Carnivalia, and an open thread

The carnivals du jour:

Again, this is also an open thread. I got a comment on the last one that more open threads are needed. Is that true? I don’t need to go to Atrios-level open-threadery, of course, but if you’d like these a little more often, let me know.


  1. quork says

    Putin To Answer Questions In Live Web Cast

    July 4, 2006 12:00 p.m. EST
    Mary K. Brunskill – All Headline News Staff Writer
    Moscow, Russia (AHN) – Russian Web site and the BBC’s are jointly running a webcast of an online conference with President Vladimir Putin. The Web sites’ organizers have invited people to question him over the Internet on Russia’s democracy, its newly assertive role in the world and his personal qualities.

    For reasons Reuters calls “not clear,” 8,600 Russians want to know if Putin plans to employ “giant, humanoid war robots” and 7,300 people want him to be questioned about the Cthulhu, a cosmic cephalopod invented by author H.P. Lovecraft that sleeps beneath the Pacific Ocean.

    Did anyone happen to catch Putin’s response to the Cthulhu question?

  2. quork says

    Syjuco employing ‘squid tactics’–Mejorada

    Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada downplayed the counter-affidavit of former second district congressman and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administrator Augusto Syjuco in the Ombudsman raps relative to the alleged rigging of a P12-million heavy equipment deal sometime in 2004.
    Mejorada said Syjuco is merely employing “squid tactics” in attributing personal and political reasons to the filing of the complaint.

  3. says

    OOh Open thread! I’m on this. OK the distinguished, Ivy-league Zoologist, Professor John W.S. Pringle, published an essay arguing that ALL OF EVOLUTION IS DRIVEN BY A NONLINEAR SINE-WAVE. I cite the essay below in the book “Mind and Brain” (mid-1980s) edited by Sir John Eccles, the co-writer with Sir Karl Popper, who promoted a similar sinusoidal worldview based on the de Broglie pilot wave, from Keplerian resonance. Professor JWS Pringle’s work is cited 3 times in a 2004 peer-reviewed academic study on quantum chaos nonlinear dynamics driven by sinusoidal stimulation as a successful model for ecological evolution.

    Mind and Brain: The Many Faceted Problems
    Eccles, Sir John, Ed.

    19. The Mechanism of Knowledge: Limits to Prediction
    J.W.S. Pringle

    As I’ve argued the de Broglie pilot wave transcends spacetime — it’s nonlocal consciousness — and that’s the whole subject of the above cited book.

    Now Professor PZ Myers — are you just going to ignore the great, highly esteemed and influential Professor JWS Pringle?

    drew hempel, MA

  4. says

    See there was this amazing Zoologist — John W.S. Pringle — at Oxford or something. He wrote an essay arguing that evolutionary can be pared down to just an asymmetrical sinewave!! Nobel physicist Brian Josephson commented on it stating — well yes this may be true for the time-wave memories of brain neurons but for cellular dynamics there would have to be the chaos dynamics based on Nobel physicist Ilya Prigogine.

    Turns out that scientists HAVE taken the work of JWS Pringle and applied it to quantum chaos models to explain evolution — this is quite a bit more sophisticated than just transposing the frequencies of amino acids! But nevertheless IT IS STILL BASED ON FORCED SINUSOIDAL STIMULATION.

    Title: Chaotic firing in the sinusoidally forced leaky integrate-and-fire model with threshold fatigue
    Author(s): Chacron MJ, Longtin A, Pakdaman K
    Source: PHYSICA D-NONLINEAR PHENOMENA 192 (1-2): 138-160 MAY 15 2004
    Document Type: Article
    Language: English
    Cited References: 36 Times Cited: 3
    Abstract: The leaky integrate-and-fire (LIF) model is one of the elementary neuronal models that has been widely used to gain understanding of the behavior of many excitable systems. The sinusoidally forced standard leaky integrate-and-fire model reproduces the quasiperiodic and phase locked discharge trains observed experimentally in neurons. However, this basic model fails to generate chaotic firing, whereas this form of behavior has been observed experimentally. We modify the standard LIF through the introduction of threshold fatigue responsible for progressive decrease of excitability during high frequency firing, as observed experimentally. We show that the dynamics of this neuron model under sinusoidal forcing are governed by the iterates of an annulus map and derive expressions for its two characteristic Lyapunov exponents. Using these exponents, it is shown that chaotic dynamics are possible for this model, unlike the standard leaky integrate-and-fire model. Chaotic dynamics occur when memory effects are strong and only under certain forms of threshold fatigue. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Author Keywords: non-linear dynamics; chaos; Lyapunov exponents; integrate-and-fire dynamical systems; neuron
    Addresses: Chacron MJ (reprint author), Univ Ottawa, Dept Phys, 150 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5 Canada
    Univ Ottawa, Dept Phys, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5 Canada
    INSERM, U444, Paris, F-75571 21 France
    E-mail Addresses:
    IDS Number: 817YB

  5. says

    29. J.W.S. Pringle and V.J. Wilson, The response of a sense organ to a harmonic stimulus. J. Exp. Biol. 29 (1952), pp. 220-235.

