The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 17th, 2015: Gud F*cking Gramer

Although, ages ago, in his “Ask The Grammar Guy” piece, Wayne had expertly covered these common grammar mistakes that make us cringe when we see them, here’s a pithy and profane way to remember the rules:

Fucking Grammar

Fucking Grammar

I realize that all of us here are well familiar with these rules, and are exceptional and eloquent writers who never make those mistakes (and we’re humble, too), so here’s a (very large:  300+ photos) photo gallery of “The Stunning Creatures of the White Sea.” The gallery was put together by Camille Mann and Edicio Martinez, and (as usual), is brought to you courtesy of the Weather Channel. Here’s just one of the unusual creatures:

 Coryphella verrucosa

Coryphella verrucosa


This is our daily Open Thread, so talk about, you know, whatever…

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.


If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?



The Watering Hole: July 8 — Soap

I’m not sure why, but since yesterday’s post by Walt regarding bathroom tissue, I’ve been wanting…no, needing to wash my hands.  Might have been the sticks…

The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in Ancient Babylon.  In the reign of Nabonidus (556-539 BCE) a recipe for soap consisted of uḥulu [ashes], cypress [oil] and sesame [seed oil] “for washing the stones for the servant girls”.  A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.

I’ve always been fascinated by soap-making…

I think I’ll try it one of these days!

This is our daily open thread — srsly, don’t you feel better
now that your hands are clean?

The Watering Hole: July 7 – Bathroom Tissue

Cleansing instruments used in lieu of bathroom tissue from the Nara period (710 to 784) in Japan. This illustrates why the Samurai (侍) were so tough.

Image is courtesy of Chris 73 via Wikipedia.

The first written reference to bathroom tissue is from the writings of Yan Zhitui dated to 589 CE in China. This was not recognized as good hygene by visitors tp that country from the Middle East and Europe where washing with water (Using the left hand for the task.) was the vogue. The bidet was to follow. Many materials, yes, including corn cobs, were used to remove the offensive material from ones person.

Mass production of bathroom tissue commenced in the United States during the mid 19th century CE.

Today, we take the product for granted.

For the straight poop on the subject, look here.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: July 2 – La Amistad

On July 2, 1839, Sengbe Pieh led captives being transported aboard La Amistad from Havana in a revolt against the ship’s crew. The captives had found an old file and freed themselves. They climbed to the main deck and armed with knives, fashioned from cane, gained control of the ship and then demanded to be returned to Africa. They sailed north along the United States coast to the tip of Long Island where the United States Revenue Cutter Service intercepted the ship and took it and its occupants to New Haven for trial.

The case ultimately reached the US Supreme Court, which ruled in 1841 that the Africans had been illegally taken as slaves for trade in the American South and ordered them freed. The captive ‘slaves’ returned to their native Africa in 1842.

Spain and Cuba frowned on the way the incident was handled but this represents a high point in United States law. Twenty-two more years passed before slavery was made illegal in the United States. It took about 100 more years for the descendants of the trade to realize a semblance of true freedom. That process is still in motion.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: June 16 – Education

The first free public school in the State of Wisconsin was opened in Southport (now Kenosha) on June 16, 1845. Michael Frank, a member of the Wisconsin territorial legislature, introduced bills authorizing the establishment of a public school system in Wisconsin in 1843, 1844, and 1845, but could not acquire the support necessary to secure passage. After realizing defeat in 1845, he introduced a bill authorizing the community of Southport to establish a free public school supported by property taxes. It was passed, although it would not become operative until approved by the citizens of Southport in a referendum vote. There was opposition to the law, but the referendum passed in April 1845. The resulting system of free public education became the model for the state public school system.

Education in Wisconsin has taken a blow to chin before it was even a state. That happened in 1848.

This very day, in Detroit Michigan the Ferguson Academy for Young Women is closing down because the appointed manager for the Detroit School system decided that it did not provide any benefit to society. The Catherine Ferguson Academy has steered countless minority women from a life on welfare or in prison to one that is productive. Now, the burden on society will be far worse than it could have been if Catherine Ferguson were allowed to remain open. The sole beneficiaries of this action will be the contract prisons that Conservatives are so eager to open. Society will only suffer.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Sunday Roast: Pyramids Found?

BBC News

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

Science is so cool.  Why would anyone reject it?  They put satellites in space above the Earth, and by using infra-red imaging, they found evidence of an entire city that was no longer visible to us — including at least two pyramids!

