Otterday! And Open Thread.

Today’s open thread is hosted by these smooching otters. They were snapped Mike Evans at Knowsley Safari Park, and shared on flickr.

Two otters on a riverbank, touching snouts as though kissing.

In other news, Perth Zoo has new baby meerkats! Four of them, to be precise, born to mother Tilly from England.

three tiny fuzzy meerkat kits in a red-gravel enclosure. One is standing up straight on its little hind legs.

You can see more pics of the kits, along with photos of the new lemur and otter babies, here at the Perth Zoo gallery.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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35 replies

  1. Trying to skype my sister in Vegas for a family catch-up call with the olds and the sib and the nieces/nephews. She appears to be offline – one might almost think she’s having too much fun to talk to the rellos – how very dare she!

  2. Sad and angry-making personal story of an illegal abortion in the 1960’s.
    I think it is worth reading, just be warned if you are feeling fragile or it is likely to be triggery for you.

  3. You know I read a book quite some time ago now. It was about the history of the law in Australia as it specifically related to women’s issues (it mostly focussed on prostitution, abortion and infanticide). I wish I could remember the title as I also want to direct people to it when they complain about there being too many abortions these days.The author estimated that the abortion rate in the between-the-wars period (in other words not only when abortion was illegal, but before there were antibiotics)was about 150,000 a year. In other words, nearly double what it is now.

  4. angharad I’m not sure if it quite fits, but could it have been Damned Whores and God’s Police?

  5. No it wasn’t that – I haven’t actually read that. It was a fairly obscure and somewhat academic book. I found it in a public library in Canberra.

  6. In France in the 1930s (before legal abortion), they think that 1/3 of pregnancies were terminated through illegal abortion, whilst in Scotland during the same period 1/3 of maternal deaths were as a result of abortion. From the late nineteenth century, the use of abortifacients was hugely popular in Europe and you could buy them in many shops and they were advertised in the press. One of the main issues here was people didn’t really think pregnancy ‘counted’ until the quickening (when it could be felt moving), so they didn’t really count taking such medication as an abortion; just a method of family control, like contraception. The people who ended up being prosecuted tended to be involved in later term abortions which were much riskier. (Not that illegal abortifacients didn’t have risks and they weren’t exactly the most reliable either). I gave a lecture on this to undergrads last week…

  7. We got up before 6am this morning and dragged the kids off to see the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Bondi. It was well worth the effort to get there early, we managed to fit the walk in between two lots of rain and the crowds were just starting to build up as we left. Plus, I saw a whale! But now I’m very sleepy and my husband has gone to bed and is snoring loudly – at 3pm.

  8. I’m up to my eyeballs in NaNoWriMo and if I can keep up this amount of writing the work in progress may just be a completed first draft by the end of the month. That would be a very good thing as I’ve been really struggling to get anything down over the last few months. Of course, then I have to sell it but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  9. Peeps with e-readers what would you recommend for an adult in their 70’s? We are thinking of giving an e-reader as an Xmas present so we want something really easy to use and read from, preferrably one that you can get free classics with for when you finish your current book but don’t want to be shelling out for the next one yet.

  10. I should mention that they are able to use a computer and internet and email so they are comfortable with computers but I don’t think they would have used a lot of tablet computers.

  11. Mindy, there’s a lot of classic fiction (Dickens, Conan Doyle, Twain, Austen) which is available for free or nearly-free on Amazon even (just look for old editions, not the newest ones) let alone the stuff on Project Gutenburg.
    Or if they like newer fiction, maybe they’d like to sign up for netgalley to preview new books?

  12. Thanks TT, does that mean it doesn’t make a huge difference what brand we buy?

    • I’m only familiar with Kindle myself, so I don’t really know. I think most e-readers support the PDF formats favoured by Project Gutenberg, but I don’t know for sure.

  13. Thanks TT, that’s given me a place to start. I think you have said before you are happy with Kindle?

  14. Reading PDFs on any six inch e-ink reader is tedious and unpleasant. Epubs, mobis, even txt is fine. Does Gutenberg have many PDF-only books? Everything I’ve looked for there in the past was available in epub. I just looked at a sampling of the top 100 downloads, and all had both epub and mobi available.
    Mindy, if they’re reading in low/medium light conditions, you could consider one of the newer glowing/frontlit e-ink readers. Kindle’s Paperwhite (yet to be released in AU) is having some pretty major quality control issues (pink and green splotches on the screen), but Kobo Glo (due to be released here in a week or two) is looking solid. I have been using a Kobo Touch for the past year, and chose that brand again partly because of the screen, but partly because of the excellent font management (you can sideload your own fonts, and have fine control over margins and line spacing as well). Kindle’s restrictions on display customisation aren’t suitable for me.
    Also note that current Australian public library Overdrive ebook borrowing systems aren’t Kindle-compatible, but they will work with Kobo and other ecosystems with Adobe-based DRM. This is, of course, a dealbreaker for many.

