Category Archives: Science

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

The very first brain cells may have been in evidence as long as 800 million years ago.

Researchers from Spain and Germany have discovered characteristics of specialized secretory cells in simple animals called placozoans which could identify them as a prelude to neurons in other organisms.

Roughly the size of a grain of sand, these basic creatures have no organs, consisting of little more than a colony of different cell types. Much as they still do today, placozoans once hunted microbes and browsed algae in the warm shallows of seas 800 million years ago.

So 800 million years ago we have evidence of emerging brains.  Any guesses as to when we might see evidence of brains in Congress?

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Daily Xenotransplant News

Before I get into this, check out the latest chapter of License to Kill over at Glibertarians!

Meanwhile: In Maryland, surgeons may well have given a dying man a few more weeks or months of life by replacing his failing heart with the heart of a gene-modified pig.

The 58-year-old Navy veteran was facing near-certain death from heart failure but other health problems meant he wasn’t eligible for a traditional heart transplant, according to doctors at University of Maryland Medicine.

“Nobody knows from this point forward. At least now I have hope and I have a chance,” Lawrence Faucette, from Frederick, Maryland, said in a video recorded by the hospital before Wednesday’s operation. “I will fight tooth and nail for every breath I can take.”

While the next few weeks will be critical, doctors were thrilled at Faucette’s early response to the pig organ.

“You know, I just keep shaking my head – how am I talking to someone who has a pig heart?” Dr. Bartley Griffith, who performed the transplant, told The Associated Press. He said doctors are feeling “a great privilege but, you know, a lot of pressure.”

The same Maryland team last year performed the world’s first transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into another dying man, David Bennett, who survived just two months.

Here’s why the heart wasn’t immediately rejected:

The pig heart, provided by Blacksburg, Virginia-based Revivicor, has 10 genetic modifications – knocking out some pig genes and adding some human ones to make it more acceptable to the human immune system.

While I’m a big fan of right to try, and while this veteran and his family are doubtless glad to get a few more weeks or (hopefully) months of his company, this xenotransplantation issue seems like a stopgap – a good one, but a stopgap.  The ideal answer, of course, is to have a heart grown from the patients’ own stem cells, which would be accepted by the body with no need for immune-suppressants.

But that technology is a long way off yet.

The patient himself has released a statement:

“Nobody knows from this point forward. At least now I have hope and I have a chance,” Lawrence Faucette, from Frederick, Maryland, said in a video recorded by the hospital before Wednesday’s operation. “I will fight tooth and nail for every breath I can take.”

That’s a healthy outlook.  Here’s hoping Mr. Faucette enjoys the gift of extra weeks or (hopefully) months he has with his family, and hopefully the lessons learned in his case will move the science of transplantation forward.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Just overnight, our juncos are gone, headed south for the winter.

Dark-Eyed Junco

One day there were a lot of them about, gleaning seed from under the feeders; the next day they were gone.  Juncos are one of our last summer birds to leave in the fall.  Friday is the first official day of autumn,  but our brief Great Land summer has already given way; we had our first hard frost Monday night, it’s raining more, the leaves on the birches are turning, and the fireweed is all come up in red.

Winter is coming!  Next month we’ll start getting snow, if things go as usual, and that’s fine.  Our winters are every bit as beautiful as our summers.  We have a full heating oil tank and two and a half cords of firewood put away.  We’re ready.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping note:  Since my Wednesday links posts have always been long, and are getting longer, I’m going to try sticking the actual links below a “Click to Read More” tag.  This will help me to keep my already crowded front page a tad less cluttered while I consider how to go about a more involved revamp of the site. I’m still using the 2014 theme for WordPress, and while I like the looks of it, it may be time to update.  It’s been almost ten years since the last major site revamp, so we’ll see.  And, of course, please do let me know in the comments if you like/dislike and changes or have any other comments.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Last Monday was, of course, Labor Day, and while I tend to shy away from too much serious discussion on holidays, I did come across a good piece on some disturbing trends.  I thought it was worth highlighting here.

Unfortunately, the evidence is clear that working-aged men are not doing well at all. Across the board, they are suffering a generational decline in quality jobs and falling out of the labor force in staggering numbers. These problems have grim consequences, not just for men, but for women, children and our nation as a whole. 

Read the whole thing.  Give it some thought.  Now then…

On To the Links!

What could possibly go wrong?

Biden Family Business Boomed After Joe Attended Key Dinners

Probably not.

Here’s the thing; I don’t think Joe Biden knows he’s lying. I don’t think he’s mentally competent enough to understand the difference.

Of course they are.

Radioactive boars.  Yes, really.  See the full write up at the RedState link below.

