tipless

Dec. 30th, 2018 12:40 pm
asakiyume: (tea time)
Did you guys hear/see the story about this year's Christmas-themed Hershey's kisses missing their tips? I heard it some while ago, one of those relaxingly weird, inconsequential human-interest stories that these days I feel fortunate to catch. I promptly forgot about it until we got to my dad's house at Christmas time, and he had a bag of Hershey's Christmas-foil-wrapped kisses.

"Oh hey, I heard they all have their tips broken off--I wonder if it's true," I said. So of course FOR RESEARCH, we had to open up (and then eat--once you unwrap them they'll spoil if you don't eat them!) a number of kisses, and sure enough, they all did have their tips broken off.

So it was true! Based on evidence from one bag of kisses in upstate New York.

... Well yesterday I was in a supermarket here in western Massachusetts and they had Christmas kisses on clearance. Would their tips be broken too? Of course the spirit of inquiry required that I buy a bag. And lo and behold, so far... yes!



For reference, here is what they are supposed to look like:



See the nice point?

This NYT article reports that only the solid-chocolate kisses were affected and that Hershey's is investigating.
asakiyume: (autumn source)
Thing One: Marathon
Over this past weekend, Wakanomori ran a marathon in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom (I love that name--what a name!), way up by the Canadian border. Even though the mountains there are not 14,000-foot crags like in the Rockies, there's a high, lonely, mountainous air to it--you feel Up There.

It was a very tiny, intimate marathon. Here is the group taking off--not just marathoners, but people running a 17-miler and a half-marathon as well. There were also bicyclists, but they took off from a different spot.

runners in early morning light

more about the marathon )

Thing Two: Jury Right/Duty

In the class I help out in, the students were reading about qualifications for serving on a jury. Someone asked when women started being allowed to serve. No one knew for sure. I thought it would be around the time women got the right to vote. WRONG.
As late as 1942 only twenty-eight state laws allowed women to serve as jurors, but these also gave them the right to claim exemption based on their sex. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 gave women the right to serve on federal juries, but not until 1973 could women serve on juries in all fifty states.
(Source)

These little reminders of the lack of recognition of women's full rights and responsibilities as fellow humans freak me out.

Thing Three: Catalogue

Sometimes the best guesses of algorithms are wrong. I have some ideas of how my name might have come up as a good candidate for a catalogue of Catholic church accoutrements; nevertheless, it's a faulty assumption. I will not be ordering any vestments, devotional statues, candle stands, or intinction sets.** I like that I *could*, though.

**I've learned from the catalogue that that's what you call the equipment that holds the stuff for the sacrament of the Eucharist. ETA: Or rather, that was my guess, but I found out from [personal profile] amaebi that actually it's the set-up for when you're going to dip the host in the wine.




asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I generally like, or at least don't mind, people talking to me, but I *do* notice when it's out of the ordinary. Today, I have the distinct impression that I'd inadvertently sprinkled myself with talk-to-me powder.

First in the supermarket, a girl stocking the shelves, looked up as I approached and said, "Is it raining outside?" (It's not; it's a sunny day.)

"No," I told her, "It's still clear out."

"It's just... " she indicated a rumbling noise coming from overhead. "It sounds like thunder."

"Hmmm, yeah, it does. Could it be the air conditioning units?" We mused for a few minutes more and then I went on with my shopping.

Next, as I was gazing abstractedly at the grass-fed beef, a man came up to me and said, "Is this the grass-fed beef?"

"Yes, all of this," I said. There were about three shelves of little one-pound packages.

"Oh! And it's only $7.00 a pound! That's better than at [competitor supermarket]. Over there it's $9.00."

"Then this is a bargain," I said, though I don't really know what constitutes a bargain in the area of sustainably raised beef. In the end I didn't buy any--I don't know whether the man did or not.

Last was at the farm stand across the way from the supermarket. There's a young guy staffing it, vaguely familiar looking. He obviously had the same feeling about me, because he abruptly said,

"Whose mom are you? You look really familiar."

"What year did you graduate?" I ask back, and it's the same year as my youngest, which is complicated, because (a) she detested high school, and (b) about six months after graduating--and moving overseas--she came out as trans female.... which means her classmates knew her as a boy.

