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Pilfering Apples

@pilferingapples / pilferingapples.tumblr.com

The Kings and Queens Are Met, Ah Bah

You’re probably here for reference material! Here’s a tag list to hopefully make finding that easier! 

Before I get into the tag lists, a note on my Editorial Policy, such as it is:  I truly appreciate corrections, warnings about bloggers/writers operating in bad faith, etc! But if you’re contacting me with actionable info please come off anon or leave me some other way to get hold of you, so I can follow up if I need more info! I don’t post or reblog incorrect or hateful material on purpose, which means if I missed something I probably need more information!  I’m happy to keep a convo private if asked, I just need to be able to verify my sources. 

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combeferre: pontmercy was one of the most annoying people courfeyrac has ever brought to a meeting, I hope I never see him again in my life, napoleons little boot boy

Enjolras 2 years after meeting Marius a few times: I hope Marius comes back soon he was neat

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Well this is finished…how to best describe it? It’s commentary from 1862 about Les Misérables. It does get into the usual complaints about events being unrealistic and the message being disrespectful to god blah blah blah but the author is also very specific about what he dislikes. For example, he makes a chart to show the exact number of pages he thinks are wasted and he lists 80 examples of sentences that he particularly hates. Plus my favorite part is his virgin character counter. 

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do u ever see someone elses headcannon for ur fave character and its like….. i completely respect that u have the right to that headcannon, i will not confront u at all and start needless bullshit over that headcannon…. but i will silently sit here and give you the sideways glance of the century

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reallyelegantsharkfish

me, out loud: hey that’s cool we all have our own interpretations and i support you as part of fandom regardless 

me, in my head: ….but you’re wrong 

I would just like to remind everyone that this is the mature, reasonable, and sensible response.

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shslrealist
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marius! marius my boy! the money (six-hundred-thousand francs) is cosette’s! the (bead money) fortune (made from glass beads) is her’s to live in luxury (glass beads i spent years producing)! marius- you must listen (SIX-HUNDRED THOUSAND FRANCS FROM BEADS), this money came from my factory (glass beads) which had great success (bead money made from being better than german black glass) and had grossed (“Berlin Jewelry” my ass) high sums! MARIUS (twelve hundred beads)! you must enjoy this money (bead money from my bead factory), marius!

 Grantaire followed Enjolras’ eye line and his eyes fell upon a figure walking parallel to them. It was difficult to tell much in the dark, but Enjolras would not have drawn Grantaire’s attention to him if he was merely another anti-physical soul seeking reprieve.
 “Police?” Grantaire whispered back.
 Enjolras nodded.
 “I suspect so – do you see the way he walks? The way he looks about himself so purposefully?”
 Grantaire shrugged, though Enjolras had little hope of noticing the gesture in the dark.
 “Could be looking for a prostitute.”
 “Perhaps I am wrong,” Enjolras whispered. “But let us seek to lose him nonetheless, hm?”

If you’ve spent ever a little time around parts of the internet that deal with elephant advocacy, you’ve probably seen the stock photo above: liquid clearly running out of the inner corner of an elephant’s eye, looking for all the world like crying. It’s pretty much the go-to image for pieces about emotional complexity in elephants, and is generally used to represent the fact that people think they can cry tears of emotion. Except if you’ve spent any time at a zoo or around people who work with elephants, they’ll tell you elephants can’t cry because they don’t have the right physical structures. So what gives? The answer turns out to be, effectively, that going semi-aquatic for a while in your evolutionary history fucks up a perfectly good tear-producing system, and that effective science messaging is really hard. So. Uh. I went down a rabbit hole and spent two weeks researching how elephant eyeballs keep themselves wet. It’s actually pretty fascinating science, but since the above article I wrote is pretty technical, here’s a more casual rundown. 

Humans (and most mammals) produce most of our tear fluid from a big gland under the outer part of our eyebrows. It drains onto the eye, spreads across it when we blink, and normally just drains away into our nasal cavity through those tiny holes in the inner corners of our eyes. If our eyes get irritated, we produce more liquid to flush out whatever is in them; if we’re in an emotional state, the “calm yourself back down” part of the fight-or-flight reflex system makes the gland overproduce liquid that’s full of hormones and painkillers and stuff. In the latter case, the drainage canals in our eyes get overwhelmed by the amount of liquid produced, and you get the whole tears spilling out of your eyes thing. 

Tear fluid isn’t just liquid in your eyes - it’s actually a pretty complicated three-layer setup. Each layer is produced by a different type of gland and has a different purpose: mucous helps make sure tears spread evenly, then you’ve got the actual aqueous stuff which is anti-bacterial, and then oil on top of the watery stuff keeps the liquid from evaporating or falling out of your eyes all the time.