How does that work anyway?

Ancient Egyptians built their houses and structures out of mud brick, which is much denser than the soil that surrounds it, so the shapes of houses, temples and tombs can be seen.

Just imagine the possibilities for future archaeological projects, or examining a site before a road or building is built on it.  I wonder if they can  help me find my keys…?

[Dr Parcak] also hopes the new technology will help engage young people in science and will be a major help for archaeologists around the world.

“It allows us to be more focused and selective in the work we do. Faced with a massive site, you don’t know where to start.

Like I said, science is cool.  If you don’t think so, I think you need your head examined…with science.

Here’s a radar image of the Sahara, showing the riverbeds under the sand:

For more radar imagery, go here.

This is our daily open thread — Feel free to discuss this, or any other topic!

The Watering Hole: March 17 – Emoticons and St. Pat

Happy Saint Pat’s to the entire cast and audience. My dear spouse is of Irish and Finnish stock and at least she has an Irish event to celebrate. The Finns seem to be maintaining a low profile.

One Note: I was at the cardiologist for a checkup on the 16th. While we were leaving, the elevator was fairly crowded As we went down my spouse said, “I hope that the elevator is not being repaired.” She looked across at the guy in front of her and saw on his shirt the name of an elevator service. Not only that but he was obviously a repair person. At that pint, she tried to make herself about the size of a mouse!

In response, to many requests, I have placed a translate table for generating emoticons used in HTML code in this post. TP does not abide by then, but you can use then on many other WP sites. Look below the fold for the ones I have in my Excel table.

You can copy all to a Word document or Excel work sheet if you so desire. On the other hand, you can send them to a printer, just limit the pages so you do not get a thousand pages.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.
Continue reading

The Watering Hole: September 22 – Decimal Addition in a Binary World

Computers in general are best at adding binary values. Logic designers have relied on the hexadecimal numbering system in order to keep the task to an understandable notation. One limitation introduced by this solution is that a simple hexadecimal add of two decimal values in the range of 0-9 can result in solutions that have no valid decimal value. Let’s look at decimal addition in the hexadecimal system:

A Hexadecimal Addition Table Restricted to Addend Values 0 Through 9

Now one of the things that you may notice about this table are the result values of A, B, C, D, E and F. These representations are used in want of any other in order to represent the binary numbers from 1010 – 1111. Alphabetic values were chosen because they appear in the Roman Alphabet which was familiar to the scientists at the forefront of digital computer design. I shutter to think what would have happened if Israel had been there first, I may well have taken up a different career path. You might also notice that the results of 10, 11 and 12 are actually not correct for a decimal add.

This leaves the problem of how to create a set of solutions compatible with decimal users like accountants and politicians. Conversion tables could be used to convert each result to its true decimal value. The results reading 10, 11 and 12 are short of their true decimal values of 16, 17 and 18 respectively.  Sometime in an obscure past, someone observed that each of these values fell short of their decimal values by a numeric value of 6 via a hexadecimal add yielded the correct decimal target value. A hexadecimal add of 6 to A through F, yields the correct decimal targets of 10-15 as well, thus a rule was born – if two decimal numbers are added and the result of that add exceeds A, then add 6 to that result and set a carry for the next higher-order digit. This is called excess 6 arithmetic, the basis of early decimal addition in digital computers.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 21 – The ASCII System

A usable numbering notation system arose out of necessity during the early computer age.  Using binary was out of question and the choice of octal was dictated by economy of design. Two problems arising from this practice were  that only upper case letters could be defined and that that the numerals from 0 to 9 were assigned the symbolic base 8 values from 60 to 71 – or respectively 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70 and 71.

While logic circuitry did not care about such representations, it blew the minds of early logic developers working towards base 10 arithmatic. This led to a code point set where the lowest digit was base 16 (hexadecimal) and the high order digit was represented as a base 4 number, thus the numeric values could be represented as 30, 31, 32, 33,34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 in 6 bit code. The number of code points limited the characters that could be represented without resorting to up shifts and down shifts. Earlier 5 bit codes relied on numeric shifts as well. There was a slew of 5 bit code sets that arose out of the confusion but the Baudot and Murray sets came to the top by the early 1900’s. It is from the Baudot code set that we get the term ‘baud’.

