There is the story of the Ukranian ruler, who was an intelligent and thoughtful scholar as well as a leader. One day, the ruler said a very insulting thing, which I will not repeat, about the Mongolian leader, Temujin. On hearing of this insult, Temujin turned from his looting and raiding in Turkmenistan, and marched his enormous, deadly army to Ukraine, where he kicked the Ukrainian ruler’s ass, then went home.
A few months later, the same Ukranian ruler did the same thing. He made terribly insulting remarks about the Mongol ruler Temujin, and made sure word got around that he had said these tings. Temujin, now busy raiding Uzbekistan, turned his attention back east, marched his giant, awful, smelly army to Ukraine, and kicked the Ukranian leader’s ass.
The same Ukranian leader, a few months later, mostly healed from the last attack, called his court together and began to issue yet another insult against the dangerous Temujin.
“But why are you doing this?” the head scribe asked, “when you know Temujin will hear of the insult, march back to Ukraine, and kick your ass again!”
“Because,” the Ukranian ruler said, in the voice of the intelligent and thoughtful scholar that he was, “Every time I insult this guy, he marches his deadly, awful, smelly army across Russia. Twice.”
Aprile Pazzo was about to call it a day when she noticed that the penguins she was observing seemed strangely agitated. Pazzo, a wildlife biologist, was in Antarctica studying penguins at a remote, poorly explored area along the coast of the Ross Sea. “I was getting ready to release a penguin I had tagged when I heard a lot of squawking,” says Pazzo. “When I looked up, the whole flock had sort of stampeded. They were waddling away faster than I’d ever seen them move.”
Pazzo waded through the panicked birds to find out what was wrong. She found one penguin that hadn’t fled. “It was sinking into the ice as if into quicksand,” she says. Somehow the ice beneath the bird had melted; the penguin was waist deep in slush. Pazzo tried to help the struggling penguin. She grabbed its wings and pulled. With a heave she freed the bird. But the penguin wasn’t the only thing she hauled from the slush. About a dozen small, hairless pink molelike creatures had clamped their jaws onto the penguin’s lower body. Pazzo managed to capture one of the creatures — the others quickly released their grip and vanished into the slush.
Over the next few months Pazzo caught several of the animals and watched others in the wild. She calls the strange new species hotheaded naked ice borers. “They’re repulsive,” says Pazzo. Adults are about six inches long, weigh a few ounces, have a very high metabolic rate — their body temperature is 110 degrees — and live in labyrinthine tunnels carved in the ice.
Perhaps their most fascinating feature is a bony plate on their forehead. Innumerable blood vessels line the skin covering the plate. The animals radiate tremendous amounts of body heat through their “hot plates,” which they use to melt their tunnels in ice and to hunt their favorite prey: penguins.
A pack of ice borers will cluster under a penguin and melt the ice and snow it’s standing on. When the hapless bird sinks into the slush, the ice borers attack, dispatching it with bites of their sharp incisors. They then carve it up and carry its flesh back to their burrows, leaving behind only webbed feet, a beak, and some feathers. “They travel through the ice at surprisingly high speeds, ” says Pazzo, “much faster than a penguin can waddle.”
Pazzo’s discovery may also help solve a long-standing Antarctic mystery: What happened to the heroic polar explorer Philippe Poisson, who disappeared in Antarctica without a trace in 1837? “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that a big pack of ice borers got him,” says Pazzo. “I’ve seen what these things do to emperor penguins — it isn’t pretty — and emperors can be as much as four feet tall. Poisson was about 5 foot 6. To the ice borers, he would have looked like a big penguin.”
I’ve identified the next retail item shortage. I’ll let you know what it is when I’m done hording. Any guesses?
Governor Walz was great in his press conference today the vis-a-vis police union. (Well, he seemed to be channeling me, so of course I agreed with him.)
Two things the national guardsman turned history teacher turned congressperson turned governor said: 1) if the police union was doing its job, it would have had provisions in place that would have protected Mr. Floyd; and 2) nobody is more upset about a bad teacher than the good teacher down the hall. (Walz is making the comparison at two points between a good teachers union, which protects students and quality education, and a cop union.)
Another thing that was discussed is the “sanctity of life” rule that most Americans, frankly, can’t imagine but that is followed in other countries.
Actual example given by our public safety head in the news conference: A man (in Camden, NJ) runs into a restaurant and slashes three people. In normal US police procedure, the first cop on the scene would blow him away with a firearm. Everybody would go, “Uh he deserved it uh.”
In “sanctity of life” procedure, in force in Camden, which “defunded” already, the cops surrounded him and when safe zapped him with ray guns or something and took him alive.
As per previous conversations here about the TV show Cops: We Americans do learn how to think about many things by watching fiction on TV. Go watch a few episodes of Flashpoint. It is a fictional TV series about a super trained elite urban (but sometimes suburban or even rural) S.W.A.T. team.
But since they are in Canada, instead of running around going “hut hut hut” and shooting at everything, they do it totally differently. The pilot is about a SWAT sniper who kills a person (because he has to) but then spends the rest of his career feeling really bad about it.
It is on Hulu, I think.
Now it is time to make fun of the cops. Hut hut hut, you’all.
Mouse is a small rodent with a cigarette shaped, elongated nose that actually kind of looks like a kitchen match. Mouse is either very clever, and knows how to gaslight a predacious bird, or is the most clueless rodent in the forest. Either way, this dark tale in a picture book is ideal to help 3-6 year olds understand some of the key realities of life … and near death.
