Wednesday Reads: Tuktuks, “Closet Cases” and Coke HeadsPosted: May 29, 2013
Eeek….more doctor appointments today. I can’t wait until all these things are over and done with, the family had to put off follow-up and re-check appointments because of the last few weeks of the kid’s school. So now these doctor visits or lab work or ct scans etc., seem to be scheduled every other day…it is exhausting.
Real weird news items for you today, check this out: Mammoth find: Preserved Ice Age giant found with flowing blood in Siberia
Russian scientists discovered a fully-grown female mammoth with blood and well-preserved muscle tissue trapped in ice in Siberia. The findings come amid debates on whether the extinct species should be resurrected using DNA.
Scientists say they have managed to find mammoth blood during the excavation of a grown female animal on the Lyakhovsky Islands, the southernmost group of the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic seas of northeastern Russia.
The dark blood was found in ice cavities below the belly of the animal. When researchers broke the cavities with a poll pick, the blood came flowing out. The fact surprised them because the temperature was 10C below zero.
“It can be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryo-protective properties,” said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University as cited by Interfax news agency.
The blood was placed in a test tube and a bacteriological analysis of the sample is expected soon.
The muscle tissue of the animal was also well-preserved and had a natural red color of fresh meat, added the scientist. Such preservation can be explained by the fact that the lower part of the mammoth’s body was trapped in pure ice, while the upper part was discovered in the middle of the tundra. The trunk was found separately from the carcass.
The female mammoth was between 50 and 60 years old when she died…but dark blood flowing out? Wow, isn’t that amazing? I wonder if this lower part of the mammoth will be preserved well enough to obtain better or complete DNA, then we can get to cloning these babies. I’d love to try spinning some of the fiber from a woolly mammoth.
More news of the “odd” variety, I guess even Al Qaeda has their own version of Milton: The Shortcomings of Al Qaeda’s Worst Employee
Al Qaeda’s mission may be “overthrowing godless regimes” and replacing them with Islamic ones, according to its handbook, but even that is still a tangible goal, and the group has corporate-style protocols for achieving it. And just like any corporation, Al Qaeda has to deal with personnel problems. On Tuesday, the Associated Press told the story of the group’s biggest human resources headache yet, in the form of Moktar Belmoktar, an ambitious regional commander in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who bridled under the group’s strict structure and, after AQIM sent him a letter detailing his shortcomings, split off to form his own organization. That scolding letter, which sounds remarkably like a corporate communique rebuking an out-of-line middle manager, was Belmoktar’s last straw. And the AP found a copy.
After he split from AQIM, Belmoktar went on to take credit for January’s hostage crisis at an Algerian gas field, and an attack on a French uranium mine in Nigeria this month, attacks he apparently carried out to show up his former AQIM managers and rivals. The AP found the copy of the letter to Belmoktar in a building in Mali formerly occupied by Al Qaeda fighters. It details his faults, from failing to file his expense reports to a lack of teamwork. The highlights, below:
Does not work well with others: “Abu Abbas is not willing to follow anyone,” AQIM wrote, referring to Belmoktar by his nom de guerre, Khaled Abu Abbas. “He is only willing to be followed and obeyed.”
Oh, that does not sound like Milton at all! No…that sounds more like, Nurse Ratchet.
Poor allocation of resources: AQIM’s Osama bin Laden-approved business model was to kidnap tourists and aid workers, hold them for ransom, then use the money to buy arms and carry out attacks. But Belmoktar didn’t manage his resources to their satisfaction, per the letter: “(The chapter) gave Abu Abbas a considerable amount of money to buy military material, despite its own great need for money at the time. … Abu Abbas didn’t participate in stepping up to buy weapons,” it says. “So whose performance deserves to be called poor in this case, I wonder?”
Not “stepping up” eh? Yes poor performance indeed…can’t argue with that.
Failure to achieve performance goals: “Any observer of the armed actions (carried out) in the Sahara will clearly notice the failure of The Masked Brigade to carry out spectacular operations, despite the region’s vast possibilities — there are plenty of mujahedeen, funding is available, weapons are widespread and strategic targets are within reach,” AP quotes from the letter. “Your brigade did not achieve a single spectacular operation targeting the crusader alliance.”
Wait, maybe that is more like Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross?
In other far out news stories: Mount Everest base jump marks 60th anniversary of first ascent
An extreme sport star from Russia has successfully completed the world’s highest base jump – leaping off the north face of Mount Everest.
Valery Rozov made the jump from a point 7,220m (23,680ft) above sea level.
The stunt took more than two years to plan and marked almost 60 years to the day the anniversary of the first ascent up Mount Everest.
Video at the link.
Remember that Egyptian Revolution from a couple of years ago? Egypt’s youths feel disenfranchised after revolution
Young activists who helped topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak say they have been politically sidelined by a society that favors the older generation.
Egypt‘s 2011 uprising was often referred to as a youth revolution, but two years after longtime President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office, many in the younger generation say they feel more politically isolated than ever.
The country is beset by severe political and social divisions as the struggle between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents persists.
