In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012.02.25

1.   Stop the Central Subway action alert
2.   The Great Sunflower Project: Pollinator Conservation by the Public March 1
3.   CA deserts in peril by fast-tracking - sign petition (easy)
4.   Discount on new Jepson Manual
5.   SF Dept of Environment needs volunteer writers
6.   Invasive Weeds Day at the Capitol March 14 - please come
7.   Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts in Context, Feb 28
8.   Bowl-The-Planet party and silent auction March 10
9.   Green Connections will increase pedestrian and bicycle access to parks, waterfront
10. Picnic, Lightning, by Billy Collins
11.  TK Potluck & Slide Show Feb 28 - Botanizing the North Woods
12.  Last free birding tour of Heron's Head Park March 10
13.  "Eye on Birds" photo-hosting site
14.  Bay Area Smart Energy 2020 - March 12 in Oakland
15.  Feedback:  Conjunction of Venus and the Moon tonight/Venus & Jupiter in March
16.  Great Depression vignette/scorn for moneymen has long pedigree
17.  Half Moon Bay - raptor workshop and birdwalk TODAY
18.  What do we owe Greece? Two views of the Greek debt crisis....or three, maybe
19.  Time to kill off the Captchas
20.  Barack Obama's prayer answered
21.   Notes & Queries: Why are there more answers than questions?


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)


######################

1.  STOP THE CENTRAL SUBWAY!
WRITE NOW!!!
DON'T LET LOBBYISTS OVERRIDE YOUR INTERESTS.
CITIREPORT:  Lobbyists' influence on projects like the Central Subway.
http://www.citireport.com/2012/02/lobbyists-turn-millions-into-billions/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended&utm_content=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended+CID_99d18a4d35f8a81996ebeb6e950a1883&utm_source=Email+Newsletters&utm_term=Influence+Peddlers+Make+Millions+at+City+Hall

Instead of Muni service cutbacks, fare/ fee increases and crumbling infrastructure, imagine how the Central Subway's hundreds of millions of dollars in existing state/ local funds could revitalize the citywide Muni System.  Political leaders do pay heed to well-reasoned arguments of their constituents.  MORE INFO:  www.SaveMuni.com .

ACTION ALERT!   STOP THE CENTRAL SUBWAY!

Things are heating up.  If you read today's Chronicle or Examiner you will know that Muni's financial position is fast deteriorating.  It is no longer possible (if it ever was) to continue diverting funds and key personnel to the Central Subway without major additional cuts in Muni service and continued deferred maintenance. 

In the Congress, Representative Tom McClintock of California has introduced an Amendment to HR 7 stating that "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, may be used for the Central Subway Project of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency".  We should all get behind this amendment.

It's time to act.  Please help flood your own elected reps with telephone calls and e-mails opposing the subway.  Persuade your like-minded friends and colleagues to do likewise.  We have now a real chance to stop the Central Subway...but it will take effort.  Your message should be brief and punchy.  One sentence is sufficient, so long as it's clear.  Something like:

"The Central Subway would be a disaster for Muni and San Francisco.  I urge you to deny federal funding to this wasteful and virtually useless project"

Your name,
address,
phone number

Please do this right away.  Stopping the Central Subway is not Republican, Democratic or partisan---it's about ending waste and inefficiency for the benefit of the neighborhoods of San Francisco.

Jerry Cauthen
for SaveMuni.com

Howard Wong,
for SaveMuni.com

CONTACTS---Here are San Francisco's elected representatives:

Representative Nancy Pelosi:  202 225 4965
https://pelosi.house.gov/contact/email-me.shtml or
pelosi@mail.house.gov

Representative Jackie Speier:  202 225 3531
https://forms.house.gov/speier/webforms/email_jackie.shtml

Senator Dianne Feinstein: 202 224 3841
https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

Senator Barbara Boxer:  202 224 3553
https://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm

Governor Jerry Brown:  916 445 2841
http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php or
Jerry@jerrybrown.org

Mayor Ed Lee 415 554 6141
mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org 


##################################
2.
California Native Plant Society meeting - free and open to the public
MARCH 1, THURSDAY, 7.30 pm
The Great Sunflower Project: Pollinator Conservation by the Public
Speaker: Gretchen LeBuhn
San Francisco County Fair Bldg
9th Avenue & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park

Data from several places around the world suggests that pollinators are disappearing, which has serious implications for our food supply and ecosystem health. The Great Sunflower Project empowers people from pre-schoolers to scientists to do something about this global crisis by identifying at-risk pollinator communities.

