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> This is the standard of writing that's coming out of Princeton these days?

Well, per TFA, the author is actually Helen De Cruz [0], who is the Danforth Chair in the Humanities and professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University.

[0] https://helendecruz.net/


> However, I recently visited Chesil beach in Dorset and there were loads of cuttlefish bones on the beach. Hopefully that means there are loads of cuttlefish living and dying out at sea and I'll tentatively take that as a positive sign.

I routinely walk along the beach at Hengistbury Head (approx 40 miles further east) and have seen cuttlefish bones there for several years running. So perhaps, yes, there is a healthy population off the coast here.

[Edit] Went down a rabbit hole and found [0]. In summary, in the UK, cuttlefish are classified as shellfish in terms of reporting fisheries catches. Catches of shellfish have increased in absolute terms over the last 80 years, from 32k tonnes to 116k tonnes in 2022, and relative to catches of other fish. This is partly due to diversification of the fishing industry, partly because there may be fewer restrictions on shellfish catches.

The Channel is one of the UK hotspots for shellfish catching.

The Marine Conservation Society [1] states that "There is not enough data about cuttlefish in the English channel, but there are indications that populations are too small and fishing pressure is too high. There are no appropriate management measures for this species, despite high landings and high market value. Most cuttlefish are caught by beam trawling in the English Channel. This has the potential to cause damage to the seabed. Trawls can also have high bycatch, potentially of vulnerable species."

[0] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-sea-fisheries-an...

[1] https://www.mcsuk.org/goodfishguide/ratings/wild-capture/905...


Conversly, my observations from Cornwall have been the opposite. I haven't seen cuttlefish bones in the numbers I would expect over the last few years. And the ones I have seen have been tiny. That is until this last weekend, when there were a great deal washed up and of a fair size, I too was joyed by this sight drawing the same conclusions as you did, that it was a good sign.

> the ones I have seen have been tiny

I may help here. As expected, the big ones are from adults in the cuttlefish fished commercially: Sepia officinalis in Europe. Around 1-2Kg or so.

But the tiny bones are (most probably) also from adult cuttlefishes. There are several species of cuttlefishes in Europe. Like Sepia elegans that is locally frequent in the Mediterranean or Atlantic but only grows 8 cm in mantle.

What you have seen is just a reflect of different phases on the ecosystem, the seasons, or the fishing techniques. After reproductive season or big storms a number of cuttlefish bones will strand all at the same time when the animals will die in mass.


IIUC, a UK place of residence cannot be squatted but a business can. In either case, damage can be prosecuted

Yes, learning to appreciate these 'little things in life' can be a definite positive about maturing. It's also beneficial as increasing age makes it harder to enjoy more dynamic experiences. I'm currently medically disqualified from driving, and will be for at least another year. This has substantially reduced my access to places and experiences I used to enjoy and which were a big part of my everyday life. I thank my lucky stars that I find peace and solace in my garden and with its wildlife.

Squirrels! My main feeder is totally squirrel-proof. It's a tall pole and has a conical baffle (point up) about three feet above the ground. The squirrels cannot hold onto the pole and reach far enough out to get a grip on the upper side. Ha!

I spent some time when I first got it finding out just high the squirrels could jump and then positioned the baffle a couple of inches higher than that. Every so often one tries it and fails but they have learned not to bother now. I think that if two or more squirrels worked together they could manage to get round it but luckily they haven't figured this out yet.


> My main feeder is totally squirrel-proof.

I have yet to meet this unicorn. Every single "squirrel-proof" thing in my yard has been merely left by the squirrels until the other items are unavailable. Eventually, when they want the challenge, it is no longer squirrel-proof. I have one squirrel in particular that seems to be "that guy" in the group. The other squirrels are doing normal squirrel things, but this one guy is the daredevil shimmying down the rope to get to a feeder the others don't bother with.


Yes, I was sceptical but it does in fact work. Or at least it's higher than my resident squirrels can jump from a standing start. If a super-squirrel managed the jump I'd just raise the cone/baffle a bit higher. It helps that there are no overhanging branches for an airborne leap.

The other squirrel-proof feeder I had was one that stuck to a window-pane. It wasn't particularly attractive so I didn't keep it, but while I was using it, the squirrels never mastered spidey-grips to glass or the surrounding bricks.


I just attached a $3 slinky to the pole. The squirrels try to climb and the slinky drops them to the ground. Highly entertaining.

One of the biggest citizen science projects related to backyard birding is the UK RSPB's big garden bird watch [0]. This year 600,000 people participated, reporting almost 10,000,000 birds. I take part every year, but watch and enjoy my garden birds on a daily basis. In fact I spend more time watching them that I do TV. I've certainly learned loads of different species, and also recognise lots of different behaviours, e.g. how the different species interact with each other (or not), and how these behaviours change through the seasons. E.g. at the moment there is more inter-species aggression than usual because they are claiming territories and are feeding young. But in a few months time, as the food gets scarcer, we'll see larger multi-species flocks. It's lovely when one of the rarer or migratory species shows up, especially when they start to use the feeders regularly. I'm lucky enough to have a mature garden with multiple trees and micro-habitats, but in fact gardens are now a significant wildlife habitat in their own right.

I couldn't imagine not enjoying seeing so many birds.

[0] https://rspb.org.uk/whats-happening/big-garden-birdwatch?utm...


> (rhymes with scone).

For those who didn't hear the whoosh, is that the 'scoan' or 'scon' pronunciation?


Bonus third choice: Stone of Scone.

Pronounced like Frome ;)


Not films, but 'Sunburst and Luminary' by Don Eyles, about coding the software that would land on the moon, and 'Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight' by David A. Mindell, about the tensions associated with increasing computerisation of space craft

> London had a fleet of 20 electric busses in year 1908, and they were popular.

When I was a kid in the 1960s we had UK-wide fleets of electric vehicles delivering food items every day in reusable containers that were collected a few days later (hint: 'milk floats' with glass bottles).


I was once caught in a contractual dispute that occurred because the author used passive. The contract basically said 'X will be done' without identifying whether the customer or contractor was expected to do X. Unfortunately this wasn't spotted until the contract was in place.

If you must use passive in situations like these, please at least identify the agent, e.g. "X will be done by Y". Oy just use the shorter, explicit alternative: " X will do Y"


> Unfortunately this wasn't spotted until the contract was in place.

Sorry, couldn't resist pointing out this use of the passive voice.


ha!

In my defence I was demonstrating the way that passive voice can also be used to obscure responsibility after the event, as in "mistakes were made"


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