Category Archives: Science

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The political season is (thankfully) in the home stretch, but I have noted one person whose career is going to be worth watching:  Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

Watch the video embedded in the linked story, in which the Republican Lake trounces a reporter asking a loaded question.  She’s good at this:  Smart, informed, articulate and fearless.  I expect she won’t stop in Arizona.

Imagine a DeSantis/Lake ticket for the Imperial Mansion!  What I would love to see is a VP debate between Kari Lake and Heels-Up Harris.  It would be a bloodbath – although some prominent Dems are already calling for Harris to drop out.  Frankly they’d do better if Joe Biden dropped out, too.

With that said…

On To the Links!

Hispanics are turning to the GOP.

Bill Maher:  It’s time for Heels-Up Harris to step away.

Newt Gingrich thinks CO Senate candidate Joe O’Dea will beat incumbent Dem Michael Bennett.  I’d like to see this happen, but color me skeptical – Colorado is a pretty blue state now.  That’s one of the reasons we left.

Graveyard of dead stars.  No, it’s not in Beverly Hills.

Cheaters are everywhere.

Yes, weak rural turnout could hurt the GOP on Election Day – but I doubt we’ll see weak turnout.

Chicago is still a shooting gallery.

Embarrassing is something of an understatement.

Because they are growing monstrously rich on insider trading.  See:  Pelosi, Nancy.

Probably not.

I love a happy ending.

Ancient Scots reconstructed.  Cool!

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Chris Lehmann is an idiot.

NY Mag’s Jonathan Chait is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

The New York Times’ Jeff Shesol is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Ezra Klein (Repeat Offender Alert) is also an idiot.  Why is the Left’s answer to every problem always “OMG more taxes”?

Gavin Newsom is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan is an idiot.

He who represents himself at trial has an idiot for a client.

The Philly Inquirer’s Will Bunch is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

Vox’s Emily St. James is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Salon’s Heather Parton is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Paul Simon has had quite a career, beginning with his partnership with Art Garfunkel and continuing on to a great solo career.  He’s produced some serious tunes and some more light-hearted stuff.  I like the light-hearted stuff better, and my favorite in that vein is his 1986 tune You Can Call Me Al, from the album Graceland.

What makes the video for this song fun is the coordination between 6’4″ Chevy Chase, lip-syncing Simon’s lyrics, and the 5’3″ Simon, who mimes playing various instruments.  Every time I watch the video it prompts a chuckle.

Here it is, then.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Self-Discussing News

Mrs. Animal, our kids and grandkids, as well as many of my professional colleagues, are all fond of pointing out that I talk to myself.  I always reply that I find it the best way of being assured of intelligent conversation.

I do talk to myself; for me it’s a tool in the toolbox of thought processes.  As for the intelligent conversation:  Turns out I was right all along.  Excerpt:

Research suggests self-talk may help your brain perform better. A study published in Acta Psychologica asked participants to read instructions and then carry out the corresponding task. Some participants had to read their instructions silently, others out loud.

Researchers then measured concentration and task performance. Their results showed that reading aloud helped sustain concentration and enhance performance.

Mari-Beffa, one of the study’s authors, notes: “Talking out loud, when the mind is not wandering, could actually be a sign of high cognitive functioning. Rather than being mentally ill, it can make you intellectually more competent. The stereotype of the mad scientist talking to themselves, lost in their own inner world, might reflect the reality of a genius who uses all the means at their disposal to increase their brainpower.”

Additional research backs up those results. In one study, participants completed item-finding tasks faster when talking themselves through it, suggesting an improvement in visual processing. Others have observed children using self-talk to master complex tasks, such as tying shoelaces.

I found myself doing this just the other day, as I was removing the mower deck from the tractor in preparation for winter.  For me, though, it’s not normally task-related.  Sometimes it’s directed.  I tend to shout at the computer screen when some new outrage pisses me off.  Mrs. Animal, who shares our little office building with me during the day, has learned to ignore my outbursts.

So, sure, go ahead and externalize that internal dialogue.  Just be a little judicious about it.  Talking to yourself while in a crowded elevator, for example, may draw you some odd looks.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Food just keeps getting more expensive.  Here’s a tidbit from this story:

We asked CNN readers how inflation has impacted their eating habits, and many mentioned dining out less often, buying less meat and giving up splurges. Some said they are very worried about the future.

Food prices have spiked 11.4% over the past year, the largest annual increase since May 1979, according to data released in mid-September by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Grocery prices jumped 13.5% and restaurant menu prices increased 8% in that period.

