Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Links

We have all heard the legends of dolphins helping drowning humans. Now one appears to have helped guide stranded whales to safety.

John Wilkins, who posts at the interesting evo- blog Evolving thoughts, went to see Richard Dawkins lecture and had some critical thoughts. I can't resist quoting:

"In particular I was annoyed that those of us who do not condemn someone for holding religious beliefs were caricatured as "feeling good that someone has religion somewhere". Bullshit. That is not why we dislike the Us'n'Themism of TGD [The God Delusion-- SB]. We dislike it because no matter what other beliefs an intelligent person may hold, so long as they accept the importance of science and the need for a secular society, we simply do not care if they also like the taste of ear wax, having sex with trees, or believing in a deity or two. Way to go, Richard. Good bit of framing and parodying the opposition. Real rational."

It is a shame that Dawkins wastes so much energy, his and others', on this issue. He used to be the best evolution writer around, hands down. HT John Farrell.

Mike at Sometimes Far Afield has has more thoughts on the Second Amendment, with links. One leads to this very expicit statement by Thomas Jefferson:

"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

Here is what is probably the best overall take on the Peggy Seltzer literary fraud story (she is the rich white kid, graduate of an Episcopal day school, who wrote a false memoir claiming she was raised as a gang- banger in the 'hood, in ghettoese English, and got a big advance before she was exposed.) Good quote:

" "The audience for this kind of tale is not in the ghetto but in middle-class neighborhoods far removed from it," Martinez observes, while describing Seltzer's fantasy as "an unintentional parody of liberal sympathy." Unintentional? I'm pretty sure Seltzer knew exactly which buttons she was pushing, and crafted her phony narrative accordingly."

Follow the links. She may also be linked to "Eco- Saboteurs". You can't make it up.

From Patrick: Marmot World. Attention Mongolian tourists!

Chas sends us to a link that tells us the Koran thinks of dogs. Luckily, the further east and north you go (the farther from Islam's Arab cultural roots), the less this attitude exists in actual practice, at least so far. But, ominously, Iran has just decided to mount a war on dog ownership. Some of the best tazis around are in Iran's Kurdish areas.

World's smallest working gun-- info here; pic here. It costs over $6000, and is banned in the US! HT Walter Hingley.

Annie D sent this link to a video of a singing lyrebird, introduced by David Attenborough. The lyrebird is an incredible mimic-- listen to his impressions of a motor drive, a car alarm and a chainsaw, among other things. The last in particular is hard to believe.

Dan Gauss of the Hare Brained Express Blog has compiled a virtual tour of Magdalena, from pigeons to hounds and the ranch. Next best thing to being here!

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