Old Sailors' Almanac

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

Week 46, 2020

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Armistice Day: World War I ends on November 11, 1918

Armistice Day: World War I Ends on November 11, 1918

Armistice Day: World War I Ends: At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

Why World War I Ended With an Armistice Instead of a Surrender

Both sides had suffered too much to continue, but Germany would be left battered by harsh terms.

An American medical officer, Stanhope Bayne-Jones, suddenly could hear water dripping off a bush next to him. “It seemed mysterious, queer, unbelievable”, he later recalled, according to an account on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website. “All of the men knew what the silence meant, but nobody shouted or threw his hat in the air.” It took hours for the reality to sink in. World War I - the bloodiest conflict so far in human history, with more than with more than 8.5 million military casualties - had finally ended.

But the war ended with an armistice, an agreement in which both sides agree to stop fighting, rather than a surrender. For both sides, an armistice was the fastest way to end the war's misery and carnage.

By November 1918, both the Allies and Central Powers who’d been battering each other for four years were pretty much out of gas. German offensives that year had been defeated with heavy casualties, and in late summer and fall, the British, French and U.S. forces had pushed them steadily back. With the United States able to send more and more fresh troops into combat, the Germans were outmatched. As Germany’s allies crumbled around them as well, the war’s outcome seemed clear.

Even so, both sides were ready for the carnage to stop.

“An invasion of Germany would have required too much in terms of morale, logistics and resources”, explains Guy Cuthbertson of Liverpool Hope University and author of Peace at Last: A Portrait of Armistice Day, 11 November 1918. Beyond that, “where would it end? Berlin is a long way from France.” Instead, “There was a need to end the war as soon as possible as long as the Allies could achieve peace with victory.”

Germany’s political and military situation were weak enough that the Germans feared being conquered, Cuthbertson says. “Germany was suffering from starvation”, he says, with the situation getting worse “by the hour”.

Life in the Trenches of World War I

Armistice Day: World War I ends on November 11, 1918

Germany Asked to Negotiate an Armistice

In fact, the Germans had started making overtures about an armistice in early October. At first they tried to go through U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, fearing that the British and the French would insist upon harsh terms. But that end run didn’t succeed. According to Bullitt Lowry’s 1996 book “Armistice 1918”, the Germans finally sent a late-night radio message to Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander-in-chief of the Allied forces, requesting permission to send a delegation through the lines to negotiate an armistice, and asked for a general cease-fire. Forty-five minutes later, Foch replied. He ignored the cease-fire request, but gave the Germans permission to come.

At 8:00 p.m. on November 7, three automobiles carefully made their way through the nightmarish landscape of artillery craters and barbed wire in no-man’s land in northern France, as a German bugler sounded a truce and another soldier waved a white flag. The German envoys switched to a French car and then boarded a train, and traveled through the night. On the morning of November 8, they pulled into a railroad siding in the Forest of Compiègne, alongside Foch’s railroad car. That was where the meeting would take place.

Germany Agreed to Harsh Terms

The task that awaited the German diplomats weighed heavily upon them. “There was the fear of national disgrace”, explains Nicholas Best, author of the 2008 book “The Greatest Day in History”. “Whoever proposed a laying-down of arms would be hated by militaristic Germans for the rest of his life.” Indeed, Matthias Erzberger, the politician who reluctantly agreed to lead the German delegation, would be murdered not quite three years later by German ultra-nationalist extremists.

There wasn’t much of a negotiation. When the Germans asked if he had an Allied offer, Foch responded, “I have no proposals to make”. His instructions from the Allied governments were to simply present an as-is deal. French General Maxime Weygand then read the terms that the Allies had decided upon to the Germans.

According to Lowry’s account, the Germans became distraught when they heard that they would have to disarm, fearing that they’d be unable to defend their teetering government against communist revolutionaries. But they had little leverage.

In the early morning hours of November 11, Erzberger and Foch met for the final negotiations. According to Lowry, the German emissary tried his best to persuade Foch to make the agreement less severe. Foch made a few small changes, including letting the Germans keep a few of their weapons. Finally, just before dawn, the agreement was signed.

The Germans agreed to pull their troops out of France, Belgium and Luxembourg within 15 days, or risk becoming prisoners of the Allies. They had to turn over their arsenal, including 5,000 artillery pieces, 25,000 machine guns and 1,700 airplanes, along with 5,000 railroad locomotives, 5,000 trucks and 150,000 wagons. Germany also had to give up the contested territory of Alsace-Lorraine. And they agreed to the indignity of Allied forces occupying German territory along the Rhine, where they would stay until 1930.

