Nature News from Jake Sigg Wed Apr 2 2014 http://planttrees.org
“What is a miracle? The natural law of a unique event.” Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
1. Spider field trip Saturday 5 April
2. Mount Sutro Spring wildflower tour Sunday 6 April
3. Go Solar, Save Frogs, and Save money
4. Living in the Plate Boundary (that’s where we all live) - Monday 7 April
5. A UN report on climate change for the first time looks at the climate in a broader context, not as a self-contained problem
6. Boom or Bust: Coping with California’s Dynamic Climate - Livermore, April 8
7. Coastal Commission to vote on revised findings for Beach Chalet soccer fields/construction contract vote April 17
8. Open Space Conference May 8
9. Hans Christian Andersen, born this day 1805
10. Mary Oliver has earnest dog whose eyes, not hers, are clear and bright
11. Italo Calvino notes a pestilence that has struck human race: words
12. Pick up you Yes on B (No Wall on Waterfront) window signs, or have one delivered
13. Claremont Canyon Conservancy April events
14. Feedback: another inaccurate quote/taxonomy/Washington mudslide was foretold
15. The virtues of living with mixed ages
16. Notes & Queries: Political science? It’s really more an art/Why would anyone say ‘I’ll be quite honest with you?’
California Native Plant Society field trip
Saturday 5 April, 10 am to 1 pm
Glen Canyon Spiders
Guide: Darrell Ubick
Contact: Gail Wechsler firstname.lastname@example.org
California Academy of Sciences arachnologist Darrell Ubick estimates there are hundreds of species of spiders in Glen Canyon, and hundreds of thousands of individuals. Drought or no drought, we are sure to find a variety of spiders out searching for prey or mates. We may see colorful jumping spiders, or wolf spiders carrying their egg sacs. Darrell is an excellent communicator, and he has great information to share with adults and children.
Meet behind the Glen Park Recreation Center where the lawn stops and the wild part of the canyon starts.
Wet weather postpones to April 12 in hopes of better conditions for spidering.
UCSF Mount Sutro Spring Wildflower Tour
Sunday, April 6th, 10:00 AM –12:30 PM
Meet at the Woods Lot, 100 Medical Center Way
Join Craig Dawson, Executive Director of the Sutro Stewards, for a guided habitat tour showcasing Mount Sutro's native plant colonies in bloom. You'll tour the trail network, learn about the history and habitat of the area and see some of San Francisco's rarest native plants in this unique heart of the City Trek.
You must RSVP for this event online or via email to Craig@SutroStewards.org. Space is limited.
Parking is available for this event at our meeting location.
$20 suggested donation to support Sutro Stewards programs, can be paid cash/check on the day of the trek.
3. Go Solar: Save Frogs and Save Money!
You now have a brilliant opportunity to save money and save the frogs all at the same time! Our friends at Sungevity will donate $750 to SAVE THE FROGS! for every person who signs up for their solar lease program. Sungevity has powered thousands of homes with solar rooftop panels and is leading the way in bringing affordable solar to homes like yours. Please request your free solar iQuote from Sungevity today:
Sungevity will connect you with a solar specialist who will help you understand if your house is eligible to be powered by the sun. If you go solar through this program, you'll get a $1,000 credit from Sungevity, and Sungevity will donate $750 to SAVE THE FROGS! to help fund our worldwide amphibian conservation efforts. It's a triple win: a win for you, a win for us and a win for the planet. Sungevity has created the most affordable way to go solar; they have no money down plans and low monthly payments that will replace your current electricity bill with up to a
15% reduction in costs!
Please request a solar iQuote now, right here!
Mon., Apr. 7, Edith Stone Room, Albany Community Center,
1249 Marin (at Masonic)
Refreshments 7 PM, talks begin promptly 7:30
FREE -- but seating is limited.
Dr. Tanya Atwater: Living in the Plate Boundary
California’s dramatic landscapes are constantly being lifted and dropped, reshaped and reorganized by the relentless scraping of the Pacific Plate against our edge of North America. See this with fresh clarity at an informal evening with geophysicist and marine geologist Dr. Tanya Atwater, who pioneered our modern understanding of the formation of the San Andreas Fault.