I Had a Helicopter Mom. I Found Pornhub Anyway.

Of course they don’t want to solve the problem. There’s too much money to be made perpetuating it.

Navajo Leaders Challenge Chaco Canyon Drilling Ban.

Mark my words: Nothing will come of this.

Likely, yes. Inevitable, no.

MSNBC’s War on Truth.  That’s something of an understatement.

No.  All civilizations are not equal.

The Weekend at Bernie’s Presidency continues.

That’s gonna be one hell of a struggle.

I Left Out the Full Truth To Get Published at Nature

My RedState Stuff:

Note:  Thanks to a really good suggestion that I should have thought of myself, I’ll now start noting here which of these are VIP (pay-walled) stories.

If Biden Backs out of the 2024 Race, Who Can Take His Place?

Nick Begich Announces Another Run for Alaska’s Sole House Seat

The Myth of Nonviolent Crime

Radioactive Boars Threaten Europe

Alaska Board of Education Votes to Exclude Biological Males From Girls’ Sports

Is America Under the Thumb of a Shadow President?

Making Super Potatoes More A-Peeling

Homeless Squatters Trash Closed Motel in Casper, Wyoming

GOP Senator JD Vance to Introduce Bill Banning Federal Mask Mandates

Eric Swalwell to Appear at Juneau Fundraiser for Mary Peltola

VIP Stories (Pay-Walled):

Firearms Researcher Dr. John Lott: FBI Is Deliberately Misleading Americans on Defensive Gun Use

Sunday Gun Day VI – Five Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die

What Is Labor Day All About?

A 98-Year-Old Nazi, Captured: Who Shall Answer For Evil?

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Heather Parton (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Nicole Hemmer is an idiot.

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

CNBC’s Scott Cohn is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

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

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont (Repeat Offender Alert) is still an old fool, and an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Bob Dylan, America’s Songwriter, has crossed a lot of genres in his sixty-plus year career.  Folk, rock, gospel, even country (see his album Nashville Skyline) and more, the Maestro covers them all.

One of my favorite bits of his work almost takes the form of a hymnal, that being the 1967 song I Shall Be Released.  Here, then, is that tune; enjoy.

Rule Five Scottish Rebellion Friday

My own background is strongly Scots-Irish and German.  I can tell you from history, the history of Scotland and the history of my own family, that if there’s one thing the Scots are good at, it’s rebelling.  Of late Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, seems to be something of the poor stepchild in that relationship.  But now we are heartened to see the Scots rebelling again – this time over the ir own country’s mandates over heat pumps.

A group of Scottish politicians is warning that the government’s plan to force households to install heat pumps by 2033 is not feasible in rural areas, The Telegraph reports

Four members of parliament from different parties, all representing rural areas of Scotland, have signed a letter calling for an “urgent review” of the SNP-Green government’s proposal to require households to install electric-powered heat pumps.

Scottish buildings minister Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, introduced a reforms package to “decarbonise” Scotland’s homes and bring them in line with “new energy efficiency standards no later than 2033.” His proposed reforms of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating system may even make it impossible to sell a home that does not have a heat pump system installed. 

Already in 2021, Scotland’s energy minister admitted that installing a heat pump in a home would cost about £10,000 and be more expensive to run than a fossil fuel boiler, which costs approximately £2,500 to install. But in rural areas, the costs of installing a heat pump are estimated to soar to as much as £32,000.

It’s nothing new, of course, for pols with agendas and who hail from heavily urbanized areas to ignore the wants and needs of rural folks.  As evidence look here in the U.S. at the Imperial City’s push for electric cars, which may be practical for a big-city commuter but sure as hell not for those of us who live in rural environments, especially with sub-zero winter temperatures.

Some Scots MPs are pushing back.

All this has led a small group of rural Scottish lawmakers to come together against the planned reforms.

The letter to the Scottish government, seen by The Telegraph, demands a thorough rethinking of the proposal. It was crafted by Fergus Ewing, a former SNP government cabinet secretary, and signed by Labour and Tory MSPs. Ewing told The Telegraph, 

By seeking to reform EPCs and forcing rural homeowners to rely on electrified heating alone from 2025, the Scottish Government is taking an approach to decarbonisation that will pose a serious risk to those living in remote areas.

Not only does it threaten to burden off-grid property owners with overwhelming costs, but it also leaves them vulnerable to extreme-weather-induced power outages and disregards the realities of inefficient rural and islands’ electricity grids and infrastructure.

Douglas Lumsden, the Scottish Tory shadow energy minister, another signatory of the letter, called the proposals “deeply unfair on Scotland’s rural communities”:

If we are to reach net zero, we need to do so in a way that is fair, affordable, and which offers choice to Scottish homeowners. Given the timescales involved, ministers must urgently review these proposals.

