Saturday, June 30, 2018

Piqued Enough to Peek into Offbeat LinkedIn Video Posts

On LinkedIn news feeds, what would be offbeat, you might wonder? From, "differing from the usual or expected; unconventional". Let's first consider a basic premise about LinkedIn. Google answers for my query about what LinkedIn included several hits to non-LinkedIn URLs and also common q/as. Best answer I consider is from
a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. … A LinkedIn member’s profile page, which emphasizes skills, employment history and education, has professional network news feeds …
My LI news feeds have included a few videos that have intrigued me for entertainment value. Imho, they don't have anything to do with the working world, but they sure have been entertaining! Another commonality, besides non-work entertainment, is tendency for skimpiness of posts' intro details. Thus, the paucity of info piques my curiosity to dig for alternative info or extra details. (Dang! Seems that the noun form for curious should be spelled "curiousity"!)

The LinkedIn URLs for the posts definitely work for members logged in. Only one seems to require login or joining. Maybe those LI links work for public visiting for a limited time until LinkedIn detours to a join window.

The videos pertain to the following topics:

 A skier for all surfaces (Audi Quattro ad)
 Anna's Hummingbird, which displays dazzling iridescence
 Dragon fruit
 Wednesday Addams giving Lurch dance lessons
 Manta rays playfully leaping out of water
 ZeNa Attachment, different kind of toilet paper roll replacer

Audi Quattro Ad with Compiled Clips of Extraordinary Skier on Dissimilar Surfaces

The LinkedIn poster's video runtime is 2:52. I wanted more details about the video scenes and whether Audi used different athletes. I was surprised to learn the skier was the same guy! Visit "French skier Candide Thovex reaches new heights in Audi advert". The extended video is viewable there.
Thovex ups the stakes, travelling to the far reaches of Europe, Asia and America in search of new and challenging terrain. He floats along water, skis down the Great Wall of China and whizzes through the jungle …
Thovex and the rest of the team had to contend with bad weather in northern Europe, damaged equipment from sand dunes, blazing hot temperatures and tricky visibility in the jungle and obstacles from the rocks on a still-active volcano.
Anna's Hummingbird, which displays fascinating iridescence

From the intro text—
when the light reaches the bird, called Anna's hummingbird, it passes through two kinds of feather filaments called barbules and is reflected in different colors ... which gives the impression that the bird changes steadily.
The video piqued my interest to find additional Anna's Hummingbird videos on YouTube:
"Anna's Hummingbird Macro 4k 60FPS", "Stunning up-close footage of an Anna's Hummingbird"

Dragon Fruit Harvesting

The topic intrigued me enough that I Goggled it and found "What Is Dragon Fruit and Does It Have Health Benefits?"—"Its taste has been described as a slightly sweet cross between a kiwi and a pear." Coincidentally, a well-known beverage purveyor is releasing some dragon fruit beverages very soon.

Wednesday Addams Giving Lurch Dance Lessons

Note: The LinkedIn post's URL opens a join window, unlike other LinkedIn URLs that I list.  BTW, vlicking works if you're a member and log in first.

"The Wednesday Dance" YouTube site provides more description—"Wednesday Addams teaches lurch to dance in Season 2 Episode 29 Lurch's Grand Romance". (Lisa Loring is Wednesday Addams, so adorable with her dance moves!). IMDB info shows the episode released on April 1, 1966, making Lisa only 8 years old then.

Mantas Playfully Leaping Out of Water

I felt the post had very little info and wanted to see and know more. I found a similar video about mantas leaping out of water. "INCREDIBLE FLYING RAYS!" from BBC had added bonuses of pelicans and a large group of rays. In further searching, I ran across the apparently full BBC video that the poster seemed to have excerpted—BBC's "Mobula Rays belly flop to attract a mate - Shark: Episode 2 Preview - BBC One". The synchronization at the BBC's video seems to start at ~1;23 and stop at ~2:19.

About the time that I wanted to find more info about the rays, an old curiosity resurfaced--what's the difference between a manta ray and a stingray?'s "Difference between Manta Ray and Stingray" has helpful sections that describe mantas, stingrays, with a nice pic of each. The site also has sections describing similarities and differences.

More videos to consider:
"Manta ray, a giant of the ocean", "COOL STINGRAYS", National Geographic's videos for each ray—"Gigantic School of Rays | Untamed Americas",  "Stingray | National Geographic"

Stingray Infamy—One impaled Steve Irwin in the heart and killed him. "September 4, 2006: 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin killed by stingray while filming TV show".
Attacks by stingrays are extremely rare – and while their barbs are coated in venom, it was the strike to the heart, not the poison, that caused Irwin’s death. ... "They have one or two barbs in the tails which are not only coated in toxic material but are also like a bayonet,” explained Australian wildlife filmmaker David Ireland.
Ay, caramba! As I was wrapping up and ready to publish this article, I stumbled onto "Mobula" in the BBC video title. It turns out mantas are now reclassified. From "Manta rays reclassified as mobula after DNA study":
Manta birostris (the giant, or oceanic manta) and Manta alfredi (reef manta) are no more. Instead, they are now known as Mobula birostris and Mobula alfredi. … NOTE: A possible third species – Manta birostris sensu, is yet to be formerly reclassified but is currently under DNA examination by Dr Andrea Marshall of the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
I think it's going to be awhile before I use the term "mobula ray". Too used to "manta ray".

