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  1. blf says

    Hey, y’all.


  2. chigau (違う) says

    I wanted to do Page 2 first.
    oh well
    We’re having a thunderstorm, or rather a THUNDERSTORM.
    shakin’ the windows and rat’lin’ the walls

  3. says

    Aaaw, it’s nice Cicely got first. I missed the turn completely.

    It’s been sunny and warm here, for a change.

  4. blf says

    We’re having a thunderstorm, or rather a THUNDERSTORM.
    shakin’ the windows and rat’lin’ the walls

    Nah, that’s just one of the four remaining elephants stretching and having a pee.

  5. blf says

    I was drawn to this article by the illustration, which is an oldish-style engraving of a suspension bridge remarkably similar to the Clifton Suspension Bride over the River Avon in Bristol (UK); I used to live in Clifton Village, which is at the Northern end of the bridge. The towers are different, but Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed and built the bridge, didn’t like the tower designed forced on him (“ancient Egyptian”, which was all the rage at the time), so at first I though this might be an illustration of Brunel’s early thoughts.

    As it turns out, it’s more interesting than that. It pre-dates Burnel’s design by some years, and is the work of Sarah Guppy. The article is about Ms Guppy, her other activities, and how (some of them) are mostly-ignored in current-day reports as she is being “rediscovered”, Uncovering the lives of women in science and technology: the case of Sarah Guppy: “We love to hear about talented women rescued from historical obscurity, but tend to be selective when it comes to which stories are shared”.


    Fun fact about the Clifton Suspension Bridge: It was never completed. They ran out of money (several times), and the final work was never done.
    (Pause while that sinks in…)
    What wasn’t finished was the “ancient Egyptian” decorations. Engineering-wise, the bridge is complete, sound, and safe. And a masterpiece.

  6. blf says

    Flores fossil discovery provides clues to ‘hobbit’ ancestors:

    Researchers find what appears to be predecessors of tiny humans whose bones were first unearthed on Indonesian island in 2004

    [… I]n sandstone laid down by a stream 700,000 years ago, [researchers] have found what appear to be the creatures’ ancestors.

    The new fossils are not extensive. A partial lower jaw and six teeth, belonging to at least one adult and two children, are all researchers have. But the importance of the remains outweighs their number. They suggest that dwarf humans roamed the island — hunting pigmy elephants and fending off komodo dragons — for more than half a million years.
    Adam Brumm at Griffith University in Queensland, who co-led the excavations, said: “The island is small and it has limited food resources and few predators, other than komodo dragons, so large-bodied mammals that wound up on this rock would have been under immediate selective pressure to reduce their body mass. Being big is no longer an advantage when you’re trying to survive in such an isolated and challenging environment.”
    […] The jawbone is tiny, at least 20% smaller than that of the Liang Bua “hobbits”, but CT scans showed the wisdom tooth had erupted, a sign that it came from an adult. The shape of the jawbone resembles a smaller version of that found in Homo erectus, as does a molar tooth.

    Among the ancient remains were the bones of beasts. Pigmy elephants and komodo dragons were commonplace, but crocodiles, giant rats, frogs and birds shared the island with the “hobbits”. Giant rats persist on the island today. The researchers have one, the size of a cat, at the house they rent in the nearby town of Mengeruda. “It’s a really cute animal. If we can domesticate them, they can be kept as pets,” said van den Bergh. […]

    Just keep our host away. She’ll dip them in paint and cover them with feathers, or stuff them inside a puppet, and then shoot them.

  7. blf says

    Smart fish can recognise human faces, scientists find:

    Oxford University study could shed light human brain function and whether facial recognition is an innate or learned ability

    A tropical fish can tell one human face from another despite lacking a brain section that homo sapiens and other “smart” animals use for this task, scientists said Tuesday.

    The astonishing ability was demonstrated in experiments with eight archerfish, a tropical species best known for spitting pressurised water jets to shoot prey out of the air.

    Instead of aiming at bugs, the sharpshooting fish were taught to spit at pictures of human faces displayed on a computer monitor suspended over their aquarium.

    “We were pleasantly surprised at the speed at which the fish learnt as well as their high degree of accuracy,” said study co-author Cait Newport of the Oxford University’s department of zoology.

    The fish, which require excellent vision for hunting, were first introduced to two faces, and conditioned to spit at one of them in exchange for a food reward.

    The researchers then tested whether the fish would recognise, and spit at, the familiar face among 44 new ones.

    The fish got it right more than 80% of the time.
    [… T]he archerfish were able to do this despite not having a neocortex, the most recently evolved part of the human brain, governing sensory perception and language.

    Birds are likewise able to recognise human faces, and it was recently discovered that they have neocortex-like structures.

    I must admit my first thought on reading this was “Clever Hans”.

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    There’s a saying: “Finnish summer is short and there isn’t much snow.”

    There was a storm in Northern Finland (Ostrobothnia and Lapland) with high winds, rains and snowfall in the North. 14 000 households have been without power due to trees falling over power lines. Here are some viewer pictures put up by the state-owned broadcasting company. In one of the pictures (sent by Jukka Koivuniemi) earthworms are crawling on the snow.

    Here on the Southern coast, it was just a bit more windy, some rain and cooler weather. Yesterday evening was sunny but not very warm.

  9. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    There was a storm in Northern Finland (Ostrobothnia and Lapland) with high winds, rains and snowfall in the North. 14 000 households have been without power due to trees falling over power lines. Here are some viewer pictures put up by the state-owned broadcasting company. In one of the pictures (sent by Jukka Koivuniemi) earthworms are crawling on the snow.

    We had one of those in April of ‘010. A storm which landed a lot of heavy, wet ice on everything, took out over 1100 towers (they were crumpled, folded over, it was like a scifi movie), and we were without power for quite a while. Two weeks for us, much longer for other people.

  10. says

    Sometimes, interesting search terms pop up on the stats page. Today’s favourite:

    pencil and sharpener as sex object

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 14

    Two weeks or more! That’s a long time, OTOH it takes some time to get 1100 (high-voltage transmission line?) towers back up. As far a I know, the wind itself doesn’t usually damage the towers or poles here, the falling trees are the culprit here. Prairie ≠ taiga, I guess.

    With trees falling and breaking the conductors, the repair is usually fairly quick as far as I know. However, they are slowly getting rid of overhead distribution power lines and replacing them with undergroud cables here, even in rural areas.

  12. blf says

    Spice gull: seabird turns orange after falling into vat of curry (the picture at the link is quite amusing):

    Wildlife hospital uses washing-up liquid to clean bird that was scavenging for food at factory

    A seagull turned bright orange after it fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala.

    The bird fell into the container while trying to scavenge meat from a food factory bin on Monday. It was rescued by workers at the site in Wales, and picked up by a volunteer for Vale wildlife hospital, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

    Staff at the hospital used washing-up liquid to remove the bright orange from the seagull’s feathers. They returned him to its original white colour but have not been able to wash away the smell of curry.

    Lucy Kells, veterinary nurse at the hospital, said: “He really surprised everyone here — we had never seen anything like it before. He had fallen into a waste vat of curry that was outside, it was chicken tikka masala. The thing that shocked us the most was the smell. He smelled amazing, he really smelled good.
    The bird, which has been nicknamed “Gullfrazie” on Facebook, was put into a cage after his ordeal. Staff are feeding it meat, dog and cat food and pieces of chopped fish to build up his weight.

    “He is a bit skinny so we are building his strength up a bit,” Kells said. “I guess that’s why he was trying to get a piece of meat from the vat and fell in.”

    Seagull tikka masala, the new variation of the most popular “Indian” dish in the UK, which was actually invented in the UK and is unknown in India. The rat inside was too busy slurping up all the free food to complain much…

  13. blf says

    Clifton Suspension Bride

    Sounds like fun

    They are famous for lurching through the streets, by-ways, and alleys of Clifton Village at night, jumping over unsuspecting people wandering about trying to navigate home after a long night at the pub, and swinging to-and-from from the branches cackling, gibbering, and (or at least some reports have it) brushing their teeth. Usually seen by the dozens after some time spent in the pub specializing in strong cidre.

  14. Siobhan says

    A seagull fell in your food waste and all you can think is “hot damn he smells good”?

    I mean, birds is birds.

  15. says


    A seagull fell in your food waste and all you can think is “hot damn he smells good”?

    That jumped out at you too, eh? I laughed when I read that, remarked to Rick that she didn’t sound sure as to whether she wanted to rescue it or eat it.

  16. blf says

    birds is birds

    Except when its a rat in a puppet.

    Or a duck. The mildly deranged penguin has a thing about ducks. They are tasty — and she’s now trying to devise a duck tikka masala (as usual, the duck is not co-operating albeit sofar the only things that have fallen into the vat are a passing flying saucer and most of the roof(which promptly dissolved)) — but otherwise they are just horses with feathers and even stoooopider than celery. Floating around quacking all da—— there’s an eruption of even more quacking and penguin, screams from, not so mild… one of the aliens has just managed to climb out of the vat. A duck-shaped alien. Who’s just, ah, smiled, quacked something that sounded suspiciously like “Mor Ceez!”, and jumped back into the vat. With a loud QUAAIIVVVVVC! the saucer has just taken off in a spray of duckless tikka masala. The tikka masalaless duck has now kicked the mildly deranged penguin (see how stoooopid they are!) and has taken off after the flying tikka masala, quacking all the way.

    Whatever is in the vat is giggling…

  17. chigau (違う) says

    A airway
    B breathing
    C circulation

    This has been the mnemonic for most of my 48 years of taking first-aid courses.
    When one happens upon an unresponsive person, that order is how to go.
    The only orifice involved is the one involved in breathing.
    If you do not first determine that the unresponsive person is breathing and has a pulse,
    and you penetrate other orifices, you may be a necrophiliac.

  18. Ice Swimmer says

    Barnacle geese are actually much like horses with feathers. They eat a lot of grass and poop it seemingly half-digested.

  19. says


    just treating this thread as son of thunderdome

    That’s fine. There’s no ‘sweetness and light’ rule.

    This has been the mnemonic for most of my 48 years of taking first-aid courses.
    When one happens upon an unresponsive person, that order is how to go.
    The only orifice involved is the one involved in breathing.
    If you do not first determine that the unresponsive person is breathing and has a pulse,
    and you penetrate other orifices, you may be a necrophiliac.

    I agree.

  20. says


    Ticks. Fucking ticks. In Ice Swimmer’s Yle Uutiset links @ 12, I noticed a side article about the tick population exploding, thought to be due to climate change.

    Elvis (cat) did an artful dodge, so I let the monster dogs out (he comes running when he sees them) so I could get him, looked down, and there’s a fucking tick, crawling up my leg. Oh, I hate those fucking things.

  21. cicely says

    Hey, Caine—a few months (? (time is a difficult concept)) ago, over at Needled, we talked about transfer pens that wouldn’t leave a permanent mark on the fabric. I bookmarked it—I know I did!—but can’t find it. And my Search-fu is Legendarily Weak. Do you remember what it was you recommended?
    Discussions on my Facebook re Rapey Swimmer, give me exceedingly cautious and fragile hope that there is, finally, a turning of the Tide of Public Opinion.

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 29

    Ouch, at least you caught it. I avoid walking in long grass because of them (easy because of urban privilege). I’ve also been thinking about getting vaccinated against one of the diseases ticks carry (it isn’t a part of the official vaccination plan here).

  23. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    Ouch, at least you caught it. I avoid walking in long grass because of them (easy because of urban privilege).

    I avoid it too -- people go mow crazy here this time of year, and we’re no exception. Rick had just mowed, and I was standing on the stone path. It’s going to be a very bad tick season. I get phantom tick syndrome, too, because around here, the damn things drop from trees onto your head. Ugh. And crawl up your legs. And everywhere else.

  24. Siobhan says

    Today’s favourite search term: fun in the mud.

    Speaking of perverted things. *suggestive eye-brow wiggle*

  25. says

    Siobhan @ 37:

    Speaking of perverted things. *suggestive eye-brow wiggle*

    I know it was about the dorodango, but a very fun search term. I’m curious about the results, I’ll have to run that search myself.

  26. blf says

    Cambodia’s vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle:

    Laser technology reveals cities concealed under the earth which would have made up the world’s largest empire in 12th century

    Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat […]

    [… A]rchaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
    [The 2015] survey uncovered an array of discoveries, including elaborate water systems that were built hundreds of years before historians believed the technology existed. The findings are expected to challenge theories on how the Khmer empire developed, dominated the region, and declined around the 15th century, and the role of climate change and water management in that process.

  27. blf says

    Bats 12, Long pigs 0, ‘It smells so bad you can taste it’: bats plague Australian tourist town:

    A fifth of the country’s population of large bats is descending en masse on Batemans Bay, repeatedly knocking out electricity and robbing locals of sleep

    Batemans Bay is a picturesque coastal town known as a tourist destination on the south coast of New South Wales. But tens of thousands of visitors of another kind have more than outstayed their welcome — large bats.
    The area’s population of the grey-headed flying fox, Australia’s largest bat, peaked at up to 140,000 in April — nearly three times the number seen there last year. That’s about 12 bats for each of the 11,000 human residents of Batemans Bay.

    Civic leaders agree the stinking, noisy, messy and potentially diseased bats have got to go. […]

    Isn’t that backwards? The long pigs are not only a bigger problem (in several senses), but also caused(the problem) / attracted the flying mice.

    [… G]etting rid of the protected native species, which is listed as vulnerable to extinction because of habitat loss, is no simple task. Some experts warn against even trying.
    Government science agency, the CSIRO, estimates there are 680,000 grey-headed flying foxes in Australia, meaning Batemans Bay has been home to one in five of them. Each bat can weigh a kilogram with wing spans exceeding a metre.

    They fly out at dusk to feed on flowering spotted gum and bloodwood trees in forests, then wake locals with a cacophony of screeching on their return to town before dawn.

    Thousands fly en masse into power lines, knocking out power to the entire town. This happened not just once but on nine consecutive nights in April.

    Their acidic droppings can burn through the paintwork on cars if not washed off within hours. Males mark out their roosting territory with a pungent scent.
    [Sydney University bat researcher Kerryn Parry-Jones] warned against trying to remove the colony. She said such efforts usually resulted in the bats splitting into two or more colonies in the same area and annoying even more people.

    “We have{…} an ecological problem which has been generated over probably 50 years, and it’s only now people are becoming aware of it,” she said. “And now they want a complete and utter solution within 24 hours.”

  28. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 40

    Maybe they should invest in underground power cables and put their cars under some kind of roof (not cheap, but the power lines and cars might last longer).

  29. says

    Well, as a child my cousin served as a mobile tick prevention system. We’d roam the countryside all day long and in the evening he’d have ticks and I didn’t.
    By now ticks may be the only life form left harbouring any sympathies for him…

  30. says

    D @ 44:

    I probably should have trigger warned that. mass shooting at a gay night club.

    No. Just no.

    Ah, I see PZ has posted about this. Fuck, all this bigotry out in the open, being egged on by politicians everywhere.

  31. blf says

    First mammal species wiped out by human-induced climate change:

    Scientists find no trace of the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that was the only mammal endemic to Great Barrier Reef

    Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location.

    It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.
    The rodent, also called the mosaic-tailed rat, was only known to live on Bramble Cay a small coral cay, just 340m long and 150m wide off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, which sits at most 3m above sea level.
    [… T]he researchers concluded the “root cause” of the extinction was sea-level rise. As a result of rising seas, the island was inundated on multiple occasions, they said, killing the animals and also destroying their habitat.

    It was estimated the area of the cay above high tide has decreased from 4ha in 1998 to 2.5ha in 2014. And worse for the melomys, they lost 97% of their habitat in just 10 years, with vegetation cover declining from 2.2ha in 2004 to just 0.065ha in 2014.

    “For low-lying islands like Bramble Cay, the destructive effects of extreme water levels resulting from severe meteorological events are compounded by the impacts from anthropogenic climate change-driven sea-level rise,” the authors said in their report.
    The one hope for the species, the authors say, is that there might be an undiscovered population in Papua New Guinea. They say the melomys might have arrived on Brambles Cay on rafting debris from the Fly River region of Papua New Guinea. If that is true, then either the Brambles Cay melomys, or a close relative, may still live undiscovered there.

  32. says


    American’s favorite white supremacist turns 70 today.

    Well, he’s had that so-called full life and all…

  33. blf says

    Hilarious! Orthodox Christians’ global gathering unravels as five churches pull out:

    After 55 years of planning, the historic holy and great council of 14 Orthodox churches in Crete may collapse over power struggle

    After an interlude of more than a millennium, 55 years of careful planning, and within days of its opening, the first global gathering of Orthodox churches since the year 787 is teetering on the brink of collapse amid dissent and power struggles.

    The historic “holy and great council” of the world’s 14 self-governing Orthodox churches, due to begin in Crete on Sunday, may not go ahead after five pulled out.

    The unravelling of the week-long Pan-Orthodox Council, which has been in preparation since 1961, began with Bulgaria saying earlier this month it wanted a postponement, citing disagreements over the agenda.

    On Monday, the Russian Orthodox church — the largest and richest — announced it would not attend the meeting, dealing what may be a fatal blow to the gathering.

    The council was called by the ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the “first among equals” of leaders of the global Orthodox churches […]
    On 3 June, the Bulgarian Orthodox church reversed its earlier commitment to attend the meeting. Among its reasons were disagreements over the agenda and the proposed seating plan for the 500 participants. […] The Serbian, Georgian and Antioch churches followed suit, leading to Russia saying it would not attend without all churches present.
    Tensions over where power lies, and between conservative and liberal wings, are behind the ruction. Although Bartholomew is “first among equals” of the churches’ patriarchs, the Istanbul church he represents is small and poorly resourced.

    The Russian Orthodox church, on the other hand, represents a majority of Orthodox Christians and commands huge wealth. Its leader, Patriarch Kirill, is closely allied to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, whom he has described as a “miracle of God”.
    [Italian analyst Sandro Magister said]: “Kirill plainly intends […] to strip Bartholomew of his exclusive status as the top symbolic representative of Orthodoxy in the world which Bartholomew enjoys, partly due to the excellent relations that he maintains with the Church of Rome and the pope.”

    That’s quite poorly worded, and I have no idea if Bartholomew or Kirill trades children“[has] excellent relations” with the pope’s cult.

    Some Orthodox churches are deeply concerned about “inter-Christian cooperation”, especially those who believe Catholicism to be heresy; and some fear relatively liberal influences on the issues of marriage and how the church responds to modern society.

    Added to the potent mix of dissent is a bitter dispute between the Antioch and Jerusalem patriarchs. Three years ago the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem appointed without consultation a priest as archbishop of Qatar, triggering a turf war with the Antioch Patriachate over which church has jurisdiction.

    […] Brian Farrell [one of the raping children cult’s observers due to attend the cage fight], said that the Orthodox document on ecumenical relations was “very conservative”.

    “It insists on the point that the Orthodox church is the only one, true church. It recognises relations with the Catholic church are hugely important and positive, but there is no recognition of the Catholic church as church in the proper sense” […]

    Sadly, the Grauniad did not contact the lions on their reaction to the possible cancellation of a grand feast.

  34. blf says

    More magic sky faerie kook hilarity, Pope Francis rejects donation from Argentinian president with 666 in sum:

    Centre-right leader Mauricio Macri gave 16,666,000 pesos to educational foundation backed by pope, reports say
    Earlier this month, the centre-right president made a donation that totaled 16,666,000 pesos (slightly under $1.2m) from the Argentinian government to the Scholas Occurentes educational foundation, which is backed by the pope […].

    [… A]ccording to the Vatican Insider […] Francis wrote to the Argentinian branch of the foundation, asking them to return the money. In a postcript, he wrote: “I don’t like the 666.”
    [… lots of argy-bargy …]

    I have no idea what Scholas Occurentes is or does (and have not researched it), but assuming they are a legit and useful foundation (and not, say, a front for the cult, or other tricks, such as excessive “fees” paid / “donated” to the cult), this absurdity might cause basically innocent people unnecessary problems. Which is not funny.

    I also find it rather amusing the Grauniad didn’t think it necessary to explain why 666 is a nasty bogeyman for the cult.

  35. blf says

    I must admit I have no recollection of ever hearing of this before, but yesterday was International Albinism Awareness Day. In the Grauniad, International Albinism Awareness Day — in pictures: “Event, which takes place every 13 June, aims to increase understanding of condition and fight superstition, discrimination and stigma”.

    In some places, people are killed simply because they have albinism: “Persecution of people with albinism […] is based on the belief that certain body parts of albinistic people can transmit magical powers. […] As a result, people with albinism have been persecuted, killed and dismembered, and graves of albinos dug up and desecrated.”

  36. Siobhan says

    I is sad.

    I tried a walk-in counselling session, because at least it was one-on-one and didn’t involve a crowd of straight women with kids talking over me. It was pretty meh, but it’s single-session, so I don’t necessarily see that as reflective of the counsellor’s competence. I messaged my private therapist to ask if he’d be willing to offer a pro-bono session sooner rather than later to tide me over until I get paid and can resume paid sessions.

    Now that I started my new job, I realize how much weight I’m carrying. I had a salty and unhealthy, albeit not abusive break up about the same time as meeting my narcissistic ex. I had my narcissistic ex, who did a number on my self esteem and sabotaged most of my friendships. A friend of mine recently attempted suicide, or self harmed, details are as of yet unclear. And I’ve been dealing, and will have to deal for another week and a half, with a highly strained financial budget. The Orlando shooting was really just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    I messaged my ex (the salty break up one, not the narc--the narc gets nothing), asking her to just confirm she’s alive. She told me to go fuck myself in reply. Well, I got what I wanted, but it still hurt, particularly since the narc ex said things like “you’re unlovable” on her way out, and salty ex unknowingly prodded that particular wound.

    I didn’t realize how heavy it all was until rebooting a daily routine. I don’t think my work will ever be a stressor (it may be a domestic violence organization, but all I’m doing is writing policy manuals). My coworkers seem likable, and the projects assigned to me play to my strengths and are very familiar. But just moving, every day, something I didn’t necessarily do when I was running my blag and writing, makes all the weight apparent. My own inclination to self harm reared its ugly head, feeling like my pain has been largely unacknowledged, especially by the dipshits responding to Orlando, inspires the temptation to make the pain tangible, visible. I can sit on it for a couple days, I just hope my therapist agrees to a session soon.

