Animal’s Daily News

Harp BearDo Animals Have True Language?  Excerpt:

From ultrasonic bat chirps to eerie whale songs, the animal kingdom is a noisy place. While some sounds might have meaning — typically something like “I’m a male, aren’t I great?” — no other creatures have a true language except for us. Or do they?

A new study on animal calls has found that the patterns of barks, whistles, and clicks from seven different species appear to be more complex than previously thought. The researchers used mathematical tests to see how well the sequences of sounds fit to models ranging in complexity.

In fact, five species including the killer whale and free-tailed bat had communication behaviors that were definitively more language-like than random.

Such studies are interesting because they may shed some light on how humans developed language, somewhere (probably) around the Homo ergaster/Homo erectus stage.


But there’s a big difference between a whale’s pattern of clicks and whistles and the works of Shakespeare – or Asimov.  The bigger part of that difference, one that makes it a difference of kind rather than one of degree, is the capacity to grasp abstract concepts – symbology.  Humans probably didn’t have that capacity until what anthropologist Jared Diamond calls the “Great Leap Forward,” about 30-35,000 years ago.

What’s that mean, pertaining to the study linked above?  Simply this: while animal communications may well be more complex than we thought, they are still a quantum leap away from human-type language.

Interesting nevertheless.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Monday seems to call for something upbeat aside from the usual Blue Monday totty, yes?

So, if you like gaming (and I confess to being a fan of the now-defunct City of Heroes as well as Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online)  then here’s some good news; it seems women now significantly outnumber teenage boys in the gaming world.  Gamer geeks everywhere, rejoice!  Excerpt:

Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S., according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.

While men still account for the majority of the U.S. gaming population, the number of women playing games on both consoles and mobile devices is up to 48 percent, from 40 percent in 2010.

The new face of gaming?
The new face of gaming?

What’s interesting is not the wholesale adoption of mobile technology, which this article implies is in part behind this move; it is the explosion in computer technology driven in large part by gaming.

Forget console and mobile gaming for a moment and think about the impact on PC development.  High-end games are probably one of the most demanding things you can ask a PC to do, and as games increase in complexity and the concomitant demands they place on processors and video cards, so do the manufacturers of PC tech race to keep ahead of the demand.

It used to be the Space Race that drove new technology – now, in this sphere at least, it’s gaming.  I wonder what that says about us?

Rule Five Friday

2014_08_22_Rule Five Friday (1) (857x1280)While enjoying the usual (hopefully) jihadist-pissing-off Friday totty, please peruse Andrew C. McCarthy’s Inside Hamas:  How to Understand the Global Jihadist Threat.  Excerpt:

In-depth reporting by the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Casey and Adam Entous takes us inside Gaza, into the minds, indoctrination and support system of Hamas. The report is here (but behind the paper’s subscriber wall).

It will be a tough one to refute for the willful blindness crowd – i.e., the bipartisan Beltway ruling class and its cooperative mainstream media – who insist that Islam is innately a religion of peace. The report illuminates the reality that Islamic study is the basic pathway to jihadist militancy and that, for members of Hamas, the jihad against Israel is not a parochial political affair but part and parcel of a global ideological 2014_08_22_Rule Five Friday (2) (857x1280)movement that is very much driven by a perception of divine directive.

To observe what Hamas members and their supporters believe, and to learn that even non-adherents of Hamas respect the organization’s tenets as an entirely legitimate construction of Islam, is to elucidate the stubborn stupidity of the claim that “true” Islam is unconnected to terrorism committed by Muslims – and that we should regard such Muslims as irrational “violent extremists” rather than jihadists.

Of even more concern than Hamas, of course, are the utterly savage animals of the Islamic State (IS), who are currently rampaging across Mesopotamia and who only day ago beheaded an American reporter, and threatened to kill more if air raids on IS were not halted.

2014_08_22_Rule Five Friday (3) (1280x845)President Obama, in reply, stated that a group like IS has “no place in the 21st century” (he is correct; they would fit nicely in the 7th) but his response to IS has been, at best, tepid.

What is the proper response to a group like IS?  Stonewall Jackson would have known; likewise George Patton.  IS is fond of waving black flags, and either of the aforementioned American living weapons would have known that the proper reply is another black flag.  No quarter, no mercy, no relent, no pity; hunt them down like animals and kill every last one of them.

2014_08_22_Rule Five Friday (4) (1280x844)And Hamas?

