Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Reindeer cyclones are a real thing.  Who knew?  Excerpt:

Vikings hunting reindeer in Norway were once confounded by “reindeer cyclones”; a threatened herd would literally run circles around the fierce hunters, making it nearly impossible to target a single animal.

Filmmakers recently captured incredible aerial footage of one of these reindeer cyclones, which aired Feb. 13 on PBS in the documentary “Wild Way of the Vikings,” a program about Vikings and the wilderness they inhabited around A.D. 1000. [Photos: Ancient Arrows from Reindeer Hunters Found in Norway]

One of the documentary’s most striking scenes shows a re-enactment of a Viking hunt interspersed with real footage of reindeer herds. Reindeer were important to the Vikings for their meat, hides, antlers and bones, according to the film.

In the cyclone scene, a lone hunter (an actor playing a Viking) approaches the herd; he notches and releases an arrow. The footage that follows shows an actual herd of reindeer running in circles. As the swirling mass of bodies thunders along a circular path, an overhead camera reveals that the herd’s momentum follows a spiral shape, drawing tightly toward the cyclone’s “eye” at the center.

Faced with this spinning reindeer stampede, any predator — wolf, bear or human — would have a very tough time targeting and overpowering a single reindeer, making this a formidable defense strategy, according to a statement from PBS.

Here’s the image of just such a reindeer cyclone:

That’s actually a pretty great defense against wolves, bears or men armed with primitive weapons.  It’s not bad against a modern, ethical hunter either, as it makes singling out an animal for a clear kill impossible.

Against a hunter or two armed with firearms, hunters who (unethicall) don’t give a shit about how many animals they injure in the process and who are willing to fire indiscriminately into the mass, not so much.

But what I find fascinating about this whole thing is the resemblance to a school of fish, using a very similar, albeit 3-D, schooling tactic to prevent a predator from picking out a single fish.

Nature doesn’t always repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes.  This is a really neat example.

Animal’s Daily Autophagia News

I swear, Alexandria Occasional Cortex is the gift that keeps on giving – to Republicans.  Now Democrat Carolyn Maloney has piled on to the list of Democrats denouncing Occasional Cortex’s aggressive economic illiteracy.  Excerpt:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) on Friday night slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y) for her opposition to Amazon headquarters coming to New York City, saying that she was “disappointed” at people protesting jobs in her district.

Maloney, who has been representing the 12th Congressional District since 2013, appeared on CNN’s “OutFront” to discuss Amazon’s decision to cancel its plan to build a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, which is part of her district. Host Erin Burnett read Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet celebrating the decision and asked if she shared her sentiment.

“My constituents want jobs,” Maloney said.

“This was 25,000 jobs,” said Burnett, prompting Maloney to say this was a “minimum” amount of jobs.

“It would have been many, many more; 25,00 jobs at $150,000 minimum for the job,” Maloney said. “There were promises for a new school, and as a former teacher, I was intrigued with their plans to have a curriculum in 30 different schools supported by Amazon on high tech. We should be really diversifying our base of taxes, our base of businesses. We are too dependent on financial services.”

“It used to be that we would protest wars. Now we are protesting jobs? People are complaining about jobs coming to your [city] … If this had gone through, it would have made overnight New York City the high-tech capital of the east coast, the most important job center for tech jobs.”

Now the Democrats are nothing if not disciplined; it’s rare to see this kind of autophagia among the ranks of their elected officials, at least.  Non-elected activists all over the political spectrum slash and snap at “their own” all the time, but elected Democrats are normally pretty disciplined.

Not Occasional Cortex.  The girl just doesn’t seem to have any filter between mouth and brain, much less any actual knowledge of economics or the ins and outs of job creation.  And every time she releases another verbal outburst, she has to have elected Republicans chortling gleefully even as he horrifies her own side.

Watch in 2020:  I’m guessing she’ll face a primary challenge by some older, better prepared and more disciplined Democrat.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Speaking of Rule Five:  Apparently six-bots might not only screw you – they may screw you up as well.  Excerpt:

From the Drudge Report to The New York Times, sex robots are rapidly becoming a part of the global conversation about the future of sex and relationships.

Behind the headlines, a number of companies are currently developing robots designed to provide humans with companionship and sexual pleasure – with a few already on the market.

Unlike sex toys and dolls, which are typically sold in off-the-radar shops and hidden in closets, sexbots may become mainstream. A 2017 survey suggested almost half of Americans think that having sex with robots will become a common practice within 50 years.

As a scholar of artificial intelligence, neuroscience and the law, I’m interested in the legal and policy questions that sex robots pose.

How do we ensure they are safe? How will intimacy with a sex robot affect the human brain? Would sex with a childlike robot be ethical? And what exactly is a sexbot anyway?

More on this in a bit, but first, here’s the bit about sexbots possibly being dangerous:

For example, dangers lurk even in a seemingly innocent scene where a sex robot and human hold hands and kiss. What if the sexbots’ lips were manufactured with lead paint or some other toxin? And what if the robot, with the strength of five humans, accidentally crushes the human’s finger in a display of passion?