    Didn’t mean to hijack the thread, but I need to say something to someone. All the counselling resources I’ve tried were shit, or shuffled me along since I wasn’t immediately suicidal, and thanks to narc ex, I don’t have many friends left--the few who are left are preoccupied with the aforementioned possibly attempted suicide.

  37. says

    Shiv @ 53:

    I messaged my ex (the salty break up one, not the narc–the narc gets nothing), asking her to just confirm she’s alive. She told me to go fuck myself in reply. Well, I got what I wanted, but it still hurt, particularly since the narc ex said things like “you’re unlovable” on her way out, and salty ex unknowingly prodded that particular wound.

    Jesus fuck. Some people. I get the break up anger and all that shit, but given the situation right now, and the intense fragility a lot of us feel, they might have managed a “yeah. thanks for asking. now fuck off” or something.

    I didn’t realize how heavy it all was until rebooting a daily routine. I don’t think my work will ever be a stressor (it may be a domestic violence organization, but all I’m doing is writing policy manuals). My coworkers seem likable, and the projects assigned to me play to my strengths and are very familiar. But just moving, every day, something I didn’t necessarily do when I was running my blag and writing, makes all the weight apparent. My own inclination to self harm reared its ugly head, feeling like my pain has been largely unacknowledged, especially by the dipshits responding to Orlando, inspires the temptation to make the pain tangible, visible. I can sit on it for a couple days, I just hope my therapist agrees to a session soon.

    :deep breath: Okay. I hit that point a short while back, and I’m not all kinds of better yet. I got a nice sharp razor blade, and sliced the hell out of some paper, rather than myself, but…well, I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you that it’s not the same.

    Recent events, personal ones, that I have not talked about yet (probably should, but if I do, I might blow up my life), have magnified that desire, and then there’s Orlando. I feel like I’m made of spun glass.

    Didn’t mean to hijack the thread, but I need to say something to someone. All the counselling resources I’ve tried were shit, or shuffled me along since I wasn’t immediately suicidal, and thanks to narc ex, I don’t have many friends left–the few who are left are preoccupied with the aforementioned possibly attempted suicide.

    You didn’t hijack anything, and I wouldn’t care if you did. I know we don’t know each other all that well yet, but I’m here. Please remember that. You want to post here, do that. Want to email? Do that too. Whatever you need.

  38. says

    Cicely @ 56:

    It’s not enough. The asshole is openly biased and incompetent, he should be kicked off the bench.

  39. cicely says

    Caine @57:
    I agree; It’s not enough.
    I’m simply amazed that anything in the way of consequences is happening.
    It’s an every-so-minute change for the better, and I’m gonna take it, while heartily agitating for his complete removal from the bench.

  40. blf says

    The fountains of spittle you see erupting are from the NRA, Senate filibuster ends as Democrat claims gun control victory: “Chris Murphy, who led Democrats in holding floor for more than 14 hours, says deal was struck with Republicans for vote on background checks and terror watchlist”.

    Assuming the thugs didn’t lie (a BIG assumption), the alleged-agreement is only for the Senate to hold a vote on the proposed measures. As recently as last December the thugs in Senate voted down a weaker proposal, so even if the thugs really do allow a vote, I am doubtful this will lead to anything. Perhaps the most notable thing is the dummies didn’t do their usual thing and immediately fold, but kept going for 14-ish hours.

  41. blf says

    Mystery alien rock unearthed in Swedish quarry:

    Piece of meteorite may have resulted form a mid-space collision between vast asteroids more than 470m years ago

    A morsel of never-before-seen alien rock has been dug up in a limestone quarry in Sweden, where it had lain deeply buried for about 470m years, scientists said on Tuesday.

    The biscuit-sized remains are unlike any other meteorite found on Earth to date, and may shed light on the history and formation of our solar system, they reported in the journal Nature Communications.

    Named Oest 65, it is thought to be a splinter of a potato-shaped rock 20–30km (12–19 miles) wide, which had smashed into another much larger body, sprinkling our adolescent planet with debris.

    Previously, remnants of only one of the two rocks had been found, in the form of meteorites called chondrites.
    “The object contains very high concentrations {compared to Earth materials}, of elements such as iridium, which is very rare on Earth,” Schmitz explained by email.

    “The meteorite also contains high concentrations of rare isotopes of the element Neon” — and in different proportions than in chondrites.

  42. says

    Today’s favourite search string from the stats page, because it has a *great* typo:

    just makes common sense bummer sticker mccory

  43. Siobhan says

    Content notice: Orlando business
    Orlando shooter exhibits few signs of radicalization, fits profile of “typical” (white) mass shooter:

    “He was bullied as a kid in school. He had well-documented behavioral problems. He was aggressive toward other kids. As he got older, things didn’t get much better. He took steroids, he jumped from job to job, he had a history of domestic violence. And all these things together fit into a mass shooter’s profile.”

    But it was teh moooooslems.

  44. says


    “He was bullied as a kid in school. He had well-documented behavioral problems. He was aggressive toward other kids. As he got older, things didn’t get much better. He took steroids, he jumped from job to job, he had a history of domestic violence. And all these things together fit into a mass shooter’s profile.”

    Yep, that’s an American male murderer alright. Yet all we hear: ‘radical Islam!’

  45. blf says

    Queue the jokes (“you’re gonna need a bigger wall”, et al.), Eyeless catfish discovered in Texas cave may have come from Mexico:

    Blind fish were first documented in northern Mexico in 1954, but have never been seen this far north — suggesting underground caverns link the US to Mexico

    Eyeless catfish have been discovered deep inside a cave in Texas, an entirely new area for a rare species and a finding scientists say could mean underground caverns link the US to Mexico.

    The albescent pink fish were found swimming in a limestone cave at the Amistad National Recreation Area, near Del Rio in southern Texas. The tiny, 3in-long fish, identified as the Mexican blindcat, were collected by a team in May […].

    “Since the 1960s there have been rumors of sightings of blind, white catfishes in that area, but this is the first confirmation,” ichthyologist Dean Hendrickson said in a statement. “I’ve seen more of these things than anybody, and these specimens look just like the ones from Mexico.”
    Hendrickson has spent years searching for the Mexican blindcat in the US. He identified the fish for the team of researchers. Texas has two other species of blind catfish: the toothless blindcat and the widemouth blindcat, which live deep in the aquifer below San Antonio.
    The skeletal widemouths, of the genus “Satan”, are considered the top predators of the caves, even though they measure only 5.4in and have just the useless remnants of eyes — a pale sightless miniature of their closest relatives, the 5ft flathead. They are thought to prey on tiny shrimp and the 4in toothless catfish, a bizarre animal thought to scavenge on fungus and the dead.

  46. Siobhan says

    ichthyologist Dean Hendrickson said in a statement

    My brain read that as “icky-ologist,” which made sense for a nanosecond because eyeless catfish look like stray smears of spoiled butter.

  47. blf says

    eyeless catfish look like stray smears of spoiled butter

    You have very, ah, interesting, toast.

  48. says

    Today’s rather odd search string:

    anton yelchin death conspiracy

    There’s a conspiracy already? Poor kid isn’t even cold.

  49. blf says

    There’s a conspiracy…

    Sure there is ! Yer basic conspiracy theory involves a plot by Siobhan’s mutant toast taking over the bird-puppet duties to make an ancient Egyptian AK-47 from the molten remains of Darwinism when teh trum-prat nukes himself after confusing “the button” with a policy advisor.

    The connection to Mr Yelchin’s death is proved, proved!, by the existence or lack of a trum-pratian insult.

  50. blf says

    June 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm
    Happy Solstice!

    Sighs… Another confused reptilian. Godzilla syndrome in action. Very similar to forty-foot high killer rat syndrome, but more rubbery.

  51. Lofty says

    Happy Solstice!

    Norty bean, going off early. The solstice is

  52. Ice Swimmer says

    Fuck the Nokia leadership for ever letting Microsoft near smartphones! I’m not going to elaborate. Just fucking fuckity fuck.

  53. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Happy solstice. I once went to a small town solstice parade with homemade floats. The primary float was a huge, open, oyster shell. The pearl was a VERY pregnant woman with her belly painted pearl white. Them were the good old days. This was in Santa Barbara in the 70s.

  54. Ice Swimmer says

    I saw a fox again. This time one crossed the road near the bus stop I was on. A long-tailed shadow at darkest hour of the summer solstice (not all that dark).

    Morgan @ 78

    I got a warm fuzzy feeling about that. Thank you!

  55. blf says

    10 of Europe’s oddest attractions and events: “Get tropical in Germany, wander through a miniature Portugal, in Portugal, and sniff around Sweden’s Nose Academy — Guardian writers choose their favourite weird attractions across mainland Europe”. I rather liked the beer swimming pools in the cellar of the 200-year-old Starkenberger brewery in Austria.

  56. Lofty says

    Our newest local supermarket has a basement car park and a shallow sloping escalator to the shops. The annoying thing is that the hand rail goes slightly faster than the foot slope. If you actually held on it as directed by the signs it would pull your hand two feet forwards by the end of the ride, both up and down. Dur.

  57. dianne says

    Completely unrelated to anything previously written here, I just read an article saying that with modern treatment, CML (chronic myeloid leukemia) has only a small effect on life expectancy: people with CML die, on average, about 3 years earlier than people in the general population. Not bad for a disease that used to be nearly universally fatal in 1-2 years after diagnosis. However, the study was done in Sweden. For various reasons, I had my doubts about whether the same result would be found in the US. So I ran the numbers and…nope: definitely higher mortality in the US. Then I restricted the analysis to insured people in the US. Guess what it looked like then.

  58. dianne says

    And, as long as I’m here…blf @82: I’m disappointed that the Icelandic penis museum didn’t make the list.

  59. Siobhan says

    I wish I got my first paycheque from FtB, because I could use a Victory Poutine right now. (not to be confused with regular poutine, or that shredded cheese shit you Americans say is poutine but is actually just a facsimile of Real poutine)

  60. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says


    Just a quick update on me. Yes, I am still around.

    Girl has graduated with a BS in psychology, and minors in sociology, women’s studies and statistics. She has a full-time job, with benefits, working for a domestic violence shelter.

    Boy no longer works for the Catholic nursing home. He was bored out of his skull and tired of working with high school kids. He is now a tourenant chef for an upscale restaurant with a French style kitchen. So far, he has added two dishes to the desert menu: S’Mores cheesecake and Mexican chocolate cake. He took an hourly pay cut but has gone from 35 hours a week to 45-50 hours per week which means he is earning lots more money.

    Wife is still recovering from foot and ankle surgery. She also needs a knew knee which will be done (most likely) next June.

    My back still spasms regularly. The back surgeon says that there is nothing he can do, so I continue with exercises and injections. Work goes apace. I will be (if not at a forest fire) playing a concert up in Lackawaxen, PA in July. I’ll be singing folk songs that link to units of the NPS (or themes of the NPS) for the agency’s centennial.

    Caine: still no followup on that email we discussed. Still no idea if it is real or not. Oh, well.

  61. says


    Girl has graduated with a BS in psychology, and minors in sociology, women’s studies and statistics. She has a full-time job, with benefits, working for a domestic violence shelter.

    Wow, impressive! Stress self care to her, that’s a high burnout job.

    Boy no longer works for the Catholic nursing home. He was bored out of his skull and tired of working with high school kids. He is now a tourenant chef for an upscale restaurant with a French style kitchen. So far, he has added two dishes to the desert menu: S’Mores cheesecake and Mexican chocolate cake. He took an hourly pay cut but has gone from 35 hours a week to 45-50 hours per week which means he is earning lots more money.

    That’s a hell of a change, bet he’ll be a lot happier! Oooh, Mexican chocolate cake. Want.

    Wife is still recovering from foot and ankle surgery. She also needs a knew knee which will be done (most likely) next June.

    Yeeouch. Hopefully the knee surgery will go well.

    My back still spasms regularly. The back surgeon says that there is nothing he can do, so I continue with exercises and injections. Work goes apace. I will be (if not at a forest fire) playing a concert up in Lackawaxen, PA in July. I’ll be singing folk songs that link to units of the NPS (or themes of the NPS) for the agency’s centennial.

    I have the same back. The concert sounds like a lot of fun, very cool.

    Caine: still no followup on that email we discussed. Still no idea if it is real or not. Oh, well.

    Seems on the fishy side to me, no follow up, so I’d just forget it. All my love.

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, yesterday we had a visit from the ISP/Phone/TV company, to fix some problems with the TV reception. In the morning, the phone worked fine, the TV was fine except for the internet/on-demand/ppv/caller ID (the latter is very important to the Redhead, as she has trouble reading the small screen on the phone, but has no problem reading the TV pop-up), and the ISP was semi-stable. By the time they figured out the the problem and fixed it (stringing a new drop line, a new amplifier, and removing some noisy fittings), the TV was working, the ISP was steady, but the phone was down. The phone system still had the original VoiP modem from when it was installed 12-15 years ago, and it died while they were here.
    The Redhead went most of the day without normal care, and it required some work once they left.
    They had to come back this morning to get the phone working, now all is fine for another few years. Most important, the caller ID pops up on the TV when somebody calls. The Redhead is rejoicing.

  63. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    And I ran into this quote in a book from back in 1983 called War Day:

    The greater justice is not to punish evil, but to give the evildoer the courage to experience his own conscience.

  64. blf says

    The absolute dictator of the child raping cult is trying to sound reasonable, Pope Francis says Christians should apologise to gay people (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    The pontiff says Church teachings dictate that gay people should not be discriminated against, but respected
    The pope recalled Church teachings, saying: “{Gay people} should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.

    “I think that the Church not only should apologise{…} to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”

    Notably missing here are the children raped by cult employees. (There are other omissions as well.)

    The Church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.

    In other words: Teh Gay are subhuman.

  65. blf says

    Ozland is having an electron Real Soon Now™, and whilst the issues, real, imagined, and discussed (I doubt any have been actually debated, or even explained) are sometimes somewhat different, this First Dog on the Moon should still be mostly self-explainatory, As we drag the battered carcass of democracy into the last week of the election …: “The righteous campaign for the freedom to be free from the truth appears to be picking up steam. It’s got my vote!”

  66. cicely says

    *unloading the pouncehug-backlog that has been building up a dangerous amount of pressure*
    Congrats to Girl on graduation and employment.
    Congrats to Boy on escaping the nursing home, and the better employment.
    I worked in a nursing home, for one completely miserable and depressing summer—this one was Mennonite rather than Catholic, but I’m sure the awfulness is/was similar.
    Best wishes for Wife‘s recovery and future knee upgrade.
    Here’s hoping that your back does better. Take care of yourself, y’hear?
    *pouncehug* for Nerd.
    Our on-screen Caller ID is maddeningly inconsistent. Nuisance. :(

    The Church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.

    In other words: Teh Gay are subhuman.

    Meanwhile, sex acts—straight or gay—and rape are also Sinful Acts on the part of the clergy, who are supposed to be chaste…without the errant clergymen being considered “subhuman”.
    Strange, that….

  67. quotetheunquote says

    Chigau @99.
    My gooness (as Shirley Temple used to say), that looks … remote. Is that one of those places where the mosquitoes are big enough to carry off dogs an small children?

  68. blf says

    The impression I have is that is the sort of place where polar bears eat the dogs and people. Only then are the polar bears carried off by mosquitoes.

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What I didn’t mention earlier was that the infestation of cable technicians happened on our wedding anniversary (one not ending in 0 or 5). Since they left so late in the day, the planned steak/lobster tail dinner for the Redhead had to be postponed. We didn’t get to it until yesterday, due to Fishy Friday™ and finishing off a roast chicken as BBQ sammiches (remnants of wings and main body, with Jack Daniels original #7 BBQ sauce), on a bun with French’s fried onion rings (topping for the infamous green been casserole) with spud flakes and a dill pickle spear on Saturday night.
    So yesterday she finally got her turf and surf, but since we got started so late, I was busy all afternoon and evening. My back got cranky. Fortunately, I got some pork chops on sale, marinated them in Caribbean Jerk Sauce, and cooked them with the steaks. The Redhead was pleased with the surf and turf, and we finished off the dinner with cherry spumoni and tres leches cake. Took a naproxin for my back, and a good nights sleep fixed that problem. Tonight, she wants pork chops rather than left over beef roast.

  70. quotetheunquote says

    I got a really spectacularly well-done phishing mail yesterday from Spain -- it was an actual piece of paper in a window envelope, with a real stamp on it! I’m guessing somebody has figured out that, while emails are really easy to ignore and delete, snail mail, being rare, gets more attention. (Well, that part is true!)

    I suspect that the “attorney” who was trying to enlist my help in recovering the €950,000 deposit left by a deceased relative would have been a lot more believable if he’d had not referred me to a gmail address…

  71. blf says

    quotetheunquote@105, Whilst I myself haven’t gotten a physical snail-mail “Nigerian 419” scam, I have gotten multiple physical snail-mail scams (“You won the lottery”, if I recall correctly), also from Spain. Same sort of thing: Rather neatly-done looking window envelope, letterheaded paper, real stamp (0,60€ as I recall), from Spain. Three(?) of them over the space of about the same number of months.

    What I found vastly amusing is they were written in English and sent to an address in France. Whether the scammers “lucked out” in that the named recipient (me) spoke English, or were specifically-targeting English-(probable?-)speakers, is unknown to me. (Alternatively, I suppose, they were hoping the recipient didn’t have very good English?)

    Some quick checks of both the named lottery and for other snail-mail(-from-Spain?) incidents confirmed it was a scam. I did not, however, find any terribly concrete or plausible advice on who to complain to and let the matter drop.

  72. blf says

    Browsing through the recent-ish entries in the Encyclopedia of American Loons I found this hilarious entry:

    #1655: Jeff Godwin

    Many fundies have warned us about the dangers of pop music. It’s really a calling card for the lunatic fringe of maniacal fundamentalist. […] Jeff Godwin belongs to “the lunatic fringe of the anti-rock movement” — indeed, Godwin doesn’t hesitate to call out his fellow anti-rock activists as closet rock fans and devil worshippers and has for decades been Jack Chick’s go-to-guy for information about rock music and popular culture […]

    According to Godwin, rock and roll music (yeah, we know) traces its origins back thousands of years. Its rhythms were written by Satan and his demons and have, accordingly, a subliminal power to control a listener’s mind. Those rhythms eventually found their way, via Africa, into blues, jazz and other forms of African American music and the rest of us received this Satanic curse through African American voodoo culture. Indeed, one of Godwin’s main ideas is the “voodoo beat theory”: The rock beat has the same time signature as the human heart (no, he hasn’t listened to much rock music), and hence clearly hypnotizes and brainwashes listeners into accepting a message so evil that it could only be Satan’s.

    […] Of course, it is not only promiscuous sex that is being promoted, but abnormal sex, as epitomized by that nexus of darkness David Bowie, the “limp wristed king of the abnormal world of Homo Rock”. All screamed rock vocals are in fact inspired by the sound of the “homosexual penetration of the male”, and whip crack drum beats are just a gateway to filthy and unhibited homosexual S&M. The hypothesis tells you not so much about rock, but might tell you things you might not want to know about William Godwin.

    […] How do they [rock musicans] do the backmasking? Simple: Rock stars summon (literally) demons when they’re in studio to ensure hit records; the backmasked messages are merely the signatures of the supernatural presences. And once the demons have been brought into this world by the artists, playing a rock record is enough to call them up to possess the listener or anyone nearby. […]

    Finally, Christian rock is a diversion created by Satan. [Nah, it’s not that good! –blf] The Christian content preached in Christian rock is feel-good, inoffensive religious messages and does accordingly not genuinely preach Christ, who according to Godwin is not this effeminate, mild and benevolent guy he’s sometimes portrayed as being; that mild and merciful guy is apparently a creation of Satan and good grief this guy is insane. […]

  73. blf says

    Another, much shorter, excerpt which had me giggling so much the spider peeked around the side of the screen (all emphasis and strikeouts in the original):

    #1633: Brigitte Gabriel

    Brigitte Gabriel is a Lebanese-American fundie TV pundit who used to work for Middle East Television when it was owned by the South Lebanon Army (a Christian militia allied with Israel; the station was later sold to Pat Robertson). Today, she travels the world giving presentations sponsored by wingnut groups, mostly claiming that Jews Muslims are conspiring to seize power in the world […]
    In 2014 there was much consternation among various less intelligent wingnuts in the wake of the announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit. Gabriel’s response was among the more impressively stupid one. According to Gabriel, Obama is handing the internet over the UN control (which is, in fact, more or less precisely the opposite of what the administration did), and it will lead to the imposition of Sharia law on the Internet. It is hard to reconcile that claim with the assumption that she does, in fact, know what sharia law is. Or the internet. (She doesn’t have the faintest clue what was actually happing, of course, but that is less surprising.)

  74. says


    According to Gabriel, Obama is handing the internet over the UN control (which is, in fact, more or less precisely the opposite of what the administration did), and it will lead to the imposition of Sharia law on the Internet.

    Oh FFS. I don’t know how these people manage to breathe, let alone talk. It’s clear they can’t think.

  75. blf says

    I’m sorry, but some of these crackpots are really, ah, “amazing”:

    #1608: Bill Federer

    William J. “Bill” Federer is the host of the program Faith in History on the TCT Network the radio show The American Minute, affiliated with the World Congress of Families, president of Amerisearch (“a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage”), as well as an author of several books with titles like America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, […] Three Secular Reasons Why America Should Be Under God, […]

    So, for instance, Federer thinks that the “atheist homosexual gay agenda movement” will move America “into an Islamic future” complete with mythical Sharia law “no-go zones”. And the conspiracy is governed from the very top. Federer thinks that the Arab Spring was designed by evil forces who wanted to create a surge in Muslim refugees who would then settle in the U.S. in order to establish Islamic “sleeper cells.” These cells will then soon “get a signal to have Ferguson riots in malls across America,” thereby giving Obama the justification to “restore order” by setting up a “militarized dictatorship.” […] How is it supposed to work? Well, according to Federer, Europe “went from a Judeo-Christian past into a neutral-secular-gay-agenda present and now it’s going into an Islamic future;” hence, it is clear that “the sexual confusion agenda is simply a transition phase” that will soon “be taken over by Islam.” The process by which LGBT equality is leading to Islamic dominion is already in full effect in the military, where Christians have been forced into the closet by the fact that gays are allowed to serve […]
    [… A]ccording to Federer, “Darwin is best known for the theory of evolution, arguing that all men are not equal because some are more evolved,” an assertion that has nothing to do with anything remotely connected to evolution — though to Federer, the idea that some humans are more evolved than others “influenced the Dred Scott Case,” which took place three years before the publication of The Origin of Species and fifteen years before The Descent of Man. […]

  76. Saad says

    Sensitive dudebro The Amazing Atheist has a video called “20 Answers for Black People”.

