All posts by Animal

Rule Five Bigfoot Friday

Thanks as always to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!

The FBI has released their official Bigfoot files.  Maybe they thought they might find Bigfoot in the same place as President Trump’s Russian collusion? Anyway, they haven’t found Bigfoot yet.  Excerpt:

The FBI’s Vault is a fascinating corner of the Internet, and a fantastic waste of time. The Bureau’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) library houses thousands of previously sealed or long-buried files on very famous—and very dead—celebrities, criminals, politicians, and other persons of interest. And they’re all on display for free public perusal, which is how you suddenly find yourself scrutinizing reports on everyone from Al Capone to Anna Nicole Smith for three hours one afternoon. No judging.

Now, the FBI usually doesn’t make such documents public until after the person dies, which makes the latest release from the vault—22 glorious pages concerning one Bigfoot—particularly notable for two reasons: It appears to be confirmation that a.) Bigfoot is dead, and b.) Bigfoot was real. Probably.

The mythical creature known as Bigfoot—or, if you prefer, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, or Yayali—has a long, murky history. People swear they’ve been seeing him for centuries, usually in the woods of North America and often in the Pacific Northwest. And the part-hairy ape, part-hairy human, part-hairy bear-thing has inspired such fervor among his fanatics that the fiercest devotees have even gotten the government involved in their pursuit of the truth.

Le me deconstruct that last paragraph:

The mythical creature known as Bigfoot—or, if you prefer, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, or Yayali—has a long, murky history.

Because it doesn’t exist.

People swear they’ve been seeing him for centuries, usually in the woods of North America and often in the Pacific Northwest.

They haven’t been seeing him for centuries.  Nobody has seen even one.  Ever.

And the part-hairy ape, part-hairy human, part-hairy bear-thing has inspired such fervor among his fanatics that the fiercest devotees have even gotten the government involved in their pursuit of the truth.

The truth is simple:  There is no Bigfoot.  No Sasquatch.  No Yeti.  No Skunk-Ape.

Here’s the thing folks fail to understand about a hypothetical creature like this:  There wouldn’t be just a dozen or so of them wandering around.  There would have to be a population of these creatures, living in some pretty well-populated areas, and it’s impossible that one wouldn’t have been hit by a car, or just plain found dead by now.  Even mountain lions, as elusive a critter as you’re liable to find, are seen and photographed pretty regularly, and get hit by cars now and then.  A mountain lion is a capable apex predator, and as such are pretty thin on the ground, and yet people see them all the time.

A sustained population of a man-sized, bipedal creature, presumably an omnivore, would have to number in the thousands or tens of thousands to be viable.  People would be seeing them; hunter’s trail cams would pick them up; they would occasionally get hit by cars or shot in “unfavorable Bigfoot-human interactions,” as happens with bears pretty regularly.  But none of that happens.  Why?  Because, like the Loch Ness Monster, chupacabras and the Tooth Fairy, Bigfoot doesn’t exist.

The fact that the FBI spent time and money on this is just another example of the Imperial government’s prolific waste of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Some more random thoughts and tidbits from last night’s and this morning’s news crawls:

Eric Swalwell is an idiot.

Ilhan Omar is an idiot.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex is an idiot.

Mind you, in all three cases, I’m belaboring the obvious here.  But what the hell.

Food is not art.  I’m inclined to agree, seeing as to where it ends up.  I’ve eaten some damn fine meals in my day, but really, it’s all just fuel.  Back in my days in Uncle Sam’s service, we used to say about particularly useless troops that all they did was “suck up oxygen and turn food into shit.”  Well, no matter what the input…

Although most of reason I’m inclined to agree with this is because of the ridiculous celebrity worship of asshole prima donna “chefs.”  Fuck those guys.

A Nebraska school district plans to start randomly testing students for nicotine.  Fuck off, slavers!  And here’s the kicker:  In Nebraska, e-cigarettes are legal for users 18 and up, but lawmakers are trying to raise the age to 19.  Oh, for crying out loud.  More graduated age-of-majority horseshit.  More overbearing nanny-state government.  And in Nebraska, even.  What assholes.

You can’t beat this headline:  Horny Teacher Sentenced to Prison.

Nice.

Now imagine the reporting if the sexes of teacher and student were reversed.  The likely outcome is left as a thought exercise for the reader.