It’s doubtful that rural Scottish dwellers will start painting their faces with woad, sharpening their claymores, blowing the dust out of their bagpipes and forming up for battle.  But expect to see more of this.  We face many similar issues here in the States, where those of us who live in rural areas are either ignored or are having our chosen lifestyles downright threatened by big-city pols.  Our own representatives are badly outnumbered and even the ones who speak for us honestly are drowned out in the urban noise.

We can continue, of course, to push back through the usual channels, as these Scottish pols are doing.  But more and more, I think you’ll see a lot of folks out here in the hinterlands just ignore the finger-wagging.  One can already see a fair amount of this here in the Great Land, where (outside of Anchorage and Juneau, at any rate) the populace in general are some of the most “buzz off and leave us alone” types you’re liable to find anywhere.

And so one side continues to try to interfere, while the other tries to ignore them.  Sooner or later something is going to break.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We have family visiting from the Lower 48, so the weekly links may be a bit on the thin side.  But we’ll try to make sure that, even if the quantity drops off a little, the quality remains the same!

Now then…

On To the Links!

Trump Indictments: The Charge Is the Fraud

Hawaiian business owners slam Biden(‘s handlers) non-response to Maui fires. Never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to fuck things up.

Related:  This should come as a surprise to no one.

President Biden’s Haplessness Isn’t Funny Anymore

If this isn’t the understatement of the week, it will do until a better one comes along.

Hint:  They are leaving blue states and going to red states.

New York City Rat Problem so Bad Now They’re a Tourist Attraction

This guy is a frickin’ hero by any standard.

No shit, Karl.

China’s growth may be over.

Of course Joe the Plumber was right about Obama.

My RedState Stuff:

The State of America – Are We Too Late?

Raccoons in Germany Have Started to Steal Beer

The Legacy Media and the Coup Du Publique

Americans Could Be Limited to Two Beers a Week

Trump Appears in a Swedish Steak

Defanging the Three-Headed Monster Wrecking Our Economy

Sunday Gun Day V – Five Shotguns You Should Shoot Before You Die

Rock Legend Alice Cooper Angers Trans Activists, Gets Canceled by Makeup Company

America Has a Critical Shortage of Skilled Workers

The Pipsqueak 5.56mm, the AR-15, and Relative Power Levels

We May Hold Him Deer, but He’s a Thief All the Same

Vox Reporter Calls for Government-Subsidized Fake Meat Research

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Michael Cohen (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Joan Walsh is an idiot.

Maureen Dowd beclowns herself.

If President Biden(‘s handlers) listen to the daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont, he’s dumber than we thought.

The Hill’s Glenn Altschuler is an idiot.

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

Vox’s Julieta Cardenas is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I’ve been a fan of Bob Dylan since the mid-Seventies, when my hippie brother first got me listening to his older acoustic work. What a lot of people don’t realize about America’s Songwriter is that he’s still working, still touring, and still turning out some pretty great music.  In 2012, he released the album Tempest, which included the fun, rollicking tune Duquesne Whistle.  The video is pretty fun to watch, too.  Here it is; enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Special programming note!  Tonight I’ll be live-blogging the first GOP Presidential primary debate with some of my colleagues over at RedState, from 9PM to 11PM EDT (5PM to 7PM here in the Great Land).  Join us over there for the best blow-by-blow coverage!

Now then…

On To the Links!

Presented without comment:

Dismantle The Inflation Reduction Act!  (We should be so lucky.)

No shit, Sherlock.

Gee, I wonder why?

I love a happy ending.

Texas Tells the American Library Association to Go Pound Sand

It’s time to eat!

Animal agriculture is here to stay.

Trump’s Covid Failures

I.  Will.  Not.  Comply.

‘Bidenomics’ Means Americans Can’t Pay Their Bills

Americans Aren’t Buying ‘Bidenomics’

I love a happy ending.

Get the eff out of Belarus!

Maui Wildfire Response Sure Looks Like Government Failure

China’s Economy Is Sick and Could Infect the U.S.

My RedState Stuff:

The Changing Face of Conservatism

Should We Ban Electric Vehicles?

It’s Time for the GOP to Punch Back

Mike Pence Looks Forward to GOP Debates

Mary Peltola’s Fishing Failure

Is the FTC Aiming to Take out Amazon?

Ford CEO Faces Hard Sell on EV Road Trip

IRS Agent Killed in Shooting Range Accident

The Great College Scam

What San Diego Is Doing About Homeless Encampments Offers Us Lessons

Tennessee Couple Missing in Alaska for More Than a Week Found Safe

Sunday Gun Day IV – What Happened to the 10- and 16-Gauge Shotguns?

