World War II: Battle of Britain “The Hardest Day” in Britain on August 18, 1940
Battle of Britain “The Hardest Day”: On this day, the Luftwaffe made an all-out effort to destroy RAF Fighter Command.
The air battles that took place on this day were amongst the largest aerial engagements in history to that time. Both sides suffered heavy losses. In the air, the British shot down twice as many Luftwaffe aircraft as they lost. However, many RAF aircraft were destroyed on the ground, equalising the total losses of both sides.
Described by many as “The Hardest Day”, Manston escaped most of what the Luftwaffe would today throw at the RAF. The air battles that day were amongst the largest aerial engagements in history at that time and both sides suffered very heavy losses.
The Luftwaffe had been ordered to destroy Fighter Command before the planned invasion of Britain could take place. Manston was hit by the first wave of this assault on August 12, 1940.
On the 17th of August, German intelligence suggested that the RAF was down to just 300 serviceable fighters, formed from reports of German pilots’ claims and estimates of British production capabilities. In reality there were 855 aircraft serviceable, 289 at storage units and 84 at training units. The Luftwaffe expected a weakened opposition when in fact fighter numbers were twice as many in number as at the beginning of July 1940.
The largest attacks were against the main fighter sector bases from which operations were controlled, but German intelligence only identified them as the largest ones known to be operating fighters. The targets were the airfields at Kenley, Biggin Hill, Gosport, Ford, Thorney Island, Hornchurch and North Weald and the radar station at Poling.
Fighters from Manston were involved in defending against the attackers’ 850 sorties, involving 2200 Luftwaffe aircrew.
At approximately 3:30pm, Hauptmann Wolfgang Ewald, a German Luftwaffe ace, led what is reported to be twelve aircraft of his 2./JG 52 (52nd Fighter Wing), armed with Messerschmitt Bf 109s in a strafing attack on Manston. Ewald’s attention had been caught by a group of Spitfires bunched together on the ground preparing to refuel between sorties, where craters caused by previous attacks on the airfield forced the aircraft to be closer than normal.
After two passes, the attackers claimed the destruction of at least ten fighters with three Blenheim’s thrown in for good measure. In fact, just two of No.266 Squadron’s Spitfires X4061 and X4066 were totally written off, with another six being severely damaged including X4063, but repairable. A single Hurricane belonging to Sgt. Griffiths of No.17 Squadron, that had force landed in the morning was also destroyed.
Groundcrew that were caught in the open were cut to pieces, with one killed and 15 injured.
The RAF and Fleet Air Arm lost altogether 68 aircraft with 31 in air combat. 69 German aircraft were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Both side suffered more losses on this date that on any other day during the Battle of Britain, but although the outcome of the battle didn’t strategically favour either side, neither side would have been able to sustain such continued losses.
German personnel losses stood at 94 killed, 40 captured and 25 returned with wounds. For the RAF, 10 fighter pilots were killed on the day, another died of wounds. 19 pilots were wounded, 11 serious enough that they did not take part in the rest of the battle.
Manston History.org UK / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / BBC / The Telegraph UK
/ World War II: Battle of Britain “The Hardest Day” on August 18, 1940 (YouTube)
Woman suffrage amendment ratified on August 18, 1920
Woman suffrage amendment ratified: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise”. For proclaiming a woman’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.
The first national women’s rights convention was held in 1850 and then repeated annually, providing an important focus for the growing woman suffrage movement. In the Reconstruction era, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote, but Congress declined to expand enfranchisement into the sphere of gender. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to push for a woman suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, was formed in the same year to work through the state legislatures. In 1890, these two groups were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women in American society was changing drastically: Women were working more, receiving a better education, bearing fewer children, and three more states (Colorado, Utah, and Idaho) had yielded to the demand for female enfranchisement. In 1916, the National Woman’s Party (formed in 1913 at the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage) decided to adopt a more radical approach to woman suffrage. Instead of questionnaires and lobbying, its members picketed the White House, marched, and staged acts of civil disobedience.
In 1917, America entered World War I, and women aided the war effort in various capacities, which helped to break down most of the remaining opposition to woman suffrage. By 1918, women had acquired equal suffrage with men in 15 states, and both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement.