    Has anyone seen it? I wouldn’t want to click on it with a 10-foot mouse.

  77. blf says

    Another fruitcake:

    #1586: Gordon Epperly

    There has been a number of birther lawsuits — all of them deranged — but Gordon Epperly of Alaska may have the distinction of filing the (two) craziest of them all […]
    Before the 2012 election, Epperly filed an objection to Obama’s placement on the ballot, complaining that “{a}s Barack Hussein Obama II is of the ‘mulatto’ race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the {purported} ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.” Yes, the complaint assumes that Dred Scott is still the governing principle […]
    The challenge was rejected, so he filed another one claiming that Obama is not a natural born citizen and that, by taking office, he has committed treason — and that Nancy Pelosi has no right to be hold public office because she’s a woman: “There are no provisions in the Constitution of the United States that grants Women ‘Political Rights’ of Suffrage to hold any Political Office of the United States Government,” said the lawsuit. […]

  78. says

    Saad @ 113:

    Has anyone seen it? I wouldn’t want to click on it with a 10-foot mouse.

    No, and like you, I wouldn’t click on it. Bad enough imagining it.

  79. blf says

    And now for “Possibly the craziest loon we have yet covered in our Encyclopedia”:

    #1580: Don Elmore

    Ken Ham is to many the ultimate symbol of religiously driven ignorance, anti-science fundamentalist crazy, but there are those who are crazier than Ken Ham […]. In fact, there are those who are so much crazier than Ken Ham that they attack Answers in Genesis from the right. Pastor Don Elmore of Union Kentucky, for instance, […] thinks they’re part of a humanistic conspiracy:

    I am aware of the forces supporting “Answers in Genesis”, these being the same powers that are supporting similar multi-cultural anti-Christian organizations such as Alpha, Promise Keepers, The Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association, Billy Graham ministries, producers of many modern Bible versions, and a multitude of other ministries. These forces are the anti-Christian powers seeking One World Government under man, not God. The essence of my criticism is to show that “Answers in Genesis” supports the humanistic and unbiblical “Brotherhood of Man” doctrine (which also is a Hindu/Roman Catholic/Masonic/Jewish/Judeo-Christian and World-Church belief).

    Of course, what really irks Elmore is miscegenation (oh, yeah):

    For instance, less than 60 years ago, mixed racial unions were illegal in most of the states in the United States and other White nations. But now, they are tolerated as being supposedly within God’s plan. Under the influence and promotion of the Jewish-Masonic-Papal-Communist/Socialist controlled governments and media, Western Christianity has succumbed to the approval of race mixing […]. The Bible abounds with evidence of God’s clear will that the races be separate in every way. “Answers in Genesis” mould all its answers around Judeo-Christian doctrines and traditions, and claims a different basis and definition of “race” from that which the Bible gives. […]

    Whee. […]

    I started to embolden some of the extra-special fruitnutcakery but soon realized it’d be quicker to fly a biplane to Alpha Centauri (especially if was powered by such fruitnutcakery).

  80. cicely says

    Browsing through the recent-ish entries in the Encyclopedia of American Loons

    I…I had no idea that such a thing existed!

  81. blf says

    Fasten your helmets, safety harness, and sanityhazard suit before reading this one:

    #1542: Tom DeWeese

    Wingnut think tanks attract the craziest shit. The American Policy Center (APC), for instance, has got themselves Tom DeWeese, a global warming denialist bent on turning Dunning-Kruger into an art form, for president. According to DeWeese global warming is a hoax because trees give off carbon dioxide (oh, yes — read that again). Furthermore, “{t}he fact is some scientists {who shall apparently remain unnamed} have done some studies saying we’ve got a carbon dioxide shortage right now”. To nail his conclusion, DeWeese also claimed that environmentalism was the work of communist leaders bent on destroying the freedoms of the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and… oh, well — let’s just quote him:

    The bottom line is, CO2 is not a poison to human beings, CO2 is not affecting the atmosphere, there is absolutely no evidence, I can say this with absolute confidence, there is no evidence of man-made global warming causing problems. We are actually going through a cooling period right now, which is going to increase over the next few years, it’s cyclical, it happens. […] They will just keep coming up with his stuff, it’s just craziness…

    I suppose the last sentence, read strictly in isolation, might be onto something. […]

    Technically, the loon’s correct CO2 is not toxic (not a poison (CO is toxic), in a confined space CO2 displaces the oxygen, asphyxiating you), but that’s neither the claim, problem, nor point.

  82. blf says

    Oh FFS, Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of damaging Otomi religious site in Mexico:

    Official identity of assailants still unknown after incident at Mayonhika, an ancient site where stone structures were toppled and offerings tossed about

    Assailants have damaged an ancient Otomi religious site in Mexico, toppling stone structures used as altars, breaking carved stones and scattering offerings of flowers, fruit and paintings at the remote mountain shrine known as Mayonihka or Mexico Chiquito.

    The attack was unusual in a country where few ancient pre-Hispanic religious sites remain functioning.

    A researcher who interviewed some of the attackers said they identified themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses and viewed the altars as blasphemy. However, the spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico said Tuesday that the allegation appeared to be false.
    The site itself, deep in the forest near a river, is not particularly elaborate. There a few ancient stone walls, some with bas-relief carvings.

    But it is significant in a country where most indigenous religious sites were demolished or built-over over to make way for churches centuries ago.

    Jaime Chavez, an Otomi poet who leads the group Otomi Nation, said Indians from several states “use the site to perform ceremonies for Mother Nature, and some even do weddings or baptisms”.

    “The important thing is the (natural) space, not the objects” destroyed in the attack, said Chavez. “You can get more objects. What the elders want is for them to stop invading, or destroying the site.”

  83. Siobhan says

    Jewish-Masonic-Papal-Communist/Socialist controlled governments

    So this guy just threw every conspiracy into a blender and whatever came out was his boogeyman?

    My thinkerbox hurts.

  84. blf says

    So this guy just threw every conspiracy into a blender and whatever came out was his boogeyman?

    This guy is a real gigglesbox of dumbfeckery. Whilst I haven’t gone to his website, I did find the following (the site itself is a goldmine of lunatic xians, with articles like Canada [Parliament] Shooting False Flag — Cameras pre-stationed at EVERY Angle, and EbolaGate is actually a Bioweapons False Flag attack strategy, with many sophisticated alternative scenarios). Here are some excerpts from this loon’s contribution The Rock ‘n Roll Church (I am not going to include the ERRATic type-set-ting):

    The church began singing the Psalms found in the middle of our Bible. They were put to music and the congregation sang the praises to our God. Over many centuries new hymns were written: some good, some bad. But in the last fifty years, something new has slipped into the churches: endless choruses Jesus called “vain repetitions,” and singing to rock ‘n roll music […]

    The church is serving other gods and not the God of the Bible. The church has learned the way of the heathen.
    What exactly is the popular rock ‘n roll? […] It first had its beginning in ancient Babylon. In fact its origins are purely religious, being an integral part of orgies and devil worship. This entire system of pagan Babylon, from its trinity of gods to its music eventually filtered down to Egypt.

    Many modern historians trace the origins of rock music directly to Egypt. [snort! –blf] We know it was used to alter the emotions; it was used to create mass hypnosis and especially to incite immortality. [yeah, them ancient Egyptians were really groovy –blf]

    From ancient Egypt, it spread to the jungles of Africa. It was part of their religion. Music in Africa intricately evolved into devil worship, altering the conscious state and inciting sexual orgies. This music subsequently found its way across the Atlantic to America aboard slave ships.

    When the Jewish-financed and promoted Black-slave trade triangle began, the Blacks brought their religious traditions with them. [at least he isn’t using the n— word –blf] It went to Brazil, the Caribbean Islands, America and other places in South and Central America. Haiti, one of the central places where the slaves congregated, maintained their religious beliefs and music. The main area of America that the practitioners of Voodoo settled was New Orleans.

    The Black slaves could not bring any material possessions to the new world when they were being kidnapped; but they could take their:

     1. Voodoo worship
     2. Pagan ritual dances
     3. Sexual drum beats

    [… surprisingly, a not fractally-incorrect summary of the evolution of the music …]

    We have seen that the roots of rock came directly from the rites of pagan worship. Therefore its use and effects are the same today as they were then. Rock motivates you internally, giving you a sensual feeling. A girl can be ‘turned on’ by the music as it releases her inhibitions. The beat of the drum has always been a factor and she realizes her own sexuality through the music. A steady diet of rock ‘n roll promotes degenerate rebelliousness among teenagers that finds its outlet in drugs, alcohol and illicit sex.

    [… lots more dribble, albeit not too much spittle …]

    Paganism is now a part of ‘normal’ everyday life; heathen customs and bad manners are the popular taste in clothing, poor language and loose morals. Grammar is omitted and swearing is accepted in colloquial and literary language, with eroticism, promiscuity and homosexuality almost mandatory. As in the jungle dances were enticing to each of the two sexes, in many cases in America they have became sadistic or violent in the night clubs, high school gyms and cafeterias.

    [… lots and lots and lots more spittle-flecked dribble(this nutter really goes on and on) …]

    Bob Dylan, who is a Jew, sang the song, “The Times They are A-Changin’.” This referred to the times of the civil rights movement in the United States. The video of the song begins with a politician from the South saying: “All the people of the South are in favor of segregation. And Supreme Court or no Supreme Court, we are going to maintain segregated schools down in Dixie.”

    The song was about the changes that occurred in America. It was the same changes that were about to happen in the Christian Church. The churches went from being independent, straight-only marriages, segregated churches to a diverse, same-sex, marriages, multicultural, sodomite, rock ‘n roll, integrated, and state run 501C (3) churches [“state-run churches”!? –blf]

    [… moar dribble and spittle and and and, then a really odd paragraph:]
    There has been a growing decline of Western Christian civilization in the past two centuries, especially in the last 50 years since Jesus opened the Seven Seals and revealed their mystery through His Prophet, William Branham. When the churches rejected the Revelation, they rejected the Son of Man like Israel before them. Theology has produced rebellion which is as the sin of witchcraft […] and invited rock ‘n roll into the sanctuaries […]

    I’d never heard of this “William Branham” before, but the loon mentioned him multiple times (usually as “Brother Branham”). He was apparently an “end times”, “healing hands”, yadda yadda yadda nutter, ultimately at the centre of a personality cult, and sounds like he might have been even more of fruitnutwalruscake that the above loon.

  85. Siobhan says

    What exactly is the popular rock ‘n roll? […] It first had its beginning in ancient Babylon.


  86. blf says

    I get to fly around in a helicopter while I’m there.

    Another pagan ritual originating in ancient Babylon!!!!!1!!11!

  87. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Encyclopedia of American Loons

    I will just cross post (with minor changes to make it more sense-like in this forum) this from Pharyngula’s Moment’s of Political Madness thread:

    Discussion with RWA volunteer today. He stated that, if Hillary Clinton becomes President, the United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force will be disbanded as it is illegal for a serviceman to take orders from a girl. I told him that, during my (admittedly brief) service in the US Army, I obeyed the orders of women who were non-commissioned officers and officers. He then explained that this was acceptable because there is always a man further up the line who is actually issuing the orders the girls give. If the POTUS is a girl (yes, he kept using girl, not woman (and THAT brought back some unpleasant memories)), there is no man ultimately in charge so no orders can be issued. This one is, I admit, new to me.

    He is he a volunteer at the park and is a Vox Dei-style Catholic. He is a retired public school teacher from New Jersey where he taught physics, calculus and pre-calc, health (sex education) and special ed. He went to college on the GI bill and state aid. He was in the New Jersey State Teachers Union for 30 odd years. And he insists that, since he pulled himself up by the bootstraps without any help from anyone, from a poor farming family that got by on food stamps during the spring and into the early summer, attended public school, nobody today should expect any aid for education or anything else and we should privatize education so it will work properly and we should defund all schools that are below the national average so that every school will work to become above average (no, he really doesn’t understand statistics). He is a birther, a flat-taxer, a misogynistic asshole, a victim-blamer, anti-women’s health care (he doesn’t want insurance to pay for prenatal care as it that encourages the welfare leeches to have more babies), and is so disconnected from reality that I dread seeing him.

    I wonder if we can get an entry for him . . .

    Except that his views are considered mainstream by one major US political party. Which is nominating Trump.

    Heh. Heh.

    Ahahah. Ahahahahaha!!!!


  88. blf says

    Now I got the Boney M version of Rivers of Babylon playing in my head.

    I suspect the fruitnutwalruscake would that that as proof, proof!, you are possessed by demons, and the flat Earth is hollow.

  89. blf says

    #442: Todd Akin

    I suppose most readers are familiar with William Todd Akin. In any case, he was the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, serving from 2001 to 2013, a leading member of The Family, and member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Despite the fact that he failed eighth-grade health class, Akin used to sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
    The statements led to some controversy, and for a while it looked like the Republican party would withdraw their support for him (in the end they didn’t), a possibility that his wife Lulli said would be “just like the abuses of King George, when British troops raped our wives and daughters.” Akin himself said that criticism of him was just like when Muslims behead people (and I recommend taking a second to think about how abysmally stupid that claim is). Throughout his tribulations Akin retained the support of pseudohistorian David Barton […], who had earlier compared Akin to biblical figures and likened him to the Founding Fathers. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway told Akin to withstand the controversy that emerged following his comments just like David Koresh withstood the ATF at Waco. (Where the hell do they dig up these people?) AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, never one to let himself be outcrazied, later claimed that Akin`s “completely accurate” statements were living proof that the Republican Party is not “the stupid party”.

    Oh, and it’s the Encyclopedia of American Loons.

  90. blf says

    I know it’s summer in top hemisphere, but you should probably put on your loonyspittle-proof suits, and — unless you like the sound of panties being twisted tight — use earplugs, US military ends ban on transgender service members:

    Defense secretary Ash Carter says rule that trans people could be involuntarily separated, discharged or denied reenlistment would be dropped immediately
    In an announcement on Thursday, Carter said the defense department was changing its policies for transgender service members within the next 12 months, starting with the landmark decision to get rid of the rule that said transgender people could be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender. That change is effective immediately.

    Ah, the smell of flaming bigot in the warm evening…

  91. chigau (違う) says

    Now I’m in Yellowknife.
    I’m paying for this, so I’m in one of the older hotels.
    Air conditioning is a big fan blowing air on your haid. or other parts.
    It is 30°C out on Franklin Ave and 29°C in here.
    I have been to the book store and the liquor store.
    I am content.

  92. Ice Swimmer says

    Hello! I’m now at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Helsinki. Now some Norwegians (Tsjuder) are making a lot of noise. Soon it’s Turmion Kätilöt. Sun is shining.

    Later in the evening Stam1na and Anthrax will play.

    Have a nice Saturday, wherever you all are!

  93. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    Hello! I’m now at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Helsinki.

    Oh, sweeeeet! Have a great time!

  94. blf says

    Open Air Metal Festival

    Won’t help, still sounds like deformed peas eating horses from the inside out.

  95. The Mellow Monkey says

    Hey gang. Big ol’ threadrupt here. I’ve been away for a long time, curled up in a little hole of grief. Cancer took my best friend a few months back. Her family was pretty much useless for support, so I ended up staying with her for twenty-four hours a day (with a blissful two hour break every day for a week there when her dad came back from his vacation). It was hard trying to care for someone I loved so much who was in agonizing pain with no hope in sight except for death, but I didn’t realize how hard it was until she was gone and I just…broke.

    So. Hey. I’m here. Still around. Just have been catastrophically incapable of reaching out amidst my misery. I aten’t dead.

  96. says

    TMM @ 142:

    I’m glad you aten’t dead, but holy fucke, that’s a well of sorrow you’re shouldering on your own. I’m so very sorry you lost your friend, such grief. All the hugs, and whatever else you may need.

  97. Siobhan says

    Welcome back TMM, and I’m so sorry you lost your friend. I hope you do okay in the coming weeks and months.

  98. blf says

    Great British Fake Off? Copies hung in art galleries for competition:

    Sky Arts has swapped seven paintings for fake copies at galleries across Britain, and has tasked the public to find the frauds

    Seven British paintings have been removed from the walls of galleries and replaced with fakes in the name of a national TV competition.

    Sky Arts said they had organised the deception with the full cooperation of galleries that include the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

    During July, people will be able to look at a number of paintings knowing that one of them is a fake. For example in Manchester Art Gallery, people can enjoy pre-Raphaelite paintings by artists including Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Rossetti and Millais, and one will not be what it seems.

    “You don’t have to be an art historian to have a go at this,” said Phil Edgar-­Jones, the director of Sky Arts. “All you need is a sense of curiosity and an eye for detail.
    The participating galleries are in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Manchester, and the public will also be able to see the seven displays online.
    Successful fake spotters will be invited to the series finale at the Ashmolean Musuem in Oxford, with the eventual winner getting a fake of their own.

    Probably doesn’t feature any bird puppets…

  99. Ice Swimmer says

    Hi, TMM! I’m sorry you lost your friend. You’ve pulled a heavy load.

  100. says

    I know I neglected you. It’s not that I don’t love you, I just don’t have time.

    *big hugs*
    We lost my aunt to lung cancer last year. It’s such a horrible way to go.


    Ozone layer hole appears to be healing, scientists say: “Research by US and UK scientists shows the size of the hole has shrunk, and the layer will eventally recover, albeit slowly”.

    Wait, are you saying that combined global effort to limit and outlaw a dangerous chemical is actually working?
    Mind blown.


    “In Iqaluit and the other Muslim communities that dot Canada’s Arctic, 20 or more hours of sunlight have forced many to adjust to unique circumstances”.

    Huh? It’s generally permitted and accepted for people living in Nordic countries to simply heed Mekka times of sunrise/sunset or of the closest Muslim majority country.

  101. says


    Oh, I also have two wet roses for you, Caine
    I had to literally stop and smell the roses (and make everybody else stop and wait in the rain while I switched lenses and took the photos)

    Hee. :D So beautiful, and posted!

  102. Ice Swimmer says

    I was at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Helsinki on Saturday and Sunday, which was held at Suvilahti, in the old gas works* site. Weather was nice on Saturday until the showers started in the evening. Sunday was intermittent rain. The rain wasn’t a huge problem though, as the second stage was under a tent roof and I had a rain poncho.

    Anthrax and Children of Bodom did great shows. Stam1na and Turmion Kätilöt were also fun. Myrkur and With the Dead will merit further checking out. Something or somebody made mushy peas out of Primordial’s (guitar) sounds on Saturday afternoon, so I can’t say if they were good or bad per se.

    * = Gas works as in making gas for cooking and heating from coal. It became redundant when they built natural gas line from Soviet Union/Russia and started supplying it to the gas network.

  103. blf says

    It’s generally permitted and accepted for people living in Nordic countries to simply heed Mekka times of sunrise/sunset or of the closest Muslim majority country.

    Yes, those solutions, and others, are in the article linked-to.

  104. chigau (違う) says

    So I’m flipping channels, looking for something to watch for a couple hours.
    There’s a little boy in red swim trunks on a air mattress … familiar … black doggy gone missing… Jaws!
    This movie is still brilliant.
    Richard Dreyfuss is just eviscerating the scenery.

  105. chigau (違う) says

    because this is Jawsapalooza (or something) I’m watching Jaws 2
    the new shark just ate a helicopter

  106. blf says

    the new shark just ate a helicopter

    The mildly deranged penguin stays flying saucers are much tastier. That’s why they suddenly vanish, and is perhaps also the answer to Fermi’s Paradox — they get et.

  107. Ice Swimmer says

    Last night I watched a documentary on eagle owls in Finland (sadly not available abroad in Yle Areena). What caught my eye was that the birds look and act very much like cats grooming, when preening. The documentary also had nice sound-activated hidden cam footage (both night vision and daylight) of an eagle owl pair, the female brooding in the nest situated in a rock crevice and chatting softly with the male, who periodically brought her food.

  108. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    TMM @142:

    Shit. Nothing I can really say or write that would help, but higs? esupport? Be safe and take care of yourself.


    Went to a wedding Sunday night. The groom is a chef, so he made sure the food was amazing. They also had an open bar. No one got shitfaced. And no baked ziti on the buffet.

    Still running a long-term boarding kennel for the black dog, but it is so much a part of me that it is almost comforting to be depressed? Not comforting, but normal?

    Higs to all.

  109. quotetheunquote says

    @IceSwimmer 158.

    Hmmm, never thought about it before, but yes, I can see this similarity. Looks like another case of behavioural/morphological convergence -- both cats and owls are nocturnal hunters (therefore, large eyes, binocular vision) and both have a great deal of interest in keeping their “coats’ (fur and feathers) in top condition, hence the frequent grooming.

    (I know why owls do it -- if their feathers were not all in alignment, their flight would not be silent, and potential prey might be warned off. But it is unclear why it is so important to cats, i.e. more than other mammalian hunters.)

  110. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin says the reason cats groom themselves so much — besides being flight-challenged narcissistic bullies — is not only to remove the bits of mice and people they didn’t eat, but to maintain the production of that vital resource, hairballs.

    Interestingly, she may be correct, Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge says: “Cats are well known for their extensive grooming. One reason advanced for such grooming is to remove all traces of blood and other matter so as to not alert prey with the scent. Cats groom so much that they often produce hairballs from the fur they ingest.”

    Also: “Cats have scent glands on the underside of their paws. When they knead or scratch objects or people, it is likely these pheromones are transferred to the person or object being kneaded or scratched.” The cat really does own you.

  111. Ice Swimmer says

    Some news from Finland:

    Bird photographers are alleged to have defiled graves in Hietaniemi cemetery by putting rabbit and squirrel carcasses on top of tombstones to get the goshawk pair residing in the cemetery in better view. Grave defilement is a crime here. From Yle (only in Finnish).