Professor emerita at UC Santa Barbara and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Atwater also is an award-winning pioneer in developing animation to help everyone understand complex geologic processes -- from how and why continents “drift,” to how oil got under California, how sea cliffs and coastal terraces are sculpted, and how melting Ice Age glaciers led to today’s San Francisco Bay.
Friends of Five Creeks, www.fivecreeks.org, email@example.com; Bay Currents spring schedule at http://www.fivecreeks.org/baycurrents/Spring14Flyer.pdf
A UN report on climate change for the first time looks at the climate in a broader context, not as a self-contained problem
READ MORE »
Livermore Area Recreation and Park District
Boom or Bust: Coping with California’s Dynamic Climate
Tuesday, April 8th 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Robert Livermore Community Center
4444 East Avenue, Livermore CA 94550
For more information call (925) 960 2400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With one of the driest winters ever recorded in California, coping with drought and its consequences is uppermost in our minds. In many ways there is nothing out of the ordinary about this winter for a place like California - the same mild winters and warm dry summers that have attracted so many people to this state have shaped the evolution of many unique species that are found nowhere else on earth. Come learn how some of these plants and animals have adapted to our variable climate and how we as humans can adapt to it as well.
Presented by Lewis Reed, the steward of the Bodega Marine Reserve. Lewis was a ranger with the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District for several years, has a master’s degree in plant biology, and over five years of experience working with water conservation in the Bay Area.
And/or a flyer you can link to: http://www.larpd.org/images/Boom_or_Bust.jpg
Lewis also wrote an article on the same topic for our open space newsletter if you are interested:
http://www.larpd.org/open_space/documents/valleywilds.pdf (See pages 4 and 5)
Thanks Jake, Lewis is a great speaker and we are hoping to draw a decent crowd for the presentation.
TO ALL SUPPORTERS OF GOLDEN GATE PARK:
1. California Coastal Commission (CCC) to vote on Revised Findings for the Beach Chalet soccer fields project - Wednesday, April 9th in Santa Barbara. Write today, and ask for the meeting to be held in Northern California in May! Include your objections to the project. Be sure to copy us on your letter!
2. Approval of Beach Chalet construction contract will be voted on at Recreation and Park Commission on Thursday, April 17th - come and speak out to support Golden Gate Park!
1. CCC to vote on Findings on Beach Chalet project - April 9th, 2014, Santa Barbara meeting
The CCC will vote on April 9th to approve the final Staff Report for the Beach Chalet project. The Commission has directed the Staff to completely reverse the original Staff recommendations for protecting Golden Gate Park. (You can read the wonderful, original staff report and see how it was gutted by the political powers-that-be. Write to us and we will send you the report - It is 17 MB.)
Please write to the Coastal Commissioners and ask them to postpone this hearing to May, when they will be in Northern California! Copy us on your letters.
· First part of your letter - ask that the agenda item W15.5a Beach Chalet be postponed to the May CCC meeting in Northern California because:
§ Rec and Park (RPD) is proposing mitigations and impact monitoring programs to satisfy concerns of residents. (See attached "mitigations" document.) These mitigations should be discussed in a meeting held near where everyone lives who will be impacted by this project! Therefore, the topic should be discussed in Northern California.
§ Last May most of the project opponents were denied the right to speak -- at least this time, the proposed mitigations report should be discussed at a meeting in Northern California, so that those folks can have the right to speak to the issues.
§ Rec and Park's own schedule show the construction starting in late June -- therefore, there is plenty of time for the CCC to hear the topics and issues in May and to issue the permits that RPD needs.
· Second part of your letter - express your concerns about the project.
§ Please ask that the original Staff Report be reinstated and express your own concerns about the project.
§ If you or your family plays soccer, let the CCC know that and your reasons for objecting to this project.
· Mail your letter ASAP to arrive by Thursday, April 3rd for individual commissioners and by Friday, April 4th, for staff AT THE LATEST. You can mail to the Staff OR to each Commissioner and the Staff. CCC regulations are:
· No written materials should be sent to Coastal Commissioners unless the commission staff receives copies of all of the same materials at the same time.
Kevin Kahn, Coastal Program Analyst
Beach Chalet Soccer Fields
North Central Coast District Office
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
Attn: Beach Chalet Soccer Fields
· All materials transmitted to Commissioners should clearly indicate (e.g., on the cover page or envelope) that they have also been forwarded to the staff. Materials that do not show that copies have been provided to staff might not be accepted, opened or read by Commissioners.
