This is Friday? I had no idea. We got back from Children’s Hospital of Atlanta Scottish Rite late last night. On Monday, my son Jake had a high sugar episode…up to 598. He now has Type 1 Diabetes and is Insulin Dependent. His life has changed completely and drastically. Even though he will be able to live a “normal” life in the long run, now things are bad. We spent three days in Atlanta at the hospital learning about his new regiment of blood glucose test, insulin shots, calculations and other things. It is overwhelming. He is now having low sugar numbers, and we are having to work through this, but it is getting a little easier each time.
As for the blog and the post:
I don’t know what is going on in my own life at the moment, much less what is going on out there. My newsblur reader is at close to 16,000 unread articles…and there is still so much to do. Anyway, the news? I am sure it is all shitty…I heard about the fucking SCOTUS ruling about the abortion clinic barrier infringing upon “free speech.” WTF is it? Women are going to end up in a worse situation by the end of this year, I feel it. (But then I am not very positive about anything right now.)
So I only have one cartoon tonight.
It is a good one.
This is an open thread.
No this is not a post about Dick Cheney. However, if I was going to write about that real life dick…I would not make a reference to the beloved White Whale from literary tales. (Yes, I am choosing a monster “fish” over a monster “man.”)
The morning reads are going to be rather slim, for now. I am running late…late…late and there is no way I can keep my eyes open much longer.
Seriously…down under, there was a cool ass video making the rounds.
One of the world’s rarest whaleshas been filmed frolicking in the ocean near Sydney by Australian camera crews.
The mammal – a male all-white humpback called Migaloo – is making its annual migration up the south coast, Australian media reported.
Other whales were seen making the journey with the stunning animal, much to the delight of whale watching tourists – and locals.
“It was really just so white and you could see him coming from a long way away because the water was turquoise wherever he was passing under,” said one witness.
According to Australian media, the famous whale can often be seen in waters off the New South Wales coast during the last week of June.
“He was travelling in a competition pod of five adults… and a great deal of zigging and zagging.”
A competition pod is where several males compete for the attention of a single female.
“There is an exclusion zone of 500 metres (yards) around him which we stuck to but with the nature of a competition pod it’s sometimes hard to predict where they will come up next.
“We got extremely lucky and had Migaloo come up just five metres next to our boat – what a sight that was!”
Humpback whales are currently on their annual southern migration from Antarctica to warmer waters in Queensland state to give birth and mate.
Oskar Peterson, who runs the Australian-based White Whale Research Centre, said a study by Southern Cross University in 2003 had shown Migaloo was male. He was now believed to be around 28 to 30 years old and humpbacks can live to 80.
“He is the only white whale in the southern hemisphere that we know of,” he told AFP.
“We have seen evidence of another white whale in the Northern Arctic Zone off Norway, but that is it.
“So it is a very rare sight. Some years you see Migaloo but other years he goes missing in action.”
In 2011, a baby white whale, believed to be just a few weeks old, was seen off Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands, but it has not been spotted since.
“We don’t know if it survived,” said Peterson. It was not known if the calf was Migaloo’s.
He added that Migaloo would gradually make his way as far north as Cooktown in the Australian tropics “singing songs trying to attract a mate” before the return trip to Antarctica later in the year.
Video at the link up top!
And some pictures of Migaloo from Google Images…
More yummy science links…in the marine biology field no less: Emperor Penguin Adapting to Climate Change: Study
Emperor penguins adapting to climate change better than expected, a new study suggests.
University of Minnesota researchers and colleagues have found that penguins are behaving in ways that could help them adapt to a warmer Earth.
Previous research had assumed that emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) were faithful to the nesting grounds or were philopatric. Satellite images now show that these penguins aren’t returning to the same location to breed.
The study team found six instances of penguins changing breeding grounds in a span of three years.
Michelle LaRue presented the study findings at the IDEACITY conference in Toronto. The study will be published in the journal Ecography.
“Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins,” said LaRue in a news release. “If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn’t make any sense. These birds didn’t just appear out of thin air-they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes.”
This isn’t the first study that has explored the changes in penguin behavior. A related research by British Antarctic Survey scientists and colleagues had shown that these birds were abandoning their traditional breeding grounds for stable ice shelves. In fact, penguins are now climbing steep ice shelf walls, some 30 meters or nearly 100 feet high, to find a good breeding spot.
Conservationists believe that loss of sea ice could reduce the number of penguins in the colonies.
In fact, Pointe Géologie population has declined by half since 1970s from 6,000 breeding pairs to 3,000 breeding pairs now.
Earlier, researchers had believed that Pointe Géologie was isolated and penguins never moved to other breeding grounds. New images of the colony show that there are several other breeding sites that the colony isn’t as isolated as assumed.