    Unruly floating island are a problem in Hamina*, a small town on the South Coast of Finland. The changing sea levels in the winter loosen and bring afloat rafts of vegetation, turf, peat and mud from low-lying shores. The winds move the islands (on which there may be trees or up to four-meter high reeds) in the spring and summer, which creates hazards to navigation and problems to owners of seafront property. From Yle (only in Finnish).

    * = Hamina is home to a Google Data Center built in an old paper mill, a large port and a garrison. It’s also well-known for its circular town plan and originally star-shaped 18th-century fortifications. I’ve served in the garrison and worked in the paper mill.

  112. quotetheunquote says

    Higs to all

    Brother Ogvorbis- I’ll assume that that was just a typo, so thanks!

    “Yay, bosons for everyone, we get to have mass now!”


    The cat does own you.

    Okay, I already knew that, but … the explanation is intriguing.

  113. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Paid my bills last night.

    Looked up my checking account on line (the local credit union). There is more money than there should be (WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!). The check has cleared (my mortgage company and my bank have an ongoing issue with virtual checks . . . ).

    Tried to load up various bill-paying pages on Firefox. It has been getting kludgier over the past few months and now refuses to load damn near anything. Okay, then. Over to Chrome. Damn. Forgot pages could load that fast.

    Went to pay my homeowner’s insurance. I owed a smaller amount. And my policy was cancelled AS OF THE BEGINNING OF LAST MONTH! Checked my email? Nothing. No mail from them. What the hell? Cable bill? Not paid. Gas bill? Not paid. Yikes. What the fuck?!?!?! Paid double on six different bills (which explains all the extra money in my checking account . . . ). Opened the mail and, sure enough, a note from my mortgage company telling me that my insurance was about to lapse.

    Called the company this morning. Yup, coverage lapsed. Apparently, the kludginess of Firefox was preventing payments going through. Thanks for telling me.

    In Pennsylvania, a coverage lapse means the company can reinsure. What?!?!?!?! Called my agent. Explained the situation. Fifteen minutes later, I am covered again, exact same coverage but for $8.00 less per month.

    I really do not understand insurance companies.

  114. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Brother Oggie @ 166,

    In 1985 when I started training as a stockbroker, my first independent conclusion was that the insurance companies were astoundingly corrupt and the entire industry HAD to blow up pretty soon. Oh, how wrong I was. They still haven’t imploded. I learned a lot from my short stint in the halls of corporate crime.

  115. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says


    Tried to comment at Ed Brayton’s blog. Apparently I am banned there.

    Used to comment on his blog at FTB but, oh well. I’ll keep reading it, but . . .

  116. says


    Tried to comment at Ed Brayton’s blog. Apparently I am banned there.

    Used to comment on his blog at FTB but, oh well. I’ll keep reading it, but . . .

    Are you sure about that? I’ve heard from a lot of people that commenting at Patheos is seriously troublesome, I think they use Disqus, which forever gives me major headaches when it comes to commenting, you have to turn *everything* off, no NoScript, no ghostery, no adblock, and you might have to enable 3rd party cookies.

  117. says

    Also, given that Ed has a history of letting ‘pitters infest his comments, I can’t imagine why in the hell he’d ban you, of all people.

  118. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says


    I’ll wait a couple of days to see if my comment shows up (maybe first-timer moderation?). Maybe too quick on the draw on my part. Sorry.

  119. The Mellow Monkey says

    Yeah, I always have ridiculous troubles with Disqus. I’m really not a fan of it. Hopefully that’s all it is, Ogvorbis.

  120. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Needs a black robe and a scythe.

  121. Saad says

    Caine, #178

    LOLed @ this one:

    Well that explains the beard I grew and my sudden need to tell women to smile.

  122. Ice Swimmer says

    Gender-specific toothpaste. Can I wash my penis with it?

    What they should make is a toothpaste that doesn’t taste bad and foam like hell. Good for any gender.

  123. Saad says

    A clip of sovereign citizens and free inhabitants (first time hearing that term) being assholes to police.

    I haven’t finished watching it all but a great number of them seem to be white and openly defying police orders and being involved in physical struggles with them.

    Fucking sovereign citizens.

  124. says


    Fucking sovereign citizens.

    They will just make everything worse, and already, the racial divide is much too fucking deep -- it’s even showing in cases where people should be making a stand together. Fresno cops unloaded on a white 19 year old, killing him with at least 5 shots, and:

    Friends and family of Noble and Fresno residents carried a large Confederate flag as they confronted police, while others posted signs at a memorial that said “Justice for Dylan,” and “White Lives Matter.”

    I wonder if we’re heading for another civil war.

  125. blf says

    Tpyoing search terms lead to some seriously wacky woo-woo — I don’t know if this is new-ish or not (it’s apparently been around in Germany for some years now), but “barcodes emit(? adsorb? contain?) ‘negative energy’ but can be ‘canceled’ but drawing a line through them”… Geesh! (This seems to be mostly in-addition-to, albeit in true conspiracy style, not independent-of, both the “mark of the forty-foot high killer rat” nonsense and Zeppelin-eating hamsters.)

    From the loony fringe, Barcodes: Are they still worth striking through?

    And for a short dose of rationality, The Negative Energy Hidden In Your Food, with snark.

  126. blf says

    On the penis enhancer applied to teeth, Colgate has just had a run-in with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) in the UK on some of the claims made, Colgate toothpaste ad not quite whiter than white, says ASA: “An online ad for Colgate Max White One Optic wrongly gave the impression that the toothpaste delivered an immediate, major whitening effect, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.”

  127. cicely says

    Situation Normal; Unacceptably Threadrupt.
    *scattershooting hugs*
    *big hugs* and sympathies for The Mellow Monkey.
    I’m so sorry about your friend.
    Fuck cancer.
    chigau—somehow, I’ve managed to get to this Great Old Age without seeing Jaws—other than in small bits and pieces.
    *tasteful selection of bosons* for Ogvorbis.
    The Black Dog is one nasty son of a bitch; I cannot recommend ranch-raising ’em—there is no profit to be had, there.
    Wait—you ended up better off as a result of computer fuckery and re-insurance?
    Folks…we have truly arrived at the End of Days.
    Remember to buckle up securely, and return your handbasket to the upright position.
    We has Comic Sans?
    I guess men have manlier teeth?
    And you’d think they’d at least put racing stripes on the tube.
    Caine @182:

    I wonder if we’re heading for another civil war.

    If certain groups of people get their way….

  128. blf says

    Senator continues battle to save Native American artifacts from theft and sale:

    The New Mexico senator who helped halt the auction of a ceremonial shield is attempting to crack down on sacred items sold on international markets

    A US senator who helped halt the auction of a ceremonial shield from a Native American tribe in New Mexico is now attempting to crack down on the theft and sale of sacred Native American artifacts in international markets.

    Democrat Martin Heinrich of New Mexico introduced a bill to the Senate that would prohibit the export of Native American items that are of cultural and historic significance. It would also increase the penalties from a maximum of five years to a maximum of 10 years for individuals who steal and illegally traffic these items.
    The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act would also establish a two-year amnesty period during which people who have illegally possessed significant Native American items could return them without fear of prosecution.

    In addition, it calls on government agencies to conduct an investigation to better understand the scope of the theft and illegal sale of tribal artifacts, and to work with tribal leaders to address the issue.

    Navajo Nation council speaker LoRenzo Bates said the bill would not only benefits indigenous people now, but also “preserves our cultural wisdom and items to be utilized for generations to come”.

  129. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Last night, as I sat in the back yard smoking a cigar (wife was crocheting (she has started crocheting plaids)), I heard a knock on our front door, so I wandered out to see what was up. Three teenage girls wearing a t-shirt from the local Reformed Church. They asked if I would be willing to participate in a survey. Sure, why not.

    They asked what I saw as the most pressing need for the community. I answered that we need a school system that accepts Latino students as students, not as ESL baggage; we need a police department more interested in finding ways to work with the populace rather than against it; and we need to find a way to reduce food insecurity and income insecurity.

    They then asked what I would look for in a church. I said that I am an atheist, but, were I looking for a church, I would look for a church that focused on human rights for all rather than a church that tried to find ways to deny human rights to certain population groups. I would look for a church that focused on social, economic and racial justice rather than one which seeks to increase the injustices of the current paradigm. And I would seek a church that does more to make life livable for those on earth now, not a church that looked to judge lifestyles or beliefs with an eye towards condemning people to an eternity burning in a fiery lake of gods’ love.

    They thanked me, asked if I wanted to be contacted in the future (no, thank you), and then had a question about how the town was pronounced — they had heard it three different ways. So I told them the pronunciation of the men the town was named for, why those two MPs were so popular very late colonial/early national period of America, and even why one of them had to abscond to France (he was running from a pornography charge (didn’t go into details)).

    I actually enjoy things like that. Fun.

  130. Saad says

    Atlanta teen wins poetry contest with “White Boy Privilege” poem

    Video of him reciting the poem is at the link.

    Since the violence that shook America last week, a poem written and performed by an Atlanta teenager this past spring, has been getting new attention. In fact, it has gone viral.

    “White Boy Privilege” was an entry in a school poetry contest.

    “To be honest I am scared of what it would be like if i wasn’t on the top rung, if the tables were turned, and I didn’t have my white boy privilege safety blankie to protect me,” Royce Mann recited at the poetry contest.

    Mann’s message was a plea from a 14-year-old white male going to a private school in Atlanta: let everyone share his privileges.

    “I love it because when I see a police officer, I see someone who’s on my side,” he recited.

    I avoided reading the comments and would advise everyone to do the same. Chances of victim blaming and racial slurs are too high.

  131. blf says

    The title is a boring, but the article isn’t, UK’s best bronze age site dig ends but analysis will continue for years:

    Houses full of linen, pottery and weapons, preserved in silt over 3,000 years, are worthy of own museum, say archaeologists

    One winter some 3,000 years ago, a development of highly desirable houses was built on stilts over a tributary of the river Nene in Cambridgeshire, by people whose wealth and lifestyle would still have seemed enviable to medieval peasants. Then six months later it was all over.

    Disaster overwhelmed the people and they fled, leaving their clothing and jewellery, tools and furniture, their last meals abandoned in the cooking pots as they tumbled through the burning wicker floors into the water below. Nobody ever came back to retrieve the tonnes of expertly carpentered timbers and the masses of valuable possessions lying in shallow water, which over the centuries all sank together, hidden and preserved by the oozy silt.
    “Elsewhere we only have the ghosts of what was going on — here we have the whole body,” said Graham Appleby, who is working on the most metal objects ever found on a domestic site of the period, including a spear head so pristine it has been mistaken even by experts for a replica.
    Discoveries are still being made daily. On Monday Susanna Harris, an ancient textiles expert from Glasgow university, studied an unprepossessing bundle of blackened fibres and found a reel of thread spun from plant fibre, finer than a human hair.

    Appleby’s moment of disbelief came when [the site’s director, Mark Knight, from Cambridge University’s archaeology unit,] rang him to say they’d found a complete spear. “Yeah mate, we’ve got loads of those,” he replied ungenerously. No, Knight insisted, the whole spear. “You’ve got the stick bit too?” Appleby asked, abandoning scientific terms in his amazement. He only knows of one other ever found — but three days later Knight rang again to say they had another one.

    Other unique finds include the largest, best-preserved bronze age oak wheel ever found, woven linen finer than the lightest of today’s fabrics, an old sword cut down into a useful kitchen knife, glass and amber beads imported from the continent and the Middle East, and the five round huts themselves, from the wicker floors to the clay chimneys — not just crude smoke holes — in the thatched roofs, still lying where they collapsed 3,000 years ago.

    The unprecedented richness of the finds has revealed how the people lived, what they wore, what they ate, the butchered lamb carcasses they cured hanging from their rafters, the remains of a slaughtered red deer still sprawled on a patch of gravel. They farmed animals and cereal crops, including ancient strains of wheat and barley, and though they chose to live over the water, they had such lavish food sources that they virtually ignored the fish swimming just below their wicker floors.

    Complete sets of pottery from egg cup to storage jar were found in each house, and all seem to have been made by the same potter. […]

    This is what happens when yer swamp dragon explodes.

  132. blf says

    Creative crosswalks around the world — in pictures: “Whether for safety, art or celebration, pedestrian crossings in cities around the world have been transformed with colourful or unusual designs — from rainbows and piano keyboards to french fries and bullets”.

    Amusingly, most of the comments so far are about the use of the term “crosswalk” in the title and complaints about USAlienglish, yet seemingly-oblivious to the britishisms “pedestrian crossing” and “colourful”.

  133. blf says

    Kiev art installation lets Ukrainians knock Lenin off his pedestal:

    Exhibit invites visitors to perch where a statue of the former Soviet leader stood until it was toppled during protests in 2013

    For decades, Vladimir Lenin enjoyed a splendid view over Kiev’s Besarabsky market, until the monument to the former Soviet leader was pulled down from its perch in December 2013 by crowds who would eventually go on to depose Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych.

    Now, anyone can stand where the Russian revolutionary once stood regally, as an art exhibit allows Ukrainians to climb atop the pedestal.

    The installation, by the Mexican artist Cynthia Gutiérrez, has a series of rickety temporary steps to gain access to the top of the pedestal […]

  134. blf says

    Theaster Gates on the nuts and bolts of life – all 30,000 of them:

    The US artist has transplanted his South Side Chicago hardware shop to Milan’s Fondazione Prada to highlight the disappearing store of human knowledge

    Theaster Gates was already thinking about hardware stores before he walked into Ken’s shop on the corner of 93rd and Halsted in the South Side of Chicago. It was the kind of place saturated with years of expertise, dozens of small wooden drawers filled with screws, bolts and bits of pipe.

    Ken had bought the shop in 1970 from Italian immigrants who had built up the business in the 1930s, but after four decades running this dusty institution, the kind that is being wiped off the map of Chicago, he wanted to retire. And so Gates bought the shop from him — hosepipes, hooks, hammers and all.

    For Gates, it was not such a strange move. He may have begun his art career as a potter, but his work is as much preoccupied with regenerating Chicago’s South Side where he lives — an area entrenched in poverty and gang violence — as it is creating pieces that sit prettily in a white gallery space. This week, however, Gates has taken his project one step further — and part way round the world. True Value, as his new show is titled, sees the artist transplant Ken’s entire hardware store, including all 30,000 objects that lined its displays, to the affluent setting of the Fondazione Prada in Milan.
    It was Ken who helped Gates move the shop to his Chicago studio, and the conversations it sparked between the pair were recorded and now play in the store’s latest incarnation in Milan. By moving it wholesale, Gates wants people to take a moment to consider — and appreciate — the knowledge implicit in all 30,000 objects hanging on those hooks. That, even when this shop is ripped from its local neighbourhood, rebuilt 4,526 miles away and redefined as art, we can see both what is lost and what remains. The more modern society devalues the skills of craftsmen, says Gates, the more removed it becomes from the elements that make and hold together our material world, the more that society — or the immaterial world – “is very quickly falling apart”.

  135. says

    Today’s weird search string: crucifixion as a social game.

    If that’s a game, I don’t want to know about it, and I sure as heck don’t know how that landed someone here.

  136. Ice Swimmer says

    We’ve talked about Jesus, cross and Pokemon Go recently here in this blog with emphasis on social.

  137. says

    Ice Swimmer, true. Still, crucifixion? That’s not a game I want to play. Speaking of Pokemon Go, read an article this morning about this man in Florida who thought two young guys playing the game were trying to rob him, and opened fire on them, while they were sitting in their car. No one was hurt, thankfully, but seriously, someone could have ended up dead. I hate guns.

  138. Ice Swimmer says

    No wish to nail anything to a cross.

    The journalist Craig Pittman said many Floridians believe guns are some kind of magic wands to solve all problems. The linked article shows just how pernicious the belief is. Having a gun and hearing the NRA/repug propaganda is feeding that belief.

  139. chigau (違う) says

    My senpai is dead.
    Over a month ago.
    But I’m not on FaceBook.

  140. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 203

    Thoughts do not constitute wrong.
    Only deeds and individualized words.
    I see no reason to hate you.

    chigau @ 204

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  141. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 202

    Had to check at youtube. Have to do more checking at some point.

  142. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m now at Tikkurila Festival in Tikkurila, Vantaa (Helsinki burbs). Michael Monroe, Atomirotta and CMX did good gigs. Now it’s some Finnish basic hip hop acts (not my faves…) It’s been fun.

  143. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Heading out to the Pioneer Fire in Idaho. Be gone for a week or two. I can afford my new furnace!

  144. says

    crucifixion as a social game.

    It’s a kink. I did a crucifixion-related image years ago and got a load of emails from people asking “are there any outtakes from that shot you can share?” and “is the model really into crucifixion?! does she have a website?”

    It’s not hard to develop a theory of kink from such experiences.

  145. says

    Marcus @ 213:

    I don’t think social game and kink read the same. That said, yeah, I’ve seen crucifixion shibari, before. More than that, no.

  146. chigau (違う) says

    Take care Oggie.
    How do you remove the swim bladder from a fish?
    Not just Ogvorbis, Anyone can answer.

  147. chigau (違う) says

    It’s OK.
    We figured it out.
    Local lake pickerel baked in foil with lovage and lemon thyme.
    and new-potato salad.

  148. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Good luck on the work, Og! Stay Safe, work some good, and enjoy that furnace!

  149. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    massively ‘rupt, but BLF, cicely, Saad, TMM, Chigau, Shiv, you’ve all made great posts and/or touched me in a way I wanted to acknowledge with sympathy/condolences/love.

    I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this place up and running whether my brain is working or not so there’s always something there to come back to. I should be around a little bit more in the next 2 months than in the past 2, but it will still be more rare than I would like.

    On the plus side, if you’re in Vancouver next weekend, I should be at the TransMarch & the DykeMarch. Look for the curly, medium-length hair, boring, colourless-steel forearm-crutches, and some kind of activist shirt and/or octopus shirt.

  150. says


    I should be around a little bit more in the next 2 months than in the past 2, but it will still be more rare than I would like.

    Glad to hear that. Just like Og, I don’t care if you’re here all the time, but I need to know you are in the world, so even an ‘every now and then’ check in works, whatever you can handle.

  151. Saad says

    CD, #220

    What a weird coincidence, just this morning I was reading PZ’s blog and thought it has been a while since I’ve seen you on here. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.

  152. blf says

    How do you remove the swim bladder from a fish?

    The mildly deranged penguin says there are two basic methods: Real sushi, where you don’t bother (best eaten whilst still swimming); and Dynamite, where you can’t find it (makes a rather good chowder, and is, importantly, LOUD!).

    massively ‘rupt, but BLF, cicely, Saad, TMM, Chigau, Shiv, you’ve all made great posts and/or touched me in a way I wanted to acknowledge with sympathy/condolences/love.

    The mildly deranged penguin says there are two basic methods: The first appears to involve cheese (she’s not very clear here, mostly, perhaps, due to beaks and wings and vats and moons full of cheese); and the second is, of course, Dynamite (which has the advantage of being LOUD!).

    crucifixion [… is] a kink.

    Yes, I have, over the years, stumbled across a number of sites dedicated to what seems to be generally naked individuals being tortured in that manner. This includes what seems to be live “model” photographic sessions, albeit I hasten to add the naked “models” (always(?) female) are tired or strapped or whatevered — never(?) nailed. There is also some p0rn(? not sure if that is the correct term) “artwork” which is not so retained.

    I have no idea if the mildly deranged penguin thinks Dynamite is an alternative… But it is presumably LOUD!, many points — decibels — in its favor…

  153. says


    Yes, I have, over the years, stumbled across a number of sites dedicated to what seems to be generally naked individuals being tortured in that manner.

    Huh. All things considered, I’m pretty happy under my rock.

  154. blf says

    This is in today’s dead-tree edition of the International New York Times, In Africa, Birds and Humans Form a Unique Honey Hunting Party:

    Their word is their bond, and they do what they say — even if the “word” on one side is a loud trill and grunt, and, on the other, the excited twitterings of a bird.

    Researchers have long known that among certain traditional cultures of Africa, people forage for wild honey with the help of honeyguides — woodpecker-like birds that show tribesmen where the best beehives are hidden, high up in trees. In return for revealing the location of natural honey pots, the birds are rewarded with the leftover beeswax, which they eagerly devour.

    Now scientists have determined that humans and their honeyguides communicate with each other through an extraordinary exchange of sounds and gestures, which are used only for honey hunting and serve to convey enthusiasm, trustworthiness and a commitment to the dangerous business of separating bees from their hives.

    The findings cast fresh light on one of only a few known examples of cooperation between humans and free-living wild animals, a partnership that may well predate the love affair between people and their domesticated dogs by hundreds of thousands of years.
    [… F]or the clarity of reciprocity, nothing can match the relationship between honeyguide and honey hunter. “Honeyguides provide the information and get the wax,” Dr. [Claire N.] Spottiswoode[, a behavioral ecologist at Cambridge University,] said. “Humans provide the skills and get the honey.”

    How the alliance began remains mysterious, but it is thought to be quite ancient.

    “It appears to depend on humans using fire and hand-axes,” Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, said. Those talents date back to the lower Paleolithic, “so the relationship could be more than a million years old.”

    Feeding dinosaurs for a million years…
    (Excuse me, the mildly deranged penguin is indicating she, ah, “needs”, moar cheese…)

  155. blf says

    I’m pretty happy under my rock.

    I’m sure Rule 69 applies to underrockism, but fortunately(?) have no idea how…

  156. blf says

    A solution is at hand! We now know what to do with the forty-foot high killer rats, the horses, and the peas! Move them all to Kiwiland: No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators:

    Possums, stoats and other introduced pests to be killed in ‘world-first’ extermination programme unveiled by PM

    The New Zealand government has announced a “world-first” project to make the nation predator free by 2050.

    The prime minister, John Key, said on Monday it would undertake a radical pest extermination programme — which if successful would be a global first — aiming to wipe out the introduced species of rats, stoats and possums nation-wide in a mere 34 years.

    According to the government, introduced species kill 25m native New Zealand birds a year including the iconic ground-dwelling, flightless Kiwi, which die at a rate of 20 a week, and now number fewer than 70,000.

    The government estimates the cost of introduced species to the New Zealand economy and primary sector to be NZ$3.3bn (£1.76bn) a year.

    “Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums,” said Key in a statement.

