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Old 22nd February 2019, 09:05 AM   #641
Trebuchet
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The largest volcano in my state, by volume I guess, is Mt. Adams, not Mt. Rainier.
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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:30 PM   #642
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Steel beams don't need to melt to lose their integrity.

In fact not even halfway to melting point, the strength of structural steel is reduced by about half, varying with grade, but not significantly.

Well the cryogenic properties kick in if you get too cold also.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:34 PM   #643
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Steel beams don't need to melt to lose their integrity.

In fact not even halfway to melting point, the strength of structural steel is reduced by about half, varying with grade, but not significantly.
As every blacksmith knows well.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:38 PM   #644
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
This is more political/geographic then "scientific" by most definitions, but whatever.

The United States of America is a country on the (brace yourself) American continent that is (spoiler alert) a collection of states.

But the amount of land that is outside of the 50 states that is still part of the USA is striking.

And I'm not just talking DC or the various territories or holdings. 28% percent of the United State's total land area... doesn't belong to any of the individual states, it belongs directly to the Federal Government.

And the weird thing is how uneven this is as you go west. On the east coast there's barely any Federal Land but as you go west more and more of the land isn't owned by the states that the land is in. East of the Rockies and almost no state has more then 5 or at most 10 or so % of their land owned by the Federal government (and many have essentially none) but cross the Rockies and every state has a huge percentage of land that's not theirs. State laws don't apply, state taxes aren't collected, and the states have no say in what happens on them.

Five states have more Federal land than State land within their borders.

In New Hampshire a pitting .4 percent of the land inside the state boundaries of New Hampshire is Federal Land.

On the other end of the spectrum we have poor Nevada where a whopping 84.5 percent of the land in Nevada... isn't Nevada. Nevada is 110,567 square miles, the 7th largest state and roughly the size of Ecuador but only ~17,130 square miles of that is actually "Nevada." The rest is Federal Land full of nuclear bomb craters and recovered crashed alien spacecraft (citation needed.)

I wonder if this is some sort of "lost" political divide in America. The use of Federal Land within state boundaries pretty routinely, especially when we're not talking National Parks but less savory things like toxic waste dumps and the aforementioned "Hey Nevada we're going to nuke your state a total of 1,021 times, is that cool? Just kidding we don't care if it's cool or not. Actually just kidding we've already started and didn't tell you."
I live in Oregon and absolutely love that so much of the state is federal land.
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Old 4th March 2019, 07:54 PM   #645
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Again this one might not be a "fact" in the general usage of the term but it's one of my favorite "answers" to a question, because it really drove home the "Guns, Germs, and Steel" theory of history to me.

Okay when European explorers/settlers starting arriving in actual large numbers and staying (unlike the earlier Viking brief encounters) diseases soon spread to the indigenous populations of the Americans, utterly devastating the populations. In less than 400 years the native population of the Americas dropped by over 90%. And while some direct bloodshed was certainly not a non-factor, disease by far was the biggest killer.

Which brings us to a question. Why didn't the Europeans get sick?

Because think about it. On the surface this makes no sense. A small number of visitors, probably already fairly weak from a brutal cross oceanic voyage, infected the healthy, stable, large population? That seems backwards.

Because, essentially, the Old World had something the New World didn't have. Plagues. Diseases that spread fast, killed only slightly slower, and leave survivors immune to the disease but still acting as carriers. Smallpox, the Flu, Typhus, the Black Plague, Cholera, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tuberculosis, Chicken Pox, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough... these all started on the African-Eurasian continent, not the Americas.

That's why. The native populations of the Americans simply didn't have any plagues to give. They had plenty of diseases but no plagues. Lyme Diseases requires ticks as a carrier, syphilis requires... errr closeness. Those all moved from the native population to the Europeans and eventually back to Europe, but they didn't act as plagues. Those can't act as plagues they have transmission vectors which work too slow.

But this only begs the question, why didn't the New World have plagues? And that is... animals. Or to be specific domesticated animals.

Plagues are rare. Most viruses and bacteria and fungus and prions and so forth don't "want" for lack of a better term to kill the animals they infect. That's counter productive. Diseases like Leprosy for instance are terrible preciously because they are so good at not killing you. Plague lethality is an accident, a side affect.