It’s not just physical harm, but security as well. For instance, just as a human partner learns by remembering what words were soothing, and what type of touch was comforting, so too is a sex robot likely to store and process massive amounts of intimate information. What regulations are in place to ensure that this data remains private? How vulnerable will the sex robot be to hacking? Could the state use sex robots as surveillance devices for sex offenders?

Maybe I’m a bit naive about this, but for what possible reason would you want your sexbot connected to the internet?  Simply insisting on the sexbot have no wireless connections – something you can verify with an app on your smartphone – would preclude the espionage issue.  And I can’t fathom why you’d build a sexbot with the kind of strength described above.

Now, to circle back to the ethical questions:  What exactly is a sexbot?  Well, never fear, Animal has the answer!  A sexbot, no matter now fancy, how sophisticated, how expensive, is nothing more than a fancy masturbation toy.  A married person having sex with a bot isn’t cheating, they are just (literally) jerking off with a pretty toy.

But a bot designed to look like a child?

That’s a head-scratcher.  The bot is still just a machine.  It’s inanimate.  You can’t molest a bot.  It isn’t a victim.  It’s not capable of giving consent, but there’s no reason why it should have to, any more than your toaster has to give consent before you stick a slice of bread in it.

But there’s an “ick” factor here.  On the one hand, of course, such bots might give a non-victimizing outlet to perverts who might otherwise be lurking around schoolyards.  On the other hand, it might normalize the behavior in the minds to the point where they’re more likely to act out.

There’s probably fodder there to keep a legion of head-candlers busy full time for months.

Rule Five Hot Stuff Friday

Most folks who live in the West know about Yellowstone, and how the entire park sits in what is essentially a titanic volcanic caldera.  Most folks who live in the West and pay any attention at all know that if the Yellowstone megavolcano blows, it’s bye-bye North America.  So here’s an interesting piece on how geologists are monitoring this big volcano and the lake of red-hot magma that fuels it.  Excerpt:

The Yellowstone volcano has erupted three times in history – 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Scientists have previously revealed that, should an earthquake occur, it could take less than two weeks before a catastrophic reaction event with the potential to wipe out three-quarters of the US is triggered. Now, it is the job of geologists to “intensely monitor” a large area of molten rock directly below the surface of the supervolcano, it was revealed in a documentary.

Volcanoes typically erupt when molten rock, known as magma, rises to the surface following the Earth’s mantle melting due to tectonic plates shifting. 

This act creates a series of small earthquakes, fracturing the rock above it days or even weeks before the main eruption. 

Robert Smith, from the University of Utah, is in charge of the seismometers around Yellowstone National Park.

This technology is designed to detect any change in activity, and give anyone in the immediate area some valuable time to evacuate.

Here’s the likely result of a major eruption:

Should the same (eruption) happen again, the ground around Yellowstone National Park would rise upwards forming a swarm of earthquakes.

Then, following the eruption, enormous pyroclastic flows would blast their way across the park. 

This mixture of ash, lava and superheated gas exceed temperatures of 1,000C and can move at speeds of up to 300mph. 

They are predicted to spread more than 100 miles out from Yellowstone, burying states like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado in three feet of life-extinguishing volcanic ash.

They mention evacuation, but it’s hard to say where folks around Yellowstone – or pretty much anywhere in the Mountain West – should evacuate to, as a major eruption would pretty much wipe out much of North America.  Further, the results of billions of tons of sulfuric acid and volcanic ash in the atmosphere would screw up the weather for quite a few years, likely making crop growing difficult if not impossible.

So, yeah, I’m in favor of keeping an eye on it, even though there wouldn’t be much we could do about it if it happened.  Personally I’d like to have a little notice.

I’ve had folks ask me if the idea worries me.  It doesn’t.  I reserve my worries for things I can change.  But if my world is about to end, I wouldn’t mind a little warning.

Animal’s Daily Master Troll News

By now you’ve all heard about the laughable Green New Deal put forth by New York Congresscritter Alexandra Occasional Cortex.  Even though this piece of crap looks like it was strung together by a third-grade candidate for Student Council, Senate Majority Leader McConnell wants to bring it up for a vote in the Senate.

Why?  Because it’s a masterpiece of trolling.  I applaud this!  Excerpt:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans a floor vote on the Green New Deal resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and endorsed by many congressional Democrats. McConnell wants Senate Democrats to go on record on this radical proposal. He especially wants those running for president and those who may face tough reelection campaigns in 2020 to do so.

Would such a vote be a stunt? You could call it that, but you could also use the same word to describe a great many votes in both chambers.

The Green New Deal is a big deal, potentially. I see no reason why the Senate shouldn’t express its view of the idea.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to McConnell by saying, in effect, bring it on. She stated:

[McConnell] is trying to bully the party and he’s banking on people not being courageous. I think people should call his bluff.

When McConnell banks on something, he usually has good reason to. This seems like a case-in-point.

The response by Congresswoman Crazy Eyes was priceless, amounting to “how dare you bring up the resolution I sponsored for an actual vote!”

