The spring term begins, and here’s a lot of other stuff

A new semester began today. A new semester is underway. I am counting them on the access panel in my office. Each trident marks a semester. There’s a lot of memories and successful students in each. I wonder what sort of successes we’ll pack in the newest addition.

That’s a lot of semesters!

Had a nice bike ride on Saturday. One of our friends joined us on Zwift and that made us fast. Somehow I had 13 mile splits averaging 28+ mph. That’s just silly.

And while I was working hard trying to keep up, I had this idea …

Now I can capture videos of my virtual rides! Aren’t you thrilled?

Anyway, I got in 36 miles on Saturday. I didn’t ride yesterday, but I should have, so I did a quick 20 miles immediately after work, today.

More importantly, it is time for the most popular feature on the site. It’s time to check in with the kitties. (They had a busy day napping and cuddling yesterday, by the way.)

Here’s Phoebe, beating up one of her toys. Grab it in your front paws and kick it into submission by your back paws. Excellent strategy, for the most part. And it looks cute, but those little feet and claws will give you a beating!

It was a poor substitute for her favorite spring, which has been lost for a few days. I found it last night. She chased it around and under a chair. I rescued it for her. We started talking about mimicking it with other springs, maybe it has the right number of loops or something. While we wondering about that, she promptly lost it again. No idea where it is, as of this writing.

I know where it isn’t. Poseidon is, very helpfully, looking for it as well. He tells us it isn’t in the dryer.

Every day I open a thing — a closet, a cabinet, the refrigerator or some other appliance — and then close it. Then I open it and close it again, just to make sure that guy didn’t sneak in while I blinked.

It isn’t that I blink slow, but he moves fast.

I’m trying a new thing. I’m closing tabs. (I know! Crazy, right? Next you’ll find me cleaning out under sinks and vacuuming beneath bookcases … )

Anyway, there are a lot of tabs open in my browser(s). I bet you might have a similar problem. Some of them have been open for ages, and ages. Rather than lose them altogether, I am bookmarking some and closing them. (Novel!) And others should be shared, and then closed. So here we are. Today’s contenders.

The Deep Sea Is Filled with Treasure, but It Comes at a Price:

“We believe we see the world as it is,” she writes. “We don’t. We see the world as we need to see it to make our existence possible.”

The same goes for fish. Only the top layers of the oceans are illuminated. The “sunlight zone” extends down about seven hundred feet, the “twilight zone” down another twenty-six hundred feet. Below that — in the “midnight zone,” the “abyssal zone,” and the “hadal zone” — there’s only blackness, and the light created by life itself. In this vast darkness, so many species have mastered the art of bioluminescence that Widder estimates they constitute a “majority of the creatures on the planet.” The first time she descended into the deep in an armored diving suit called a wasp, she was overwhelmed by the display. “This was a light extravaganza unlike anything I could have imagined,” she writes. “Afterwards, when asked to describe what I had seen, I blurted, ‘It’s like the Fourth of July down there!'”

Bioluminescent creatures produce light via chemical reaction. They synthesize luciferins, compounds that, in the presence of certain enzymes, known as luciferases, oxidize and give off photons. The trick is useful enough that bioluminescence has evolved independently some fifty times. Eyes, too, have evolved independently about fifty times, in creatures as diverse as flies, flatworms, and frogs. But, Widder points out, “there is one remarkable distinction.” All animals’ eyes employ the same basic strategy to convert light to sensation, using proteins called opsins. In the case of bioluminescence, different groups of organisms produce very different luciferins, meaning that each has invented its own way to shine.


Scales, like Widder, worries that the bottom of the ocean will be wrecked before many of the most marvelous creatures living there are even identified. “The frontier story has always been one of destruction and loss,” she writes. “It is naïve to assume that the process would play out any differently in the deep.” Indeed, she argues, the depths are particularly ill-suited to disturbance because, owing to a scarcity of food, creatures tend to grow and reproduce extremely slowly. “Vital habitat is created by corals and sponges that live for millennia,” she writes.

And if we’re going to learn anything — we’re not, but if we were gonna — it ought to be that there’s an interconnectedness to all of this that is fragile, and important. Even among all of those different zones.

6 Ways to Keep Your Gmail Storage Free and Under 15GB:

Unlike some services (looking at you, iCloud), Gmail is pretty lenient with its free tier. You get 15GB of storage between Gmail and Google Drive, and for many people, it’s good enough. But a lot of people have been using Gmail for a decade or more now, and it’s not hard to accumulate 15GB of data over that kind of timespan.

Once you do hit the 15GB cap, you won’t be able to add files to Google Drive, and eventually, emails won’t hit your Gmail inbox. If you’ve been finding it harder and harder to avoid paying Google for more storage, here are some of the best ways to quickly free up space.

It is a slide show, but it is one of the more useful slideshows, if you’re in a space saving mode.

There. One of my phone browsers is now down to 43 tabs. It is good to make progress.

And we continue making progress in the Re-Listening project. I’m playing all of my CDs in my car. In order, that is. Not all at once. That’d be … noisy.

But some of it would sound good! That’s why I’m listening to them individually and, here, I’m just writing a few notes. These aren’t reviews, but just for fun and filler, he said 1,075 words into this post. Anyway, this installment is a greatest hits, and it seems weird, somehow, to go on and on about a record that was full of charting hits.

So let’s get to it quickly, then. Greatest Hits and their massive success aside, some of these Tears for Fears tracks were juuuuust a tiny bit before my time, initially. Oh, the big ones I know well, and you do too! But there was a sense of achievement in discovering new-to-me and thoughtful and quality Tears for Fears songs. “Woman in Chains” peaked at 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lovely song.

“Mad World” was not a hit in the 1980s, which was why I listened to it for the first time in 1996-or-so, but it did get some spins in 2004, reaching number 30 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and topped the Adult Alternative Songs chart. Then it landed in a video game commercial, was the subject of a few successful covers and appeared on a game show. It’s become something of a standard filler, I guess?

“Laid So Low” was the single off the actual greatest hits. And, sure, it was released in 1992, but this is quintessential 1980s. It was a top 20 Euro hit, settled in the top 40 in Canada and elsewhere. The song was a top 20 hit in the UK, France, Italy and Poland; a top 40 hit in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands; and reached the top 10 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Curt Smith wasn’t in the band at the time, so that song was a Roland Orzabal special. He kept the band name active during the rest of the 1990s, but 30 million unit sales means you get back together, eventually. After nine years of silence, they started talking, playing and writing together again.

The Tipping Point” was a project that took seven years to produce, but it came out to good reviews in 2001 and made the top 10 in a lot of national charts, including the U.S. It also hit number one on the US Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Album Sales charts.

Not bad for two guys climbing into their 60s, he said, hopefully, from halfway through his 40s.

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