Probably during the period of time when it’s thought  the ancestors of elephants were semi-aquatic, they basically threw that entire system out of the window. Having a modified lacrimal apparatus (the set of glands and canals that are involved in tear production) appears to be a fairly normal thing for semi-aquatic mammals: modern pinnipeds don’t have an oil layer on their tear film, because when you’re underwater a lot you don’t need to worry about your eyeball lubrication evaporating. (This is why pinnipeds, when on land, appear to always be crying - there’s no lipid barrier creating surface tension and keeping the fluid on the eye.) Except…  the ancestors of elephants got rid of the whole water-based tear-producing system, not just the lipid layers. Including the drainage system at the corners of their eyes. And then, eventually, evolved to be terrestrial again. 

So, in absence of the normal glandular system for lubricating their eyes, elephants… appear to have basically hijacked a bunch of the glands they did have left (one on the third eyelid, as well as ones external to the eye that normally lubricate the eyelashes) and started using them to keep their eyes moist. Because these are modified skin glands, they produce really weird fluid - lovely combinations of watery liquid and mucous and sebum. But, because elephants no longer have those drainage systems for tear fluid, it doesn’t have anywhere to go; their watery eyeball goop builds up and then spills out of their eyes at the inner corner. There’s actually a specific groove in the skin that moves it diagonally away from the eye in both species, which is why the spilled fluid tends to look like “tear tracks” rather than just a wet mess near the eye. 

TL;DR: when it looks like an elephant is crying, that’s just the regular eyeball moisture draining out visibly because they don’t have canals to carry it into the nasal passages like most mammals. 

Here’s some other fun stuff about eyeballs and elephants and crying that made the above overview a bit overwhelming when I tried to include them in paragraph form: 

  • Without a lacrimal apparatus, elephants can’t produce emotional tears - the glands that normally get a message from the brain that says ‘hey you should produce sad tears now’ are just straight up non-existent. 
  • The white stuff that accumulates at the corners of their eyes is likely to be the mucous and sebum from the tear fluid that hasn’t evaporated; there’s no academic literature addressing it, but it occurs more on windy days when their eyes would be producing more tear film to remove irritants,and  the elephant care staff I’ve talked to said it’s considered to be a normal occurrence. 
  • The drainage from glands on the side of an elephant’s head is also not crying! It’s fluid seeping from a modified sweat gland, which (in African elephants) is actually triggered by the other end of the fight-or-flight system from crying; they start draining from their temporal glands during periods of high internal arousal, but it’s the “okay time to get amped” sympathetic nervous system that makes it happen - crying is a parasympathetic nervous system response that serves to help humans calm back down after a stressor. 
  • Asian elephants don’t actually generally from their temporal glands during strong emotion! Females rarely, if ever, produce fluid from them, and males generally only have discharge present fro them when they’re in musth. 
  • We don’t actually know a lot about the purpose of the temporal glands in elephants. It’s hypothesized that the secretions from them are some sort of chemical communication, but more research is needed. 
  • EDIT: tear duct appears to be a colloquial term that is used to reference both the little tubes between the gland that creates tears and the surface of your eye, and the duct that drains tears into the nasal cavity of both mammals. This is part of the confusion around the term. Either way, saying “elephants don’t have tear ducts” is an interesting way of phrasing things, because what’s more important is that they also don’t have the gland that creates tears. 

Second TL;DR: Don’t trust information from any “elephant expert” who attempts to claim that elephants cry emotional tears. It’s just straight up anatomically impossible, and the “alternate” (temporal gland drainage) isn’t analogous to the internal states in which humans cry. Anyone who purports that elephants cry emotionally either hasn’t done their research or is purposefully misrepresenting normal elephant physiology as a manipulation tactic. 

For World Elephant Day, I’m bringing back this piece about why elephants can’t cry! The whole thing was fascinating to write and I hope you find it just as interesting to read - and click through to the full writeup if you want to know all the science-y details!