· Therefore, write the following on the top of each letter:
California Coastal Commissioners and Staff
April 9th, 2014 hearing
Permit Number: A-2-SNF-12-020
Request for Postponement to May 2014
In opposition to project
· If you want to write to the individual commissioners, names and mailing addresses are at: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/roster.html#exparte
· Note that a few regular commissioners include e-mail addresses:
§ Jana Zimmer email@example.com
§ Carole Groom firstname.lastname@example.org
§ Gregory Cox Gregcoastal@sdcounty.ca.gov
§ Martha McClure email@example.com
§ BE SURE TO COPY STAFF and SFOE: Kevin.Kahn@coastal.ca.gov
2. Rec and Park Commission to vote on Beach Chalet construction contract - April 17th, 2014
· The RPC will vote on the Beach Chalet construction contract on April 17th, 2014. This is only part of the contract -- the rest of the contract is being let by City Fields Foundation, and the public has NO way to impact that. This is one of the many problems of public-private partnerships.
· The April 17th hearing is an opportunity to object once again to this project and to get the Commission will listen to reason.
· Go online to see the agenda 5 days before the hearing date. http://sfrecpark.org/about/recreation-park-commission/full-commission-documents/
· Let us know if you will attend!
Open Space Conference on May 8
Join us for the 15th annual Open Space Conference at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio. The conference – entitled Welcoming, Interacting, Participating – is all about interaction both in concept and in practice. Our speakers are here (including invited Keynote John Laird, Secretary of Natural Resources), the Meetups are an opportunity to talk about what you want to talk about, and there will be surprises.
We have expanded the capacity of the conference to welcome more of you. But still, the conference will sell out. Early-bird pricing will end at 5pm on April 9. After that tickets will go up by $25. Register now.
There is still time to sponsor! Sign up by April 17 to be included in the printed program. Contact Annie Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or ideas.
There are 20 tickets available at no cost for individuals for whom the cost of the conference is prohibitive. Click here for the application form or contact Matt Jones at email@example.com for more information. Thanks to the generous sponsors who made this happen: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Marin County Parks.
We are looking for 10 volunteers to work the day of the event. Contact Matt Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Today is the birthday of Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen, born in 1805 in the town of Odense. He went to work at a young age, supporting himself first as a weaver's apprentice, then a tailor's. At 14, he moved to Copenhagen, hoping to become an actor, and began writing when a theater colleague called him a poet. He published his first story, The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave, in 1822. He eventually went to college, but he was a mediocre student.
He considered himself a novelist and playwright, and he wrote travelogues, beginning with the conventional framework of description and documentary account but building something unique with his inclusion of musings on larger themes like the role of the author and the nature of fiction. But it's for his three collections of fairy tales that he is best known. Since he never mastered writing in the formal Danish style in school, he wrote in the everyday language of the common Danish people, and he refused to talk down to children or shelter them from the dark and scary. Later translators cut out some of the scarier parts and gave the tales happy endings, and so we often think of them as lighthearted and innocent, but that was not really the case. His fairy tales inspired Charles Dickens, who became his friend, and also Oscar Wilde.
His personal life was a succession of unrequited longings for women, including the singer Jenny Lind, and occasionally men. He never married, but was well aware of how beloved he was by the world's children. Not long before his death, he was conferring with the composer of his funeral march, and told him, "Most of the people who walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps."
In Andersen's honor, his birthday was declared International Children's Book Day, a day to promote children's literature and foster a love of reading in the world's youth.
(JS: Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion did a mini-drama on Hans Christian Andersen many years ago, in which there was a gathering of literary and artistic figures in Andersen's home. Andersen was portrayed as insecure and self-doubtful. At one point he went up to his room and locked himself in, presumably out of feelings of inferiority. Henrik Ibsen knocked on his door and begged him to come out, assuring him that he was respected and loved by all the attendees. The vignette was very affecting, and threw light on Andersen's complex nature.
Keillor later also dramatized one of his stories that may have been called the Matchseller or something close. It was about a young girl whose father made her stand on a cold windy street corner in winter to sell matches. She was not selling any and she was so cold she would occasionally light a match to warm herself, and the light cheered her briefly. Once in a while she would repeat this. The story ended when she set the whole box on fire and for a few moments enjoyed the fire and the warmth.