  6. says

    Just to prove I’m not spamming — biaural beats? That’s the link you give. Well hey the CIA used it to train remote viewing psychic spies! How does it work? The secret again come from Professor Brian Goodwin — the natural undertones of frequency create a significant increase in amplitude that drives the evolution of cellular dynamics.

  7. says

    abc likes their prayin

    headline: NY Senate Leader Prays for Granddaughter
    subhead: N.Y. State Senate Leader Joseph Bruno Praying for Safe Return of Granddaughter
    first sentence: The powerful leader of New York’s state Senate said Monday he is grateful for the support he and his family have received “as we pray for the safe return of my granddaughter Rachel.”

    do you think they were praying? i’m not sure

  8. says

    (I feel a bit whorish doing this, but no-one else is doing it…)

    Last week the Archbishop of Glasgow wrote a rather boring letter (to The Herald) about embryonic stem research and how bad and evil it is, etc etc. He also referred to the “65 adult treatments to 0 embryo treatments” thing that has come upa few time. So, I wrote in pointing out what a putz he was. This morning’s paper revealed a very evasive response from him and some more silly “but embryonic stem cells have dignity” stuff.

    I wrote another response, but at this stage I couldn’t really think of anything devastating to say. The poverty of his own argument just made me goggle. But I’m very happy to say I got him riled in the first place!

  9. Raguel says


    Apologies in advance if you’ve covered this, but as a layman I’d like to know why I should care about biodiversity. IMO this, along with much of biology, is poorly understood by the general public.

    If I had to guess it’s something like this: if a predator dies out, its prey will overpopulate creating a situation where the population outstrips the available food sources, etc, but what about pests like cockroaches and termites? I doubt they’d get much sympathy.

  10. says

    Pests may provide food for more charismatic species. I’d guess most songbirds eat insects at least part of the time. There can also be issues of timing: global warming is causing problem in at least one area, as an insect population is now maturing when the bird population which would normally feast on them isn’t read for them. The birds (or their young) starve and the bugs go unchecked.

    Also, of course, being endangered and being a pest tend to be incompatible. And there are far more endangered species than pest species.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson says


    The answer to that question concerns at least four topics. I expect biologists to jump in and correct my misconceptions here:

    – The first, that you started on, is the moral. Each species are unique. If it is gone, it is gone forever. And ecologies seems have the propery that more complex ones have better speciation, so this is a case when you can have the cake and eat it too. Conserving species gives more species. (Large extinction events may give raise to more radical adaptations, but I don’t know if that is shown.) And morally pests are species too.

    – The second, that you also touched, is stability. It seems to have been a lomg outstanding experimental and theoretical question if the idea that more complex ecologies are more stable is really true. But IIRC there was a SciAM article a while back with a model and measurements that supported this. Keep species and the world is almost certainly a stabler and less risky place to live in.

    – The third is information. Each specie may tell us unique facts.

    – The fourth is function and economy. Each specie may give us some special products, ideas for new medicines for example. The emotional and economical drawbacks of some pests should be considered here, if it makes you happier. Good luck on exterminating cockroaches, though. ;-)

    I can’t see any reason to not protect biodiversity except that it constrains economy and that it seems to be mostly hard to do. OTOH, most worthwhile enterprices are hard. ;-)

  12. Ian Menzies says

    Since this is an open thread, I figured I’d post this here.

    There’s a movie coming out next week called Accepted about some kid who doesn’t get into college so he makes one up. It’s one of those “touching” coming of age comedies, but I couldn’t help but think: don’t we already have places like this called diploma mills?

  13. HP says

    So, I’m looking for a new hobby and I’m thinking of becoming a crank. I’m having trouble thinking of a cockamamie “theory” that I can obsess about and pester academics with that hasn’t been done to death. I don’t want to just jump on any old tried-and-true crankery bandwagon. I was thinking maybe “The plant and animal kingdoms are reversed, and once you realize that, everything falls into place.” But that’s kind of lame.

    It wouldn’t have to be science-related, I suppose. I could start claiming, “Ezra Pound wrote the complete works of Gertrude Stein. Numerology proves it.” But I don’t know. Nothing really captures my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and latent borderline personality disorder.

    Anyone have any good suggestions?

  14. says

    Well, HP, I may not be able to help you figure out a topic to be a crank about, but this will help, once you’ve chosen something.

    How about… Colds are caused by repressed sexual desires.

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if the very next comment features a link to someone claiming exactly that.