Because plagues, again if one will forgive a little bit of personification language, don't know they are in you. They think they are in an animal. Small Pox is damn near the exact same thing as Cow Pox, a harmless disease found in cattle. But when diseases that can make animals a little sick get into humans, they make can make humans very sick.

Plague development to be anything but an absolute freak occurrence requires people to be living in close proximity to animals for extended periods of time. It requires domestication to get started and dense cities to get going.

But, to take it down yet another level, didn't the New World have animals to domesticate? Well... not really. Llamas were pretty much it for a pre-industrial society. The Old World had dogs and cats and pigs and horses and sheep and goats and cows and chickens. There's a complicated checklist of energy input and social hierarchy that makes animals both possible and worth it for a pre-industrial society to domesticate. Almost everything on the American continent was too large, too agile, too independent, to dangerous, or too useless to domesticate.

Americapox: The Missing Plague https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEYh5WACqEk
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Old 4th March 2019, 08:04 PM   #646
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The other explanation that I recall from Guns, Germs and Steel (though it has been a long time since I last read it) is that Europe is a largely horizontal continent, which means that many cultures existed along the same latitude. This similarity of climate meant that there was more cross-cultural contact between different nations than there was in the Americas, which is a more vertical content that has a greater variety in climate. This cross-cultural contact allowed Europeans to be exposed to, and develop immunities to, a larger range of diseases.

I don't think this explanation is without its flaws, though. Like I said, it's been a long time since I've read the book so I don't recall whether Diamond addresses the flaws that I can see.
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Old 4th March 2019, 08:19 PM   #647
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It could be a factor, but I'd think it would be secondary to things like terrain, mountains,

I can't imagine "Hey it's gradually getting colder/hotter/humid/dryer as we move" was historically a greater impediment to human movement then.... like rivers and mountains and stuff.

//And yeah I vaguely recall that Guns, Germs, and Steel as well, but I'll have to go re-read it to remember any details. Been a while.//

Which actually segues nicely into another nice little fact. Neanderthals were biologically very similar to humans. Had pretty much the same size brains. Learned language and tool use. No reason they should have been as successful as Homo Sapien.

So what happened? Well we're not certain for sure but I've always been partial to the theory put forth by Swedish Biologist Svante Paabo.

If you look at the distribution patterns of Neanderthals (and earlier homonids like Homo Erectus) you see a re-occuring trend. They spread until they reach the ocean or a sea or a river or a mountain or a desert and they stop.

But not Homo Sapien. They spread out. They would claim a mountain to see the other side for no reason. They would get in a raft and sail across the ocean for no reason.

Or as he put it: "it’s only fully modern humans who start this thing of venturing out on the ocean where you don’t see land. Part of that is technology, of course; you have to have ships to do it. But there is also, I like to think or say, some madness there. You know? How many people must have sailed out and vanished on the Pacific before you found Easter Island? I mean, it’s ridiculous. And why do you do that? Is it for the glory? For immortality? For curiosity?"
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Old 4th March 2019, 08:23 PM   #648
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Pet peeve: It's Homo Sapiens. It's not a plural, and doesn't depluralise just because you're speaking about one of them.
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Old 4th March 2019, 09:50 PM   #649
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post

Or as he put it: "it’s only fully modern humans who start this thing of venturing out on the ocean where you don’t see land. Part of that is technology, of course; you have to have ships to do it. But there is also, I like to think or say, some madness there. You know? How many people must have sailed out and vanished on the Pacific before you found Easter Island? I mean, it’s ridiculous. And why do you do that? Is it for the glory? For immortality? For curiosity?"
Nice just so story telling. Unfortunately the evidence doesn't quite match up.

Quote:
Evidence suggests Neanderthals took to boats before modern humans
that doesn’t explain how similar tools found on the island of Crete got there. That would have meant swimming forty kilometers, which seems extremely unlikely, especially since such swimmers wouldn’t have known beforehand that Crete was there to find.