    As several commentators note, they don’t seem to be including cats in the Exterminate! Exterminate!! Exterminate!!! programme…

  157. blf says

    I’ve been browsing The Encyclopedia of American Loons yet again…

    #833: Atiba King

    Atiba King calls himself “Non-domesticated thinker”, which — as you would expect — means batshit insane rambler unfettered by reality, evidence, logic or reasoning. Apparently he is influenced by his own take on Egyptology, rejecting the interpretations of those trained by the culture of the European worldview and their imperialistic science — which is just one (wrong) form of knowing anyways. After all, when King applies his powers of intuitions he comes to entirely different results, and what better evidence can you get that European science is wrong? Instead, King proposes what he calls “Kemetic teaching”, which is “analogous to the spiritual concepts of traditional Native American teachings,” [sighs… –blf] and which comes to a lot of conclusions that European science would never come to (complete with quantum woo).

    [… A]ccording to King the Egyptians invented pretty much everything, which was subsequently stolen by the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and so on. Even if King’s justification for the claims ever extended beyond his own imagination, Kemetic Astronomy, as the foundation for astrology, would not be a particularly good example of ancient wisdom that was subsequently stolen. […]

  158. cicely says

    I will probably be scarce for a while.
    I am too anxious and depressed to Even.
    *immense pile of time-release hugs*

  159. says


    I will probably be scarce for a while.
    I am too anxious and depressed to Even.

    Hitting all of us. Put self-care first, yeah? All the love, Cicely.

  160. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Take care Cicely. I’ll be wishing you well.

  161. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin is on the case, Divers in Sweden sniff out 340-year-old shipwrecked cheese:

    Dairy product described as ‘mixture of yeast and Roquefort’ discovered during exploration of warship that sank in 1676

    Divers exploring a historic royal shipwreck off the south-east coast of Sweden have discovered what they believe is probably a chunk of exceedingly smelly, 340-year-old cheese.

    “We’re pretty sure it’s some kind of dairy product, butter or cheese,” said Kalmar county museum’s Lars Einarsson, who is in charge of the dive on the wreck of the Kronan, a 126-gun warship that sank in 1676.

    “It’s like a mixture of yeast and Roquefort, a sort of really ripe, unpasteurised cheese,” Einarsson told local media. He added that, while he was partial to cheeses “whose character lives on in their smell”, this one was “probably not for everyone”.

    The tin in which the pungent mess was found has been sent for lab analysis, Einarsson told Kvällsposten. He said divers found it “pressed into the clay” of the seabed, and that the fall in pressure when it reached the surface had allowed some of the contents to leak out of the threaded lid.

    “That’s when the smell hit us,” he said. “I certainly don’t recommend tasting it. It’s a mass of bacteria.”

    One of the best comments: “The ships motto was: To melt your enemies, to see them congeal before you, and to hear the lamentations of their cattle.”

  162. blf says

    North Korea accuses Seoul of ‘cunning plot’ to release snakes over border:

    Pyongyang is said to have told the military that Seoul’s spy agency is behind the unseasonably high number of snakes in Ryanggang province, which borders China.

    “Earlier this month, border patrol units received orders to capture snakes before they crawl over the banks of the Yalu River,” said a source in the province.

    He added that the core message from Pyongyang was that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service was using the reptiles “as part of a ‘cunning scheme’ to challenge our unity”. […]

    There are numerous hilarious comments. Here are a few:

    ● “badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger”.

    ● “Get the Dear Leadership a map. South Korea lies to the— south, the Yalu forms the border w/China to the— north […]”

    ● “Pssst, South Korea: the snakes were to go on the planes, not the plains.”

    ● “DPRK soldiers nearly captured a hippo which they thought the South had sent to disrupt their unity, Luckily they found out just in time it was the dear leader enjoying his morning ablutions in his favourite mud-hole.”

  163. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin points out the Norwegians aren’t doing it right, instead of moving the boarder, they should be moving the mountain, Norway considers giving mountain to Finland as 100th birthday present:

    Norwegian government considers shifting border to gift its Nordic neighbour a peak that would become its highest point

    What do you give a country that has 188,000 lakes for a birthday present? Its highest mountain back, obviously.

    Norway’s government has confirmed that for the centenary of Finland’s independence next year it is considering moving the border, gifting its Nordic neighbour a mountain peak that would be the country’s highest point.

    “There are a few formal difficulties and I have not yet made my final decision,” the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, told NRK, the national broadcaster. “But we are looking into it.”
    “Geophysically speaking, Mount Halti has two peaks, one Finnish and one Norwegian,” NRK explained to bemused viewers earlier this year. “What is proposed is that Norway gives the Finnish peak to Finland, because it is currently in Norway.”
    The originator of the idea is a retired geophysicist and government surveyor, Bjørn Geirr Harsson, 76, who learned last year that Finland would celebrate the 100th anniversary of its independence from Russia on 6 December 2017 and recalled being puzzled by the location of the border when he flew over Halti in the 1970s.
    The border, a straight line drawn in the 1750s, was “geophysically illogical”, he has since told Norwegian media, and it was unfortunate and unfair for Finland that its highest point was not even a proper peak.
    Public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive in both Norway and Finland, with the only objection so far coming from the indigenous Sami community, whose reindeer roam freely across the border and who argue that the land should belong to neither country.

    “Who knows?” Harsson told NRK. “It may really happen.”

  164. blf says

    Re @244, Yes, Finnish mud is known for being very uncooperative, and has to be wrestled into submission (actually, exhaustion) before it can be milked.

  165. blf says

    Today is the Festival of stuffing as many people as impossible into a bathtub or other ridiculous “boat”, chucking said boat plus crew who manage not to escape into the harbour, and the winner of the race is the one who sinks closest to the invisible moving finish line. Then, tomorrow in the morning market, there is a special on freshly inanimated long pig (only slightly nibbled by fish), so I guess it all works out in the end…

    Anyways, the esplanade is closed to traffic, which is nice, albeit the noise changes from loud motorscooters and honking cars to loud meatheads and screaming children, which isn’t exactly an improvement. And, for the first time I can evar recall seeing in this village, police patrols armed with assault rifles / machine guns.

    FFS !

  166. says

    My head is in Lakota mode right now, and I had a weird moment when looking at the stats page, and saw this on the search strings:

    chief david bald eagle
    daniel rushing meth

    My first thought was “who the hell is Daniel Rushing Meth? Then the actual words clicked. Eeeesh. Maybe more tea is in order.

  167. blf says

    Scientists fight crab for mysterious purple orb discovered in California deep (no, the “fight” in the title is not an offering to Tpyos):

    ● E/V Nautilus team find likely sea slug 5,000ft below sea off Santa Barbara
    ● Analysis reveals foot and proboscis, making it ‘a gastropod of some kind’

    More than 5,000ft below the surface of the ocean, in a canyon off the coast of southern California, the purple, globular creature appeared to glow under the submersible’s lights.

    “What is that?” one researcher asked, as the submersible’s camera moved over a crab to where the tiny orb hovered near a ledge.

    “I’m stumped,” another replied. “I have no idea. I can’t even hazard a guess.”

    “Are we going to grab it?” a third asked. The crab, startled by the submarine, scuttled toward the ledge. “Unless the crab gets it first.”

    One of the crab’s spindly limbs knocked the orb, but it clung steadfast in place. A researcher guessed it could be related to plankton, the “kind that are sort of lumpy and thick like that”. Another tried “an egg sack of some sort” with “a little embryo type thing inside”.

    The team trained a vacuum at the creature, ready to suction it into a storage container.

    “It looks like a disco ball right now with the lasers next to it,” one scientist said. Before long, the purple mystery was transferred from the depths to the waiting ship above.
    The team now believes the 5cm organism, found in Arguello Canyon, an underwater formation just west of the Channel Islands, near Santa Barbara, is probably a variant of sea slug: mollusks that crawl with the help of a single foot and whose family includes a variety of brightly colored species that fly, dance and swim through nearly all levels of the oceans.

    The organism’s strange glow was an effect of the light of the submersible, [Susan Poulton, a spokesperson,] noted: the animal does not appear to be bioluminescent, like some species of deep sea life.

    There’s images and videos at the link. And apparently E/V Nautilus streams its videofeeds: “The crew broadcasts its explorations as live 24-hour video feeds on its site, Facebook and Twitter, and as data transmitted so biologists, geologists and archaeologists around the world can request samples or more data as needed.” (Links at the article.)

    Some of the more amusing readers’s comments:

    ● “Off the Californian coast? Where for decades the US navy was contracted to dump radioactive waste in 50 gallon steel drums which had to be shot full of holes to make them sink — that according to Bill Bryson’s short history pf everything. Glowing purple balls eh?”

    ● “Inform the PM I’m calling a BLUE HADES alert. Possible CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN scenario.”

    ● “It’s an alien waiting to take away Trump, far, far away somewhere else in the universe…”
      — “Or the alien who brought Trump.”
      — “[…] Either way it’s academic now, since the purple orb has been taken into custody and locked away by a ‘marine biologist’. We need a new campaign in the US, the ‘free the purple orb campaign’, before it’s too late.”

    ● “Crab: Think I’ll have a bit of this purple stuff.
    Scientists: Not so fast you spiny legged bastard.”

    ● “I salute our Purple Blob overlords.”

    ● “Now that crab is going to go after the crew of the submersible one by one. ‘You took my friend, I’m gonna take yours.'”

    ● “That my friend, is a Purple People Eater.”

    ● “The worlds most exclusive Pokemon?”

  168. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 243

    The article seems accurate as far as Finland is concerned. Why nothing happens is mostly due to the bureaucratic inertia, and penny-pinching as well as opposition of Finnish population in Lapland and the lack of awareness here in the south. The nasty stereotypes of alcoholic “Lapps” do live on, but I’m not sure how seriously they are taken nowadays.

  169. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 244

    From the dialect of Finnish spoken (esp. by the older guy in the baseball cap), the clip is from Ostrobothnia (Pohjanmaa), which is said to be the Texas of Finland and the area is indeed flat, generally more conservative and religious than the Helsinki Area and the culture is more favorable to bragging.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A little good news for the Dakotas.
    Judge blocks North Dakota voter ID law.

    A federal judge on Monday blocked North Dakota’s state’s voter identification law after it was challenged by a group of American Indians, who alleged it unfairly burdened their right to vote.
    U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland issued a temporary restraining order and criticized the state for its 2013 repeal of provisions that let people without valid IDs vote if someone vouched for them or if they signed an affidavit swearing they were a qualified voter.
    “The public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State,” Hovland wrote.
    He added: “There are a multitude of easy remedies that most states have adopted in some form to alleviate this burden.”

  171. quotetheunquote says

    Just returned after a nine-day vacation on the island of Newfoundland. Foggy place, most days, when it wasn’t actually raining.* But, oh! the whales, the great, leaping 45-tonne whales! Ecstasy.

    @251. Thanks for the link, Lofty. I’ve traveled to Oz twice, and never seen the desert in bloom like that. Over a total of seven weeks spent in the country (not much of a sample, I admit), I think we saw rain exactly twice -- both times in the deep tropics north of Cairns. You could really use some of that moisture coming in off the Grand Banks.


    *To be fair, we did have two sunny afternoons, when it really counted.

  172. rq says

    I’m a little excited, I’m going to Canada in two days. It’s going to be weird and awkward and there’s a shitton of high school crap waiting for me in the garage. And I have a pretty decent amount of kilometres mapped out for the obligatory visits. It’s all making me nervous.

  173. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq -- where will you be in Canada?

  174. rq says

    Eastern Ontario and environs, furthest west I’m going is Windsor (essentially the border). Nowhere near the west coast. :(

  175. quotetheunquote says

    rq @ 254 & 256.

    Hope you have a good time in the Union of Soviet Socialist, um, I mean, Dominion of Canada. Enjoy our freakin’ drought while you’re here! (Oh, well, at least you’ll have nice dry roads, if you’re driving.)

    But why “nervous”? Is it the complete absence of Cracker Barrel locations? The fact that there’s no Second Amendment right to pack the heat required to defend yourself against angry beavers and rapid Pokémon Go enthusiasts? What?

  176. blf says

    I haven’t seen a steampunk woodburning cat in, well, days. At least hours. The mildly deranged penguin says they don’t fly very well, even with a trebuchet-assisted takeoff, for about the same reason you don’t see too many steam-powered interstellar spaceships or trebuchet-assisted wormholes.

  177. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    why “nervous”? Is it the complete absence of Cracker Barrel locations? The fact that there’s no Second Amendment right to pack the heat required to defend yourself against angry beavers and rapid Pokémon Go enthusiasts? What?

    rq is a resident of (not to be too specific without permission) a country that borders the baltic sea.

    I haven’t personally toured all the Cracker Barrel locations in the world, but I’d be surprised if there are any that manage to be all 3 of:
    east of Denmark
    west of any China you care to name
    and north of the Black Sea

  178. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    OT/Caine: my computer is doing very funky things and I’m worried I’m not getting e-mail. I wonder if you could (as you have kindly done before) drop a note in TNET the next time you e-mail me, with the time you sent it, so I know if I’m getting them and if they’re being delayed along the way

  179. chigau (違う) says

    Sometimes it’s hard to decide if I should limp on the
    left (ongoing ankle problem)
    on the right (ongoing hip problem).
    For some reason, considering both sides does not result in a normal gait.

  180. blf says

    ‘Overburdened’ public defender’s office assigns client to Missouri governor:

    Citing ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and an insufficient budget, public defender appoints [thug Governor] Jay Nixon through rarely or never-used state provision

    Missouri’s lead public defender has appointed the state’s governor, Jay Nixon, to represent an indigent individual in a case. Facing what he called “extraordinary circumstances” in his “overburdened” office, where attorneys work more than 200 cases annually, Michael Barrett said he was taking the unusual step due to budget cuts and because Nixon created the problem.

    In a letter to the governor released on Wednesday, Barrett, director of the Missouri state public defender system, said the office had faced repeated budget cuts while Nixon had not restricted “a single dollar from {his} own budget”. The governor, Barrett said, also decided to veto a bill that would have provided caseload relief “to an overburdened public defender system”.

    […] Barrett turned to a rarely if ever cited provision under state law: the power to delegate the “legal representation of any person to any member of the state bar of Missouri”.

    Barrett said […], “given the extraordinary circumstances that compel me to entertain any and all avenues for relief, it strikes me that I should begin with the one attorney in the state who not only created this problem, but is in a unique position to address it.”
    In 2014, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, a study found the system needed an additional 270 attorneys to meet its needs. This year, the system requested a $23.1m budget appropriation. Nixon recommended only $1m. The state budget enacted last month called for a reported $4.5m increase.

    I assume the requested $23.1m was the total budget, but it is unclear if the recommended $1m was an increase to the then-current budget, or the proposed total budget (Gov. Nixon appears to be the typical hostile incompetent scamming thug, so it’s not-implausible he’d “recommend” a total budget of just $1m.)

    Last month, the public defender system filed a lawsuit against the governor, claiming Nixon withheld $3.5m of the $4.5m which was meant to be used to hire 10 staffers and private contract attorneys.
    The costs are also borne by Missouri residents, the state public defender statement said. “The sad irony is that keeping public defense fiscally anemic actually costs taxpayers more money. Because MSPD attorneys are well above 200% of caseload capacity, it is nearly impossible to investigate and competently defend each case.”

    In turn, it said, the state’s prison population has become “artificially” inflated under Nixon, with the state department of corrections’ budget increased by $63m.

    Also, although this is not mentioned in the article, another cost to the state would be the costs of settling lawsuits, and/or of retrials, for any miscarriages of justice which are — as Mr Barrett implies — happening.

    The Governor’s staff is apparently, currently, trying to claim he’s a private attorney and Mr Barrett does not have the power to assign cases to private attorneys. And that the Governor supports the public defender’s office, has recommended increased budgets, yadda yadda yadda, and eats unshelled porcupines for breakfast. No word about actually ensuring the person he’s been appointed as the defender for actually gets any defender, much less a competent defense.

  181. blf says

    chigau@267, The mildly deranged penguin suggests flapping yer wings, for better balance, to relieve the pressure on the hip & ankle, and of course, to simply fly and solve the problem. Alternatively, just walk on your wings (Pro Tip: do not confuse walking on your wings with walking an an aeroplane’s wings, which is perhaps not-recommended in yer case, unless yer going for the “comedy daredevil” Gold Metal).

  182. blf says

    Virginia school board takes transgender bathroom case to supreme court (my added emboldening):

    Transgender student won key fight in April but board argues that allowing Gavin Grimm to use boys’ bathroom would cause harm by violating students’ privacy

    A Virginia school board that has been ordered to let a transgender boy use the boys’ bathroom at his high school asked the US supreme court to block the order […]

    The Gloucester County school board argued that allowing a trans student to use a bathroom that didn’t correspond with his or her “biological” gender would cause irreparable harm by violating others students’ privacy.
    Grimm began to transition when he was a high school sophomore. He goes by his new legal name at school, and school documents identified him as male. Gloucester high school allowed Grimm to use the men’s restroom for seven weeks without incidents, according to the fourth circuit ruling [in a lawsuit filed by Grimm].

    The school board only changed its policy when parents and some adults with no children in Gloucester County schools complained, the appeals court said in its ruling. Grimm attended public meetings where these adults called him a “freak” and compared him to a dog. At the start of his junior year, the school forced him to use standalone unisex bathrooms installed specifically for him.

  183. rq says

    Funny you started off with the Soviet joke because I was crossing the Atlantic from a former Soviet republic to a truly socialist paradise (okay, okay, it’s not Sweden!) for a high school friend’s wedding. Never been to a Cracker Barrel (eh?), and the Second Amendment chills my blood more than a Canadian winter in January. This is why I will most likely never enter the USoA without some serious, serious trepidation and fear for my life (incidentally, I will be hopefully meeting a fellow commenter from the FtB cabal of hordelings in Detroit because I’ll be in the Windsor area sometime next week -- but it’s only a few hours and a very special friend, and I’m already freaking out about it).
    The drought is really something else, though.

  184. blf says

    Marco Rubio: women with Zika should not be allowed abortions: “Florida senator and former presidential candidate says he will ‘err on the side of life’ even if babies will have microcephaly”.

    Zika has been found in native Florida mosquitoes. Teh robot is also blaming the dummies for not-approving the Zika funding (the thugs had added many “poison pills” to the Zika bill, so the dummies refused to vote for it).

  185. chigau (違う) says

    Since I usually wait for the paperback before buying books, I am just now reading
    The Shepherd’s Crown.
    I sincerely appreciate the lack of spoilers from everyone who read it last year.

  186. blf says

    I sincerely appreciate the lack of spoilers from everyone who read it last year.

    Psssst! That is the spoiler…

  187. blf says

    South Africa’s golden rhino to star in British Museum exhibition (photographs at the link):

    Figures and objects from Mapungubwe, site of the first [southern] African kingdom, are part of an exploration of 100,000 years of art

    One of Africa’s greatest treasures, the 800-year-old golden rhinoceros of Mapungubwe, is to leave the continent for the first time as part of a British Museum exhibition exploring 100,000 years of South African art.
    “The curator in charge of those objects has called them Africa’s crown jewels and I think he is right in saying that,” said John Giblin, head of the British Museum’s Africa section.
    From 1220 to 1290, Mapungubwe, near the border with present-day Botswana and Zimbabwe, was the capital of the first kingdom in southern Africa.

    The gold foil figures, discovered in royal graves at Mapungubwe, were actually found in the 1930s but were denied, hidden and marginalised by the apartheid government because it contradicted its racist narrative of terra nullius, the myth of an empty land, which was used to legitimise white rule. The objects testify to the sophisticated, settled society which traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt many centuries before settlers from Europe arrived.
    The golden rhinoceros, described as the South African equivalent of Tutankhamun’s mask, has taken on added significance in South Africa as it is now the symbol of the Order of Mapungubwe, South Africa’s highest honour that was first presented to Nelson Mandela in 2002.

    Giblin said they were delighted to have the golden figures which “have become some of Africa’s and arguably the world’s most iconic sculptures”. But they are only one part of a show that tells the story of South African art, which stretches back 100,000 years.

    One of the oldest objects will be a 77,000-year-old pearl necklace discovered at Blombos cave in the Western Cape. It makes the region one of the earliest symbolic cultures anywhere in the world, going back much further than what we know was happening in Europe.

    “People used to think that real artistic practice began in Europe, 30,000 or 40,000 years ago; they typically cite the French cave paintings,” said Giblin. “These kinds of finds really push that back a lot earlier, and it is only really in the last couple of decades that the tradition has been identified, so it is a really nice time to be telling this story.”

    First southern African kingdom? Could be, my knowledge of pre-colonial southern Africa is essentially non-existent, but I note that, e.g., Great Zimbabwe dates to about the same time as the article cites (and, like Mapungubwe was for the racist apartheid government, was awkward for the racist Rhodesia government). Perhaps the confusion is in the dates, as Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge puts the dates for the Kingdom of Mapungubwe as 1075–1220, earlier than the article and also before Great Zimbabwe. Not to be confused with the Kingdom of Mutapa, which is known to be related to the earlier Great Zimbabwe.
    (Are we into Judean People’s Front territory here?)

  188. blf says

    Maya tomb uncovered holding body, treasure and tales of ‘snake dynasty’:

    ● Find is ‘one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize’
    ● Hieroglyphic panels, skeleton and offerings hidden for 1,300 years”

    Archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in more than a century of work on Maya ruins in Belize, along with a puzzling set of hieroglyphic panels that provide clues to a “snake dynasty” that conquered many of its neighbors some 1,300 years ago.

    The tomb was unearthed at the ruins of Xunantunich, a city on the Mopan river in western Belize that served as a ceremonial center in the final centuries of Maya dominance around 600 to 800AD. Archaeologists found the chamber 16ft to 26ft below ground, where it had been hidden under more than a millennium of dirt and debris.
    The tomb represents an extraordinary find, if only for its construction. At 4.5 meters by 2.4 meters, it is “one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize”, [said archaeologist Jaime Awe, who led a team from his own school, Northern Arizona University, and the Belize Institute of Archaeology]. It appears to differ dramatically from other grave sites of the era. Most Maya tombs were built “intrusively”, as additions to existing structures, but the new tomb was built simultaneously with the structure around it — a common practice among cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, but uncommon among the Mayas.

    “In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb,” Awe said. “Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture.”
    The temple is impressive in its own right, a stone structure that towers 130ft above the city’s main plaza, adorned with a stucco frieze that represents the gods of the sun and moon.