In January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. On August 26, it was formally adopted into the Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
History.com / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / National Archives.gov / Library Of Congress.gov / C-SPAN
/ Woman suffrage amendment ratified on August 18, 1920 (YouTube)
Understanding Military Terminology - National Defense Strategy
(DOD) A document approved by the Secretary of Defense for applying the Armed Forces of the United States in coordination with Department of Defense agencies and other instruments of national power to achieve national security strategy objectives.
Also called NDS.
Joint Publications (JP 1) Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States
The Old Salt’s Corner
“Sea Dreams” (Part IV)
I stood like one that had received a blow:
I found a hard friend in his loose accounts,
A loose one in the hard grip of his hand,
A curse in his God-bless-you: then my eyes
Pursued him down the street, and far away,
Among the honest shoulders of the crowd,
Read rascal in the motions of his back,
And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee.”
“Was he so bound, poor soul?” said the good wife;
“So are we all: but do not call him, love,
Before you prove him, rogue, and proved, forgive.
His gain is loss; for he that wrongs his friend
Wrongs himself more, and ever bears about
A silent court of justice in his breast,
Himself the judge and jury, and himself
The prisoner at the bar, ever condemn'd:
And that drags down his life: then comes what comes
Hereafter: and he meant, he said he meant,
Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you well.”
“ “With all his conscience and one eye askew” -
Love, let me quote these lines, that you may learn
A man is likewise counsel for himself,
Too often, in that silent court of yours -
“With all his conscience and one eye askew,
So false, he partly took himself for true;
Whose pious talk, when most his heart was dry,
Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his eye;
Who, never naming God except for gain,
So never took that useful name in vain;
Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool,
And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool;
Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged,
And snakelike slimed his victim ere he gorged;
And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest
Arising, did his holy oily best,
Dropping the too rough H in Hell and Heaven,
To spread the Word by which himself had thriven.”
How like you this old satire?”
“Nay,” she said
“I loathe it: he had never kindly heart,
Nor ever cared to better his own kind,
Who first wrote satire, with no pity in it.
But will you hear MY dream, for I had one
That altogether went to music? Still
It awed me.”
Then she told it, having dream'd
Of that same coast.
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Part IV of VI)
“I’m Just Sayin”
“Forever is composed of nows.”
“A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson
“Thought for the Day”
“Conceit spoils the finest genius.”
“A good book is like a good friend.
t will stay with you for the rest of your life.”
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.
I may not reach them,
but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them,
and try to follow where they lead.”
~ Louisa May Alcott
“What I Learned”
“The only thing in life achieved without effort is failure.”
“The line between what is right and what is wrong is sometimes thin and indistinct.
It takes true character to discern between the two.”
“The only lesson history has taught us
is that man has not yet learned anything from history”
Second Hand News (Links to Articles from Week 33 - August 12, 2019 - August 18, 2019)
Firearms cases loom before Supreme Court after deadly summer
• North Korea claims Kim Jong Un supervised test launch of new weapons system
• Bernie Sanders staffers manhandle press at Iowa State Fair
• New York City’s chief medical examiner says Jeffrey Epstein autopsy performed but no official cause of death yet
• Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile breaks with 2020 Democrats: Trump has ‘nothing to do’ with mass shootings
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden on the Second Amendment: No amendment is 'absolute'
• 'This smells very fishy': Skepticism ensues after shocking Epstein suicide death
• Cleanup: Biden campaign says he 'misspoke' by saying 'poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids'
• Joe Biden on the Second Amendment: No amendment is 'absolute'
Commentary - Washington Secrets - Red Alert:
It was a tough July for congressional anti-Semitism
• We need pragmatic red flag laws that empower individuals, not the government
• Being a Trump supporter is no longer allowed, it seems
Jeffrey Epstein told guards weeks before he hanged himself that someone tried to KILL HIM: Questions mount over why billionaire pedophile was taken off suicide watch just as sex slave lawsuit named powerful friends including Prince Andrew
