Some of our early _floss posts

So I'm going to be on the radio tomorrow afternoon (5 pm Pacific time)—on a great show produced from the OC called Writers on Writing. And thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web, you'll be able to tune in via live stream, iffin' you'd like, or catch it later on an iTunes podcast. (On the KUCI website, click the stream link in the upper right-hand corner.)
And while most of the interview will be about my first novel, Behind Everyman, there will also be some talk of a novel I just finished called The Art of Love, as well as some talk about the _floss. So I thought it might be a good time to drop some trivia about the history of the _floss. For those who can tune in tomorrow, the first one to hear me drop a related _floss-factoid on the show and enter it in the comments below will receive an autographed copy of my book, and maybe even a _floss t-shirt (if Mangesh is feeling generous).

The early daze:

Mangesh posted the very first entry on this blog, way back on March 1st, 2006. It was about a rather sick cat-piano of sorts (what's with this site's infatuation with cats?!)

The first non-Mangesh post to the blog was by John Green on March 31st, 2006, and had something to do with Descartes looking like Inigo Montoya.

Technically, you might say March 31st was also the day the blog went live, since all the other early bloggers (including yours truly) also posted a couple times that day. One of my first was about the then-upcoming Pixar release, Cars.

Will's first post, a short one about very long things, including the world's longest animal, the Ribbon Worm, is also worth noting, as is this one from Mary on a cool application that let's you plug in your own text to Einstein's e=mc2 chalkboard.

Back then, the only comments we were getting were from ourselves, but a little over a year later and we now have over 2,500 posts and nearly 12,500 comments! So thanks to all you loyal readers out there and tune in tomorrow at 5pm Pacific Time (8 pm EDT) for more trivia.

Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

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