Anti-lightening Monsters

Seven Day. Air temperature still unpleasant. Walk passable but not enriching.

Ran across rather an intriguing article [Link] entitled “New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity.” Even though this is a sciencey periodical some contemporary journalistic mispractice seems to sneak through. What is it about journalists that they think talking to Bogs means speaking inaccurately and even erroneously? This, of course, is a self-defeating question since no matter how simple one makes it the communication will fail because the Bogs are oblivious and self-consumed.

The subject of the article is not new life but newly discovered/understood instances of Tellurian life. This is NOT a different kind of life. This is NOT even life off Tellus. What is novel here is that these animals consume electrons either directly or via produced hydrogen. 

I have to admit to having to cogitate on this a bit, and still am. How can animals “eat” electrons and continue to be?

After a bit of moving electrons around in my head, I happened into the view – disliked immensely by both chemists and biologists – that chemistry (and thereby perhaps half of biology) is just about moving electrons about. (I had to take a bit of a ROFL break at this point thinking about what my physical chemistry professor, who claimed to disbelieve quantum mechanics and electrons and all that, would say.) But what I am continuing to mind much on is the hydrogen eaters. This is dependent on bare hydrogen nuclei floating about conveniently. As I recall my chemistry material, the natural concentration of such is pretty low. 

Anyway, I am now waiting for some Bog to expound the “electron diet.”


Mammoth Prevarication

Two day and back to gym. The lateness is due to the holy day yesterday which was a bit irritating: abuse of the meaning of the day with speeches appropriate for veterans’ day but NOT memorial day. And nary a mention of the Second American Revolution that motivated the holy day.

The podcasts today were scienceish and the one that caused the greatest irritation was an interview with some journalist who had written a book on de-extinctioning animals. I should comment that the author’s tone was actually quite practical if not quite direct enough for me. So pray do not take my comments as plagiarism.

The attraction of “de-extinctioning” animals, of bringing back extinct species, usually dinosaurs (Jurassic *.*) or woolly mammoths (cuddly plush toy) is a mixture of guilt (for vertically copulating the ecology,) romance (self explanatory,) and insecurity. It’s fundamentally a boggish thing and it is the deepest, most odoriferous, stercus tauri.

What can maybe be done is to grow one (or a few) almost/near animals based on modifying genetic material. But any animals produced from this are neither biologically nor ecologically those vanished animals. Genetically they are inexact and they will not be a species except as biological curiosities and P. T. Barnum exhibits. Take mammoths. They are herd animals. To bring them back we have to recreate their ecology (terraforming, in effect) and re-establish their herd social structure. Lots of animals, not just mammoths required. They have to be genetically mammoths, which they won’t be except approximately. And there won;t be enough genetic diversity for them to continue.

So all they’ll be is a continuation of a species going extinct. And when they go we’ll be even more depressed and guilty.

Better we figure out how to reverse out own headlong rave to extinction.

Fall and Fallings

Gad! A better day, thus far. Actually seems like fall out there. Assayed a second constitutional for the extrogym period what with the temperature in the high forties but once I had exited the portcullis of Castellum SCP I discovered a slight but readily observable fall of dihydrogen oxide. Being in a bit of a cynical rebellious mood I persisted and executed the constitutional in due order with only mild wetting.

The "Linux Luddites" podcast ground to a rather grits conclusion with a lovely negative – but polite!, British podcast you know! – discussion of dropbox and owncloud. Bottom line, is much hype and little function, which probably means the Winders aspect is passable but the Linux part is sewage and decay. That, sadly, is corporate Amerika.

The observant may have noted that the last few blots have been composed and posted using Blogilio instead of ScribeFire. This is in the nature of an experiment. I have always rather liked Blogilio but almost always the spell check doesn’t work and given my pre-college "education" was exclusively in Alibam public schules, a spell checker is a necessity. Happily the Debian folk have made this happen in Wheezy so I am retrying Blogilio, at least partly motivated by the crippling of the FF version by Mozilla and the flaky nature of the Chrome version. What is it that browser boys have against blog editors? Do they violate the covenant of passive absorption?

Back in October I did a blot – another one! – on the issue of desk ordering.[Link] One of my apparently loyal readers sent me a pointer to a cartoon: [Link]

that bears on the matter. This type of thing does happen. Almost always it is caused by some interventionist causing difficulty in the name of "better". This is, of course, one of the great plagues of humanity and manifests most strongly among religionists, which is a sovereign reason for their suppression of not extermination. It does happen occasionally, however, to the desk owner and it serves a useful function in that it necessitates a complete reordering and partial cull. These are beneficial if the desk user/owner is actually rational. If laziness, entombment is the better outcome.

Next, some work at U Wisconsin-Madison indicates that brain farts travel in opposite directions depending on whether one is observing reality (?) or imagining. [Link] This provoked a couple of brain farts of my own. First, can I get some sort of sensor or app that will tell me which? It would be quite useful, especially when trying to communicate with someone. Although I can see where it would lead to more failed marriages and relationships and instances of petty assault. The second was an analogy to a toilet, although I am a bit bemused to consider which of the two directions is the proper one.