• Attorney General Bill Barr says he is 'appalled' Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit suicide in federal custody in statement and announces the Department of Justice is launching a probe
• The Clintons are all smiles in Illinois hours after suicide of former president's old pal Jeffrey Epstein and 'XOXO Hillary and Bill' is scrawled outside the pedophile's NYC mansion as conspiracy theorists suggest they were involved in the death
Universal CANCELS the release of controversial movie The Hunt about 'liberal elites' kidnapping 'deplorables' from red states, a day after President Trump said the film would 'inflame and cause chaos'
• Armed man films himself walking into a Missouri Walmart carrying an assault rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition just days after El Paso and Dayton shootings - before he is stopped by hero firefighter who held him at gunpoint
• Police confirm mom of El Paso gunman called them a month before the massacre because she was worried about him owning an AK-47
• Mitch McConnell says Senate WILL debate gun background checks in major reversal after mass shootings - but he WON'T call back senators for six-week vacation
Thousands of Vladimir Putin's armed 'Robocop' riot police fail to silence a 50,000 strong Russian crowd demanding an end to the President's two decades of dictatorial rule
• U.S. service man dies in combat mission in Northern Iraq while advising Iraqi Security Forces
• Iran unveils new air defence system 'capable of detecting missiles and drones at a range of 250 miles'
• Burger King FIRES five employees after one of them drew a pig on an order placed by a uniformed police officer
REVEALED: Prince Harry 'stayed on a gas guzzling super-yacht for Google's green summit' - as Expedia billionaire Barry Diller reveals the royal spoke about saving the planet by taking fewer selfies at 'trampled' holiday destinations
• Facebook LOSES its appeal to undo class action lawsuit over facial recognition and could be forced to pay out billions of dollars in damages
• Apple further tightens grip on third-party repairs by activating a hidden battery lock in its software
• Uber loses $5billion and misses Wall Street revenue targets
• The richest 25 dynasties on earth control $1.3 TRILLION
• Apple further tightens grip on third-party repairs by activating a hidden battery lock in its software
• Uber loses $5billion and misses Wall Street revenue targets
• The richest 25 dynasties on earth control $1.3 TRILLION
Daily Mail UK
At the southern tip of the Red Sea, Iran poses a direct threat to Israel
• Iran’s navy chief warns any Israeli presence in Gulf could ‘spark war’
• Iranian pilgrims in Mecca call for Israel’s destruction, cry ‘Death to America’
• Hamas: Hezbollah and Iran will join war if Israel tries to ‘break resistance’
• U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slams Iran leader’s ‘sick’ threat against Israel ahead of Tisha B’Av
Before election, PM aims for Trump backing for Israel sovereignty at settlements
• IDF prepares to demolish homes of Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers
• How security forces nabbed Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers in less than 48 hours
• Israel eyes next-gen satellite launch to scrutinize universe under new light
Autopsy performed on Jeffrey Epstein as speculation swirls over suicide
• How a Jewish doctor helped form backbone of revolutionary China’s medical system
• Explosion fuels speculation Russia is testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile
• North Korea’s Kim tests new weapon as Trump pushes nuclear talks
Iraqi national dies months after being deported from US; body to be returned
• IDF reportedly strikes Hamas outpost in central Gaza
• Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein dies by suicide in cell
• J-Lo concert draws 2,000 in Egypt, singer unfazed by BDS calls after Israel gig
• Israeli man donates $9,000 to UK teen who accused Israelis of rape in Cyprus
Times of Israelr
CORRUPTION CHRONICLES: Judicial Watch Gets Bruce Ohr FBI 302s
• ‘Investigating the Investigators:’ Judicial Watch Sues California over Gender Quota Mandate for Corporate Boards
Military Blasted for Lacking “Environmentally Conscious Mindset”, Being Unprepared for Climate Change
• Judicial Watch Sues Pete Buttigieg’s City Administration for Records of ID Cards Created to Help Illegal Aliens
Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Did Humans Evolve To Love Music?
Existing theories seem incomplete, so here’s another one. I think music is a side-effect of the evolution of self-awareness and love.
Music does have a lot of features we associate with sexual competition. It’s (historically speaking) an honest display of abilities, it exploits supernormal stimuli, and it’s sexy. But if those things were sufficient for its evolution, it would be widespread in other species. Instead, music seems to be nearly unique to humans.