Even burgers cost more these days.

Mrs. Animal and I are, through dint of hard work, still liquid enough to enjoy our traditional Saturday afternoon luncheon at a lodge up north of here.  But their prices have increased as well, maybe even more so, as everything here that can’t be grown locally has to come up by ship or rail.  Plenty of Alaskans grow much of their own food, supplemented with local fish and game.  But most urban Americans don’t have that option.

This is something that the GOP, if they aren’t stupid, should be hammering home until November.  But note that qualifier; you’ll rarely see a group of people so adept at seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

With that said…

On To the Links!

People keep correcting President Biden because he’s senile and doesn’t know what he’s doing from one moment to the next.

What happens when Dems abandon a city to crime.

I’m just going to leave this here:

The economy was booming until Democrats took over.

If so, I predict massive non-compliance.

This guy gets it.

Honestly, California has been the butt of America’s jokes for a while now.

Who is really in charge in the Imperial City?

Probably not.

Could climate lockdowns be a thing?

The red wave may be a thing in Europe, too.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Liz.

Yeah, we’ve known this for some time.

Mother Jones finds an acorn.

Probably because pollsters are blowing it again in 2022.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Herman Schwartz is an idiot.

What’s left unsaid here is that these idiots are lying to their employers, which is grounds for immediate termination.

MSNBC’s “host and super-sleuth” Mehdi Hasan is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.  And this makes it twice, in one week.  Clearly Hayes Brown is setting the standard for stupid.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid is an idiot.  (I’m sensing a pattern here.)

CNN’s Fredreka Schouten is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

Donna Brazile is an idiot.

Time’s Andrew Whitehead is an idiot.

Stupid NY vs. stupid NJ.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Thomas Dolby had a few interesting tunes in the early Eighties, and managed to make some fun music videos to go along with them.  My favorite bit of his work was She Blinded Me With Science, from the 1982 album The Golden Age of Wireless.  Interestingly, the video features one Magnus Alfred Pyke, OBE FRSE FRIC, as the “scientist” in the piece – and Mr. Pyke was actually a nutritional scientist and advisor to the UK government.  Pyke was criticized by some for ‘trivializing’ science by playing this role, but did it anyway.

It’s a fun song and a fun vid, anyway.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I like Lauren Southern.  She’s sharp, she’s savvy, and her looks certainly don’t hurt her any.  But recently, she released a video where she questions ‘veganism’ with a staffer of hers, and she leaves the best rebuttal just laying on the table.  Here’s the video:

Early on, the vegan crew member claims he follows his diet due to a libertarian principle – the non-aggression principle.  That’s a canard – the NAP involves dealing with other people, and all it states that it is incorrect to initiate the use of force, but not to respond to it with force in kind.

But that’s not the point.  The staffer makes the inevitable vegan assertion that his diet causes ‘less harm’ than a diet that includes meat, i.e. Ms. Southern’s diet.  Given this assertion, I would respond as follows:

“All right.  Let’s examine your assertion.  You are claiming your diet causes less harm to animals than mine.  OK.  So your diet has a level of harm to animals involved – let’s call that value A.  My diet likewise has a level of harm to animals – let’s call that value B.  Now you are asserting that A<B.  To establish this, you have to produce values for A and B.  And, you have to include all sources of harm, including animals killed in the processes of growing, harvesting and transporting your food.  So, go.  Show your work.”

That rarely fails to leave the ‘ethical’ vegans stuttering.

And so…

On To the Links!

Feed the world…  breadfruit?  Yeah, I’ll stick with cheeseburgers.

Har har har!

Cripple Fight!

Germany is committing national suicide.

The bill always comes due.

This headline is a massive understatement.

I love a happy ending.

No shit, Sherlock.

Bill Maher keeps making these warnings to the Left, and is increasingly going unheeded.

Robert Stacy McCain on ‘good’ schools.

DeSantis 2024!

Maybe we will be able to dump Murkowski.

Are they any good to eat?

Two million.  In one year.

This Week’s Idiots:

Lindsey Graham is fucking up.

Politico’s Jack Shafer is an idiot.

The NY Times’ Farhad Manjoo is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.  And this week he doubles down on idiocy.

The Nation’s Jeet Heer (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Alexandria Occasional Cortex has been and remains an idiot.

MSNBC’s Nayyera Haq is an idiot.

The Denver City Council are all idiots.

USAT’s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

The Grio’s Olayemi Olurin is an idiot.

