Monday, August 15, 2011

hahahaha I needed a good laugh after Perry

Reposted from:

oh, no, not again

(p.s. I know nothing about "Young Turks")

I have to say watching Glenn Beck and Gov. Rick Perry confront each other aggressively is rather fun to see, especially since they are two extensions of one organ. Which organ? Haha

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Won't stand my ground, and must back down"

First I really apoligize to anyone reading this blog who is not from America: welcome, and forgive me.
If you are from America, please forgive me for almost assuming that America and the United States are interchangable words.

But, anyone in the Americas is likely affected by what is going on in the U.S. Actually, all the world's nations are probably affected, but to a lesser degree.

Anyway, listening to President Obama's speech today (8/8/11) I heard one item that suprised me, and bothered me. For all his downplay of critical comments (such as "far from constructive, to say the least" rather than a straight-forward criticism).

What he said is that the problem is that "some" people in Washington are "drawing a line in the sand."
Generally, I am not a fan of the way the Tea Party pushes things. But I *am* a stong supporter of standing for your opinions, holding onto your values and your sense of self. I mean, I want people to be open-minded about such things and especially to not be a dick about it all. And I am very unhappy the Tea Party pushed it this close, but the unthinkingly pluralistic view that everyone should conform I cannot condone. And how ironic that pluralism would seek to smother divergent opinions.

I thought this online artcile was interesting (albeit from a partisan website):

Ecology Today! and Renaissance Explorers, too.

This was a fun story I heard on NPR today:
click to play

The author's point, in a circuitous fashion, seems to be one I whole-heartedly agree with, merely from a different understanding. I have added his insights to my own. Basically, he has said that Columbus began a world-wide monumental casscade of changes, perhaps unrivaled since the extiction of the dinosaurs (it has been proposed -- not in this interview -- that global climate change might have similar consequences for the natural world). He says up to 1/5 of the world's human population may have died within the 100 years following, and along with the American/African slave trade and other changes, the worldwide distribution of humanity was altered astonishingly rapidly -- unheardof rapidity in historical terms.
And humanity was a very visible but small part of the whole change in the Earth's lifeforms. He talks about earthworms, potatoes, malaria, and horses.

Anyway, real quick, in my own study of history, this period, loosely termed 'The Renaissance Explorers' is what I have long identified as my personal favorite interest. This term is broader that simply Columbus, and includes the likes of Prince Henry the Navigator, Vasco de Game, Cadamosto, Magellan, and many others.

and for more information on past US malaria:

and for some cool Emu drumming sounds, 0:25 seconds into the video (unrelated to the post, otherwise)
(please note: the audio here does not catch the bass sounds well, and maybe a person must hear an emu in person to appreciate the full sensation)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reaganomics is still with us

I, speaking for myself, had thought that Reaganomics had gone the way of the Cold War. Meaning, gone.
However, I have heard recently (and correct me if I am wrong) that before Reagan, the American government taxed the rich and the corporations pretty heavily, and that Reaganomics did away with that. I have further been given to understand that our current tax system has nowhere near approached the pre-Reagan balance (I am sure "balance" is a debatable term to use here); that the top income earners in the U.S. have a relatively weak tax burden, a heritage of the Reagan administration.

Well, I thought it was interesting.

Another thought: I can't see how the massive bailouts of the banks and such went through. I have heard a few people blame all the foreign interventions (wars) for the massive expenditures this country has had. Well, I'd be curious to know what was more expensive, the Iraq war or the idiotic "to big to fail" bailouts.

zoology: "oh, where'd you come from?"

I consider myself pretty knowledgable about zoological matters, and for good reason, but I am thrown offguard regularly with the immense diversity of our third jewel from the sun.

Recently, I met my first tamandua. Basically, a tree anteater.

I had no idea such an animal existed. Well, it makes sense (in a way I will describe later). I had always heard (well, read) that xenarthra was made up of armadillos, sloths, and anteaters. Well, I guess that was over-simplified.

This is the most recent (and the most spectacular) of my suprise visitors. The tamandua follows the triops, the solfugids, the chinese paddlefish, and amphiuma.

Perhaps I have been too casual with my terminilogy. Xenarthra is a zoological taxonomic grouping within the larger grouping of mammailia. It is equivalent in heirarchy to cetacea (whales and dolphins, etc.) or to carnivora (tigers and wolves and such). Xenarthans are exclusively South American (plus some Mesoamerica), and one of the older classifications.

The whole reason the tamanduas are especially fascinating is that they represent, to me anyway, a "missing link" between sloths and the rest of xenathra. I never really saw how sloths were closely related to armadillos, but now the tamandua makes things fall into place taxonomically. You see, their hooked claws remind me strikingly of the sloths, even though their body is wholly anteater.

Another cool thing about them is that they are apparantly quite common within their natural range. Which makes it even more suprising they never got on my radar.