I had been looking for that book again because i remembered it had a great tiger in it, and I remembered correctly:

there’s still another tiger picture i’m trying to find again. similar style, but i believe it’s a woodcut and the tiger’s head is even more spherical.

is it this one

 Fierce Tiger Drawn from Life | Utagawa Kunimaro (1860)

it isn’t but that fucking rules

“They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals,” Sweeney told The Hollywood Reporter. She cannot do what Jennifer Aniston did a generation ago—be on a network television hit that gets replayed and replayed so frequently for so long that her life would unfold like a 300-thread-count sheet before her. Sweeney could have an entire career of choosing only hits, of never taking a break, and still not reach the kind of money the generation before her made more or less passively once their work was done. That passive income, which is the real American dream, is no longer something that the actual artists—not just actors but writers and directors and everyone else who ever made a dime off of residuals—involved in the entertainment business get to enjoy.
The same situation is happening in media, too. Writers are paid less now than they were 50 years ago, for the same work. Ernest Hemingway was paid $1 a word in 1936. That’s more than $21 per word in today’s dollars. The maximum I was ever paid to write for a glossy magazine in print was $2/word, in 2021. No one (and I really mean no one) in media makes $21/word. That compensation just doesn’t exist. You could be the most popular novelist in the world and not make $21/word to report. You could argue that no writer today is as good or popular as Hemingway was at his peak, but no writer today is even making half or a quarter of what he made, and writers only ever get so famous. If someone were paid $5/word in 2022—which is something I have never heard of happening and is a full $2 more than than anyone I know has ever been paid per word—that would be a quarter of what Hemingway was paid. That writer would be able to pay their rent and health insurance premiums and tuck some money away in savings off a standard-issue story per month, but again, that lucky writer does not exist.
What this means is that the door a writer could step through to make a career 50 or even 20 years ago, the one opening onto a life where someone who works hard and does well could buy a house on the strength of that work alone, has been slammed shut.
That’s not because there isn’t money to be made in any of these industries, either—not just Sydney Sweeney’s, but mine, too. Some people are making very good money in these fields, and have been for a long time. They just aren’t the people making the art—the product, if you want to think about it like that. They aren’t the people whose names you know, whose lives can upend overnight because of the attention and lack of privacy that fame brings. They are people who profit off art without actually making it.
[…]
There is no argument to be made that Sweeney is destitute. She is still (if we count her house) a millionaire. A Global Wealth Research Report from Credit Suisse reported that there were 22 million millionaires in the United States in 2021. That puts Sweeney in the top 15 percent of the richest people in the United States. I do not want to make a habit of defending millionaires. But people are making far more money than Sweeney for doing work that both demands and contributes far less. Why should any CEO make more than the actresses whose labor and beauty they sell? Why should a second-year management consultant at every major consulting firm make more than every single writer I have ever known? It’s not even a question of principle. People buy things: services and products and experiences and feelings. How is it that the creation and provision of those things is valued so little, when it is so essential?

One of my favorite things we saw during our trip to Iceland was the Njálurefilinn (Njal’s saga tapestry) project at the Icelandic Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur, Iceland. Started in 2013 by two local women, Gunnhildur Edda Kristjánsdóttir and Christina M. Bengtsson, the project invites the public (and tourists) to sew sections of a 90m tapestry that depicts Njal’s saga. The tapestry was designed by Kristín Ragna Gunnarsdóttir and uses the ancient Bayeux stitch with Icelandic yarn dyed with natural materials using traditional techniques. The project is expected to take 6-10 years!

[“I miss the juvenile jail that I was at before I was here. There, you didn’t have to pay for anything. They give you all your hygiene. They give you sweatpants and a sweater. In the adult facility, they’re supposed to give you a state toothpaste and an itty bitty toothbrush the size of your pinkie finger. They’re either always out of it or they don’t bring it. When we shower, if you don’t have your own soap, they give you an itty bitty paper cup — like little med cups that you put pills in — and they fill it up with hand soap. And they expect you to be able to wash your hair and your body with it. It’s really barely enough to wash your hands with.

The money I did have, from my job and from before my mom died, they let the people come garnish my account because of court fines. On those stimulus checks, they sent me the $1,200 and the $600. They took all of that. My account balance says $0. If I spend money I don’t have, that is listed under my balance in red. If I go to the doctor, I will owe the facility $2. I do not go, because I don't have the $2, and I don’t want my account in red. I have lower back issues, and it causes swelling around my bones in my lower back. The pain goes down to my buttocks and the back part of my legs. It will get sometimes to the point I can barely walk. You’re going to go to the doctor, they’ll take $2 from you, and they’ll give you a generic pain pill that doesn’t work and send you back to your cell. It’s pointless. You’re better off just staying in your cell.

They charge you fines for everything. They’ve got a little ID they make us wear. If you break it or lose it, $5. If your shirt’s not tucked in, $20. You spit on the sidewalk, $20. You walk on the grass, $20. That’s how they do it in here: They give you money and figure out how to take it back from you. It would have helped me a lot to be able to save up some money. Now I’m just going to get out and go to a homeless shelter.”]