Monday, July 11, 2005

PD James, Monarch Butterflies, solar powered radio

Jon told us about a BBC Radio4 program on forensic language analysis, presented by P. D. James, so we listened to it. Some analyses of recordings are definitive: the analyst can say what a mumbled or poorly recorded word is. At other times, analysis of words and phrases (the so-called register) reveals that a suspect's oral confession was in fact read from a statement prepared by the police. And so on. Grist for the crime novelist's mill, I suppose, but also a salutary reminder that every person's language exhibits sufficient idiosyncracies that attempts to influence a suspect's statement are likely to be detected.

Marie planted an asclapius last year, having heard that it was a good one for attracting Monarch butterflies. Earlier this evening, we saw four Monarch caterpillars having a good feed. Just now, Marie told me that they were noticeably fatter, the li'l gluttons. They will have turned into chrysalises by the time Bria and Connor get here. With luck, they will be able to the chrysalises. Asclapius is a shrubby plant about 2ft tall, with large ovoid leaves on the stems, and umbels of small white flowers. The Monarch caterpillars like the leaves, which must be extraordinarily fattening for Monarchs, as there is little evidence of their voraciousness, yet they thrive.

I bought a small solar-powered radio from Lee Valley some time ago. Not exactly good in iffy reception areas, such as our deck (where several reflected signals intersect), but it will run without batteries, and without turning the built-in charger, so it's a Useful Tool. Sound is tinny but clear enough, and not very loud even at max setting. Recommended. Look it up in your Lee Valley catalog. We listend to Sound Advice while eating supper which tells you how late we ate.)

That's enough.