ZeNa Attachment (Innovative Replacement for Toilet Paper Holder)

The design was interesting for one-hand switching out, quite a time-saver. I wanted to find more info. At KickStarter's "ZeNa Attachment: Update Your Existing Toilet Paper Holder", the following info:
Funding Unsuccessful
This project's funding goal was not reached on October 5, 2017.
A few days later, I re-watched the Cheddar video and noticed the blurb at about 30 seconds into the Cheddar video about project not reaching its Kickstarter goal.

I don't foresee the end of offbeat video posts to LinkedIn. Fun to watch and poke for extraneous info!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Spiky-head, Multi-branch, Blooming Yucca (Elata/Soaptree)

This is one rare article that I'm not totally convinced of my subject's ID. The 3-tile composite image shows an entire multiple-branch plant and enlargements of two prominent features—end of a branch with leaves radiating out from the center (rosette), and one of the bloom stalks. At one time, I thought the plant might be a Joshua tree because of spiky heads and multiple branches.

From “Not all yuccas are Joshua trees”:
Known as soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) because a sudsy cleansing agent was once pounded from of its roots by Native Americans, this is another widespread yucca found from Arizona east through New Mexico and Texas and south into Mexico. … Unlike the Joshua tree that has rigid leaves, the leaves of the soaptree yucca are pliable and move about on windy days. More about soaptree and soapweed later.

Requests for ID Help

I'd sent requests, accompanied by image or link to image to the following types of recipients:
  • Techie email group
  • LinkedIn (Public + Twitter)
  • Neighbor who might know someone knowledgeable
  • Neighborhood email group
Techie Group Help

I received two responses. Dave's Garden was helpful. iNaturalist seemed more overwhelming than I had in mind to poke around in.

LinkedIn (Public + Twitter) Help

In the two months my post was up, LI reported 139 views, 3 likes, and no comments. I'm not sure how LI knows people "view" posts. My post included "Help w/IDing this blooming yucca plant pls?" and a 2-tile image—too short to require "...see more" expansion.

Neighbor Help

A neighbor who retired from working at the Sierra Club had a friend who tried to help. That friend also requested help from others. He and friends agree the plant is "likely" elata yucca (soaptree), and provided a yahoo image site. The range he provided includes areas "far W. TX, S. NM, & S. AZ". Maybe the plant is a bit far from its normal area, and that's why it's not common in my neck of the woods.

Neighborhood Group Help

One person prefaced info by first modestly declaring no expertise about yuccas. However, the replier, based on looking at the picture and Wildflower Center database, opted for yucca elata (soaptree).
A helpful suggestion was entering "yucca" and space in the "Enter a Plant Name" field. This action causes prospective terms to pop up. Another possible action was to try "Smarty Plants Question Topics".

Comical Attempts to ID Yucca By Using Google Images

I ran across someone I've seen often on my neighborhood treks who suggested I Google for how to have Google help ID an image and try it. From Google’s support page:
Upload an image
On or any Images results page, click Search by image Search by image.
Click Upload an image.
Click Choose file.
Select the image from your computer.
Sounded good and easy! I uploaded a lasso-selection of the plant.
Google guessed "cushion", and provided images of cushions.

I uploaded a 2nd image, this time a full-size unmodified one. (Locational identifiers blanked for this blog article.)
Google guessed "pond pine", and provided images of pond pines.

I uploaded a 3rd image, a closer-in view of the leftside leaf branch, uncropped and unmodified.
Google guessed "agave azul" and provided images of "agave azul". Well, not ok.

Attempts to ID Yucca By Using YouTube

I decided to see if YouTube might help ("how to use Google images to ID unknown item").
In these cases, it seems that the images might have been more obvious than mine. I abandoned further pursuit.

Soapy Syllable—Soaptree vs. Soapweed Yuccas

While Googling "yucca elata", I noted the common name is soaptree yucca. However, I've also encountered "soapweed" in some articles that described elata/soaptree. Turns out that soapweed yucca is the common name for "yucca glauca". Soaptree and soapweed yucca are not the same yuccas, and do not resemble each other.

Dave's Garden's "Introduction to Yuccas" has good sections about these two types of yucca and pictures for contrast.
Yucca elata (Soaptree Yucca) This southwest U.S. and Mexican native ... short tree Yucca with a reliable branching habit with multiple heads of thin, pale green leaves with distinctive fibers along their margins. The leaves have sharp tips but are fairly flexible .... It has cold hardiness down to about zone 6a (-10F or -23C). This plant needs very well draining soil and full sun.
Yucca glauca (Soap Weed, Bear Grass or Great Plains Yucca) This small, stemless or short-stemmed, wispy to spiny plant is a cold hardy native of the Midwestern U.S. .... Some varieties are somewhat soft and have relatively harmless leaves while others have dagger-like, stiff and incredibly sharp blades. This is probably the hardiest of the Yuccas, growing happily in the snow-covered Rocky Mountains where temperatures dip down to -30F or -34C.

Confusion Over Images of Yuccas with Spiky Heads, Multiple Branches

As if differentiating soaptree and soapweed weren't enough for my wee yucca knowledge, Dave's Garden site included additional pictures of spiky heads of leaves besides yucca elata. The following sections show at least one picture each of leaves that radiate from a "head" center.
  Yucca faxoniana (syn. Yucca carnerosana; Eve's Needle or Giant Spanish Dagger)
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca rigida (Blue or Silver-leaf Yucca)
  Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca).

As for multiple branches, the following sections show at least one picture.
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree)
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca grandiflora (Large Flowered Yucca)
  Yucca filifera (Tree Yucca or Peter-pan Palm)
  Yucca rigida (Blue or Silver-leaf Yucca)

Unless or until I hear from someone who declares me incorrect, I'll go with the flow that my picture is probably of a yucca elata (soaptree). :-)
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