Young activists across the political spectrum say they have been sidelined, prevented from participating in the leadership and management of post-Mubarak Egypt by a patriarchal culture that favors the older and supposedly more experienced.
“We received nothing of what we fought for and what some of us died for,” said Mostafa Sherif, 29, an unemployed mechanical engineer. “We did not get our freedoms, the rights for which people died, the economy is doing much worse than ever, and it seems like we’re in need of a new revolution.”
Joblessness among the young has been one of Egypt’s main and persistent issues for years. But with the economy’s steady decline since the 2011 uprising, job opportunities have dwindled further.
Officially, the unemployment rate rose to nearly 13% in the last quarter of 2012, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said in its latest report. That’s up from 9% in a 2010 census. Many believe, however, that the true unemployment rate is much higher.
Pushed out of both the job market and the political sphere, many young people in Egypt are exploring alternatives.
“A lot of my friends are either looking for ways out of the country or have already left,” Sherif said. “We fought hard for too long and nothing came of it, so now we feel unwelcome, like there’s no space for us anymore.”
That is a long read, so click the link to the LA Times article and read the rest.
This next video from BBC is about a woman who drives a tuktuk… India’s Trailblazers: The female tuktuk driver
India and the country’s attitude towards women have been in the spotlight for some months, following a series of violent assaults.
But far from seeing themselves as potential victims, some Indian women are breaking into industries usually dominated by men.
As part of its series on India’s Trailblazers, BBC News spoke to one woman, who works as a tuktuk driver in Delhi.
That job takes guts. I tell you…
One thing though, those tuktuks are cute. My dad is always going on about these little tuktuk things, that he would one day like to have a fleet of these cars/bikes/motorcycles that would drive people around Banjoville. It won’t work around here, not the kind geography or urban setting to keep a tuktuk busy.
Alright, almost done with the post, before I get to the final story…you may find this link interesting. The future of news, as viewed from 1993: What we got right, and very wrong – GeekWire
Twenty years ago, we sat at the dawn of the web age (Mosaic, the first image-friendly, general-use web browser, was introduced later the same year). It was a time before widespread broadband, smartphones, social media, Google or Chat Roulette.
Reviewing the transcript from JForum’s Future Media board (written as individual email-like posts strung together over several weeks under the common subject line, “Are Newspapers Dead?”), the messages reveal impassioned predictions and obligatory snipes, and retroactively show how prognosticators could wind up off track, sometimes wildly so.
I’ve also been wrong. In a lengthy 1992 essay for Analog Science Fiction and Fact (later excerpted in the Seattle Times), I predicted that the coming plethora of news channels and “online” news would lead to a renaissance in original reporting to fill the increased news hole. It never occurred to me that the extra time would instead largely be filled by talking heads commenting on the reporting of others, an oversight that makes anything I wrote that did turn out to be correct (such as the democratization of information and the use of smart filters to select news) pale in comparison.
Here are historical views of the future of news from 1993, along with thoughts on where, and perhaps why, some went sideways:
Go see what was being kicked around on the CompuServe’s JForum (a.k.a. Journalism Forum) — dated May, 1993. You may find yourself laughing and shaking your head…
Okay, now let’s end with this:
And what goes for news these days?
They’ve deleted it from their site now, but if you hurry you can still see Examiner.com’s freaky anti-Obama conspiracy fantasy in the Google web cache: Was President Obama High on Coke While Benghazi Burned? – Arlington Conservative | Examiner.com.
“Arlington Conservative” is Dean Chambers, the delusional nutbag responsible for one of the funnier websites in recent memory, Unskewed Polls. And he based his crazed hallucinatory article on something he read at Hillbuzz.org, where they’re even more unhinged than Dean Chambers.
It’s an absolute classic in the annals of whacked out right wing gay-sex-and-drugs fantasizing, bubbling up from the sub-Alex Jones far right. It has everything; homophobia mixed with a simultaneous sick fascination with gay sex, thinly buried racism, sheer insanity inspired by blind hatred turned up to 99.
That link to LGF has the full text typed out and quoted, here is just a little nugget to tempt you, go to the link to read the rest… seriously, go read the rest of this thing you won’t be disappointed:
While our consulate in Benghazi was attacked during the night of September 11 of last year, our fearless leader was allegedly hiding away somewhere getting “high as a kite” on cocaine. This is the speculation of Kevin DuJan, a self-described “gay conservative political analyst” writing for a publication called HillBuzz.
“If you’ve ever known anyone who is a drug addict, you’d see it’s obvious that Barack Obama was high on cocaine the night of Benghazi; it is the only logical explanation for his disappearance and the White House’s refusal to comment on what he was doing at the time. Since this was a night of great crisis for our country, the only logical reason that the White House won’t explain where the president was is if this man was high as a kite on illegal narcotics at the time.”
I’ll just end it on that note, but any “news” article that has this statement regarding the expertise of DuJuan’s fellow nut theorist named Justine, and I quote:
…ran in the same circles as friends of closeted gay men like Rock Hudson…
Uh, you know it will be…”juicy.”
What’s going on in your neck of the woods? If you have time, leave a comment below!