Always in these situations I have to make a snap decision: go into the story, or don't go into the story. This kid seemed friendly enough, but I have no idea what kind of relationship he and my youngest had, or if they even crossed paths. So I asked him if he knew [child's old name] and he said yes, that they'd been in band together.

"Tell him I say hello," he said.

"What's your name?" I asked.

He told me. I reported the whole thing to my youngest via messages. She said asking abrupt questions was very much that guy's personality. I said maybe it wasn't him; after all, I'd been wearing talk-to-me powder.
asakiyume: (glowing grass)
We didn't make it to Medellín on this trip to Colombia, but in reading through our guidebook, we discovered that some distance outside of Medellín, drug lord Pablo Escobar had his private ranch, Hacienda Napoles, where he had, among other things, a menagerie of exotic animals, including hippos. After Pablo Escobar's downfall, the other animals were taken to zoos, but the hippos had managed to elude capture... and established themselves in Colombia's Magdalena River (and other watery locations), which they apparently LOVE.




(images from this National Geographic video about the hippos)

There were originally four hippos--and now there are more than 40. Unlike in Africa, there are no predators in Colombia, and there's also no hot, dry season, so the hippos are having babies every year instead of every two years, and they're coming to maturity sooner.

I thought this was a kind of amusing invasive-species story because usually invasive species are ... smaller? Zebra mussels or Japanese beetles or starlings or rabbits. But hippos are the third-largest land mammal (after elephants and rhinoceroses); adults weigh more than a ton. Hippos are not quite a godzilla-level invasive species, but they do represent a challenge for the ecosystem; Colombian zoologists worry about the impact on the local manatee population.

Lucy Cooke, a zoologist and filmmaker, has a great nine-minute video (and you can get a transcript if you don't like watching videos) describing the situation, here. Hippos may look kind of dopey-cute, but they're apparently pretty aggressive. It's made worse by the fact that male hippos have harems (the original four hippos were one male and three females), and they kick out newly mature male hippos to go find mates elsewhere--but of course, there are no other females elsewhere for these poor newly grown hippos. So they're lonely and sexually frustrated.


(image source)

Lucy Cooke said killing the hippos was unpopular among Colombians, so they they decided to try castrating the male hippos. But this is apparently very, very, very hard to do--it's hard to sedate a hippo because of their fat; you don't want the sedative to take effect when they're in the water or they'll drown, and--hippo testicles move about in their bodies when they're under stress, so you've got your sedated hippo, and now you have to find his testicles. .... Okay, they don't move around that much--they don't troop from the groin region up to the shoulders or anything like that--but apparently they can move like eight centimeters or so. One castration cost around $100,000, so that's probably not a solution either. She thinks they'll establish themselves and become a new subspecies eventually. Maybe the manatees and hippos will work something out...


Sources:
Marta Rodriguez Martinez, "Colombia Declares War on Pablo Escobar's Hippos," Euronews, February 2, 2018.

Lucy Cook, "Pablo Escobar's Hippos Are Now Colombia's Problem," Big Think, July 10, 2018.

Wikipedia, hippo entry.
asakiyume: (nevermore)
I was waiting at a park that I had gradually intuited was the place a protest against family separation had been moved to. It was about ten minutes before the protest was scheduled to begin, and not all that much was happening. There was a banner, though, with an Audre Lorde quote ("Your silence will not protect you"), and a few people hanging around, including about five very buff cyclists, clustered together on their bikes.

A woman, slightly older than me, came up to me. "Is this where the protest is?" I said I thought so and made some joke about wandering around the original location in confusion.

She nodded, moved off, and then came back, remarking that it was too bad the cyclists were in the way.

"Maybe they're here for the protest," I said.

"No, they gather here every Thursday. I told them they should leave."

She said it without rancor, as if it was normal to tell people to leave a public park.

"Oh I don't know--I think they're good. They swell the crowd," I said, trying to make light of the whole thing.

"It's a problem every Thursday," she said.

Then a friend of mine showed up, and my attention went to my friend--but next to me, I heard the woman trying her anti-cyclist gambit on another person.

"I'm a cyclist," the new person said.

"But you don't understand; this is a problem every Thursday," the anti-cyclist insisted.

Annnd.... then the the leader of the cyclist group, I guess having figured that his gang were all there, announced the route they'd be riding, and off they went. They honestly could not have been more innocuous. They weren't riding around terrorizing people. They were meeting up in a public park--and then they left! The one woman's animus was so strange!