My Best Friend,* a new, fresh, amusingly and skillfully illustrated book by Rob Hodgson, author of The Cave, could be your toddler’s first relationship book, or first nature book, depending on what the child takes from it. Let me know how it goes. The three kids I tried it out on loved it.
The term “ad hominem” means directed against a person.
If you are a racist, and I say you are a racist, then my statement is ad hominem. Note that the statement may be technically correct. I’m saying something about you, and you really are a racist, so my statement is correct. On the other hand, if you are not a racist, and I say you are a racist, that is an incorrect ad hominem statement. My statement is incorrect. Either way, I have not committed an “ad hominem fallacy.” I’ve simply made a statement about you, that may or may not have been correct.
So, what the heck is the meaning of the term “ad hominem fallacy” you may ask? (Note that the term “ad hominem” itself, or “ad hom” for short, has come to imply “ad hominem fallacy.”) In the above example, you might think that if I call you a racist and you are, that I have not committed a fallacy, but if you are a racist, I’ve not. In neither of the above examples, have I committed the ad hominem fallacy.
If I sent you to this post to read it, it is more likely because I think you’ve committed the fallacy of the ad hominem fallacy. This is a meta-fallacy. You have claimed that an ad hominem fallacy has occurred because someone has called someone a racist (or some other nasty thing, I’m using “racist” as an example here, obviously) whether the accusation is right or wrong. But your reference to the ad hominem fallacy is in fact a fallacy because none of that relates to what an ad hominem fallacy actually is.
An ad hominem fallacy is when you are arguing over an issue, like are cats better than dogs, and you go after the person you are arguing with and attack them as a person as part of your argument. That is not the same as the question of whether the person is in fact worthy of this attack.
Let me give you an example.
Me: Cats are better than dogs.
Hitler: No, dogs are better than cats.
Me: No. You are, in fact, Hitler, and Hitler is a total jerk, so therefore, cats are better than dogs.
Here, I am wrong in two ways. First, you can’t say that cats are better than dogs. Or visa versa. Second, I’m arguing that the other guy in this argument is wrong because he is a jerk. I was committing an ad hominem fallacy.
However, I am right about one thing. Hitler is a jerk. So, let’s play it out again from a slightly different angle.
Me: Cats are better than dogs.
Hitler: No, dogs are better than cats.
Me: Hitler, you are a complete jerk, did you know that?
Hitler: So I’ve been told.
Me: In any event, you are wrong. Cats are better than dogs.
Hitler: Really, you can’t say one is better than the other.
Me: You know, you are right about that. You are still a jerk.
Hitler: So I’ve been told.
Here, our discussion about cats vs. dogs actually came to a reasonable conclusion and, indeed, a consensus. Who knew both Hitler and I could be so reasonable? Also, I made an ad hominem attack on Hitler. I called him a jerk. In so doing, I did not commit an ad hominem fallacy. I made a statement of belief about Hitler’s jerkiness, and very likely, I was right. I did not use Hitler’s jerkiness as part of my argument about cats vs. dogs. Even if I was wrong, and Hitler is a nice guy with a bad reputation, my statement was still not an ad hominem fallacy. It might have been wrong, but it was not an ad hominem fallacy. It was about him, so technically, it was “ad hominem” but not a fallacy.
An ad hominem fallacy is when you use a personal attack on a person in order to devalue or dismiss an argument they are making. It is NOT when you make a statement about the person, which may or may not be a personal attack, in and of itself. I maintain Hitler is a jerk, and I don’t care about cats vs dogs. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but while that is an attack on the man, it is not a logical fallacy. If I say his opinion about dogs vs cats is wrong because he is a jerk, THAT is an ad hominem fallacy.
I sent you here because I think you got that wrong, and I wrote this post because I’m weary of that common fallacy, about a fallacy, being toted out in the middle of arguments.
A lunar eclipse happens only during a full moon. Some full moons happen when the moon is closest to the Earth, and these are called “Super Moons.” Under some conditions, a lot of light gets round the Earth’s shadow during an eclipse, and this is red light. All three are happening at the same time this weekend, which gives us the rare Super Blood Moon Eclipse.
Here are the things to watch for during the Super Blood Moon Eclipse.
Since the Moon will be VERY close to the earth, there is a risk of it running into things. For this reason, climbers will be held at mid level base camps on Everest and K2, and observation decks on large sky scrapers will be closed.
Since the Moon is a critical part of the Zodiac, a very strong Super Blood Moon Eclipse can rearrange it. This is how we got Gemini — that was originally two separate constellations. Astrologers at the National Observatory are concerned that during this Super Blood Moon Eclipse, Leo may be knocked into Capricorn, which could endanger the goat. If the worst happens, those born between December 22nd and January 2nd will be Sagittarius, and those born between January 3rd and January 19th will be Aquarius.
Tides will be affected. Instead of having two tidal cycles a day, the tide will remain high for a couple of days. This will have a negative effect on the availability of clam rolls in New England. The Governor of Massachusetts has ordered taco trucks supplied by FEMA to be deployed around the Greater Boston Metro.
Lunacy will, simply put, run amok.
Conservators working at megalith sites such as Stonehenge will be on high alert for the arrival of more than the usual numbers of Inferi and Zombies.
Black cats will turn a shade of dark greenish blue. It will wear off after a few days.
There will likely be other effects, but Super Blood Moons are unpredictable, and every time one happens, some new thing previously unexpected occurs. It is always a bad thing, so be prepared. Lock your doors and windows, and make sure your Mormon Closet is full of Spam.