Vendredi nature [002.020.213]

Helianthus annuus

[ iPhone 11 Pro, 2020/07/16~31]

Les tournesols (parfois aussi appelé hélianthes ou soleils; et “sunflower” en anglais) sont en pleine floraison en ce moment. C’est une espèce de plante à fleurs annuelle qui fait partie de la famille des Asteraceae et du genre Helianthus. En plus d’être ornementale elle est cultivée pour ses graines et l’huile qui peut en être extraite. Elle est fort appréciée des insectes pollinisateurs (dont les abeilles) et les oiseaux en adorent les graines. [ Translate ]

Vendredi nature [002.020.206]

Malfaisant rodants / Rongeurs malfaisant

La courgette pousse vite mais est fort apprécié des gourmets nocturnes
The zucchini grow quickly but is much appreciated by nightly gourmets

Les suspects probable sont l’écureuil gris et la marmotte commune
The most likely culprit are the eastern gray squirrel and the groundhog

Ce sont hélas les aléas du jardinage urbain, particulièrement près d’un parc. Les insectes,  gastéropodes et rongeurs s’attaquent aux cucurbitacées. Les oiseaux et homo simplex beaessus s’attaquent aux tournesols en mangeant les graines ou en arrachant les plants. Il n’y a rien que l’on puisse y faire car la nature a encore tous ses droits…

Unfortunately, these are the hazards of urban gardening, particularly near a park. Insects, gastropods and rodents attack cucurbits. Birds and homo simplex ouelferus attack sunflowers by eating the seeds or pulling up the plants. There is nothing we can do about it because nature still has all its rights …

Images du mer-fleuri [002.020.204]

Echium vulgare

[ iPhone 11 Pro, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2020/06/27 ]

La Vipérine commune (Viper’s bugloss ou blueweed en anglais) est une espèce de plante à fleurs de la classe des dicotylédones, de l’ordre des Lamiales, de la famille des Boraginaceae et du genre Echium. C’est une plante herbacée qui peut être toxique à haute dose, car elle contient un alcaloïde paralysant, mais qui est généralement inoffensive pour l’homme. Elle a été nommée ainsi par le botaniste grec Dioscoride car la forme de son fruit rappelle la tête d’une vipère. On disait aussi qu’elle offrait un antivenin contre les morsures de vipères. En infusion elle peut calmer la toux. Ses jeunes feuilles sont comestibles cuites (comme des épinards) ou en salades, mais sa faible toxicité invite à la prudence. Elle pourrait aussi avoir des effets aphrodisiaques. (Source: Wikipedia) [ Translate ]

Images du mer-fleuri [002.020.197]

Cirsium vulgare

[ iPhone 11 Pro, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2020/06/27]

Le Circe / Chardon lancéolé / vulgaire (Bull / Common / Spear Thistle en anglais) est une plante bisannuelle de la famille des Asteraceae et du genre Cirsium. Considérée comme une “mauvaise herbe” à cause de ses feuilles épineuses et le fait qu’elle pousse surtout dans les champs abandonnés, elle est pourtant en partie comestible et fort appréciée de certains oiseaux (le chardonneret aime ses graines par exemple) et par les insectes pollinisateurs (comme les papillons Belle-Dame et Monarque) qui apprécient sont riche nectar. [ Translate ]

Status report (early July)

The life in the time of the coronavirus continues… 

This is my fifth status report since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (the other four were in March, mid-April, the end of April, and in mid-May). It has now been fifteen weeks (or one-hundred and seven days) since it has all begun. It has been forty days since the beginning of the slow re-opening and my return to work (thirteen days since we’ve restart taking the public in the library for a limited offer of service). 

On the domestic side of life, I can say that I feel I have not been doing much in the last month and half… I didn’t do much around the house (it was either too hot or raining). As usual, I probably watch too much television: like rewatching the Ghost in the Shell: Arise series and several movies (also, to fill the time, I started watching again the 2004 series of Battlestar Galactica). However, I have been reading enough to catch up on my tsundoku… (hurray!) and write a little about my readings (dBD #141, La sphère d’Or, Unbeaten tracks in Japan, I’ll never tell, De Gir à Moebius, and several other French comics that I covered in the article “Sherlock Holmes en bande dessinée (2)”).

