May 2019 archive
Gambelia wislizenii
Long-nosed leopard lizard in mating colors.
As there are still too many situations where Unicode characters don't survive being cut and pasted, I use plain ASCII characters in many situations, e.g. plain quotation marks instead of double curly quotes. I don't want anyone to have to see “text” rendered as “text”.

English is one of many languages using a Japanese loanword for such textual corruption: mojibake. From the titles of Wikipedia pages on mojibake, I see that the German and Norwegian terms are compound words for "character salad" and Hungarian's is "letter trash".

The closest Russian equivalent seems to be krakozyabry (кракозя́бры). For its etymology, Wiktionary just says "Onomatopoetic".
way coolI read up on I. M. Pei this week. I was familiar with a few of his buildings but I didn't know that one of his earlier works was Roosevelt Field Mall, a shopping center on the site of what had been an airport near where I grew up on Long Island, which (as I also learned today) was once the largest shopping mall in the world. I still have LP records I bought there in the 1970s. Unlike Pei's more famous buildings, Roosevelt Field Mall is plain and unremarkable. It's just a shopping center; if you've seen one, you've seen a mall.

I also learned today that Pei designed a series of air traffic control towers in the 1960s along the lines of the one shown here. Not only is it a clean and elegant design, it's also pentagonal in cross section (more easily seen in an aerial view of the twr at ELP). How cool is that.
Sceloporus magisterThis lizard likes this rock enough to hang out on it for hours.

Video (some normal speed, some 10x) is available at https://youtu.be/lrFibA04riA (52 seconds), not that he/she does much besides breathe and do push‑ups.
photo credit below Hillsborough, California is home to what is now called The Flintstone House and which, back when it was painted white, friends of mine used to call the dogshit house (in reference to how dogshit can turn white from sun exposure).

Disaffection for the house led to the founding of an architectural design review board so that (as explained by a previous owner) "there would never ever be another home like that built in Hillsborough."

From the review board's style guidelines:
Many kinds of homes have fallen under the architectural genus "Modernism" and some of these are in Hillsborough. The town has strong, demonstrative examples of this style. However, when this style is designed badly or executed poorly, the results can be dramatic and create impacts that ripple into the neighborhoods in which those buildings are placed.
"Impacts that ripple into the neighborhoods" reminds me of something a math professor told a friend of mine after he'd said something dopey in class: "If you did something like that on a test, the red pen would go wild. It might even carry over into other problems."

"... and some of these are in Hillsborough" strikes me as thinly concealed disdain. It's like they're saying modern homes put the ugh in Hillsborough.

The current version of the Wikipedia page for Hillsborough starts with "Hillsborough (also known as Bedrock)": vandalism that has stood for three weeks—and which I feel no urge to undo.
Photo by Beatrice Murch, used here (cropped, scaled) under CC BY 3.0 license.
Painted lady (Vanessa sp.) on distant scorpionweed (Phacelia distans)
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