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Falling Object Warning Signs

Do you ever go to Google and wonder what that day's Google picture means? Sometimes I know right away, but today I didn't. If you hover your cursor over the image, a tool tip tells you what it's about, or you can click on the image to go to a Google search for that day's feature. Below is today's image. Any guesses what Google is highlighting today?

picture of Google today

It's Sir Isaac Newton's 367th birthday! Happy happy, Isaac! I guess the significance today is that it's approximately one-third of a millennium? And the apples? Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree.

As I pondered Newton, gravity, and falling objects, I was reminded of our trips to and from Michigan past week and of the detour that was caused by a rockslide on I-40. According to the news reports, some of the rocks are the size of small houses, and the clean up will take several months. The detour added an hour to our trip each way, making a long trip even longer.

I'm posting today some pictures I have accumulated of signs warning of various falling objects. Try to retain all gravity as you view them.

Along the way we took seriously the signs warning us to watch for falling rock. The next two pictures make it clear it's a real danger.

picture of falling object sign

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MMX – 2010

picture of MMX 2010

New Year's Day is time of reflection and of planning. We look back on the previous year and evaluate, and we look ahead to the new year and prognosticate. 2009 has certainly been a year to remember, or one you wish you could forget, depending on your viewpoint. I don't know of a year in my life when I've seen more of the unforeseen. Dave Barry has a great article about 2009 in review.

picture of 2009

One way to see what was on people's minds in 2009 is to view what they looked up on search engines like Google or on online dictionaries. Based on online lookups, here is the Top Ten List of word definitions of the year 2009 at the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. The words in this list give some insights into the year's events.

1. admonish
2. emaciated
3. empathy
4. furlough
5. inaugurate
6. nugatory
7. pandemic
8. philanderer
9. repose
10. rogue

It's interesting that the word of the year was admonish. For some of the words, it's easy to see why they were searched, but for others, it's not so clear.
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Y2K Bug in Retrospect

picture of y2k explosion

Do you remember all the hype about the y2k bug in the late 1990's? For those who only vaguely remember that situation, here's the problem in a nutshell. Computer programmers had the practice of abbreviating the year to only the last two digits. As the year 2000 approached it was feared that everything would stop working at the time of the rollover from 99 to 00. The predictions were that long-working computer systems would break down when the ascending numbering of years "...97, 98, 99..." suddenly became invalid when we hit the year "00."

Ten years ago this week people all over the globe were anticipating worldwide calamity. Some people were extremely concerned about y2k, but many others were totally nonchalant. My own take on it was "y2k? — y not 2k?!" But actually it's more than a little ironic that they called the problem "y2k" when it's abbreviations that got us in the problem in the first place!

Here's a cartoon that shows what many thought would happen:

picture of y2k cartoon

People were seriously stocking up on provisions — bottled water, canned meat, vegetables and fruit, TP, etc., in case stores could not open for months. There were all sorts of items available like the Survival Kit below:

picture of y2k survival kit

If you want to read more about the "y2k problem," there's a good article on Wikipedia.

Crisis mentality and hype are nothing new. But the y2k problem apparently wasn't either — those living in 999 A.D. and the year 1 B.C. faced similar situations. I have unearthed several documents that describe those situations, and I share them below. Also in 1999 there were some, in spite of all the reporting about it, who still did not understand the concept of y2k. I'll end the post with one blonde's (mis)understanding of the problem.
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Oh, deer!

picture of deer crossing sign

Some of you taking to the roads to see loved ones at Christmas may be facing some winter road hazards. At least if there's snow, you should be able to see more easily one of the other hazards — deer.

A reader sent me two pictures that I decided to post today, on Christmas Eve Day. I cannot find out for sure where these pictures were taken. I've seen them attributed to places in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Snowmobile Trail Closed Due to Traffic Jam

picture of deer on snowmobile trail

picture of deer on snowmobile trail

It makes me wonder whether someone put food on the trail to lure that many deer to one place.

I received the following from a female reader....

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa 's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl. We should've known — only women would be able to drag an overweight man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

I wish you much joy at Christmas! I hope to hear from many of you.


"God takes care of creatures we don't even think about or don't even know exist." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Could it be that so many deer get hit on the roads because they're simply obeying the posted deer crossing signs?

4 Nights Before Christmas

picture of Clement Moore

In case you're living in a cave and don't know what's going on in the outside world, there are only four nights before Christmas. In honor of that I am posting four different versions of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (picture on the right). The parodies of this poem are seemingly endless. The ones I'm posting today all come with attribution to the original authors. This post is longer than usual, but I don't plan to post again until next week.

Twas The Night Before Christmas ... For Moms
by Ruth Carter-Bourdon

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo and Barbie flipped through their heads.

The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only Mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With the toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh, great," muttered Mom, "now I have to clean the rug."
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