Weather — The temperature was unusually warm lately (above average) and often quite dry. So much so that the vegetation in the parc often took a yellowish colour. Thankfully, it rained periodically enough to keep everything alive. In the last week or so it has been quite hot and humid. Enough to discourage any sustained outside activities, although we still take our daily walk.

Health — With the confinement (probably because of slightly bigger meal and less activity) I have gained weight. My blood pressure and glucose are also higher (maybe because of an increased stress?). I have also experienced digestive problems, my usual recurring pain at the end of the digestive track as well as some chest and shoulder pain (probably muscular). Overall, I feel in good shape but it could be better. Unfortunately, I know that with age nothing gets better…

Work — All is fine at work. My usual library being still closed for renovation I was assignment to another one. This new place is at a nice location (at walk/bike distance from home) and has a nice team (although, since the people of my library working there are in extra, we perform mostly boring jobs). However, there was one painful incident: a customer refused the answer the covid “questions” and to sanitize his hands upon entrance. As I was insisting (to follow protocol), he became increasingly disagreeable, up to implying that I was doing so because of my ego or because I was racist. I was just trying to do my job. I was putting my health at risk (and the health of my family) in order to give him access to the library and he has shown absolutely no appreciation or gratitude for it. All I ask is some respect. If I was hurt by being called a racist (and I will come back on this subject) what really pissed me off was that my colleagues didn’t show much support when I tried to explain that he refused to follow protocol and insulted me. I don’t know, maybe they just didn’t understand me well: it is hard to express yourself calmly when it’s hot and your are talking through a mask and a face-shield. What happened to “we must absolutely ask ALL the covid questions and not let anyone in that doesn’t answer properly”? And then they told me “you know, we get insulted all the time. You have to get used to it” implying that I was weak to let it get to me. We are supposed to have a policy of not tolerating any disrespect and bullying (no respect, no service) and, yet in the end, that man received the service he came for. If you are tolerating such disrespect OF COURSE people will feel empowered and continue with the same behaviour. It is the wrong attitude. Anyway, that incident bothered me for weeks as I kept thinking about it…

One thing that I spent a lot of time on lately, was shopping for a nice electric bike or scooter. In this epidemic, I want to avoid public transportation (bus & subway) and if my work place for now is at a walking or biking distance, it is quite tiring in the summer heat (and I am closer to sixty than fifty years-old after all). I rented one for a week and I liked it a lot, but when I wanted to purchase one not a single store in the metropolitan area had any in stock. I guess everybody had the same idea at the same time and I was too late. An electric BIKE looks cool (particularly the Banana Boss, the Rad Runner 1, the Maxie Large, or the Paris) but it is quite expensive and a standard bicycle seat is really hard on my backside. Strangely, a scooter is less expensive, as well as being much more confortable and versatile. I’ve been checking several nice models (Écolo, Tao Aquarius, Vienna, Gio Italia, Mignon, UQi Pro, etc.) but now I found a good store and I am just waiting for them to receive some stock later this month…

Many important events happened in the second quarter of 2020 ( the end of May, June and the beginning of July) but I don’t want to spend much time on those current events. However, the world stage was dominated by the three great plagues of the era. First, the coronavirus. So far, the world has suffered over 10 million cases of infection resulting in over half a million deaths! We dealt relatively well with it in Canada, but the U.S. in on the verge of total catastrophe as it reopened too soon and they are now seeing an horrible surge in infection (over fifty-thousand new cases each day!). 

The second plague is Trump. I would think that we would get used to it by now but his mishandling of the coronavirus response (no national coordination, not enough test and PPE, not urging confinement, distanciation, and wearing masks, etc.), his constant lying, and his rhetoric encouraging hate-speech and inciting to violence kept making everything worse. Sometimes, I think he just doing it on purpose. If he is not a Putin agent, he is certainly an agent of chaos. He loves it. I can’t wait until November… 