Hamas is not really the opposite side of the coin from IS.  They are more like the edge of the coin, leaning over a little bit towards the dark side.  Hamas uses human shields; they hide rockets in schools and mosques, they target women and children.  They are consummate cowards and should – must – be rooted out.

But the coin itself is Islam.  Other religions, including Christianity, has had their own dark times in the past, but now, today, it is not Christians, Jews, Buddhists or Wiccans beheading reporters – it is inhuman monsters, and they are doing so in the name of Islam.  It’s past time to call this particular spade a fucking shovel.

Islam faces two choices:  Reform, renounce violence, root out the radicals in their midst, embrace Western-style freedom of conscience – or face extinction.  The rest of the world will not tolerate this behavior forever.

2014_08_22_Rule Five Friday (5) (858x1280)

Animal’s Daily News

Dual-BearsI found this interesting, as it mirrors some of my own attitudes on a couple of thorny social issues.   Libertarians, Gay Marriage, and Freedom of Association: A Primer.  Excerpt:

How can a libertarian support gay marriage but also the right of businesses to decline to provide goods and services such as cakes, wedding dresses, and photographers for gay weddings? For many libertarians, it makes perfect logical, philosophical, and legal sense.

But from the outside perspective, it often does not. As a result, critics looking for an opportunity to throw shade on the increased media and public interest in libertarian ideas can focus on just a piece of this mentality. We saw the Village Voice do just that recently, as media critic Roy Edroso incorrectly declared that we here are “more likely” to defend the rights of private individuals and businesses who want to discriminate against gays than the rights of gay couples to demand marriage recognition from the government.

I’ve made my stance on social issues abundantly clear:  I really don’t give a damn what people do, as long as they leave me alone.  I expect the converse in return.

My sexual preferences.
My sexual preferences.

I’ve likewise made my stance on gay marriage (or any kind of marriage) abundantly clear:  I don’t give a damn who people marry, as long as all parties involved are freely consenting, competent adults.  Their actions don’t affect my marriage any.

I don’t understand why a man would want to marry another man, or even how a man could find another man sexually appealing – but I don’t have to.  I don’t understand why people like watching sports on television, either, but it doesn’t affect me if they do.

But liberty is about more than just marriage.  Freedom of association also means freedom of disassociation, even if you (or anyone else) disapproves of a business owner’s reasons.  A baker, yes, should be free to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  If we can use the force of government – men with guns – to force a baker to make a cake for a gay couple, where does such coercing end?

Liberty is not situational.  Liberty is a principle.  Sadly, it’s one we’re losing.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

California’s fiscal slide continues.  Excerpt:

Here is the sobering analysis released last week from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, which monitors state spending and revenues:

“After four years of uninterrupted growth, states’ tax collections saw a decline in the first quarter of 2014. Preliminary figures for the second quarter of 2014 indicate further declines in personal income-tax collections and possibly in overall state taxes.”

Then came the show stopper:

“Most of the decline is attributable to a single state — California — where personal income-tax collections declined by $2 billion, or 11.1%. If we exclude California, personal income tax collections show a growth of 2.0% in personal income tax collections and a growth of 0.6% in overall state tax collections.”

What is staggeringly stupid about California’s Prop 30, which raised tax rates and back-dated the increase to 2012, is this:  The people who proposed it and voted for it seem incapable of understanding how policy effects behavior.

California’s public policy since about 1980 or so seems deliberately designed to drive business from the state.  The re-election of Governor Moonbeam Brown seems to have been the last symptom of the Golden State’s slide into fiscal insanity; the keys to the asylum have long since been handed over to the lunatics.

Treed BearIn Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand wrote:

Through all the centuries of the worship of the mindless, whatever stagnation humanity chose to endure, whatever brutality to practice–it was only by the grace of the men who perceived that wheat must have water in order to grow, that stones laid in a curve will form an arch, that two and two make four, that love is not served by torture and life is not fed by destruction–only by the grace of those men did the rest of them learn to experience moments when they caught the spark of being human.

These are precisely the people that are being driven out of California.  Who remains in that state is left as an intellectual exercise for the reader.

Animal’s Daily News

Sleepy-bearThis just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Our ‘Face in the Crowd.’  Excerpt:

So what is collapsing the presidency of the once mellifluous Obama? It is not the IRS, AP, VA, or NSA scandals. Nor did the nation especially fault him for Benghazi or the complete collapse of U.S. foreign policy, from failed reset to a Middle East afire. In each case, he either blamed Bush or denied there was a smidgeon of wrongdoing on his part.

