November 7th, 2018

ant-eater

Whither the monsters of our dreams?

‘End of the Megafauna’ examines why so many giant Ice Age animals went extinct

- New book's colorful illustrations also offer perspective of just how large these creatures were!


Something that probably happened 50,000 years ago: A large 'goanna dragon' snaps at a too-rotund wallaby, who had only itself to blame.  All the other wallabies got away, and survived the vanquished lizard.

End of the Megafauna
Ross D.E. MacPhee and Peter Schouten (illustrator)
W.W. Norton & Co., $35

Today’s land animals are a bunch of runts compared with creatures from the not-too-distant past. Beasts as big as elephants, gorillas and bears were once much more common around the world. Then, seemingly suddenly, hundreds of big species, including the woolly mammoth, the giant ground sloth and a lizard weighing as much as half a ton, disappeared. In End of the Megafauna, paleomammalogist Ross MacPhee makes one thing clear: The science on what caused the extinctions of these megafauna — animals larger than 44 kilograms, or about 100 pounds — is far from settled.

MacPhee dissects the evidence behind two main ideas: that as humans moved into new parts of the world over the last 50,000 years, people hunted the critters into oblivion, or that changes in climate left the animals too vulnerable to survive. As MacPhee shows, neither scenario matches all of the available data.

Throughout, Peter Schouten’s illustrations, reminiscent of paintings that enliven natural history museums, bring the behemoths back to life. At times, MacPhee slips in too many technical terms. But overall, he offers readers an informative, up-to-date overview of a fascinating period in Earth’s history.

* - galaxy

Pressure grows on Zuckerberg to attend Facebook committee hearing

Pressure grows on Zuckerberg to attend Facebook committee hearing

Australia, Argentina and Ireland join UK and Canada in urging Facebook CEO to give evidence to parliaments

Parliamentary committees from five countries have called for Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to appear in front of a joint hearing on online disinformation.

Committee chairs from Australia, Argentina and Ireland joined the call on Wednesday, following last week’s joint request from the UK and Canadian governments. Between them, the five countries have an estimated 170 million Facebook users.

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Reptiles of NSW - Water Dragon - Intellagama lesueurii

On the East Coast of Australia, the water dragon is a very common sight. Though in modern years their numbers have declined with the desire to live near the water and feral cats being introduced.

These Lizards live by the water of freshwater rivers and streams through NSW. Known also to climb trees to sleep at night. these lizards are very talented climbers and fast runners. Although usually small in size they can grow up to and over 1m in length. But are still very skinny in general. Today's specimen is about 50cm in length.

As a result; today's photo required a very long lens to take a picture from quite far away.

Dragons tend not to like company other than their own.

* - galaxy

'Don't be fooled. The midterms were not a bad night for Trump'

Don't be fooled. The midterms were not a bad night for Trump | Cas Mudde

Republicans lost many races, but they still held on to most of their positions. And Trump will see that as a victory.

Many people have dubbed the midterm elections a referendum on Donald Trump. The president himself agreed, having toured the country extensively, crowding out rational messages by Republican candidates about the booming economy with a emotional message of nativism. Trump made the elections about him and his openly far-right agenda. That left little space for non-Trumpian, let alone anti-Trumpian, Republicans.

While the Democratic party emphasized economic issues, and particularly healthcare, they were happy to make the midterms a referendum on Trump and his nativism. They emphasized their support for a diverse America both through their candidates and discourse. The implicit slogan was: Trump does not define America.

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vote

The Traitor

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero
curious kodama

Descent into The New World Chaos

Well, I can't spend all night searching, although, such is a moniker for the species. I was looking for a meaty quote by H.G. Wells, saying that, one day, the deluded youth will be the ones to tear down civilisation. I really need to find that sometime. But, H.G. Wells did say things like this:

Socialism is the preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and poisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices, create a system of social right-dealing and a tradition of right-feeling and action. Socialism is the schoolroom of true and noble Anarchism, wherein by training and restraint we shall make free men.
- New Worlds for Old

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same ... Yet, across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.
- War of the Worlds (Book I, Ch. 1: The Eve of the War)

And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?
- War of the Worlds (Book I, Ch. 1: The Eve of the War)

Throughout the whole world we see variations of this same subordination of the individual to the organisation of power. Phase by phase these ill-adapted governments are becoming uncontrolled absolutisms; they are killing that free play of the individual mind which is the preservative of human efficiency and happiness. The populations under their sway, after a phase of servile discipline, are plainly doomed to relapse into disorder and violence. Everywhere war and monstrous economic exploitation break out, so that those very same increments of power and opportunity which have brought mankind within sight of an age of limitless plenty, seem likely to be lost again, it may be lost forever, in an ultimate social collapse.
- The Rights of Man, or what are we fighting for?