Ferentinos et al suggest the evidence shows that Neanderthals not only figured out how to build boats and sail but did so quite extensively well before modern humans ever got the idea. They say because the tools found on the islands are believed to date back 100,000 years (and the islands have been shown to have been islands back then as well) Neanderthal people were sailing around that long ago. Thus far, evidence for modern humans sailing dates back to just 50,000 years when they made their way to Australia. If true, that would mean Neanderthal people were sailing around in the Mediterranean for fifty thousand years before modern people built their first boat.
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Old 4th March 2019, 09:59 PM   #650
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The other explanation that I recall from Guns, Germs and Steel (though it has been a long time since I last read it) is that Europe is a largely horizontal continent,
I recall that explained why Eurasia has so many domestic animals. A horse breed bred for one climate could be spread pretty far to the east and west, so a horse bred for the Russian steppes could still survive pretty far to the east and west, from Siberia to Germany. Arabian camels could spread from Arabia to Morocco, and as far east as India. Rats could survive longer voyages and survive at the destination.

That in turn is what spread the diseases in Eurasia. The east-west axis simplified the domestication of animals, which in turn caused widespread animal-human disease transmission. Immunity was built, through genetic survivorship and through survivor immunity.

Whereas a Llama bred for the Andes could not survive the jungles of central America. It could never get far enough north to be in a place where it could be useful enough. A muskox could be useful for a Northern tribe, could not survive very far south.

Indigenous Americans had no immunity - no survivors of previous plagues to take care of the victims of the current plague - and some of the genetic code that allows for rabid development of immunity was far less prevalent in the native populations.

The 90% die off was faster than 400 years. Might have been as little as a century.

Last edited by crescent; 4th March 2019 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 4th March 2019, 10:02 PM   #651
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Right, excellent clarification of a faulty memory. Thanks, crescent.
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Old 4th March 2019, 10:08 PM   #652
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Those remind me of one from linguistics that's fascinating but also a bit depressing.

Language reconstruction tells us something about how long ago the languages we're reconstructing existed, not just from vague ideas of how fast they change but also from specific clues in their vocabularies. The Proto-Indo-Europeans, for example, had words for the low-melting-point metals but not for iron, and had just recently invented (or possibly imported, but probably actually invented) the wheel and come up with a word for it based on another PIE word they already had; the connection was still transparent because the original and derived forms hadn't had time to drift apart yet. That puts PIE's time somewhere around 5Ĺ millennia ago. The time for Proto-Semitic is similar, and those two families are the two that give us the best evidence for their extinct proto-languages, so all others can only be traced back less than that far. The Semitic family is a branch of Afro-Asiatic, and Egyptian was already pretty distinctly Egyptian (thus not much like Proto-Afro-Asiatic anymore) by about 6 millennia ago, so Proto-AA must have been significantly earlier, with estimates from 7Ĺ to even 18 millennia ago. There are theories about some possible deep connections between major known language families, which would trace back to languages still another few millennia older than the established ones that would then descend from them, but at that level, the evidence gets really flimsy, so those theories aren't generally accepted. The trail just fades away into the past.

But people first left central & southern Africa more like 70 millennia ago, so that's the latest possible chance for everybody to have been speaking one language, the last common ancestor of all modern languages. (They could have already started diverging earlier than that, but that's the minimum.) That's a gap of dozens of millennia before we get to the earliest reconstructed ancestors of today's languages, a gap in which we just can't know anything at all, during which languages must have been evolving just as much as they have in more recent and better-known times. Sometimes I see people asking about the idea of reconstructing all the way back to "Proto-World". It certainly must have existed but is utterly beyond our reach, several times over.
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Old 5th March 2019, 01:12 AM   #653
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post

Plague development to be anything but an absolute freak occurrence requires people to be living in close proximity to animals for extended periods of time. It requires domestication to get started and dense cities to get going.
Absolutely, but there's also the other aspect that once you have a plague causing organism, you need an environment in which it can survive. If you've got only relatively sparse populations (like in the new world) that environment just isn't very good for the evolution of plague causing diseases because having wiped out a population it will also wipe out it's hosts and simply go (locally) extinct.

But if you've got two continents of interconnected societies with trade routes connecting one to the other and many densely populated regions across the breadth of those continents, that's the perfect breeding ground for plagues to arise in China, move through India and the middle east into europe and then back, and it if ever goes locally extinct somewhere that's fine because it's already spread (and continuing to evolve) elsewhere. Which is why these diseases could continue to evolve to be more and more deadly and fast spreading over time rather than evolving toward less deadly variants.

