On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.
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Pluto & Charon
Pluto & Charon
Nothing against the little guy, but as time goes on it becomes more evident that Pluto isn't a planet-type thing.

In 1930, when it was discovered, it was called a planet because they thought it was a big (big) thing in the Saturn and Neptune style. As more observations were made, the estimate of its size dwindled, until today, when we know that it is in fact smaller than Earth's moon.

Further, at the time, Pluto was the only thing out there. So it's tiny, and has a weird orbit, but what else are you going to call it?

Today, we know it's not a tiny weird planet. It's a completely normal example of a different kind of thing. Pluto inhabits a region of space that is crawling with Pluto-type things. We already know of one that is as large as Pluto, and several that are at least half its size.

This situation will only get 'worse'. The designers of the New Horizons mission to Pluto estimate that there are 1000 Pluto-sized objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. They just can't all be planets.

I like this story because it illustrates that knowledge is always in flux. There is a lot of sentimentality about Pluto. Children like it because it's small and different. Adults want there to be nine planets because there were nine when they were in school. Many casual observers seem to believe that the solar system is basically worked out. "They'll have to rewrite the textbooks!" In fact, solar system astronomy is a very dynamic field, and they should probably rewrite the books every year anyway.

Link.

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Link

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Meet Tiktaalik, the fishapod.

We've got Archaeopteryx, an early whale that lived on land, and now this animal showing the transition from fish to tetrapod. What more do we need from the fossil record to show that the creationists are flatly wrong?

More at Pharyngula.

Refresher on Archaeopteryx.



From here, all credit where they say it's due. Hat tip to the pub.

The animation is below the fold so it doesn't drive me insane.

UPDATE: Satellite photo video here.

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Black Cat 3-21-2006

I had never seen Animal Collective before and had no expectations.

Avey Tare: Guitar and main voice.
Deakin: Guitar and second voice.
Panda Bear: Effects and drums. Mostly effects.
Geologist: Effects and keyboard. Mostly effects.

Lots of texture. Loud to a normal load degree. Not quiet. No acoustic dimension whatever. My first unbidden thought was 'Spacemen 3'. The guitars are purely non-heroic.

Each song emerges out of a sort of starting drone, which gradually takes on definition and becomes the song. You will retro-recognize the founding drone of the songs you know. There are a few relatively straight songs: We Tigers, Grass, The Purple Bottle. The rest are long form, at least ten minutes, often fifteen, taking some time to fully develop. Banshee Beat is in this mode; it's the key to connecting the live and recorded arrangements.

Several songs consist entirely of both vocalists chanting and chittering, no guitar, amongst clouds of enveloping effects. Very patient. They are all enjoying themselves.

Geologist will occasionally join in the shouting, as on We Tigers. Panda will also throw in a yelp now and then. All members take some whacks at the lone cymbal whenever the impulse strikes. Deakin takes the tom for We Tigers, which consists of tom and shouting. Geologist wears a headlamp. Avey Tare's voice is versatile and flexible. Scream to falsetto to whisper back to scream, on a dime. I knew that, but watching his head make the sounds, you can't miss it.

I was a little surprised to find melody de-emphasized in favor of texture and improvisation. It's not a complaint. But Banshee Beat was just brought off extremely well. I left before the encore, which was reportedly Kids on Holiday, so I shouldn't talk. Stupid mistake.

Overall, highly recommended. They lost me a couple of times, but I was very tired and they did 60% unknown-to-me material.

I don't think this version of the Simpsons intro is all modeled, but it's close. (YouTube Link)

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