“It’s possible that birds have moved away from Pointe Géologie to these other spots and that means that maybe those banded birds didn’t die,” LaRue said in a news release. “If we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics. We’ve just learned something unexpected, and we should rethink how we interpret colony fluctuations.”
And just one more science story, until I can get to a longer post later today: Mountain top blown up to make way for world’s largest telescope
…the European Southern Observatory will blast the top off Cerro Armazones, a 3,000-metre-high mountain in the Chilean Andes.
Almost a million tonnes of rock will be blown away in the detonation. This will lower the mountain top by 40 metres and provide a plateau on which to build the world’s largest telescope.
The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is aptly named. It will be a single telescope with a primary mirror 39 metres across. This is almost four times as large as any other telescope yet constructed. It will collect light about 15 times faster than any other telescope, and will create images 16 times sharper than even the Hubble Space Telescope.
The primary mirror itself will not be a single circular slab of glass and aluminium. Instead it will consist of 789 1.4-metre hexagonal mirror segments that will be fitted and held together like kitchen tiles.
It will search for the as-yet unseen first galaxies to form in the universe, and be able to make direct observations of nearby planets around other stars. However you look at the E-ELT, it is a monster; a truly ambitious science project for the 21st century.
You can go to the link and see video of the explosion, and other cool stuff too.
So, until I see you later…think of this as an open thread.
And away we go….
This is an open thread.
My daughter’s pink goldfish. She won it at the fair two months ago. She brought the thing home near death…one eye was bright red, almost looking about to pop. It was swimming, limp like, off kilter. The poor little fish was beyond death’s door. But I took it and began to care for it. (My mother says I have magic healing powers when it comes to sick animals.) Within two days the eye was clear and normal. Within a week the thing was not just surviving, it was thriving.
All the other friends who won fish at the fair…those fish were dead. But this little pink goldfish, whom Bebe called Limited…was alive and happy. It had personality. It was a sense of pride, this little ichthyology miracle sitting on my living room side table.
I taught it where to go when it wanted to eat, a place just below a small opening on the cover of the fish tank, it is only a space maybe an inch by inch and a half…two inches. This is where I would drop it’s food. And believe me, the damn thing had grown in two months. Ltd. was at least two inches long now, maybe longer, and about an inch wide.
Well, guess you can imagine where I am going with this. A couple of days ago I found the fish dried-up, about three feet away from the tank, at the bottom of an empty laundry basket.
What the fuck? That is all I could say. I woke up late that morning. So it missed it’s feedings. But it must have seen people walking by repeatedly and no one fed him. It had to have done some sort of breech, like Moby Dick! Up and out of the tank through that little tiny hole. Sailing out there, through the air, and falling into the basket…only to slowly die a horrible death and wind up dried like a prune.
So fucking sad. Tragic. Shitty.
Anyway, here are the cartoons.
This is an open thread!
Oh, it has been an exhausting few days. Denny is adjusting well, but so much more to move between the two rooms. We are also finishing off another portion of the basement, into a TV room, it is a mess.
So a quick link round up for you this morning.
A series of video commentary from Mediaite:
Stewart mocked all the clichés coming from the Obama White House and its critics, not to mention how amid all this, President Obama himself made a big show in the Rose Garden about it. But Stewart also took on Fox News for the “ugly” way they quickly pivoted to remarking on the foreignness of Bergdahl’s father’s beard, pointing out that if you gave him a bandana and a duck whistle, Fox would love him.
At first, correspondent Samantha Bee was convinced it was the “right-wing nutjobs” who are the real villains here, before discovering “stage four science denial” exists in spades on the left. She attempted to contain the anti-vaccine disease as much as possible, but alas, you can’t shut down every Starbucks in New York City.
John Oliver spent 13 solid minutes railing against the FCC’s new rules that could put an end to net neutrality. At the end of the segment, Oliver urged his viewers to take their complaints directly to the FCC through a new comment system the agency recently set up at fcc.gov/comments.
That URL appeared on screen behind Oliver for 40 whole seconds as he rallied the internet’s most notorious commenters to “focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction.” It looks like it worked.
For much of Monday, viewers who saw Oliver’s rant flocked to the FCC website comments section in such large numbers that they effectively crashed the site. This Reddit thread sums up the difficulties many people had just trying to get the page to load let alone successfully post a comment to it.
The problems were bad enough that the FCC posted two tweets apologizing for the “technical difficulties” Monday afternoon…
Look at that…there is some traction for you. Talk about a “Colbert Bump,” I think Oliver has his own “Bump” to be proud of.