Certainly, the stampede at the border, as disastrous as it was, did not ipso facto sink Obama’s ratings. Ditto the embarrassing Bergdahl deal, in which we traded a likely deserter for five Islamist kingpins. Was it the ISIS ascendance that is leading to genocide and a nascent caliphate? Not in and of itself.

We could go on, but you get the picture that it was all of the above that finally became too much, as Americans turned Obama off because they were all lied out. In all of these scandals a charismatic Barack wheeled out the teleprompter, smiled, dropped his g’s, soared with “make no mistake about it” and “let me perfectly clear,” and then, like Lonesome Rhodes, told the “folks” things that could not be true or at least were the exact opposite of what he himself had earlier asserted.

To a certain extent, we can’t fault President Obama for lying; he’s a politician.  After all, when a dog pisses on a fire hydrant, he’s not vandalizing public property; he’s just being a dog.  So it is for pols; most of them lie as reflexively as they breathe.

Some of them, however, do have core principles.  Texas Governor Perry has them, whether you agree with them or not.  President Reagan had them.  The Founders had them in large measure.

But, at least in the estimation of yr. obdt., Barack Obama has no core principles other than self-promotion.  (Also in my estimation he is joined by Hillary Clinton in this respect.)  He is a creature of pure expedience; whatever serves his purpose at the moment is the Good and Right thing to do.  In this he is hampered by a tragic lack of executive experience and a certain intellectual laziness.

Dr. Hanson concludes:

brown-bear-1024x768The secret to Lonesome (Rhodes)’s success was to hide his contempt for those he lied to. When he is caught ridiculing his clueless listeners, he finally crashes and burns — sort of like Barack Obama serially vacationing with the 1% whom he so publicly scorns, or golfing in the aristocratic fashion of those who, he assures us, did not build their businesses.

Lonesome did not end up well, and neither will the presidency of Barack Obama.

As usual, Dr. Hanson is correct.


Curios and Relics.
Curios and Relics.

I’m a fan of, both for modern arms and the pre-WW2 stuff I like to tinker on and shoot.  But Gunbroker, like any online auction house, has its pitfalls; read this summary from The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse for some examples.  Excerpt:

I like to spend money on guns. Since there’s no point in hanging out on ArmsAmerica anymore, that means I spend a lot of time on There’s some great stuff there, and sometimes it even coincides with me having money.

The downside is that some sellers are…stupid.

Not just stupid, but world class morons.

My favorite, and one that I’ve seen plenty myself in my browsing for project guns:


“We don’t play the C & R game.”

That’s unfortunate. My C & R license was issued and is recognized by the ATF, and we don’t regard it as a “game.” Any firearm over 50 years old automatically qualifies. Modern ones can be hit or miss, so if this was modern I could see the caution, but, since you describe this as…here we go: “1928 Colt Special Police,” I’m pretty sure we can figure it’s over 50 years old. Like many “Crufflers,” I have crap tons of disposable income to throw at my hobby. Dissing me just means you’ll never see any of it, because I don’t play the conceited cockbag dealer game.

And neither do I.  More’s the pity for the dipshit sellers who won’t deal with the fully legal, BATFE-issued Curios & Relics licenses.

Goodbye Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five linkery!

Who Lost the Cities?  Excerpt:

Philadelphia, for example, has not had a Republican mayor since the Truman administration. It did enjoy the services of Mayor Frank Rizzo, a Democrat who endorsed Nixon in exchange for federal handouts and who governed in the progressive style: He converted a private utility into a public one and promptly turned it into a patronage machine, he was close with the labor unions and raised the city’s wage tax to fund spending on transportation and infrastructure projects, worked for economic benefits for the elderly, etc. He was a classic welfare-statist Democrat — and a man who, as police commissioner, famously promised to “make Attila the Hun look like a fag.” (Rizzo later ran as a Republican.) It wasn’t a right-wing radical who bombed a Philadelphia rowhouse and burned down the neighborhood — it was an African-American progressive, Wilson Goode. Closet Ayn Rand fans have not been running the affairs of Detroit all these years, and the intellectual patrons of the Chicago Boys have had approximately zero influence on the municipal affairs of Chicago. Ralph Reed will never be the mayor of San Francisco.

Sad-BearThere is a correlation here that is strong enough it is hard to discount to probability of causation:  Progressive urban politics leads to a loss of economic opportunity, the diminishing of personal responsibility and, eventually, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Anyone living in or near any of our major cities should be living in fear of the day the Imperial Federal government finally realizes we are broke, and that the endless stream of wealth transfer payments have to stop.

Our major cities will destroy themselves in a matter of weeks.

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