Love you, Oakland
Last night I was headed home from a friend’s house. Before turning onto a very busy street, I stopped to make sure that there would be room for me in traffic. When I looked left, there was this tall, skinny dude on a skateboard, with a huge pitbull on a leash running beside him. They were in the bike lane of the road I was about to turn onto, so I let them pass.
You know how dogs grin when they’re happy? This dog had a huge goofy smile on his face as he trotted along. The dude had a far-off smile on his face too. I kind of maybe fell in love with them for a few minutes.
I rode slowly behind them for a while so as not to freak the dog out, and we all stopped at a red light. The dog sat down — clearly he’d been trained to do that when his human stopped for lights.
"Nice bike," the guy said. "Does it cruise nice?"
"Yeah," I said. "Nice dog. You two are so cute together."
He started beaming, dumbly, as all pet owners do. The dog is rambunctious, and so the two of them go for a skateboard ride/run three times a day so the dog won’t tear up the house.
"He’s probably pretty tired now," the guy said. The dog didn’t look tired; he looked thrilled.
We waved — I was turning left — and he rode off on his skateboard, dog happily running next to him.
Geminid Meteor Shower
The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks next week. Sadly, the Moon will be near-full brightening the sky for most of the night causing rates to be lower. However, the Geminids will still put on a good show pretty much anywhere that isn’t overcast, so don’t worry. Southern Hemisphere viewers will see lower rates, with the peak being ~40-60 meteors/hour in some locations, so you won’t be missing out as was the case for the Persieds earlier this year. Use the Fluxtimator to estimate the rate in your location.
Meteors will be visible when the radiant point is above the horizon from your location. The radiant point is in the constellation Gemini (Jupiter will be too, so get your binocs/telescopes), right next to the Orion constellation. You can spot meteors anywhere in the sky and it is not necessary to look towards the radiant point as some may believe. So go out, find somewhere dark, look up and enjoy the show.
A spectacular electrical storms light up the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle range after the massive 8.8-magnitude Puyehue volcano erupted in Chile which had laid dormant for over half a century. The eruption belched an ash cloud more than six miles high over the Andes and cause a flurry of earth quakes. Photos by: Francisco Negroni | Flickr | 500px
Ann Patchett on Bel Canto, her late editor Robert Jones, and what writers really want. Watch the full video.
This morning I had to ask Ann if she was OK being gif-ed. She said yes.
"Women have historically critiqued and challenged their subordinate role. In 248 ce, a Vietnamese peasant woman, Trieu Thi Trinh, told her brother that: “My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women who bow their heads and become concubines”. Women also challenged the male claim to religious authority and power. A’ishah, Muhammad’s third wife, for example, battled a Khalife in 656, and afterwards created her own religious laws. In eighth-century India, women involved in the bhakti (a popular revolt against a form of Hinduism) broke with their families, created their own spiritual writings, and demanded that men treat them as spiritual equals. European women preachers and heretics claimed direct connection with God thus creating religious and feminist impulses. Guillemine of Bohemia, a late-thirteenth-century preacher and mystic, challenged Catholic dogma, and created a women’s church that attracted aristocratic as well as ordinary women."
Barbara Winslow, Feminist Movements: Gender and Sexual Equality
The next time someone tells me that you can’t have feminism in historical settings I’m going to print out 1,000 copies of this post, bind the paper, and throw it at them.
Vietnam also had the Trung sisters a few centuries earlier.
This made me laugh because yes. Yes, yes, yes.
European Space Agency posted this amazing–20+ minutes long but worth watching–video about how astronauts return home from the ISS in the Soyuz space capsule, with never before seen inside footage.
The basset hound was in the daycare today.
deep basset thoughts