Thursday, August 24, 2017

Coffee and Provocation

The National Monument to Robert E. Lee
The national monument to Robert E. Less is massive, it's visited by millions of people, and it's located just two miles from my house.  No one wants to take it down.

No Words
Fire fighters rescued pigs from a fire and the farmer thanked the fire fighters with sausage made from the rescued pigs.

The Bird That Never Was
A new study suggests the extinct Hunter Island Penguin of Tasmania, described from bones in 1983, was actually a composite of three different living species and thus never actually existed. As I have noted in the past, this kind of thing is not entirely new. Not only are there far fewer extinct species than most people think, but most of extinct species are endemic birds on small Pacific Islands that were made extinct by the introduction of rats and cats. A few species thought to be extinct may have never existed at all, as the single individuals known may have actually been hybrids, sports, or misidentified versions of more common animals.

The History of White Supremacy in America
It's longer than you think and it's not over (Rolling Stone).

Marketing Meets Robotics
From an article entitled Sex robot makers claim lonely customers are marrying their dolls: "RealDoll’s flagship product, called Harmony, comes with 42 nipple color options and 14 different dishwasher-friendly labia to choose from."

The Moral Cost of Cats
From Smithsonian comes an article on "The Moral Cost of Cats": "Americans own about 86 million cats, or one cat for every three households. That makes cats more popular, petwise, than dogs... The majority of them — about two-thirds to three-fourths, surveys say — are your sweet, harmless, cuddly housecats, which seldom set foot outside.... The other one-quarter to one-third, though, aren’t so harmless. These are outdoor pet cats, and they are murderers. Equipped with laser-quick paws and razor-tipped claws, these natural born killers are the stuff of every bird and small mammal’s nightmare."

Science Makes a Churk
In 1960, scientists with the poultry research branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C., successfully created a chicken-turkey hybrid they called a "churk." Only three male churks were created, and they were mentally and physically weak and had to be kept in a separate pen from the chickens and turkeys in order to prevent them from being pecked to death. A core problem is that chickens have six pairs of chromosomes, and turkeys have nine. Since each offspring receives one-half of each pair from its mom and dad, the odd number of 15 chromosomes meant the hybrid birds had no chance of having their genes paired appropriately.

A Trippy Fish
Eating a Sarpa salpa, a type of sea bream known as the "dreamfish," can cause intense hallucinations.

The Magic in Magic Mushrooms
The psilocybin in magic mushrooms is actually an insect repellant.

Farming the Ocean Efficiently
Scientists say that if we farm small locations in the ocean that are "hot spots,” we could get all the seafood we need. Aquaculture already makes up more than 50 percent of the world’s seafood production, but most of this is done in inland ponds. Mariculture is done in open pens in the ocean, but right now it's mostly shellfish.  Scientists, however, say a very small bit of the right ocean is all that is needed to produce phenomenal amounts of fish.

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