They Need Us. We Don’t Need Them.

14 American Cities Aim to Ban Meat, Dairy, Private Cars by 2030

Her Own Worst Enemy: Kamala Harris and 2024

The Rise of the Passport Bro

U.S. Embassy in Belarus Advises Americans to Depart Immediately

Bill Maher: Vivek Ramaswamy Is ‘Such a Likeable Guy’ Who Could ‘Really Could Go Far’

California Contemplates Mandating Heat Pumps

Alaska Governor Dunleavy Endorses Donald Trump for President

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Brian Karem is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Leber is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Jessica Levinson is an idiot.

The Nation’s Joan Walsh is an idiot.

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

Salon’s Heather Parton is an idiot.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.  And again; the second one is stupid even for Amanda Marcotte, a serial idiot.

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

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

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I’m not sure what to say about this song, except that the song got a lot of radio play back in the mid-Eighties, and MTV, back when they were actually about music, played the video a fair bit.  OMC was, as I recall, a one-hit wonder, but How Bizarre at least was catchy.  Here it is, then – enjoy.

Rule Five Windmills Friday

The concomitant stupidity of “wind power” on grid-scale just keeps getting more and more obvious to anyone that’s paying attention.  Here Issues & Insights points out some of the more obvious issues:

There are a number of problems with wind farms:

  • They eat up far more land than any of the conventional forms of energy production, as well as nuclear. It takes a 6.7 million acre wind farm to produce the same amount of power that a nuclear plant could on 230,000 acres and a natural gas plant will on 150,000 acres. Bryce pointed out in a paper he wrote for the Center of the American Experiment that it would take the land equal to two entire Californias “to meet America’s current electricity needs with wind energy.”
  • Due to rising costs and logistical headaches, “developers and would-be buyers of wind power are scrapping contracts, putting off projects and postponing investment decisions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s “an industry in crisis.”
  • Wind turbines, writes energy consultant Ronald Stein, “are now becoming an eyesore, a hazard, and a significant environmental threat” in a policy piece that asks if wind farms generate more waste than they do electricity.
  • Wind farms have to be built in open spaces where power isn’t needed. Moving the electricity to where it’s eventually used destroys the landscape in between.
  • In Scotland, 16 million trees, each one of them with their names surely written on every environmentalists’ hearts, have been felled to open ground on which to build wind farms.
  • The late physicist David MacKay, who said “you know I love wind turbines,” believed that building wind farms is “actually a waste of money.”
  • Even the government is an obstacle. Reason reported not quite a year ago that “construction on what could be a massive offshore wind farm in Massachusetts has been held up for years due to” federal reviews.

Now, author and reformer Michael Shellenberger is documenting how off-shore wind farms are killing whales.  Have a look:

Holy crap!

If nothing else turned the public off of these massive wind-turbine farms – aside from the expense (oh, and all the materials that can only be sourced from fossil fuels) and the difficulty in disposing of the turbine blades when their useful lives are up, is the massive footprint these things require to develop power on a scale that’s even remotely adequate for the power grid.

This isn’t just a boondoggle.  It is fraud on a massive scale.  Look at that first bullet point:  “It takes a 6.7 million acre wind farm to produce the same amount of power that a nuclear plant could on 230,000 acres and a natural gas plant will on 150,000 acres.”

But there’s hope:

(Energy author Robert) Bryce noted last week that over the last 10 days in the U.S., “local governments in Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa have rejected or restricted wind and solar projects.” According to his database, that makes 574 rejections or restrictions of ​​solar and wind projects in less than a decade. Most of them, 407, have been wind projects.

Bryce predicted the growth of resistance four years ago when he wrote in The Hill that protests in Hawaii then were “a harbinger of more clashes to come if governments attempt to install the colossal quantities of wind turbines and solar panels that would be needed to fuel the global economy.”

Let’s hope this trend continues.  We live in a time where the nation is trillions in debt, our fiscal rating keeps slipping, Congresscritters of both parties have abandoned even the pretense of fiscal restraint, and yet the Imperial and state governments keep subsidizing and promoting this horseshit.

Enough is enough.  Let’s hope the resistance to this keeps on growing.  If private businesses or homeowners want to try wind and/or solar on their own property, fine; they are welcome to do so at their own cost, then we’ll see if they can prove efficiency or even capability in the market place.  There are in fact a few people wop know here in the Great Land who are off-grid and depend on solar (and Diesel generators) for power.  That’s fine – their choice, their responsibility.

But it’s pretty well established now that grid-scale wind power isn’t viable.