The “Park Slope Panthers” are apparently all idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Back in the early Eighties, the genre of “tech-rock” began to surface, inspired by acts like Devo and the Talking Heads.  I didn’t much care for Devo, as they struck me as kind of a one-trick pony.  I did kind of enjoy the Talking Heads, though.

Their 1983 album Speaking in Tongues was pretty good, and my favorite of that disk was the single Burning Down the House.  There was, of course, a typically early-Eighties music video to go along with the song, and here it is – enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Turkey country.

Things are going to be a little lean today, as I only returned from the fall turkey hunt late last Thursday and between having visiting family here,  catching up on work business and coordinating some repairs on the house, I haven’t been reading as much as usual.

The turkey hunt didn’t go well.  We were limited to a small (35k acres – small by Western standards) state wildlife area, daytime highs were in the nineties, and the birds were all up higher in the mountains instead of down in this fall/winter range.  So we miscalculated that one rather badly – but we had a nice relaxing time camping out in the boonies for a few days, and that’s never not worth doing.

And so…

On To the Links!

This is interesting:  Differences in sapiens and Neandertal brains.

No shit, Sherlock.

Fucking savage.

Hoaxers gonna hoax.  Why are these “racial slur” events almost always hoaxes?

Ain’t that the truth.

Well, whattya know.

Do we want things to get worse?

We can hope.

Inflation:  8.3% in August.

This Week’s Idiots:

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Ruth Braunstein is an idiot.

The Nation’s Jeet Heer is an idiot.

Juan Williams continues to beclown himself.

The Daily Beast’s Michael Cohen is an idiot.

Illinois is governed by idiots.

CNN’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I posted a video from the Japanese girl band Tokyo Groove Jyoshi a while ago, but it’s been a while, so here’s another.  I do enjoy Japan, and not least of what I enjoy is the abundance of lovely young Japanese women.  In this case, the artists mix that loveliness with talent and style – here they are with Funk No. 1.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Long Term Memory News

This is interesting; there may be a therapy with value for (mostly elderly) people suffering memory loss.  Excerpt:

What did your study find?

How does this paper expand on your previous study with electrostimulation treatment for memory loss?

I’ve seen brain stimulation used in other conditions, and the results can be remarkable.  There is a condition called essential tremor, for example.  It’s not uncommon in older folks to have a slight shaking in one or both hands; in fact, it runs in my family, although I’m not seeing it in myself.  But some people suffer from severe essential tremors throughout their entire lives, to the point where their hands and arms flail about uncontrollably – all the time.

This condition results from a flaw in an area of the brain about the size of a grain of rice.  Put a tiny electrode in that structure (the name of it slips my mind at the moment) and stimulate it ever so slightly – and watch the look of wonder on the face of the patient as their hands suddenly belong to them again.  There are now fully implantable devices that can control this stimulation and give these folks normal lives.

It’s kind of early to tell how much promise this new treatment really holds.  But it will be worth watching – at least, if overbearing government doesn’t decide to squash innovation entirely.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

First, a housekeeping note:  This evening, I’ll be traveling the Friendly Skies to Colorado, and thence to an area near the New Mexico border.  There loyal sidekick Rat and I will indulge in a fall turkey hunt.  We’ve spent a fair amount of time in the area, and every time we’ve been there the turkeys have been abundant.

783 Marlin

Colorado allows rifles in the fall season.  Rat doesn’t have a suitable piece, but fortunately I’ve got two:  The Savage .22WMR/20 gauge combo I bought recently, and an old Marlin .22 WMR bolt gun I’ve had since I was fourteen.  So, prospects are good.  Watch this space for placeholder totty posts while I’m out, and then for a hunt report on my return.  I have posts scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, along with the usual Saturday Gingermageddon.  Regular posts will resume Monday, September 12th.

And so…

On To the Links!

The GOP needs to get their shit together.

Yes, good riddance.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

This just in:  People are assholes.

So much for “sanctuary” cities, eh?

Meanwhile, Biden(‘s handlers) Administration officials insist “the border is under control.”

I love a happy ending.

Virginia made a winning pick with this guy.

More on Alaska politics.

What a day for a daydream.

I’ll believe there’s a climate crisis when the people who keep telling me there’s a climate crisis start acting like there’s a climate crisis.

NYC banks are closing their ATM vestibules at night to stop bums from shitting in them.

This Week’s Idiots:

Atlantic’s Joseph Stiglitz is an idiot.

California is run by idiots.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is an idiot.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an idiot.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Julian Zelizer is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Jedediah Britton-Purdy is an idiot.

Charlie Crist is an idiot.

