Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 27, 2020

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American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

The Battle of Gettysburg begins: The Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863, is considered the most important engagement of the American Civil War.

After a great victory over Union forces at Chancellorsville, General Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania in late June 1863. On July 1, the advancing Confederates clashed with the Union’s Army of the Potomac, commanded by General George G. Meade, at the crossroads town of Gettysburg.

The next day saw even heavier fighting, as the Confederates attacked the Federals on both left and right. On July 3, Lee ordered an attack by fewer than 15,000 troops on the enemy’s center at Cemetery Ridge. The assault, known as “Pickett’s Charge”, managed to pierce the Union lines but eventually failed, at the cost of thousands of rebel casualties, and Lee was forced to withdraw his battered army toward Virginia on July 4.

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg: Lee’s Invasion of the North

In May 1863, Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had scored a smashing victory over the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville. Brimming with confidence, Lee decided to go on the offensive and invade the North for a second time (the first invasion had ended at Antietam the previous fall). In addition to bringing the conflict out of Virginia and diverting northern troops from Vicksburg, where the Confederates were under siege, Lee hoped to gain recognition of the Confederacy by Britain and France and strengthen the cause of northern “Copperheads” who favored peace.

On the Union side, President Abraham Lincoln had lost confidence in the Army of the Potomac’s commander, Joseph Hooker, who seemed reluctant to confront Lee’s army after the defeat at Chancellorsville. On June 28, Lincoln named Major General George Gordon Meade to succeed Hooker. Meade immediately ordered the pursuit of Lee’s army of 75,000, which by then had crossed the Potomac River into Maryland and marched on into southern Pennsylvania.

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg, Day 1: July 1st

Upon learning that the Army of the Potomac was on its way, Lee planned to assemble his army in the prosperous crossroads town of Gettysburg, 35 miles southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. One of the Confederate divisions in A.P. Hill’s command approached the town in search of supplies early on July 1, only to find that two Union cavalry brigades had arrived the previous day. As the bulk of both armies headed toward Gettysburg, Confederate forces (led by Hill and Richard Ewell) were able to drive the outnumbered Federal defenders back through town to Cemetery Hill, located a half mile to the south.

Seeking to press his advantage before more Union troops could arrive, Lee gave discretionary orders to attack Cemetery Hill to Ewell, who had taken command of the Army of Northern Virginia’s Second Corps after Lee’s most trusted general, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. Ewell declined to order the attack, considering the Federal position too strong; his reticence would earn him many unfavorable comparisons to the great Stonewall. By dusk, a Union corps under Winfield Scott Hancock had arrived and extended the defensive line along Cemetery Ridge to the hill known as Little Round Top; three more Union corps arrived overnight to strengthen its defenses.

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg, Day 2: July 2nd

As the next day dawned, the Union Army had established strong positions from Culp’s Hill to Cemetery Ridge. Lee assessed his enemy’s positions and determined - against the advice of his defensively minded second-in-command, James Longstreet - to attack the Federals where they stood. He ordered Longstreet to lead an attack on the Union left, while Ewell’s corps would strike the right, near Culp’s Hill. Though his orders were to attack as early in the day as possible, Longstreet didn’t get his men into position until 4 pm, when they opened fire on the Union corps commanded by Daniel Sickles.

Over the next several hours, bloody fighting raged along Sickles’ line, which stretched from the nest of boulders known as Devil’s Den into a peach orchard, as well as in a nearby wheat field and on the slopes of Little Round Top. Thanks to fierce fighting by one Maine regiment, the Federals were able to hold Little Round Top, but lost the orchard, field and Devil’s Den; Sickles himself was seriously wounded. Ewell’s men had advanced on the Union forces at Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill in coordination with Longstreet’s 4 pm attack, but Union forces had stalled their attack by dusk. Both armies suffered extremely heavy losses on July 2, with 9,000 or more casualties on each side. The combined casualty total from two days of fighting came to nearly 35,000, the largest two-day toll of the war.