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, just keeps piling up the security violations.  It would be nice to think that she might somehow, someday face some kind of consequences for this; most folks would be in Leavenworth by now, making big rocks into little rocks.  But we all know that petty laws don’t apply to the Clintons.

And on that rather discouraging note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

President Trump has saved the taxpayers a bunch of cash by negotiating down the price of the F-35 fighter.  Excerpt:

Trump never had any trouble understanding the operational advantages of a supersonic, multi-mission fighter that is invisible to radar. But from day one, he was not happy with the trillion-dollar price-tag attached to the program for buying over 2,000 planes and then keeping them in operation through 2070. Even after it was explained to him that much of that cost was inflation estimates for future years, he still thought the price was way too high.

So he decided to do something about it. In fact, Trump began his campaign to lower the cost of F-35 even before he was inaugurated. In a tweet he wrote on December 12, 2016, the President-elect said “billions of dollars can and will be saved” by pressing contractors for a better deal. Lockheed Martin, the company building the plane, saw its share price plummet 5%, and CEO Marillyn Hewson soon found herself meeting with a grim Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort to explain why the fighter cost so much.

As old Groper Joe might say, this is a big fuckin’ deal.

The military procurement process is badly busted and has been for decades.  It takes forever to push a new program through the increasingly complex, Byzantine procurement system; back in World War II a new fighter could go through the process from concept to squadron service in a matter of months, where now it takes years.  Granted aircraft now are much more complex than they  were then; but maybe, just maybe, this instance of a President actually sitting down with a defense contractor and saying “you know, I think you can get us a better deal” might be the start of something.

Of course the President won’t get the credit for it; as the article concludes:  It’s a safe bet that President Trump won’t get any more credit for his F-35 triumph from the mainstream media than he has gotten for creating six million new jobs or eliminating regulations. But his administration has now positioned its biggest weapons program to reap huge savings as production ramps up for America’s joint force and its allies. This is the kind of efficiency that the people who originally conceived the F-35 fighter had hoped for, but it took Trump to make it happen.

Credit is as credit does, but in the end, a few bucks were saved.  Now if he could only apply that to the rest of the Imperial government.

Animal’s Daily Ferocious Beasts News

Image from the article.

Be sure to check out an epilogue to my bolt guns series over at Glibertarians, this one devoted to a guy who forever changed the bolt gun market in the post-World War II world: The Marvelous Mr. Weatherby.

In the meantime, check this out:  In Kenya, about 22 million years ago, there was a creodont predator the size of a rhino, with jaws that could crush bone.  Excerpt:

Researchers are calling the newfound meat eater Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, Swahili for “big lion from Africa.” But it was much larger than a modern lion, said study co-researcher Matt Borths, curator of the Division of Fossil Primates at the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina.

“Part of the reason we named it ‘big lion’ in Swahili is because it would have played a lion-like role in its ancient ecosystem,” Borths told Live Science in an email. When it was hungry, S. kutokaafrika didn’t hold back. “Animals that might have been on the menu were anthracotheres (hippo relatives that were lankier than their modern cousins), elephant relatives and giant hyraxes (today, hyraxes look like grumpy rabbits, but in the past they filled zebra and antelope niches in Africa).”

Besides looking like a warg, S. kutokaafrika would seem weird by today’s standards, Borths said.

“Compared to modern carnivorous mammals, its head would have looked a little too big for its body, like a very toothy Funko Pop figure,” he said.

It should be noted that this critter was no lion.  The creodonts, of which the hyaenadonts were a branch, were primitive predatory mammals not particularly closely related to cats or canids.  But that head – creodonts were known for robust jaws and crushing teeth, leading to the conclusion that they could eat almost everything on a carcass, even down to crushing heavy bones for their marrow.

But most of the reconstructions of the various hyaenadonts have shown a head that, while massive, is strangely ratlike in profile.  The critter described here appears to be no exception.

It’s a neat find, and further evidence that nature is not only weirder than we imagine, it is weirder than we can imagine.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Programming note:  This coming Friday Mrs. A and yr. obdt. will be heading to Missouri for a few days of sun, relaxation, fishing and boating at Lake of the Ozarks; so next week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday there will be some fulsome totty placeholders.  Regular news posts will resume on Thursday the 27th, probably with some scenery from that event.

