The h2g2 Post 09.08.21

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Posted: 9th August 2021

Summer Flower Show

Warped Sunflower by FWR.

Freewayriding claims that this sunflower was warped by the extreme heat on the Wirral recently. When I found out what the actual temperature was, I made mock, because, as a native of the subtropics, I found that temperature merely pleasantly warm. Which brings me to one of the two points I'd like to make in this week's Editorial.

The first one is: we're all used to different things. And that's quite normal on a planet with the variety of ours.

For example: Willem's having winter, but still has lots of flowers. Occasionally, hippos interrupt football matches in his neighbourhood. Brits pass out when the temperature goes above 30°C, which is barely warm enough for swimming. On the other hand, my people would die of hypothermia if they tried to swim in the North Sea. I know: I stuck a toe in it once.

Today, Sho informed us on Twitter that using 'you guys' to talk to a group of individuals who are not all of the same gender is considered offensive in some circles. This utterly puzzled me. Back in the Dark Ages (1960s), when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, all teenagers used 'you guys' to refer to groups of friends. Gender didn't figure into it: we weren't into binary divisiveness. 'You guys wanna go bowling on Saturday?' invited all and sundry, including our friend Cindy, who was blind and once bowled a strike, which was one more than I ever did.

It has dawned upon me that this 'you guys' locution has somehow managed to get itself imported into England, and as with so many other things that did not originate in England, has met with disapprobation and is regarded – much like grey squirrels – as an invasive species. Duly noted.

In future, y'all will be addressed by the Editor as 'yinz' or 'y'all', depending on whether I'm feeling like a Pittsburgher or a hillbilly at that precise moment in time. You will put up with this because this is a large and diverse planet with room for multiculturalism, especially on h2g2. Researchers come from all continents and several allied solar systems.

You will also put up with this because I know where the buttons are and none of yinz want to volunteer to archive Post articles.

The other point I wanted to make while I've got y'all here today is that this multi-everything diversity also extends to the wild beauty we see around us. As is amply illustrated in this issue.

We've got critters and flowers. We've got people being weird. We've got photos that will make your chuckle and photos that will make you scratch your head and photos that will make you gasp in wonder.

Let me draw particular attention to the 'gasp in wonder' variety. Please remember that it is, indeed, your DUTY to do this.

Don't just blink at the photo and rush to post a comment on how easy/hard it is to grow that flower in your garden or how in Hinterpfuiteufel, that's considered an invasive species. Take a full minute (or two) to look at the photo.
  • Notice how the water droplets glisten on that hibiscus.
  • Observe the sharp visual detail of the waving moth.
  • Drink in the deep purple of that urban pansy.
  • Read the rollover text. If you can add to the description, do so in a comment. We are aiming for richer descriptions at the express request of social media activists who have pointed out that visual material online is all well and good for the sighted. Our blind and visually-impaired friends deserve better rollover texts than what they've been getting. We vow to do better.

That's what we're on Earth for, yinz: to appreciate and share. You have a job, do it.

We'll be back next week with more Stuff. (Send more Stuff!) Remember: you owe us recipes. The Post Editor would particularly appreciate if yinz would include gluten-free versions.

Dmitri Gheorgheni

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Quote of the Week: 'Are you timing the universe,' Glimmung sked, 'to see if it is late? Are you giving breadth and measure to the stars?'

Philip K Dick, Galactic Pot-Healer

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