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg, Day 3: July 3rd

Early on the morning of July 3, Union forces of the Twelfth Army Corps pushed back a Confederate threat against Culp’s Hill after a seven-hour firefight and regained their strong position. Believing his men had been on the brink of victory the day before, Lee decided to send three divisions (preceded by an artillery barrage) against the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. Fewer than 15,000 troops, led by a division under George Pickett, would be tasked with marching some three-quarters of a mile across open fields to attack dug-in Union infantry positions.

Despite Longstreet’s protests, Lee was determined, and the attack–later known as “Pickett’s Charge” - went forward around 3 pm, after an artillery bombardment by some 150 Confederate guns. Union infantry opened fire on the advancing rebels from behind stone walls, while regiments from Vermont, New York and Ohio hit both of the enemy’s flanks. Caught from all sides, barely half of the Confederates survived, and Pickett’s division lost two-thirds of its men. As the survivors stumbled back to their opening position, Lee and Longstreet scrambled to shore up their defensive line after the failed assault.

Battle of Gettysburg: Aftermath and Impact

His hopes of a victorious invasion of the North dashed, Lee waited for a Union counterattack on July 4, but it never came. That night, in heavy rain, the Confederate general withdrew his decimated army toward Virginia. Though the cautious Meade would be criticized for not pursuing the enemy after Gettysburg, the battle was a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. Union casualties in the battle numbered 23,000, while the Confederates had lost some 28,000 men–more than a third of Lee’s army. The North rejoiced while the South mourned, its hopes for foreign recognition of the Confederacy erased.

Demoralized by the defeat at Gettysburg, Lee offered his resignation to President Jefferson Davis, but was refused. Though the great Confederate general would go on to win other victories, the Battle of Gettysburg (combined with Ulysses S. Grant’s victory at Vicksburg, also on July 4) irrevocably turned the tide of the Civil War in the Union’s favor.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / American Battlefields.org / Library Of Congress.gov / Encyclopedia Virginia.org / National Archives.gov / Smithsonian / The Atlantic / American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins on July 01, 1863 (YouTube) video

“This Day in History”

This Day in History July 01

• 1520 La Noche Triste: Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés fight their way out of Tenochtitlan after nightfall.

• 1870 United States Department of Justice formally comes into existence.

• 1898 Spanish–American War: Battle of San Juan Hill; is fought in Santiago de Cuba

• 1916 World War I: First day on the Somme; On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 19,000 soldiers of the British Army are killed and 40,000 wounded.

• 1942 World War II: First Battle of El Alamein.

• 1997 Handover of Hong Kong: China resumes sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.

• 2002 The International Criminal Court: is established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

Understanding Military Terminology: At the Marine Corps Museum: Norman Rockwell's “The War Hero”

Understanding Military Terminology


(DOD) Explosives, chemicals, pyrotechnics, and similar stores, e.g., bombs, guns and ammunition, flares, smoke, or napalm.

Joint Publications (JP 3-15) Barriers, Obstacles, and Mine Warfare for Joint Operations

Ordnance Handling

Applies to those individuals who engage in the breakout, lifting, or repositioning of ordnance or explosive devices in order to facilitate storage or stowage, assembly or disassembly, loading or downloading, or transporting.

Joint Publications (JP 3-04) Joint Shipboard Helicopter and Tiltrotor Aircraft Operations

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Alcinous and Ulysses both rose, and Alcinous led the way to the Phaecian place of assembly, which was near the ships. When they got there they sat down side by side on a seat of polished stone, while Minerva took the form of one of Alcinous' servants, and went round the town in order to help Ulysses to get home. She went up to the citizens, man by man, and said, “Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, come to the assembly all of you and listen to the stranger who has just come off a long voyage to the house of King Alcinous; he looks like an immortal god.”

With these words she made them all want to come, and they flocked to the assembly till seats and standing room were alike crowded. Every one was struck with the appearance of Ulysses, for Minerva had beautified him about the head and shoulders, making him look taller and stouter than he really was, that he might impress the Phaecians favourably as being a very remarkable man, and might come off well in the many trials of skill to which they would challenge him. Then, when they were got together, Alcinous spoke:

“Hear me”, said he, “aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, that I may speak even as I am minded. This stranger, whoever he may be, has found his way to my house from somewhere or other either East or West. He wants an escort and wishes to have the matter settled. Let us then get one ready for him, as we have done for others before him; indeed, no one who ever yet came to my house has been able to complain of me for not speeding on his way soon enough. Let us draw a ship into the sea- one that has never yet made a voyage- and man her with two and fifty of our smartest young sailors. Then when you have made fast your oars each by his own seat, leave the ship and come to my house to prepare a feast. I will find you in everything. I am giving will these instructions to the young men who will form the crew, for as regards you aldermen and town councillors, you will join me in entertaining our guest in the cloisters. I can take no excuses, and we will have Demodocus to sing to us; for there is no bard like him whatever he may choose to sing about.”