It was deeply moving and I had a lump in my throat.)
Holding On To Benjamin
by Mary Oliver
No use to tell him
and the raccoon are brothers.
You have your soft ideas about nature
he has others,
and they are full of his
and lip that curls, sometimes,
this earnest dog,
but also you admire the raccoon
and Lord help you in your place
of hope and improbables.
To the black-masked gray one:
Run! you say,
and just as urgently, to the dog:
and he won't or he will,
on more things than I could name.
He's sure he's right
and you, so tangled in your mind,
though patient and pacific.
And you are downcast.
And it's his eyes, not yours,
that are clear and bright.
From Dog Songs. © Penguin, 2013
Hi Jake -
From Calvino, written in 1993! -
It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty—that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances. Italo Calvino, “Exactitude,” from Six Memos for the New Millennium
Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past. -Francis Bacon
GET YOUR YES ON B WINDOW SIGN THIS SATURDAY
With just 2 months until Election Day on June 3rd and a low voter turnout election likely, now is the time to begin educating our friends and neighbors about why they should vote Yes on Proposition B on the June ballot to give the voters the power to protect San Francisco's beautiful waterfront from a wall of luxury high-rises that would block off the Bay for good. We now have a great new tool to help every one of us get the word out - YES on B window signs are here and ready for distribution!
You can come pick up your new Yes on B window sign this Saturday, April 5th anytime between 12 noon and 4pm at 15 Columbus Avenue in North Beach (near the corner of Washington & Columbus Ave.). Be one of the first to display a Yes on B - Protect our Waterfront sign on your block. If you can, please pick up some extra signs to distribute to your neighbors, bring to a community meeting, or hang in your favorite cafe or local business window.
Come by 15 Columbus Ave. this Saturday to get your window sign or call (415) 410-9588 or email email@example.com and we will deliver a sign to your home as soon as possible. And if you would be willing to volunteer to help deliver campaign signs, let us know!
Here is what your YES on B sign will look like when you put it up:
Trees in Claremont Canyon
Critics of removing the hazardous and invasive eucalyptus trees sometimes allege that the hillside would be bare if the eucs were removed. Claremont Canyon Conservancy volunteers have been gathering information that so far proves that this allegation is false.
On March 8th we conducted a census of all trees in limited areas above Signpost 28 on Claremont Avenue. Extrapolating from these areas, we found that there were about 350 eucalyptus trees and more than 380 smaller bays and oaks per acre sprouting beneath the euc canopy. Without the eucs, these bay and oak saplings would have the sunlight and moisture they need to grow and thrive. We will do more surveying on April 12th.
Claremont Canyon Conservancy board member Jerry Kent has prepared a paper that explores the risks of thinning versus removing Blue Gum Eucalyptus and Monterey Pine trees. This timely article is posted on our website at http://claremontcanyon.org/pdf/the_risks_and_costs_of_eucalyptus_and_pine_dec_7_2013_jerry_kent.pdf
Saturday, April 12 Tree Counting
Conservancy volunteers led by Jerry Kent will count trees in other areas above Signpost 28 to add to the data collected on March 8 as noted above. We will meet at 10 AM at Signpost 28 and count until Noon. Join us. By measuring and counting in additional areas, we will increase the reliability of our findings.
Sunday, April 13 Bird Walk
Join Dave Quady and Kay Loughman to look for some of the birds that breed in Claremont Canyon. Meet at 7:00 AM at the four corners intersection of Grizzly Peak Blvd. and Claremont Avenue/Fish Ranch Road. We'll pick an area that looks intereting and seaarch until about 11 AM for year-round resident birds and for Neotropical migrant birds that have returned to breed. Bring binoculars if you have a pair (Dave will have a few pairs to share) and a field guide if you have one. Free and open to the public. RSVP appreciated but not necessary to firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 843-2226.
For something different, meet Kay and Dave at 5 AM at the foot of Gelston Street to enjoy the dawn chorus as birds break into song as the sun rises. We will stand quietly and try to identify birds by their songs until about 6:30, leaving enough time for a quick breakfast snack before our 7 AM meeting at the top of the canyon.