“The Allies wouldn't have given Germany better terms because they felt that they had to defeat Germany and Germany could not be allowed to get away with it”, Cuthbertson said. “There's also a sense that an armistice has to ensure that the enemy are not strong enough to start the war again any time soon.”

After World War I, Hundreds of Politicians Were Murdered in Germany

Armistice Day: World War I ends on November 11, 1918

WWI Peace Treaty Paved The Way To WWII

After the celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic had died down, two months later a conference was convened at Versailles, just outside Paris, to work out a final peace treaty. But things didn’t go smoothly, Best explains, because the Allied powers who dominated the conference all had different agendas.

“It wasn’t until May that the Allies managed to agree a common position among themselves that they could present to the Germans”, he explains. In the agreement that was signed in June, vanquished Germany was forced to accept harsh terms, including paying reparations that eventually amounted to $37 billion (nearly $492 billion in today’s dollars). That humiliation and the lasting bitterness it engendered helped pave the way to another World War two decades later.

Nevertheless, November 11 itself would become a hallowed day. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day, which in 1926 became a permanent legal holiday. The day is also now known as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations. And in 1954, the U.S. Congress - at the urging of veterans’ organizations - changed its name to Veterans Day to honor service members who had served in World War II and the Korean War as well.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / The National WWI Museum and Memorial.org / NAVY.mil / American Battle Monuments Commission / Armistice Day: World War I ends on November 11, 1918 (YouTube) video

“This Day in History”

This Day in History November 11

• 1572 Tycho Brahe observes the supernovac SN 1572.

• 1673 Battle of Khotyn: in Ukraine: Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Jan Sobieski defeat the Ottoman army. In this battle, rockets made by Kazimierz Siemienowicz are successfully used.

• 1675 Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x).

• 1750 The F.H.C. Society, also known as the Flat Hat Club, is formed at Raleigh Tavern, Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the first college fraternity.

• 1778 American Revolutionary War: Cherry Valley massacre: Loyalists and Seneca Indian forces attack a fort and village in eastern New York, killing more than forty civilians and soldiers.

• 1805 Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Dürenstein: Eight thousand French troops attempt to slow the retreat of a vastly superior Russian and Austrian force.

• 1813 War of 1812: Battle of Crysler's Farm: British and Canadian forces defeat a larger American force, causing the Americans to abandon their Saint Lawrence campaign.

• 1864 American Civil War: General William Tecumseh Sherman begins burning Atlanta to the ground in preparation for his March to the Sea.

• 1921 Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated by U.S. President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery.

• 1923 Adolf Hitler is arrested in Munich for high treason for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch.

• 1940 World War II: Battle of Taranto: the Royal Navy launches the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history.

• 1942 World War II: France's Zone libre is occupied by German forces in Case Anton.

• 2004 New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is dedicated at the National War Memorial, Wellington.


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

Understanding Military Terminology

Person Authorized to Direct Disposition of Human Remains

(DOD) A person, usually primary next of kin, who is authorized to direct disposition of human remains.

Also called PADD.

See also Mortuary Affairs.

Joint Publications (JP 4-06) Mortuary Affairs

Person Eligible to Receive Effects

The person authorized by law to receive the personal effects of a deceased military member. Receipt of personal effects does not constitute ownership.

Also called PERE.

See also Mortuary Affairs; Personal Effects.

Joint Publications (JP 4-06) Mortuary Affairs


“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of HMS Eurydice”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of HMS Eurydice

On Sunday afternoon the training ship HMS Eurydice, when off Dunnose Point, a headland between Ventnor and Sandown and almost within sight of home, was struck by a terrific squall and blinding snow, with such force that it beat her down, heeling her till her open gun ports slide beneath the water.

Within minutes she sank with the loss of all her crew of 328 save for two. A relieve fund totalling £23,040 was raised for the dependents of the men who were lost. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was at the time a resident of Southsea wrote:

“A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,

Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down;

A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,

A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.

It broke in a moment of blizzard and blindness;

The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way,

But our ship and our boys! Gracious Lord, in your kindness,

Give help to the mothers who need it to-day.

Give help to the women who wail by the water,

Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.