Alcinous then led the way, and the others followed after, while a servant went to fetch Demodocus. The fifty-two picked oarsmen went to the sea shore as they had been told, and when they got there they drew the ship into the water, got her mast and sails inside her, bound the oars to the thole-pins with twisted thongs of leather, all in due course, and spread the white sails aloft. They moored the vessel a little way out from land, and then came on shore and went to the house of King Alcinous. The outhouses, yards, and all the precincts were filled with crowds of men in great multitudes both old and young; and Alcinous killed them a dozen sheep, eight full grown pigs, and two oxen. These they skinned and dressed so as to provide a magnificent banquet.

“The Odyssey” - Book VIII continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

“The Odyssey” - Table Of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past,

but by the responsibility for our future.”

“An American has no sense of privacy.

He does not know what it means.

There is no such thing in the country.”

“I learned long ago,

never to wrestle with a pig.

You get dirty,

and besides, the pig likes it.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

“So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot.”

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men.

True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

~ George Orwell

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“Your future is created by what you do today not tomorrow.”

“Our future accomplishments are determined entirely by how every second in our life is put to a use.

The future is the cumulation of many nows.”

“I know not what the future holds,

but I know who holds the future.”

~ Anonymous

Second Hand News

Second Hand News: Articles from Week 27 - June 30, 2020 - July 05, 2020

Top News Stories - Photos (Washington Examiner) Trump global media chief says he acted legally in 'Wednesday night massacre' in firing Voice of America senior figuresReagan-founded PAC pushes Trump to preserve 16-million acre Tongass National Forest in AlaskaDevin Nunes identifies 'good sign' from John Durham's investigation

Attorney General William Barr: Widespread mail-in voting ripe for fraud 'that cannot be policed'Four men charged with voter fraud after 800 ballots are discounted in New Jersey special electionJames Comey miniseries moved to air before 2020 election after director complains

Spy chief Ratcliffe says Trump never briefed on Russia offering Taliban bounties'Exodus:' 272 NYPD officers file for retirement since George Floyd's deathMinneapolis council members who voted to dismantle the police use private security

MOST READ: Toppling attempt led by Harvard student ends after confrontation with statue defendersSocial media app Parler grows as conservatives get fed up with TwitterEPA chief urges defunding of NPR, 'sacred cow that needs to be slaughtered' Washington Examiner

Top News Stories - Photos (The Federalist) Trump Calls For Tougher Republican Response To ‘Political War’In First Weekend Of Riots, Looting Damage In 20 Major Cities Exceeded $400 Million‘First They Topple The Statues, Then They Start Killing People’Trump Blasts Media In Wisconsin Town Hall: ‘It’s Not Only What They Say - It’s What They Don’t Say’

United States Attorney General William Barr: DOJ Has Over 500 Investigations Into Violent RiotersWidespread Fraud In New Jersey Special Election Proves Again That Mail-In Ballots Are Ripe For AbusePlanned Parenthood Members Don Handmaid’s Tale Costumes And Burn Flag In Abortion Bill ProtestJudge Rules New York May Not Enforce Double-Standard Restrictions On Religious Gatherings

MOST READ: Black Community Elders Shutdown And Shame Anti-Statue ProtestWe’re In A Cultural Civil War. It’s Time For Conservatives To Fight BackAOC Faces Twitter Backlash After Claiming ‘Latinos Are Black’On CNN: BLM Co-Founder Weighs In On 2020 Election, In Apparent Violation Of Internal Revenue Laws Prohibiting 501(c)(3) Organizations From Engaging In Campaign ActivityIn Racist Screed, New York Times’ 1619 Project Founder Calls ‘White Race’ ‘Barbaric Devils’, ‘Bloodsuckers’, Columbus ‘No Different Than Hitler’