(This is in addition to everything you said in your post which I agree with)
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Old 5th March 2019, 01:39 AM   #654
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Pet peeve: It's Homo Sapiens. It's not a plural, and doesn't depluralise just because you're speaking about one of them.
Pet peeve it is Homo sapiens genus with an upper case; species with a lower case.
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Old 5th March 2019, 06:57 AM   #655
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Pet peeve: It's Homo Sapiens. It's not a plural, and doesn't depluralise just because you're speaking about one of them.
Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Pet peeve it is Homo sapiens genus with an upper case; species with a lower case.
You both forgot the apostrophe!
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Old 5th March 2019, 08:08 AM   #656
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
You both forgot the apostrophe!
Aside from that, arthwollipot wrongly capitalized the word after a colon, and Planigale forgot the colon altogether. Shame!
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Old 5th March 2019, 10:12 AM   #657
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Aside from that, arthwollipot wrongly capitalized the word after a colon, and Planigale forgot the colon altogether. Shame!
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Old 5th March 2019, 11:06 AM   #658
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The Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus is not a real creature, but it should be.
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Old 5th March 2019, 11:17 AM   #659
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus is not a real creature, but it should be.
I'm still mad that those arctic worms that heat up the ice with their heads aren't a real thing.
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Old 5th March 2019, 04:57 PM   #660
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Pet peeve it is Homo sapiens genus with an upper case; species with a lower case.
You're right - I thought I was concentrating but clearly I wasn't.

Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Aside from that, arthwollipot wrongly capitalized the word after a colon, and Planigale forgot the colon altogether. Shame!
I did. I'm sorry.
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Old 5th March 2019, 09:59 PM   #661
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus is not a real creature, but it should be.
There is, however, a real arboreal crab.

Have you heard of the timber shark, which inhabits fresh water in forested areas? It's said to be particularly dangerous to swimmers who jump into untested waters.
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Old 6th March 2019, 02:24 AM   #662
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Absolutely, but there's also the other aspect that once you have a plague causing organism, you need an environment in which it can survive. If you've got only relatively sparse populations (like in the new world) that environment just isn't very good for the evolution of plague causing diseases because having wiped out a population it will also wipe out it's hosts and simply go (locally) extinct.

<snip>

The new world populations were seen as sparse by Europeans largely because 90% of them died from disease before there was a great deal of interaction between the two.

Among the reasons for the die-off was the fact that there was a thriving interaction by trade and conquest between the many indigenous cultures.

If you haven't read it already, a book entitled 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann is worth checking out.
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Old 6th March 2019, 07:45 AM   #663
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Have you heard of the timber shark, which inhabits fresh water in forested areas? It's said to be particularly dangerous to swimmers who jump into untested waters.
Nope, and still haven't.
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:07 AM   #664
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For the best part of the last hour, I have listened straight through the Wikipedia page on silicon. I am reading a book called 'Seven Elements Which Changed the World' by John Brown and the chapter I'm on is about silicon, so I thought I'd find out more.

Okay, I didn't understand it, but several things occurred to me whilst listening:
- Using my software, and the 'continuous read' facility, Synthetic Dave reds the whole thing.

- The voice is amazingly welllllllll worked out, with a pleasant tone, correct rises and falls and sounds right.
- But of course, no pauses (unless I press Esc), no failure of the voice, no tiring because of the concentration of looking at words.
- And all that stuff has been written - in excellent English, too, I didn't hear a spelling error etc, with a world of scientific data included.

I am overwhelmed with admiration for all the scientists and interested people involved in the article.

And, yes, I do know a bit more about silicon than I did at the start!
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:11 AM   #665
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There's a legit thing in historical fiction called the "Tiffany Problem" where writers won't use "new sounding" names even if they are historically accurate. The name comes from the fact that "Tiffany" was actually a very common name throughout 12th century Europe, but it would be seen as silly to name a character in that setting that.
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:00 AM   #666
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
For the best part of the last hour, I have listened straight through the Wikipedia page on silicon. I am reading a book called 'Seven Elements Which Changed the World' by John Brown and the chapter I'm on is about silicon, so I thought I'd find out more.

