Back on January 10, 2013, I wrote a whimsical missive about how Floridians may be the stupidest, and most dangerous, morons on Earth. Not much has changed since then. Back then they authorized regular citizens to wander the Everglades and hunt pythons with handguns. For those who don’t party with giant constrictors, pythons can get to twenty feet long, a couple hundred pounds, and can kill and eat a four or five year old child without effort. Hunting them with handguns is akin to hunting rogue elephants with a slingshot. It can be done, but your aim better be amazing since you won’t get a second shot. Long time fan of the Friday edition of The Big Wake Up Call, the weekly radio companion to this blog, Roger (last name withheld by request) over at Smithsonian Magazine, sent me THIS LINK to update me on how well things have gone since then. [Read more…] about The Joys of Extinction
Before the Comics Code Authority comics told stories. Yes, many were silly, some were obvious rip offs of others, but, in the main, they told stories. They tended to love America, wish all people were treated equal, and offered new ways to look at old problems. To be honest, they had problems too. Societal racism was a constant thing and comic creators were no more immune to it than anyone else. Some confronted it, others continued it. I could do an entire dissertation on race in comics and still not scratch the surface. But, after the Comics Code, any sense of nuance died. Any attempt to tackle social issues was shelved. For a simple example, Batman, in 1939, was a vigilante who killed and worked with the seedy underbelly of society to mete out a larger theme of justice. After …? Bang, zoom, pow. The Batman of the ’60s. [Read more…] about Stay Home and Ignore People
Unlike my usual stuff, this is tied directly to Chicago sports, and the early part of the century. It’s a part of my life that’s gone, but which I still take pride in. Even if you don’t get all the references, I hope you enjoy the story.
Jay the Joke was started out by Patrick Dahl (son of Steve & Janet) and his partner in crime, Matt Lynch. It was built exclusively to belittle Jay Mariotti. Yes, I know, low hanging fruit and all that. Still and all, they got a lot of pub, made the site into something fun, and used it, in part, to springboard their careers.
I bought the site in 2008 and turned it into more of a local sports site which still managed to take nasty, and hilarious, swipes at the little man*. With help from MLB.com I was able to get access to stuff no one else had and the site became the guilty go-to stop for real sportswriters, several of whom I am friends with to this day. More than once I had a story days or weeks before the regular media. [Read more…] about Those Halcyon Days of Yore
It’s easy to yell at the news and find fault with anything that disagrees with your worldview. That’s not your fault. It’s a byproduct of evolution. We needed to stay with our tribes, support those around us, ensure our survival by any means necessary. Sadly, evolution hasn’t quite caught up with where we’re at now. We’re not sitting on the veldt hoping to find the next mammoth so dinner would be assured. We no longer need to hunt our food. Our community, thanks to electronic communications, is the world, not what’s just within our sight. And that’s difficult to grasp. It’s easy to say a million of this or a million of that. But what does that mean? The human brain isn’t built to conceptualize numbers like that, so it retreats into the familiar. The same applies to global concepts. What does global climate change mean? Can you sum it up in a quick blurb? If not the mind will try to do so anyway. What does rampant gun violence mean if you have to take action against members of your own tribe? More often than not it becomes something the mind shoves aside. [Read more…] about Narrowing Your Field
Last week I wrote about how human limb regeneration research had hit a roadblock and wasn’t advancing at its projected pace. This was, and is, true. But, as several readers who are smarter than me, HI EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG, pointed out, some stunning advances had still taken place. For those of you who haven’t followed my various articles over the last few years, I’ll just toss in a brief synopsis. Several invertebrates, such as worms, and some amphibians, including a variety of lizards, can regrow their limbs after they are lost. This renders a tragedy into a minor inconvenience. Humans, you may have heard, do not possess this ability. But, since we are all evolved from the same basic life forms, we do carry some of the genes other animals do which could allow this to happen in us. [Read more…] about This Could Grow On You
In 2018, Scientific Reports, a prestigious scientific journal, published the scientific equivalent of a fart in church. And I mean a loud one, that covered six rows in stink, that you may never live down. Or, so I’ve been told. Under the austere sounding title of Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adult than older age groups they claimed that using digital devices caused horns in young people. Specifically millennials. Words can’t even begin to describe the many flaws in this mess, and most scientists ignored it when it first came out, but we’re now forced to give it a try. You see, someone in the “mainstream media” decided this was news, managed to not check a single claim and, WAH-LAH, the Washington Post reported “Horns” are growing on young people’s skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests. And we were off to the races. Somewhere between the evangelical freak out and toddler level humor, any semblance of truth got got mangled and ignored. [Read more…] about Do Cell Phones Make You Horny?
The path to medical cures is not a linear one. A couple of years ago scientists appeared to be on the verge of regrowing human limbs. That research has stalled. They haven’t quit trying, they just haven’t had replicable success. A few years ago helping paralytics walk was limited to cumbersome, and expensive, exo-suits. Now clinical trials are ongoing using stem cells and physical therapy. I could go on, but you get the basic idea. What seems promising one day suddenly isn’t, and what seemed like science fiction is suddenly real. But that’s how science works. You learn from failure and repeat success. As one scientist I know likes to say “I’ve never failed at a single thing, but I’ve learned more than anybody should.” She’s part of a team attempting to cure diabetes. The external pancreas, which does allow a person to live without insulin or food issues, works, but it’s not a true cure. What they want is a shot, or series of medicines or treatments, that heal the body, not just work around a part of it. [Read more…] about Nursing Back to Health
I wrote this back in August of 2015. It seemed to me like I’d covered all the bases and could call it a day. I was wrong. Uber announced they are going to launch a flying car service in select cities starting next year. There is one itsy-bitsy problem with that. I’ll start with the simple stuff, the Moller Skycar, written about here on several occasions, still doesn’t do what it claims and no one will license it for use. But, if you must have one, they’re dumping them on e-Bay. [Read more…] about Why Don’t You Know This?
Okay, I’ve written about the impending demise of all things a couple of times before. Back on March 21, 2014, I even managed to compile those depressing thoughts into a single article. And, you know what? Things have gotten worse, not better. Science denial has become fashionable. The sale of hex signs, to ward off demons, has escalated, the rejection of facts has become acceptable, and we are – to be polite – in deep shit. As I noted back then “According to Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Neil Dawe:Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don’t reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us … Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don’t exact immediate punishment on the stupid. In maybe the nicest way to say the end is nigh possible, Motesharrei’s report concludes that “closely reflecting the reality of the world today … we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” [Read more…] about We’re All Gonna Die!
Okay, Game of Thrones is, thankfully, over. My girlfriend loved the show, as did millions of others. I am not among their number. Before I dive into this I do want to be clear about a couple of things; (1), the acting was first rate, not a single character rang false. (2), George R.R. Martin, for good or ill, used every fantasy plot trope he could find. That was enough for many. My problem is that creating such a stulted universe automatically means the people living in it have to be idiots. I’ll give you a simple example. They built the wall to keep out the white walkers and the free folk eight thousand years ago. They have seven kingdoms in various stages of war, and a history of genocide when the “First Men” are considered. They also have horses. Which means they have horse piss. Which means they have saltpeter. That’s a prime ingredient for making gunpowder. [Read more…] about Game of Fools