Then you have this last link from Mediaite, it is like People’s Court/Judge Judy/Maury Povich/LA Law all rolled into one…Judge Tells Attorney ‘I’ll Beat Your Ass,’ Actually Does It
We love it when trashy courtroom televised dramas become real life, like yesterday in (surprise, surprise) Florida.
The background: Judge John Murphy allegedly was trying to get a public defender to waive his right to a speedy trial, and said public defender wasn’t having it. After a heated exchange, Murphy descended from “impartial judge mode” to “Mortal Kombat mode”, according to WFTV:
“You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now,” Murphy tells Weinstock. “Stop pissing me off. Just sit down.”
“You know I’m the public defender. I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client,” Weinstock said in the video.
The judge allegedly asked Weinstock to come to the back hallway, an area where there are no cameras, which is where the fight broke out.
“If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass,” Murphy tells Weinstock before the two head out of the courtroom.
You can totally hear thuds and people awkwardly watching what we assume to be two middle-aged dudes punching the heck out of each other, as well as their relieved applause when deputies step in to break up the melee. Surprisingly, Murphy wandered back to the bench as if nothing happened, saying, “I will catch my breath eventually. Man, I’m an old man.”
Ha, “Get of my lawn!” …but better.
There was another crazy ass news story yesterday, from The Daily Beast:
Scott Fistler wasn’t having any success running for office as a white Republican in Arizona. So he switched parties and changed his name to Cesar Chavez.
Cesar Chavez is alive and running for Congress in Arizona. Or at least that’s what one white Republican wants Hispanic voters to believe.
The candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler, 38, refuses to say if he is actually Hispanic and is prone to wearing fedoras. He has spent the last two years of his life attempting to get elected as a Republican. First, he ran an unsuccessful campaign as a write-in against U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor—a Democrat. Then, he mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Phoenix city council.
Fistler (now Chavez) apparently took the hint that something about him was just not working for the people of Arizona, and in November petitioned a state superior court to legally change his name to that of the celebrated labor leader who died in 1993. The court granted his request for just $319.
This gets better:
In his petition for a name change, Fistler wrote that he had “experienced many hardships because of my name.”
Chavez did not respond to requests for a comment, other than to email the Arizona Capitol Times to say that because of how “flooded with calls and emails” his campaign has been, he is taking a break from media queries.
“There is just simply not enough Cesar Chavez to go around,” he wrote. “We may resume questions starting May 10 [sic].”
Chavez did lay out some ground rules for media questions, should he be able to get to them. Questions must be screened, no more than five questions, no question longer than five words and Chavez will not discuss his name change, he explained in the email.
But the iconic labor leader isn’t even the only Chavez whose name is being used by the local Chavez campaign. The Chavez for Congress website is covered in photos showing demonstrators rallying for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The name “Chavez” can be seen on balloons, signs and t-shirts of activists in the photos, which have mostly been lifted from Venezuelan news reports. They’re followed by captions like “Supporters: ‘We love you Chavez’” and “Sign: Vote for Chavez 2014.”
But back to the Daily Beast article for a minute:
Chavez’s campaign website is hosted on Blogspot, and his last post was on February 5th. The blog, which includes nothing about Chavez’s political positions or credentials, features the option to have it translated into Spanish. Fistler is a German name.
According to a selectively-answered questionnaire filled out by Chavez (then-Republican and then-Fistler) in 2013 while he was running for the Phoenix city council, he is a “precinct committeeman and Disabled veteran” who has lived in Arizona for eight years and has no criminal record. His favorite book is The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss and Rocky is the movie that has the most meaning for him. Fistler also listed his Twitter handle, @ScottFistler, where he goes by “SUPER MARIO.”
The questionnaire did not do much to illuminate Chavez’s political ideology. In his opinion, the greatest untapped opportunity for economic development in Phoenix is “everything that has not been touched yet that can improve our lives.” And when it comes to protection for the LGBT community, Fistler (now Chavez) wrote, “Phoenix does a great job.”
Most notably, his answer to a question about gun ads on bus stops can accurately be quoted as “no, because freedom.” While the answer contained additional verbiage, it maintains the same low level of intellectual content.
Oh yeah, and we all knew this was coming: No Drug Tests For Food Stamp Recipients, Feds Tell Georgia
But this next little news headline from Alabama is something you would think they would not have the balls to do: Bible School Uses Hitler Quote To Promote Education For Children (PHOTO)
Alabama-based Life-Savers Ministries (LSM) has admitted that it was probably a poor decision to select a quote from Adolf Hitler for use on a billboard supporting children’s education, reports Raw Story.