The Nation’s Jeet Heer is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I’ve long been a fan of Frank Zappa.

Zappa, because of the compound weirdness of his musical style, is often misjudged as a mere showman, when in fact he was one of the most brilliant and innovative musicians of the modern era, as well as a great songwriter, composer and a brilliant technical guitarist.  He wrote symphonies – and conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in recording his first symphony album, simply titled London Symphony Orchestra – Zappa.  In concert, Zappa would show up with a 12- to 16-piece band and a bunch of different musical genres in his pockets like playing cards, which he would mix, match and play like a poker hand.  Brilliantly.

One of his standard concert pieces was Florentine Pogen, an… interesting piece.  Zappa never performed the same song in the same way twice, but one of my favorite versions of this tune can be found on the 1991 live album The Best Band You’ve Never Heard In Your Life.  This cut really shows off what Zappa could do on a stage, in large part because he always chose to work with very talented people.  The entire album rates a listen, as it also includes some great covers, including Ravel’s Bolero, Stairway to Heaven, and what was rumored to have been Johnny Cash’s favorite cover of Ring of Fire.

But for today, I had to pick one song.  So here is Zappa’s own Florentine Pogen.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Relative Happiness News

Before we get into today’s topic, check out the latest in my current series over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  It seems conservatives (and I would assert, libertarians) are happier than liberals.  I’m not really surprised, as the reasons proposed are good reasons to be contented with life.  Excerpt:

Social psychologist Jaime Napier, Program Head of Psychology at NYU-Abu Dhabi has conducted research suggesting that views about inequality play a role.

“One of the biggest correlates with happiness in our surveys was the belief of a meritocracy, which is the belief that anybody who works hard can make it,” she told PBS. “That was the biggest predictor of happiness. That was also one of the biggest predictors of political ideology. So, the conservatives were much higher on these meritocratic beliefs than liberals were.”

To paraphrase, conservatives are less concerned with equality of outcomes and more with equality of opportunity. While American liberals are depressed by inequalities in society, conservatives are okay with them provided that everyone has roughly the same opportunities to succeed. The latter is a more rosy and empowering view than the deterministic former.

Two other studies explored a more surprising contributor: neuroticism, typically defined as “a tendency toward anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.” Surveyed conservatives consistently score lower in neuroticism than surveyed liberals.

In 2011, psychologists at the University of Florida and the University of Toronto conducted four studies, aiming to find whether conservatives are more “positively adjusted” than liberals.

They found that conservatives “expressed greater personal agency, more positive outlook, more transcendent moral beliefs, and a generalized belief in fairness” compared to liberals.

If I could sum that up, I’d do so by noting that the very character traits that make conservatives happier are those that go into an essentially individualist, as opposed to a collectivist, world view.  Think on that for a moment; if a big part of your expectations in life consist of waiting for other people (generally in the form of government) to do things for you, you’re liable to be disappointed.

But if you accept personal responsibility for your own station in life, and understand that your own efforts will in time pay off, and if you set goals and work to achieve them, you’re probably a lot more likely to be content with your life.

Oh, marriage (on the statistical level) plays a role as well.  We’re social animals and not really wired to go through life alone.  Most studies show belief in religion is another indicator, and while I don’t share that belief and still manage to be pretty happy with my life, I can see how this would be the case for a lot of folks.

It sure seems, though, that lately the divide is growing.  The Left in particular is not just unhappy – they are angry.  Witness the 2020 destruction of billions of dollars of private property in street riots largely ignored or even tacitly supported by leftists in all levels of government.  And very few on the left would dare to propose what seems obvious to conservatives and libertarians – that maybe, just maybe, if these people had achieved something in life, they wouldn’t be so pissed off.

Rule Five Barrington Declaration Friday

Recently, over at the Brownstone Institute, Donald J. Boudreaux presented a reply to a parent explaining his signature on the Great Barrington Declaration.  Read the whole thing, but here’s a couple of relevant excerpts:

Upon returning to my computer this afternoon I discovered an irate e-mail from the mother of a George Mason University freshman. Here’s my reply to her.

Ms. L__:

I’m dismayed to learn from your e-mail that, because you’ve just discovered that I endorse the Great Barrington Declaration, you’re demanding that your son transfer out of my upcoming Econ 103 course. That decision, obviously, is for you and your son to make. You should advise your son to do what you think best.

But you took time to write to accuse me of “intellectual incompetence,” so I’ll take a moment to defend myself.