There were some good speakers at the demonstration, and some people with very good signs. I was somewhat depressed by the turnout--it was hundreds and I'd thought there might be thousands, but maybe this just means I'm out of touch. ... Anyway, onward and upward, keep trying, etc.

asakiyume: (good time)
I'm inordinately pleased with this guy, so pleased that I'm sharing him all over the place. Look at his head! Look at his curved arms, his nicely patterned legs, his power source at his middle.

He's a champion, I tell you. He'll... do what rice cracker champions do, feats as yet unknown.

rice cracker man
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I always want to do something fun for Halloween, and then I leave it too late and don't do anything at all. This year, though, I'm hopeful I'll manage a thing: I've created good-luck cards, ten cards each in five categories of luck: lucky number, lucky creature, lucky sport, lucky ride, and lucky color. I've printed out enough to accommodate the vast numbers of children who come through our neighborhood, and now I'm cutting them.

Here are just a few:





I tell you, it was great fun picking these items! Geogemma barossii eats rust and poops magnets at 239 F, which means it's right at home in your autoclave. Or would be, if you had an autoclave.

PS: I do intend to do a few more inktobers, but stuff got away from me.
asakiyume: (definitely definitely)
Last night I was waiting to pay for some food at the supermarket, and ahead of me, a woman was getting two brightly colored toothbrushes, one purple and one orange, and I could see from the packaging that they were Crayola toothbrushes.

Crayola toothbrushes

Source: SmartPractice.com, a seller of medical supplies.

My first thought was, wow, that's a weird way to branch out your business. From 64-packs of crayons with colors like spring green, periwinkle, and raw umber** it makes sense to branch into colored pencils, markers, pots of paint, drawing paper, sparkle glue sticks--all of which Crayola has done.

But toothbrushes? My best guess is that someone on Crayola's innovation team said, "We're known for long, thin items. We're known for things parents associate with their children. Toothbrushes are long and thin, and parents want their kids to brush more. QED!!"

Expect Crayola drinking straws and carrot packs next.

Crayola will give you definitive names for the various colors in your carrot pack


Source: groworganic.com's page offering Peaceful Valley organic carrot seeds


**Don't you want a story about raw shadows? Raw how? EMOTIONALLY RAW of course.


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I'll have a story coming out eventually in Not One of Us in which a stone is enlisted as a therapist. I sent the story to [livejournal.com profile] oiktirmos (we had been corresponding about stones), and he sent me a wonderful article from the Seattle Times about stones being used as confidantes by heroin addicts in Kyrgyzstan: "Addicts in Kyrgyzstan Fight to Break Heroin's Grip, Armed with Stones."

The stones not only accept the people's confessions, they also take on all the negative things that the people associate with their addiction. Then, after a month of treatment, people walk to the top of a hill and throw the stones down it:

About 5,000 addicts have thrown their stones at this place over the past decade, according to the clinic, forming a heap representing those thousands of stories of pain and struggle with addiction. Not all the rocks were thrown there by addicts, though; local residents with problems unrelated to narcotics also heave rocks at the site.

The article mentions a legend of the area, also related to rocks. The conqueror Tamerlane, leaving on a campaign, instructed his troops to bring a stone and drop it in a particular valley. On the way back, they were to retrieve a stone. The stones left over represented those who had not made it back from the campaign.

All in all, an interesting story. Many thanks, Oiktirmos!

I leave you with some images from a Japanese museum of stones with faces. (Source is This Is Colossal)



This one is labeled "Presley"



asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)






You have to get a document signed at an activist organization in the center of Springfield. When you get to the destination, you see that there's no on-street parking. The organization is located next to a condemned building. Behind the condemned building there appears to be some parking, but it looks full. There's a Burger King across the street--one could park there. Further ahead, there seems to be a parking lot.

Do you (a) attempt to park behind the condemned building, (b) park at the Burger King, or (c) drive toward the parking lot?

If you choose (a), you discover it's full. You have to make a 36-point turn in a small space and exit, whereupon your choices are (b) and (c).

If you choose (b), do you (d) buy something at the BK (y'know, to make it legit that you're parking there) or (e) go straight to the activist organization? If (d), congrats, you get something yummy to eat. Now you're at (e). Hold that thought.