Using sunflowers as standardized thermometers for each site, citizen scientists time how long it takes for five bees to visit their sunflower, effectively creating an index of pollinator service. When managed well, the return on investment for this type of science is potentially huge. The Great Sunflower Project has over 90,000 people signed up to receive seeds--creating the first social network designed to map pollinator service at either a regional or continental scale. This talk will cover the basics of the natural history of bees, the evidence that bee populations are struggling and then introduce the Great Sunflower Project.

Gretchen LeBuhn has been a member of the biology faculty at San Francisco State University since 2001. Four years ago, she founded the Great Sunflower Project, one of the largest citizen science projects in the world with over 100,000 participants. She has done research on vineyards, mountain meadows, hummingbirds in the Andes and urban parks. She is the author of over 30 papers and recently published a book for gardeners called “Attracting native pollinators”. She received her PhD from UC Santa Barbara in 1998.

###############################
3.
(Folks:  This is easy, so easy that even I was able to do it expeditiously.  That's the first time in my electronic history that I've said that.  JS)

Nomination for Bureau of Land Management Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Consider signing a petition, created by desert conservation groups, to elevate BLM land management protection for the whole of Ivanpah Valley, in CA and NV. The Ivanpah Solar project represents a "threshold" project heralding the review and possible approval of more massive projects in the area. To prevent further ecological damage to this desert valley identified as core, intact desert habitat by recent studies, there is a petition to nominate the valley as a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). There are significant rare plant populations and plant communities threatened in this valley, and these are described in the ACEC petition. This nomination campaign needs individual signatures, which can be provided on-line. Please consider signing the petition, and forwarding the sign-on website to your Chapter members so more plant and wildlife conservation advocates can sign on as well.

LINK to ACEC petition language

LINK to ACEC nomination sign-on campaign

########################

4.  The Jepson Manual 2nd edition
If you would like to purchase a copy, you can order online directly from UC Press. They are offering a 20% off special right now, so the book is $100 instead of $125. You still pay shipping, but overall it's a pretty good deal. Here is the link:
http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520253124

I'm not sure how much longer this offer will last, so you may want to order soon, to be safe.

The digital manual is also available from UC Press, although there is no discount:
http://www.ucpress.edu/ebook.php?isbn=9780520952898

###########################

5.  San Francisco Dept of the Environment is looking for volunteer writers to write short descriptive webpages for the Biodiversity section of the new San Francisco Department of the Environment website. We’re looking for 300 - 400 words on each of the topics listed in the attached table, specific to San Francisco.  For example, we’ll be looking for a 300 word article on the mammals found in grasslands in San Francisco, or the fish found in San Francisco Bay in the waters around San Francisco. You can select as few, or as many categories as you wish – you could select one, for example, plants found in oak woodlands as the topic you would like to write on, or mammals for all the different habitats.

These articles will form the basis for a new website that will be launched this spring.  Please contact David.Assmann@sfgov.org if you are interested.  Include a writing sample with your email.

Grasslands


Riprarian


Mammals


Mammals

Amphibians & Reptiles


Amphibians & Reptiles

Insects & Other Invertebrates


Insects & Other Invertebrates

Plants


Fish
Coastal Scrub & Dunes



Plants

Mammals

Oak Woodlands


Amphibians & Reptiles


Mammals

Insects & Other Invertebrates


Amphibians & Reptiles

Plants


Insects & Other Invertebrates




Plants

Wetlands - Fresh Water


 San Francisco Bay


Mammals


 Plants

Amphibians & Reptiles


Mammals

Insects & Other Invertebrates


Amphibians & Reptiles

Fish


Insects & Other Invertebrates

Plants


Fish
Wetlands - Salt Water





Mammals

Pacific Ocean


Amphibians & Reptiles


Mammals

Insects & Other Invertebrates


Amphibians & Reptiles

Fish


Insects & Other Invertebrates

Plants


Fish




Plants


##########################

6.  Invasive Weeds Awareness Day at the Capitol
   
(I'm in this picture somewhere.  I go every year.  It's fun.  JS)
Attendees headed to the Capitol
Photo courtesy Bob Case
March 14, 2012 in Sacramento!