This limitation led to the adaptation of ASCII code points. This is a modern ASCII translation table:

This simplified the job of the designers because numerics were in a form more compatible with human experience.  Life would have been even easier if  the Arabs had originally come forth with a hexadecimal numbering system instead of base ten. The only problem there was the representation of the numbers four and two in hexadecimal – in a four finger system, they would be represented by _|__ and __|_ respectively.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 16 – Duodecimal Number Systems

A duodecimal multiplication table
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B 10
2 4 6 8 A 10 12 14 16 18 1A 20
3 6 9 10 13 16 19 20 23 26 29 30
4 8 10 14 18 20 24 28 30 34 38 40
5 A 13 18 21 26 2B 34 39 42 47 50
6 10 16 20 26 30 36 40 46 50 56 60
7 12 19 24 2B 36 41 48 53 5A 65 70
8 14 20 28 34 40 48 54 60 68 74 80
9 16 23 30 39 46 53 60 69 76 83 90
A 18 26 34 42 50 5A 68 76 84 92 A0
B 1A 29 38 47 56 65 74 83 92 A1 B0
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 A0 B0 100

Duodecimal numbering systems arose for a reason. First, the duodecimal numbering system has four common denominators (2, 3, 4 and 6) while a decimal system, which seems more natural, has only 2 (2 and 5,) both primes. This made the subdivision of goods more efficient. We know that this became a popular system because Germanic languages carry the vestiges of this numbering system because of the existence of of verbal values for the numbers 11 and 12 (in decimal terms.) Also we still carry the concept of this system in the measurements for a dozen, the gross (12 dozen dozen) and the great gross (12 dozen gross.) We also have 12 months in the year and 12 signs of the Zodiac.

Base 12 numbers are also a basis in the measurement of time during the day.

If you are into self-punishment and want to know more on this subject and other number systems, you can start here

I hope that this all shows up correctly. This is the first time that I tried out what I tried to present something using material from the blurb on tables.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 14 – HTML Navigation Bars

This lesson will present the result first and then explore the source. This differs from previous exercises as most of the spiel uses material from previous tutorials. So, here is what we get from the code that I will discuss:

The Navigation Bar

Navigation bars are akin to Tables of Contents, but the have uses where a table of contents can fall short. They can serve as ways of accessing external pages (called Inter-Document linking) as well as allowing one to skip through a long document – allowing one to step on to topics of interest in a current page (Called Intra-Document linking.). We will discuss the former first as this tutorial has yet to delve into that aspect of HTML code.

Inter-Document Linking With a Navigation Bar

Inter-Document linking using a navigation bar allows one to bring up an external page to the forefront. You may well have done this very often from a browser using the “link” function. If you look at the code involved, you can see that rocket science is not a prerequisite.

Unordered Lists | Tables | Tables of Contents

Intra-Document Linking With a Navigation Bar

Intra-Document linking using a navigation bar allows one to scroll through a current page. I reformated last week’s Table of Contents spiel in order to provide an example. Again, you can see, that rocket science is not a prerequisite.


Chapter 1. | Chapter 2. | Chapter 3.

Chapter 1.

Chapter 1 text…


Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 text…


Chapter 3.

Chapter 3 text…


The source code is below the fold.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.
Continue reading

The Watering Hole- September 7 – HTML Tables of Contents

The following HTML code:
<!– Start the anchor paragraph.–>
<!– Please note that if you have black menu bar,
the return will seem to be a bit off.–>
<!– This an anchor for return jumps.–>
<a name=”TOP”>Table of Contents</a>
<!– End the anchor paragraph.–>

<!– Start the Table of Contents paragraph.–>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 1.–>
<a href=”#CHAP1″>Chapter 1.</a><br>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 2.–>
<a href=”#CHAP2″>Chapter 2.</a><br>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 3.–>
<a href=”#CHAP3″>Chapter 3.</a><br>
<!– End the Table of Contents paragraph.–>

<!– This is a named anchor called “CHAP1″.–>
<a name=”CHAP1″></a>
<h2>Chapter 1.</h2>
<!– And some text.–>
<p>Chapter 1 text…</p>

<!– This is a link back to the top of the page–>
<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>

<a name=”CHAP2″></A>
<h2>Chapter 2.</h2>
<p>Chapter 2 text…</p>

<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>

<a name=”CHAP3″></A>
<h2>Chapter 3.</h2>
<p>Chapter 3 text…</p>

<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>

Yields this:

Chapter 1.
Chapter 2.
Chapter 3.