    • Mindy, Lauredhel makes a potent counterargument (especially since it appears that it’s way too long since I looked at what’s around in Gutenberg). In some ways, especially now that they’re relatively cheap, the ideal e-reader solution might well be to have a household with one Kindle and one Overdrive-compatible other (as an end-goal at least).

  15. When last I looked over Gutenberg’s policies, they were very unlikely to host much PDF-only stuff. The idea, and the foundation of their non-profit mission, was always to make their materials very future-proof, with a big emphasis on plain ASCII text since that encoding had a long history. Their epubs and mobis are largely transformed versions of the .txt files they focus on producing.
    PDFs and other display-oriented formats, on the other hand, are not what you’d chose for future-proof.

  16. Thanks everyone. I will have to go and have a play with some instore to get a feel for them. Readability is a big factor since they will be used for reading rather than as a tablet.

  17. Anyone else excited for the solar eclipse on November 14? We’re off to Port Douglas to hopefully see the total eclipse, but the partial is going to be visible over some of Australia and New Zealand. You can find your local eclipse times at NASA’s map (note: times there in UTC).
    I only learned earlier this year during the transit of Venus that there are cheapie solar glasses that will let you stare straight at the sun even during that transit (which obscured basically none of the power of the sun, unlike an eclipse), I thought that kind of protection was expensive. But if you search, you can find $5 or so CE certified glasses online that should let you look directly at the partial eclipse as well as doing the pinhole trick.
    Note: don’t point a camera at it unless the camera has a similar protection over its lens: the sensor may burn out. I’m not going to photograph the eclipse itself, I think, I imagine I can find many lovely photos by other people.
    I’m pretty excited: I’ve seen a total lunar eclipse already several years ago. Hopefully clouds will not show up in FNQ!

    • Mary, I have been terribly envious of your eclipse-viewing plans since you first mentioned them a few months ago. I have nothing helpful to add – too envious.

  18. Anyone read that Mark Twain story with the biggest McGuffin ever – Hero is in a Medieval court about to be boiled in oil or something following a spot of time travel. By an amazing coincidence he knows of a solar eclipse which is scheduled to happen in a matter of hours (how he manages to tell what time it is now he’s back in Medieval period my feeble memory doesnn’t recall). He tells his captors he will BLOT OUT THE SUN… convenient, huh.

    • Ah yes, the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court? He’s just brimful of good ole colonial perspicacity and know-how.

  19. Helen, I think I read that “Stupid darkies scared of an eclipse” thing in a TinTin as well.
    Does anyone have a cookie for me please?
    <a href="</a&gt;
    Still fighting trolls, still trying to warp the minds of proto trolls, still wanting gold stars if anyone has the time to spare and a star or two to share.

  20. Sorry YetAnotherMatt I eated all the cookies.

    • All of a sudden, in the last hour, my brane has returned to normal function after a nasty cough/cold interlude since last Friday. It’s nice to communicate clearly with it again. Hi brane!

  21. Yay for a sapient tigtog 🙂
    There are petitions going around for Malala Yousafzai to get the Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t know if you (general you, whoever’s reading) think that’s right and proper, or an overreaction to the crime committed against her, but if it’s the former, there are petitions. Here’s the UK one; don’t know the links to other countries

  22. Drat. Hope it was yummy.

  23. Looks like Obama has won re-election in the USA (the tipping point for most people seems to have been Fox calling Ohio for Obama).
    Somewhat amusingly, at about 4.20 am GMT, the Guardian live blog reported:

    On Fox News, Republican strategist Karl Rove is refusing to accept reality, calling Fox’s own call of Ohio “premature”.

    Oh, and a few minutes later, the Guardian live blog says:

    [A]fter Rove’s fleck-marked objections, a presenter goes to the Fox News decision desk to interogate those statisticians responsible for the call. They defend their decision and basically say that there was no way Romney could win Ohio.
    Meanwhile, it seems the Romney campaign are not about to concede.

    Of interest: both Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana – who each made horrible comments about rape during the campaign – lost their races.
    I’ve also seen suggestions that same-sex marriage initiatives in four states will get up, and Amendment 6 in Florida (which would have severely restricted funding of abortions) will go down. I don’t think I have seen anything definite on those, but if those suggestions are correct, taken together with Akin and Mourdock losing, well …

  24. Plus it looks like Tammy Baldwin has won in Wisconsin – she will be the first openly gay Senator in the USA.

    • I’m mightily relieved that Romney lost. I’ve been quietly confident the last few weeks since paying closer attention to Nate Silver’s blog, but I was obviously a bit more nervous deep down than I realised, because it does feel like a load of dread has been lifted. I’m quietly enjoying some fizz to celebrate.

  25. In other good news from the US elections, that recent spate of Republican politicians making comments about rape all seem to have lost their own elections.

  26. I didn’t think the heartlessness of Romney could astound me any further after the last 10 months, but this has done it: Romney campaign saw need to cut staff after loss, cancelled staffer credit cards *before they even caught a taxi home*

  27. Meanwhile, away from the election, a great dad.

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