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Topics - Calilasseia

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Whatever / Just Finished Writing Some Code
« on: November 15, 2016, 02:25:59 PM »
I've been working on a little project. A 3D modeller that resides in a web browser. It now works.

22,000 lines of JavaScript code is all it took. I think I've earned a little break now. :)

Say Hello / A Rapunzel is amongst us ...
« on: November 12, 2016, 01:42:57 PM »
I just saw a new user name appear in the player lists when firing up Chihuahua. So I thought I'd bid welcome to Rapunzel Biscotti. All the more so if the name fits. The world needs more Rapunzels in my view. :)

Words / Puzzle Linkage Question
« on: October 10, 2016, 05:52:43 PM »
Has there ever been an occasion when either the Standard or Challenge 9-letter word has turned up as one of the words in the solution to the 10-letter puzzle on the same day?

I just thought I'd ask, as this occurred to me after finding a 9-letter (not revealed here!) in today's 10-letter.

Whatever / Weird Year For My Insect Recording
« on: October 09, 2016, 01:12:37 PM »
As several here may already be aware, I engage in biological recording of the insect fauna of my locality, and disseminate the data to various conservation agencies.

This year has been seriously weird. As far as recording butterflies has been concerned, with one or two exceptions, such as the Holly Blue and Orange Tip that posed for photos in May, and the first sighting of a Small Copper I've had in three years, this year has been a disaster. The most abundant species has been, of all things, the Brimstone, a species I never expected to top the league table ever, and previously common species that I was recording in abundance in 2015, all but disappeared, including, lamentably, the Comma, which put in a record showing in 2015.

Move on to the moths, however, and it's been a different story. This year, I have had no less than twenty five lifetime first new species added to my tally. And, I've had species turn up at weird times of the year, when they're no longer supposed to be on the wing. The classic example of this being provided by a moth trapping session locally on 28th September, when I had a Brimstone Moth (they're supposed to have disappeared by now) and, of all things, a Beautiful Hook-Tip joining it! I can't ever recall seeing these two species together on the same night before!

Moreover, on one trapping session back in July, I had no less than 84 species turn up at the trap in a single night. That night on its own provided me with six lifetime firsts.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had a weird year nature wise (e.g., botany, bird watching).

I'll post the odd photo when I have the time, showing some of the fun things I've found this year.

Word Games / New additions ... progress report?
« on: January 30, 2016, 02:45:40 PM »
I recall that Alan W mentioned in the past, that the outstanding list of new word suggestions waiting to be added is still pretty expansive, and that dealing with it is likely to take time, courtesy of other site maintenance issues. I was wondering if the list has shrunk recently?

In the meantime, is it possible for someone to provide assistance on this? The idea being that Alan hands some of the workload over to a suitably chosen second in command, so to speak, and thus relieves him of having to deal with anything other than the seriously controversial suggestions, thus freeing up time for his other maintenance duties, and shrinking the outstanding additions list into the bargain.

Whoever is chosen wouldn't necessarily have to abstain from playing, merely deal with entries in the list that were, say, more than 2 weeks old, so that there is no possibility of, ahem, misbehaviour. :)

Words / Oddity Missing From 2015.xi.06 Challenge Puzzle
« on: November 09, 2015, 04:17:01 AM »
I was surprised to find this missing from the 6.xi.2015 "Challenge" puzzle (now closed). Bolas. An essential tool for any gaucho.

There are even several species of spider that uses this technique to snare prey - the Bolas Spiders, of which there are 64 species spread across three Genera. These spiders are specialist hunters of moths, which can escape from a conventional web, courtesy of the fact that the wing scales stick to the web, but become detached from the wing, allowing the moths to escape. One of the best documented species is Mastophora hutchinsoni from North America. A related species from Peru, Mastophora dizzydeani, was named after a baseball player. Australians living along the Queensland coast can look out for Ordgarius magnificus, which adopts an almost identical strategy to that of Mastophora hutchinsoni, a nice example of convergent evolution in action. These spiders produce mimetic scents, mimicking the pheromones of female moths of target species, with which they lure the male moths into striking range, then swing their bolas web threads to snare and entangle the moth in mid-air.

You can watch one of these spiders in action via this YouTube video - Bolas Spider in action.

I'm a little surprised that this word is missing from the word list. I'd hardly characterise it as esoteric.

Words / One for the rare words list ... ?
« on: October 20, 2015, 04:37:04 PM »

One word I tried in the 2015-10-17 10-letter puzzle, that wasn't in the word list, was arity.

