Nov 052015

Saw this today on the road to Logan. Only got one dismal photo with the camera phone.


If you can’t make out what it is… on far left is a cat. At far right, atop the hay bale, is a very large hawk. The cat was trying to sneak up on the hawk. As it happened, the hawk flew off just after this photo was taken; the cat immediately dashed for the tall grass. But no good could have possibly come from a cat taking on a raptor that size.

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Nov 032015

Recently the news media has been ulcerating over a “school resource officer” pitching some kid across the floor. Now why would people who work in schools possibly be so twitchy that they would resort to such violent means, as opposed to simply shrink-wrapping the student into her chair and dragging her out to the front to to await pickup by her parents? Hmmm. Let me think.

Note: Not Safe For Work language. Not Safe For Your Hope For The Future behavior.

School isn’t for everyone, such as many of the participants shown here. This was apparently shot in 2011, so I’d assume that the bureaucracy went ahead and rubber stamped some diplomas for these rambunctious lil’ tykes, but in a better world they would be expelled and barred from the public school system for at least a year. Anyone looking to hire them would automatically (somehow) be presented with this video and any other documentation so that they would essentially be barred from any but the lowliest forms of employment; they would also be barred from receiving any form of government assistance.

The preferred end result is deportation. A yearly shipment of the ill-behaved such as these to, say, Damascus would seem a good way to go.

 Posted by at 9:28 am
Oct 262015

‘Sugar-crazed’ Quantock ponies break woman’s leg

So, a bunch of ponies in Britain are causing a ruckus. These critters, raised in the wild, have been given a lot of sugary treats by well-intentioned but ill-considered folk. The end result has been that the ponies now *expect* to get the treats, will get pushy about demanding them, and will get aggressive and violent if you don’t cough ’em up.

I wonder if someone could come up with some sort of political metaphor from this…

 Posted by at 2:51 pm
Oct 152015

CNN needlessly asks:

Is it ethical to colonize Mars?

The writer trades the value of having a “backup Earth” over the rights of any possible native Martian life (assumed to be bacterial at best) and comes down on the side of colonization. This is of course the correct answer, but the discussion leaves out the important detail that terraforming Mars might well be *better* for Martian life.

If there is any life on Mars today, it seems almost certain that that life is the tenacious last remnants of life that evolved a billion or more years ago when the planet was warmer and wetter. While life could well continue to survive in such a dried out frigid environment – just as life survives today in Antarctica – it has little future to evolve added complexity there. In short, life on Mars has gone as far as it’s going to. From here on out it’s a long slow fade to darkness.

But if mankind comes, sets up shop, parks some mirrors over the poles and starts dropping teratons of iceteroids, any existing Martian biota will see conditions that can only be considered “better.” And even if terraforming turns out to be bad for the Marsbugs, humanity will almost certainly preserve them in some way, and perhaps seed them somewhere else. If the bugs can survive on Mars, perhaps they could survive on Ganymede or Callisto and begin the terraforming process *there.* But regardless, the current crop of Marsbugs are going nowhere. They are more doomed than Earthly bunnies (who will not spread to the stars without the assistance of mankind).

 Posted by at 8:40 am
Sep 172015

A pilot diverted an international flight to save a dog traveling in cargo

In short: an Air Canada flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto lost power to one of the cargo bay heaters. In the cargo bay was a Simba, a French bulldog. The pilot realized that the temperature in the cargo bay would drop to below freezing, so he diverted to an emergency landing in Frankfurt.

Reportedly the other passengers were largely understanding of the (undoubtedly substantial) delay. *That* is the actually surprisingly part of the story. I would not have been shocked if at least one of the passengers had, upon hearing that his flight was being diverted for a *dog,* got likkered up, tried to storm the cockpit in protest, and wound up dropping trou and pooping on the food cart. I dunno, maybe it’s because they were Canucks…

 Posted by at 9:30 am
Sep 112015

To truly end animal suffering, the most ethical choice is to kill wild predators (especially Cecil the lion)

These deep thinkers put forward the notion that the most ethical thing humanity could do to reduce the suffering of wild critters is to wipe out and render extinct predatory species, leaving only the brainless herbivores, and to reduce *their* numbers enough so that they all live in a leafy utopia.


My “favorite” line:

And there’s no reason for considering the lives of predators like lions to be more important than the lives of their prey.

Well, except that predators are almost always substantially smarter than prey. Humans willingly associate ourselves with predators far more so than with prey. Look at your pets: Sure, there might be the occasional bunny or berry-eating turtle, but do the families that have such really think of those animals as parts of the family? Contrast to pet cats and dogs. Those fellers *are* parts of the family.

The mindset that leads people to think that getting rid of carnivores may be funny, but it’s also worrisome. Just as welfare states lead nations to weakness, so does a philosophy that carnivores are necessarily evil lead to weakness. And weakness makes you easier prey for other people who *don’t* share your fluffy worldview.


 Posted by at 10:34 am