Running Commentary 5/3/2021

Running Commentary 5/3/2021

Hello,

No orioles have been by as yet.

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, my look back at the past Thirty Years of Thrawn went up Saturday, for the thirtieth anniversary of Heir to the Empire. In it, I go over not just what things Thrawn has appeared in, but how he influenced the greater Star Wars universe, how the greater Star Wars universe influenced him, and how a noble villain works in a morality tale. Give it a read and pass it along to any Thrawn fans you think might like it.

Anyway…

Watching…


Jeopardy continues running through guest hosts. So far, here’s my rankings:

  1. Anderson Cooper/Katie Couric — I’m giving the two news presenters a tie for the top spot. Unsurprisingly, they’re good at both reading questions clearly and giving quick interviews after the first break. That’s really all there is to hosting Jeopardy.
  2. Ken Jennings — Jennings knows Jeopardy thoroughly. His performance was really only hurt by a thin voice and the fact that you know he could win against most anyone actually playing, which makes for a weird, lopsided dynamic. He has trouble disappearing into the role, but he’d be fine as a permanent host.
  3. Michael Richards — Serving as the host during two weeks when they couldn’t get anyone else, Jeopardy producer Richards did a pretty good job of keeping things going from in front of the camera. He doesn’t seem to want to be the host, but he could be.
  4. Aaron Rodgers — Making the list by virtue of a decent performance on Celebrity Jeopardy, football player Aaron Rodgers started very poorly, but, as his two weeks went on, he loosened up a bit and he was actually doing pretty well once his time ran out.
  5. Dr. Mehmet Oz — The surgeon/tv personality was apparently a friend of the late Alex Trebek, but he was also the worst guest host by some margin. A consistent, odd delay in confirming correct answers and a nervous enthusiasm seemingly put on for the show made his episodes awkward to watch. Ratings dropped perceptibly during his two weeks, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing him again.

There are more hosts to come, including the fan-demanded LeVar Burton. I’ll try to remember to update this ranking every couple of weeks.

Bird of the Week

This week we have another East African bird, the Superb Starling. (We also have another of my old pencil-and-paper drawings, so please excuse any issues with the scan) When we Anglophones hear the word “starling”, we usually think of the Common Starling, a European species that has spread to the Americas and Australia, but there are, in fact, many other species of starlings, including the glossy-starlings of Africa, which the notable Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck named Lamprotornis (from the Latin for “shining at the back of the wing”).

There are twenty-or-so species in this genus, of which Lamprotornis superbus is a plentiful one. They can be found in or around the signature acacia trees of the African savanna. They look something like the Hildebrandt’s starling, though their eyes are white, not red, and their blue feathers shine more green than purple. If you cannot make it to Africa, they are fairly common zoo exhibits.

Warframe

End of the month, so there was a new Devstream giving us a preview of things to come. Here are some quick notes about what was shown:

  • The Corpus equivalent of the Grineer’s Kuva Liches are finally set, I guess, to be the next major update. “Sisters of Parvos” will bring Parvos Granum’s lawyers (who are also his sisters? That seems uncharacteristically nepotistic.) to the battleground, along with, we saw Friday, their robotic battle-hounds. These seem to be the things we’ll be able to recruit if we want.

Warframe

End of the month, so there was a new Devstream giving us a preview of things to come. Here are some quick notes about what was shown:

  • The Corpus equivalent of the Grineer’s Kuva Liches are finally set, I guess, to be the next major update. “Sisters of Parvos” will bring Parvos Granum’s lawyers (who are also his sisters? That seems uncharacteristically nepotistic.) to the battleground, along with, we saw Friday, their robotic battle-hounds. These seem to be the things we’ll be able to recruit if we want.
  • There will also be a new Warframe. We don’t know much about her, other than that her name will be Yareli and she’ll be a water-themed frame. Now, I hear you say, don’t we have a water-themed warframe? Yes, we do, but Hydroid is specifically a sea-themed frame, and I think that “water” is a broad enough idea to allow for a second interpretation.
  • We saw more of Debby Sheen’s deluxe skins for Ember and Revanant. They look fine, though I’m not sure I’ll get either.
  • Teshin’s store is going to start carrying auto-unveilers for Riven mods, which will probably be really useful to some people. I’ve never gotten that into rivens; if I get them, I usually sell them veiled.
  • The Syndicates are going to get some new stuff: armor and emotes. That’s good. They need more stuff, I think, since they’re mostly a relic source right now. Hopefully these cosmetics are tradable.
  • There are some new augment mods coming out. As usual, these will depend on whether there’s an open slot or not. For Wisp’s and Protea’s, they’ll be exilus mods, so that means, yes, there’ll be a slot. Wisp’s seems the better of the two, giving you a universal resevior. Protea’s will give you a mechanism for reviving sentinels, which should also be good. Grendel’s gives him status immunity for a couple seconds, which he doesn’t need, because he’s tanky and doesn’t die to status effects. Zephyr’s airburst augment gives quintuple secondary weapon damage, which will probably be even better on Mesa (airburst is Z’s helminth offering, after all.)
  • Railjack’s wreckage will get easier to manage, which is good.
  • Harrow’s got a new helmet coming, something a little shorter. It looks neat; I’ll probably keep an eye out for it in the Nightwave offerings. Harrow needs help, though.