Or do you--as I did--choose (c)? If so, you discover that it's a permit-only parking lot for the nearby community college. However, there are **lots** of open spaces. Do you (f) park there anyway, or (g) go driving further afield?

If you choose (g), you get pretty far down the street and see that there's no place available AT ALL EVER. Oh, wait, but here's a charismatic church's parking lot. You could park here; it's not Sunday. If you choose to (h) park here, you have a long walk back to the activist organization (e).

I turned back around, however, and decided to park illegally in the community college parking lot (f). If you choose this, you observe that there's a parking lot monitor on duty. Do you (i) revert to (g) or (b)? Or do you (j) slink out of the car thinking, "Whatever, man, just ticket me." Or do you (k) decide to approach him and ask if he knows a place you could park legally? (Why would you do this? just do (b) and get the Burger King food! But (k) was my decision.)

"Well, you're obviously a student here," the guard says. Confronted with this misapprehension, do you (l) correct him or (m) let the misconception stand? If you choose (l), I can't imagine what he does. Does he blow up at you? Tell you to park at the (b) Burger King? Or maybe say, "Allll Right, JUST THIS ONCE you can park here"? Who knows. As you can tell, I went with (m). He told me where I could go to get a parking permit.

"But what about right now?" I said. "What should I do right now? With my car?"

"You can leave it here while you get the permit. But by next week they're going to be ticketing."

So that brings me to (e). I hadn't had a very good impression of this activist organization up to now, but when I got in the door, I was greeted by a whole bunch of really engaged, friendly seeming people, mainly people of color, not crusading white folks, which is appropriate for the location, and there were all sorts of useful-seeming handouts in pockets on the walls, and I got a very energetic, positive feeling from it. Which goes to show you how different an in-person impression can be.

On my way back, I didn't see the parking lot attendant, so there was no need to dig myself deeper into deception. I did, however, overhear this conversation:

Woman, rolling down car window, and directing her remarks to a guy who was helping repair the parking lot fence: "Don't be trying to pretend you don't know me, and then come round trying to kidnap my baby!" The guy said something I couldn't hear, and then voices rose, and I was thinking, "Yiiiiikes," but then the woman in the car was laughing, and the guy was smiling, and then the car drove off so . . . all's well that ends well?


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)






Having enjoyed a number of hits from Taylor Swift's 1989 album, I decided to buy the CD. And I enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) it very much! It's a rumination on the various ways you can feel and react during a love affair, how you can feel such intensely contradictory things at different moments (or in different relationships, but really, almost all of the emotional states could be reactions to the same relationship, but in different moods and states of self-perception).

I lent it to Wakanomori, who had a take-it-or-leave-it reaction, but remarked, "She really does go on about her own red lips, doesn't she." And she does. Three songs, two of them sitting cheek to cheek on the CD, feature red (or cherry) lips.1 Is that body-positivity? Vanity? Conforming to traditional femininity? Enjoying herself? Probably all of those. But what it got me thinking about was how many images repeated across songs, sometimes word for word. This could be the sign of someone with a very small word horde, who has to keep reusing things, but what if we gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was artistry? What if it's the album equivalent of creating a sestina? Since thinking that, I've been meaning to do an analysis, and . . . Here it is!

1989

What is this madness? )

So yes: I think this [ETA: by which I mean, her choice of words, not my diagram!!] shows deliberate artistry in service of unifying the album, both through direct song-by-song links and through links that connect songs that are distant from each other. By using repeated images in different contexts, she's emphasizing that it's the same situation seen from a new angle. They're not particularly startling images--they're pretty stock, in fact--but that makes the songs accessible to a wide audience. Nice job, Taylor Swift! You've got a good album here!

**from "Welcome to New York"
1And speaking of cheeks, they are featured in three consecutive songs, as you can see from the handy chart.
asakiyume: (Em reading)
I was thinking just yesterday that maybe this year we'd have no orioles, because I hadn't heard any, and then! I heard one. And then! I saw one. So I'm happy. And it wasn't only an oriole I saw today. I also saw this lovely warbler, which I discovered is called a magnolia warbler. (I have no magnolias. He was flitting between lilacs and apple blossoms.)