Moving on:  The descent of the once-Great Britain continues apace; now British police are fighting domestic violence by handing out blunt-tipped knives, which will presumably make domestic abusers less stabby.  Excerpt:

The latest example of how far the UK has fallen? It’s handing out blunted knives to the victims of domestic abuse to reduce stabbings.

Victims of domestic violence will have their kitchen knives replaced with blunt utensils to prevent their partners attacking them in their own home.

Nottinghamshire Police are piloting the scheme where around 100 ‘no point’ knives will be handed to victims who have either been threatened or attacked with a knife.

Police are concerned about the high level of knife-related incidents that happen in the home, and are hoping the new scheme has the potential to save lives.

Domestic violence knife crime makes up more than 17 percent of incidents reported to Nottinghamshire Police.

In 2018/19, out of 900 reports of knife crime, 159 were related to domestic violence.

Superintendent Matt McFarlane, the new knife crime strategy manager for Nottinghamshire Police, who is overseeing the scheme, said: “We do see a fair amount of knife related incidents in domestic abuse not just on the streets.

Wow.

I mean, it’s almost like banning guns did nothing to reduce violence. Who would have thought?

Oh, wait, I did. So did a ton of other people.

Instead, bad people shifted over to a different tool to commit acts of violence. Now the British police are pushing these “knives” onto people to use instead. All I see are the scissors we buy for little children to use at school.

Oh, Britain, what happened to you?  This is the land that gave us Jack Churchill, W.D.M. Bell, Horatio Nelson and T.E. Lawrence.  Now you’re fighting crime by reducing your citizens subjects to the level of kindergartners.

What’s next?  Screwdrivers?  Cricket bats?  Pointed sticks?  Bananas?

Meanwhile, Britain’s crime rate creeps ever upwards.

This, True Believers, is what you see in a nanny state run amok.  And hang on to your hats, because there are plenty of pols who would put the same kind of insanity in place here.

Rule Five Supermassive Friday

Space is cool.

Astronomers have known for a while now that the Sagittarius Object at the center of our galaxy was a supermassive black hole.  Now they know more about that big black thing, including that it has an accretion disk twenty-five times larger than our entire solar system.  Excerpt:

As the most massive objects in existence, black holes usually have accretion disks, rings of gas and other materials that reach blazing hot temperatures, sometimes even emitting powerful, luminous x-rays.

Accretion disks have been spotted around other black holes before, but never around our galaxy’s own supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. The immense astronomical object rests at the center of the Milky Way roughly 26,000 light years from Earth and tips the scales at an estimated 4,000,000 solar masses.

On Wednesday, a team of astronomers led by Caltech astrophysicist Elena M. Murchikova announced that it had finally detected and imaged Sagittarius A’s accretion disk using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. Their finding is published in Nature.

The disk is primarily composed of hydrogen gas – equal to roughly one-tenth the mass of Jupiter. It’s heated to around 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, though it gets far hotter closer to the black hole. The disk extends out about a hundredth of a light year, about 1,000 times the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Assuming a roughly circular shape, that would give the accretion disk a diameter about 25 times longer than our solar system’s!

Sitting here on our little moist blue pearl, it’s hard to comprehend how really big the rest of the universe is.  Sometimes when I’m wandering in the mountains I get the feeling of being pretty small in the face of the grandeur of the Rockies – imagine how you’d feel sitting in a little titanium can looking down at something as big as this accretion disk, probably from a light-year or two away, so you could see the whole thing.  And, also, so you’d be well away from the horrific radiation and overwhelming tidal forces that would cook you and rip you apart if you got too close.

Not that it’s likely anyone from Earth will be looking at this accretion disc from such a vantage point any time soon.  Given the best current technology, it would take any Earthly spacecraft thousands of years to get to the center of the galaxy; we’d need something like a generation ship, bearing a self-sustaining population of humans.  The initial crew of that ship would never see their destination.  Their great-great-great-and-then-some grandchildren would, and by that time, they may well not be H. sapiens any more.  Isolated populations do tend to change over a span of generations.

And it’s not likely we’ll have a trans-phobic spacecraft any time soon, no matter how freely science fiction writers (like me) speculate about just such things.

That’s too bad.  If someone was advertising for homesteaders to move to some unsettled wilderness world, I’d sign up in two shakes.