12 Dec 2017

Shameless Warmist Sob Story With Dying Polar Bear from National Geographic

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According to National Geographic, you killed this particular polar bear with your CO2 emissions, you heartless creep.

Of course, polar bear numbers are up, not down. And that video maker and his agitator organization did not autopsy the bear or do anything else to establish factually why it was emaciated. Polar bears, like all other living things, do get sick and get old and die of natural causes with no connection whatsoever to ice or the weather.

In reality, the whole dying-polar-bears meme was invented by Charles Monnett, a whale researcher, who took a plane ride, looking for whales, and saw three deceased polar bears directly after a terrible arctic storm.

Never even having landed on the ground, just like the National Geographic video-maker, Monnett simply assumed that climate change was responsible, that the bears drowned due to lack of ice. He then took the quantity of deceased bears (three, rounded up to four) observed flying over 11% of his 630-kilometer-wide study are, and proceeded to project that equivalent quantities of dead bears were distributed over the whole area.

Now, that’s what you call scientific rigor!

Zoologist Sarah Crockford debunks the new sob story:

One starving bear is not scientific evidence that man-made global warming has already negatively affected polar bears, but it is evidence that some activists will use any ploy to advance their agenda and increase donations.

The photographer talks about polar bears.

In an interview yesterday, published in the Victoria Times-Colonist (my home town), photographer Nicklen stated…

    “Nicklen is careful about drawing conclusions from his pictures, noting that many people look to poke holes in what’s being said about things like the disappearance of sea ice from the North. …’Ice is melting earlier every spring and freezing later every fall,’ Nicklen said. ‘Bears are designed to go as much as two months without ice, but they are not designed to go four or five months without ice. “Well, this [the video] is what it actually looks like when polar bears are stranded on land.'”

Nicklen should do a bit more reading: polar bears in Western Hudson Bay routinely go four to five months without ice. Four months was normal in the good old days (ca. 1980) and almost five months in some recent years (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017; Cherry et al. 2013; Ramsay and Stirling 1988; Stirling and Lunn 1997). WHB pregnant females spend 8 months or more on land with no ill effects that can conclusively be blamed on a slightly longer time without ice (Crockford 2017). Southern Hudson Bay polar bears spend a similar amount of time without ice (Obbard et al. 2016), see this post (with references).

12 Dec 2017

Tom Mix, 1880-1940

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Wikipedia entry

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11 Dec 2017

“That’s Why I Toured Yale”

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Alumni cringed back in 2010 when the Admissions Office released its execrable “That’s Why I Chose Yale” recruiting video. (Reviled here and here)

Well, Time replaces the jejune just as it does the superb, and the Yale Admissions Office (seven years later) has issued a brand new video with only a slightly modified title.

The guides are computer major Simone (who needs to wash her hair) and double major Classics and Political Science Sam (who seems a little gay). From the very start, biases toward the demotic and the “diverse” are pronounced. As the tour begins moving away from Phelps Gate on the Old Campus, guide Sam calls for musical accompaniment and a string quarter batting out “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” appears out of nowhere, only to be rejected in favor of “something with a beat.”

We had already previously been promised that, at Yale, one could study with “a renowned Shakespeare scholar” and “perform slam poetry at a cultural center.” When we get to the libraries, we are informed that Beinecke contains “one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts, including ancient Egyptian papyrus, one of Beethoven’s original scores, and (inadvertent crashing anticlimax) manuscripts written by Langston Hughes.” (!)

Clearly, we are being given to understand that Yale is a fashionista establishment institution, only too eager to reject standards and judgment, trivialize the canon, and concede equality of cultural prestige to tokens. “We don’t want Mozart, we want something with a beat.” “Shakespeare wouldn’t do without some slam poetry on the side.” “Langston Hughes is purportedly somehow on a par with Beethoven.”

At Yale, the sciences we learn are “hands on,” and you won’t just sit through lectures, struggle through your labs, and get hammered with quizes and exams, no, no no. Why Yale science students “innovate solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.” Back in my day, all we did was try to pass the exams. We did, however, avoid the joke explosion ending the laboratory portion of the tour.

It gets painful to watch when they start touting the Yale residential college system. Today, college assignment, we are assured, is totally random. But residential colleges all have individual distinctive identities and traditions. (Presumably random ones.)