  15. quork says

    So, I’m looking for a new hobby and I’m thinking of becoming a crank. I’m having trouble thinking of a cockamamie “theory” that I can obsess about and pester academics with that hasn’t been done to death.

    Here’s a new bandwagon to jump on: you could claim that SETI proponents, who have been going out of their way to seek signs of extraterrestrial life, have actually found such signs but are suppressing them! It was on Art Bell, it must be true.
    SETI urged to fess up over alien signals

  16. Torbjörn Larsson says

    I think you mean crackpot when you mention theories to pester academics with. The definition (operable, ie how to measure crackpottery) is here: , written by just such a pestered academic. Woo-woo cranks in my book are everything nasty from trolls to crackpots.

    Newfangled crackpottery based on OC and borderline disorders? How about “trolling is a great method to get friends”? No, wait, that is old…

  17. HP says

    Thanks, Bronze Dog! That WILL be a BIG HELP!

    Finally, I’ve found a kindred spirit. One is reminded of Madame BlavatSKY’s historic meeting with VelikovSKY. Is it a coincidence that the names of two of our greatest visionaries end in SKY? We should all have such expanded consciousness. Do you mind if I email you four or five hundred times? I can only interpret PZ’s silence on this matter for the last 30 minutes as an attempt to SILENCE the TRUTH.

  18. quork says

    Ahnold, Bliar, circumvent Bush to sign global warming pact

    Weirdness. I just discovered that your spam filter does not allow the words “bypass” or “circumvent” within the text field of an HTML link.

  19. HP says

    I just discovered that your spam filter does not allow the words “bypass” or “circumvent” within the text field of an HTML link.

    That’s because the ivory tower elitists whom Herr Professer Mayers’ represents have no interest in allowing the TRUTH to BYPASS their closed-minded materialism and CIRCUMVENT the “gentlemen’s club” of their pseudo-intellectual cabal. All hail the quasi-scientific star chamber! That was satire, in case you didn’t notice.

    (Oh, man. This is fun. I should’ve become a crank a long time ago. All I need now is a theory.)

  20. Torbjörn Larsson says

    What do you expect when you are trying to bypass and circumvent spam filters?

    It sounds like que words for spam on surgical or economical operations of shadier degrees.

    What happens if spam blockers appropriates all regular words and number combinations? D… w… h…v… t… wr…t… l…k… th…s?

  21. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Theory??? We don’t need no steenking theory!!!

    SCIENCE is only OBSERVATIONS! THAT is MY THEORY, because THAT is what I OBSERVE!!!

    (Inspired by discussing with a bayesian on another blog.)

  22. quork says

    SCIENCE is only OBSERVATIONS! THAT is MY THEORY, because THAT is what I OBSERVE!!!

    Very convincing, but HP wants a brand new schtick for his own. That sounds a bit much like Ken Ham. WERE YOU THERE?

  23. HP says

    I did some thinking about this problem on the drive in to work. I think the idea is to take some genuine, but extremely limited, area of actual knowledge, and expand it into an Obsessive Theory Of Everything.

    Now, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Music, where I majored in Jazz Studies, so I have a fairly thorough knowledge of George Russell’s Lydian-Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. The “LCCOTO” is actually a practical set of tools for composing and performing certain styles of modern jazz (e.g., Michael Brecker, et al), but it’s wrapped in some pretty dense jargon. But suppose we were to map the ideas and methods of the Lydian-Chromatic Concept to, say, gene expression? Or galaxy clusters? Or alternative medicine? Instant crackpottery!

    Stay tuned . . . I just may present The Lydian-Chromatic Concept of Protein Folding later in this thread.

  24. says

    Has anyone ever come back to Ken Ham or Ted Haggard or whoever else:

    “Why yes, I was there. It was awfully exciting. Get in touch with the people at the National Centre for Cryptochronozoology and Time Cube Studies. They’ve got a time machine and do regular trips to the Cambrian explosion (they even provide protective clothing) and the primeval swamps (nose-pegs provided).”

  25. Raguel says

    Speaking of cranks, there’s a creationist on the internet infidels board who thinks evo/devo disproves natural selection and proves creation.

  26. 386sx says

    Again, this is also an open thread. I got a comment on the last one that more open threads are needed. Is that true?

    Yes, because with open threads people get to talk about whatever they like without having to stick to the topic of the post. says:

    An open thread, which at one time was referred to as noodles, can refer to a post where readers may comment and discuss any topic that they choose. [Emphasis in the original].

    Once referred to as noodles, open threads are “usually more useful on popular blogs with large amounts of traffic”.

    By the way, wikipedia needs help with their open thread article:

    This article or section may be confusing or unclear for some readers, and should be edited to rectify this.
    Please improve the article, or discuss the issue on the talk page.

    So all you open thread aficionados git on over there and help us build a better internet.

  27. j says

    Wow, and the article needs some copyediting too. That comma splice must be rectified immediately. I’m on it.