Not the Marvel Universe Thor

Thor, the eldest son of the all-knowing Odin, creates lightning bolts and thunder as he flies through the sky on a chariot pulled by two goats. While traveling away from the home, he can slaughter the goats at night for a meal and then bring them back to life the next morning by pointing his trademark hammer at their bones. He lives in a palace with 540 rooms. He owns gloves made of iron. At one point, while fighting the Midgard Serpent, he drinks from the ocean to slake his thirst, chugging so much that the seas shrink. Later, the Midgard Serpent turns itself into a giant cat, which Thor, of course, defeats.

How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island, p. 57

This is a most fascinating book. It is a little hard to focus on sections to quote, because every page takes unexpected and unpredictable turns. First we’re talking about hot springs and then Norse gods. Thankfully, the sentences are not very long (Self doesn’t know why she expected the sentences to be long; she expected this to be a translation from the Icelandic but apparently it was written in English, and the author is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day, 2nd to Last Sunday of August 2021

At sea, when every day is an endless set of twists and risks, two months is a long time.

How Iceland Changed the World, by Egill Bjarnason, Introduction

Bjarnason is a very beguiling storyteller.

China Shuts Ningbo

from The Economist, 21 August 2021, p. 57

A 34-year-old dockworker at Ningbo, who had come into contact with visiting crews, was diagnosed with the Delta variant of covid-19 despite having received two shots of the Sinovac vaccine. On Aug. 11, China shut down operations at Ningbo which, “in the first half of this year . . . handled more tonnes of cargo than anywhere else in the world.”

“The port infection was part of an outbreak that was first discovered on July 20 at Nanjing airport. By August 10, it had spread across a dozen provinces. Unlike other countries, which are learning to live with Delta, China has imposed a hardcore combination of widespread testing and uncompromising quarantines. Anyone who tests positive is whisked to a hospital, even if they are free of symptoms. Anyone judged to have come into close contact with them (based on mobile phone data and other indicators) is quarantined, as are close contacts of these contacts. By August 10th, China had quarantined 50,808 people, more than 20 for any active confirmed case. The government has discouraged non-essential travel between cities and provinces. And two of the worst-hit cities, Nanjing and Zhengzhou, have postponed the start of the school year.

Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge: Agapanthus (Again)

Self is pretty sure she’s already used agapanthus for Cee’s FOTD, as soon as they started blooming. Now, her backyard’s looking a bit parched, most of the blooms are blown, except for one. She tried photographing from different angles: back and front. In the end, she liked her first shot the best, because you can really see the silky-looking texture of the blue petals.

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