Day at the Capitol will feature policy updates, advocacy training, and visits to all 120 legislative offices in the Capitol! It’s free, please register so we can set up our visits.

9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tsakopoulos Library Galleria
828 I Street, downtown Sacramento, CA 95814

Draft Agenda
Please help spread the word. The more organizations that are heard from, the harder it will be cut the program.

Register for Day at the Capitol now.

(It may be possible to arrange a ride for you if need be.)

##########################

7.  Celebrating the 150th Year of Bay Area Architect Bernard Maybeck
Time in the Palace: Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts in Context

Gray A. Brechin

February 28, 2012, 6:00–8:00 pm

Wine reception from 6:00–6:45 pm
Lecture will begin promptly at 6:45 pm
Even in its incomplete and partially restored state, the Palace of Fine Arts that Maybeck designed for San Francisco's 1915 world's fair retains emotive power possessed by few other classically derived structures. The key to that power is the architect's attempt to incorporate the fourth dimension of time into his buildings. Recently restored for the third time in nearly a century, the Palace remains a warning to those whose imperial ambitions overreach their means of execution.

Gray Brechin studied architecture at the University of Washington from 1965-67, but transferred to UC Berkeley in his junior year largely because he fell in love with the architecture, site, and people of that town. He has not left since.

He received B.A.’s in Geography and History, a M.A. in Art History, and a Ph.D. in Geography from Cal. He is currently a visiting scholar at the U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography.

Location: The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.

$35 for ICAA members and employees of professional member firms;
$45 for the general public.

Pre-payment and registration required.

Please click here to register online or contact the Northern California Chapter Coordinator at info@classicist-nocal.org or (415) 445-6700.


#############################

8.  The Earth Wins When You Give!
SaveNature.Org invites you to give back to the Earth at the 18th Annual Bowl-The-Planet Party and Silent Auction, Saturday, March 10 from 5-8pm at Serra Bowl in Daly City. Bowl-the-planet is a wild community event that benefits SaveNature.Org.

Come party for the planet and help us raise funds for conservation and environmental education. Sign up at http://www.bowltheplanet.org. Top fundraisers win big prizes like a safari in South Africa or an Art for the Sky participatory eco-art school project.

Registration of $30/adult, $15/child includes free pizza, bowling, shoes, prizes and glow in the dark bowling! Discount admission available for families and bumper bowling for kids.  Entry is free to our silent auction with over 100 items like hot spring retreats, family adventures, spa services and more. Only 0.2 miles from Colma BART.
Help protect endangered wildlife habitat, and bring the Insect Discovery Lab to underserved Bay Area schools. Register, fundraise, and view our silent auction at http://www.bowltheplanet.org.

###########################

9.  Green Connections

SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2012, 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Meet at the EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park (see Map)
32 Jennings Street, San Francisco CA 94111
 
Green Connections will increase pedestrian and bicycle access to parks, open space and the waterfront, by re-envisioning City streets and paths as ‘green connectors’that can be built over time.In the first year of the project, the focus will be to map a citywide network. The second year will build on this framework to design green connections in the following six neighborhoods: Bayview-Hunters Point, Chinatown, Potrero Hill, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley and Western Addition.

Get involved! Visit the project web site below for project information and upcoming events. Also, follow Green Connections on Facebookand take our survey!!!

http://greenconnections.sfplanning.org

#############################
10.
"Saw God divide the night with flying flame, and thunder on the everlasting hills."
    A Dream of Fair Women, Alfred Lord Tennyson


Picnic, Lightning 

It is possible to be struck by a
meteor or a single-engine plane while
reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
are flattened by safes falling from
rooftops mostly within the panels of
the comics, but still, we know it is
possible, as well as the flash of
summer lightning, the thermos toppling
over, spilling out on the grass.
And we know the message can be
delivered from within. The heart, no
valentine, decides to quit after
lunch, the power shut off like a
switch, or a tiny dark ship is
unmoored into the flow of the body's
rivers, the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore. This is
what I think about when I shovel
compost into a wheelbarrow, and when
I fill the long flower boxes, then
press into rows the limp roots of red
impatiens -- the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth from the
sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then
the soil is full of marvels, bits of
leaf like flakes off a fresco,
red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam. Then
the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the
clouds a brighter white, and all I
hear is the rasp of the steel edge
against a round stone, the small
plants singing with lifted faces, and
the click of the sundial as one hour
sweeps into the next.

