Other Places I Post

I have two other LJs: cosmusic, coslinks

See what links I've been reading on del.icio.us (coslinks),
 and what links I've been posting on reddit (cos).
Update: I abandoned delicious in 2016 after they'd been deterioriating for a few years, and I now post links on pinboard instead.

Photos: Some from the 90s on my old web site, newer ones on Flickr (cospics) and most recent (pretty much anything since 2006) on Facebook
Videos: YouTube (youcos)

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Vaccination adventure

Ceila became eligible for making a vaccine appointment at the beginning of the month, while I'm still not eligible (to even make an appointment) - she has health conditions, something I pretty much entirely lack. Usually a good thing!

She searched, couldn't find any appointment slots near us in Seattle, so searched farther and farther out... and found one for April 8th! ... in Sequim, WA, 2.5-3 hours away by car, including a ferry ride (or 3 hours the long way, without the ferry).

I've been to Sequim once before, a long time ago, on my own - it's near Port Angeles and the northern section of Olympic National Park, which I've wanted to go to again with Ceila for the past few years but we hadn't done yet. Excellent excuse for a day trip, with her appointment in the late afteroon so plenty of time for a nice hike if we left early.

Riding a ferry was pretty cool, it's been probably more than two decades since the last time I was on a car ferry. Even better: We had to stop and wait for orcas! Ceila actually spotted them on our side of the ferry (we were parked by the edge) well before the announcement, so we got to watch them for a while. And since we'd been planning to hike, we had our good binoculars.

Near the end of the ferry ride we also saw a pair of pigeon guillemots appearing to kiss. Kind of turning around each other and touching beaks gently several times.

We did get the planned hike, from a lake up to a nice waterfall. And then her vaccination appointment, at the pharmacy inside a huge Safeway supermarket. And then, as I was getting groceries waiting for her to come out... she came and brought me back there to get a shot. They had a few no-shows earlier in the day, this was now the end of the day, and they had to use their extra doses before they expired, so I got one that was meant for someone that morning probably.

Now we both have appointments for Moderna shot #2 in Sequim in early May. I think we'll go out there the evening before and stay in a motel and have more time. It'll be the beginning of shorebird season! And perhaps more of Olympic will be open (a lot of it is closed for winter still).

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)


Having almost finished the regular mushrooms, I put mushrooms on our shopping list. Ceila was the next to go to the store, and bought shiitake mushrooms, a bit different from what I expected. A few days later...

Me: "I've been using the shiitake mushrooms and found that there are a few foods that they don't go as well with as the regular mushrooms."

Her: "You mean they're not fungible?"

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

A new frontier in spam

I got spam email with subject line "Deal" and message body just "I have a deal for you." Just that, nothing more. It's not a multipart message with an HTML version, it's just text/plain.

Maybe they're just fishing to see who responds. But spam with no typos or awkward grammar? Bold move!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

New Georgia Senators

John Ossoff with Cos and Audra at campaign office door

Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff just got sworn in yesterday, after the inauguration, because the Georgia runoff election results only got certified on Tuesday.

Almost four years earlier, Jon Ossoff made his first run for elected office when he ran for Congress in Georgia's 6th district in a special election in spring 2017. I'd been planning to visit Audra in Georgia during that time so I extended the trip so we could spend a few days canvassing for him, and we got to meet him at a campaign office we were volunteering out of.

It was supposed to be a solidly Republican district but that's when the reaction to Trump really started showing, and to much surprise the race was competitive. He ended up losing by about 3 points to a Republican, who in turn got knocked out by Democrat Lucy McBath in 2018 - she got re-elected in 2020, so that district has shifted. Even though we didn't succeed in 2017, I hope Ossoff's efforts helped make that shift and that the time we spent contributed a bit to that. And now he's a US Senator!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

Mask questions

Considering only their effectiveness at a) slowing the spread of covid-19 and b) protecting you from covid-19, in public and grocery stores and similar (that is, I'm not asking about bacteria, fungus, healthcare settings, etc.)...

  • If an N95 mask doesn't quite fit as tightly as it should, is it still significantly better than all surgical & cloth masks? Or does the imperfect make it likely not much better than a surgical mask?

  • I've seen it claimed that multi-layer cloth masks are better than actual approved surgical masks. I'm very skeptical. But is there some validity to this claim?

  • Is there any difference between US N95 masks and Chinese KN95 masks for this purpose? Other than the fact that I've never figured out how to actually fit a KN95 to my face :) But aside from the fit, are they effectively exactly the same thing (for this purpose)?