Okay, I didn't understand it, but several things occurred to me whilst listening:
- Using my software, and the 'continuous read' facility, Synthetic Dave reds the whole thing.

- The voice is amazingly welllllllll worked out, with a pleasant tone, correct rises and falls and sounds right.
- But of course, no pauses (unless I press Esc), no failure of the voice, no tiring because of the concentration of looking at words.
- And all that stuff has been written - in excellent English, too, I didn't hear a spelling error etc, with a world of scientific data included.

I am overwhelmed with admiration for all the scientists and interested people involved in the article.

And, yes, I do know a bit more about silicon than I did at the start!
How do you listen to Wikipedia?
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:42 AM   #667
SusanB-M1
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
How do you listen to Wikipedia?
I use Dolphin SuperNova 17.05; without this brilliant piece of software, I would not be able to access the internet. There is a choice of voices, but I've used Snthetic Dave since I first started, about 14 years ago and like it best. I was using a reading speed of 187 wpm. I can magnify the screen, but actual reading can only be done word by word and very slowly, although with peripheral vision, I can get a general idea of what is on a page.
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Old 6th March 2019, 11:23 AM   #668
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Nope, and still haven't.
If you jump into a lake and impale yourself on a log you didn't see under the water, that's a timber shark.
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Old 6th March 2019, 11:45 AM   #669
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
If you jump into a lake and impale yourself on a log you didn't see under the water, that's a timber shark.
Ahhh, thank you, I shall consider myself forewarned next time I'm near a body of water bordered by forest. Which does, in fact, happen to me from time to time.
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:51 PM   #670
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Ahhh, thank you, I shall consider myself forewarned next time I'm near a body of water bordered by forest. Which does, in fact, happen to me from time to time.

Also, it's much safer if you get a good tan, their natural prey species are vampires and most attacks on humans are a case of mistaken identity (apart from outright human stupidity, they will attack if suddenly leapt on).
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:08 PM   #671
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Also, it's much safer if you get a good tan, their natural prey species are vampires and most attacks on humans are a case of mistaken identity (apart from outright human stupidity, they will attack if suddenly leapt on).
If you see one, stay calm, and remember that they're more afraid of us than we are of them.
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:13 PM   #672
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Australian timber sharks are highly venomous.
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Old 6th March 2019, 11:55 PM   #673
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Australian timber sharks are highly venomous.
Australians are highly venomous.
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Old 7th March 2019, 12:38 AM   #674
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
The new world populations were seen as sparse by Europeans largely because 90% of them died from disease before there was a great deal of interaction between the two.

Among the reasons for the die-off was the fact that there was a thriving interaction by trade and conquest between the many indigenous cultures.

If you haven't read it already, a book entitled 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann is worth checking out.
They were certainly less sparse than European colonists originally thought. But I stand by the "relatively sparse" characterisation, considering that the comparison is Eurasia.
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Old 7th March 2019, 12:43 AM   #675
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Australians are highly venomous.
**hissssssss**
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Old 7th March 2019, 01:05 AM   #676
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
**hissssssss**
AAAaaaarrrgghhh!!!
My eyes, my EYES....I can't see...


Has it gone dark?
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Old 9th March 2019, 07:57 PM   #677
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
I use Dolphin SuperNova 17.05; without this brilliant piece of software, I would not be able to access the internet. There is a choice of voices, but I've used Snthetic Dave since I first started, about 14 years ago and like it best. I was using a reading speed of 187 wpm. I can magnify the screen, but actual reading can only be done word by word and very slowly, although with peripheral vision, I can get a general idea of what is on a page.
Coincidentally Trevor Noah touched on a issue that may affect you, and that is for people to capitalise twitter hashtags. His example was that #PeterAndresHits would read better than the uncapitalised version (which I canít post due to Rule10). Hint, the capitalisation of the H is important.
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Old 9th March 2019, 11:13 PM   #678
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
Coincidentally Trevor Noah touched on a issue that may affect you, and that is for people to capitalise twitter hashtags. His example was that #PeterAndresHits would read better than the uncapitalised version (which I canít post due to Rule10). Hint, the capitalisation of the H is important.
Thank you - listening character by character I see what you mean. Synthetic Dave has a different voice pitch for capital letters!
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