Alright, that’s all for Warframe. I still don’t have Sevagoth. I played the quest, but, honestly, I’ve been really busy lately reading Thrawn books, and I haven’t played much Warframe in the past month.

If you’re not sure what I was talking about for that last bit, Warframe’s a game, it’s free, you should try it.

  • There will also be a new Warframe. We don’t know much about her, other than that her name will be Yareli and she’ll be a water-themed frame. Now, I hear you say, don’t we have a water-themed warframe? Yes, we do, but Hydroid is specifically a sea-themed frame, and I think that “water” is a broad enough idea to allow for a second interpretation.

Warframe

End of the month, so there was a new Devstream giving us a preview of things to come. Here are some quick notes about what was shown:

  • The Corpus equivalent of the Grineer’s Kuva Liches are finally set, I guess, to be the next major update. “Sisters of Parvos” will bring Parvos Granum’s lawyers (who are also his sisters? That seems uncharacteristically nepotistic.) to the battleground, along with, we saw Friday, their robotic battle-hounds. These seem to be the things we’ll be able to recruit if we want.
  • There will also be a new Warframe. We don’t know much about her, other than that her name will be Yareli and she’ll be a water-themed frame. Now, I hear you say, don’t we have a water-themed warframe? Yes, we do, but Hydroid is specifically a sea-themed frame, and I think that “water” is a broad enough idea to allow for a second interpretation.
  • We saw more of Debby Sheen’s deluxe skins for Ember and Revanant. They look fine, though I’m not sure I’ll get either.
  • Teshin’s store is going to start carrying auto-unveilers for Riven mods, which will probably be really useful to some people. I’ve never gotten that into rivens; if I get them, I usually sell them veiled.
  • The Syndicates are going to get some new stuff: armor and emotes. That’s good. They need more stuff, I think, since they’re mostly a relic source right now. Hopefully these cosmetics are tradable.
  • There are some new augment mods coming out. As usual, these will depend on whether there’s an open slot or not. For Wisp’s and Protea’s, they’ll be exilus mods, so that means, yes, there’ll be a slot. Wisp’s seems the better of the two, giving you a universal resevior. Protea’s will give you a mechanism for reviving sentinels, which should also be good. Grendel’s gives him status immunity for a couple seconds, which he doesn’t need, because he’s tanky and doesn’t die to status effects. Zephyr’s airburst augment gives quintuple secondary weapon damage, which will probably be even better on Mesa (airburst is Z’s helminth offering, after all.)
  • Railjack’s wreckage will get easier to manage, which is good.
  • Harrow’s got a new helmet coming, something a little shorter. It looks neat; I’ll probably keep an eye out for it in the Nightwave offerings. Harrow needs help, though.

Alright, that’s all for Warframe. I still don’t have Sevagoth. I played the quest, but, honestly, I’ve been really busy lately reading Thrawn books, and I haven’t played much Warframe in the past month.

If you’re not sure what I was talking about for that last bit, Warframe’s a game, it’s free, you should try it.

Perfecting the modern harmonica | Ben Marks, Craftsmanship Magazine

Harmonicas are, generally speaking, not durable goods. They are not like, say, violins, which can be played for centuries if properly maintained; harmonicas get ruined by the moist air blown through them. So when the top harmonica manufacturer’s quality standards began to slip, players had to take it upon themselves to produce instruments worth playing.

Why Is Blue So Rare In Nature? | Joe Hanson, It’s Okay to be Smart

[VIDEO] Go outside and find something blue in nature. It’s harder than you think. A lot of blue things (the sky, the feathers of a jay, the wings of a butterfly) aren’t actually blue, they just look blue because of how they scatter light. For PBS’s “It’s Okay to be Smart”, Dr. Joe Hanson looks at how rare true blue is in the animal kingdom, and what blue-looking creatures actually look like.

Seaweed Grows in Ireland | Robbie Galvin, Whetstone Journal

For many people, eating seaweed is a Japanese behavior: kombu in soup, or nori wrapped tightly around sushi, etc. But another island nation eats seaweed, or, at least, used to. For Whetstone Magazine’s online Journal, Robbie Galvin writes how some Irish cooks are bringing back traditional foods like dulse and carrageenan.

The real story behind the infamous mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty | Erin Blakemore, National Geographic

It’s a book. It’s several films. But it’s also an actual historical episode. Read about the revolt against the infamous Capt. Bligh.

Chasing the Sun | Nathan Beacom, The New Atlantis

An essay about the mystery of where Polynesian peoples came from: Asia or the Americas? Includes profiles of Thor Heyerdahl (who argued for an American origin, going so far as to make his own journey west into the Pacific in a raft) and Te Rangi Hīroa (who argued for an Asian origin, based on Polynesian folklore).