Daily archives: June 21, 2006

Heavensent 6.2

The angry buzz of pistons pumping at high speed surrounded them. The gorge was three hundred spans wide at river level, growing to five hundred at the top of the thousand span walls. The forest closed over the top as a roof, reflecting and amplifying the sounds. “We set off early to avoid the bombing raid.” Marra’s tone was more annoyed than worried.

“The bombers would never be so low.” Dack commented, “And the noise is coming from that direction.” He pointed back toward the Big Lazy.

Marra put the paddle into reverse, holding their position against the current. They had been picking their way through the minefields, following a map they had promised to burn, when the noise had started.

The noise didn’t get much louder, but changed in character as the planes appeared from upstream. There were two monoplanes and two biplanes. The monoplanes were sleek single-engined machines, their flaps lowered to keep from stalling at the low speed of the biplanes. One of the biplanes was a cut down bomber, refitted with gun cupolas on every viable surface. None of them carried a nation’s markings, instead they were decorated with wild colour schemes and stylised woodland demons.

Some of the gunners on the big biplane waved and saluted as they passed overhead. Marra and Morn returned the gestures. Dack made the sign of the Silver Tower and bowed his head in a quick prayer. “I think,” he announced, “that we may be in danger if we follow them out of the mouth of the gorge.”

“We have nowhere else to go.” Marra pointed out.

“Then we shall just sneak out when it is dark. I guess.”

Heavensent 6.3
Heavensent 6.1
Heavensent 1.1

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The spinneyhead cholesterol challenge

The spinneyhead cholesterol challenge
The spinneyhead cholesterol challenge,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Until Saturday you can get free blood pressure and cholesterol test in these tents on Piccadilly. I had mine done today and the results were a bit worrying. I’ll post full details on digest later but now I’m challenging spinneyhead’s readers to get themselves tested and post the results here.
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The big gay animal kingdom

Homosexual behaviour has been recorded in over 450 vertebrate species. Joan Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University, believes this shows that same sex relationships are important evolutionary attributes and has written Evolutions Rainbow – Gender & Sexuality in Nature to highlight this.

Giraffes have all-male orgies. So do bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, gray whales, and West Indian manatees. Japanese macaques, on the other hand, are ardent lesbians; the females enthusiastically mount each other. Bonobos, one of our closest primate relatives, are similar, except that their lesbian sexual encounters occur every two hours. Male bonobos engage in “penis fencing,” which leads, surprisingly enough, to ejaculation. They also give each other genital massages.

As this list of activities suggests, having homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it. At last count, over 450 different vertebrate species could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. You name it, there’s a vertebrate out there that does it. Nevertheless, most biologists continue to regard homosexuality as a sexual outlier. According to evolutionary theory, being gay is little more than a maladaptive behavior.

via BoingBoing

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The WI vs packaging

The National Federation of Womens Institutes has announced a plan to boycott supermarkets that don’t cut down on unnecessary packaging.

The federation has identified ten fruit and vegetables as examples of produce it believes to be wrapped in unnecessary packaging.

This includes shrink-wrapped coconuts and peppers sold by Morrisons, and turnips, broccoli and cucumber with similar packaging at stores such as Tesco and M&S.

It criticises stores which sell bananas and spring onions in plastic bags and says it is ridiculous to put courgettes, parsnips and baking potatoes into trays before wrapping them in plastic. The federation’s chairman Fay Mansell said: ‘Our members are very disappointed to see this sort of packaging. They want potatoes and other produce as it is meant to be.

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