Quotes (Today, all from The Washington Post)
“Which reminds me: Everything imaginable will try to eat your chickens. Depending on where you live, you’ll have to protect your flock from hawks, raccoons, weasels, coyotes, wolves, dogs, foxes and even hungry bears. . . .
And don’t even get me started on the rats. Think they don’t already live among you? Buy some chickens and learn how wrong you are.”
Louis Bayard : There may be no greater refutation of the auteur theory — the notion that a great film is a product of a single directorial genius — than the number of fine movies that were assembled by scrabbling, sometimes squabbling parties, operating with no clear end in sight.
Movies as diverse as “Casablanca,” “Laura,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Beat the Devil,” and “Apocalypse Now” emerged from a welter of (take your pick) fired directors, fired actors, overbearing producers, minute-by-minute script changes and a sequence of postproduction Hail Marys. The more closely one peers into their chaos, the more the idea of any one person authoring them degenerates into absurdity.”
What will American society look like after age soon sweeps the Boomers off the stage? Reporter Philip Bump’s pre-autopsy, in a new book “The Aftermath,” recalls the most famous analogy for their trajectory: “When the boomers entered the world, it was like “a python swallowing a pig.” From tip to tail, boomers changed everything . . . .
In other words: What happens to the python after the pig moves through its system? Out of curiosity, I [not this blogger, but reviewer Jill Filipovic] Googled. Disappointingly, the results of searching “What happens when a python swallows a pig” come from dubious sources, mostly YouTube videos with titles like “SNAKE ATE OUR PIG!” and “I FED MY SNAKE A PIG!!!!!!”
But one story popped up from an only moderately disreputable source (the Daily Mail) that, despite the tabloid headline (“Reptile DEATH match”), seemed informative: X-rays of a Burmese python eating an alligator show the snake’s body undergoing rapid and pretty radical changes to accommodate the prey in its belly.
“Each meal triggers dramatic increases in metabolism, upregulation of tissue function and tissue growth,” one scientist wrote in a summary of Burmese python digestive physiology.
“Upon the completion of digestion, these postprandial responses are thrown into reverse; tissue function is collectively downregulated and tissues undergo atrophy.”
In short, the snake goes back to normal — unless he’s attacked by a predator while he sits largely immobile from his gluttony.
But, most of the time, he winds up doing just fine. . . .”
Finally, from the NASA Webb telescope in outer space, via George Will:
“For most of the previous 2,500 years, the universe was considered timeless and unchanging. Even by Albert Einstein, who, [says, Astronomer Adam] Frank “assumed that the universe now must look like the universe a trillion years in the past and future.”
By proving that galaxies formed before they had previously been expected to exist — “just a few hundred million years after the cosmic expansion began” — Webb has done what, Frank says, science should do, which is “force us to confront false assumptions we hadn’t even known we’d made.”
Doing so, he says, the telescope has confirmed the essence of the Big Bang theory: “cosmic evolution.” The universe has a history. As we learn how to write it, we learn about our place in it.
Earth is “biophilic” — conducive to life — only because the Big Bang led to molecules of water and atoms of carbon, which are necessary for life. They need not, however, have been included in a post-Bang universe. For some theologically inclined people, this fact means that we are not a cosmic fluke but a cosmic imperative.
Our sun, however, will expire in approximately 5 billion years. About when our wee Milky Way galaxy with its 200 billion stars will collide with the nearby Andromeda galaxy. The universe, as portrayed by the light that Webb gathers, is breathtakingly beautiful and unimaginably violent.”