In most species, displays are simply flamboyant exhibitions of individual prowess. Every peacock aims to have the biggest, flashiest tail; there is none of the complexity or diversity we associate with music. Guppies appreciate novel colors in their mates, but they do not evolve increasing complexity.
Closer to human music are the songs of certain birds. While nobody would deny that most bird song is some sort of sexual competitive signal, song complexity isn’t consistently linked to sexual selection at all. And relatively complex and varying bird songs, such as those of the song sparrow, can be generated using simple algorithms. Nothing in the animal world even remotely approaches the complexity and diversity of human music.
It’s also often suggested that music contributes to group bonding, which could be advantageous for a species like ours, where inter-tribal competition may have influenced evolution. And since humans are unusual in that sense, it also helps explain the uniqueness of music.There’s plenty of evidence that music does play this role. However, group selection is typically a weak force, while music is a costly feature; it’s hard to see how the former could be sufficient to account for the latter.
Perhaps music evolved as a sexually selected feature which was co-opted under group selection, but perhaps there’s a bigger hole in our thinking.
What neither idea seems to explain at all is why music is, well, musical. Why should a group - or, for that matter, pair - bonding involve the sort of fractal complexity, continual novelty and specificity of taste that sets music apart from common birdsong?
Here’s why - maybe.
Hofstadter in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid argues that consciousness is a recursive computational process. Self-awareness in addition implies that the conscious mind contains a model or representation of the self.
What is this model? Why represent yourself, when you can simply be yourself? The answer, presumably, is that most of the mind is not conscious, nor even accessible to consciousness. So to have insight into your own behavior, you mentally model yourself in much the same way you model other people.
You see the problem. Modeling other conscious, self-aware minds requires an internal conscious, self-aware mind for every mind you model. Each of these models must in turn have its own models of other conscious, self-aware minds… and so on to infinity.
Our brains do not have infinite capacity. So what do we do when we encounter an infinitely recursive process? Curl up in despair? No! We approximate. We gaze as deeply as we can into the fractal, stretching the limits of our cognitive capacity. And then we acknowledge and accept those limits. We marvel at the tininess of the self in the wondrous grandiosity of the universe. We are overcome with spiritual joy.*
In other words, we congratulate ourselves on our willingness to face the limits of our comprehension. Why does this make us feel good? It’s adaptive.
We are a highly social species. Many researchers believe that human cognition was, for much of our evolutionary history, stuck in a positive feedback cycle of social selection.** That is, those of our ancestors who could better understand and predict others had greater evolutionary fitness, which made each succeeding generation harder to understand and predict than its parents.
So: it’s advantageous to enjoy peering into the depths of interesting fractals, because that stretching of cognitive ability is precisely what’s required to model minds better than our peers. And music is mostly interesting fractals.
I want to take things a little further. Let’s talk about love.
We’re not just social. Lots of animals are social, and most of them are utter jerks. Humans, along with many birds and a few mammals, have unusually strong, lasting cooperative relationships among unrelated adults. We have love and trust.
But how do you evolve trust? I’ve puzzled over this for years. We understand perfectly well how cooperative relationships can be adaptive, for example, if your partner is likely to punish your defection severely, and hiding defections is too hard. But that doesn’t explain trust.
I trust you means, precisely, that I’m not policing your defections. I’m not monitoring the evidence to check if you’ve betrayed me. I’m not setting in place punishments for all the awful things you might do. I’m not even worrying about them.
I’m not monitoring the evidence to check if you’ve betrayed me.
I’m not setting in place punishments for all the awful things you might do.
I’m not even worrying about them.
And I think we all want trusting relationships. I don’t know anybody who would be okay with believing that their partner’s honesty was only a consequence of the fear of punishment - let alone their own.
Obviously, trusting saves a lot of effort and conflict in a relationship, which makes it adaptive. But it’s also vulnerable to exploitation, hence the evolutionary problem. According to standard theory, the moment you know I trust you, your motivation should change to exploit me. But I should know this, and therefore not trust you in the first place.