The large sign depicted a diverse group of smiling kids and incongruously declared, “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future,” attributing the quote to Hitler. Hitler said the phrase in 1935 during a speech at the Reichsparteitag in order to encourage young people to join the Hitler Youth.
Below the Hitler quote was a Bible verse which said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
These fucking assholes know they can get away with a stunt like this.
Oh yeah… see, they use this same old non-apology standard:
James Anderegg, founder of LSM, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that he was taking down the sign and “certainly never intended to cause confusion.” He added, “Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, ‘Children are our most valuable resource.’ We are a children’s organization and had honorable intentions and nothing less.”
Seriously. These people need to be called out for this shit.
This next link is a good read, so go give it your full attention, via The American Prospect, written by Andy Kopsa: Why You Should Be Worried About Missouri’s Extreme Abortion Bill
There is another rape scandal, this time involving an Ex-Blue Angels leader found guilty of allowing sexual harassment - Los Angeles Times
Japan on Monday started work on an underground ice wall at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, freezing the soil under broken reactors to slow the build-up of radioactive water, officials said.
The wall is intended to block groundwater from nearby hillsides that has been flowing under the plant and mixing with polluted water already there.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, the national watchdog, last week authorised construction of the ice wall at Fukushima Daiichi, owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO).
“We started construction of the frozen earth wall this afternoon,” a TEPCO official told a news conference in Tokyo.
The government-funded scheme will see 1,550 pipes laid deep in the soil through which refrigerant will be piped to create the 1.5-kilometre (0.9-mile) frozen wall that will stem the inflow of groundwater.
“We plan to end all the construction work in March 2015 before starting trial operations,” the company official said, adding that the ice wall could be fully operational several months after construction was completed.
The idea of freezing a section of soil, which was proposed for Fukushima last year, has previously been used to build tunnels near watercourses.
However, scientists point out that it has not been done on this scale before nor for the proposed length of time.
There is a cool graphic that explains how they are going to build this wall, and how the damn thing works…check it out.
As a medieval history major, the thought of returning to a feudal state scares the shit out of me…but look here: The road to serfdom goes through Minsk
Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko promised to sign a decree that would implement “serfdom” in Belarus villages, forbidding workers at collective farms from changing their employment or moving to town without the personal permission of high local officials….
“Yesterday, I was given a decree about, let’s speak frankly, ‘serfdom,’” stated Lukashenko.
In his own words, the decree will create tough regulation of the employee question in the agricultural sector….
In practice, what is being discussed is the rebirth in Belarus of the practice of Stalinist times, when Soviet peasants lacked internal passports and could legally leave the collective farm only in three ways — going to serve in the army, going to study in the city (with the permission of the chairman of the collective farm), or enlisting in special construction projects …. This practice was repealed in the 1960s by Nikita Khrushchev, but Alexander Lukashenko is ready to reinstate it….
“This decision at the presidential level has been ripening for a long time, and the current harvest is just the formal excuse,” said an anonymous source in the ministry of economics. “The problem is that people are simply fleeing the village. They are fleeing to local towns, to Minsk, where nearly one third of all Belarussians now live. Now three-quarters of the population of Belarus (7.275 million people) live in towns. In the villages are left only retirees and alcoholics, all the young people and the middle-aged people who are capable of work are leaving….”
Wow. This is what the rich GOP is licking its chops for…maybe I am wrong?
Oh, and since I brought up the buttheads: Newly discovered (and already endangered) cavefish has an anus near its head | Grist
Scientists from Louisiana State Baton Rouge and the University of Kentucky have discovered the first new cavefish species in the U.S. in over 40 years. What sets this delightfully hideous creature apart from all of the other stunningly hideous cavefish is that it has an anus right behind its head. How’s that for putting the ick in ichthyology?
Here’s a little more about the new find, named the Hoosier Cavefish, or Amblyopsis hoosieri, from the good folks at Sci-News:
The new fish is the closest relative of Amblyopsis spelaea, a previously known cavefish from the longest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
These two species are separated by the Ohio River, which also separates the states of Indiana and Kentucky.
They should have given a better name for this fish…perhaps a GOP Asshead? I don’t know…BB, you may get this name reference?
Undoubtedly it was someone on the University of Kentucky part of the team who picked the Hoosier moniker, probably as a tribute to famous Hoosier butt head Bobby Knight. Other names they might have considered for the shit-near-brains creature include the Really Crapie, the Bieber, and the Limbaugh Trout.
The crazy part is, we only just found these wigglers and they’re already endangered. Now that might be because they are blind, have an anus in their heads, and live in a cave — but the same could be said of their Kentucky neighbor Mitch McConnell and he seems to be doing fine. Perhaps it’s more a sign that we’re all in trouble.
Take it easy today, and have a good one!