Photo by Gregory S. Dysart
Gregory S. Dysart .:. Photographs of Massachusetts: Massachusetts Wood Warblers &emdash;

Meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] amaebi told me that fritillary butterflies are called that because the Latin word for dice box is "fritillaria," and the butterflies' markings look like the pips on a die. So then it got me thinking that maybe fritillary butterflies are enthusiastic gamblers:

fritillaries play dice

The third thing is a postcard, but I need to explain. [livejournal.com profile] sovay recently talked about the film The Moon-Spinners, in which a jewel thief gets away at the end. He apparently promises to send the protagonist "a picture postcard from the Kara Bugaz." This intrigued me. Where was Kara Bugaz? It turns out to be a lake in present-day Turkmenistan that at one point in the recent past dried up entirely, sending salt-storms across the nearby land, poisoning fields. Whoa to the whoath, right? (Now it has water in it again.)

Well, I wanted to create the postcard that jewel thief Tony sends to protagonist Nikky. So here it is! The image comes from the coastal city of Garabogaz. The message is written in a font called "Byron," created based on the handwriting of, yup, Lord Byron.**





**It's hard to read, though. It says, "Dear Nikky, I promised you a picture postcard from Kara Bugaz. Is this woman smelting something? If not the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, then maybe its knives and daggers. Alas, she's probably stoking the fires merely to bake bread. Love from your favorite jewel thief, Tony."





asakiyume: (snow bunting)






I believe the unadorned form of naked toilet paper should be celebrated, not shamed into covering up, and yet-- a conversation with a friend this morning got me looking at the usually very frilly, and sometimes very creative, world of toilet paper roll covers. An image search revealed to me a world of Southern-belle-style covers. This is a particularly frilled-out version (Source evil Pinterest page):



Here's a sweeter one, with a homemade head (source).


But some people have let their imaginations roam in other directions:

Octopus (source)


Cupcake (source)


Duck (source)


It's a wild world of toilet paper covers out there!

[ETA: In 2018, only one link had died, but with time, no doubt more will. The Internet threatens to be forever, but all things are perishable.]


asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
"How many of you remember when Mother Teresa visited this area?" our priest asked, this morning. It's All Saints Day, and various parishioners were dressed up as various saints and telling their stories. We'd just had Mother Teresa, which was what prompted this reminiscence.

A couple of older people raised their hands.

"It was about thirty years ago," the priest went on. "I was a diocesan secretary at the time. Mother Teresa gave me a medal, and I had my picture taken with her. After that we were driving to our next destination, and I could see we were coming up to a farm stand. I asked her if she'd had any strawberries yet. 'No,' she said, 'I haven't.' So I told the driver to stop at the farm stand. Just picture it: state troopers on motorcycles leading the way, and then the stretch limo. It was just a kid, a teen, minding the stand, and here comes this black limo, and out step two bishops, in their robes, and Mother Teresa, looking for strawberries. 'Here, you can have all the strawberries you want!' the kid said. What a story that must have been to tell at the dinner table that night!"

And that is how Mother Teresa came to have strawberries in western Massachusetts.


asakiyume: (glowing grass)
I should be less credulous.

I noticed in the photo I'd taken the other day that the stalk in the background looked spattered, as if by paint. This morning I went back and looked at the flower again. It's closed up now, and you can clearly see where the paint hit and where it didn't.

Ah well!





ETA: To see what genuine pigmented Queen Anne's Lace looks like, check out this photo by [livejournal.com profile] clarentine on Flickr:

Daucus carota 'Dara'


asakiyume: (glowing grass)
I discovered this freaky Queen Anne's lace blossom growing beside a very-little-traveled road. It's the sort of thing that would be used in augury, a prophecy that can't bode well. As [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored remarked, little-traveled roads are great places to dispose of inconvenient bodies. The blossom is proclaiming that the truth will out?



And here are my favorites, the foxtail grasses, golden macro-paramecia, playing in the sun.



ETA: Nope, not for real--see next entry. If only the spray painter knew how well their prank succeeded!
asakiyume: (nevermore)






Last night, late, I heard this story on the CBC: the tale of Christian Lyons, a lawyer in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, who noticed, as he took a shortcut home through the woods behind the local high school, that there were a number of foxes about. He saw five. And then...

Lyons waited for them to cross the path and carry on through the woods. They did, and he carried on his way.

"Lo and behold, as I came over a ridge, I saw that these, at least five foxes, had circled back and were back on the trail."

He began to feel disconcerted. The foxes weren't fleeing or trying to avoid him.