    I’ve omitted from the above excerpt a great deal of discussion about Mayan dynastic families and what might be the most important part of the find, a series of hieroglyphic stone panels providing some insights into the so-called “snake dynasty” (“…of the place where snakes abound”).

  189. quotetheunquote says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says @264 --
    Yikes. Walked right into that one, didn’t I? Thanks for setting my straight there.

    rq @ 275:
    I do apologize, can’t think what led me astray, you never even use “Merica!” or “huh?” in you posts.

    But you are evidently a kind and forgiving soul.

    Though I’ve lived next to the Great Satan for decades, even I have a bit of apprehension whenever I go there, though I recognize that this is (mostly) blind prejudice on my part. To give you a more empirical view of things: I have driven to Florida and back, and (later) Wyoming and back, and lived to tell the tale -- so I wouldn’t worry about a little jaunt into Detroit, Michigan.

    Cracker Barrel is chain of a truly odious roadside restaurants in the USA, one of which Herself and I ate at once on the way to Florida. Unlike many other big American food chains (Pizza Hut, Subway,etc.) they have not spread across the border into Canada, or to anywhere else in the world that I know of. The menu seems to be based mostly on sugar -- collared greens with sugar, corn niblets with sugar, roast pork with biscuits and sugar. One gets up from the table feeling that one has acquired several dental cavities that one did not have when one sat down. It is … an experience.


  190. rq says

    Nah, it’s okay. I’ve listed this little faux pas of yours in my records, with a note (“contrition received”), so I never ever forget. :) I suppose the assumption is forgiveable, what with me commenting strongly on certain Murkan issues.
    Ynyway, I moved away from the Great White North about 10 years ago, but I’ve returned to see my last unmarried friend get married. And buy cheap kids’ clothing.

  191. Ice Swimmer says

    If this was fiction, I’d say it’s a bit far fetched. Bureaucratic machine at work: A Chinese tourist accidentally seeks asylum while trying to report a stolen wallet.

    The guy apparently only spoke Chinese. It took Germans almost two weeks to clear the mess.

    In a similar vein, about 25 years ago Finnish cops put a Frenchman(?) into drunk tank because they thought he was inebriated when he was making an angel in the snow and could not explain his actions in any language the cops knew.

  192. Siobhan says

    Feeling really gross right now. I just watched a video of a crowd of 100s of Catholic reactionary protesters clashing with a trans rights protest over Bill 10. The Catholic reactionary spoke with Marni Panas and misgendered her the entire time.

    To think I’ll have to speak with these people and that’s how they’re debating? Gross, gross, gross. So fucking dehumanizing.

    How do you stare a fascist in the face and see nothing but hate reflected back at you?

  193. blf says

    Now we know who to blame for horses, Viking traders spread comfy-to-ride horses around the world, DNA suggests:

    Ancient DNA reveals ambling horses, comfortable to ride over rough roads, first appeared in medieval England, and were spread worldwide by Vikings
    Research has revealed that the genetic mutation for a smooth ride first appeared in horses in medieval England and was later spread around the world by Viking traders.

    Described, for riders, as being akin to sitting in a comfy chair, ambling gaits are particularly suited to lengthy rides over rough roads. But while all horses can walk, trot and gallop, the ability to amble is only found in certain breeds of horses, among them the Icelandic pony.

    The trait, as the scientists had previously discovered, is down to a mutation in a single gene, a genetic variant dubbed the “gait keeper” [groan –blf], which also allows horses to adopt another gait — the pace.
    “As far as we know today, ambling horses originated in early medieval England and spread around Eurasia within a few centuries,” said Arne Ludwig, lead author of the research from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.
    The genetic variant was absent in all horses from continental Europe, although it was found in 10 out of 13 Icelandic horses dating from the 9th–11th century AD. But, says Ludwig, it is unlikely that it originated in Iceland, since Iceland had no indigenous horses, and the mutation is common in Icelandic horses soon after the island was settled in the late 9th century. That the mutation arose independently in more than one population of horses is improbable, the authors note.

    Instead, they suggest that the trait first appeared in English horses which were then taken to Iceland and later distributed around the world, with these horses selectively bred because of their comfortable gait […].

    The spread of the trait, was most likely down to the Vikings, who not only had a strong presence in York and other regions in the north of England during the late 9th and early 10th centuries, but also settled in Iceland and had established trade routes to many other countries. “Thus ambling horses might have been introduced to Asia by Vikings during their journeys to the Caspian Sea and the Middle East,” the authors write.

    No word if they’re also responsible for peas.

  194. blf says

    And so much for the “it doesn’t embed” hypothesis…
    (Apologies for the above embedding, that was obviously my own test.)

    One difference is the above URL of mine is whilst chigau’s is (the mobile version?). I will not run another test with the mobile version of my URL so as to try and avoid irritating the forty-foot high rats too much…

  195. blf says

    Mysterious magic spells unearthed by archaeologists in Serbia:

    Inscriptions etched on tiny rolls of gold and silver found alongside skeletons of people buried almost 2,000 years ago

    Archaeologists in Serbia are trying to decipher magic spells etched on to tiny rolls of gold and silver that have been found alongside skeletons of humans buried almost 2,000 years ago.

    “The alphabet is Greek, that much we know. The language is Aramaic — it’s a Middle Eastern mystery to us,” said Miomir Korać, the chief archaeologist at the site.
    Last week, after carefully brushing away soil from the bones, Korać’s team found two amulets made of lead that, when opened, were each found to contain rolls of precious metal — silver and gold — covered in symbols and writing.

    They believe the inscriptions are magic spells, taken to the grave to invoke divine powers to perform good or evil.

    The mildly deranged penguin is giggling in her cheese. Witches would write any old thing — with a distinct tendency for the pornographically explicit — for rubes willing to pay good money for burial charms. Whilst the gold- and silver-foils might actually be gold and silver, more likely they are cheap parchment magiced to look and feel like gold and silver — no self-respecting witch wouldn’t keep the actual gold and silver (in addition to the money, first-born child, and horse repellent) for themselves.

  196. blf says

    The mildly deranged has already burst through the wall and is on her way, Cheesy ice-cream takes Czech town by storm:

    Sweet dessert made from Olomoucké tvarůžky sells out at cafe in eastern town of Loštice, where the cheese originates

    An ice-cream made from a traditional pungent cheese has become a surprise hit in a small Czech town, with happy buyers scooping up all the innovative dessert the producer can make.

    The cheese used, Olomoucké tvarůžky, is a mature, yellowish cheese with a strong taste and smell that is normally enjoyed with bread, beer and, sometimes, onions. It is popular throughout the country.

    “Lot of people think it will be salty, but it is really a fairly sweet ice-cream with a tvarůžky cheese taste,” cafe owner and ice-cream maker Roman Cincara said.

    Cincara […] adds sugar and other ingredients to balance the cheesy taste, while the cheese’s odour is partly suppressed by the low temperature.
    The cheese has been produced in the Olomouc region that includes Loštice since the 15th century. It gained protected geographical indication status from the European Union in 2010.

  197. says

    Chigau @ 289:

    what have you done to make naked links not embed that PZ has not?

    I haven’t done anything. It’s probably what Lofty said. I do have a video unbedder script on greasemonkey, but I’m pretty sure it was invalidated the last upgrade. Those scripts don’t get updated now that SG isn’t around.

  198. blf says

    There are two puzzling things about the entire YouWank embedding problem: (1) Only YouWank URLs which are the last thing in a comment embed; and (2) The URLs being used are not the YouWank “embed” URLs (they are “normal” hyperlinks to the YouWank page). Also, (3) As per the above experiments by chigau, myself, et al., it seems the mobile site does not embed, but the non-mobile (“normal”?) site does embed.

  199. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 300

    I think us pre-centenarian whippersnappers should get off their kelp lawn.

  200. blf says

    Earliest Americans could not have arrived by dry land, study indicates:

    Research shows that ice age corridor between Siberia and Alaska would have been too inhospitable a migration route, contradicting longstanding theory

    [… T]he earliest people to cross from Siberia to Alaska and begin the colonisation of two vast continents linked by a narrow isthmus could not have simply followed the deer and the buffalo across dry land during the last ice age 13,500 years ago. They would have been in the right place, but at the wrong time, a new study shows.

    What is now the Bering Strait would indeed then have been dry land. There was, as scientists have known for many years, an open 1500km corridor of grassland between two great ice sheets that would have made migration deep into North America possible.

    But, according to a new study in Nature, this route wasn’t fully open for traffic until 12,600 years ago.

    This means the very first pre-Columbian settlement of America, perhaps by people known to archaeologists as the Clovis culture, must have been either by sea, or by hugging the Pacific shoreline, long before the ice sheets retreated and the ocean closed in to flood the Bering Strait and separate the Old World from the New.
    “The bottom line is that, even though the physical corridor was open by 13,000 years ago, it was several hundred years before it was possible to use it,” said Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist from the University of Copenhagen, St John’s College Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
    Before about 12,600 years ago, the region would have been inhospitable. But since a prehistoric people with distinctive stone tools had already colonised what would become the United States 13,000 years ago, they must have come by another route: perhaps along the shoreline of Alaska and Canada, over beaches, dunes and estuaries long since covered by the Pacific Ocean. How they did this is speculative: there is no evidence from that era of any boat travel.

    But Mikkel Winther Pederson, of the University of Copenhagen Centre for Geogenetics, and a co-author, sees a possible parallel with the modern Inuit peoples of the Arctic region, who find their food and skins both on land and at sea.

  201. blf says

    And another fruitloop crawls out from under the hedge (this is in the UK) all covered in privileged misogyny and fear of cooties, Feminist zealots want women to have their cake and eat it, says Tory MP:

    Philip Davies tells men’s rights conference that Britain’s legal system is skewed in favour of women

    A Tory MP has spoken at a men’s rights conference hosted by an anti-feminism party, telling the audience that feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.

    Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, delivered a 45-minute speech at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, organised by the Justice for Men and Boys party (J4MB).

    Davies, who sits on the Commons justice committee, told the conference […] in London that Britain’s justice system was skewed in favour of women and discriminated against men.
    Davies, a pro-Brexit campaigner […], appeared alongside anti-feminist bloggers who have likened the activist Malala Yousafzai to Osama bin Laden and called single mothers bona fide idiots.

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is like Osama bin Laden ????!? I don’t know what it is they are smoking, but they to have it checked for both peas and horses.

    J4MB is led and was founded by Mike Buchanan, a former business consultant who retired at 52 and launched campaigns such as the Anti-Feminism League and the Campaign for Merit in Business, which actively fights against initiatives to improve gender diversity in the boardroom.
    “In this day and age the feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it,” [teh fruitloop] told the conference. “They fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women — but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things.”

    J4MB issues awards for lying feminist of the month, toxic feminist of the month and whiny feminist of the month, and promotes inflammatory articles on its website including a piece titled 13 reasons women lie about being raped.

    The party pushes for a greater number of male teachers in schools because they claim female teachers habitually award lower grades to boys than to girls.

    Its 80-page 2015 election manifesto suggested women should stop being appointed as senior company directors, that the Equality Act 2010 should be scrapped and that men should claim their pensions before women because they work harder and die younger.

    Davies has voted against equalities legislation, argued against equality targets in the workplace and once tabled a private member’s bill that would have repealed the Sex Discrimination Act 2002.

    He once claimed that men struggled to be heard in parliament, a view for which he was publicly criticised by the Labour MP Jess Phillips.

    And on and on. And on.

  202. blf says

    Oops, sorry, I neglected to convert to comic sans at least one fruitloop quote above(@303). Probably overwhelmed by the cootiephobia radiating off the fruitloop.

  203. blf says

    Sluggy McSlugface? Public invited to name ‘flamboyant’ nudibranch species (photographs at the link):

    Western Australian museum runs naming competition for new kind of sea-slug discovered by scientists in the Indian Ocean

    The Western Australian museum is running a public competition to name a new species of “flamboyant sea-slug”, part of an order named nudibranch.

    The blue and orange creature is up to 8cm long and looks like a cross between a slug and a Pokémon.

    It was discovered by WA scientist Dr Nerida Wilson during a diving expedition off the coast of Dampier, about 1,500km north of Perth, in 2000.

    Wilson said the nudibranch was “very memorable” and “has an impressive display to scare off predators”, which consists of puffing up its cerata, the orange-tipped blue sausages that line its body, and waggling them at suspected attackers.

    The purpose of the cerata is to increase the slug’s surface area and allow it to take in more oxygen. They’re brightly coloured to reflect the toxins in the nudibranch’s diet, which it in turn extrudes through its skin.

    More evidence that everything in Ozland tries to kill you.

    Wilson said it had taken 16 years to determine it was a new species of nudibranch, due to the sheer abundance of nudibranchs in Australian waters.
    [Radio National’s Off Track program] host Ann Jones said this nudibranch was “one of the weirdest creatures I’ve ever come across — it has ice blue sausages all over its back, it’s a hermaphrodite, it does an amazing dance when it’s threatened where it waves its sausages around and it goes through a metamorphoses sort of like a butterfly.”
    The name “nudibranch” means naked gills and is a reference to those cerata, or feathery gills.

    It’s also pronounced NEW-dih-bronk […]

    Moridilla someofthesheep?

  204. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I have returned from the Pioneer Fire. When I arrived, it was a 3500 acre fire that was 35% contained. When I left, it was 55,000 acres and was 15% contained.

    I saw two black bear, countless mule deer, the same bald eagle (probably) ten times, a (probably) mated pair of osprey, some bull, rainbow and brook trout in the North Fork of the Boise River, one moose, multiple chukkar, many coveys of Gambel Quail, one Ruffed Grouse, a muskrat mother with baby, a river otter, and lots and lots and lots of smoke and dust.

    Worked about 250 hours in 16 days.

    My government charge card was compromised — while I was in Idaho, I also stayed in a Best Western in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Oh, well. Top people are working on it. Top people.

  205. blf says

    Women are lazy, therefore men should retire sooner?

    Makes sense. There is only so much exposure to cooties you can stand before, ah, something. Probably nasty and clearly the wimmin’s fault.

    Alternative approach to the problem is to keep the wimmin at home, &tc, &tc, which is about the only thing the fruitloop is not reported as explicitly saying — although keeping boardrooms (e.g.) cootie-free is clearly on that path.

  206. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Hey Oggie, I’ve been thinking about you. I live within about spitting distance of where the Pilot Fire started in California last Sunday. There is an incident camp set up by our local little lake and I went to see it today. Those camps are astonishing. Complete little towns.
    So I thought, if I just wander around shouting “Oggie, Oggie, where are you?” I might get mighty lucky and a person would pop out of a tent and say something like, “WTF?”
    The fire is now well under control. If the wind had done a 180, my house would be toast.

  207. blf says

    Ok, so chigau is involved in some sort of a secret project involving supergluing shards of fire to neatly sliced stucco.

    The mildly deranged penguin thinks he’s making toast.

  208. blf says

    Or possibly chigau is trying to send a message to Tabby’s Star, Have we detected an alien megastructure in space? Keep an open mind:

    KIC 8462852, aka Tabby’s star, shows a pattern of behavior that has perplexed scientists and fascinated amateurs. We still don’t know what’s causing it

    KIC 8462852 [is colloquially known] as Tabby’s star in a nod to the Yale University astronomer, Tabetha Boyajian, who led the team that discovered its strange behavior. Tabby’s star was observed by Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, and […] was found to be a very erratic light source.

    Over the course of days, this star can dim by more than 20%, something that ordinary stars never do. Then it will brighten, followed by a relapse of darkening weeks or months later. The amount of dimming is variable, and doesn’t occur with the regular cadence that would mark the presence of an orbiting planet.

    When this odd behavior was first recognized, several possible explanations were offered by Boyajian’s team. The most favored was the presence of large clouds of dust from disintegrated comets around Tabby’s star. The orbiting detritus would occasionally mask its light.

    But a more intriguing explanation was also proffered: perhaps this star shelters a planet boasting a civilization older and more technically adept than our own. And perhaps these advanced beings have embarked on a massive engineering project, building phalanxes of orbiting solar panels to supply the energy needs of their society. This space-borne construction could cause the dimming.
    [… T]he premise that someone is out there is supported by many scientists, and no reasonable evidence should be ignored. In the case of Tabby’s star, there are also new clues. A recent analysis of Kepler data by astronomers Ben Montet and Joshua Simon has shown that this object can slowly, and unevenly, fade over the course of just a few years. Again, this is not standard operating practice for stars. It also makes explanations of Tabby’s star based on either pulverized comets or ambitious aliens trickier.

    The bottom line is that, at present, we still don’t know what’s going on in this star system. The safe bet, resting on precedent, is that we are witnessing a perfectly natural phenomenon; one that we don’t yet understand but will eventually fathom. The universe has shown itself to be endlessly creative in creating puzzles for our delectation and bafflement.

    Although not included in the above excerpt, the article gives the estimated distance to Tabby’s Star as 8000 trillion miles. Which sounds like a lot, and so there are multiple comments claiming, in effect, the observations are impossible. It is repeatedly pointed out by more rational commentors that is c.1300 light-years, or c.1% of the Milky Way’s diameter — a trivial distance, astronomically-speaking, and that you can see with your naked eye much further entities (e.g., Andromeda).

  209. Ice Swimmer says

    I wonder what the Ojibwe and other indigenous people think of this?

    The photos are beautiful. A note about the sauna picture: If you took a picture inside an elderly couple’s sauna in their backyard in Finland, it could very likely look just like that.

  210. blf says

    Fears of global yellow fever epidemic grow as vaccine stocks dwindle:

    One of the largest emergency vaccination campaigns ever attempted aims to stop virus taking hold in central Africa

    A last-ditch effort to prevent yellow fever spreading through Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and potentially developing into a global epidemic is to be launched using vaccines containing a fifth of the normal dose because the global stockpile is so low.

    Yellow fever is frequently lethal, killing half of those who develop severe symptoms. It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for the spread of Zika virus. There is a vaccine which protects people for life, but few adults had been immunised in Angola when yellow fever broke out there in December last year, and in the DRC, to where it has spread.

    If it takes hold in Kinshasa, a densely packed city of more than 10 million people, it is feared that infected mosquitoes could travel beyond the central African region, which has been experiencing so severe an outbreak that vaccine stocks are almost exhausted.

    There have been nearly 4,000 suspected cases of yellow fever in Angola and more than 2,200 in DRC, with around 400 reported deaths in the two countries, mostly in Angola. Almost 19m doses of vaccine have been administered since January, but there are only 5m left in the emergency stockpile. The vaccine takes a year to make, so even with the handful of manufacturers working flat out, stocks cannot be replenished quickly.

  211. blf says

    Irish Times subeditor comes up with a perfect pun:

    [… The Irish Times had a superb headline] over a fairly routine story about research at Galway university into the declining numbers of the “dark European honey bee” […].

    Evidently, according to Grace McCormack, professor of molecular evolution and systematics laboratory at NUI Galway, a subspecies in Ireland “is likely to be the last stronghold of this species.”

    Their population has decreased because many beehives suffer from infection with the varroa mite, necessitating chemical treatment that is itself harmful to the bees’ health. So what’s the solution?

    McCormack believes wild bees are resistant to the mites that affect beekeepers’ hives so she came up with a plan. She and her her team would find wild bee colonies that are naturally resistant to such infections.

    And the newspaper’s headline (in print) was perfect: “University researchers come up with plan bee.” […]

  212. blf says

    I wonder how the vice-chancellor would react to teh trum-prat or the racist loonies surrounding him, German vice-chancellor gives middle finger to neo-Nazi protesters:

    Video shows Sigmar Gabriel making the gesture after far-right activists interrupt election campaign event in Salzgitter
    The protesters can be heard calling the centre-left politician a communist and cultural Marxist, as well as making a reference to Gabriel’s father, a Nazi sympathiser: Your father loved his country, and what do you do? You destroy it.

    The deputy to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is then seen laughing before raising his middle finger and turning his back on the group.

    In an interview about his upbringing published before the 2013 federal elections, Gabriel had revealed that he broke off contact with his father after discovering his Nazi beliefs when he was 18. In the interview, Gabriel said: “What remains is an almost untameable anger. When I see something unfair, when injustice is being done to people, I can get properly worked up.”
    Gabriel has become a hate figure for the country’s far right for his supportive stance towards Merkel’s open-borders stance during the refugee crisis. Last summer, his party received bomb threats and hate mail after Gabriel vocally dismissed as a “mob” the people behind anti-refugee riots in the town of Heidenau near Dresden.

  213. blf says

    It becometh the iceman: clothing study reveals stylish secrets of leather-loving ancient:

    New research on famous 5,300-year-old frozen remains of Alpine man shows Ötzi as a versatile tailor making use of sheep, goats, cattle and hides from a brown bear
    Scientists studying the 5,300 year-old remains say they have finally unravelled the secrets of Ötzi’s wardrobe.

    The new research reveals that the iceman was potentially a versatile tailor, with skins from sheep, goats and cattle as well as hides from a brown bear and roe deer used to create his outfit.
    [… W]hile it was previously known that the iceman had used various types of leather to create his wardrobe — an array of clothing including a loin cloth, cap and coat — the Copper Age leather manufacturing processes, and the impact of time itself, made it difficult to tease apart exactly which species of animals were used.
    The results reveal that the Iceman used at least five different species to create his clothes. His loin cloth, the scientists found, was made of sheepskin, his shoelaces of cow-leather, his leggings from goat hide, and his coat made from a mixture of both sheep and goat hide, taken from at least four different animals, that had been joined together. What’s more, analysis of the mitochondrial DNA revealed that the sheep, goats and cattle from which the leather was made were domesticated animals.

    But Ötzi’s hat and quiver, it turns out, were fashioned from rather more exotic materials — the cap was made from the hide from a brown bear while the quiver fashioned from the skin of a roe deer.
    The iceman, it seems, was also adept at a bit of make do and mend. “The Copper Age neolithic style of making leather was very primitive, clothing would have decomposed and degraded quite quickly under normal circumstances,” says O’Sullivan. “So he had to rapidly changed his clothes and he was probably constantly renewing the clothes and augmenting it so that bits didn’t fall apart.”

    Skilled guy didn’t use horses, however. See! Even the ancient icemen avoided those peas-on-the-hoof. Bears? No problem. Horses? Eeeeewwwwwww, run away, run away!!!!!!1!!