The final plague is racism. Following the death by police abuse of George Floyd and many other subsequent similar baffling incidents, the American urban areas erupted in spontaneous protests against this pervasive institutional racism that literally plagues the U.S. How did we moved from a pandemic to riots in the streets? (Without much social distancing hence the cases surge) We all hoped that it was getting better but I guess we got negligent — the coronavirus confinement and Trump inducement somehow seem to have put salt on the wound — as it now seems worse than ever. It must be dealt with once and for all. With police reform certainly (defunding, demilitarizing, new structure, call it what you want — I always thought we should have several level of policing: the unarmed street or biking cop, the patrol police answering to theft and hold-up, the inspector, the riot police and now we should have a force of psycho-social worker for domestic violence, teenage trouble, neighbour disputes, etc.), but the disease goes further than that. Social reform and massive investments to reduce inequality (in education, in job opening, in housing, etc.) are necessary. With the recent movements like Me-Too and Black Lifes Matter, I feel that the world is effervescent and on the verge of great changes, just like in ’68. However, we will have to be patient. Real change takes time. But now the seed of change, the idea that it is possible, has been planted in people’s minds. It only remains to take care of it and watch it germinate… But the first step toward that change is for American to go vote in November.

Racism has always bothered me. All my life I tried to treat everybody equally, not letting their opinion, behaviour, the size of their nose, the colour of their eyes, hair or skin (pink, brown, “black”, “red” or “yellow”) distract me from the fact that we were all the same. Human beings. I always tried to be tolerant (sometime failing: for a while I became quite intolerant toward religion, but now the only thing I can’t tolerate is intolerance — and stupidity). When I was a teenager I thought that the best way to solve racism was to intermarry and eventually we would all become of the same skin colour (that’s what I did, unfortunately I never had kids — too much trouble!). However, skin colour is just an excuse for racists: in fact they are just afraid of the difference (people thinking, dressing, talking, etc., differently than they are). There are many culture on this world and, if we just learn about them, we see there is no reason to be afraid. We discover that this difference is beautiful, that it is a wealth. Those people usually are against (or ignorant of) science. Science is telling us that, genetically, we are all the same and that there is only one race: the human race. I always wanted to write about this complex and touchy subject (and someday I will). Unfortunately, whatever you say or write will always receive criticism: you didn’t say this, the way you say that is discriminatory, it is not enough, it is too much, etc., so I am waiting to have the right words. However, if you stay silent,  it is worse because they say that you are complicit, that you are encouraging racism by saying nothing. I prefer to show support by my actions: I won’t protest in the street but I’ll always try to be equitable, unbiased, and just. If I see someone being discriminated (racially or otherwise) I will try to defend them. And I’ll stay silent. If I scold you for doing something wrong (like misbehaving in the library or trying to cut the waiting line to enter the bus) and you answer be accusing me of being racist, I’ll stay silent. But just know that calling me a racist is the worst insult that you could give me…

I feel the end of this year will really be difficult… Take care of yourselves and stay safe !

Also, I found time to stay a little acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window), after the jump.

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Vendredi nature [002.020.185]

Ichthyosaurus communis

IMG_5539

[ iPhone 8+, Musée de la Civilisation de Québec, 2019/06/26 ]

Jeune ichthyosaure / Young ichthyosaur

U.K., Jurassique (200 M d’années), Natural History Museum of London

IMG_5540

J’ai pris cette photo en visitant l’exposition “Curiosités du monde naturel” qui se tenait au Musée de la Civilisation de Québec du 16 mai 2019 au 19 janvier 2020. J’en ai déjà parlé dans mes plus récents billets “Vendredi nature” (002.020.017024, 031038045052059066080087094108150157 et 178). Voir aussi le vidéo memento de ma visite.

[ Translate ]

Image du mer-fleuri [002.020.183]

alius arcanum planta

[ iPhone 8+ / iPhone 11 Pro, Parc Frédéric-Back, 2019/07/12 & 2020/07/01]

Bon, encore une autre de ces plantes mystérieuses que je n’arrive pas à identifier malgré avoir passé tout l’après-midi à feuilleter mes nombreuses références botaniques. S.V.P., quelqu’un a une idée de ce que cela pourrait être ? Merci !

Well, yet another of these mysterious plants that I cannot identify despite having spent the whole afternoon leafing through my many botanical references. Anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks !

MISE À JOUR (2020/07/02): Après avoir vérifié plusieurs suggestions (Lavande, Lupin et Liatris spicata) qui offraient quelques ressemblance mais ne correspondaient pas vraiment à la plante mystérieuse, j’ai continué mes recherche sur internet (près de cinq heures au total!) et j’ai finalement trouvé! Il s’agit d’une Dalea purpurea (dalée violette / purple prairie clover), une espèce de légumineuse (comme les pois et les fèves) qui appartient au genre Dalea, à la famille des Fabaceae, et à l’ordre des Fabales. (Sources: Google)

UPDATE (2020/07/02): After checking several suggestions (Lavender, Lupine and Liatris spicata) which offered some resemblance but did not really correspond to the mysterious plant, I continued my research on the internet (almost five hours in total!) And I finally found ! It is a Dalea purpurea (dalée violette / purple prairie clover), a species of Leguminosae (the pea or bean family) which belongs to the genus Dalea, to the family of Fabaceae, and to the order of Fabales. (Sources: Google)

Vendredi nature [002.020.178]

Dikelokephalina brenchleyi

IMG_5544

[ iPhone 8+, Musée de la Civilisation de Québec, 2019/06/26 ]

Trilobites géants / Giant trilobites

Maroc, Cambrien supérieur (c. 487 M d’années), Natural History Museum of London

Selon la fiche signalétique, ce groupe de trilobites géants aurait suffoqué durant une épisode d’accouplement massif… Ces spécimen appartiennent à l’embranche­­ment des Arthropoda du règne animal, à la classe des Trilobita, à l’ordre des Asaphida, à la super-famille des Dikelokephaloidea, à la famille des Dikelokephalinidae, et à de l’espèce Dikelokephalina.

J’ai pris cette photo en visitant l’exposition “Curiosités du monde naturel” qui se tenait au Musée de la Civilisation de Québec du 16 mai 2019 au 19 janvier 2020. J’en ai déjà parlé dans mes plus récents billets “Vendredi nature” (002.020.017024, 031038045052059066080087094108150 et 157). Voir aussi le vidéo memento de ma visite.

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Vendredi nature [002.020.157]

Historia Naturalis

IMG_5583

[ iPhone 8+, Musée de la Civilisation de Québec, 2019/06/26 ]

IMG_5584

Cette image est particulièrement chère à mon coeur, puisqu’il s’agit tout à la fois d’histoire naturelle, d’un auteur romain et d’un livre ancien ! Selon la fiche signalétique ci-haut, c’est le plus vieux livre de la collection du Natural History Museum of London, une édition vénitienne de 1469 du Historia Naturalis de Pline l’Ancien (dont j’ai beaucoup parlé à cause du manga qui lui est consacré). C’est donc l’un des premiers livres a avoir été imprimé en Europe après la Bible et ce à peine trente ans après que Gutenberg ait inventé l’imprimerie à caractères mobiles. J’en suis bien jaloux !

J’ai pris cette photo en visitant l’exposition “Curiosités du monde naturel” qui se tenait au Musée de la Civilisation de Québec du 16 mai 2019 au 19 janvier 2020. J’en ai déjà parlé dans mes plus récents billets “Vendredi nature” (002.020.017024, 031038045052059066080087094108 et 150). Voir aussi le vidéo memento de ma visite.

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Vendredi nature [002.020.150]

Megaloceros giganteus

IMG_5587

[ iPhone 8+, Musée de la Civilisation de Québec, 2019/06/26 ]

Mégalocéros / Giant deer
Irlande, Pléistocène tardif (ca. 13,000 ans), Natural History Museum of London

Selon la fiche signalétique, ce gigantesque panache appartient à la plus large espèce connue de cerf (sa taille à l’épaule pouvait mesurer jusqu’à deux mètres!) qui a disparue à la fin de la glaciation il y a huit millénaires et qui serait l’ancêtre du daim.

J’ai pris cette photo en visitant l’exposition “Curiosités du monde naturel” qui se tenait au Musée de la Civilisation de Québec du 16 mai 2019 au 19 janvier 2020. J’en ai déjà parlé dans mes plus récents billets “Vendredi nature” (002.020.017024, 031038045052059066080087094 et 108). Voir aussi le vidéo memento de ma visite.

[ Translate ]