Arity refers to the number of arguments a function takes in mathematics or computer science. For example, f(x) is a unary function (arity = 1), f(x,y) is a binary function (arity =2), and f(u,v,w,x,y,z) is a function whose arity is 6. A more complete explanation of the term can be found here.

One for the rare words list?

Words / Two New Words
« on: October 18, 2015, 09:36:47 AM »
Two words I tried in the October 15th, 2015 puzzle, that I was surprised weren't even in the rare words list, are the following, that I'm suggesting should be added thereto.

[1] Indel. A portmanteau of "insertion/deletion" (as in the insertion into, or deletion from, a DNA strand), that appears in numerous scientific papers covering such topics as genome analysis and molecular phylogeny. Indels were used to compare the relatedness of various genomes before full genome sequencing became readily available, and I have some interesting papers on this subject with respect to the comparison of human and chimpanzee genomes in my collection. Since a wide range of other terms from the scientific literature are part of the word list, I propose adding this one as well. Wikipedia covers this topic in more detail here.

[2] Inline. A term well known to those, like myself, who have a software development background. "inline" refers to program code that is directly inserted into an instruction stream, instead of being encapsulated as a procedure/function and called by that means. I suspect quite a few programmers would like to see this in the common words list, but I'l make do with the rare words list . :)

Some insight into the pros and cons of inline code is again covered in a Wikipedia article.

The Daily Quest / Unexpected Nine Letter ...
« on: September 16, 2015, 03:54:53 PM »
In today's challenge puzzle (16.ix.2015), I found a rare 9-letter to go with the common one. I'll keep it under wraps until the puzzle closes. :)

The Daily Quest / So near and yet so far ...
« on: September 11, 2015, 02:04:28 PM »
Today's standard ... just two words to go to fill in all the common ones. Sigh.

In the meantime, in the desperation of the wee hours, I started just dropping random combinations of letters in for a laugh, hoping I'd stumble upon the missing two common words, and ended up adding 10 new rare words to my list that I didn't know the existence of before today.

You'll probably hear the screams across trans-continental distances when I finally find out what the missing common words are.

Whatever / Wildlife Photos
« on: July 31, 2015, 11:16:41 AM »
I couldn't find a wildlife photos thread here, so I thought I'd launch one.

I'll start the ball rolling with a photo of a Comma butterfly I took recently. This one was actually photographed on 2015.VII.28, but I've been seeing record numbers of these butterflies this year. In previous years, I've only seen this species in ones and twos on my outings with the camera, but on 2015.VII.15, I had no less than TEN specimens sit nicely for my camera!

Say Hello / Waves hello to everyone ...
« on: July 04, 2015, 12:08:05 AM »
Found this place whilst searching for a similar word game found in the Daily Express newspaper here in the UK. Which I still haven't found, but this one is an excellent substitute. Thought I'd sign up so I could engage in banter. :)

Some details ... I'm male, 53, recovering from heart surgery, trained originally as a mathematician and computer programmer, with a lifelong sideline in entomology. Been a member of my regional entomology society for 21 years this year. After backing up my files earlier today, I discovered I have something like 18,000 insect photos on my hard drive that I've taken over the past 6 years or so. Which means that here, as elsewhere, I'll probably end up as the "go to" person for each and every insect query on the planet.  ;D

I decided finally to make myself known here, after months of anonymous playing, when I found myself playing one of the 9 letter word games, only to be told the following:

"The word MIOCENE is not known".

Er, how can a geological epoch not be known? Something for the admins to tend to methinks ...

I notice we have someone called Rosella here. Which came to my attention during one of the games, not least because I know someone in my locality who breeds Rosellas in captivity. Gorgeous looking birds, but boy, are they noisy in a group! Though still a long way behind the nuclear-powered ear banger that is the Moluccan Cockatoo, and having once experienced its ability to reach the decibel level of a 747 on takeoff, that's one bird I'm going to leave in the wild.

The other big passion in my life is tropical fish. I once kept Panda Catfish, and bred three generations of them. For those who have never seen these, they're a fish that exudes a truly mammalian level of cuteness - they're like hamsters with fins, complete with little panda eye patches, and possibly one of the most pacifist temperaments of any aquarium fish. They also engage in marathon spawning orgies taking five or six hours, leading me to conclude that any human trying to emulate this performance would, in the words of Warren Beatty, end up in a jar at the hospital.  ;D

And with that, I'll bid everyone hello.

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