Daily Archives: June 18, 2009

Cat Origins

Through the filter of time … a repost that may still be interesting to you from two years ago.

The NYT is running a piece discussing the domestication of the cat.

I love watching wild cats. It is fairly easy to see them in the Kalahari, where the population of cats is almost certainly untouched by genetics of any domesticated form. Despite the kitty-osity shown in the photograph provided with the NYT article, the actual wild cats show themselves to be very different than the domesticated ones. They don’t look the same, they don’t act the same, they don’t have the same overall pattern of affect we see in domestic cats.

You look at them, they look at you, and you think “holy crap, if that cat was the size of a large dog, I’d be dead right now…”
Continue reading Cat Origins

Rape Study Shocks … people who have not been paying attention.

One in four South African men … said they had raped someone … three out of four who admitted rape attacked for the first time while in their teens.

… practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.

The research was conducted in both rural and urban areas and included all racial groups.

… the study found that 73% of respondents said they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.

Almost half who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once.

One in 20 men surveyed said they had raped a woman or girl in the last year.


Hat Tip, Analiese.

Bad Advice for Pregnant Women

People like to help pregnant women.

On buses it is routine to give up one’s seat for a pregnant woman. In Boston, drivers try less hard to run over pregnant women in crosswalks. And so on. But sometimes good intentions can lead to bad advice.

First, I’d like to point out that there is reasonably good evidence that obesity has negative health effects, and obesity in relationship to pregnancy is probably worse. So women who are planning on getting pregnant should probably trim down a bit if they need to. Also, exercise is good for many many reasons, so women who are planning on getting pregnant should look at their own exercise and activity routines and see if some adjustment can be made in those areas. And certainly, activity levels and patterns of diet and fat storage are all related, so in making these considerations do remember that this is all an interconnected complex whole.

And then, if you do actually get pregnant, don’t listen to anyone.

Or at least, think about the advice you are getting when people are yammering at you.

In particular, cast off and ignore the following pieces of advice that you will receive again and again and again:

1) Forget about healthy eating, just shove whatever food is in front of you into your mouth, preferably focusing on saturated fats; and

2) Stop all forms of exercise for the next several months as your brood develops inside you.

Now, you might be thinking “I’ve never heard anyone say those things to a pregnant woman” but if you are thinking that, then you are just not listening. You hear it all the time. Maybe not in exactly those words, but this is what people are telling the pregnant women.

You, the pregnant woman, are NOT eating for two. You are one person, you weigh somehwere between 90 and 160 pounds (leaving lots of room for variation) and for the first third of your pregnancy, the unit of additional biomass that you are also eating for will reach a whopping two pounds or so. So for your first trimester you need to increase your intake by about one percent to make up the difference. In the last trimester, you’ll have a lot more extra tissue that you are feeding via your blood supply, but still, imagine a 7 pound baby and add 7 pounds overhead (because for some reason we never weigh the placenta as part of the baby, even though it is, and there’s the expanded uterus) and you get 14 pounds. Maybe, maybe, the additional tissue that you are feeding will be about 8-15 percent.

If you were eating for two you’d be eating 200% of your normal diet, and to do that in terms of calories, you are going to have to eat a LOT of fatty foods because there is just not enough time in the day to double your caloric intake by eating leaves and other low-quality “diet” food.

In terms of activity levels, I would say that a pregnant woman should start, by the end of the first trimester, to avoid activities in which you have an elevated risk of injury. Motorcycle racing, water skiing, that sort of thing. This is because of the significant added medical complications of combining trauma with pregnancy. Later, activity levels will also have to be modulated in certain ways because of balance issues, and the simple fact that certain activities could damage the offspring directly. So no fencing or boxing.

But activity levels need to be maintained just to keep healthy for a reasonable amount of time, adjusting as needed for all those common issues that happen late in pregnancy.

In other words, when it comes to activity levels and types, as well as diet, follow the advice of:

  • Mainstream books and possibly web sites
  • Your doctor and/or
  • Your certified midwife

Ignore the advice of

  • Everybody else that you know, especially
  • Anyone who has had a baby but not in the last five years or more; and especially especially
  • Anyone who has not had a baby

…. when they tell you to sit quietly on the couch and eat ice cream for six months. As much as that sounds like it might be fun.

And take your prenatal/pregnancy vitamins, of course.

Franken-Coleman Recount Decision: Maybe not today.

The Minnesota Supreme Court spokesperson Lissa “No-that-is-not-a-typo” Finne has told Greg Sargent’s Blog that the other blogs suggesting that the court would issue a decision today are incorrect. Finne indicates that sometimes the court tells the involved parties on Monday about a decision on Thursday, other times they come out with notification only minutes before the decision is announced.

So, this means … who knows. Don’t be holdin’ yer breath is all.

Obama Kills House Fly on One Try!!!!!

PETA has become the laughing stock of the Planet Earth when it called for a change in US government policy regarding the swatting of flies by the POTUS.

From the PETA web site:

Well, I guess it can’t be said that President Obama wouldn’t hurt a fly. The commander in chief was recently pestered by a fly during an interview. He swatted at the insect and killed the little guy instantly.

Believe it or not, we’ve actually been contacted by multiple media outlets wanting to know PETA’s official response to the executive insect execution.

In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn’t the Buddha, he’s a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.

If all this has you wondering how you can be a bigger person (figuratively, as well as literally) in your dealings with exoskeletal beings, check out our handy-dandy bug catcher–one of which we are sending to President Obama for future insect incidents.

The incident was captured on film:

I feel very strongly that I want a president who can kick Musca ass. I applaud the president’s hands on approach in this matter.

Franken-Coleman Senatorial Race Decision Expected …. Any Time Now

According to various sources which can not be named but that are being reported by the Capitol Report, the Minnesota Supreme Court is likely to make a decision today, Thursday, June 18th. If the decision is anything other than to support (uphold) the decision of the three judge panel which previously ruled in Franken’s favor, several legal experts in the state and across the country are going to drop dead on the spot of shock and chagrin.

It is not know if Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is going to be ordered by the court to produce an election certificate, but it is generally thought that he will not issue one unless so ordered. If the court does not order the Governor to carry out his legal duty, it may be required that Franken makes an argument to the court to do so.

One thing people have not commented on yet to my knowledge is this: In the event that Franken has to argue for the court to order Pawlenty to act on the court’s ruling, what sort of argument will Coleman make to the contrary? That could be interesting.

In the mean time, I understand the Coleman legal and recount team has offered its services to parties in Iran. I wish I was joking about that.

Photo Shop on Windows vs. Ice Cream (ice cream wins)

So, Amanda had some 400 photographs that needed to be viewed, selected from (maybe a several dozen selected), then each chosen photo converted to jpeg format, resized to 100o pixels wide and saved.

She began the process on her Windoze laptop. The first photograph took about a minute or two. Realizing that the conversion of the photo had to happen before she could decide whether to use that image or not, I quickly calculated that she had about an hour of work in front of her.

The photos happen to be on a flash card. So, I intervened.

“Let me have those photos for a minute.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“Watch ….”

Flash card plugged into Linux server.

Photos copied into folder inside a Samba share linked to Amanda’s laptop

Bash shell window open.

Tappity tap tap tappity tap… a simple one liner … Enter.

“This is going to take about 20 minutes. Let’s go get ice cream.”

“Ice cream!!!”

So we went and got ice cream and came back and the images were all converted and resized. Now it would only be a matter of deleting the photos she did not want.

So, I’m eating my ice cream and Amanda says, “Well, that was easy. Can we do this to this other group of 600 photos?”

No problem. We have lots of ice cream.

Any guesses as to what the one liner looked like?