Trolling this may be and trolling it is, but McConnell, no newcomer to these kinds of games, has a purpose beyond just the lulz.  He’s going to make every member of the Senate stand, vote and be counted, either for this atrocity or against it…

…including all the Senate Democrats who have or who are planning to declare as 2020 Presidential candidates.  Any, including those who have already expressed support, will have that support hung around their necks like a millstone in 2020.

Some folks are about to be reminded that this ain’t Mitch McConnell’s first rodeo.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Firearms aficionados will know that Washington state recently passed some pretty draconian anti-Second Amendment laws.  Arguing (correctly, to my thinking) that those laws are unconstitutional, several Washington county sheriffs are refusing to enforce this law.  Excerpt:

Sheriffs in a dozen Washington counties say they won’t enforce the state’s sweeping new restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional.

A statewide initiative approved by voters in November raised the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, required buyers to first pass a firearms safety course and added expanded background checks and gun storage requirements, among other things. It was among the most comprehensive of a string of state-level gun-control measures enacted in the U.S. after last year’s shooting at a Florida high school.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the initiative is unconstitutional. They say its purchasing requirements violate the right to bear arms and stray into the regulation of interstate commerce, which is the province of the federal government.

Sheriffs in 12 mostly rural, conservative counties — Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Cowlitz, Douglas, Benton, Pacific, Stevens, Yakima, Wahkiakum, Mason and Klickitat — along with the police chief of the small town of Republic, have said they will not enforce the new law until the issues are decided by the courts.

“I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said. “I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”

All I can say is, good on those sheriffs.

Well, OK, I can say a bit more than that.  The refusal of these lawmen to enforce a law they see as illegitimate sets a very interesting precedent.   Consider Imperial overreach, especially as it is being proposed by the political Left in the Imperial City right now (Green New Deal, anyone?)  Consider if increasingly overbearing laws are increasingly ignored by counties and towns across the nation.

Would not there be some backlash by increasingly frustrated voters against overweening pols who keep passing intrusive laws that nobody in the flyover counties want enforced?

Or will there be an Imperial backlash against local law enforcement who are, as they see it, doing duty to a higher authority – the Constitution?

Either way, the outcome is sure to be very interesting – as in the old Chinese proverb.

Animal’s Daily Lever Gun News

For some time now I’ve been eyeing a way to get myself a light, handy lever gun chambered in the .45 Colt, as a companion piece for my .45 Colt sixguns.  I’ve thought about refurbishing an original Winchester 1892, but I wouldn’t want to alter a collectible and the metallurgy in older guns might make it unwise to run my favored heavy .45 Colt loads through the finished piece.

The company that calls itself Winchester nowadays has reintroduced the 1892, but it has a damnable sliding tang safety that ruins the original look; ditto for the Rossi/Braztech version and its idiotic pivot safety marring the top of the bolt.  A gun with an external hammer shouldn’t need an additional safety.

But I think I may have found an answer.

This, True Believers, is the Cimarron 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine, an 1892 replica with a big lever loop and a 20″ round barrel, frequently described as the best combination of quick handling and balance in the ’92.  The big-loop version is called, of course, the Cogburn Carbine.  From the manufacturer’s catalog:

For decades, the 1892 Winchester was the rifle of Silver Screen cowboys, and none was more recognizable than the Duke’s large loop lever-action 1892 carbine.  As a mainstay in film after film, this rifle showed true grit, providing some of film’s most exciting action sequences.

Mind you, that’s not why I want the gun; I want it because it’s a light, handy carbine with enough punch to settle a typical Colorado black bear or an overly aggressive mountain cat.

This is a 6.6 pound piece, light enough to easily carry in one hand.  I like the big lever loop, not because John Wayne favored one (although I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a factor) but because I have big hands and am frequently out and about in cold weather.  Big finger levers are easier to handle with gloved hands.

This might just be the perfect off-season woods-bumming rifle.

 

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

No one thing in particular jumps out this Monday morning, so let’s have a links compendium with some comments.

In France, yellow-vest protestors continue to protest… well, just about everything.  The gist of their argument seems to be “we want more Free Shit, and we want other people to pay for it.”

Princess Spreading Bull has launched her 2020 Presidential bid.  This is a Quixotic quest if there ever was one; even her fellow Democrats are getting to be embarrassed by her serial dissembling over her background.

Portland, Oregon averages a 911 call every fifteen minutes – about homeless people.  Most of these aren’t really emergencies and should be called in to the regular non-emergency dispatch line, granted.  But Portland has in the past had policies like “no-turnaway” shelters, which has drawn itinerants to that city – and this is the predictable result.

Single-family zoning is now racist.  Who knew?  This is so facepalm-worthy it’s not even funny.  When everything is racist, nothing is racist, but that little truism is lost on these people.

Robert Stacy McCain chronicles the continuing downward slide of our Ivy League schools.  Why are these people so angry?

Our good friend Jillian Becker presents “Prophetess: A Cautionary Tale.”  Well worth the read.  Granted predictions are very difficult, especially when they’re about the future.

On that note, we return you to your Monday, already in progress.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.