If you have helpful references or sources for answers to any of these questions, I'd like to read!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

Transfer of power

Until now, the US had a very long history of peaceful democratic transfers of power. That is very decidedly over. This violent coup attempt failing will not change the fact that this transfer of power will not have happened peacefully, even though we get the legitimately elected government at the end of it.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

Pescatarianism puzzles me

I've been wondering, why are there so many people out there who categorically won't eat any animals from land or air, but will eat any animlas from the sea?

I've heard lots of different reasons why people choose to be vegetarian. Some of them are,

- Moral objection to killing animals for food.
- Environmental impact.
- Saw a dead animal and got grossed out at the thought.
- Cruelty of factory farms.
- Health, and the idea that humans weren't evolved to eat so much meat.

There are more, though I think this list covers the majority more or less. And some of them, I feel too, though I choose to not eat meat most days but still eat it sometimes, rather than categorically never at all. Still, I benefit from the people who made vegetarianism a movement and continue it, because they're the reason our economy has adapted to make a lot of no-meat and less-meat options available. So I thank them for it.

But if you're going to make exceptions to a general policy of no meat, why does the exception "if it's from the water, it's fine" make sense?

People whose main reason for avoiding meat are animal cruelty issues, generally make exceptions for humanely raised meat. If someone does that, and applies a similar logic to seafood, that makes sense. That's not what I'm wondering about.

Environmentally, fishing is far far more destructive to nature than some kinds of land meat, especially poultry. And poultry's carbon cost is also less than that of fish. Shellfish such as clams and oysters are actually a net benefit to the environment, and eating more of them to support shellfish farming is a good thing. Shrimp, on the other hand, are mostly caught by bottom trawling, so cheap shrimp may be the most environmentally destructive food in the world.

Moral objections, or just gross feelings about eating animals... those seem like they should apply to animals from the sea as well. I know for some people it's a matter of how much of a consciousness something has, but I assume people who see it that way would sooner eat a chicken than a tuna! Not even mentioning the fact that so much of commercial fishing kills sea turtles and dolphins and porpoises as a side effect.

[BTW, as a related thing I've also been wondering why there isn't a common practice of avoiding all meat except for poultry & shells, since that seems to make sense from a carbon and ecosystem impact standpoint. But that's a tangent to my question here.]

And when it comes to health, top predators of the see accumulate toxins, so I'd expect a health-oriented mostly-vegetarian who makes some exceptions to also avoid fish like tuna, and make exceptions not just for shells but also for occasional land meat as well.

Do you or someone you know practice pescatarianism, where all land meat and poultry is off limits, but all/most seafood is acceptable? Can you tell me what reasoning or motivation lies behind this, for you or them personally?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

The DNC debate qualifying rules made one huge mistake

Democratic candidates for president this year had to qualify for the official debates based on a set of simple, neutral rules published in advance - standards that got progressively a bit harder to qualify for with each debate. Each candidate had to get a certain percentage of support in a certain number of qualifying polls, and a certain number of donors. For the first debate, it was 1% in three polls or65,000 donors, and with each debate the standard got a bit higher.

Overall a pretty clever system, and a good way to solve the problem of choosing who the important candidates are for people to see, without bias or too much public perception that it's rigged in favor of or against particular candidates because of their views. But I think they made a huge mistake with the rule about polls!

Especially in the beginning, this summer when the debates began, lots of potential voters were undecided and most of them were considering most of the candidates. Even after the first few debates, there were still a lot of undecided voters, and most voters who did have a favorite were still considering others. The point of rules like this should be to show you the candidates you may still be considering, not the candidates you or someone else have already chosen. With these rules, it was quite possible for a candidate who nearly everyone was still seriously considering to be exluded from the debates, while someone else (such as Tulsi Gabbard) who very few people were considering, and who most voters had already decided against, would still be included.

What the DNC should have done is announced in advance that they would *only* consider polls that ask who you're seriously considering voting for. They could've set much higher thresholds, starting with 10% rather than 1%. Debates would then have emphasized showing us all the candidates people actually want to learn more about.

There weren't very many polls like that, but you can bet that if the DNC had announced a rule like that in late spring, there would have been plenty more. And the DNC could have commissioned a few national polls themselves to add to the mix.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

What goes in this film festival

Imagine a hypothetical film festival that would show:
- The Martian
- Interstellar
- Moon
- 2001: A Space Odyssey

Alien does NOT fit into this festival.
The Star Wars films do NOT fit into this festival.

What's another movie that you think belongs on the list?

No spoilers!!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)