~ Billy Collins ~

(Picnic, Lightning)

###############################
11.
Ted Kipping pot luck/slide shows
4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm (slide show at 8 pm) at the San Francisco County Fair Bldg, 9th Av & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park
Served by Muni bus lines #6, 43, 44, 66, 71, and the N-Judah Metro

February 28    Bob Case, Botanizing the North Woods

*Please bring a dish and beverage to serve 8 people

##############################

12.  LAST FREE birding tour of Heron Head’s Park - March 10, 2012
                  One-hour tours 10-11:30am leave every 30 minutes

    ·      Learn about natural history of the park and observe some of the 100 birds during their winter migration. Recent sightings include the
           Clapper Rail, Eurasian Wigeon and American Kestrel!
    ·      Visit wetlands restored by Port of San Francisco and community environmental groups
    ·      Tours lead by high school interns with spotting scopes!

Heron’s Head park at Jennings Street and Cargo Way, 2 blocks south from Pier 96. Free parking at entrance

San Francisco Nature Education (www.sfnature.org) -  info@sfnature.org, 415-387-9160

Photos available upon request.

############################

13.  Bruce Grosjean:

Jake - For over seven years I've directly attached some of my bird picture files to email that I send to a list of interested friends, but about a year ago I moved this effort to the Zenfolio photo-hosting site. It recently crossed my mind that some of your readers might also be interested in receiving my periodic photo notices which can be requested at <mbgsf@sbcglobal.net> with "an eye on birds" in the subject line. This <http://mbgsf.zenfolio.com/p959998630/slideshow> is a sample of these offerings.

################################

14.  Pacific Environment Presents Bay Area Smart Energy 2020

March 12, 2012 -  10 AM
California Endowment
1111 Broadway, 7th Floor
Oakland

With Governor Brown's strong support for clean energy and local renewable projects, the window of opportunity to build the power grid of the future in the San Francisco Bay Area is wide open. Acting now will create thousands of good, local jobs while reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

A new report published by Pacific Environment, "Bay Area Smart Energy 2020," is the roadmap for how we get there.  Author Bill Powers will be on-hand to present the findings of his report. Mr. Powers will be joined by other experts.

“Bay Area Smart Energy 2020" uses off-the-shelf, proven technologies and existing policies to achieve the following:

Greenhouse gas reduction of over 70 percent by 2020
Reduction in peak demand for electricity by about two-thirds
Significantly lower utility rates
Confirmed Speakers:

 Bill Powers, Powers Engineering
 Francesca Vietor, San Francisco Foundation
Shawn Marshall, Marin Energy Authority
Paul Fenn, Local Power
Moderated by Rory Cox, Pacific Environment
Others to be announced.


Suggested donation to attend this event is $10. An additional donation will help us pay for printing and promotion of the report, increasing its impact and giving a bigger boost to local, clean energy! 


Register here.


######################

15.  Feedback

Rick Ford:
Dear Jake,
  There is a conjunction of Venus and the Moon after Sunset on Saturday, 25 Feb.  The next day you can watch the Moon creep past Jupiter as they set, if you are into that sort of observation. 
  There is also a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter coming up in March.

############################
16.
A Word A Day
MEANING:
noun:
1. A badge or emblem of rank, office, or membership in a group.
2. A distinguishing mark of something.

ETYMOLOGY:
Plural of Latin insigne (sign, badge), from signum (sign). Earliest documented use: 1648.

USAGE:
"During the depths of the Great Depression, Rose Nisenbaum's bank refused to allow her to withdraw the $400 emergency fund she had spent her life carefully saving. So she decided to appeal to a higher authority: she wrote to the president, Franklin Roosevelt, much to the amusement of her family.
Eight weeks later, everyone but Nisenbaum was shocked when she received a response from the White House. She was instructed to take an enclosed letter to the bank. When she arrived and rapped on the window of the locked building, the manager inside waved her off. But when he saw the White House insignia on the envelope she pressed against the glass, he let her in, read the missive, and promptly gave her the money."
Hilary Leila Krieger; Reaching for the Jewish Vote; The Jerusalem Post (Israel); Feb 9, 2012.
______________________

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree.  Jesus expelled the moneychangers from the Temple.  Timothy tells us that "the love of money is the root of all evil."  Muhammad banned usury.  The Jews referred to interest as neshek--a bite.  The Catholic church banned it in 1311.  Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell--the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and "other practisers of unnatural vice". 