The college we get to see is Silliman, infamous site of the Christakis lynching and the shrieking student. There is no Master of Silliman now. The title of Master was deemed offensive and changed to “Head.” In the old days, college masters were male, aged, and distinguished scholars. Silliman’s “Head” these days is Laurie R. Santos, obviously a two-fer token (female and Hispanic), barely 40, and a canine cognitive studies specialist from the Psych Department. The video assures us that she ensures that each student feels welcome and gets to know every single one of them personally. She even apparently beats them at chess. In my day, most of us were on nodding-and-saying-hello terms with our College Master. He never specifically made any of us “feel welcome” nor did he tuck us in at night.

The residential colleges seem even more loaded with amenities today. They still have pool tables and ping pong, but there was no mention of squash courts. Colleges seem to have in-house non-dining hall after hours food facilities, which they call butteries. In the old days, there was one Buttery, on the ground floor of Durfee, which sold candy and such like during very limited evening hours. The colleges now all have their own work-out rooms, the Yale Gym clearly being too far to walk.

And so on.

This video is not as actively embarrassing, I suppose, as its predecessor, but it still leaves the alumni viewer slightly nauseated.

It is so offensively self-congratulatory, politically correct, and millennial-ish. One sort of feels like alien beings from the Planet of PC Tools have taken over Yale. They smile all the time. They think all the right thoughts. They worship materialism and success, but they are strangely empty. They have no dignity, no gravity. Ideas, Art, Culture are all just names and baubles to these people, ornamental trinkets lying around a grand nest of human magpies.

There is all this goody-goody-ness, but there is no sense whatsoever of Tradition, History, Duty, Honor, or Respect for the Past.

If I’d seen this video in high school, I would not have wanted to go to Yale.

10 Dec 2017

Will SCOTUS Revive Freedom of Association?

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Zman thinks a major blow to the Custodial State may be in the works.

[T]he Left is in something close to a full panic over the oral arguments in Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The reason for this is the way Judge Gorsuch questioned the attorney for the homosexuals. He correctly pointed out that the “remedy” for the alleged discrimination, is to force the baker to say things in public that he would never say and that he finds offensive. Gorsuch did not say this, but this is how Chinese communists punished heretics in the Cultural Revolution.

Put another way, the “remedy” for those not wanting to associate, in this case do business with, another group of people, is to frog march them into the public square and force them to say things they think are false and possibly evil. Of course, it is the only remedy, short of genocide, that is possible in a society without freedom of association. Once the state can force you to be around other people, people you may not like, they have no choice but to supervise your speech, your thoughts and your every move. You are a slave.

That is the reality of the custodial state. The people in charge see themselves as your caretakers, like a baby sitter or care giver. In reality though, you are their slave, because like a slave, you no longer control your body. They control where it is and what it is permitted to do. In this particular case. the state is trying to force this baker to perform his services for the homosexuals. The efforts to punish him are no different from a slave master flogging a runaway slave. It’s to send a message to the rest of the slaves.

RTWT

10 Dec 2017

Before The Cops Made Them Take It Down

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09 Dec 2017

“A Most Remarkable Year”

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Richard Fernandez gloats:

In the last 12 months, U.S.-backed combat operations drove ISIS from its last bits of territory. America withdrew from the Paris agreement on climate change, UNESCO, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The House and Senate have come within sight of overhauling the tax code and dismantling Obamacare. Most recently, Donald Trump — in a spectacular departure from his predecessor’s Middle Eastern diplomacy — has moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It is as if a hurricane has swept through Washington. Each fallen pillar represents a very deliberate reversal of the status quo ante policies of Barack Obama. The entire edifice the former president erected in his eight years in office is in the process of being systematically demolished.

RTWT

09 Dec 2017

Helicopterism

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General Augusto Pinochet

I have to agree with Thales that General Pinochet had the right idea. He just didn’t get enough of them.

Helicopterism: the idea that someone who actively attempts to install a tyrannical, murderous ideology in your country is due a free, one-way helicopter ride with a destination somewhere over the Pacific.

On my honor, sir, I thought commies could fly. It’s certainly more likely than the notion that Socialism could ever work.

HT: Vanderleun.

09 Dec 2017

SNL Mocks Liberals

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HT: Derek Hart.

