1641: Nikolaas Tulp, Dutch Anatomist

Self is going back and forth between Caliban’s War (which is all action, which is perfect because reading action is a nice balance to her current state of total inactivity) and Mama’s Last Hug.

Trigger Warning: If the mere notion of dissection makes you ill, do not read. It’s not graphic, but it did make self a tad queasy.

Mama’s Last Hug, p. 66:

  • When a team of behavioral scientists and anthropologists finally tested the idea by carefully dissecting the faces of two dead chimpanzees, they found the exact same number of mimetic muscles as in the human face — and surprisingly few differences. We could have predicted this, of course, because Nikolaas Tulp, the Dutch anatomist immortalized in Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson, had long ago reached a similar conclusion. In 1641, Tulp was the first to dissect an ape cadaver and found that it resembled the human body so closely in its structural details, musculature, organs, and so on, that the species looked like two drops of water.

Also, did you know that there is a type of human smile called the Duchenne smile? The Duchenne smile is “a sincere expression of joy and positive feeling,” and involves a crinkling/narrowing of the eyes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Melancholy

Perhaps it’s this damn covid-19, but self is feeling mighty melancholy today.

To match her mood, today’s excerpt from Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves is from a section called Finality and Grief:

  • It remains unknown how widespread the sense of finality is and how much it relies on a mental projection into the future. But members of at least some species, after assuring themselves by smell, touch, and revival attempts that a loved one is gone, seem to realize that their relationship has permanently moved from present to past . . . It also reminds us that all emotions are mixed with knowledge — they wouldn’t exist otherwise . . . Life goes on, as it should, but individuals are unique.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

#amreading: National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Night Sky

p. 95: The Story of Gods and Planets

The five planets visible to the unaided eye were named after figures from Roman mythology, a tradition followed when Uranus and Neptune were discovered. Mercury, visible only for short periods of time, was named after the fleet messenger God. Venus was named for the goddess of love, no doubt for its shining brilliance in the sky. Mars was named after the god of war. Jupiter was named after the Roman uber-deity who ruled the heavens. Sluggish Saturn was named for the god of agriculture. Mesopotamian astronomers merely referred to it as “the old sheep.”

Stay tuned.

Still Summer, Still Reading

from p. 118 of Landfill: Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, “Needs”:

I’d read my Henry Mayhew on London’s waste workers and had been out at night on the Thames with the body-salvagers of Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. I stayed away from Milton. My telescope wouldn’t have been welcomed by anyone and I don’t think I could have used it. The hunt for the body resumed in the late autumn of 2017 in a part of the landfill adjacent to the area already examined. After seven fruitless weeks the search was called off.

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Redwood City, July 2019

Love Dee’s book. So much.

Stay tuned.

 

Explorer Monday: National Geographic, April 1987

Robert Falcon Scott to his wife, last instructions (found on his body eight months later):

Make the boy interested in natural history, if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous, as you know — had always an inclination to be idle.

Robert Falcon Scott “and two companions made it to within 11 miles of safety — a depot of supplies known as One Tom Camp some 150 miles from their base camp. They had walked more than 1,600 miles, to the Pole and almost back.”

— Sir Peter Scott, The Antarctic Challenge, National Geographic, April 1987

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Again, a Shift

Did not finish The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. With only one or two exceptions, the case studies were elderly people. Everyone knows growing old SUCKS. Oliver Sacks is masterful in telling all the different ways. Next!

Diving into Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, a book self began reading a while back, which got pushed back because when traveling, she finds novels easier to digest.

Tim Dee did not always have a fascination for gulls, just as gulls are no longer necessarily seagulls.

pp. 17 – 18:

Calling them seagulls is wrong — that was one of the first things I learned as a novice bird-boy. They are as much inland among us as they are far out over the waves. Yet, in fact, this state of life for them is new. Over the past hundred years, human modernity has brought gulls ashore. They have lived in our slipstream, following trawlers, ploughs, dust-carts . . . They live as we do, walking the built-up world and grabbing a bite where they can.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Now Reading: 2nd Tuesday of July 2019

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RISING, DISPATCHES FROM THE NEW AMERICAN SHORE, p. 45

Lately my feeling is that I need time to just be here before I can decide whether to stay or not. My guess is that I will tap into so much gratitude for my life alongside this marsh that I may just become an old lady who drowns right here.

— Laura Sewell, resident of Small Point, Maine

Seals of New York

Pack rat self. She clipped an article from The New Yorker of 21 March 2011 and kept it tucked away in a drawer. Until today, when self found it again. She kept only one page, so she doesn’t know who the author of the piece is.

In 1993, Kevin Walsh, of the New York Aquarium, said there was a harbor seal living under the Williamsburg Bridge. In ’97, Sieswerda reported that occasional seals could be spotted on out-of-the-way beaches in Brooklyn and Queens. In 2001, kayakers said that they saw about a dozen harbor seals living on Swinburne Island, in the Lower Harbor, two and a half miles from the Verrazano Bridge.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Pacific Rim Review of Books: Self Wants to Eat/Read Everything

Issue Twenty-Three, Vol. 12 No. 1

 

 

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