For centuries the hatred of moneylending--of money begetting more money--went hand in hand with a hatred of rootlessness.  Cosmopolitan moneylenders were harder to tax than immobile landowners, governments grumbled.  In a diatribe against the Rothschilds, Heinrich Heine, a German poet, fumed that money "is more fluid than water and less steady than air."  Schumpeter in The Economist (excerpt)


##########################

17.  Coastside Land Trust
Saturday Feb 25, 2012: Raptor Workshop from 1-2:30 pm and Bird Walk from 3-5 pm

It's that special time of year when Raptors flock to Wavecrest for plentiful winter feeding, come join us for a special day learning about these exciting birds of prey. We will study a variety of bird species, how to identify them, their behavior, ecology, and where to find them. Led by experts Alvaro Jaramillo and Gary Deghi. This exciting event is fun for the entire family. Light refreshments will be served.

Raptor Workshop 1-2:30 pm 
      Sea Crest School
      901 Arnold Way
      Half Moon Bay

Wavecrest Bird Walk 3-5 pm
      Meet at Smith Field at the end of Wavecrest Road, Half Moon Bay

      Workshop suggested donations: Adults $15. Seniors & Students $5. Under 18 free.
      Bring binoculars, dress in layers and wear sturdy waterproof shoes.

      We can always use help help setting up; if you're interested in volunteering for this event please contact Lindsey@coastsidelandtrust.org

      For more information, please contact the Coastside Land Trust at (650) 726-5056 or visit coastsidelandtrust.org.

##############################
18.
Two views of the Greek debt crisis
Greece’s creditors would all have to take a massive hit to right its finances
Jan 21st 2012 | from The Economist


A CATCHY new phrase has been added to the Orwellian lexicon of Euro-speak, where terms such as “stability and growth” actually mean the opposite. This is “private-sector involvement” (PSI), which is code for imposing losses on Greece’s private creditors.

__________________________
What do we owe Greece?

Commentator Angelo Tsarouchas puts a price tag on what Greece has given the world.

Marketplace for Thursday, February 23, 2012
Kai Ryssdal: I don't know if at this point in the global business cycle, the phrase "mild recession" is going to calm anybody's economic nerves. But that's the way the European Union sees 2012 shaping up on the continent. Shrinking economic growth overall -- in part because of the various debt crises we all know and love so well.

Commentator Angelo Tsarouchas is first generation Greek-Canadian. He says, yeah, Greece has its debts -- but payback, oh you know what that's like.

Angelo Tsarouchas: Everywhere I go lately, everyone keeps asking me about Greece: "What's going on with Greece? They owe billions of dollars. They're not paying their debts. What's wrong with you Greeks?"

Whoa. Stop right there. Let's talk about something that the Greeks haven't brought up. Yeah, residuals and royalties for what the Greeks have given the world.

And you're asking me, "What have the Greeks given the world?"

OK, let's start with -- um, the English dictionary. Something like 80,000 words in the English dictionary are Greek-based. Without Greek, there wouldn't even be the word "economy" or "money." Yeah, look it up. Of course, Greeks also gave us words like "crisis" and "chaos," but whatever. That doesn't matter.

And you know you couldn't even get sick without Greek. I'm talking about all the medical terms. Yeah. Laryngitis, dermatitis, nausea. You know, herpes. Well, that was Hermes brother. But he fooled around a lot.

The way I figure it, all those words have to be worth like a million dollars a pop, so we're talking $80 billion here.

Let's see, what else did the Greeks give us? Oh, democracy! I mean it needs a few upgrades now and then. But democracy's gotta be worth... $200 billion. I mean, c'mon! It's your right to vote we're talking about here. And we'll even throw in Plato and Socrates and Aristophanes and all those other guys that just kept blabbing on forever and ever.

OK, what else? Oh yeah, and let's not forget the Olympics. Yeah, you know -- shotput, javelin, 4x100 relay, all that kind of stuff. That's worth -- flat rate -- $250 billion. Not to mention marathon. That's right. Whenever all you skinny, in-shape people get up early in the morning and start running around for 26.2 miles, that came from Greece. I mean, the guy died in the end, but that's irregardless. We'll throw that in with the Olympics package.