Ah! the joy of cheese.

On which note, another article, [Link] from New England J of Medicine on what kills us now. This chart

is at least partly encouraging in that the highest probability is from heart problems. Worse ways to discorporate. Cheese, for example.

Fall has this effect on me sometimes.

More Summer of Discontent

I am coming to dislike mundane days. That is rather discouraging. Most of my adult life I liked the first day of the week (Yes, I do operate on ice cream day being the last day of the week.) Yes, there were exceptions when I knew in advance that mundane day held some nastiness like a business trip or a medicalist visit or some such. But by and large I liked the promise of mundane day, of a week ahead to do something and not just be a vegetative member of society.

But now I am coming to dislike all days. Even the ones that offer an upcoming good, or perceived good. I am sure it is age, and being retired. ORFs are tolerated speed bumps of society that will shortly be hustled off to a burial park or a mason jar. The best that we can hope for is a studied indifference on the part of society. The worst is active harassment and pain.

But the worst is not doing anything constructive. I don’t count volunteering or being a greeter at MalWart. Those are definitely not creative. Except maybe for those people who not only didn’t create in younger life, but were destructive.

INTERMISSION: courtesy of Arab Electron Uncooperative. Another thing to dislike. They used to only go out unannounced on ice cream day mornings. When all the mystics were in services. Not now. It’s stochastic and diabolical.

Enough negativity. Go kill a giant or invent happiness or overdo exuberance. For me.

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Academic Smarts

Once more into week in. And off to a good start. The podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on modern idolatry, one of my favorite rants, was passable, and I managed to endure the obnoxious density of weight bouncers. So it seems meet that I clean up a few aging articles this morning.

First, the wonks at fair Hahvahd claim that they have observed monkeys doing maths. [Link] No mention if the monkeys are students or staff. And the purpose of all this is somehow related to something called Weber’s Law which has to do with magnitude and difference of two stimuli. Evidently these wonks have never heard of Rayleigh’s criterion.

Another study, [Link] this one out of Purdue, looks at the relationship between trailer parks and tornadoes. Seems that tornados are most likely to touch down in the boundary regions between urban and rural areas, which is where trailer parks tend to be built. Perhaps this is a good indication that we need to start building traler parks in the middle of cities and housing developments? It would at least improve the quality of news reportage, depriving it of all those toothless, obese people who live in trailers. Except after flood and hurricanes, of course.

Next, a pair of articles. The first, from U Colorado, [Link] presents some pretty compelling argument that Neandertals were smarter than Sapiens. The second, from U Michigan, [Link] speculates that Neandertals had develop boil-in-bag cooking. This latter is rather more exciting than it seems since boiling is commonly pegged to the period after sedentaryness when basketry and pottery were developed. Taken together the two make an impressive argument for the mental superiority of Neandertals. So why did they die out? The obvious conjecture is that they were so disgusted with having us as neighbors they just gave up and died.

That’s a good start for Monday.

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Return to Good, Maybe, temporarily

Not badly. Another night of not having to arise to inspect drippage, although I find the practice has an inertia. And I suspect that nature will be perverse and I will have another night of inspection before I can quite restore cooperation between sleep and bladder. It was, in fact, sufficiently warm for me to assay to the park for a constitutional this morning, the first of the year. It was a mixed bag. I had a bit of discomfort shading to pain in my foot so the going was a bit rocky, and the recently recharged batteries in my head lamp weren’t, and it was foggy, and I was more  bundled than I like to admit even if comfortable most of the time. And the podcast, an episode of Prairie Home Companion from several years ago – yes, I am that far behind due to scheduling changes – was only two laps long. But otherwise it was great and wonderful and quite restful.

Speaking of which, I ran across an article [Link] in a rather disreputable British news(?) rag about how academics from Tel Aviv U have discovered a heart 300 KY old. Seems that neandertals like to come home to a cozt (?) home after a long day of human stuff. Anyway, its a neat thing in that its rather old and indicates that humans have had fire a lot longer than the Promethean myth.

Also ringing in on the subject is a work [Link] from fair Hahvahd indicating that most people have 0.01 to 0.03 nenadertal DNA – unless you are of fairly pure African descent. This is only sorta new but I always marvel at the irony of this result, which evidently the liberals can’t talk about and the religio-conservatives won’t, that the folks from Africa that used to be held in chattel slavery in this country, partly justified by their lesserness, presumably genetic, are actually more purely Homo Sapiens than the folks who “owned” them. And the only obvious way to maintain their attitudes is to adopt diversity so they can argue mongrels are more robust, which they seem to be, at least in dogs, but that also opens the tent to the camel, at least metaphorically. In either case, the gig is up and both sets of prigs are undone and embarrassingly so.

And lastly, rebounding on a previous topic, I noticed that the Tuscaloosa News, the news rag of the town adjacent the Campus of the Black Warrior, has printed a descriptive indictment of the meteorology instrumentality in middle Alibam.[Link] Is it any coincidence that the Alibam Dermatologist aka Guvnuh has residence in the town? Probably. But it is nice to see some of the blame going to inept weather ferds instead of just politicians. Both deserve some guilt and shame. And a bit of fear.