Ah! Whisper it gently, you sisters or daughter,

Our boys are all gathered at home for the tonight.”

The wreck was raised the following September and brought into Portsmouth Harbour. Many of the bodies recovered were buried at Haslar Cemetery where a great memorial was erected. A brass memorial can be seen in the Dockyard church St Ann’s. The wreck was later broken up in the Dockyard.

BBC / Lost Ghost Nights UK / Portsmouth Dockyard.org UK / Wikipedia


“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people,

whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”

“Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical;

it is not a law at all.”

“Crime butchers innocents to secure a prize.

And innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.”

~ Maximilien Robespierre


“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

“There is only one difference between a madman and me.

The madman thinks he is sane.

I know I am mad.”

“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels:

it is always the false ones that look the most real,

the most brilliant.”

~ Salvador Dali


“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“When a man points a finger at someone else,

he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself.”

~ Anonymous


Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances? Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances?

Human bodies do a lot of weird stuff. But “goosebumps” may be one of our strangest bodily functions.

“Goosebumps” are humanity’s near-universal reaction to the cold. But for some reason, those unmistakable, tiny bumps on the skin also appear when we’re scared or when we’re moved by something awe-inspiring.

What is it about these starkly different experiences that triggers a similar reaction on our skin? And why do we get “goosebumps” in the first place? The answers are rooted in our evolutionary history.

Hairy Ancestors

To modern humans, “goosebumps” probably don’t seem very useful. But long ago, scientists think they were practical for our ancestors.

Homo sapiens were once covered in fur - lots of it.

And “goosebumps”, a phenomenon known as “piloerection”, provided early humans with some extra protection from the cold, functioning a bit like a built-in puffer jackets.

When we’re exposed to the cold, it makes tiny muscles at the base of each hair contract, pulling the connected hair straight up. And this involuntary reflex would have fluffed up our ancestors’ fur, trapping in a small amount of air close to the skin that would have created an insulating effect. We see this happen among other members of the animal kingdom, too, like chickens who fluff up their feathers for warmth.

Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances?

And while “goosebumps” might be a funny name, there’s nothing funny about them when it comes to facing a foe. Hair-raising “goosebumps” are also a response to threats, which would have made our ancestors appear larger and scarier. Just imagine a cat or dog when the fur is about to fly. Their puffed up hair is an indication that they’re ticked off and are in fight-or-flight mode.

Even though humans lost most of their extra fur, the physiology of hair-raising “goosebumps” has stayed with us. But what’s really puzzling is that we don’t just get “goosebumps” when we’re cold or when feeling threatened. Many of us also get a shiver on the skin when we experience something beautiful or awe-inspiring.

Skin Orgasms

If a song has ever left you with chills, you experienced what’s known “frisson”. Some researchers have dubbed them “skin orgasms”, and they feel like waves of sensations washing across the skin. According to Mitchell Colver, a researcher at Utah State University who has studied the phenomenon, frisson (sometimes called aesthetic chills or musical chills) are created pretty much the same way as cold chills are.

“Our emotional brain is really easy to trick into being threatened”... “Our sympathetic nervous system gets all fired up and raring to go because our emotional brain says, ‘WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?!'”

Fight-or-Flight

To our brain, anything emotionally resonant - even positive and happy stuff - can get classified as a threat, at least at first, Colver says. So an angry jerk, a screech on a chalkboard or your favorite singer’s high note sounds very much the same to our brain - it’s a scream, and that means danger. This is thanks to the amygdala, a region of the brain important in processing emotions.

Emotion-stirring experiences activate our primal fight-or-flight response. When our amygdala perceives a threat - whether real or not - it sends S.O.S. signals to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions a bit like a dispatch center, and its job is to push communication out to the rest of the body. This activates our sympathetic nervous system, a division of our autonomic nervous system. And when our sympathetic nervous system is activated, a jolt of the stress hormone adrenaline gets released - which triggers “goosebumps” as well as other involuntary stress reactions, like a racing heart and sweaty palms. Colver says the distress signals that originated from the amygdala continue up a cognitive pathway to the rational brain, where they get correctly categorized. So, often when we get “goosebumps” it’s because our brain got all worked up for nothing.