07 Dec 2017

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

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06 Dec 2017

Feast of St. Nicholas

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St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, d. 6 December 345 or 352

St. Nicholas was reportedly born in the city of Patara in Lycia in Asia Minor, heir to a wealthy family. He succeeded an uncle as bishop of Myra.

Nicholas left behind a legend of secret acts of benevolence and miracles (in Greek, he is spoken of as “Nikolaos o Thaumaturgos” — Nicholas the Wonder-Worker).

One of the saint’s prominent legends asserts that, in a time of famine, he foiled the crime of Fourth Century Sweeney Todd, an evil butcher who kidnapped and murdered three children, intending to market their remains as ham. St. Nicholas not only exposed the murder, but healed and resurrected the children intact.

Nicholas is also renowned for providing dowries for each of three daughters of an impoverished nobleman,who would otherwise have been unable to marry and who were about to be forced to prostitute themselves to live. In order to spare the sensibilities of the family, Nicholas is said to have secretly thrown a purse of gold coins into their window on each of three consecutive nights.

St. Nicholas’ covert acts of charity led to a custom of the giving of secret gifts concealed in shoes deliberately left out for their receipt on his feast day, and ultimately to the contemporary legend of Santa Claus leaving gifts in stockings on Christmas Eve.

St. Nicholas evolved into one of the most popular saints in the Church’s calendar, serving as patron of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, prostitutes, pawnbrokers, children, and students, Greeks, Belgians, Frenchmen, Romanians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Albanians, Russians, Macedonians, Slovakians, Serbians, and Montenegrins, and all residents of Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Barranquilla, Campen, Corfu, Freiburg, Liverpool, Lorraine, Moscow, and New Amsterdam (New York).

His relics were stolen and removed to Bari to prevent capture by the Turks, and are alleged to exude a sweet-smelling oil down to the present day.

06 Dec 2017

Naval Nerdfest

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Free Beacon: NavyCon attendees critique the Empire’s military failures.

The debriefing was as vicious as you’d expect it to be, the Navy commander methodic in his dissection of one of the greatest failures in military history. The massive loss of life and strategic capabilities were inevitable once the officers of history’s greatest military force allowed large sections of the region to “develop into a safe haven” for lawlessness and terrorism, “the perfect environment to allow a rebellion to grow.”

“Once maritime dominance is established, resistance from shore rarely stops,” says Cmdr. BJ Armstrong. “Without small ships to run intercept the blockade was simply a dismal failure.”

Armstrong, an academy instructor with a PhD in War Studies from King’s College, is not talking about the Middle East or Northern Africa of today or the sinking of the Bismarck in 1941. He’s focused on the loss of the Death Star and the Battle of Hoth, two “cautionary tales” that have much to teach the future officers of the American military. …

Defense News writer David Larter[‘s]… presentation focuses on the “Mistakes of the Empire” in Star Wars. In between his quips about the rebel alliance’s tactical resemblance to ISIS and Darth Vader’s failures as a leader—”force choke in private, praise in public”—are actual lessons about institution building and educating military commanders. Vader choking “Admiral Bozzell”—here someone interjects that it’s “Admiral Ozzel”—represents the “zero defect mentality” of leadership that cripples military leadership. He points to military command’s trigger finger in laying off errant captains who have caused public relations headaches.

“Is the Navy force choking people for simple mistakes and is that making leaders too cautious?” he says. “A healthy organization struggles with these issues and does so publicly.”

The Empire comes in for further scorching by Cmdr. Armstrong, who lays waste to the idea that it had any chance against Jedi rebels. One need only study naval architecture to grasp the point: The Empire’s “improper fleet architecture” left it unable to provide “constabulary duties” in peacetime, which allowed rebellion to fester. More than that such a system stifles leadership as ship captains are taken from a pool of those “at the ends of their careers” rather than young leaders.

Capt. Mark Vandroff, a long-time ship builder and commander of the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, joins the dogpile heaping scorn on Palpatine. Vandroff disputes Armstrong’s simplistic reliance on constabulary forces, saying that building constabulary forces would “bankrupt” the Empire. But he also acknowledges the Empire’s miscalculation of the political realities of the galaxy and understanding of supply chain that ultimately undid the Death Star—even after an otherwise flawless acquisition and building operation.

