10 Sep 2017

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To Free Speech

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The Onion:

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts. “Unfortunately, late Monday evening, a major failure in our news feed program allowed a significant number of users to come into contact with concepts unfamiliar to them,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appearing contrite as he emphasized to reporters that the issue had been resolved and that it was now safe to visit the social media site again without fear of encountering any opinions, notions, or perspectives not aligning with one’s existing worldview. “To those who were forced to read a headline they did not agree with when they visited Facebook yesterday, we are deeply sorry. It’s an inexcusable failing on our part if your viewpoints were not reinforced by what you saw onscreen. I want all Facebook users to know that you’ll never again encounter any ideas on our site that are in any way novel or ideologically challenging to you—that’s my personal promise.”

HT: Karen L. Myers.

10 Sep 2017

Richard Feyman’s Lectures

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You and I were not at Caltech at the right time to hear them in person, but Richard Feynman’s famous Lectures on Physics are now available online for free.

10 Sep 2017

Fantasy Animal Maps

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10 Sep 2017

More Millennial Think

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09 Sep 2017

Woke Conservatives

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Kurt Schlichter says conservatives are now woke and recognize that a lot of Republicans have a standard operating procedure of double-crossing us.

“Oh, George W. Bush was a true conservative!” Good guy, yes, but he brought us two unwon wars (only one of necessity) and “compassionate conservatism.” Of course, “compassion” always means that normal people get another rock in their ruck. Then there was John McCain, who lied to our faces on Obamacare’s repeal so more Senate hacks wouldn’t have to go on record doing so. And last, and arguably least, there’s Mitt Romney, Mr. Thank-You-Candy-May-I-Have-Another, who never misses a chance to virtue signal for the benefit of the same people who said he gave someone cancer. Oh, and their bright idea for 2016? Jeb! He was an act of love upon us normals all right.

See, we’re done. We’re woke and feeling about you hacks just like you feel about us. Think about that. The clock is ticking. Look at Jeff Flake. At this point, I don’t even care if his opponent, somewhere down the road, will have to deny being a witch. In fact, his primary opponent could get up at the first debate in a sweatshirt reading “PROUD HOGWARTS GRAD,” wave a wand, announce without irony that “The sorting hat assigned me to Hufflepuff!” and I’d still send her money. Because even if she was crazy (and she’s not – she seems like a very nice lady who actually believes in conservative stuff ), she would still be a million times better than that back-stabbing, braying doofus she’s running against. Heck, she’s already crushing the Arizona squish into utter squishiness in the polls – think of what she could do with some spells.

The GOP establishment will never learn, partly from denial and partly because a lot of its members are kind of dumb. For example, that smarmy dope Paul Ryan, when he isn’t trying to make sure foreigners are treated better than Americans, is still pushing the moronic “You could do your taxes on a postcard!” hack cliché when, of course, everyone knows that all those extra pages are filled with the deductions that make people who work pay less. I’ll toss my taxes to my accountant and keep my home mortgage, charitable, and state tax deductions instead of losing them so big GOP donors can pocket some more dough – thanks though, Passive Paul! Postcard taxes – sheesh, 1996 called and it wants its total defeat back.

Look normals, we’re in for the long haul here – hopefully not one that ends violently for our divided country, which it absolutely could. Those are the stakes, and that is why we can’t just walk away from this game. We can’t hide and wait it out. We either get in there and win or we lose everything. Step One was getting woke. Step Two was electing Trump. Step Three is regulating the Republicans. Slowly and surely, we’re going to need to purge these punks from our team.

RTWT

The Establishment GOP elected George W. Bush who threw away our political advantage and elected Obama. The Establishment GOP nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney who couldn’t beat Obama. We have them the White House and both houses of Congress and they still wouldn’t kill Obamacare.

What choice do we have? We have to go with the Alt-Right over them.

09 Sep 2017

Ten Best Bird Photos of 2017

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And they are great!

HT: Karen L. Myers.

09 Sep 2017

Taxonomic Vandalism

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Presumably Naja nigricincta, the Western barred spitting cobra.

Smithsonian reports that there is a problem these days with taxonomic vandalism.