  214. Ice Swimmer says

    New airship technology:

    This is a kind of a automated cargo airship that can go to places with no roads or runways. I’d like nickname it Butt Walter (or Butt Berta).

    It has been a while coming – the first flight had been delayed several times and Wednesday’s takeoff was held up for hours – but once in the air, showing off its curves as it banks and soars for its audience, the Airlander is quite a spectacle.

    At 92m long and 43.5m wide, this is the world’s largest aircraft, dwarfing heavyweights such as the Airbus A380 “superjumbo”. It is a bit cheaper, too, with a catalogue price of £25m, compared with $375m (£287m) for an A380.

    It can also carry a 10-tonne payload, comparable with military transport helicopters such as the Boeing CH-47 Chinook, the US Air Force’s workhorse of choice.

    AFAIK, 10 tonnes is about the same amount of stuff that a medium/heavy truck with no trailer can carry, the airship having about 3 or 4 times as much engine power as a truck would have (diesel engines in both the airship and trucks).

  215. blf says

    Oh, oh, I’m sooooo exciiiiiiited! I got an invitation — well, actually a slip of paper shoved through the letterbox — from « Professeur Ali », a « Grand Médium » with « 20 ans d’expérience », who is apparently in town for only 3 days!!

    The mildly deranged penguin has a recipe for Sauce of Médim Tenderized with Clewstick I’ve never tried. It’s one of her few recipes without any cheese — when she invented it, she was having so much fun tenderizing the médim she forgot about the cheese. And was then very annoyed with the médim for not predicting the absence of cheese.

  216. quotetheunquote says

    @ blf 326.

    I confess myself astonished that the mildly deranged penguin is capable of forgetting to add cheese….

  217. blf says

    From the trying to undo a small step forward department, Russian MP seeks to decriminalise domestic violence:

    With 36,000 women assaulted by their partners every day in Russia, politician behind ‘gay propaganda’ ban proposes legalising abuse
    Ultra-conservative Russian MP Yelena Mizulina, best known for successfully introducing for the law banning so-called gay propaganda, introduced a new bill to the State Duma in July proposing the decriminalisation of violence within families.

    Battery carried out toward family members should be an administrative offence, said Mizulina, who is chair of the Duma committee on family, women and children’s affairs and is now a senator in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper chamber of parliament. You don’t want people to be imprisoned for two years and labelled a criminal for the rest of their lives for a slap.

    Yet according to official Russian government statistics, 40% of all violent crimes are committed within the family. This amounts to 36,000 women being assaulted by their partners every day and 26,000 children being beaten by their parents every year.

    Larisa Ponarina, deputy director of the Anna Center, an NGO helping victims of domestic violence, suggests that more than 14,000 women die every year as a result of domestic abuse.

    Mizulina’s bill comes after a recent amendment to the criminal code, introduced by the Supreme Court and signed into law by Vladimir Putin, which declares family violence a criminal offence to be investigated and prosecuted by the state, on an equal footing with hooliganism and hate crimes. This change came into force in early July.

    Mizulina, backed by traditional family values campaigners, is attempting to undo the amendment. The Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement saying that if reasonable and carried out with love, corporal punishment is an essential right given to parents by God.

    The conservative All-Russian Parents’ Resistance has warned that criminalisation of familial violence will lead to prosecution of parents who were acting in their children’s best interests.
    The UN has criticised Russia’s record on women’s rights, recommending the adoption of new legislation on domestic violence, the establishment of shelters and other support for women victims of violence.
    All attempts to pass a [specific] domestic violence law in the past 10 years have been unsuccessful. The most recent bill, drafted by human rights advocates and specialised NGOs, is now ready for the first reading.

  218. blf says

    “the”@327, As I recall the incident, she was more distracted and enjoying herself then forgetful. She was playing Whack-a-Médium and trying out different clewsticks — the médium was quite resistant to getting a clew, LOUDLY (not the best approach as the mildly deranged penguin likes LOUD) — and giggling and nibbling on the cheese whilst considering which clewstick to use next. She now says she simply ran out of cheese, but that is clearly unpossible…

    She does have other recipes without cheese, such as Horse Bait with Flamethrower.

  219. blf says

    From the only state in USAlienstani that succeeded in transmitting Ebola, Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds:

    As the Republican-led state legislature has slashed funding to reproductive healthcare clinics, the maternal mortality rate doubled over just a two-year period

    The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to their pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.

    The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 — or about 27%.

    But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.
    Texas is one of several southern states where health officials say there is a risk of a local [Zika] outbreak. But about half the state lacks ready access to OB-GYN care, making it difficult for women to obtain contraception or for pregnant women to confirm the health of their babies. Just this month, Texas’s health department drew fire for allocating $1.6m of the $18m the state budgets for low-income women’s family planning to an anti-abortion group that does not provide basic health services.

  220. Ice Swimmer says

    At the end of the summer, the workers in wasp nests are laid off. So now there are a lot of them out, confused and unpredictable. Two or three were buzzing around when I was waiting for the bus. I’m not sure whether they considered me food, threat or warm place to rest.

  221. blf says

    I’m not sure whether [workers in wasp nests] considered me food, threat or warm place to rest.

    Badly done waxwork?

  222. blf says

    [T]he naming of a new element after a famous woman scientist, Lise Meitner.

    Sort-of trivia about meitnerium (Mt), element 109, officially named in 1997, from Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, “[Mt] is thus the only element named specifically after a non-mythological woman (curium being named for both Pierre and Marie Curie).”

  223. blf says

    Islamic extremist’s trial over Timbuktu cultural destruction to open at The Hague:

    Ahmad al-Mahdi expected to plead guilty to ordering destruction of mausoleums and mosque in ancient Malian city

    An Islamic extremist accused of destroying religious monuments in the ancient city of Timbuktu will be tried for war crimes in a groundbreaking case at the international criminal court this week.

    Ahmad al-Mahdi, a former junior civil servant in Mali’s department of education, joins the ranks of the world’s most notorious dictators and warlords in being tried by the ICC. His alleged crimes, however, are not those usually dealt with by The Hague’s prosecutors: the destruction of small mausoleums made from mud in the middle of the desert.

    Mahdi’s lawyer has said his client will plead guilty to directing the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque when the trial starts on Monday; it would be the first time an ICC defendant accused of war crimes has entered a guilty plea.

    Mahdi’s trial is the ICC’s first for destroying cultural heritage, something that its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has called “a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations, and their religious and historical roots”.

    Timbuktu […] was once known as the city of gold for its great wealth. [… T]he city was a centre of learning, knowledge and culture on par with Florence during the Italian renaissance. Its university had 25,000 students, more than Timbuktu’s estimated current population of less than 15,000, and its libraries held hundreds of thousands of precious manuscripts from the 12th–16th centuries.

    In 2012, Tuareg rebels attacked Timbuktu, backed by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and armed with weapons from Libya. They enforced sharia law, banning music — the lifeblood of Malian culture — forcing women to wear the burqa and preventing girls from attending school.
    His alleged orders were to attack the shrines of Sufi saints, break down a mosque door that locals believed had to stay shut until the end of the world, and burn priceless manuscripts from Timbuktu’s archive.

    Mohamed Aouini, Mahdi’s defence lawyer, said his client would plead guilty to the crimes. “He wants to be truthful to himself and he wants to admit the acts that he has committed. And he wants to ask at the same time for pardon from the people of Timbuktu and the Malian people,” Aouini told an earlier hearing at the ICC. “He regrets all the actions that he has committed.”

    Thanks to Abdel Kader Haidara, a collector and librarian, 95% of the city’s 400,000 manuscripts were secretly smuggled to Bamako, the Malian capital, by boat and car. They are now being painstakingly restored, catalogued and digitalised. Of what was left in Timbuktu, about 4,000 were lost, stolen or burned by the jihadis before they fled in 2013 when French and Malian troops advanced on the city.

    This rescue of Timbuktu’s invaluable collection of manuscripts is perhaps the great untold story of the al-Qaida assault on Mali. There have been some articles about the rescue (e.g., The book rustlers of Timbuktu: how Mali’s ancient manuscripts were saved), and there seems to be a book (The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu), but the story doesn’t seem to be widely-known — or appreciated?

  224. quotetheunquote says

    Badly done waxwork?

    Nah, these are wasps, they work in paper, not wax. A badly-drawn nest, maybe.

  225. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    At the end of the summer, the workers in wasp nests are laid off. So now there are a lot of them out, confused and unpredictable. Two or three were buzzing around when I was waiting for the bus. I’m not sure whether they considered me food, threat or warm place to rest.

    Around here, I’m considered a warm place to rest. I’ve learned not to panic.

  226. Ice Swimmer says

    Mining vs. conservation and reindeer herding:

    From Viiankiaapa

    Viiankiaapa is included within the national Mire Conservation Programme, so most of the reserve was established in 1988. The rest of the site was established by forming a protected area in accordance with the Nature Conservation Act. Viiankiaapa is part of the Natura 2000 network, and its total area is 65.95 km2.

    Viiankiaapa consists of a large aapa mire system, whose most important Natura habitats that must be protected are aapa mires and raised bogs, rich fens, petrifying springs, bog woodland and western taiga. Ten plant species classified as threatened or near-threatened have been found in the area. In addition, there are sightings of 90 bird species, of which 21 have been listed as threatened or near-threatened. The traditional uses of the site include reindeer husbandry, hunting, berry-picking and recreation. There are two nature trails with campfire sites that offer great opportunities for hiking and other outdoor recreation.

    Anglo American is drilling for samples in the area in order to open a copper mine there. The lode may be rich, but the area is also unique in the world. There are dozens of endangered species living there and the area is important for the local reindeer husbandry (reindeer are kept by both ethnically Saami and Finnish people).

    Anglo American has asked Fauna and Flora International to search for a similar area to be protected. The only similar area (Sompio) has been under water in Lokka reservoir nearly 50 years. Greenwashing?

  227. says

    Ice Swimmer:


    Yeah. I’m sickened this is happening to you too. Keep those fuckers at bay, kick them out at any cost -- this greed to gut our earth is past insanity. An Estonian company is looking to lay waste to Utah, on rez land, of course.

    “In my country, Estonia, the oil shale industry has permanently damaged many of our most important natural resources,” wrote Silvia Lotman, chief executive officer of the nongovernmental conservation organization the Estonian Fund for Nature, in a June 12 piece for The Salt Lake Tribune. “Parts of northeastern Estonia have become unusable sacrifice zones that will never recover from the impacts of oil shale mining. As the country with the world’s largest oil shale mining operations, we have lost much of our land, damaged our water and emitted more than our share of carbon into the atmosphere.”

    While much money has been invested in restoring landscapes and habitat, “you still find areas like the ‘phenols marshland’—a contaminated marsh of oil shale wastewater,” Lotman wrote. “The contaminated water comes from huge mountains of oil shale waste, called the ‘Estonian Alps,’ that are visible from space. Rain washes chemicals from these waste piles into the landscape and water. What will happen to Utah and to communities downstream if Enefit’s waste harms the upper basin of the Colorado River watershed?”

    How could this play out in the U.S.? Enefit Oil is asking the BLM “to let it run three pipelines and a power line across federal land,” Udall wrote. “If the agency says yes, Enefit could break ground on the first serious commercial-scale oil shale project in the United States as early as next year. That would open the door to oil shale mining nationally.”

    We are looking at ruin here, don’t let this happen to your part of our earth.

  228. Ice Swimmer says

    I’ve never been to Northeast Estonia (the county of Ida-Virumaa) (it’s not that far away from here, over to Tallinn by ship and 160 km -- 200km east, it’s 1000 km to Sodankylä).

    From what I’ve read about, it’s been an environmental disaster and full of social problems (esp. post Soviet era, with unemployment), started way back, much of the damage was done under the Soviet era (1940 -- 1991) and things have gone on after that. Much of the population in Ida-Virumaa is Russians brought there by the Soviet government after WW II. Apparently they can currently burn the oil shale more cleanly than during the Soviet era, but the mining is still devastating and the carbon dioxide emissions will be high.

  229. blf says

    Whilst researchers blame fungi, experts like the mildly deranged penguin (who plays Scottish great pipes so hard the pipes shoot out like skyrockets, then the bag explodes) point out it’s probably the peas, Wind musicians warned over hygiene as fatal case of ‘bagpipe lung’ reported (The Grauniad’s edits in {curly braces}):

    Doctors discovered that trigger for fatal case of hypersensitivity pneumonitis was likely to have been fungi living inside man’s bagpipes

    Wind musicians have be warned to clean their instruments after a man died from a lung disease triggered by fungi lurking in his bagpipes.

    The piper developed a serious inflammation of the lungs, known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, that worsened over a number of years, leaving him with a dry cough, breathlessness and curtailing the distance he could walk from 10 kilometres to just 20 metres. Eventually, in 2014, the 61-year old was admitted to hospital where he later died.

    [… A] series of clues led doctors to discover that the cause was most likely a collection of fungi living inside the man’s bagpipes.

    The case has led doctors to propose that “bagpipe lung” be added to the long list of alternative monikers for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is already known as “bird fancier’s lung”, “farmer’s lung” and even “hot tub lung” after the wide range of activities to which it has previously been linked.

    “{Musicians} need to be aware that there are risks that instruments can become colonised with mould and fungi and this can be related to serious and potentially fatal lung disease,” said Dr Jenny King, first author of the study, of North Manchester general hospital.

    She added that the warm, moist environment of wind instruments is an ideal breeding ground for such organisms. “Wind instrument hygiene is really important in preventing this and {musicians} should be stringent in cleaning their instruments regularly.”

  230. blf says

    A possible way to slow down the forty-foot high killer rats, Researchers find lab rats on marijuana just can’t be bothered:

    THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, makes rats less willing to exert cognitive effort — lazy — but, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man

    The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana makes lab rats lazy, according to University of British Columbia researchers.

    The new research […] looked at the effects of both THC — the drug’s main active ingredient — and the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol, or CBD, on the male lab rats’ willingness to exert cognitive effort.

    Researchers trained 29 rats on two different challenges: rats which successfully carried out the more difficult task earned two sugar pellets; those which carried out the easier task earned just one.

    Rats usually preferred the harder, but more rewarding, task. But after being dosed with THC, the same rats picked the easier task.
    [… CBD had no such effect …]
    The THC did not make the rats less intelligent — just lazier, said the study’s lead author, Mason Silveira, a PhD candidate in psychology […].

    “When rats were given THC — the active ingredient in cannabis or marijuana — we found that they were less likely to exert the mental energy needed to do more difficult tasks,” he said.

    “What’s particularly interesting is though they were less likely to do these more difficult tasks they were still able to. There’s this distinction between THC’s ability to affect your cognition versus your willingness to actually use your cognitive abilities.”

    There’s a great picture of a stoned rat at the link (caption: “Yeah, whatever: a rat.”)

  231. blf says

    Update on me@306, Sluggy McSlugface no more: sea slug named for fly-in, fly-out mining workers:

    Multicoloured slug, a species of nudibranch, was discovered in 2000 off the Western Australian coast and will be officially named Moridilla fifo

    A multicoloured sea slug [which is a species of nudibranch] discovered off the coast of Western Australia has been named for the state’s fly-in, fly-out mining workforce after a judging panel ruled that Sluggy McSlugface breached the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.
    Wilson will apply for it to be officially named Moridilla fifo after a public competition to name the nudibranch received more than 4,500 entries.

    A significant number of those entries suggested either Sluggy McSlugface or Nudie McNudeface, but Dr Amber Beavis, who was on the judging panel, said that breached international rules against “frivolous” scientific names, as well as a few other regulations.

    “Sluggy McSlugface — there’s no way to Latinise that,” Beavis said. “You can do the ‘sluggy’ bit but to get the spirit of that would be impossible.”
    The logic, as explained by [Patrick] Dwyer, is that nudibranches eat jellyfish and other animals with stingers and then secrete those same toxins out of its cerata, the blue and orange sausage-shaped appendages that line its back, as a form of self-defence. Fly-in fly-out (fifo) workers, Dwyer told Radio National, were similarly “an important resource also brought in from elsewhere”.

    It helped that the animal’s blue and orange colour scheme matched the high-vis cotton drill uniform of the fifo workforce, and is quintessentially West Australian.
    Also nominated were Moridilla finger bun (“It resembles a bakery product with the tan body and sprinkles on top,” said Ian Buckley); Moridilla carlotta, for the Australian showgirl and trans [sic] pioneer; and Moridilla karlakarlem, which means “dusk” in Worrorra, one of the Indigenous languages of the Kimberley.

    The mildly deranged penguin is disappointed her suggestion Moridilla as seen by stoned rat wasn’t even mentioned.

  232. blf says

    What happens when a giant clam tries to eat a Moridilla fifo, Fisherman hands in giant pearl he kept under the bed for 10 years:

    Enormous pearl thought to have come from a giant clam could be the biggest in the world and, if authenticated, is estimated to be worth more than $100m

    A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years.

    The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m.
    If it is found to be real, the pearl is significantly larger than the current record-holder, which […] was also from Palawan. A local diver from Brooke’s Point in Palawan recovered what is now known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu, weighing 6.4kg, in 1939.

  233. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    triggered by fungi lurking in his bagpipes

    See? That right there tells me that this cannot be true. When is the last time you heard the phrases ‘fun guy’ and ‘bagpipes’ in the same phrase? Never, right? RIGHT!?!?

  234. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says


    Sorry. Trying for humour. But intent doesn’t matter. My apologies.

  235. chigau (違う) says

    One of the boards on the back porch/deck finally gave up.
    SO pulled it off, intending to replace it.
    Behind that was another rotted-out bit, also ripped out.
    Underneath that … etc.
    The new lumber is purchased and some of it is cut but it is now night and raining.
    There is a step ladder up to the back door.

  236. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 350

    I’m sorry to hear that. Was it a large deck? Here’s hoping that the rot hasn’t spread further.

    Nobody was hurt when the board broke?

    May the sunny days come, so you’ll get the porch built in dry conditions

  237. chigau (違う) says

    Ice Swimmer #351
    The deck/porch thingy is about 1.5 x 2 metres.
    A mere platform, no big deal. No injuries.
    We built it ourselves but we really cannot remember when.
    -“Was it before or after the patio?”
    “Can’t remember.”
    -“We finished the patio the same day as the tornado.”
    “yeah. Still can’t remember.”

  238. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin is not only upset she wasn’t invited, but also points out there was a protocol error: No cheese. Oops… Sir Nils Olav the penguin receives military promotion at Edinburgh zoo:

    A resident king penguin and honorary member of the king of Norway’s guard has been given new title of brigadier

    A highly decorated penguin has been given a promotion in a special ceremony at Edinburgh zoo.

    A resident king penguin, Sir Nils Olav, is an honorary member of the king of Norway’s guard and inspects the soldiers when they visit the Scottish capital. One of a colony and knighted in 2008, the penguin has now been given the new title of Brig Sir Nils Olav.

    The honour was bestowed on the animal in a ceremony attended by more than 50 Norwegian soldiers from the unit. The troops are taking part in this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

    And Penguin promoted to brigadier by Norwegian King’s Guard — video: “The Norwegian King’s Guard has visited Edinburgh Zoo to promote resident king penguin Sir Nils Olav to the rank of brigadier. Sir Nils is the third penguin of the same name at the zoo, following a tradition initiated in 1972 by a Norwegian lieutenant, Nils Egelien. […]”

  239. blf says

    This is a rather interesting article which I’m not going to excerpt, How did the chicken, a shy, flight-impaired forest bird, migrate around the globe?: “The spread of chickens around the world is intimately linked to the movement of people. Research from New Zealand sheds light on how and when they arrived”. Interesting fun fact (from the article): “on the Hawaiian island Kauai, chickens introduced by the Polynesians some 800 years ago now run wild.”

    One of the readers’s comments is great: “Chickens spontaneously appear at random points on the globe at regular intervals through the magic of quantum tunneling, it’s a well-known fact.”

  240. blf says

    Saad@355, A pedantic correction, please, if I may: There is no such thing as the — as in a national — French burkini ban, it’s c.15 locations(to-date), all(?) in coastal areas of France(mostly here in the south), which have banned the burkini. Plus, I would add, a set of stooopid comments / actions from various French politicians and other wackos.

    The best description of this nonsense I’ve seen is “imposing rules on what women can wear on the grounds that it’s wrong for women to have to obey rules about what women can wear”.

    (I’ve been trying to find out, among other things, if the area where I live has, or is considering, or (hopefully!) has rejected, this nonsense: At the moment I’ve no clew.)

  241. blf says

    OH FECK, apparently the village where I live has also banned the burkini (latest count of locations is c.26 — here is a map of most of them).

    There has been some security theatre in the village recently, with heavily-armed police, and also army, patrols.

    Amusingly, I accidentally left my knapsack on the outdoors terrace at the local bar last night, and no-body called the bomb squad; instead, there it was, inside the bar waiting for me to collect this morning, unblown-up.

  242. blf says

    This started in Italy, but seems to be spreading around the world(hopefully mostly legitimately), Italian earthquake: restaurants urged to give €2 for each serving of town’s famous pasta:

    The devastated town of Amatrice gave its name to the amatriciana dish of tomato sauce and pork cheek, spawning a novel fund raising effort
    talian restaurants across the world have been asked to make donations for every plate served of the pasta dish named after the town of Amatrice, one of the worst hit by Wednesday’s devastating earthquake.

    Amatrice was this weekend set to hold its 50th annual food festival [(sagra)] celebrating its famous spaghetti all’amatriciana, a pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce flavoured with guanciale, or cured pork cheek.
    More than 600 restaurants in Italy had agreed to donate two euros for every amatriciana serving, [food blogger Paolo Campana] told CNN, while word of the campaign appeared to be spreading across the world with appeals for all pasta eateries to join the effort.

    There’s a great poster at the link.

    (I haven’t checked yet to see if any of the local Italian / pasta restaurants are doing this.)

  243. blf says

    Beyond burkinis: why science suggests ALL clothes should be banned:

    Scenes of French police enforcing a burkini ban have shocked many, but the anger is misplaced. The fact is that ALL clothes are awful and should be banned

    A lot of people have been upset by images of French police forcing a woman to take a burkini off on a beach, in full view of the public, in accordance with the [sic] controversial French burkini ban. There are many reasons to be outraged by this ban: the suppression of individual rights and apparent hypocrisy in the name of “secularism”, the misogyny-tinged policing of women’s clothes specifically, the public display of intimidation, and so on.