On CNN: BLM Co-Founder Weighs In On 2020 Election, In Apparent Violation Of Internal Revenue Laws Prohibiting 501(c)(3) Organizations From Engaging In Campaign ActivityThe Media Ignored A Massive Mob Ambush Of Police In Tampa BayMandatory Masks Aren’t About Safety, They’re About Social ControlExplosive New FBI Notes Confirm Obama Directed Anti-Flynn Operation The Federalist

Top News Stories - Photos (CORRUPTION CHRONICLES - Mainstream Media Scream: (Watch Dog On-Line Publications) CORRUPTION CHRONICLES: Judicial Watch Obtains Secret Service Records Showing Hunter Biden Took 411 Flights, Visited 29 Countries

“Investigating the Investigators:” Judicial Watch: Justice Department Records Reveal Obama White House Effort to ‘Evolve’ Explanation of Benghazi Terrorist Attack

The Left Is Clearing A Pathway To Power

Big Tech Censorship & Potential Anti-Trust Law Violations

Biden Scandal Update Judicial Watch

OUTING FAKE NEWS OMISSIONS and DISTORTIONS: Washington Post's National Correspondent Philip Bump Thinks He's Smart, So Why Did He Write This?MSNBC's Jonathan Alter: Trump, Republican Governors Have 'Rivers of Blood' on Their HandsCNN's Keilar Accuses 'Deliberately Negligent' Trump of 'Killing Americans'Will the Hypocritical New York Times Change Its Name?

Look Out! Attorney General William Barr Strongly Attacks Media Spin on 'Systemic Racism' in NPR InterviewCNN's Laura Coates Excuses Anarchy: Statue Vandalism Is 'Symbolic Speech'FLASHBACK: Biden’s ‘Oh That Joe’ Gaffes Are ‘Charming’Pure Propaganda: CNN Decides Biden Will Win, Ignores COVID “120 million” Americans Died From Coronavirus Gaffe News Busters

If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic? Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic?

If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic?

All yeast breads contain some amount of alcohol. Have you ever smelled a rising loaf of bread or, better yet, smelled the air underneath dough that has been covered while rising? It smells really boozy. And that sweet smell that fresh-baked bread has under the yeast and nutty Maillard reaction notes? Alcohol.

If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic?

However, during the baking process, most of the alcohol in the dough evaporates into the atmosphere. This is basically the same thing that happens to much of the water in the dough as well. And it’s long been known that bread contains residual alcohol—up to 1.9 percent of it. In the 1920s, the American Chemical Society even had a set of experimenters report on it.

Anecdotally, I’ve also accidentally made really boozy bread by letting a white bread dough rise for too long. The end result was that not enough of the alcohol boiled off, and the darned thing tasted like alcohol. You can also taste alcohol in the doughy bits of underbaked white bread, which I categorically do not recommend you try making.

Putting on my industrial biochemistry hat here, many [people] claim that alcohol is only the product of a “starvation process” on yeast once they run out of oxygen. That’s wrong.

If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic?

The most common brewers and bread yeasts, of the Saccharomyces genus (and some of the Brettanomyces genus, also used to produce beer), will produce alcohol in both a beer wort and in bread dough immediately, regardless of aeration. This is actually a surprising result, as it runs counter to what is most efficient for the cell (and, incidentally, the simplistic version of yeast biology that is often taught to home brewers). The expectation would be that the cell would perform aerobic respiration (full conversion of sugar and oxygen to carbon dioxide and water) until oxygen runs out, and only then revert to alcoholic fermentation, which runs without oxygen but produces less energy.

Instead, if a Saccharomyces yeast finds itself in a high-sugar environment, regardless of the presence of air it will start producing ethanol, shunting sugar into the anaerobic respiration pathway while still running the aerobic process in parallel. This phenomenon is known as the Crabtree effect, and is speculated to be an adaptation to suppress competing organisms in the high-sugar environment because ethanol has antiseptic properties that yeasts are tolerant to but competitors are not. It’s a quirk of Saccharomyces biology that you basically only learn about if you spent a long time doing way too much yeast cell culture.