Chapter 1.

Chapter 1 text…


Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 text…


Chapter 3.

Chapter 3 text…


Please note that statements like:

<!– Comment.–>

provide comments that appear in the source, but not the code.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. The Zoo has run open threads pretty constantly since January, 2009, Very few missed weekends or holidays since we started ‘The Watering Hole.’ On those occasions, it was always due to illness or hospitalization within the Critter ranks.

The Watering Hole: August 24 – HTML Tables

I’m back!

This HTML code sequence:

<table border=2>
<caption align=center >Table Name</caption>
<tr align=center>
<th> Column Header 1</th>
<th> Column Header 2</th>
<th> Column Header 3</th>
< tr align=center >
<td> Data row 1, column 1</td>
<td> Data row 1, column 2</td>
<td> Data row 1, column 3</td>
< tr align=center >
<td> Data row 2, column 1</td>
<td> Data row 2, column 2</td>
<td> Data row 2, column 3</td>


Table Name
Column Header 1 Column Header 2 Column Header 3
Data row 1, column 1 Data row 1, column 2 Data row 1, column 3
Data row 2, column 1 Data row 2, column 2 Data row 2, column 3

Now, let’s try to break this apart:

The first tag pair is <table></table>. The <table> tag starts the table and the </table>tag ends it. Notice that these two tags enclose the entire table. <table>can take the align, border, cellpadding, and width attributes. We will get into attributes After the tags are described, some common attributes will be discussed.

The next tag pair is <caption></caption>. The <caption> tag starts the caption and the </caption>tag ends it. <caption>takes only the align attribute.

The next tag pair is <tr></tr>. <tr>tag starts a table row and the </tr> tag ends it. <tr>takes only the align and valign attributes.

The next tag pair is <th></th>. <th>fills a table row and </th> ends it. <th>takes only the align and valign attributes. The <th> tag is the same as the <td> tag, except that the data for the cells are presented in bold type and centered by default.

The next tag pair are <td></td>. <td>fills a table row and the </td> ends it. <td>takes only the align and valign attributes.


    align=[left, center or right} – Aligns data within a cell, a caption or the table itself on a page.
    border=[numeric} – Establishes a border around the table with the border width of [numeric] pixels.
    cellpadding={numeric] – Enlarges the cells in a table with padding around each cell’s data of [numeric] pixels.
    Valign=[top, middle or bottom] – Vertically aligns cell data within a cell.

There are other attributes, but I leave it to the reader to pursue this if interested. I rarely use attributes outside these 4.

Those really interested in delving into more than table basics can explore this site. It contains just about everything that you wanted to know about HTML tables and more.

Note: If you save the examples as type ‘html’, you can examine the result of your work. The WP processes do not support the full richness of the HTML language in comments and posts.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: August 10 – HTML Un-Ordered Lists

The simplest expression of an un-ordered or bulleted list is:

<li>Item 1</li>
<li>Item 2</li>
<li>Item 3</li>

Which yields:

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

The advantage of lists are that they allow one to present information points in a structured fashion that grab the eye. WP does not provide support for all list options. For more information, go here.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. You can also hone your list skills in the comments section.

The Watering Hole: August 3 – HTML Fractions

HTML fractions are available. They take on the format &#code; where code matches the extended ascii code.

The fractions I know are:

  • &#188; = ¼
  • &#189; = ½
  • &#190; = ¾
  • &#8531; = ⅓
  • &#8532; = ⅔
  • &#8533; = ⅕
  • &#8534; = ⅖
  • &#8535; = ⅗
  • &#8536; = ⅘
  • &#8537; = ⅙
  • &#8538; = ⅚
  • &#8539; = ⅛
  • &#8540; = ⅜
  • &#8541; = ⅝
  • &#8542; = ⅞

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. You can also practice your HTML in the comments.

The Watering Hole: July 27 – A Short Course in HTML

In order to enter certain functions in your comments on TheZoo, you must use HTML functions. These are not particularly difficult. The basic format of HTML codes is:

<code> where the code is of the form:

action – Start action or

/action – Stop action.

The most common actions are

  • b or strong = bold
  • em = italic
  • u = underline
  • strike = strike through
  • blockquote = blockquote
  • sub = subscript
  • sup = superscript

Thus “<b>bold</b>” would yield “bold“.

