Wednesday Reads: Send in the clowns…

Smoke 'em if you got 'em...

Good Morning!

As I write this post, the numbers from the Iowa Caucus are still coming in. We had a live blog going last night, so if you missed the news coverage, check it out.

Former President Jimmy Carter had some advice for Obama yesterday.

Former President Jimmy Carter has some advice for Barack Obama as he gears up for the 2012 election: Don’t alienate voters with controversial positions.

The Georgia Democrat told The Associated Press on Tuesday that just about everything he did alienated voters, from sealing a treaty to hand over the Panama Canal to establishing diplomatic ties with China.

Carter said: “If your main goal is to get re-elected, avoid a controversial subject as much as you can in the first term.”

Hmmm…I wonder if throwing the Constitution under the proverbial Obama bus is something Carter would consider alienating to voters.

The Taliban are opening an office in Qatar to discuss peace.

Giving a first major public sign that they may be ready for formal talks with the American-led coalition in Afghanistan, the Taliban announced Tuesday that they had struck a deal to open a political office in Qatar that could allow for direct negotiations over the endgame in the Afghan war.

The step was a reversal of the Taliban’s longstanding public denials that they were involved in, or even willing to consider, talks related to their insurgency, and it had the potential to revive a reconciliation effort that stalled in September, with the assassination of the head of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council.

It was unclear, however, whether the Taliban were interested in working toward a comprehensive peace settlement or mainly in ensuring that NATO ends its operations in Afghanistan as scheduled in 2014, which would remove a major obstacle to the Taliban’s return to power in all or part of the country.

I wonder if this move will result in the Obama Administration setting up arms sales to the “peaceful” Taliban. (I am very tired, so my snark may not be quite up to speed…)

GOP Steve King admitted that the Tea Party Republicans are using hostage tactics. (No shit!) From Greg Sargent…

… King is candidly admitting that the House Tea Party wing has been employing the threat of a government shutdown as nothing more than a deliberate hostage strategy designed to wring maximum concessions from Democrats.

King made the concession in an interview with Laura Ingraham. Dems are highlighting the interview because King bashes House Speaker John Boehner for his weak leadership, but the bolded portion below is the real news here:

INGRAHAM: You think that would have helped the Republican Party and you guys would be in a better position today if the government had been shut down?

KING: The shutdown isn’t the point so much as, I don’t want the shutdown either. But if you are afraid of the shutdown you can’t have the confrontation and you lose every negotiation along the way.

And there you have it! During each impasse — the first government shutdown fight; the debt ceiling debacle; the payroll tax cut showdown — we keep being told that Tea Partyers really are crazy enough to allow the worst to happen. During the government shutdown fight, we were even told that Tea Partyers viewed that outcome as a positive. Their willingness to take us over a cliff is why Dems simply must make the concessions they’re demanding.

But now a top Tea Party leaders has given away the game, admitting that not even Tea Partyers want a shutdown. Creating the impression that they’re willing to let it happen is only about winning maximum concessions in negotiations. Let’s hope Dems keep this in mind the next dozen times this happens.

Since the Iowa counting is still ongoing, here are some science links to finish up this post.

Fly parasite turns honeybees into zombies. So on the TV show The Walking Dead, would those zombie bees be called buzzers?

If deadly viruses and fungi weren’t enough, honeybees in North America now must also deal with a fly parasite that causes them to leave their hive and die after wandering about in a zombie-like stupor, a new study shows.Scientists previously found that the parasitic fly, Apocephalus borealis, infects and ultimately kills bumblebees and paper wasps, while the “decapitating fly,” an insect in the same genus, implants its eggs in ants, whose heads then pop off after the fly larvae devour the ants’ brains and dissolve their connective tissues. Now researchers have discovered honeybees parasitized by A. borealis in 24 of 31 sites across the San Francisco Bay area, as well as other commercial hives in California and South Dakota.

I know it is a serious problem, but the thought of zombie bees, make me think of making a movie in the style of the classic The Fly. With little bees hollering feed me…feed me…

The female A. borealis flies will inject their eggs into a honeybee’s abdomen soon after coming into contact with the bee, the researchers saw in their laboratory. About seven days later, up to 25 mature fly larvae emerge from the area between the bee’s head and thorax. In the wild, no more than 13 larvae were observed busting from a single honeybee.The researchers found that parasitized bees in the wild abandon their hives and congregate near light sources, where they begin to behave strangely. A bee near death typically will sit in one place and curl up, but these infected bees walked around in circles, appearing disoriented and with little equilibrium, often not being able to stand up.“They kept stretching [their legs] out and then falling over,” Andrew Core, biology graduate student at San Francisco State University and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “It really painted a picture ofsomething like a zombie.”Core and his colleagues found that the honeybees most likely to become infected by the parasite were the ones that left their hives to forage at night, rather than the daytime foragers. The researchers also discovered fly pupae near dead bees at the bottom of their laboratory hive, suggesting that A. borealis can multiply within a hive and potentially infect a pregnant queen bee.

A lost world has been found around the dark hot hydrothermal vents in the seafloor near Antarctica.

Communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica, clustered in the hot, dark environment surrounding hydrothermal vents.