The Buddha Is Nearer to Us You see clearly a man, simple, devout, lonely, battling for light, a vivid human personality, not a myth. Beneath a mass of miraculous fable I feel that there also was a man. He too, gave a message to mankind universal in its character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents of life are due, he taught, to selfishness. Selfishness takes three forms — one, the desire to satisfy the senses; second, the craving for immortality; and the third the desire for prosperity and worldliness. Before a man can become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he merges into a greater being. Buddha in a different language called men to self-forgetfulness five hundred years before Christ. In some ways he was near to us and our needs. Buddha was more lucid upon our individual importance in service than Christ, and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality.
- The Outline of History (Ch. 25)

Ever since I first read, "War of the Worlds," H.G. Wells has been a significant influence in my life.  Alex Jones respects him as well, but also hates him and his, "Fabian Socialism."  In my search for that quote, I found some great representations of the thought of Alex Jones, which go deeper than smeering liberals, and have nothing to do with racism - in any way whatsoever.  Everyone should try to understand where he is coming from.  A good DVD is, "Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement," or something like that.  I have that DVD right next to one by Michael Moore.  Check these long, "rambling manifestos":

The New World Order Wants the New World Order to Fail: Order Out of Attacking the New World Order

911 - Decent into Tyranny

And this also popped up: Obama and Hillary are going to be charged with Treason: QANON EXPOSES OBAMA HILLARY 16 YEAR COUP D’ÉTAT PLAN

And this brought up some great InfoWars articles: Search Results for: h. g. wells
... like THIS and THIS and THIS.

Sites: infowars.com, prisonplanet.com, and: https://www.newswars.com/

So, I have given you thought from the left, and thought from the right. Now, it's up to your hemispheres to work things out.
paris - librarian

Librarians to the rescue!

Librarians to the rescue! A brief history of heroic bibliophiles

Whether they’re saving books from censorship, or sheltering their community from danger, there’s nothing new about librarians choosing actions alongside words

Only at Oxford could musty tomes about phallic worship be regarded as a genuine target for onanistic students. With the university’s Bodleian Libraries announcing that they will be putting their restricted section (read: anything classified as immoral, erotic or obscene) on display for the first time since it was started in 1882, the lengths librarians took to build this collection of books published abroad but banned in the UK has been revealed. These include the covert mission organised between librarians and a Foreign Office official to smuggle in two copies of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, librarians who identified lulls in criminal proceedings that allowed them to buy books legally, and personal letters written by library staff to British officials, pleading for books snatched by customs before they were destroyed.

There have been brave librarians throughout history; sadly, in many parts of the world, librarians are often called on to stand up for the principles of freedom of expression, while also upholding the dictum of libraries being a place of sanctuary. In 2012, Abdel Kader Haidara – one of the subjects of the 2017 book The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu – helped to smuggle 500,000 manuscripts out of the city, away from Malian Islamists who were threatening to destroy them. Saad Eskander, director of Iraq’s National Library, has tirelessly sheltered and chased books targeted by both Islamists and US forces since 2003. (“I never have a bodyguard because that attracts attention,” he told the Guardian in 2008, adding: “If they want to kill you, they will do it.”) And many librarians were charged with “dangerousness” in Cuba for stocking books classed by Fidel Castro as incendiary – like George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

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crazy /eek - raptor raver

Spanking Is Ineffective and Harmful to Children

Spanking Is Ineffective and Harmful to Children, Pediatricians’ Group Says

A 2016 analysis of multiple studies, for example, found that children do not benefit from spanking.

“Certainly you can get a child’s attention, but it’s not an effective strategy to teach right from wrong,” Dr. Sege said.

Recent studies have also shown that corporal punishment is associated with increased aggression and makes it more likely that children will be defiant in the future. Spanking alone is associated with outcomes similar to those of children who experience physical abuse, the new academy statement says.

There are potential ramifications to the brain as well: A 2009 study of 23 young adults who had repeated exposure to harsh corporal punishment found reduced gray matter volume in an area of the prefrontal cortex that is believed to play a crucial role in social cognition. Those exposed to harsh punishment also had a lower performance I.Q. than that of a control group.

FULL ARTICLE HERE


This helps explain why all my siblings are so fucked up. I was spared the great red welts of the giant hand or belt, (which is not to say that I was not scared shitless by the insecure fumings of an autocratic future alcoholic, i.e., divorcee). My siblings were not spared, and grew to be stale, awkward zombies who communicated as if they kept walking into a glass plate, i.e., some barrier to their frontal cortex. They did learn to plan and deal with life, but somewhat in the way a sociopath connives and wheedles. I don't know if there are many studies between corporal punishment and future psychopathy, but it seems obvious to me. The baby animal torturers grow up to be the ones who care enough to control everyone and every damn thing, since they feel so ultimately adrift, and with little other sense of right and wrong that that which injustice beat into them, and that is no rooting for real humanity.

I did, however, get thrown into the back of a car seat, fracturing my skull, which clearly contributed to the development of my CFS and vertigo/dementia, which is a whole other can of monkeys.

Now, I had a really, really intense, un-PC comment here, which I deleted. Can any of you imagine what it might have been? It began like this:\

"Parents, if you are going to beat you children, make sure..."