Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, February 11, 2022

Four Things

"Everyone knows the old saying 'Necessity is the mother of invention,' but if you do a paternity test on many of the modern world's most important ideas or institutions, you will find, invariably, that leisure and play were involved in the conception as well." -- Steven Johnson, Wonderland


1. Did catch-and-release by Japanese fishermen cause a species of crab to resemble samurai warriors? Futility Closet takes a look:
Image by RD-77, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
Biologist Julian Huxley put forward the idea that the "faces" were an example of artificial selection. He suggested that fishermen who caught crabs with particularly face-shaped carapaces, believing them to be reincarnated spirits, threw them back into the sea, permitting them to reproduce while their brothers were eaten.

But humans don't eat these crabs, and in any case the "warrior" crabs exist even far from sites of human fishing. Really the crabs are an example of another, equally compelling phenomenon -- pareidolia, our tendency to see significant patterns where none exist.
In other words, the whole idea, as attractive as it might be, face-plants on only a cursory review of the evidence of range data.

2. Most days, I schedule or post an interesting or thought-provoking quote on Twitter. This morning, the blue bird auto-suggested a post on a popular Indian breakfast/street food I'd never heard of, so I looked for a recipe:
Indian style spiced scrambled eggs [are] popularly known as Anda bhurji. Anda is a Hindi word that translates to eggs and bhurji refers to scramble[d]... Made with basic ingredients, this beginners' recipe is sure to impress you with tons of flavor & deliciousness. It goes well with bread, pav, roti or even with plain steamed rice. [bold added]
I plan to try this soon, and might post my own version of the recipe here some time.

3. On a recent trip to Disney World with the kids, I enjoyed quaffing a pint of Kungaloosh, an African-inspired beer. I am in pretty good agreement with the following review, which says in part:
A very interesting drink. I wouldn't have more than one at a time, but it would be a neat fall or winter beer.
The good news is that it appears to be available year-round. The bad news is that it is sold only at a few places at Disney.

4. Dave DeLong's collection of calendrical fallacies is more interesting than you might think, and includes the following:
... Because of time zone offsets, a single calendar day typically lasts 50 hours. Or in other words, if you choose a date on the calendar, then there is a 50 hour window where at least some point on the earth thinks it is that day. The day “starts” in the UTC+14 timezone and continues for 14 hours until UTC+0 catches up to that calendar date. That date then continues for 24 hours, at which point UTC+0 transitions out of that timezone, but the other timezones behind UTC are still catching up, all the way to UTC-12.
The site is, fortunately, an interesting diversion without being a time-sucking rabbit hole.

-- CAV

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