    All of these complaints are misplaced. The real problem with the burkini ban is, it’s too limited. Forbidding a specific type of swimsuit won’t achieve anything: we must ban ALL CLOTHES! And the sooner the better.

    This may sound like a ridiculous notion. But, more ridiculous than banning a swimming costume in order to fight terrorism? I think not! Plus, there are many scientifically valid reasons for us to do away with clothes.

    Firstly, clothes cause problems. Look at the long history of clothes being used as a tool of oppression and control, often resulting in political problems. […]

    [… L]et’s not forget the time a questionable shirt completely overshadowed a major achievement in space exploration. […]

    […] How long do you spend agonising over what to wear every day? […] Ever changing fashions and clothing choices have just added another layer of stress and paranoia to a world which has plenty of that as it is.

    There are other benefits to banning clothes. The environmental damage caused by constantly washing them would be drastically reduced, as would the financial cost of doing so. Everyone would suddenly have more money available, and no need to spend it on clothes! So it would be doubly good.

    […] It may be a difficult adjustment at first, but when you consider that most people who practice body shaming or often less-than-perfect specimens themselves then removing the ability to hide your flaws behind opaque cloth could result in more tolerance and sensitivity between people. […]
    Granted, some clothes offer protection, but when you consider it will be virtually impossible to conceal weapons, the safety risks and benefits will hopefully cancel each other out.

    There would also need to be some serious revaluation of our social norms, especially our sexual attitudes, but we’d get used to it eventually. […]


    And what this shows is that, even if you can back up a decision with compelling and reasonable-sounding arguments, it doesn’t mean it isn’t ridiculous. Like banning a bathing suit.

  244. says

    Silly time.

    Working away, still using vintage thread. Right now, I’m using 3 different skeins of Star, different shades of blue. The vintage thread has a different stitch feel, but generally it’s a joy to use. The Star is coarse and heavily napped. No problem with the dark blue. No problem with the light blue. The medium blue? Snarl, knot, knot, snarl, strand breaks, snarl, snarlknot, knot, another strand break, knot, knot, snarl. In frustration, I glared at the skein and yelled “who did you hate? well, they died a long time ago!”

    No more problems.

  245. blf says

    World Jollof Day: Jamie Oliver’s #ricegate and other scandals (World Jollof Day this year was last Monday 22-August):

    Don’t mess with West Africans and their favourite recipe — as these western chefs and supermarkets learned the hard way

    Every culture has a sacrosanct recipe passed down from generation to generation. But few cause as much controversy as jollof rice, West Africa’s beloved staple dish.

    An rich orange-red delicacy made from rice and a spicy stew mixing tomato, onions, meat or fish, its origins — and how best to prepare it — have been the subject of fierce dispute over the years.

    As Reina Yaidoo explains: “Every country has its own version, and abhors ‘inauthentic’ variations.” In Ghana, jollof is eaten on its own or with fried plantains and “the addition of green, leafy plants is much frowned upon.”

    In Nigeria, diners balk at adding adding garlic, carrots, green beans or cabbage and, in Yaidoo’s home country of Liberia, “a stunned silence would greet anyone adding seafood to jollof rice,” she says.
    Jamie Oliver’s #JollofGate: [… Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver advised] readers to add coriander, parsley and lemon, none of which are traditionally associated with the dish.
    “[The resulting meltdown] was like watching a mosquito enter the room while an African family is mid-argument,” wrote website The Fader. “As soon as people noticed the counterfeit jollof (which included cherry tomatoes, parsley, and lemon wedges), they killed it. Quick.”

    The mildly deranged penguin is having second thoughts about the added cheese…

  246. says

    Blf @ 362:

    You’ve just frightened all the Quipus in the world so much they’ve untied themselves…

    No, I would never frighten anything so awesome as that! Those are truly amazing, and they remind me of Nnedi Okorafor’s story Binti. Binti plaits her hair in mathematical code, which is unique to her family.

  247. StevoR says

    I was wrong and would like to apologise for my behaviour and many of my comments in the past. Apologies to a lot of commenters here from Pharyngula and to PZ Myers and Mano Singham.

    You’ve done this before. Also, PZ and Mano don’t hang out in this thread, so you find some other way to apologize to them for nth time. I have not banned you, but I’d hope you know you are not welcome here, and one filthy word of your usual spiel will see you banned. Instantly. -- Caine.

  248. blf says

    I tried and tried to avoid it, but finally had to go to Paris this week for a (short) meeting. First time in well over six years, as far as I can recall. On Monday tried to book a train (TGV) via the website.

    The SNCF (train) website is legendary. Obnoxious (as in confusing to use), keeps changing (that is, different set of confusions almost every time), and usually quite slow (so best to book in the middle of night). Gave up after awhile, and decided to go to the local station and book in person on the next day (Tuesday).

    Tuesday morning, go to the station (fortuitously discovering the bus schedules had just been changed), and book without much of a problem. Notice that the next train to Marseille is due in a few minutes, so decide, on a whim, to go to Marseille for lunch / afternoon.

    Arrive lunch-ish time and got on the Metro (after a frustrating wait to buy a ticket), then got confused about the stop and went a bit further then intended. Nuts. Go back a stop or two.

    First intended restaurant was closed (vacation, I think). Head for a second place I like, but noticed an interesting-looking chalkboarded menu on-the-way, and decide to try this place. Huge difficulties ordering, my French is shite, and the waiter didn’t seem to understand anything which wasn’t perfectly pronounced.

    Annoyingly, the fish was decidedly overcooked. In Marscille for feck’s sake! (I’ve had worse meals in France, but this was not a very good one.)

    Thursday. Manage to get up in time to eat breakfast and then catch the bus to the train station. The schedules are not well-coordinated, so there is a long wait to the train. Notice that the all the shown preceding trains to Marseille are running late. Over a coffee, calculate that if my train is also late, I’ll miss the TGV to Paris.

    Step onboard the next train, which it “pinged” in the back of my mind didn’t look quite right. Look around, inner screaming, Something is dreadfully wrong here… Get off the train just before the doors close and (then) work out that was not a train to Marseille: The notice board was displacing the trains in scheduled order-of-arrival, so a delayed-and-now-later train was shown first, not that other (running-on-time) train.

    Make it to Marseille ahead-of-time using a delayed earlier train, only to discover the only(?) shop in the station which carries English-language newspapers was not yet open. Nuts, fortunately I still had some slightly older still-not-read papers with me…

    Sodding TGV is delayed! Make it to Paris Ok, but without making up for the lost time.
    Now running late for the meeting. Get lost in the RER station. Then get lost in the RER station at the other end. Running rather late now.

    Took longer than anticipated to walk to the meeting. And, of course, couldn’t find the correct building at first…

    Meeting was Ok, albeit a bit rushed.

    Wandered off looking for a (late) lunch. Found a quite decent cafe, albeit ordered the “wrong” wine for the fish. Oh well, that happens (first world problem).

    Set off towards the RER station. In, as it so happens, the wrong direction. Eventually notice this is “not right” and spend a few frantic minutes trying to work out where the feck I am (with the clock to the return TGV running short).

    Right, got it, still not sure how I got turned around, so, confused, head towards the RER station.

    Can’t find the sodding entrance! (Consider taking a taxi, time is beginning to run short.)

    Found it, no problems getting back to the TGV station, arriving earlier than expected. Have a coffee, board the TGV, only to find my seat is exposed to the hot sun. Bugger.

    Cannot stand the heat so after awhile go to the bar and drink beers most of the way back to Marseille.

    The local train leaves on time, but then has a massive delay at the first-or-so stop. Grumble, grumble, grumble…

    Eventually get back, way after the last bus, so hike down to the coast to a nice restaurant for dinner. Getting quite thirsty in the process… Some problems getting a glass for that nice refreshing jug of water (just managing to keep a polite tone with the waiter).

    Good dinner, proper wine this time, but perhaps too much alcohol by this point. Another hike to the lair, arriving in the early hours of Friday morning. Calculate I’ve been up for about 20 hours!

    Sleep all day Friday.
    Then the computer didn’t want to boot…

  249. Ice Swimmer says

    On the beach near Finlandia hall, various birds are doing their dinosaur things: A Canada goose is preening and casting ominous glares at people and teenage gulls that venture too close. The teenage gulls are eating stuff or sand as are the mildly pompously stepping crows. In the water, ducks are enjoying their evening salad from the bottom of the bay.

  250. says

    I’ll be around for a short while in the morning (Tuesday), then we’re headed out to the camps. Back on Thursday, then mostly gone again Friday -- Sunday. If there are any problems, please ask PZ very nicely to deal with them.

  251. Siobhan says

    Just finished homework on some “troubled youth” gulags.

    Ho-lee shit.

    I don’t care how troubled your kid is, vet the ever loving shit out of any “troubled youth” camp you send them to.

    Some of these camps give their kids fewer rights than prisoners. If the Geneva Convention applied to them, these camps would be breaking it.

    I feel ill.

    Post will be up next week…

  252. Siobhan says

    Oh, and the Republicans are partially to blame for facilitating these camps. Religious fear dumb.

  253. StevoR says

    @Caine and everyone. Please give me another chance. I have changed and will never say some of the things I’ve said in the past again or behave as badly as I once did. I’m listening and learning. You have my respect and admiration and have already helped me become a better person through your blogging and commenting. How can I prove this to you please?

  254. Lofty says

    I don’t have the mental strength to stand up against the ugliness of the dirty stinking capitalists but I give my best wishes to those that do. Safe travelling to you, Caine.

  255. Ice Swimmer says

    stellatree @ 385

    You write blockquote in angle brackets (not [,]) but less than and greater than signs (see here for a more comprehensive discussion.). In the beginning of the quote just blockquote in angle brackets and in the end /blockquote in angle brackets. Pointy ends have to point outwards.

  256. stellatree says

    Ice Swimmer @ 386

    You write blockquote in angle brackets (not [,]) but less than and greater than signs (see here for a more comprehensive discussion.). In the beginning of the quote just blockquote in angle brackets and in the end /blockquote in angle brackets. Pointy ends have to point outwards.

    Thank you! I think I got it. :-D

  257. Ice Swimmer says

    News from Finland:

    Tax avoidance in its finest: Some Finnish magazines take a trip to Norway and back to avoid VAT. Now, whether the Finnish VAT system for media makes any sense is one thing. Another thing is shipping magazines back and forth just to avoid taxes. One of the major publishers won’t do it because they see the one-day delay as a problem (unlike their competitors they publish a high brow weekly news magazine* among other things).

    * = Know humoristically as Suomen Kuivalehti (=Dry Magazine of Finland)

  258. says

    StevoR @ 383:

    @Caine and everyone. Please give me another chance. I have changed and will never say some of the things I’ve said in the past again or behave as badly as I once did. I’m listening and learning. You have my respect and admiration and have already helped me become a better person through your blogging and commenting. How can I prove this to you please?

    Count yourself lucky I’m currently concussed. You have a chance. You only get one.

  259. rq says

    Also thanks for the heads up on that movie, I think I’m going to have to thwart the lack of advertising and try and see it somehow.

  260. Tethys says


    I would like to wake because it is morning rather than

    Me too. I guess 5:30 was technically morning, but I would have preferred a few more hours of sleep. Stupid hip and mean spine decided otherwise, so now that I have had a sufficient amount of tea and stretched them out, I’m going to see how many hats I can crank out before wrist and shoulder join the pain chorus.

    On a completely different ranty note, I am really upset with the fact that multiple male family members of the youngest generation have turned into raging, racist, sexist asshats via joining the military. It is good we are having a virtual convo about the Indians ‘whining’, because this elder is ready to slap them into next week. (breathes) Ok, back to the hats. :)

  261. blf says

    One restaurant site here in the village has a stunning view over the old harbour and bay — it’s elevated and on the main quay. Weirdly, for some reason, the actual restaurants occupying the location have not lasted very long (a year or three at most). The current restaurant has been there for, maybe, two years (not sure). I’d never been there, albeit I had eaten at all of its predecessors since moving here; its immediate predecessor was rather good, albeit expensive (the location all-but-ensures expensive).

    The last few weeks I’d developed a significant hankering to try the current incarnation. Today, lunch won. I even made a bit of an effort, and dressed up slightly (which basically meant find the least moldy piles of cloth…).

    Not bad at all. Nothing special — which I had predicated based on the display menu — but competently prepared, served by a friendly (albeit not too attentive) staff, in a superb location.

    The mildly deranged penguin was annoyed there was a not any cheese platter.

    And dressing up? Ok, that fit with the rest of the customers, but the staff were quite causally dressed (T-shirts, torn jeans, that sort of thing). That is not a problem, but it did surprise me a tiny bit.

  262. blf says

    Rats in the Grauniad:

    ● Man v rat: could the long war soon be over?: “Rats spread disease, decimate crops and very occasionally eat people alive. For centuries, we have struggled to find an effective way of controlling their numbers. Until now …”

    ● Ig Nobel prizes: trousers for rats and the truthfulness of liars: “Egyptian urologist Ahmed Shafik […] wanted to know the toll that trousers might take on male rats. He made murine trousers — covering the animals’ hind legs with a hole for the tail — in various cloths: 100% polyester, 50/50% polyester/cotton, all cotton and all wool.
      Rats that wore polyester showed ‘significantly lower’ rates of sexual activity, Shafik found, perhaps because of the electrostatic charges created by the material. Cotton- and wool-wearing rats were relatively normal.”

    That raises the question just what the ex-dino puppets are made from…

  263. blf says

    Well, it’s official now, Big DumbCo has terminated my position, meaning I am out of a job. This being France, which has strong worker protection laws, my seniority (time) at Big DumbCo, age & other factors, and Big DumbCo not having any real case for laying me off (and a poor case for terminating the position), my lawyer was able to negotiate a package whose net amount is a useful multiple of my annual gross salary, plus state & other benefits.

    (Yes, I had a lawyer. This was actually mostly mandatory, since Big DumbCo was using a lawyer, and apparently French law says if one side uses a lawyer, both must. That rather makes sense — even playing field and all that — and, I must admit, my lawyer was able to get Big DumbCo to pay all fees, so the cost to me was trivial.)

  264. blf says

    Caine@401, Presumably good: I’m an expert with decades of experience (not all concentrated in one area), awarded patents, published papers, numerous references, a dual national, and degrees (plural) from a highly respected University. The obvious catches are being expensive and — though it’d be illegal to take this into account — within sight of typical retirement age. At the moment I haven’t looked around at all (other than letting a few trusted contacts know).

    At the moment — assuming my financial situation remains secure for a comfortable amount of time — my main concerns are BrExit in the UK, the possibility of teh trum-prat (or, in general, the thugs (republicans)) having influence after the election, and the rise of the Le Penazis here in France.

  265. blf says

    chigau@403, The mildly deranged penguin would eat all the samples. A typical post might therefore be: “Swallowed, burped, ran off to get some moar. Rating: One new penguin-shaped hole in the wall. Strong draft.”

  266. StevoR says

    Some recent reflections, hope its okay to say here and apologies if not :


    I won the lottery when I was born to my parents.

    Not just because they’re the best parents in the world (Okay I might be biased but I am so incredibly fortunate to have the wonderful loving parents I do. I know so many people who through no fault of theirs are not that fortunate.)
    I’m lucky enough to be living as a man in the First World nation which is not invaded and fought over and hasn’t been for decades, which is scientifically advanced, which has an excellent welfare safety net and has healthcare and education provided to almost all its citizens. A country with Unions and workers rights, hard fought for even if still under constant threat of erosion.

    I have access to books and libraries and, of course, the internet.

    I have running water available at the turn of a tap.

    Electricity -- llght and heat and cooling to suit -- instantly set to my wishes the mere flick of a switch. (With a few very rare exceptions which are brief exceptions from the norm.)

    I live in a society where thought and discussion is encouraged and welcomed and we are able to remove political leaders regularly and bloodlessly -- literally speaking.

    Where I never have to really worry about starving or being killed or raped or maimed or persecuted, singled out unfairly, on a daily basis.

    Most of our world isn’t as lucky.

    It could’ve been so different. For most people it is different and so much worse and harder. Most of the world is Third World. Women hold more than half the sky (as the Chinese proverb goes) -- but have that whopping gap in pay and conditions for the same or more work.

    I could’ve been born, say a Rohinga woman or born in poverty in Darfur or been born to people in Syria, Cambodia, Somalia and so many other places we rarely hear about on the mainstream news. Even including being born as an African-American man in a lot of the United States where they are singled out unfairly, condemned to poverty, struggle to get anywhere near the same chances as white Americans people do. Or been born to the worse off Indigenous people in Australia who are living in dire poverty and mistreated, judged and messed up from a long history of injustice and dispossession and discrimination.

    This is inarguable.

    I am lucky, privileged, as its called just by luck of birth. Now I can’t take credit or blame for this. No one can.

    But it can be appreciated and acknowledged and I acknowledge it and the reality that this sets my life up in ways that most people’s aren’t.

    Knowing that truth and accepting it, I can also try to empathise with and work to make the world better, fairer, more just, more equal of opportunities and hope and ability for all to be happy and reach their full potential for those vast majority of fellow human individuals who are not so lucky -- again inarguably through no fault of theirs -- and to try to empower it and make the world better for everyone. Don’t we all benefit when we work towards this?

    Is this not axiomatic for almost all of us?

    And okay, we’ll almost certainly never get to some mythical absolute Utopia -- an absolutely perfect and fair and equal world -- but we can sure get so much closer to it than we are now and surely the only way to get closer to that ideal utopia is to try to do so and keep improving incrementally all the time.

    Advancing socially and economically, politically and culturally and artistically and in so many other ways as well as “just” technologically. And when you think where our technology and our culture was even a hundred odd years ago .. (Even twenty or so!) well, there is hope.

    I find that too axiomatic. Don’t you?

    I am imperfect and always learning and a small part of a greater collective world that we make by living in it and working together and sometimes against each other as well.

  267. StevoR says

    Couple more Rosetta article links with mission highlights :


    Rosetta’s home with Philae on a singing, oxygen haloed, dusty comet with a lot of surprises and interesting features.

    NB. One thing I read in a recent astronomy magazine (pages 12-3 “news notes -- 67P Will Break up and Make up” by Ana V. Aceves in ‘Sky &Telescope’magazine , October 2016) is that for the “Not a potato, more like a duck” section, its actually likely the comets nucleus spun itself up, split in two, then gently collided together and merged back into one again.

  268. Ice Swimmer says

    Strong Martinique Rhum Agricole and Sabroso Coffee Liqueur for all who are in pain or have lost a job.

    Flights over the Atlantic might be canceled or rerouted for a while in the near future: The volcano Katla in Iceland has been experiencing earthquakes.

    According to Kristín Jónsdóttir, earthquake hazards coordinator at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, scientists are baffled by the sudden bursts of earthquakes, which could mean a volcanic eruption in the Volcano, but she says it is too early to say. Katla is a very active volcano, with twenty eruptions documented between 930 and 1918, but it has not erupted violently since 1918.

    Ms Kristín’s early namesake was a pioneering female painter in Iceland. I couldn’t find any paintings of Katla by her with a quick search, but here’s a painting of the largest active volcano in Iceland, Öræfajökull and here are some women doing the laundry.

  269. rq says

    Stop reading the internet?
    Might have curiosity-type effects on animals other than cats, though.

  270. chigau (違う) says

    rq #411

    Stop reading the internet?

    yeah, like, that’s gonna happen

  271. Saad says

    The nice pope says stop teaching kids about gender

    Pope Francis reaffirmed his disagreement with teaching gender identity in schools on Sunday, after earlier calling it a “war against marriage.”
    On a return flight to Rome at the end of a three-day trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Pope recounted a meeting with a French father whose young son wanted to be a girl after reading about it in a textbook.

    “This is against nature,” he said. “It is one thing when someone has this tendency … and it is another matter to teach this in school.”
    “To change the mentality — I call this ideological colonization,” the Pope said.
    The Pope said he still spends time with transgender people, leading them closer to God.
    In August, the Pope called the teaching of gender identity theory “terrible.”
    “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” Pope Francis said.

  272. stellatree says

    Saad @415
    Better for kids to learn that they were born sinners and they’ll be eternally tortured if they don’t follow the rules! That’s totally natural! /s

  273. says

    the Pope recounted a meeting with a French father whose young son wanted to be a girl after reading about it in a textbook.

    I’m really saddened to hear. I’m saddened to hear that a kid came to their parent with an important issue and their father ran off to the pope.

    “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” Pope Francis said.

    Rest assured, dear Francie, that’s not what’s happening. What I taught was that some people’s genitals don’t match their gender identity. We talked about “born a man and now a woman” (and why that’s not accurate) and people like Conchita Wurst and how they challenge how we see gender.
    Because it’s not about choosing your gender any more than it is about choosing your sexuality when you teach that being gay is okay.

  274. Saad says

    Party City employee refuses to sell balloons for police memorial

    A customer says a Party City employee refused to fill a balloon request after learning the order was for a police officer’s memorial ceremony in Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania.

    Karly Lane went to Party City on Saturday to buy a dozen blue and black balloons to honor her friend, Duquesne Police officer Robert Gogo Jr., who died in an off-duty motorcycle accident last month, she told CNN affiliate WPXI.

    Once the worker discovered the balloons were to honor a police officer, Lane said, the worker had someone else wait on her.
    Lane complained on her personal Facebook. As of Monday afternoon, her post had nearly 1,000 shares.
    “My heart was broken,” Lane wrote.
    Party City responded that they “absolutely do not condone this type of behavior and are taking the situation very seriously.”
    Party City said it is conducting an internal investigation and holding “an immediate sensitivity training and code of conduct refresher.”

    The officer’s mother, Cheryl Gogo, said she could understand why people would think the clerk’s reaction could be related to recent news events involving police officers.
    “It bothers me what is going on in the world,” Gogo said. “But you can’t take a few incidents and hold that against every officer. Whenever you are in a customer service field you should wait on the customer, regardless of your feelings.”

    I’m very curious to find out how many people who are offended by the clerk’s refusal to sell the balloons support business’s refusal to serve LGBTQ customers.

  275. Saad says

    The Pope said he still spends time with transgender people

    I’d rather have an enemy who hates me openly than one who pretends to be my friend. I’m imagining some of these trans people he “spends time with” are children who he lies to and tries to “cure”. Poor kids.