Brew Enthusiast / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Medical News Today / Food Babe / Mental Floss - Quora / If Beer and Bread Use Almost the Exact Same Ingredients, Why Isn't Bread Alcoholic? (YouTube) video

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

NFG: Non-Functioning Gear: Used typically on Tags placed on electronics indicating malfunction description. Also called No F'n Good.

NFO: Naval Flight Officer: flies alongside the pilot as weapons officer. Also referred to as a “talking kneeboard”. No Fuckin' Option is term used for NFOs who would rather be pilots, but don't qualify.

NAVY: Acronymused by disgruntled sailors for “Never Again Volunteer Yourself”, “Need Any Vaseline Yet”. (Naval Air wing) “No Aviator Values You”.

Naval Infantry: Derogatory term for the U.S. Marines, although historically some of the original colonies/early states had “naval infantry” or “naval militia”.

Navy Shower: Not a form of punishment. While underway, fresh water must be manufactured. A common-sense way of saving it is to wet down while taking a shower and then TURN OFF THE WATER. Lather up and wash. Finally, TURN ON THE WATER to rinse off. Continual disregard WILL attract a punishment shower with scrub brushes.

Navy World: RTC Orlando was referred to as “Navy World” on its water tower due to Disney World and Sea World being close by.


Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSM-60 Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron SIX ZERO - nicknamed the “Jaguars”

United States Navy Naval Air Station - U.S. Navy Reserve Squadron Naval Air Station Jacksonville Florida and Naval Station Mayport / Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron - Squadron Lineage; HSL-60: April 1, 2001 - July 2015 / HSM-60: July 2015 – present.

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse”

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse:

Meaning: 'A nod is as good as a wink' expresses the idea that, to a person who is ready to understand or undertake something, any subtle signalling of it is sufficient. The context is usually of some undertaking that is borderline illegal or of sexual innuendo.

History: This proverbial saying sounds as if it might be quite modern but it is in fact a 16th century phrase originating in England. The longer version of the phrase is 'a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse'. It might seem that this is just an elaboration of the shorter version, but it appears that the 'blind horse' version was in fact the original. The earliest examples of the proverb in print all give the fuller version, for example, in the Letters of the English lawyer and writer Joseph Ritson, February 1793:

“A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse.”

It seems intuitive to interpret the longer version as meaning 'neither a nod nor a wink has any purpose, both being equally pointless'. Nevertheless, the context of the early uses has it being used with the same apparent meaning as the short version, that is, 'you may nod or wink - I will take your meaning either way'.

During the 19th century the expression began to be shortened and the blind horse was left at home. Citations from that period use the form 'a nod is as good as a wink etc.', which clearly indicates that the later usage was simply a shorthand way of writing the original.

More recently, the expression has gained currency in the form of “a nod is as good as a wink to a blind bat”, which Eric Idle used in his 'Nudge, nudge' sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus. The character Idle played was a nonsense-talking fool who came out with a string of meaningless innuendos. The choice of bat was knowing, as bats are generally regarded as blind and so calling the creature a blind bat emphasized the ridiculousness of the character's gabble... and, before anyone writes in, I know that bats aren't really blind.


Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Experiment closes critical gap in weather forecastingAddressing the obstacles preventing the commercialization of lithium-rich layered sulfidesHas physics ever been deterministic?How saving the ozone layer in 1987 slowed global warming Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

13 Mythical Creatures, RankedWhat We Just Learned About the Sun from the Fastest Spacecraft EverMathematician Finds Easier Way to Solve Quadratic EquationsScientists Crack Longest, Most Complex Encryption Key Ever Popular Mechanics

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good - real news story)

Why do we freeze when startled - New study in flies points to serotonin

Why do we freeze when startled - New study in flies points to serotonin

Source: The Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University

Summary: A study in fruit flies has identified serotonin as a chemical that triggers the body's startle response, the automatic deer-in-the-headlights reflex that freezes the body momentarily in response to a potential threat.

