I’ve heard of not-pologies…

chupacabra

But not-lawsuits? You know that Rebecca was asking for help to deal with a not-threat of not-censorship and a not-suit from the non-litigious non-jerk Ben Radford. Now she has posted her amusing response to Radford’s non-demands. So many contradictions! He keeps insisting he has no intention of suing in a cease-and-desist letter that demands that she take down posts she has written.

The biggest contradiction, though, is that this is all after Radford hounded Karen Stollznow into retracting and promising to never ever mention their disagreements ever again…an agreement that Stollznow has been honoring, while Radford keeps stirring the pot and reminding everyone what an asshole he can be.

I don’t think he wanted to bring this affair to a close at all.

I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens

alienocto

Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing.

Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses are so weird they’re basically aliens.

The first full genome sequence shows of that octopuses (NOT octopi) are totally different from all other animals – and their genome shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human.

Bullshit.

As I said earlier, the study is open access. Read it. If you can’t understand the big words and the details, then you shouldn’t be writing news stories on science.

The study says exactly the opposite. It shows that octopuses use genes shared with vertebrates — the common metazoan toolbox. They have amplified genes used by other earthly animal life in unique ways, but protocadherins are a known earthly family of molecules, and zinc finger genes are a known earthly family of genes. This study reinforces the concept of common ancestry.

Do I need to add that it’s even plainly said in the abstract? Just read the abstract!

The core developmental and neuronal gene repertoire of the octopus is broadly similar to that found across invertebrate bilaterians

I just know this nonsense is going to be propagated by creationists everywhere, and I’m going to have to slam it down repeatedly. The only good thing is that it’s an easy one to rebut, and I’ll have many excuses to wrap my virtual tentacles around their rhetorical throats and squeeze.


It begins.

Proving that octopuses are creatures that arrived from another planet, possibly from another solar system, may not be revealed any time soon. However, their alien existence upon the Earth is expected to be the focus of significant research in the coming years. It is likely that they will be found to be born of the Earth, but the mysticism that they may be aliens makes the genome discovery quite intriguing.

How does this get past an editor?

dustyspringfield

From a review by Roger Lewis of a biography of Dusty Springfield:

Call me a crazy old physiognomist, but my theory is that you can always spot a lesbian by her big thrusting chin. Celebrity Eskimo Sandi Toksvig, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster, Clare Balding, Vita Sackville-West, God love them: there’s a touch of Desperate Dan in the jaw-bone area, no doubt the better to go bobbing for apples.

It is thus a tragedy that Dusty Springfield’s whole existence was blighted by her orientation, which explains ‘the silence and secrecy she extended over much of her life, and her self-loathing’. One glance at her chin should have revealed all — but the Sixties was not a fraction as liberated and swinging as people now assume. ‘Being gay was either a pitiable affliction or an actual mental illness,’ Karen Bartlett reminds us in this sympathetic biography. Victims were treated with aversion therapy and electric shocks.

My theory is that you can always spot an asshole by the thoughtless bigotry they say.

Techbros are hilarious

robot-cheetah

No, really, they are. Hipster libertarians are the new street mimes, so enjoy them while you can before everyone gets tired of them. The latest example is this silicon valley entrepreneur, Rob Rhineheart, who has written a paean to his lifestyle. It starts with a complaint about the horrors of alternating current.

The walls are buzzing. I know this because I have a magnet implanted in my hand and whenever I reach near an outlet I can feel them. I can feel fortresses of industry miles away burning prehistoric hydrocarbons by the megaton. I can feel the searing pain and loss of consciousness from when I was shocked by exposed house wiring as a boy. I can feel the deep cut of the power bill when I was living near the poverty line. I can feel the cold uncertainty of the first time the power went out due to a storm when I was a child. How long before the delicate veil of civilization turns to savagery with no light nor heat nor refrigeration?

[Read more…]

Some people should not be police officers, and some should not be allowed to own guns

barkhorn

Three young men knocked on the wrong door.

According to people close to the investigation, three young adults, after leaving a graduation party, attempted to go to a friend’s house nearby.

A source said, they mistakenly went to the next door neighbor’s home. After repeatedly ringing the doorbell and loudly knocking on the door, the homeowner, a state trooper, came to the door. When he opened the door and shouted at them, the three men ran away.

The three got into a vehicle and the officer fired three gun shots as they attempted to flee. The car became disabled approximately one half mile from the original scene. Two of the men were apprehended at the vehicle. The third, Matthew Mayer fled, according to local sources.

And then the police sent out search teams! A helicopter with a search light! Canine units! They scoured the area looking for this desperado. And they caught him!

[Read more…]

Edgy Deepak Chopra makes a fool of himself, again

QUANTUMCHOPRA.001

Oh, joy. Deepak Chopra is mad about being called an evolution denialist, and to disprove the accusation, he fires back with a whole long letter full of misconceptions about evolution. As usual, he relies on painting himself as the brave pioneer at the very edge of science, with a hooting mob of regressive scientific dogmatists haranguing him.

…in a recent blog, Valerie Strauss goes beyond catcalls, accusing me of being an evolution denier, which is absolutely false. I work and write with high-level scientists, including physicists, geneticists, and others who believe, as I do, that mainstream science, like mainstream medicine, has a lot to gain from keeping the flow of ideas moving.

As far as evolution is concerned, there’s a cadre of strict Darwinists who will push back against any encroachment into their field, but neo-Darwinism, which tries to address glaring gaps in Darwin’s original theory (after all, he knew nothing of DNA, genes, and the chemical basis of mutations) is a respected field, too. I often think that my interest in genetics, which has led to a book being published this fall, arouses vehement objections because scientists want to protect their turf, and seeing an interested amateur write about troubling issues they haven’t resolved causes them to cry, “How dare he?”

[Read more…]

I didn’t do it, and he isn’t even my dentist

cecil

OK, everyone who has written to me to tell me about Walter Palmer, Minnesota dentist and butcher of wildlife, 5½ million people live in this state. Don’t know him, never met him, and if he were my dentist, I’d be dropping him instantly.

Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter who operates River Bluffs Dental in Bloomington, is believed to have paid about $55,000 to bribe wildlife guards July 1 at Hwange National Park, reported The Telegraph.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force confirmed that Palmer — who has been previously fined for illegal hunts — spotted Cecil the lion at night and tied a dead animal to his vehicle to lure the famed cat out of the park.

That tactic is known as “baiting” and is used by big-game hunters to justify their killings as legal.

[Read more…]

What is the minimal number of participants required for a parade?

The answer is, apparently, one. Some guy tried to organize a ‘heterosexual pride’ parade in Seattle, and only the organizer showed up. With some balloons and a cardboard sign.

straightprideseattle

This reflects poorly on us, and I think we need to vote Anthony Rebello out of the Straight Men’s Club. All in favor (only straight men allowed to vote — we know all teh gayz want to snap him up for their club), raise your hand and say “AYE”.