The discoveries, made by teams led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, and British Antarctic Survey, include new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, and sea anemones, and even an octopus probably new to science.
For the first time researchers, using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), have been able to explore the East Scotia Ridge deep beneath the Southern Ocean where hydrothermal vents, including ‘black smokers’ reaching temperatures of up to 382 degrees Celsius, create a unique environment lacking sunlight but rich in certain chemicals.
The team report their findings in this week’s PLoS Biology.
‘Hydrothermal vents are home to animals found nowhere else on the planet that get their energy not from the Sun but from breaking down chemicals, such as hydrogen sulphide,’ said Professor Alex Rogers of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, who led the research. ‘The first survey of these particular vents, in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, has revealed a hot, dark, ‘lost world’ in which whole communities of previously unknown marine organisms thrive.’

And in Australia, scientist have found the first Hybrid shark.

Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world’s first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan.

“It’s very surprising because no one’s ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination,” Morgan, from the University of Queensland, said.

“This is evolution in action.”

Just like climate change has caused Polar bears to bread with Grizzlies…some of you may remember these bears that were shot by Inuit hunters a few years back. The polar bear grizzly hybrids are called grolar bears.

An extremely rare “grolar bear“—a polar-grizzly bear hybrid—was shot and killed by an Inuit hunter in Canada’s Northwest Territories last month.Global warming has reportedly been driving grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) farther north in search of food, bringing them into polar bear (U. maritimus) territory. Polar bears, meanwhile, are finding themselves stranded on land instead of their usual sea ice, bringing them into contact with the grizzlies.This is only the second time that a grolar bear has been encountered in the wild and confirmed, but even with its rarity, it is more distinctive than expected. DNA tests released by the N.W.T. Environment and Natural Resources Department reveal that this was actually a second-generation grolar bear—meaning one of its parents (its mother) was already a polar-grizzly hybrid. The father was a purebred grizzly, the tests found.

Climate Change? Move along, nothing to see here!

Let’s end this with an amazing touchdown flip…those of you familiar with gymnastics, check it out.

Wasn’t that awesome? Damn! What an athlete…

 

 

 

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30 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Send in the clowns…”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Rick Santorum, an idiot who wants to ban any form of birth control, is essentially the “winner” coming out of Iowa. Where he goes from here is anybody’s guess since he may have some strong support in SC where these views are considered “wholesome”.

    Romney once again proved that 25%, a number that has hovered over him for the past year, makes him “viable” as the nominee. But it also reaffirms that the GOP just can’t stand him.

    My guess is that even had been running alone all these agonizing months, he would still be at 25%.

    So the GOP is offering a zealot, a racist, and another empty suit to carry the day. Obama, who is hardly a “prize” himself must be feeling pretty confident along about now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Nate Silver on Romney winning ugly:

      What Mr. Romney did not do, in either a literal or a figurative sense, was wrap up the nomination. A resounding victory in Iowa might have come closer to accomplishing that, but not one with these aesthetics. Here comes the ugly stat sheet: an eight-vote margin of victory, a vote share lower than Mr. Romney attained in 2008, a failure to beat Mr. Santorum among registered Republicans and the lowest-ever winning percentage in the Iowa caucus. Then there was the fact that Mr. Romney’s campaign, which had so carefully managed expectations in Iowa for months and months, did an inexplicably poor job of it at the end. I’m not sure that Mr. Romney will get much of a “bounce” in New Hampshire — he did not significantly beat his polling average, which is the best objective predictor of it — although he did not really need one to begin with.

      Instead, the question remains unresolved as to whether a more conservative candidate could potentially consolidate support as candidates like Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann drop out of the race. That candidate, as Jonathan Bernstein notes, is now most likely to be Mr. Santorum.

      • dakinikat says:

        Santorum has been a lobbyist for six years and was named one of the most corrupt senators on the hill at one point. The christobans might get a hard on for him but wait until the tea party hears about his insider career.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    A perfect summarization by ralphb’s favorite pundit – and now becoming mine! – about last night’s “victory lap”:

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/rick-santorum-iowa-caucus-results-6632446?click=pp

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Price has been on a roll lately…

    • Beata says:

      Chris Matthews was literally drooling ( or was it just spitting? ) over Santorum’s “I was born a coal miner’s grandson” shtick speech after the caucus. Yeah, it was “brilliant”. I cried. Too bad Little Ricky wants to destroy the safety net for the poor that his grandfather no doubt would have supported.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Well, it came down to 8 points…Squeaker of a victory in hand, Romney looks to NH – Yahoo! News

    The former Massachusetts governor was declared the winner of the leadoff presidential caucuses in the wee hours Wednesday by just eight votes, bringing down the curtain on an improbable first act in the campaign to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama in the fall.

  4. Woman Voter says:

    Fly parasite turns honeybees into zombies. So on the TV show The Walking Dead, would those zombie bees be called buzzers?

    Boy, that comment made me laugh…imagine, hearing buzzz, buzzz, buzzz and then realizing they are dead buzzers…eak. :lol:

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Romney is about to get the kiss of death, endorsement by McCain.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedpolitics/mccain-to-endrose-romney-tomorrow

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    The “kiss of death” will come when Quiterella slaps on her wig, false eyelashes and the granny glasses and issues a gushing “kudo” to whomever it is she selects.

    My money was on Newt but I now believe it will be Rick “Ban Birth Control” Santorum who will fit in nicely with the worldview that only god can decide how crowded the planet becomes and which uterus can bear multiple pregnancies a la the Duggers.

  7. MediaShift . Top 10 Media Stories of 2011: Arab Spring; R.I.P. Steve Jobs; Phone Hacking | PBS

    http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/12/top-10-media-stories-of-2011-arab-spring-rip-steve-jobs-phone-hacking362.html