A Columbia University study in fruit flies has identified serotonin as a chemical that triggers the body's startle response, the automatic deer-in-the-headlights reflex that freezes the body momentarily in response to a potential threat. Today's study reveals that when a fly experiences an unexpected change to its surroundings, such as a sudden vibration, release of serotonin helps to literally - and temporarily - stop the fly in its tracks.

These findings, published today in Current Biology, offer broad insight into the biology of the startle response, a ubiquitous, yet mysterious, phenomenon that has been observed in virtually every animal studied to date, from flies to fish to people.

“Imagine sitting in your living room with your family and - all of a sudden - the lights go out, or the ground begins to shake”, said Richard Mann, PhD, a principal investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the paper's senior author. “Your response, and that of your family, will be the same: You will stop, freeze and then move to safety. With this study, we show in flies that a rapid release of the chemical serotonin in their nervous system drives that initial freeze. And because serotonin also exists in people, these findings shed light on what may be going on when we get startled as well.”

In the brain, serotonin is most closely associated with regulating mood and emotion. But previous research on flies and vertebrates has shown it can also affect the speed of an animal's movement. The Columbia researchers' initial goal was to more fully understand how the chemical accomplished this.

Why do we freeze when startled - New study in flies points to serotonin

The team first analyzed fruit fly steps using FlyWalker, an apparatus developed by Dr. Mann and Columbia physicist Szabolcs Marka, PhD, to track an insect's steps on a special type of glass. After monitoring how the flies moved, the scientists manipulated the levels of serotonin - and another chemical called dopamine - in the fly's ventral nerve cord (VNC), which is analogous to the vertebrate spinal cord.

Their initial results revealed that activating neurons that produce serotonin in the VNC slows flies down, while silencing those same neurons speeds flies up. Additional experiments showed that serotonin levels could impact the insects' walking speed under a wide variety of conditions, including different temperatures, when the flies were hungry, or while they walked upside down, all situations that normally affect walking speed.

“We witnessed serotonin's biggest effects when the flies experienced rapid environmental changes”, said Clare Howard, PhD, the paper's first author. “In other words, when they were startled.”

To further investigate, the research team devised two scenarios to elicit a fly's startle response. In the first, they turned the lights off: a total blackout for the insects. For the second, they simulated an earthquake.

To accomplish this, the scientists partnered with Tanya Tabachnik, Director of Advanced Instrumentation at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. Tabachnik's team of machinists and engineers works with scientists to design and build customized systems for their research. For this study, they created a miniature, fly-sized arena perched atop specialized vibrating motors. Adjusting the motors' strength produced the desired earthquake effect. When the researchers exposed the flies to either the blackout or earthquake scenarios, they also manipulated the fly's ability to produce serotonin.

“We found that when a fly is startled in these scenarios, serotonin acts like an emergency brake; its release is needed for them to freeze, and that part of this response may be a result of stiffening both sides of the animal's leg joints”, said Dr. Mann, who is also the Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (in Systems Biology) at Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “This co-contraction could cause the brief pause in walking, after which the insect begins to move.”

“We think this pause is important," added Dr. Howard, "It could allow the fly's nervous system to gather the information about this sudden change and decide how it should respond.”, said Dr. Mann, who is also the Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (in Systems Biology) at Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “This co-contraction could cause the brief pause in walking, after which the insect begins to move.”

Interestingly, even though the fly's response in both scenarios was to cause an immediate pause, their subsequent walking speeds differed significantly.

“After being startled in the blackout scenario, the fly's gait was slow and deliberate”, Dr. Howard said. “But the earthquake caused the flies to walk faster after the initial pause.”

While these findings are specific to fruit flies, the ubiquity of serotonin and the startle response provides clues as to the chemical and molecular processes that occur when more complex animals, including people, get startled.

Going forward, the researchers hope to further investigate serotonin's role in movement, as well as what other factors may be at play.

“Our results indicate that serotonin has the potential to interact with many different types of nerve cells in the fly nervous system, such as those that guide movement and process sensory information”, said Dr. Mann. “As we and others continue to investigate, we hope to develop a detailed, molecular blueprint for locomotion that can be applied broadly to other animals, perhaps even people.”