Because you offer no objection to the Great Barrington Declaration other than that “it is so anti-science, anti-social and anti-humane a competent professor should loudly critique it,” I challenge you actually to read the Declaration and write back to me with your specific objections. Identify particular passages that you believe are so outrageous that no intelligent person can assent to them.

Note the last sentence, especially this bit:  “I challenge you actually to read the Declaration…”  The woman in question will not, of course, actually read the Declaration.  She has no interest in challenging her own pre-concieved notions.  To be fair, most people don’t.  More on this in a moment, but here’s the key point:

The central message of the GBD is its call for Focused Protection. Do you object to this message? Do you object to the advice that protection be focused on those groups that we know – and that we knew at least as early as March 2020 – are especially vulnerable to covid, while leaving the great majority of humankind (who are not especially at risk) to continue life as normal? And if you do object, what about this advice is so outrageous that it marks anyone who supports it as being unfit to teach an introductory course in economics? (For the record, I foresee no occasion for me, in the course of mine that your son will now not take, to mention the Great Barrington Declaration.)

In other words, the Great Barrington Declaration called for a sane, measured response to the Kung Flu that would neither ruin lives nor wreck the economy.  The same response, in fact, that had always been used in the advent of any new respiratory virus.

I’m afraid that die is cast, though.  In March of 2020, when the ‘vid hit our shores, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. were still occupying a small apartment in Raritan, New Jersey, near where I was working at the time.  For the first few weeks an observer would have been justified in assuming that either 1) the very air had become radioactive, 2) the majority of the population had gone certifiably insane, or 3) both.  To this day, especially in some of the bigger cities, you still see people engaging in egregious stupidity like driving, alone, in their own car, wearing a mask.  Not that I object to that; stupid people should be conspicuous, so that we may approach them pre-informed of their stupidity, and engage with them accordingly.

That stupidity, I’m afraid, is going to be the norm now when any new respiratory virus emerges.

But back to my first point, wherein the letter-writer is challenged to actually read the Great Barrington Declaration.  While this would seem to be two separate issues on the surface, I see them as linked.  The general populace largely acceded, wearily, to ever-increasing COVID lunacy precisely because of this kind of incuriousity.  An inquisitive mind is skeptical; it checks facts, runs down sources, confirms information with various inputs.  But to judge by my observation over the last 60+ years, most people (to be fair, people across the political spectrum) are incurious.  They accept what they are told, as long as it confirms their pre-existing biases.

When I was a young man, the Old Man used to admonish me “don’t believe what you see on the television.  Check things out for yourself.”  That was and still is good advice.  I’d add to that “seek out opposing views.  Challenge your own opinions.  Your preconceived notions are not infallible, and you should not judge them to be so.”  I’ve always tried to do so.  I wish more people would.  Sadly, people like this hysterical twit who penned the angry letter to Donald J. Boudreaux are increasingly the norm.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Watch this:

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is an American treasure, and he has more intellectual power on his worst day than either Joe Biden or Heels-Up Harris ever did on the best day they ever lived.  In this clip, he lays out something I’ve been saying for years, only Dr. Hanson does it far more eloquently – and he brings receipts.  Give it a listen.  It’s worth fourteen minutes of your day.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Yeah, he’s running.

Get woke, go broke – the streaming services adjust.

Here we go again.

Arizona, doing the jobs the Imperial City is supposed to do but won’t.

Beef – it’s what’s for dinner.

Abolish the FBI.  Yeah, I think we’ve likely come to that point.

Robot dogs.

Do the elites want to stave us to death?

That’s actually racist.

Good guy with gun.

No shit, Sherlock.

Probably not.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

The New Republic’s Jason Linkins is an idiot.

Dan Goldman is an idiot.

Vox’s Rachel Cohen is an idiot.

This idiot fails to understand:  We want the (un)civil service gutted.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of the most talented songwriters and performers of the Seventies was Carly Simon, best known for tunes like Anticipation and You’re so Vain.  But one of my favorites of her work is the 1971 tune That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, from her debut album Carly Simon.  I enjoy the song in spite of its rather pessimistic outlook on marriage, which I don’t share; my parents enjoyed a happy marriage for 71 years, and while my first marriage ended after only six years, I have been married to my own dear Mrs. Animal for over thirty years and we couldn’t be happier.

Anyway – I still really enjoy this song, and Carly Simon’s vocals.  Here is a live performance, again from 1971, in which Carly Simon shows eloquently how beauty and talent can go together.  And you know what’s great?  Look at that audience.  No cell phones held up, no heads turned down towards their little screens, just a lot of people watching the show.  Enjoy.