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The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Editor in Chief, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, M.D. said "As it turns out, one of these bat species lives out its long life in Florida. Since bats are rodents with wings, this chemical clue as to why bats beat out mice in the aging game should point scientists to the source of this elusive fountain." [emphasis mine, to highlight the particularly egregious part of his statement].

Now everyone knows that Medical Doctors are smarter than the rest of us, but if Dr. Weissmann had been actually paying attention in undergraduate Zoology (or, if perhaps he'd been reading his own Journal), he might have a better understanding of phylogeny, especially since mice are a standard model for medical experimentation. Bats, are not "rodents with wings." In fact, bats aren't even close to rodents.

According to the standard (generally accepted) "Tree of Life," primates (lemurs, monkeys, chimps, and humans) are much closer to bats (Chiroptera) than to rodents (Rodentia).

Bats aren't even close to rodents!

The lesson here: people, especially highly educated specialists, can't keep from putting their feet in their mouths. And when they think their positions raise them to a position of expertise outside their own fields, we should be careful before just accepting what they spout.

(Other great examples of this: Politicians, Al Gore, any Hollywood star[or starlet], newscasters, and C-level executives)
I have recently encountered The Stupid on an epic scale. The Stupid is something that burns like acid fire, and it occasionally gets to the point of agony. I needed a word for the act of nurturing The Stupid, so I have created two words: Stupiditage, and it's ugly cousin Idiotage.

I think they're self-explanatory.

But you heard them here first.
This morning, while getting ready for work, I caught the good "States Rights" folks on Fox News complaining because Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor thinks State and Local Law should supersede Federal "Law." They'd be complaining just as loudly if she was arguing that Federal Law supersedes state law, if the situation was reversed.

In this situation, they're complaining about how she thinks that state and local law should supersede the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They're right, but for the wrong reasons - she is a bad choice as a jurist if she thinks that the Constitution is just a Federal Law - it's not.

The problem is that the Constitution isn't "law" per se, but sits above the law, as a guarantor of rights. It is meta-law, sitting outside the law, governing what is and isn't law. The SCOTUS1 doesn't get to decide what the Constitution says (though she, and apparently the POTUS2 might like it to), the SCOTUS only gets to decide whether a particular law is permissible under the Constitution, and if so, whether it is applicable in a particular case or body of cases.

By the same token, I'm pretty sure that Sotomayor would find plenty of fault with any state or local legislation that ran counter to Federal legislation, which under the Constitution should be greatly more limited than it is - if that state or local legislation ran counter to her personal preferences. And this is what's wrong with her: A SCOTUS justice should not be an activist, and she clearly is.

1 Supreme Court Of The United States
2 President Of The United States

A long forgotten pioneer of flight.

I just learned of an interesting character from the dawn of powered flight: Cromwell Dixon.

At the age of 14, he built (with the aid of his mother) what he called his "SkyCycle," a human-powered blimp - a gas bag with a suspended framework and propeller, driven by pedaling. His mother sewed the gasbag for him, but she let him do it. My parents let me do a few semi-suicidal things, but they never let me do anything nearly this cool.

It probably helped me survive to adulthood, though.

A blog well worth reading.

Over on Breitbart.com, there's a long, clear, well thought out and beautifully expressed post by a guy calling himself "BigHollywood." The article is titled "The Awakening of a Dumb Gay American." It is well worth a thoughtful read and slow, careful consideration.

It is telling that the one "counter argument" to his post that I saw (the lone dissenter from the first 50 or so responses) was in the category of the typical '[insert conservative name here] is stupid, duh' kind: a guy calling himself BOLTRIPPER wrote, "…dumb…yes most certainly….i’m off for my morning constitutional [sic]"1 - strangely enough, re-enforcing one of the most telling points made in the article itself!

I recommend you read it. Whomever you are, it's going to offend you, and that's OK, but listen to what he says anyway, because In My Arrogant Opinion it's a very, very important thing to hear.

1This is lifted verbatim from the response entry. Note the careful attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It certainly does support the "intelligence" of the writer, and lends credence to his authority in branding BigHollywood as 'dumb.' Strangely, most of the responses to the blog post were well written, thoughtful, and clear. The presumably 'dumb' people who agreed with Big Hollywood (for dumb they must be to agree with someone so stupid) somehow managed to figure and use capitalization, punctuation and spacing. Go figure.
A few years ago, at the height of a period of insanity not-too-unlike-now, a couple of very bent men asked a very serious question: "What if all of the conspiracy theories are true?" The result was a trilogy of seriously mind-numbing (and utterly amusing) books that were ultimately bound up into a door-stop called Illuminatus!

If you've followed this link over from IMAO (or are just looking at this picture wondering quietly to yourself "wha?"), here's what you need to know:

  • Eris was the Greek goddess of discord. She is worshiped by the Discordians.
  • Her weapon of destruction, wielded in response to the Original Snub is a golden apple (seen behind our terrorist friends, in a black pyramid NO LESS!)
  • All truth can be found in Five Tons of Flax.


Disclaimer: I'm not sure what's up with Picasaweb right now, but it's really messing with the quality of the picture. The original is here, in the (extremely unlikely) event you want to see it with clear text.
This image blatantly stolen from (with credit given to): Ethics Crisis

To get an accurate translation, and a discussion on how translations really should be done, the image is a clickable weblink, and takes you to the Ethics Crisis journal entry that provides this bit of levity.

And remember, if you're cycling in Wales, consider guzzling cranberry juice.

From: TVTropes.org, a collection of random useless trivia that can take up hours and hours of cross-reference following, interesting though useless information and stuff you just can't tear your eyes away from. I got sucked into the Anime Trope and I think I melted part of my left frontal and parietal lobes. Don't go there! I abjure thee! Stay away! Aargh!

I learned another interesting internet word, too: Grenade (not from tvtropes.org, but it was cool anyway).

Updated 2008.12.12 to include cool picture. The link is clickable and is direct sourced from TVTropes.org
Buried in this article is a little gem:
But increased electricity use could drive up utility costs and ultimately force the construction of new plants. If electric utilities generate that power by burning natural gas, coal or oil, shifting to plug-ins would do little to address climate change or energy efficiency. In fact, researchers at Duke University suggest that regular hybrids may be more cost-effective than plug-ins for reducing CO2[sic] emissions (unless gasoline rises to $6 a gallon).

Now first off, the source of this quote is MSNBC, so it's not exactly a primary source, and we can take it with a small grain of salt for now. I'm going to hunt down the Duke University paper and see what I can find before I finish this rant. But before I do, I leave it as an exercise to the reader to consider this question: why are electric vehicles not "greener" than hybrids? And why are hydrogen vehicles not either?

Answers coming when (if) I can chase down the Duke paper (and some other primary sources on power generation costs, CO2 creation, and transmission losses per used kilowatt-hour).

More to come, if I get around to it.