Science Daily (11/27/2019) video

Second Hand News

Second Hand News: Articles from Week 27 - June 30, 2020 - July 05, 2020

Top News Stories - Photos (Daily Mail) Protesters camp outside City Hall in NYC for the fifth straight day demanding that Mayor de Blasio slash $1BN from the NYPD budget despite gun crime surge in the Big Apple and say they won't leave until he doesSenator Tim Scott blasts Nancy Pelosi's 'sinful' claim the Republicans are trying to 'get away with George Floyd's murder' and asks 'how can a woman standing in front of a $24,000 fridge jump into the pit of race politics?''Turns out NBC loves blackface!' Megyn Kelly mocks her former employer as four shows aired on the network come under fire for using controversial scenes

Trump says Democrat cities like Baltimore and Oakland are so lawless it's like 'living in hell' and claims Chicago is 'worse than Afghanistan' during town hall - then warns Biden 'will destroy our country'BET founder Robert Johnson says black people 'laugh' at white people pulling down Confederate statues because it won't 'close the labor gap' - as Trump prepares to use U.S. Marshals to defend monumentsCalls mount for St. Louis mayor to resign after she read outs on Facebook Live the names and addresses of defund-the-police protesters

Biden is slammed by Trump for being 'mortifyingly stupid' after his latest gaffe claiming 'we have 120 million dead from COVID-19'Barack Obama warns Joe Biden supporters not to be 'complacent or smug' because Donald Trump 'won once' as he encourages them to keep protesting during Zoom fundraiserBiden says it is 'shocking' if report Trump knew Russia had paid Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan is true - as White House DENIES president was briefed on that intel

Trump slams Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome's call to 'burn down this system' as 'treason, sedition, insurrection'Federal prosecutors announce charges against four men for vandalizing statue of Andrew Jackson in D.C. and arrest one as Trump again tweets pictures of 15 suspects wanted for attacking monumentsBill Gates slams Trump for blaming other countries like China for coronavirus pandemic - as his wife Melinda says black Americans should get the vaccine first Daily Mail

Top News Stories - Photos (John Batchelor)

"The seeds of the 'Cancel Culture' and 'Anti-History.'" audio  

Pacific Watch: Disneyland retreats from the July reopening while the San Francisco Giants will reopen with cut-out fans. audio  

Flynn accusations: "It also seems to be direct evidence not only that the White House knew, but also that the White House was directing this..." audio  

A searching conversation about policing, officer morale and fresh recruiting in the time of "Defund the Police" West Coast and East Coast. audio  

#TheScalaReport: A second wave of layoffs as Big Retail reimagines itself during and after the virus. audio  

#SmallBusinessAmerica: Veterans Administration in the 21st Century and Mental Health for the DOD Active Duty audio  

John Bolton's "desired outcomes" misapprehends POTUS's preference for a "negotiating position." audio  

Old generals not only fight the last war, but also they miss out on the "new amorphous" war-fighting of the 21st Century. audio   John Batchelor (06/30/2020)

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Mr. Tambourine Man” - The Byrds 1965

“Mr. Tambourine Man” video
 “I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better” video
The Byrds
Album: Mr. Tambourine Man
Released 1965

Bob Dylan wrote “Mr. Tambourine Manvideo. The song was originally released on his fifth album “Bringing It All Back Home” on March 22, 1965. The Byrds cover, released later in 1965, is the only song Dylan ever wrote that went to #1 in America.

Dylan wrote “Mr. Tambourine Manvideo on a road trip he took with some friends from New York to San Francisco. They smoked lots of marijuana along the way, replenishing their stash at post offices where they had mailed pot along the way.

The Byrds version is based on Bob Dylan's demo of the song that he recorded during sessions for his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan (Dylan's version was not yet released when The Byrds recorded it). It was The Byrds manager Jim Dickson who brought in the demo and asked them to record it - the group refused at first because they thought it didn't have any hit potential. When The Byrds did record it, they took some lyrics out and added a 12-string guitar lead.

Only three of the five members of The Byrds performed on this song: Roger McGuinn sang lead and played lead guitar; Gene Clark and David Crosby did the vocal harmonies.

Session musicians were brought in to play the other instruments, since the band was just starting out and wasn't deemed good enough yet by their management. The session musicians who played on this song were the Los Angeles members of what came to be known as “The Wrecking Crew” when drummer Hal Blaine used that term in his 1990 book. This group of about 50 players ended up on many hit songs of the era.