A solution to this quandary is emotional commitment. Love in the form of emotional commitment is a self-modification that alters our cognitive payoffs to favor the interests of the other. If I love you, then I literally cannot hurt you without hurting myself. If I love you, then making you happy literally makes me happy. If love is mutual, then our interests become aligned. And that enables trust.
How do we create love? By a process of massive cognitive remodeling. Our brains must learn to respond to the stimuli of the other with extreme, unique pleasure, and they must learn how to likewise uniquely stimulate the other. To do that effectively, we create the most profound representation we can of the other, and imbue that representation with almost as much significance as we attach to our self-representation. And in a two-way relationship, that representation must contain a self-representation, containing an other-representation… and so on down the recursion rabbit-hole.
That, I think, is a big part of what courtship and friendship do in species with long-term relationships. It’s an intimate mutual rewiring in which our brains gradually learn to play and be played; we allow the other unique insight into our self-model, so they can learn to uniquely reward us; and vice versa. Love makes us vulnerable and powerful at the same time. In keeping with this idea, pair-bonding, rather than simply social group size, is the most widespread predictor of brain size evolution in other species. Among primates, brain size and sexual competition are negatively correlated.
Our ancestors won their success in part because they were able to create and maintain trust. So they evolved to love, and loving required them to find unparalleled pleasure in the effort to contain an infinite depth that they could never really grasp.
So the sense of immersion in fractal depth feels like love, because that’s what the experience of loving is. And when we encounter an audible fractal process that happens to stimulate our brains with a perfectly culturally-attuned interleaving of familiar and foreign, self and other — we willingly immerse ourselves in it. We don’t just like music. We love it.
• National Center for Biotechnology Information NCBI.gov
/ Why Did Humans Evolve To Love Music? (YouTube)
NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang
Field expedient ___: Anything that is made or done ad hoc in the field. E.g. a “field expedient Frappuccino” might be made by putting all the MRE coffees, sugars, and creamers into a 2-liter bottle and mixing.
Field Survey: The nominal survey taken before discarding a worn-out item “in the field” (often off the end of the pier) instead of submitting it for a proper, formal "survey" to determine if it should be redistributed or disposed of. (Sometimes, a field survey results in an item being handed down to a needier local unit, thrown off the fantail at sea, or sold ashore for booze money.)
Fast Cruise: Pretending to be underway while moored to a pier. Usually an all day event to get the crew ready for a real underway.
F.I.I.G.M.O.: Fuck It, I Got My Orders: A refusal of a long or tough assignment near the end of a duty rotation. Also seen as a name badge at this time, so officers/petty officers will forget the wearer's real name.
FIG: An FFG (Frigate, Guided Missile, class of ship also, “Forever Fucking Gone”) is called a FIG.
Fighting gear: Eating utensils.
FFG: Frigate, Guided Missile, class of ship. also, “Forever Fucking Gone”, A frigate which spends more time underway than in port.
Five by five: Nonstandard Radio speech indicating “loud and clear”. Derived from an arcane method of reading signal strength.
Five and Dimes: A watch rotation where the sailor or watch team stand five hours of watch, then have ten hours off (to clean, perform maintenance, train, get qualified, conduct drills, take care of divisional business or their collateral duty, eat, shower, and occasionally sleep). This follows from a three-section watch rotation, and results in the sailor standing watch at a different time every day and night, repeating every three days.
Just for you MARINE
Field 10: A physically unattractive female servicemember who becomes an object of desire for male servicemembers after extended time in a field or combat environment away from civilian women. A perfect “10” in the field.
Field Day: Day or portion of day set aside for top-to-bottom cleaning of an area; also as a verb for the act of conducting a field day.
Field Expedient: Improvisation, to make do with what's available.
Field Cover: Campaign Cover, a broad-brimmed felt hat, originally with one straight crease down the middle, then with a Montana peak, worn on expeditionary missions from 1912 to 1942, and then again authorized in 1961 for wear at recruit depots by drill instructors and rifle ranges by marksmanship instructors. See also campaign cover, hat, & smokey bear/brown.
Field Meet: Organized sporting competition, often involving athletics or soldierly skills.
Field Music: Drummer, trumpeter, bugler, fifer; mostly an antiquated term.
