December 6th, 2009

Illuminati

Science Is Nifty

A newly unearthed fossil is the missing link between land and marine mammals: Standing two to three feet tall on legs adapted to wade through shallow water, the 48-million-year-old Indohyus is the missing link between modern-day whales and their land-lubbing ancestors. Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy recovered the skeleton in rocks from Kashmir, a disputed region between India and Pakistan, where the deer-like herbivore lived during the Eocene epoch, 56 to 34 million years ago. The extreme thickness of its bones is a trait seen often in animals that are aquatic waders (thick, heavy bones counteract buoyancy and allow the animal to stay underwater more easily), and chemical traces in its teeth indicate that the animal ate plants in a freshwater environment. Scientists know that Indohyus belongs in the evolutionary path with whales because it has skeletal similarities to both modern whales and known primordial whale ancestors.


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A dead heart beats again, thanks to the efforts of scientists at the University of Minnesota. To rebuild and reanimate the organ, which was harvested from a rat, scientists first stripped the old heart cells away with a detergent typically found in shampoos. That left behind a collagen matrix—the protein fibers that hold groups of cells together and help give organs their overall shape—which they then reseeded with heart cells from a newborn rat. They attached the organ to electrodes and waited. Then it happened: The heart started to beat regularly. “We were all running around like crazy, scared that it would [just stop and] never beat again,” says team member Harald Ott, a surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The reanimation technique is now being tested on pig hearts, which are much closer in structure to human hearts than are rat hearts. Organs from built-to-order collagen matrices could help treat the five million Americans who suffer from heart failure and the some 2,600 patients currently waiting for transplant donors.


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These and 60 more really bad-ass images and accompanying descriptions available here.
Fuck You - Hammer

Brainwashing

So, Di and I went out for breakfast/lunch at the little diner near our place, Fat Dave's. Mid-way through our meals, we couldn't help but overhear the conversation at the next table. It was a father and young son (maybe 7 or 8 years old). The talk was all bible-related, and Dad was calmly but seriously going on about God and Jesus and whatnot.

Now, I'm a firm believer in the idea that you are entitled to your opinion in how you relate top the Universe, and if you choose to believe in any of the various flavors of religion, then I will support your right to do so and fight against anyone that tells you you can't or shouldn't. It's when your belief starts to infringe on others that I get twitchy about it. With that in mind, I wasn't going to interrupt his little Sunday School lesson, here. It wasn't any of my business, after all, but it was loud enough that I couldn't avoid hearing it.

Anyway, we picked up the convo as he was mentioning the fact that the Egyptians could see that the Israelites weren't going to be able to go form their own nation, as they weren't responsible enough or something. Look at them now, he said, Israel is just, quote, "a speedbump", unquote. That was where I started to lose my appetite. Things just went downhill form there, as he and the boy talked about the fact that obviously God was here on Earth, how other gods were false or impostors (and atheists and gays were evil), and how other mythological beasts were images of the evils of Man as disconnected from God. All this and plenty of other brain-washing lunacy, all backed up by mentions of the books of the bible that "proved" it. The kid joined in laughing at anything that wasn't Christian, nodding along and asking questions.

It was painful and sad to hear. I really wanted to turn around and point out that the other religious extremists that this guy so obviously supports us trying to destroy are telling their kids exactly the same things, and that perhaps he should consider the ramifications of that statement. However, as I said, this was not my business, and besides, I learned a long time ago that arguing with a zealot is like arguing with a brick wall: it doesn't matter what you say, it's going to remain the same as it was when you started, impassive and unchanged.

Also sad, because the child was obviously bright and curious. instead of his mind flowering and looking around to see possibilities, it's being stuffed full of this. He'll know one way to think, and he'll learn to blindly accept what he's told. I can only hope that when he's old enough to think for himself, he will look at things openly and make a decision about how he chooses to live his life that is untainted by what he's heard. Maybe he'll at least choose to live a Christian life that is concerned with peace and love and not close-minded adherence to rigor without question.
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I have to be careful when I chose to lean my chair back. Bettie deems that the cue to run up and sit on my chest/shoulder. Now, I don't mind this, really, but it does make it difficult to see or do much of anything on the computer. Like, say, right now.

She's beautiful, I love her, and she drives me batshit. See, I'm not kidding when I refer to her as my fuzzy girlfriend.
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Here's a fun drinking game for you. Head over to Plan59.com, and click on the link for the "Old Ads". Every time you come across an ad for beer, take a swig off your beer of choice. Something sponsored by the U.S. Brewers Association or the like? Drink again. Both? Drink twice.

Not only will you get a little sloshed, you'll laugh your ass off at the other ads.