Saturday, April 19 Garber Park Stewardship
Join us in Garber Park for our third Saturday workday where we will continue our Spring invasive week pull. Meet at 10 AM at the Evergreen Lane entrance to Garber Park, across from 144 Evergreen. We will work til Noon. For more information, a map, and directions, visit our website at garberparkstewards.org.
Saturday, April 26 Earth Day
Celebrate Earth Day in Claremont Canyon from 9 AM til Noon. The Conservancy will again partner with Garber Park Stewards to offer some fun and rewarding activities:
1) HELP CLEAN UP CLAREMONT AVENUE. Meet at the parking area just up from 7380 Claremont Avenue. We will gather trash and beautify this lovely and popular corridor. Depending on the number of volunteers, we will work from this entrance to Garber Park up to Signposts 29 and 28 and up to the Four Corners.
2) HELP COMPLETE SYLVAN PATH RESTORATION. Help us restore this bveautiful trail built in the 1920s. Projects along the trail include removing invasive ivy, weeding Garber Park's newest restoration site at Fern Glen, and cutting steps to make the steep parts of the path accessible and enjoyable for all. Meet at the Evergreen Lane entrance to Garber Park. For more information contact Shelagh at email@example.com.
Jake - Many thanks for the information and link to bumblebeewatch.org. Often there are bees in the photos I take of plants and this is a great way to identify them and to help a very worthwhile cause at the same time. Thanks for getting the word out.
On Mar 31, 2014, at 11:32 AM, S. R. Gilbert wrote:
Delightful quotation from Linnaeus—and inaccurate, as it turns out. I could find no evidence of the quotation being cited earlier than 1976, and the exchange at the following site is instructive:http://www.linnaeus.uu.se/online/questions/animals_1.html.
Still, the Turton translation available through Google Books is wonderfully colorful: http://books.google.com/books?id=PXMQAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP2#v=onepage&q&f=false.
I attach a passage that's close to the apocrypha you cited.
Sam: Thank you for your vigilance: for the correction and the delightful historical piece.
I should hire you as Principal Researcher of this newsletter, a job I don’t have time to do much of. Don’t despair, I have always had a small measure of doubt about quotations, now I am becoming more sensitive.
On the other hand, the system sort of works after a fashion right now: I put out erroneous quotation, and it gets corrected a few hours later. Of course, some may not see the correction, and that's unfortunate; but it’s an imperfect world.
On Mar 31, 2014, at 11:41 AM, Trent Orr wrote:
I really enjoyed the piece about the importance of taxonomists and taxonomy. I googled a phrase in the article, "Science bureaucrats, such as myself," and found that it was published in The Guardian on Mar. 13, 2014 and written by one Tim Entwisle, "a respected scientist and scientific communicator with a broad interest in plants, science and gardens. He is director and chief executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne." (Beautiful gardens, by the way.)
On Mar 31, 2014, at 12:34 PM, Hans Weber wrote:
Jake, the Guardian published this article. Thanks for continuing to raise the issue of lost biodiversity; humanity is busy digging its own grave.
As to the horrendous mudslide in Oso, it was foretold but our cowardly news media beholden to commercial interests never mentioned the excessive logging that eventually led to it. (http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/opinion/sunday/egan-at-home-when-the-earth-moves.html)
Thanks for the two offerings, Hans. I am aware of the political manipulation, the neglect and/or connivance of media in the making of these tragedies.
What is to be done? We elect the people who do or don’t do these things; nevertheless, ultimately there is no accountability. Are we to blame? Yes. Why don’t we do something to correct? Because it would take a lifetime to check on just one legislator alone, not to mention all the people we elect and all the nameless, faceless regulators whose actions/inactions affect our lives. We are all too busy, and the more we improve the means of communication the less time we have to communicate--or learn what is going on. The tragedy of life.
Excerpt from above link:
It is human nature, if not the American way, to look potential disaster in the face and prefer to see a bright and shining lie. The “taming” of this continent, in five centuries and change, required a mighty mustering of cognitive dissonance. As a result, most of us live with the danger of wildfire, earthquake, tornado, flooding, drought, hurricane or yet-to-be-defined and climate-change-influenced superstorm. A legacy of settlement is the delusion that large-scale manipulation of the natural world can be done without consequence.
On Mar 31, 2014, at 12:43 PM, Judy Irving wrote:
Speaking of Ogden Nash, here’s a poem that he didn’t write, but many people ascribe to him. (I know this because I’m including it in my film, “Pelican Dreams,” and have fielded many comments at rough-cut screenings.)