“Literally, in the few split seconds between our emotional brain’s interpretation and our cognitive brain’s interpretation, something really funny happens: The emotional brain fires (BLAM!) all of our typical threat-response behaviors. Goosebumps is just one of five. Then, a split-second later, the cognitive brain says, ‘No worries, settle down. This is actually great and beautiful’”, Colver explained.

That’s why you might get chills from pretty innocuous stuff, like going to a concert. A screaming crowd alone is enough trigger our goosebump reaction.

“Your emotional brain … is like a tiny, scared rabbit in the forest. It expects death around every corner. So a crowd screaming will sound just like that — something that we should be scared of”, Colver said.

And often, it’s the music itself that gives us the chills. According to Colver, certain instruments, tempos and pitches are known to cause these skin orgasms. An unexpected or particularly resonant sound can initiate our fight-or-flight response.

“Loud noises, or piercing noises (like a sustained high note played on a violin) get interpreted as really threatening”, he said.

Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances?

Chilling Out

While cold “goosebumps” are pretty universal, Colver says not everyone what experiences skin orgasms. It’s estimated that between 55 and 80 percent of people do, with some more prone to experiencing the phenomenon than others.

In 2015, Colver found we’re more likely to experience “emotional chills” when we’re cognitively immersed in something. And people who rank high in a particular Big Five personality trait seem to be predisposed to frisson.

“People who have a high level of openness have a much lower threshold for being thrilled,” Colver said. “While [some] people have to jump out of a plane to feel the thrills of life, [some] people that experience “goosebumps” just have to watch a cartoon lion get murdered while intense music plays in the background.”

In addition to personality, brain wiring might play a role as well. Another recent study suggested that people who are more prone to music chills have brains with more connectivity between auditory and emotional processing regions.

Will Our Goosebumps Go Away, Too?

Given that we shed our excess body hair a long time ago, will we eventually lose our “goosebumps”, too? Colver doesn’t think so. Goosebumps, even the frisson variety, are essentially a byproduct of a functional fight-or-flight response that has been with our species all along, ensuring our survival.

“The cool thing about this is that individuals who pay closer attention to their surroundings and who are also more able to interpret the stimuli correctly are most likely to survive and pass on their genes”, Colver says. “If I had to make a prediction, the percentage of people in the population who experience frisson is only going to increase in time.”

Discover Magazine / Wikipedia / Scientific American / Wonderopolis.org / Cleveland Clinic.org / Smithsonian / Quora / Why do humans get “goosebumps” when they are cold, or under other circumstances? (YouTube) video


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Port: Left side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow). Left side of an aircraft when facing the nose from inside. Place of arrival for ships.

Port and Starboard: A rotation of two duty sections or watch teams, one designated port, and the other starboard. Generally not considered to be a good situation. (Usually six hours on duty, six hours off duty. During the six hours off you eat and sleep.

The usual cycle is: get up, eat, go on watch, get off watch, eat, go to bed. This results in about four hours of sleep per cycle.)

Port and Report: A watch stood without relief. One designated Port, and the other... there is no other, only Port once again, hence the term re-Port.

Portable Air Sample (Submarine Service): A snipe hunt gag inflicted on “newbies”. Normally, portable air samples are regularly collected by a hand-held device operated by a highly qualified crewmember. In this snipe hunt gag, however, a plastic garbage bag is inflated like a balloon and sealed, sometimes with “official” forms taped to the exterior; the newbie is then dispatched to take this important atmospheric sample to the Executive Officer (NEVER the Skipper). Depending on that particular XO's sense of humor, the newbie could possibly come back with interesting counter-orders.

Portable Pad Eye: A pad eye is a recessed anchor point found in the decks of U.S. Navy Ships. They are a permanent fixture. Typically, as a hazing ritual, sailors fresh out of boot camp are sent out on a wild goose chase to retrieve a, “Portable”, Pad Eye.

Port Orca: A husky (large) female. Derives from Port Orchard, Washington, across Dyer Inlet from PSNS.

Wiktionary.org


Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Port: Naval term for “left side of ship” when on board a ship and facing forward, opposite of starboard. “Port” is the same with respect to a ship regardless of where a person is located or which way a person is facing, whereas “left” might be ambiguous.

Portholes Military issue eyeglasses, or the wearer of glasses. See also BCGs (“Birth Control Glasses”) or RPGs (“Regulation Prescription Glasses”).

Wikipedia.org


Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HM-14 Helicopter Mine Countermeasures (HM) Squadron ONE FOUR - nicknamed the “Vanguard”

United States Navy Naval Air Station - Sea Dragon is Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM), Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia / Squadron Lineage: HM-14: May 12, 1978 - present.


Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A stitch in time saves nine”

A stitch in time saves nine:

Meaning: A 'stitch in time' is a timely effort that will prevent more work later.

History: This is nothing to do with rips in the fabric of the space-time continuum, as some have ingeniously suggested. The meaning of this proverb is often requested at the Phrase Finder Discussion Forum, to be explicit. The question usually asked is “saves nine what”?

The 'stitch in time' is simply the prompt sewing up of a small hole or tear in a piece of material, so saving the need for more stitching at a later date when the hole has become larger. Clearly the first users of this expression were referring to saving nine stitches.

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A stitch in time saves nine”

This proverbial expression was obviously meant as an incentive to the lazy. It's especially gratifying that 'a stitch in time saves nine' is an anagram for 'this is meant as incentive'!

The Anglo Saxon work ethic is being called on here. Many English proverbs encourage immediate effort as superior to putting things off until later; for example:

˜ “One year's seeds, seven year's weeds.”

˜ “Procrastination is the thief of time.”

˜ “The early bird catches the worm.”

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A stitch in time saves nine”

The 'stitch in time' notion has been current in English for a very long time and is first recorded in Thomas Fuller's Gnomologia, Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British, 1732:

“A Stitch in Time May save nine.”.

Fuller, who recorded a large number of the early proverbs in the language, wrote an explanatory preamble to this one:

“Because verses are easier got by heart, and stick faster in the memory than prose; and because ordinary people use to be much taken with the clinking of syllables; many of our proverbs are so formed, and very often put into false rhymes; as, “a stitch in time, may save nine”; “many a little will make a mickle”. This little artiface, I imagine, was contrived purposely to make the sense abide the longer in the memory, by reason of its oddness and archness.”.

As far as is known, the first person to state unambiguously that 'a stitch in time saves nine', rather than Fuller's less confident 'may save nine', was the English astronomer Francis Baily, in his Journal, written in 1797 and published in 1856 by Augustus De Morgan:

“After a little while we acquired a method of keeping her [a boat] in the middle of the stream, by watching the moment she began to vary, and thereby verifying the vulgar proverb, '"A stitch in time saves nine".”.

Phrases.org UK


Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

‘Lucy’s baby’ suggests famed human ancestor had a primitive brainMysterious human ancestor finds its place in our family treeRootin’, poopin’ African elephants help keep soil fertileNo star, no problem: Radioactivity could make otherwise frozen planets habitableDolphin ‘gangs’ protect their females by vocalizing in sync Science AAAS

Skull scans reveal evolutionary secrets of fossil brainsStudy offers new insight into the impact of ancient migrations on the European landscapeStudy finds fish have diverse, distinct gut microbiomesEvolutionary adaptation helped cave bears hibernate, but may have caused extinctionResearch: Cancer gene inhibition shows step toward beating neuroblastomas Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore


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)

Ancient Fish Fossil Reveals Evolutionary Origin of the Human Hand

Ancient Fish Fossil Reveals Evolutionary Origin of the Human Hand

Source: Flinders University

Summary: An ancient Elpistostege fish fossil found in Miguasha, Canada, has revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins. Paleontologists have revealed the fish specimen has yielded the missing evolutionary link in the fish to tetrapod transition, as fish began to foray in habitats such as shallow water and land during the Late Devonian period millions of years ago.

An international team of palaeontologists from Flinders University in Australia and Universite du Quebec a Rimouski in Canada have revealed the fish specimen, as described in the journal Nature, has yielded the missing evolutionary link in the fish to tetrapod transition, as fish began to foray in habitats such as shallow water and land during the Late Devonian period millions of years ago.

This complete 1.57 metre long fish shows the complete arm (pectoral fin) skeleton for the first time in any elpistostegalian fish. Using high energy CT-scans, the skeleton of the pectoral fin revealed the presence of a humerus (arm), radius and ulna (forearm), rows of carpus (wrist) and phalanges organized in digits (fingers).

“This complete 1.57 metre long fish shows the complete arm (pectoral fin) skeleton for the first time in any elpistostegalian fish. Using high energy CT-scans, the skeleton of the pectoral fin revealed the presence of a humerus (arm), radius and ulna (forearm), rows of carpus (wrist) and phalanges organized in digits (fingers).”

