No, lesser of two weevils,” I repeated. “Oh, what’s a weevil?” More

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We have come a long way in understanding the oceans since the Jacques Cousteau books I perused as a child by the Gulf of Mexico. But there remains much we don’t know. Too much. More

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Yesterday was the anniversary of Robert Frost’s birthday lo these many years ago in 1874. I wrote about The pasture, the opening poem of his first famous book. For those who care enough about this matter to wish for more thoughts, I would like to explain a few things I think I have learned about […]

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The girls and I were finally in Montana after all that build-up. It’s significant that my first Montana post didn’t appear until September 3, 2006–a month after we’d arrived. I think I must have been a little occupied those four weeks. Anyway, I didn’t have time to dwell on the city and people I’d left behind. […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Saturday Night Science: Computation, Memory, Nature, and Life

 

Is digital storage the secret of life?

UNIVAC core memory plane
UNIVAC core memory plane from the Fourmilab Museum.

Memory Is Tough: It’s possible one needs to have been involved in computing for as long as I have (I wrote my first program for an electronic digital computer in 1967, but I built a pressboard Geniac computer before my age broke into double digits, and I did outrageous things with my Minivac 601 relay computer in the early 1960s) in order to fully appreciate how difficult a problem computer memory was over most of the history of computing. In these days of 16 Gb DRAM modules, 2 Tb hard drives, and 128 Gb flash memory cards for digital cameras, it’s easy to forget that until the 1980s, the cost of random access memory dwarfed that of any other computer component, and programmers were consequently required to expend enormous effort and cleverness squeezing programs into extremely limited memory.

The reason for this is simple. While a CPU can be simplified at the expense of speed, every bit of random access memory requires physically fabricating a discrete object to hold the bit. (I exclude here historical footnotes such as Williams tubes and EBAM [electron beam addressable memory] as they were even more expensive and/or limited in capacity). When each bit was a ferrite core, through which some bleary-eyed human had to string three tiny wires, the reason for the high cost was obvious. (In the mainframe core memory era, I worked for a year on a project which ended up consuming about ten man-years to write a new operating system for a UNIVAC mainframe machine solely to avoid the need to buy another half-megabyte memory module. This made a kind of bizarre economic [if not strategic] sense, since all of the salaries of the implementors added up to far less than the memory would have cost.)

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When Rivkah (Rebecca) introduces herself to Avraham’s servant, the text contains a very strange artifact, which I highlight. And she said unto him: ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore unto Nahor.’ And she said unto him: ‘We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.’ […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Are Your Natural Cathedrals?

 

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On Saturday night I took the picture above, showing the eastern slope of the Teton Mountains towering over the Snake River in Jackson, Wyoming. I was on one of my regular cross-country jaunts from Nashville to Los Angeles. Sure, Wyoming isn’t generally on that route but, c’mon, look at the picture — you’re going to go out of your way for that.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Three Things Conservatives Believe

 

I take the following to be among the most important principles that inform and motivate conservatives. I am not giving an argument in hopes of persuading non-conservatives, just an explanation of some foundational principles.

I say “foundational” because a decent statement of conservatism might not actually contain any of them. These aren’t the principles that are conservatism, but principles that motivate conservatives. Sometimes one of them (especially one of the first two) is an unstated premise lurking behind a conservative argument that just doesn’t seem to reach non-conservatives.

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Catoctin Mountain in the springtime is green and cool and riotous with birdsong. When I’ve been there this time of year, I’ve felt almost as though I were swimming through trees. I wonder how it seems to the participants in the Gulf Cooperation Council summit? Too foreign for comfort, or a little slice of paradise? […]

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A propos of Mother’s day, let me come back to my notes on Kipling’s lessons about nature. This is one of his statements on nature as it relates to women, perhaps his only thematic discussion of the essential connection between birth & strife. More

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