Field-Strip: To disassemble a piece of ordnance or weapon to the major part groups for routine cleaning or lubricating; to strip cigarette butts to their filters before throwing away. Also to remove unwanted items from an MRE in order to save space.
Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames
VT-9 Training Squadron Nine (VT-9) - nicknamed the “Tigers”
United States Navy - Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi in Lauderdale County and Kemper County; Naval Air Station Kingsville in Kleberg County - Established December 15, 1961.
Where Did That Saying Come From?
“The early bird catches the worm:”
Meaning: Success comes to those who prepare well and put in effort.
History: This is first recorded in John Ray's A collection of English proverbs 1670, 1678:
“The early bird catcheth the worm.”
However, clearly, the title of the work indicates that this was considered proverbial even in the 17th century.
See also: Carpe diem.
Science & Technology
Knowing how cells grow and divide can lead to more robust and productive plants
• Researchers discover an economical way to produce high-performance thin films for electronics
• Plant immune system detects bacteria through small fatty acid molecules
• Economic butterfly wings can create a climate action tornado
• Predicting heat waves? Look half a world away
• Chinese researchers add human brain-related gene to monkey genome in controversial experiment
Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore
Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)
Can Any Animal Breathe Fire Like the Mythical Dragon
Dragons have the ultimate built-in defense: They can breathe fire, smiting their enemies by turning them into charred husks.
But though historic and modern-day literature is rich with dragon lore (we're looking at you, “Game of Thrones”), there isn't any reputable physical evidence that these legendary creatures exist. That said, are there any living creatures that can breathe fire like the mythical dragon?
The short answer is no, but there are some astonishingly creative animals that can spew noxious fumes, toxins and goo from their bodies. And there are even crafty raptors that spread fire so they can smoke out tasty prey. [Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth]
The main reason fire-breathing animals don't exist? Well, a flame could cause a nasty boo-boo.
“There are no real animals that are flame resistant or flame immune”, Rachel Keeffe, a doctoral student studying reptiles and amphibians at the University of Florida, said in a statement. “There are animals that can resist super-high temperatures like ocean vents - certain worms can live in these really insane environments of heat, but that's not fire.”
This fact might disappoint Daenerys Targaryen, the so-called Mother of Dragons from “Game of Thrones” - as well as her fire-breathing children Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal - but there are still plenty of dragon-like animals out there. Take, for instance, the spitting cobra, a group that includes several species of cobra that spit blinding venom from their fangs when threatened. Afrotropical scorpions in the genus Parabuthus can squirt highly toxic venom at menacing interlopers.
And, while it isn't as singeing as Drogon's fiery blast, the gecko Strophurus can shoot a nasty-smelling goo out of its tail to frighten off predators.
“It's not toxic or anything. It's just kind of gross”, said Keeffe, who co-authored and illustrated the forthcoming book “The Anthropology of Dragons: A Global Perspective”.
Other beasties with defenses coming out of their derrières include skunks and bombardier beetles (Pheropsophus jessoensis), which fart a toxic chemical cocktail when threatened. These beetles' farts are so powerful that they can prompt toads that have eaten the beetles to puke out their last meal. That's exactly what the beetle wants; it may be covered with mucus from the toad's stomach, but sometimes these beetles can survive the ordeal.
However, when it comes to fighting with fire, Australian raptors take first prize. Three species of these predatory birds Down Under - black kites (Milvus migrans), whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcons (Falco berigora) - are known to lurk by wildfires and then suddenly snatch up smoldering grasses or branches with their talons. The birds then use the fire to kindle new flames elsewhere, which, in turn, smoke out mammals and insect prey that they can eat.
As for actual fire-breathing animals, it appears those are confined to our imagination. Just note, this smoke-breathing elephant isn't some kind of dragon hybrid. Rather, it likely ate some pieces of wood charcoal from the forest floor, and then blew away the ash as it chomped down, Varun Goswami, a Wildlife Conservation Society elephant biologist in India, said in a statement.
• Do Snakes Have Ears?
• What If Winter Lasted for Years Like It Does on 'Game of Thrones'?
• Do Elephant Tusks or Rhino Horns Ever Grow Back?