These tags came be combined so “<strong><em>bold italic</strong> italic</em>” would yield “bold italic italic“. Notice the “b” and “strong” are interchangeable HTML tags and that tags can be turned on or off in a stream of tags. You must note that “b” and “strong” are not interchangeable within a single command string. Thus “/b” cannot be used to turn off “strong” and “/strong” will not turn off  “b”. This particular stream turns on bold, turns on  italic, turns off bold and finally turns off italic within a stream of three words.

Some basics in formating HTML text are available here. We at the Zoo are sorry that we do not provide tools to make formating comments easy, but we operate on a limited budget. You can explore the document in the link and actually learn HTML 4.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. I also set up a post where you can practice formating your comments in order to hone your skills in HTML. It will be hidden after tomorrow in the evening.

The Watering Hole: May 24 – The Neolithic Age

These Neolithic artifacts date back to the 6th millennium BCE:

© Michael Greenhalgh - free use allowed with attribution

They were  created 2008 years before the creation of the Earth according  to Texas BOE text book  Czars. I was educated in the Texas school system between September 1952 and May 1959 (Dallas – sixth grade on through high school).  They taught about the age of the dinosaurs back then (No Fred Flintstone in that curriculum). They also offered college level courses in science and math for promising high school  juniors and seniors. I would guess that the system has since dumbed down.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 7 – Odd Science & Kids

Our grandaughter was visiting us about 2 years back and she saw this clip:

In the interest of seeing how this worked, she leaned on us to try to duplicate the effect with this result (We were on a limited budget.):

It Worked!

It Worked!

She had dropped 5 Methos wafers into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke and high-tailed it from the immediate area, pivoting when we told her to. That piqued her interest in chemistry.  She was six at the time. It is never too early to tempt a child with the awe of science. The next step is the journey into the scientific method, and the why.

A maiden Aunt enticed an entire generation of nieces and nephews into careers in science, enginering and medicine. There was one lawyer, but three baccalaureates in social issues, three advanced degrees in science or engineering, one PhD and two MDs is not too bad from a crop of 12.

The issue today is not home schooling, but instead, whole  family support. Public schooling provides social interactions that have no other source. Without it prejudice will never cease to exist.

Please note that this is an open thread and we welcome any comment not bordering on the obscene.

Wiggle while you work..

What a GREAT idea!!

Eric Hudelson's 6th grade class replaced their chairs with exercise balls. Photo by Devon Haskins

Instead of forcing students to sit still in class, these 6th graders in Moscow, Idaho now sit on exercise balls.

In stead of sitting still, they can wiggle, wobble and work on their posture.

Hudelson admits he was skeptical at first, but the new seats seem to be working.

“So far, they’re paying attention and participating a lot more in classroom conversations,” says Hudelson.

The principal says a classroom of chairs is about $2,000. The same number of exercise balls costs only $200.

I bet the kids love it.  And, anything that gets kids to participate and stay engaged longer is a real coup!  Good for you, Moscow, ID!

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Open Thread: Astounding, Amazing and Totally Cool

h/t: AMERICAblog

The dolphins at Sea World have taught themselves a new behavior.  The females started blowing rings (bubbles) out of their blowholes and then jiggle and play with those bubbles until they get small – and then they pop them.  It started with one dolphin and then that behavior was learned by many of the others.  Check it out.  This is totally cool!

Be sure to check our new posts below.

Barack Obama seriously cares about education!

ABC news reports:

Obama Campaign Donates Campaign Office Leftovers to Schools
As Offices Close, Nearby Schools Benefit From Campaign Merchandise

“Tens of thousands of dollars of resources have been put into schools across the United States in less than four days,” said Valarie Swanson, marketing director for “The Obama campaign was specific that they wanted all their resources to go to schools.”
Obama’s Pittsburgh campaign office donated to her school district at least five flatbed trucks of office supplies, including 12 Dell computers, multiple 17-inch LCD monitors and three printers. Much of the equipment was brand new, given to the schools unopened in boxes.

The computers’ files were deleted by the Obama campaign to pass along the machines in data-less condition.

Details like this stress what I was impressed with from the beginning about the Obama campaign. They are highly competent superbly managed and thorough and they stick to their message. If the presidency is handled as competently as the campaign was and, indeed, the transition is being handled I have high hopes for the future.

To be fair, the McCain campaign has donated much of it’s campaign stuff as well. They have been restricted by rules that come with public financing, however.

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