austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Have you seen the stars tonight?

I went recently to the Popcorn Park Zoo, home of Cocoa the coati whose sponsorship I had thanks to skylerbunny and spent a comfortable time just taking in the atmosphere and listening to people trying to guess what animal was behind the several fences. A few actually read the sign, so they confined themselves to mispronouncing ``coati''. Since I don't feel like working, here's a short summary of guesses people had about what it was, alongside some Cocoa pictures.

Raccoon.  ``Raccoon.'' (A surprisingly uncommon choice, given that it's so reasonable a one.)
Tapir ``Tapir.'' (Who thinks ``tapir'' for any animal, ever, even when looking at a tapir?)
Mongoose. ``Mongoose.'' (Cocoa quietly rolls his eyes and looks over to chefmongoose for rebuttal.)
Fox or skunk. ``Fox or skunk.'' (The heck? Cocoa decides to accept this affront to his dignity if someone will make with the scritches already.)
Cow-a-tee. ``Cow-a-tee.'' (I'm stuck on how someone would read the plaque, correctly guess that it's a three-syllable name, and then put an ``ou'' sound in the first syllable.)
Possum. ``Possum.'' (Cocoa gives serious thought to burrowing out of this state.)

There are more pictures, but I'll save some for tomorrow so as not to overload any particular Friends page and because I'm feeling a little lazy.

Trivia: The 200-inch mirror intended for the Palomar Observatory was first tested in September 1938, using J B L Foucault's ``knife edge'' test --- set a light source at the focus of the mirror, and obstruct it with a knife edge, which should make an entire perfect mirror dim simultaneously. Source: The Perfect Machine: Building The Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence. (I wonder if that test was on Arthur C Clarke's mind when he worked out the scheme for ... ah ... well, it would spoil one of his novels to say which novel it was. It might even spoil it to say there is a novel for which it would be a spoiler. This is hard to talk about.)

Currently Reading: Asimov's Mysteries, Isaac Asimov.


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