Live Science (04/13/2019)
“Lotta Love” - Nicolette Larson
This soft-rock favorite has a writer you wouldn't expect. “Lotta Love” was written by Neil Young and recorded by Nicolette Larson, becoming her first charting single. Larson got her career jump as a backing singer for Neil Young on the albums American Stars 'n Bars (1977) and Comes a Time (1978), so this is how he came to write for her.
“Lotta Love” is the first track of what would prove to be a stellar album. Nicolette reached #15 on the U.S. Album charts and was certified gold in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, Rolling Stone declared her Female Vocalist of 1978 on the strength of this album, despite its being released in September of that year.
Despite her continued work and albums released until 1994, she was never again to see this kind of success. Her only other appearance on the Billboard Top 40 charts is at #35 for her 1980 “Let Me Go, Love” , a duet with Michael McDonald. However, she had many more charting singles on the Adult Contemporary and U.S. Country charts - the country hits starting in the mid-1980s when she switched her genre to pure country.
How Nicolette met Neil: She had already been working as a recording artist, first on the 1975 Commander Cody album Tales From the Ozone (Commander Cody was best known for 1972's “Hot Rod Lincoln”), then eventually with Emmylou Harris, which led to her meeting Harris' associate and friend Linda Ronstadt. Larson visited Ronstadt's Malibu home when neighbor Neil Young dropped by looking for a new female vocalist. Neil and Larson had their first jam session that day and he was thrilled. Together Larson and Ronstadt became “The Saddlebags”, credited as such on Young's album.
“Lotta Love” also got released on Young's own album Comes a Time - track 4, side 1. This is one of the albums with the band Crazy Horse serving back-up duties, including on “Lotta Love”. In case you hadn't figured it out by now, Young and Larson also had a brief affair during this time. And after they had split, who should be the very next woman for Young to get involved with but a waitress named Pegi working at the Bella Vista Restaurant, Pegi being the woman he would marry for good.
There's some controversy over exactly how Larson got this song. Linda Rodstadt claims it resulted from her suggestion to Larson. Larson, however, says that the suggestion came from Young himself. “I got that song off a tape I found lying on the floor of Neil's car”, Larson said. “I popped it in the tape player and commented on what a great song it was. Neil said: 'You want it? It's yours.'”
Larson passed away on December 16, 1997. On February 21 and 22 of 1998, a tribute concert named the Lotta Love Concert was held in her honor. Performers included Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jimmy Buffet, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, and Little Feat with Bonnie Raitt. Young did not attend, but according to the liner notes for the album cut from the concert, he sent “a bouquet of roses as big as the audience”.
Rolling Stone / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Nicolette Larson
Image: “Nicolette (album)” by Nicolette Larson
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Answer to Trivia
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● Mosquitoes prefer to bite which of the following: Men, Women, or Both Equally?
Answer to Trivia
A Test for People Who Know Everything
From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ENGLISH MUFFINS” ($400)
“foodandwine.com suggests a Caesar salad employing the English muffins' crunchiness in this role.”
● Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Food and Wine
From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ENGLISH MUFFINS” ($600)
“This morning dish made with English muffins isn't named for an American traitor, but rather a Delmonico's patron.”
● Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer The Food Dictator
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“This teatime treat with a 7-letter name is basically an English muffin, though often served whole, not split.”
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Answer to Last Week's Test
From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “CROOKS & NANNIES” ($200)
“Elin Nordegren went from nannydom into marriage & then a $750 million divorce settlement from him.”
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Joke of the Day
“Don't Step on the Ducks”
“Don't Step on the Ducks”
Three guys die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, “We only have one rule here in heaven: Don't step on the ducks!”
So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first guy accidentally steps on one.
Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest woman he has ever seen. St. Peter chains them together and says, “Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to the ugly woman!”
The next day, the second guy steps accidentally on a duck, and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing, and with him is another extemely ugly woman. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first guy.
The third guy has observed all this and not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly woman, is very, VERY careful where he steps.
He manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to him with the most gorgeous woman he has ever laid eyes on: a very tall, tan, curvaceous, sexy blonde. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.
The guy remarks, “I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?”
She says, “I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!”