“A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican”
A wonderful bird is the pelican.
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week.
But I’m damned if I see how the helican!
Limerick written by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1910
We recited that poem frequently when we were kids. We didn’t know and didn’t care who was the author. It was, however, a trifle risque--I mean we were told to never cuss. Oh, we were so naughty.
On Mar 31, 2014, at 1:16 PM, Louise Lacey wrote:
And dark chocolate with stevia is the very best of all.
On Mar 31, 2014, at 3:21 PM, Chuck Heimstadt wrote:
Dear Jake, this is a great newsletter, as they all are. But the one I could so relate to your Montana ranch story as on our poor farm in eastern Washington state, we never thought to buy cat or dog food, if it were sold in the small town 15 miles away (Quincy, WA), tho we had plenty of those animals.
We couldn't stop laughing about the McCarthy political joke, about being smart enough to understand and dumb enough to think it is important! Thank you so much, loretta and chuck
15. Young keep the old young
On a visit to China, Chun-Fang Wu, a fruit fly researcher at the University of Iowa, observed extended families and noticed how vibrant elderly people living with younger relatives seemed. He wondered if living in a mixed-age setting would make the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster live longer too. He and his colleagues showed that some fruit flies with mutations in a gene that encodes an antioxidant enzyme can live longer simply by living with young flies that do not carry the mutation. The researchers also report…that social interaction—much of which involves wing movement—and increased activity are necessary to generate the life-extending effect. The work might lead to a molecular explanation for why social interactions help people fend off degenerative brain diseases. Science News 21 June 2008
16. Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly
Political science? It's really more an art
The science of politics; honesty can be deceiving; modern Herculean labours
President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office Photograph: BBC/Barnes Hassid Productions
It's got more going for it than "creation science".
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia
• As improbable as army intelligence?
Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia
• Likewise corporate responsibility, conventional wisdom, American culture, responsible advertising, I had a great time taking the kids to the beach ... and all the other oxymorons we assimilate without question.
Craig Chappelle, Denmark, Western Australia
• Now that is an oxymoronic question.
Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France
• No, you must mean political art. There was only one who made a science of politics, Niccolo Machiavelli. While job hunting he used his treatise, The Prince, in lieu of a resume. No one today would dare say what he said.
Jake Sigg, San Francisco, California, US
Can you really trust honesty?
Why would anyone say 'I'll be quite honest with you ... ?'
There are all sorts of reasons, but mainly: to express true sincerity, to ensure heartfelt or unusual beliefs are not misunderstood or misconstrued and even to diplomatically break something negative, disappointing or critical. It can be used as a plain old excuse to be rude.
Lee Schaefer, Urbach, Germany
• I usually assume people I am in conversation with are being truthful. So if someone says: "I'll be quite honest with you", I assume that their default is to lie. Otherwise why bother saying it?
Mary Scott, Huntly, UK
• The subtlety lies in "quite", a strange word which can mean both "fairly" and "absolutely", so it is quite normal to be thus honest and one would never be accused of lying.
E Slack, L'Isle Jourdain, France
• Either because they were going to be quite honest with you or because they weren't.
David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia
• To build confidence before engaging in trickery.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
• Usually for one of three reasons (in order of likelihood):
1) They are about to lie
2) They are going to tell you something you won't like
3) They are about to cast themselves in an unflattering light.
Nigel Grinter, Chicago, Illinois, US
1) They're not going to be
2) They never have been before
3) They don't know the meaning of honest or
4) They're seeking to be elected
or possibly 5) all of the above.
Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia
• Because they don't like you.
Anny Skarstein, Oslo, Norway
• The used car salesman usually says that just before he tells his customer about the little old lady who only drove the car to church on Sundays.
Art Hunter, Napanee, Ontario, Canada
Women's labours never end
Are there any 21st-century equivalents of the Labours of Hercules?
At least two: finding new energy sources to replace dirty oil and risky nuclear power, and at the same time finding ways to clean up the catastrophic messes they have already made.
Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada
• Women's work.
Annie March, West Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
How and why did mankind develop a taste and talent for music?
John Grinter, Katoomba, NSW, Australia
Why does a roll of toilet paper last only two days?
Alexandra Chapman, Paris, France
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