"It's almost like they looped back to come in front of me so I took stock of the situation. I'm not afraid of foxes. Who would be?"

The animals began to approach as a pack, loping towards him from about 10 metres away.

"I just kind of jogged backwards in retreat. Not in full-panic flight at this point."

Another five metres down the road, Lyons turned back.

"They were then closing the gap toward me with some intent," says Lyons.

At this point, he says, "it was unequivocal flight response. I just started to sprint away from these things."


Some kept up the chase even after he crossed a road, and one pursued him to the door of his house.

Christian Lyons


Was it because he himself has a ruddy, foxlike look? (Perhaps he has fox blood and doesn't know it?)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it1, is to spin a brief tale explaining the foxes' pursuit of Mr. Lyons.

An alternate mission is to mention other town names that are as cool as Yellowknife. I would love to be able to say I came from a place called Yellowknife.

1Coincidentally, Mr. Lyons had been returning from seeing Mission Impossible with friends.


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






Today, walking on the train tracks, I found pieces of a discarded bouquet, flowers that bloomed from copper cable.









asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I'll go back and answer comments individually next, but I wanted to share the answer to my poll generally first.

Nine votes came in for Groot--which is who I thought people would probably think I'd like best. And I did love him a lot! I loved everything about him--especially his eating his own leaves. He was my second-favorite--but not my first.

Six votes came in for Rocky. Rocky was a fun character, and I liked him a lot, but he was not my favorite.

Five votes came in for Drax. And that is the correct answer! Drax was my favorite. I loved his literal-mindedness, his passion combined with bumbling, his musclebound-ness combined with a loving spirit. I liked his way of talking. (But I liked everyone's way of talking.)

One vote each came in for Gamora, Nebula, and Someone Else. [livejournal.com profile] amysisson, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts for Someone Else.

I'd also be interested in who everyone else's favorites are.

And now the Big Brother observation. Amazon this morning sent me spam saying, "Based on what you've recently looked at or purchased, we think you'd like...." and top of the list was Guardians of the Galaxy. The thing is, I've never looked at Guardians of the Galaxy on Amazon. I've never discussed it ANYWHERE but on this LJ. I rented it from Redbox--that's how I saw it. "Maybe Amazon owns Redbox," suggested [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori. It turns out no, that's not it. However, Amazon does own Goodreads . . . and my public blog posts here get cross-posted to Goodreads. So I guess that's it.

Now to answer your individual comments!


asakiyume: (black crow on a red ground)
On September 21–22 in Pen Pal, Kaya first started using her crow Sumi to carry messages. Although crows are messenger birds in many mythologies, they're not actually used as couriers in real life, not regularly anyway--pigeons are. People all over the world enjoy keeping homing pigeons (including in my town: I got a tour of a dovecote some years back--picture here); pigeons were used to deliver mail in India into the 2000s; and China still keeps military homing pigeons as a safeguard in the event that twenty-first-century communications are disabled for some reason (see Malcolm Moore, "China Trains Army of Messenger Pigeons," Telegraph, March 2, 2011.)

(Image source: Morgan Banaszek, "12 Facts about China You Probably Didn't Know,", Project Pengyou.)


On September 28 in Pen Pal, a bubble of carbon dioxide rises from a lake in Kaya's country, with disastrous consequences. In real life, this happened most dramatically in Cameroon's Lake Nyos in 1986. Lake Nyos is a crater lake, into which carbon dioxide slowly seeps from a pocket of magma. On August 21, the weight of water on top of the accumulating carbon dioxide was no longer enough to keep it down: it bubbled up and out, and because carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it settled on the surrounding land, suffocating approximately 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock. A similar, less devastating event had occurred two years earlier at another lake in Cameroon, Lake Monoun. The only other lake known to be at risk of this is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but all that's required for it to be possible is a lake above a volcanic fissure.

The eruption of carbon dioxide at Lake Nyos was accompanied by a rise in dissolved iron to the lake's surface, turning it rusty red:

[image no longer available]

Accumulations of carbon dioxide in mines are one of four sorts of killing "damps" (from the German dampf, meaning "vapor"--they're "choke damp" (also called "stythe damp"). The other sorts are "white damp" (carbon monoxide), "fire damp" (methane or other flammable gasses), and "stink damp" (hydrogen sulfide).


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