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Archive for ‘The Friday Fillip’ Feature

The Friday Fillip: Nostalgia

Mais où sont les neiges d'antan? That white stuff from yesteryear is in your memory, of course. And only there. There could hardly be a better metaphor for all things ephemeral and fleeting than former snow. The interesting question, though, is how we feel about such impermanence. On the one hand, "les neiges" are now water under the bridge, done and dusted, yesterday's news, or, to return to our metaphor, Schnee von gestern (yesterday's snow) as the Germans might say. We screw up the lunch bag, toss it into the bin, and move on.
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The Friday Fillip: Lions (No Tigers or Bears), Oh My!

The University of Minnesota Lion Project has been studying lions in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park for forty-five years. They’ve now decided to learn about the behaviour of the other species in the park. To do this they’ve set up 225 “camera traps” throughout the park, primed to grab snapshots when anything warmer than the surrounding environment triggers the sensors.

As you might imagine, the cameras that survive ants, elephants, hyenas and rain result in a lot of photographs. Because they’re scientists, the lion project people want to classify the photos — no science without counting. But no counting without identification, . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: Going Wilde, as the Saying Goes

J.B.S.Haldane is said to have remarked that one thing we know about the supreme being is that if he exists he has “an inordinate fondness for beetles,” there being more than 350,000 species of them (beetles, that is), with the count still rising. I’m pretty sure — but what do I know? — that it’s we ordinary folk and not any divinity who are inordinately fond of nifty sayings, rather like Haldane’s, because English has so many words for them. Anyone who has wandered thoughtlessly on to Twitter — and too often, alas, even tip-toed with care — has . . . [more]

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The Friday Fillip: A New Design for Slaw

After more than 300 frivolous Friday Fillips, I feel I can hijack one fillip to do a bit of administrative business, namely to announce that as of this coming Sunday, Slaw will have a new design. I want to tell you a little bit about it here.

Webdesign styles change quite rapidly, and in the two years and more since our last makeover there’s been quite a movement towards enhancing readability. This makes great sense, especially for a publication that works its magic in words. As of Sunday, Slaw will load more quickly than ever before, and the text will . . . [more]

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