Greece should get its royalties and residuals back. The way I tallied it up, Greece is due $530 billion. We owe, what, $430 billion? So there's a surplus net to the Greeks of $100 billion. Why don't we call it square, right there. Yeah, that's good. You guys keep it as a tip. Thank you, you can thanks the Greeks for that and the world, too.

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/commentary/what-do-we-owe-greece

__________________

...er, three views, come to think of it....
Angela the lawgiver
A pact to cut budget deficits is achieved at the cost of a growing democratic deficit

Feb 4th 2012 | from The Economist



THOU shalt not incur a structural deficit. Thou shalt pay down thy excessive debt. Thou shalt adopt a balanced-budget rule in thy constitution, and subject it to the European Court of Justice…

It took just a little more than 40 days and 40 nights for Angela Merkel to bring down the tablets of fiscal law. At a summit in Brussels this week, 25 European leaders pledged to observe this covenant and made burnt offerings of their economic sovereignty. But the children of Europe are crying into the wilderness: “How long, Lord, must we be tormented by austerity?”

###############################

19.  Time to kill off Captchas
How the bot-proofing of the Internet is bringing humans down

Whenever there's a problem in the modern world, we try to solve it by building barriers.  Music piracy?  Copy protection.  Hacked Web sites?  More complicated passwords.

Unfortunately, these barriers generally inconvenience the law-abiding citizen and do very little to impede the bad guys.  Serious music pirates and Web hackers still find their way through.

Maybe all the hurdles are enough to thwart the casual bad guys.  That seems to be the thinking behind the web blockades known as Captchas.  (It's a contrived acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.)  (JS: I wonder how long it took them to create that one.) 

...What Captcha really stands for is Computers Annoying People with Time-Wasting Challenges That Howl for Alternatives.

Excerpted from Scientific American March 2012

#########################

20.

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one:  'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.'  And God granted it," is a quote attributed to Voltaire. 

Uh, I think it was Barack Obama who said that.


#######################

21.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Going unanswered? Wait, I know this one.

Why do there seem to be more answers than questions
?

An online English language search found 3,100 million "questions" and 1,860 million "answers" (60%) but only 25 million "questions answered" (0.5%). Further, an online German language search found 512 million Fragen and 392 million Antworten (76%) but only 9 million Fragen beantwortet (0.9%), which all goes to show that there are more questions than answers, but the Germans have more answers to their questions than English writers.

David Tucker, Halle (Saale), Germany

• Because...

Ben Coles, Sydney, Australia

• Post-modernism.

Barrei Sargeant, Otaki Beach, New Zealand

• Aristotle maintained that the road to knowledge and wisdom lay in asking the right preliminary questions. Since wisdom is thin on the ground it is unsurprising that answers outnumber questions.

Bryan Furnass, Canberra, Australia



Godly scales
On balance, would our species benefit if organised religions were dispensed with?


Men made "God" in the image of man, and 50% of the population (women) were left out, so on balance it would benefit the majority.

Ayesha Mangera, Adelaide, Australia

• Our species benefits from organisation. That's why we have shops for us to buy things and schools to educate our children. If you want to and are able, you can grow your own food and even teach your own children.

Similarly, you can bury your own dead and marry without bothering a clergyman. You can have your own unorganised faith if you like, but please don't prevent me from organising mine.

Bernard Burgess, Tenterden, UK

• God only knows, but it would at least give the world an opportunity to "Give peace a chance".

Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia

• While organised religions have frequently been the ostensible cause for everything from scrapping with one's neighbour to bloody international wars, they are often associated with underlying political motives.

We might be better off without them, but people would only find something else to fight about.

Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada



Hell's 'ell
Why do we, in English, usually append an "h" in words like Sssh!, Brrrh!, Mmmmh!, Aa! and Oh?


Because we 'ave been taught never to drop our "Hs".

Alison Franklin, Kassel, Germany



Tortoise heaven
Are cats the only animals that go into ecstasies over being stroked?


Our old tortoise, Antony, loved having the top of his head stroked, but specially the soft skin under his chin.

He would extend his neck, close his eyes and appeared to be in reptilian heaven. When we stopped stroking, he looked distinctly peeved.

Wendy Barth, Florence, Italy


Any answers?

Why do we cry out when we're hurt? What good does it do?


Paul Flint, Madrid, Spain

Why do round tablets pushed from a blister pack always hit the floor on their edges and roll under the furniture?

Mervyn Cull, Okaihau, New Zealand

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment