Sunday, 5 June 2016

Entertainment stuff from the week 30/5 - 5/6/16

Hi human-supremacists,

'Gorilla 'had to be shot''

So zookeepers recently shot a gorilla, when a child fell into their enclosure. The reason given was that a tranquiliser would have been too slow, and so they had to shoot it dead. But i find this comment under the YouTube upload to be the most salient:

"I don't understand :
• Killing the gorrilla -> 1 death
• Not killing him -> maybe 1 death, maybe no death
So why did they killed him ?"


Unfortunately, the zookeepers were under pressure to value the human life above that of the gorilla's. A cynic would say it were about financial liability, but that's probably true.

Value is mostly determined by scarcity (supply and demand, you know) so the gorilla's life has to be millions of times more precious than the human's. Right? And a tapejara's billions of times more valuable. Right? Right?? Tell me it's true!!!!! :-P

If you were in an enclosure, and a little gorilla came to visit you, by accident, while all the others screamed and shouted at you from the balcony, and then the professional, supposedly-responsible gorillas turned up to make a decision, what would you expect?

In a parallel universe:

"What do you mean, Dave? We have to kill the poor human? But they're such gentle beasts"

"Well Mike, most humans are nice, but then they can be pretty savage beasts when they're agitated. And this is a male. More than 99% of humans killed in human-human conflicts have been, and have been killed by, human males. And they even engage in homosexual rape to assert dominance. We can't trust them. If we dart him, he's just going to endanger our child more"

"But Dave, humans have a track record of caring for members of other species. Especially when they're other mammals, and especially when they're young. This kid's both. Can't we find a better way than blowing his brains out?"

"What, with all these screaming nutbags around here? No Mike, they'd never let us. Look, i'll admit something Mike, and i'm really opening up here - our fellow gorillas are probably a much greater danger to us than that one human, but i'm afraid they're just going to have to take the blame. They're clearly showing signs of agitation"

"Of course they're fucking agitated, David! With all these screaming people around, how can it not be? Can't we get rid of them? Can't we turf them out. That'll calm the human down, and make them less likely to endanger the child"

"Not a chance, Mike. They're primates - they love to watch traumatic events - car crashes, train wrecks, TV dating shows, politicians' speeches, you name it. There's no shifting them. They outnumber us, twenty to one - there's nothing we can do"

"Damnit Dave, we have to shoot the poor thing. I can't believe it"

"I know, Mike. We both know it's morally wrong; and we both know it flies in the face of everything we want to achieve here, at the Human Enclosure. But it's the only option our fellow gorillas leave available to us"

"Surely we can't just buck the system, Dave? Take this chance. Try to change the world for the better"

"You're right Mike"

"I am?"

"Yes. We can't just buck the system. We're zoologists Mike, not lawyers. The parents of that kid might sue us into the ground. And then the whole program will be compromised. There are only about 125,000 western lowland humans left in the entire world; they're considered critically endangered by the IUCN; and they're under threat from anti-biotic resistant disease, and habitat loss. I'm sorry Mike - we just have to blow Mr Trump away"

But you have to remember that they're only doing it for you:

"We all know, every day that we go to work, that we are responsible for the safety of not only the animals in our care, but our co-workers and the visiting public,"

Read more at:
"We all know, every day that we go to work, that we are responsible for the safety of not only the animals in our care, but our co-workers and the visiting public,"

Read more at:
"We all know, every day that we go to work, that we are responsible for the safety of not only the animals in our care, but our co-workers and the visiting public" ... "The Phoenix Zoo's dangerous animals response team—or DART—takes annual marksmanship tests, trains at the firing range three additional times a year, and practices loading and unloading firearms"

And who do they end up shooting? It's never the humans. The zookeepers are under too strong peer pressure to ever do that. They're under pressure to make a certain non-human death, to avoid a non-certain human one. But could you resist it? I don't think i could.

[GIF link] "Dont associate with their kind. You'll only get yourself shot"

'Zoo claims Gorilla had ties to Islamic State'

The metaBUS portal is due to go public later this month, providing a window on scientific research data, unrivalled in metaphorical angular size.

'Award-winning academic research search engine metaBUS launches in June'

{Are windows commonly measured by angular size? LOL}

Its creation has been a 4-year project. It started off as an attempt to summarize the data from a variety of specific topics, moved to the summarization of data from two entire journals, and has since become an attempt to summarize data from all of Science. The project was founded by three experts in meta-analysis, each working at the University of Calgary, Virginia Commonwealth University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, but the extension of their work has involved many more people.

You can see more about their work, at the website itself. But i wonder how truly extensive metaBUS is going to be. And how useful its summarizations will turn out to be.

The Cochrane Collaboration has been working on systematic analyses (which involve a lot more work than just meta-analyses, which metaBUS is doing) for more than two decades now, and shows no signs of 'finishing' i.e. catching up with the research publications. And they only work on medical data.

It's a wonderful idea to herd all of the research publications together, into their respective pens, for academics and laypeople alike to peruse them at will, but the value of a meta-analysis is limited by the quality of its component parts.

The prevailing danger in a project like this, is a false sense of security. Having lots of data in one place is great, but accounting for myriad systematic biases is another thing. I am nowhere near the first scientist to weight in on that point.

Anyway, if you're discovering this article after metaBUS has opened its doors to the public, here's the way in:

'metaBUS Portal'

'Pub chain JD Wetherspoon issues Brexit beer mats'

This is the same Tim 'Wetherspoons' Martin who thinks that selling alcohol in motorway service stations is a good idea. I was wondering why there was a photo of Tony Benn on their company magazine in the SNW, the other week. It turns out they wanted a 'debate' in which only they got to speak. And they couldn't find a picture of Corbyn. Or hadn't heard of him. Typical nationalist asininity.

It's worth rhetorically asking whether governance of JDW is better than FIFA's, whether anyone elected Tim Martin, what's caused JDW's financial troubles (9% share price fall, they're blaming 'labour costs'), and how Spoons can hope to survive, given that this country hasn't ever had a 'single' government, and hasn't had the same PM for longer than 11 years since 1823.

Plus, it keeps changing its currency. "This new-fangled 'decimal' will never catch on"

"Team GB's out of control! Leave the EU, and leave Scotland. Blame the fuzzy-wuzzies, and send them all back to Croydon. The sky is falling! Don't panic, Mr Mainwearing, don't panic!'s the pro-EU campaigners who are scare-mongering"
- British Nationalism personified :-D

'Voters torn as referendum debate pits Stephen Hawking against Wetherspoons'

'Aronra drinks the feminist coolaid'

Ah, the Doublethink Doubledown, defining bigotry as righteousness:

Feminism is egalitarian, because we say it is. Religion is moral, because we say it is. Communism is socialist, because we say it is. Nationalism is pragmatism, because we say it is. Homeopathy is medical, because we say it is.

Recite the mantra brothers/sisters, and force reality to conform to us: "We are right, so reality is wrong"

Disregard the heretics - they are 'outliers', 'anti-feminists', 'heathens', 'gentiles', 'kuffars', 'skeptics'

"We are right, so reality is wrong"

All the other feminists/quacks/religionists disagree with us because they are actually misogynists/skeptics/heretics shilling for the Patriarchy/Pharma/Satan

"We are right, so reality is wrong"

Circular illogic is right because circular illogic is right because circular illogic is right

"We are right, so reality is wrong"

Preach :-D

This is the equivalent of insisting that gravity pushes stuff up, because your 'theory' says so, and all the dictionaries say so, despite all the evidence that gravity actually pulls stuff down.

In real life, the Oxford English Dictionary accepted that its definition of the physics of siphons had been wrong for 99 years, in 2010.

But boy, has there been plenty of evidence of feminist sexism, for Feminism affiliates to deny and/or excuse. Content featured on this blog is the tip of the iceberg. Will it take 99 years for the dictionaries to catch up with that definition?

"See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. We are right, so reality is wrong"

For those who aren't aware, AronRa used to be a highly respected member of the YouTube anti-theist quasi-community. Personally, however, i always found his videos rather stale and uninsightful. Probably because i come from a Physicsy first-principles background, so i like references to, y'know, the rest of reality. I like diversity.

Maybe it's his lack of intellectual breadth that's made him susceptible to this doublethink con job. I find that people with very deep but narrow kens tend to be much more unreliable, when it comes to other subjects; compared to people with relatively shallow but diverse awareness.

'How Feminism CASTRATED New Atheism!'

And a postscript:

'#ReasonRally Crash n burn. Thanks SJWs!'

Feminists really should take a lesson from The Beatles

'Ghost-hunters stumbled across porn shoot during graveyard tour'

This is the first good reason to go on a ghosthunt, that i have ever heard :-P

'Teen no longer wants to lose virginity if it’s anything like State of Origin match'

In other news:

The BBC has published a rather crass story about Mr Heimlich using 'his own' manoeuvre, to save someone from choking. How very cute. What they don't mention is that Heimlich is a quack, responsible for the anti-scientific anti-medicine atrocity that is 'malariotherapy' in which he has advocated, and practiced, the 'art' of giving cancer and HIV patients malaria, through the superstitious belief that it would cure them. Thank goodness he hasn't had as much success as has been attributed to him! The Heimlich Manoeuvre itself was hardly unique or original - it is only his by name, and should not be used to excuse his other actions.

The unconditional basic income movement has been making headway in Switzerland, recently, where a petition to the government reached 100,000 signatures, and gained approval for a public vote. This means that, soon after my posting this article, Switzerland will have become the first European country to have a popular vote on unconditional basic income. Switzerland is not known for grassroots socialism, in fact its economy is pretty-much defined by its tax avoidance (finance) sector. But this also means that its economy is hi-tech, meaning it has high unemployment. That's unemployment with a lower-case 'u' by the way. In the coming decades, unemployment is expected to rise sharply, as software replaces more-fallible humans, who are massively more expensive. UBI is a system that grants everyone a means-tested minimum wage, so that they never have lower than a set figure per month. This would render Jobseekers' Allowances obsolete, and various other welfare payments, so it wouldn't be as expensive as you might think. It would also free a lot of people from doing poorly-paid jobs that are shitty to do, forcing employers to offer more money, to persuade people to keep working. For a start, it would mean someone like me could do this blogging milarkey full-time. And it would free inventors to experiment full-time. And journalists could all go freelance, knowing they could just show Media Orgs the 'victory v' if they didn't like their well-written-and-important articles, instead of the puffy fatuousness that they currently insist upon. In an advancing world, UBI looks like an economic and social necessity - welfare is typically complicated and expensive to administrate, but UBI would eliminate much of that difficulty. The UBI-advocates don't expect to win the vote in Switzerland, but they want more people to realise that it's a viable possibility, in the future. It has to be - majorities of nations' populations will depend on it.

NASA has now successfully added an inflatable room to the International Space Station. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) took 7 hours to extend 170 centimetres, to 4m x 3.23m; and be inflated, both in the wall cavities, and inside the liveable space. Two days previously, an attempt to unfold it had gone wrong, which the team conjects to be down to keeping the pod stored for longer than anticipated. This is the design's first practical test, to see whether it's viable as a lunar/martian living space, especially as regards resistance to stellar radiation.

Astronomers have set a new record, observing hydrogen gas in a galaxy more than five billion light years away - almost twice as far away as ever seen before. So the image left before our planet existed. The feat of receiving it was achieved through an upgrade to the Very Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, in the USA. The project its observation is part of, intends to learn more about the physical evolution of galaxies, over the billions of years of our universe's history.

Diesel fuel's in the firing line for the third week in a row, LOL. But this time in an optimistic way. In the sense that it isn't being used as much as it used to be, on the Galapagos Islands, where pollution from fossil fuel combustion is threatening their 'fragile and important ecological treasures' as the article says. The Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership's $10 million project on the islands, installing three 51-metre-tall wind turbines and two sets of solar panels, has supplied an average of 30% of 'the electricity' (in kWh) consumed on San Cristóbal - the archipelago's second-largest island in size and population - since it went into operation in October 2007. During that time, it has displaced 8.7 million litres of diesel fuel and prevented 21,000 tonnes of CO2eq emissions.

The rooting that diesel's experienced in recent weeks is nothing compared to what biofuel's been through though. Nearly half of palm oil used in Europe ends up in biofuel, according to data compiled by the EU vegetable oil industry association Fediol, and obtained by Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment. "Produced mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia, palm oil causes three times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy than diesel fuel". Last year, the EU put a cap on the proportion of biofuel that's allowed to come from food crops - 7%. It looks like they might move to further restrict the industry, that has for years tried to con people into thinking that biofuel is as 'green' in practice as it is in fantasy.

The WWF has predicted that the elephants of Selous Game Reserve, in Tanzania, could be extinct by 2022, due to "industrial-scale poaching". More than 30,000 African elephants are killed by poachers every year, and there are currently only 15,000 in Selous Game Reserve, of which ~6 are killed every day. Of course, the funding for all of this comes from the quackery and chattles industries, that export the bodyparts, mostly eastward, to make fake medicines, and decorative objects.

Yet again, the world of scientific academia turns around to bitchslap the superstitionists who think that evolved food is eeevvviiilllll. A study of 20 years of research into genetically engineered crops, by the National Academy of Sciences, has led them to the conclusion that genetically engineered crops have not hurt the environment, are not adversely affecting human health, and do not destabilise markets or unfairly bias them in favour of large 'agri' companies. The anti-GM mob's bound to keep on trying to roll up the hill, though.

It's conclusive: birds carry extra fat, for sexual purposes. And by birds, i mean ladies. And by ladies, i mean lady birds. And by lady birds, i do not mean insects. A 14-year study of 12 migrating warbler species has found that the females carry more surplus fat than the males, all birds carry more fat in Spring than Autumn, and crucially, female birds carry more excess fat if they arrive later, rather than earlier. Putting all of this together suggests that the motive to carry surplus fat is predominantly to do with reproduction, and only minorly to do with avoiding starvation. The curvier ladies can compete more effectively for the males' attentions, so they don't have to worry about arriving as soon.

When it comes to sparrows, as with a myriad of sexually reproducing species, both sexes have a motive to spread their genes around. Or, in the language of paranoid, controlling humans: they have a motive to 'cheat'. There are no rules in avian sex lives, so it's not possible to cheat, but even so, male sparrows will spend less time doting over the offspring of females that 'sleep around'. It could just be that more casual females, and more casual males just go together, the way humans do. It could be that males feel less emotionally engaged with the chicks of females who spend less time with themselves, and more time with others. According to this study, by the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, males can not tell whether chicks are their biological progeny, but can judge how enthusiastically to dote over them, using their mother as a proxy. "If chicks were switched into a nest where the female was faithful, then the father at that nest kept up his hard work providing for the chicks, suggesting they have no mechanism, such as smell, to determine which chicks are theirs," said Dr Schroeder. "Instead, the males may use cues from the female's behaviour during her fertile period - for example how long she spends away from the nest."

Popular hypotheses of the evolution of ants present them as solitary epigeic (above-ground) hunters, but this study of ants in the Cretaceous period, during which they are thought to have diverged away from the wasp and bee lineages, reveals them to be quite social, even then. And it also reveals them to have a variety of familiarly-diverse insectoid morphologies, including a species with huge cephalic horns and oversized, scythelike mandibles, extending far beyond the top of the head. The researchers infer that it might have adapted to hunt prey much larger than itself, so it could have hunted like trapdoor spiders, or like antlion larvae do, today.

A study comparing objective perceptions of climatic change in two wine-growing regions of New Zealand has found that loca perceptions of increased rainfall correlate not with actual rainfall increase, but instead with an increase in artificial irrigation. Over the last ~40 years, rainfall has barely changed, but 51% and 35% in each region thought rainfall had increased, and were more likely to think so if they themselves had had artificial irrigation making their farms look more rained-upon than in actual fact. This psychology has ramifications for efforts to combat climatic change in years to come, as adaptations will delude some peope into underestimating the severity of the changes that necessitated those adaptations in the first place!

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'Footwear Forensics - Sixty Symbols'

'What makes blue-green algae dangerous?—Speaking of Chemistry'

'You Are Two'

'Image: The transits of ISS and Mercury captured simultaneously'

'3D Mercury Transit'

'Secrets revealed from the dark side of Pluto'

'First European Data Relay System laser image'

'The Mandela Effect - TLoNs Podcast #131'

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: cataclysm -- a sudden, violent political or social upheaval; (Geography) physical action producing changes in the earth's surface; an extensive flood, deluge. From 1630s French 'cataclysme' via Greek 'kataklysmos' meaning 'deluge, flood, inundation' and in turn from PIE's 'kleue-' meaning 'to wash, clean'

News Item Of The Week: 'Woman says neighbour sold her frozen mother for $30'

Understated Rationalist's Quote Of The Week: "Not getting into controversies is something i'm not very talented at" - Richard Dawkins, during an update on his health, after a stroke caused by high blood pressure, possibly/probably exacerbated by the stress of being bullied by feminists. His doctors had warned him to avoid stress, hence the quote.

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

'Food That Isn't'

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