In addition to Blaine, studio pros who played on this song were:

Bill Pitman - guitar

Jerry Cole - guitar

Larry Knechtel - bass

Leon Russell - piano

The Byrds who didn't play on this one were bass player Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke.

This song changed the face of rock music. It launched The Byrds, convinced Dylan to “go electric”, and started the folk-rock movement. David Crosby of The Byrds recalled the day Dylan heard them working on the song:

“He came to hear us in the studio when we were building The Byrds. After the word got out that we gonna do 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and we were probably gonna be good, he came there and he heard us playing his song electric, and you could see the gears grinding in his head. It was plain as day. It was like watching a slow-motion lightning bolt.” (Quote from Bob Dylan: Performing Artist: The Early Years.)

This was inspired by a folk guitarist named Bruce Langhorne. As Dylan explained:

Bruce was playing with me on a bunch of early records. On one session, [producer] Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was, like, really big. It was as big as a wagon wheel. He was playing and this vision of him playing just stuck in my mind.”

Dylan never told Langhorne about it (Bruce had to read about it in the Biograph album liner notes, like the rest of us). He wrote the song and recorded a version with Ramblin' Jack Elliot that got to The Byrds (known as the Jet Set at the time) before it was ever put on a record.

Dylan claims that despite popular belief, this was not about drugs:

“Drugs never played a part in that song... 'disappearing through the smoke rings in my mind,' that's not drugs; drugs were never that big a thing with me. I could take 'em or leave 'em, never hung me up.”

This was the first of many Bob Dylan songs recorded by The Byrds. Others include:

You Ain't Goin' Nowherevideo,

The Times They Are a-Changin'video,

It's All Over Now Baby Bluevideo, and

Chimes of Freedomvideo.

The production style was based on The Beach Boys song “Don't Worry Babyvideo, which was the suggestion of producer Terry Melcher. Bill Pitman, Leon Russell and Hal Blaine had all played on that Beach Boys song, so it wasn't hard for them to re-create the sound on this track.

Roger McGuinn:

“I was shooting for a vocal that was very calculated between John Lennon and Bob Dylan. I was trying to cut some middle ground between those two voices.”

Mr. Tambourine Manvideo was the first influential folk-rock song. All of the characteristics of that genre are present, including chorus harmonies, a rock rhythm section and lots of thought-provoking lyrics.

Although The Byrds didn't write this or play most of the instruments, they would later write the song “Rock N' Roll Starvideo, which made fun of The Monkees for not writing their own songs and not playing their own instruments.

While many interpreted the song as a thinly veiled drugs record, McGuinn had other ideas. Having joined the Eastern cult religion Subud just 10 days prior to entering the studio, he saw the song as “a prayer of submission”. McGuinn told The Byrds' biographer, Johnny Rogan, in 1997:

“Underneath the lyrics to 'Mr. Tambourine Man', regardless of what Dylan meant, I was turning it into a prayer. I was singing to God and I was saying that God was the Tambourine Man and I was saying to him, 'Hey God, take me for a trip and I'll follow you'”.

Bob Dylan didn't make it to Woodstock, but four of his songs did, including:

Mr. Tambourine Manvideo, which Melanie included in her set on the first day.

Joan Baez and The Band both did “I Shall Be Releasedvideo, and

Joe Cocker sang two Dylan songs: “Just Like A Womanvideo and “Dear Landlordvideo.

The Byrds official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / The Byrds

Image: “Mr. Tambourine Man (album)” by The Byrds


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Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day


How does an attorney sleep? Well, first he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

You’ve heard that one, along with a million other lawyer jokes that people have sprung on you from the moment you first announced you were going to school to be a paralegal. Some of them probably even get told around the law office. Even lawyers like to laugh and there are a lot of aspects of legal practice that are ripe for a little deadpan humor.


Joke of the Day

“Guilty of Annoyance”

A defendant isn’t happy with how things are going in court, so he gives the judge a hard time.

Judge: “Where do you work?”

Defendant: “Here and there.”

Judge: “What do you do for a living?”

Defendant: “This and that.”

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