have you ever wondered what that long stick with a ball on the end of it that sign painters use to steady their hands when they’re lettering is called? i know i have… for a long time… i’ve known what it is used for, and i’ve actually made a couple of them (the most recent one is a piece of dowl with a rubber ball on the end, that i made to assist with the Ganesha the car project), but i didn’t know what it was called before yesterday. it’s called a mahlstick (also called a “maulstick”, from the dutch malen – to paint. definition here), and here is the next logical step in mahlstick evolution, which is a pretty slick idea indeed. now we both know.

Seattle Art Car Blowout – i went to a “djazz djam” at gasworks park on saturday, and when i went back to my car, there was a thing that looked, at first, like a ticket on the window, which i thought was strange since i parked in a public, no-pay parking lot… but when i looked at it more closely, it was an invitation to be a part of this… which, it turns out, will be very convenient, as i need to find a place close to the center of the universe to park while i’m playing with the fremont philharmonic at the solstice parade. the “djazz djam”, by itself, was really interesting… i went to it as the result of responding to someone in a LJ community (i don’t remember if the actual post was in or or or some other community) whose post included “seattle’s most fabulous horn players” in the subject line. well, it turns out that i know the guy who is the motivating force behind it. we were sort of housemates for a short period of time, 25 years ago, and i haven’t seen or heard from or about him since then. i’d be tempted to say it is because we are former bellinghamsters, or that it is because it’s seattle, or even because it’s me, and i attract things like that on a regular basis, but it goes to support frank zappa’s theory that “there are forty people in this world, and five of them are hamburgers.”

i posted yesterday from edinburgh, tristan de cunha, and what came up when i clicked the “Location” link was edinburgh, scotland, which is not the same place… edinburgh, tristan de cunha is 37° 4′ south latitude, 12° 19′ west longitude, and it is the largest city (which isn’t saying much) on the most remote island in the world. livejournal, if you’re going to post locations, then at least make them in the correct hemisphere… 8/

Dolphins ‘have their own names’

Dolphins communicate like humans by calling each other by name, scientists in Fife have found.

The mammals are able to recognise themselves and other members of the same species as individuals with separate identities.

St Andrews University researchers studying in Florida discovered bottlenose dolphins used names rather than sound to identify each other.

The three-year-study was funded by the Royal Society of London.

Dr Vincent Janik, of the Sea Mammal Unit at St Andrews University, said they conducted the research on wild dolphins.

He said: “We captured wild dolphins using nets when they came near the shore.

“Then in the shallow water we recoded their whistles before synthesising them on a computer so that we had a computer voice of a dolphin.

“Then we played it back to the dolphins and we found they responded. This showed us that the dolphins know each other’s signature whistle instead of just the voice.

“I think it is a very exciting discovery because it means that these animals have evolved the same abilities as humans.

“Now we know they have labels for each other like we do.”

The research was conducted in Sarasota Bay off Florida’s west coast.

The findings are published in the US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).