“This is the first time that we have unequivocally discovered fingers locked in a fin with fin-rays in any known fish. The articulating digits in the fin are like the finger bones found in the hands of most animals.”

This finding pushes back the origin of digits in vertebrates to the fish level, and tells us that the patterning for the vertebrate hand was first developed deep in evolution, just before fishes left the water.

The evolution of fishes into tetrapods - four-legged vertebrates of which humans belong - was one of the most significant events in the history of life.

Vertebrates (back-boned animals) were then able to leave the water and conquer land. In order to complete this transition- one of the most significant changes was the evolution of hands and feet.

In order to understand the evolution from a fish fin to a tetrapod limb, palaeontologists study the fossils of lobe-finned fish and tetrapods from the Middle and Upper Devonian (393-359 million years ago) known as “elpistostegalians”.

These include the well-known Tiktaalik from Arctic Canada, known only from incomplete specimens.

Co-author Richard Cloutier from Universite du Quebec a Rimouski says over the past decade, fossils informing the fish-to-tetrapod transition have helped to better understand anatomical transformations associated with breathing, hearing, and feeding, as the habitat changed from water to land on Earth.

“The origin of digits relates to developing the capability for the fish to support its weight in shallow water or for short trips out on land. The increased number of small bones in the fin allows more planes of flexibility to spread out its weight through the fin.”

“The other features the study revealed concerning the structure of the upper arm bone or humerus, which also shows features present that are shared with early amphibians. Elpistostege is not necessarily our ancestor, but it is closest we can get to a true 'transitional fossil', an intermediate between fishes and tetrapods.”

Elpistostege was the largest predator living in a shallow marine to estuarine habitat of Quebec about 380 million years ago. It had powerful sharp fangs in its mouth so could have fed upon several of the larger extinct lobe-finned fishes found fossilised in the same deposits.

Ancient Fish Fossil Reveals Evolutionary Origin of the Human Hand

The Context

Elpistostege was originally named from just a small part of the skull roof, found in the fossiliferous cliffs of Miguasha National Park, Quebec, and described in 1938 as belonging to an early tetrapod.

Another part of the skull of this enigmatic beast was found and described in 1985, demonstrating it was really an advanced lobe-finned fish. The remarkable new complete specimen of Elpistostege was discovered in 2010.

Meticulous preparation of the new specimen and CT scanning of the fossil took place in Quebec in 2010 with Prof Cloutier working with Isabelle Bechard to do the initial interpretation of the scan data, and Vincent Roy and Roxanne Noel to analyse the backbone and fin structures.

Collaboration with Prof John Long and the Flinders University team began in 2014. Dr Alice Clement continued the CT work which revealed details of the digits in the fin. Prof Mike Lee analysed the phylogenetic data to demonstrate that Elpistostege is now the most evolutionary 'advanced' fish known, one node down on the evolutionary tree to all tetrapods. The research was completed in 2019 when Prof Richard Cloutier spent 6 months on sabbatical working as a Flinders University Visiting International Fellow.

This study was funded by a Research Laboratory in Palaeontology and Evolutionary Biology at UQAR (Power Corporation Inc.). We thank the Parc national de Miguasha (MHNM) for the loan of the specimen and the special opportunity to work on this material.

Science Daily (03/18/2020) video


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

SONG FACTS

“Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)” - Roy Orbison 1960

“Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)” video - Roy Orbison
Album: 16 Biggest Hits Roy Orbison
Released 1960

While “Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)video is one of the sadder songs ever recorded, projecting the misery onto Orbison would be a mistake. In 1980, he explained to the New Musical Express (NME) that many of his most painful songs were written in happier times. Said Roy:

“I've always been very content when I wrote all those songs. By this I'm saying that a lot of people think you have to live through something before you can write it, and that's true in some cases, but I remember the times that I was unhappy or discontent, and I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't communicate, and I certainly couldn't write a song, no way. All the songs I wrote that were successful were written when I was in a contented state of mind.”

Roy Orbison wrote this with his songwriting partner Joe Melson, but intended to offer the song to either Elvis Presley or The Everly Brothers (who had already recorded Orbison's song “Claudette”) video. The Everly Brothers persuaded Orbison that he should cut it himself.

The song was subtitled “Know The Way I Feel” to avoid confusion with another song called “Only The Lonelyvideo, which Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen had written for Frank Sinatra in 1958.

