Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coffee and Provocation

  • Thank God for Hang Fire:
    4The bad news is that American bullets are being used against us by the Taliban.
    4The good news is that those bullets have a very high rate of hang fire due to the fact that they are 50-year old Chinese munitions, repackaged in Albania and sold to the U.S. military by a 21-year old kid in Miami for $298 million. Thanks Dick Cheney! Thanks George W. Bush! Thanks Don Rumsfeld!

  • Paranoids for Conservation!
    Gun nuts, survivalists and paranoids are hoovering up guns, and taxes on those gun purchases are helping to fund wildlife land conservation. During the last quarter of 2008, the Treasury collected $27.6 million from sales of pistols and revolvers, $35.0 million for long guns (rifles and shotguns) and $35.5 million for ammunition. Compared to the same quarter in 2007, collections were up 70.1 percent for handguns, 11.4 percent for long guns and 31.1 percent for ammunition.

  • Screw Civil Liberties and Pass the Ammunition!
    Remember the right wing militias? Glenn Greenwald does. Over on Salon, he writes:
    "Bill Clinton's election in 1992 gave rise to the American 'militia movement': hordes of overwhelmingly white, middle-aged men from suburban and rural areas who convinced themselves they were defending the American way of life from the 'liberals' and 'leftists' running the country by dressing up in military costumes on weekends, wobbling around together with guns, and play-acting the role of patriot-warriors. . . . What was most remarkable about this allegedly 'anti-government' movement was that -- with some isolated and principled exceptions -- it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory. Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional -- limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending -- they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on. " ... Read the whole thing.

  • Tastes Like Chicken I:
    Heather Houlahan over at Raised by Wolves has a great piece on hybrids and heterosis that is well worth the read, especially if you are a dog owner or a chicken eater. And while you are cruising the family tree of her chickens, click on the picture of the Sebright rooster at the bottom of yesterday's post about John Henry Walsh. What a pretty bird, eh? Strictly ornamental, but a nice addition to a small flock anyway.

  • Tastes Like Chicken II:
    A French fossil expert says he think he know
    what happened to all those Neanderthals that once roamed the earth: We ate them! Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la R├ęcherche Scientifique writes in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences that his analysis of Neanderthal remains shows that they were butchered by modern humans and that we used their teeth used to make necklaces.

  • 177 Million Cars Off the Road:
    On May 19, President Barack Obama unveiled new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. In the future, car and trucks are going to have to get better gas mileage. Right now the standard is 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 24 mpg for light trucks.
    Starting in 2012, fuel efficiency will rise more than 5 percent each year. New standards for 2016: 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks. This little change is the energy equivalent of taking 177 million of today’s cars off the road.

  • PETA Time!
    Michael Vick is getting out of jail. No word yet on when he does his PETA commercial. Dog killers of the world unite!

  • There's More to Living Than Longevity:
    That said, how long animals live is a matter of small interest, and the numbers are often quite surprising.

  • Words from the Wise:
    My father was recently writing aphorisms for the grandkids, but Frank Warren, the fellow behind the Post Secret blog, figured out the lazy way to do it. In order to prepare his commencement address for St. Mary’s College in Maryland, he asked members of the graduating class to write a one-sentence response to the question “What do my classmates, and I, need to hear on Graduation Day?” Here are a few of the answers that came in over the transom. 1: Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks. 2: It’s okay to fail – learn from it and you will succeed. 3: It’s better to be pissed-off than pissed-on. 4: Wash your hands religiously. 5: In the real world, you must wear shoes.

  • Noodling from Two Sides of the Same Planet:
    Catfish noodling in America and Rock Python noodling in Cameroon.

  • Only Domestic, Please:
    Foreign porn banned from Egypt

  • Protecting Heritage and History:
    James Marchington notes that Arab falconers are making a submission to have falconry recognised by UNESCO as an 'Intangible Cultural Heritage' and wonders whether shooting is missing a trick? Shooting? That's a good deal more legal and less culturally unique to the U.K. than terrier work. But don't blame me if the British still don't get it -- I once tried to elevate working terriers as an Icon of England.

  • Have You Ever Seen . . . ?
    A Congregation of Alligators, a Shrewdness of Apes, a Sleuth of Bears, an Obstinacy of Buffalo, an Exaltation of Larks, a Flutter of Butterflies, a Murder of Crows, a Wake of Buzzards, a Clowder of Cats, an Army of Caterpillars, a Peep of Chickens, an Intrusion of Cockroaches, a Convocation of Eagles, a Mob of Emus a Business of Ferrets, a Leash of Foxes, an Unkindness of Ravens, a Crash of Rhinoceroses, a Wreck of Seabirds, a Prickle of Porcupines, a Pride of Lions, a Leap of Leopards, a Lounge of Lizards, or a Cackle of Hyenas? No? Me either.

Barack and Bo, May 12, South Lawn. Click for bigger.


The Dog House said...

Glad to see you picked up that chicken post... I was going to forward it to you and somewhere along the way, well... life interfered.

Seriously though, I'm stuck on those average lifespan numbers. They can not possibly be correct. Cats 25? Dogs 22? *Average*?

The oldest dog I've ever known personally was 24. The oldest cats were 22 (three of them). And my job brings me in contact with about 100 pet owners a day. So where are all these ancient dogs and cats?

This, of course, brings serious doubts upon the rest of the numbers...

PBurns said...

The trick with the table at the link is to ignore the text above it, as the person who wrote that is confused because the English language is far from precise. The problem is that term "lifespan" means nothing without the words "average" or "maximum" in front of it. This is a table of maximum observed lifespans. The average lifespan of many of these animals is a fraction of their potential (or maximum) lifespan due to disease, accident, predation, etc.


Viatecio said...

I wasi ntrigued by that life span thing too. In order for that to be an "average" though, doesn't that mean there is are members of said species that live longer and shorter than that? I've seen some horses between 35-40, but rarely above...and I'm wondering about that dog age too. And our guinea pig only lived until 4, but she woke up one morning in severe pain and couldn't walk, so who knows how long she would've lived if she had stayed healthy. Maybe I'm just being the snobby researcher, but I would like peer-reviewed evidence instead of a "fun facts/trivia" page...

And holy wow, that catfish video! It's no wonder I have that rule where I won't swim anywhere if I can't see the bottom! Dinner must've been great that night.

Gina Spadafori said...

Damn it, Patrick, I'm too busy today to read all this great stuff.

The picture of the Pres and Bo is freakin' adorable.

HTTrainer said...

NPR interviewed Wayne Pacelle today about Michael Vick, what a missed opportunity to put the squeeze on the HSUS. But then NPR misses so many opportunities that I wonder if it worth it to let them know they dropped the ball, baton and everything else again.

Sheila said...

It's wild that reptiles and birds live so long compared to mammals...

foxstudio said...

"Have you ever seen....?"

Ah, the venereal game. The seminal book on collective terms was written by one James Lipton, who is better known these days as the host of Inside the Actor's Studio.