Category Archives: creature conflicts

They are the 97%

Created by Kira Treibergs and Laurel Heibert of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and undoubtedly already appearing on a Facebook page near you.


Brian’s Links 26 Sept 2011: Life, Death, Reproduction, and Brains

Utterly amazing video clip about living bridges made from the roots of strangler figs in India’s Meghalaya region.

Ohio State helps out the Little Sisters of the Poor (after belittling their football-playing powers).

Rod Dreher is against the death penalty and he thinks other conservatives should be too. Why? Because conservatives are supposed to find government to be incompetent. Allowing capital punishment gives an incompetent body the power to make the ultimate decision: to kill.

George Monbiot calls out the academic publishing racket.

Aristotelian biology gets some respect. Yes, those flies functionally only have four legs…

The teleology of project Nim Chimpsky: no, that’s not what that’s for! Not for chimps to use cats that way, nor for humans to use chimps that way.

Organophosphate pesticides in food linked to ADHD in kids. Bad stuff, just confirms my Toxins Everywhere thesis: we need to get to work.

There are always plenty of sperm to go around… or… what could possibly go wrong when you discover (or do not) that you have 150 half-siblings…

On religion being “behind the times.” (Because democracy is so 5th century BC…)

US healthcare to target Down syndrome for elimination?

Brian Greene (the physicist, not me) says there is no afterlife. Considering he’s always talking about invisible dimensions to which we have no sensory access, I find that to be an interesting assertion.

Always feed your pets, or they might eat you.

Human brains have been decreasing in size for millennia.  Why? Well, we’ve domesticated ourselves, and domesticated animals don’t need big brains.

Moose (“elk” in Europe) gets drunk on apples and gets stuck in a tree. Silly moose.

Lastly a video on incredible differences in color perception across culture. Fascinating implication for culture-related brain plasticity of perception, and – perhaps – moral perception too.


Brian’s Links 11 April 2011

Forgiving your murderers before they kill you. This article links to a free e-book called “Why Forgive?” and relates to a new movie – Of Gods and Men – about monks in Algeria killed by terrorists in 1996.

Have you ever wanted to flood the world?  Ever wondered what it woudl look like if the sea level rose 15 meters?  Well here is an interactive map of sea level rise!  WOW!

Oh, and the real reason for the war in Libya?  Well, just saving poor rebels from a maniacal dictator is hardly enough.  We haven’t started bombing Yemen or Bahrain, after all.  A real war requires a slightly more adequate adversary.  Why?  Because what good wars really do is advertise weapons systems.

Listen to your ancestors: they might tell you to build above the last tsunami line.

A Dominican and one of the founders of the GTU goes to hang out at the mall.  Dominican = Order of Preachers… imagine that!  In the mall!

Do you have behavioral problems?  Well have we got the pill for you!  The morality pill.

Bolivia gives equal rights to nature.  While this sounds like it could be a good idea, I can just see it going terrible wrong.  But I’ll let someone else write the science fiction movie for that one.

Whoops. The Catholic World Youth Day Youth Catechism recommends contraception.  Someone should have checked that final draft a little more closely.

Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning’s treatment by Obama’s administration is condemned by Obama’s former Constitutional law professor at Harvard. Ouch.

And the UN condemns Manning’s treatment too. Yeah, that’s right, condemned like they condemn 3rd world dictators, except its us.

Penultimately, a new commandment I shall give you. Thou shalt not bring thine own lunch to school. It might be unhealthy, so thou shall not eat of it.

Finally, a quiz.  Is it Ayn Rand or Dr. Doom?

Okay, really lastly now!  A gigantic wooden Japanese xylophone in the forest.


Nuclear Junk

National Geographic has some amazing images (go to their website and scroll through them to see) of HOT nuclear waste being transported in Europe.  Those little atoms can do some interesting things… I’ve always found the idea of innately warm inorganic material to be rather disturbing.

There are some interesting related stories too, such as the one Marilyn referred to below on the “silver lining” of the mushroom cloud – it might temporarily ease global warming!  And another discussing radioactive groundwater leaching out of an abandoned salt mine/nuclear waste dump in Germany.

And not to be left out, we have radioactive stuff right here in California, of course!  Radioactive beagle residue at UC Davis.  I used to know a radiation officer who had been keeping track of the radioactive plume spreading in the groundwater from these experiments.

Such are the hazards of modern life, I suppose.  We gain power and we mess up before we figure out how to use it properly.  Personally, I think we need to try a little harder not to make our planet poisonous to advanced life forms.  Cockroaches can take a lot of radiation.  Humans not so much.

UPDATE

Just found this fascinating movie about radioactive storage in Finland.  Storage for 100,000 years.  Something for future generations to remember us by…

UPDATE

Reactors are melting down in Japan right now.  These power plants should never have been built in these locations.


On being in the wrong place at the wrong time

At 3:30 Tuesday morning, police shot and killed a mountain lion in the “Gourmet Ghetto” area of Berkeley (just a few blocks from Chez Panisse and a number of other trendy eateries).   They had been tracking the cat through residential backyards for about an hour after someone reported seeing it in a vacant lot.  They killed her after deciding that she posed a significant threat to public safety.  At 3 a.m.?  When she was clearly trying to evade human beings?

My first thought was one that many other readers had: why couldn’t authorities simply tranquilize and relocate her?  They had been tracking her for an hour while she was in command of her senses.  Surely they could have tracked her another 10-15 minutes while a drug kicked in and debilitated her?  But that was never even a consideration:

Berkeley police don’t carry tranquillizer (sic) darts, and they aren’t standard issue for wardens either, (Fish and Game Warden Patrick) Foy said. “We don’t carry tranquillizers (sic) drugs in our patrol trucks,” he said. “There are some instances where you have time and you can get the tranquillizers (sic), but that’s not at three in the morning.” Continue reading


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