This quickly became Orbison's biggest hit and one of the songs that exemplified his poignant lyrics and soulful vocal delivery as he sings about what it's like to be lonely.

Orbison recorded this song in RCA Studio B with the elite session musicians known as “The Nashville A Team”. Bob Moore, who was the bass player, did the arrangement.

Orbison's first recordings were at Sun Studios in Memphis, where under Sam Phillips he had a rockabilly sound similar to fellow Sun artists Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. His Nashville songs for Monument Records were far more complex, with string sections, backup singers and liberal use of studio effects, all crammed into about two and half minutes - this one runs just 2:24.

When Orbison was in The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, he wrote a sequel to this song called “Lonely No Morevideo.

This was one of the first songs Roy Orbison and Joe Melson wrote together. The inspiration for the lyrics came from Melson, who as a teenager fell in love with a girl who left him brokenhearted. Melson says that she took off in a Cadillac and the words to this song came to him naturally.

Melson also says that “Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)video was his proudest moment as a songwriter, as it was his first hit with Orbison. The pair would write many more hits for Orbison, including “Running Scaredvideo, “Cryingvideo and “Blue Bayouvideo.

Roy Orbison official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Roy Orbison

Image: “16 Biggest Hits Roy Orbison (album)” by Roy Orbison


Trivia

Trivia

● What was Billie Holiday also known as during her career?

Answer to Trivia

● Which treaty organisation was set up as a counterpart to NATO?

Answer to Trivia

● What baseball player was nicknamed “Joltin' Joe” and the “Yankee Clipper”?

Answer to Trivia

● What city's “Tin Pan Alley” was known for its music publishing industry?

Answer to Trivia


Jeopardy

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AMERICAN QUOTATIONS” ($200)

“He knew 'not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death'.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AMERICAN QUOTATIONS” ($400)

“He resolved that 'government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth'.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Cornell University.edu

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AMERICAN QUOTATIONS” ($600)

“FDR: 'Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in' this.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Library Of Congress

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AMERICAN QUOTATIONS” ($800)

“A 1908 work called America 'the great' this vessel, 'where all the races of Europe are...reforming'.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Harvard University, The Pluralism Project.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AMERICAN QUOTATIONS” ($1,000)

“An 1844 campaign slogan was this number 'or Fight', a reference to the northern border of the Oregon territory.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer U.S. History.org


Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FAMILIAR PHRASES” ($200)

“Someone angry about a past event might be balancing a 'chip' here.”

● Answer: 'on your shoulder'. Phrases.org.UK

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FAMILIAR PHRASES” ($400)

'

“Plans may not work out, so 'don't' practice this act of poultry accounting.”

● Answer: 'Don't count your chickens before they are hatched'. Phrases.org.UK

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FAMILIAR PHRASES” ($600)

“To 'throw someone under' this vehicle is to make him a scapegoat.”

● Answer: 'Don't count your chickens before they are hatched'. Phrases.org.UK

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FAMILIAR PHRASES” ($800)

“Trying again after a failure is going 'back to' this, a synonym for drafting table or an item on a drafting table.”

● Answer: 'Back to the drawing board'. Phrases.org.UK

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FAMILIAR PHRASES” ($1,000)

“A possible origin for 'living' this way is that upper cuts of pork are more a luxury item than the feet.”

● Answer: 'High on the hog'. Phrases.org.UK


Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Monday Morning Mailman”

One Monday morning a mailman is walking the neighborhood on his usual route.

As he approaches one of the homes he noticed that both cars were in the driveway.

His wonder was cut short by Bob, the homeowner, coming out with a load of empty beer and liquor bottles.

The mailman comments, “Wow Bob, looks like you guys had one hell of a party last night.”

Bob in obvious pain replies, “Actually we had it Saturday night. This is the first I have felt like moving since 4:00 am Sunday morning. We had about fifteen couples from around the neighborhood over for Christmas Cheer and it got a bit wild. Hell, we got so drunk around midnight that we started playing WHO AM I.”

The mailman thinks a moment and says, “How do you play that?”

Bob responds, “Well all the guys go in the bedroom and we come out one at a time with a sheet covering us and only our 'privates' showing through a hole in the sheet. Then the women try to guess who it is.”

The mailman laughs and says, “Damn, I'm sorry I missed that.”

Bob responds, “Probably a good thing you did”,

“Your name came up four or five times.”