“If your strategy doesn’t make sense it doesn’t matter what you buy,” he says.

RTWT

06 Dec 2017

Spiders Could Theoretically Eat Every Human on Earth in One Year

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Christopher Ingraham, in the WaPo Wonkblog:

The World’s spider population weighs 29 million tons — as much as 478 Titanics.

Spiders are quite literally all around us. A recent entomological survey of North Carolina homes turned up spiders in 100 percent of them, including 68 percent of bathrooms and more than three-quarters of bedrooms. There’s a good chance at least one spider is staring at you right now, sizing you up from a darkened corner of the room, eight eyes glistening in the shadows.

Spiders mostly eat insects, although some of the larger species have been known to snack on lizards, birds and even small mammals. Given their abundance and the voraciousness of their appetites, two European biologists recently wondered: If you were to tally up all the food eaten by the world’s entire spider population in a single year, how much would it be?

Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer published their estimate in the journal the Science of Nature earlier this month, and the number they arrived at is frankly shocking: The world’s spiders consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any given year. That means that spiders eat at least as much meat as all 7 billion humans on the planet combined, who the authors note consume about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year.

Or, for a slightly more disturbing comparison: The total biomass of all adult humans on Earth is estimated to be 287 million tons. Even if you tack on another 70 million-ish tons to account for the weight of kids, it’s still not equal to the total amount of food eaten by spiders in a given year, exceeding the total weight of humanity.

In other words, spiders could eat all of us and still be hungry.

RTWT

06 Dec 2017

Lost Icelandic Translation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”

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Smithsonian reports that the Icelandic translation of Dracula amounts to a different book, possibly better and more sexy.

The Icelandic version of Dracula is called Powers of Darkness, and it’s actually a different—some say better—version of the classic Bram Stoker tale.

Makt Myrkranna (the book’s name in Icelandic) was “translated” from the English only a few years after Dracula was published on May 26, 1897, skyrocketing to almost-instant fame. Next Friday is still celebrated as World Dracula Day by fans of the book, which has been continuously in print since its first publication, according to Dutch author and historian Hans Corneel de Roos for Lithub. …

The book’s Icelandic text was unknown to English-speaking aficionados of the Dark Prince until recently, de Roos writes, as no one had bothered to re-translate it back into English. Although Dracula scholars knew about the existence of Powers of Darkness as far back as 1986, they didn’t know it was actually a different story. Then, he writes, “literary researcher Richard Dalby reported on the 1901 Icelandic edition and on its preface, apparently written specifically for it by Stoker himself.”

The preface was what got English-language scholars interested in the Icelandic book, but still, nobody thought to compare the actual text of Makt Myrkranna to the original Stoker novel, assuming, as Dalby wrote, that it was “merely an abridged translation of Dracula,” de Roos writes. Finally in 2014, de Roos writes that he went back to the original text of Powers of Darkness to verify something, and discovered that the Icelandic story diverged from the English original.

As de Roos worked on the translation, patterns emerged: many of the characters had different names, the text was shorter and had a different structure, and it was markedly sexier than the English version, he writes. It’s also, he writes, better: “Although Dracula received positive reviews in most newspapers of the day…the original novel can be tedious and meandering….Powers of Darkness, by contrast, is written in a concise, punchy style; each scene adds to the progress of the plot.”

“The nature of the changes has led de Roos to argue that they could not have been the work of Valdimar alone,” according to Iceland Magazine. “Instead he has speculated that Valdimar and Stoker must have collaborated in some way. Stoker could, for example, have sent Valdimar an older version of his story.”

RTWT

05 Dec 2017

Native Americans Back on the Warpath at Yale

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The Oldest College Daily reports that hula dancing by unauthorized persons is a problem.

The Association of Native Americans at Yale this weekend condemned Shaka, an all-female Polynesian dance group, for appropriating Hawaiian and Tahitian culture and demanded that the group disband.

In a letter posted to its Facebook page Saturday afternoon, ANAAY condemned Shaka for “sexualizing and homogenizing Native [American] peoples, misrepresenting and erasing histories and political realities, and attempting to depoliticize inherently political culture and communities under colonial subjugation.”

RTWT

If shimmying in a grass skirt is “cultural appropriation,” how come spouting Marxist BS isn’t?

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