Friday Reads: Bad Boys, Bad Boys …

tumblr_mlluq8wR2x1qgn7e1o1_500Good Morning!

So, I’ve had a long week of saying “wtf is wrong with these people?”  Here’s a link to one story in Arizona that went straight straight to the top of the list.

A student holding a sign that read “You deserve rape” ignited outrage across campus Tuesday, on the same day of a sexual assault awareness event, but administrators declined requests to remove him or his sign.

Dean Saxton — also known as Brother Dean Samuel — regularly preaches on the UA Mall in front of Heritage Hill and the Administration building. On Tuesday, his sermon drew the attention of onlookers, several of whom either personally confronted him or complained to the Dean of Students Office.

The Dean of Students Office received stacks of written complaints, emails and multiple phone calls regarding Saxton’s sermon about women, said Kendal Washington White, interim dean of students.

Saxton has never directly threatened anyone in particular, and his language has been general enough that he isn’t targeting a particular person, White said. However, a university attorney was contacted to discuss the situation.

“We find it to be vulgar and vile,” White said. “However, it is protected speech. He has yet to, at this point, violate the student code of conduct.”

Saxton, a junior studying classics and religious studies, said his sermon was meant to convey that “if you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped.”

“I think that girls that dress and act like it,” Saxton said, “they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”

Saxton’s sermon came ahead of the “Take Back the Night” event held Tuesday night, which aims to unite people against sexual violence. He said his decision to create the sign and display it was tied to the event and to the fact that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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So, I guess every critter on the planet has its share of bad behavior.  Ours just seems to be so much worse.   For bees, it’s nectar robbery.

TO MOST people, bumblebees are charming, slightly absurd creatures that blunder through garden and meadow with neither the steely determination of the honeybee nor the malevolent intention of the wasp. If you are a plant, though, things look rather different—for from the point of view of some flowering plants many bumblebees are nothing more than thieves. They rob them of their nectar and give nothing in return.

Nectar robbery, in which a bumblebee carves a hole in the side of a flower as a bank robber might cut his way into a vault, was discovered by Charles Darwin. This technique lets bees get at the nectar of flowers whose shapes have evolved to encourage their pollination by insects with long tongues, which can reach down narrow tubes.

Some bumblebees do have such tongues. But some do not. Short-tongued bees are, however, unwilling to deny themselves the bounty of nectar inside these flowers. Hence the hole-cutting. By breaking in in this way, though, a bumblebee nullifies the 100m-year-old pact between flowering plants and insects: that the plant feeds the insect in exchange for the insect pollinating the plant.

The question about nectar robbery that has intrigued biologists from Darwin onwards is whether the behaviour is innate or learnt. Darwin, though he originated the idea that many behaviour patterns are products of evolution by natural selection, suspected that it is learnt. Insects, in other words, can copy what other insects get up to. Only now, though, has somebody proved that this is true.

The observations were made by David Goulson (then at the University of Stirling, now at the University of Sussex), and his colleagues. To test his ideas he had to go from Britain to Switzerland, for only there could he find a flower of the correct shape to conduct the study.

His crucial observation was that when the flowers of an alpine plant called the yellow rattle are robbed, the entry holes—because of the structure of the flower—tend to be unambiguously on either the right-hand side or the left-hand side. Moreover, preliminary observation suggested that the holes in flowers in a single meadow are often all made on the same side. This led him to speculate that bumblebees in a particular area do indeed learn the art of nectar robbery from one another, and then copy the technique with such fidelity that they always attack a flower from the same side.

9.Job seekers, men standing in front of the Chicago Daily News building, looking at newspapers

Nectar robbery still doesn’t sound as bad as a slut slamming religious studies student.  We all know the evil done by Dick Cheney, but did you watch Chris Hayes and hear about his son-in-law?

MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Thursday night explained the key role Dick Cheney’s son-in-law played in keeping chemical plants free of regulations.

Concerns were raised in 2002 that chemical plants in populated areas — like the one that recently exploded in West, Texas — were vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The heads of Department of Homeland Security and Environmental Protection Agency had planned to regulate the security of chemical sites, but Dick Cheney’s son-in-law Philip Perry stepped in and informed them they lacked the authority to do so without congressional legislation.

At the time, Perry was serving as the general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

“Basically, the Bush administration from above pulled support for that bill because the chemical industry does not want to be regulated by the EPA,” Hayes said.

“Fast forward to 2007, and Philip Perry — again, Dick Cheney’s son-in-law — is at the Department of Homeland Security as general counsel. What he managed to do in an appropriations rider is slip in industry friendly language into the bill that moves the task of regulating chemical plants from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Homeland Security. But DHS is given none of the tools it would need to do that.”

It looks like wild populations of cheetahs may go extinct because of habitat encroachment.  It’s estimated that wild cheetahs may have less than 20 years left.  Here’s a heartwarming story about a good dog and a cheetah.  We’re ruining their habitat but a few folks are trying to help

It’s hard to fathom, a dog and a cheetah living together in a zoo?  But it’s true, and it works.  ”It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,” said Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo.  Of the 19 cheetahs at the zoo, 4 have canine companions who play with them, watch out for them, and teach them to be more social.

“It is all about comforting and reassuring the cheetah,” said Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where there are also 4 cheetahs with dogs.  Cheetahs are not social animals, which makes it difficult for them to mate, and may be their biggest threat in fighting extinction.  They are by nature skittish, so having dogs with them, who are by nature social seems to be a comfort.

“In this relationship, the dog is dominant, but we look for dogs that want to be a buddy,” Rose-Hinostroza said. “The dog always has the cat’s back, but it’s never the other way around. Dogs worry about their cats. They protect their cats.”  For that reason they are not always together, for example during mealtimes they are separated so the dogs eat kibble and the cats eat steak.  ”The dogs are the bosses in these relationships,” Rose-Hinostroza said. “If they ate together there would be one really fat dog and a really skinny cheetah.”

The cheetahs are doing their part to help the dogs too, since most of the companion dogs are rescued from shelters for their new job.  They are paired up when the cheetahs are cubs, around 3 months old.  This is idea is not a new one, in Africa dogs have been used for decades to protect sheep from cheetahs.  This in turn, keeps the cheetahs from being killed by farmers.  ”For the first time in 30 years, the cheetah population in the wild is on the rise because ranchers don’t have to shoot them anymore. They don’t need to shoot them. The dog is that effective at keeping the cheetah away from the herd,” Rose-Hinostroza said.

Austerity policies are bringing record high unemployment to Spain while unemployment is going up all over the continent.

Spain’s unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.2% of the workforce in the first quarter of 2013, according to official figures.

The total number of unemployed people in Spain has now passed the six million figure, although the rate of the increase has slowed.

The figures underline Spain’s struggle to emerge from an economic crisis which began five years ago.

A big demonstration in Madrid is being planned against the austerity measures.

On Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will unveil fiscal and policy measures aimed at halting recession in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy.

“These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy,” said Jose Luis Martinez, strategist at Citi.

That is basically the same levels of unemployment that this country endured during the peak of its great depression. I really hope that these idiots seen that the lessons we learned during the Great Depression are still valid and stop causing misery through the world.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?