Imagine, if you will, getting bit by an African spitting cobra. These reptiles are bad news for several reasons: First, they spit, shooting a potent cocktail of nerve toxins directly into their victims’ eyes. But they also chomp down, using their fangs to deliver a nasty bite that can lead to respiratory failure, paralysis, and occasionally even death.

Before you go rushing to the hospital in search of antivenin, you’re going to want to look up exactly what kind of snake you’re dealing with. But the results are confusing. According to the official record of species names, governed by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), the snake belongs to the genus Spracklandus. What you don’t know is that almost no taxonomists use that name. Instead, most researchers use the unofficial name that pops up in Wikipedia and most scientific journal articles: Afronaja.

This might sound like semantics. But for you, it could mean the difference between life and death. “If you walk in [to the hospital] and say the snake that bit you is called Spracklandus, you might not get the right antivenin,” says Scott Thomson, a herpetologist and taxonomist at Brazil’s Museum of Zoology at the University of São Paulo. After all, “the doctor is not a herpetologist … he’s a medical person trying to save your life.”

In fact, Spracklandus is the center of a heated debate within the world of taxonomy—one that could help determine the future of an entire scientific field. And Raymond Hoser, the Australian researcher who gave Spracklandus its official name, is one of the forefront figures in that debate.

By the numbers, Hoser is a taxonomy maven. Between 2000 and 2012 alone, Hoser named three-quarters of all new genera and subgenera of snakes; overall, he’s named over 800 taxa, including dozens of snakes and lizards. But prominent taxonomists and other herpetologists—including several interviewed for this piece—say that those numbers are misleading.

According to them, Hoser isn’t a prolific scientist at all. What he’s really mastered is a very specific kind of scientific “crime”: taxonomic vandalism.

RTWT

08 Sep 2017

Gorey Redivivus

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08 Sep 2017

Bow Hunter Mauled by Grizzly in Montana

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Rexburg Standard Journal:

A grizzly bear mauled a bow hunter in southwestern Montana, slashing a 16-inch cut in his head that required 90 stitches to close.

“I could hear bones crunching, just like you read about,” said Tom Sommer, as he recovered in a Montana hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

Sommer said he and a hunting partner were looking for an elk they had been calling Monday morning when his partner spotted a grizzly bear feeding on an elk carcass in the southern end of the Gravelly Range, just north of the Idaho border.

“The bear just flat-out charged us,” Sommer said. He said it closed the 30-foot distance in 3 or 4 seconds.

His hunting partner deployed his bear spray, which slowed the bear’s charge. Sommer said he grabbed his canister so quickly that he couldn’t release the safety and he couldn’t afford to look down as the bear closed in. He ran around a tree twice and dropped his bear spray in the process.

Sommer then grabbed his pistol and turned to confront the bear.

“It bit my thigh, ran his claws through my wrist and proceeded to attack my head,” Sommer recalled Tuesday.

He still had his pistol in his hand and was going to shoot the bear in the neck when it swatted his arm down, Sommer said.

“Just like that it stopped. He stopped biting me, he got up and started to run away,” said Sommer, who splits his time among Idaho, Missouri and Florida.

His hunting partner had been able to deploy the rest of his bear spray, ending the attack Sommer estimated lasted about 25 seconds.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

Sommer found his bear spray canister. His hunting partner had some blood coagulation powder and they made a turban, stopping the bleeding after about 15 minutes.

They walked a mile back to their spike camp and rode mules another 4 miles out to their base camp, followed by a two-hour ride in a pickup truck to get to the hospital in Ennis.

“Through it all I was very conscious, very level-headed and low key about it,” Sommer said. “Besides some scars, it doesn’t appear that I will have any problems.

RTWT

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First reported by gun writer Mike Venturino on FB.

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Extensive gossip, wisecracks, discussion at 24 Hour Campfire.

07 Sep 2017

What It Would Take to Win

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Lorenzo Barteloni, statue of Niccolò Macchiavelli, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

What a shame it is that US presidents from George W. Bush on did not read, and deal with Islamic terrorism on the basis of the wisdom contained in, Angelo M. Codevilla’s 2001 essay.

Common sense does not mistake the difference between victory and defeat: the losers weep and cower, while the winners strut and rejoice. The losers have to change their ways, the winners feel more secure than ever in theirs. On September 12, retiring Texas Senator Phil Gramm encapsulated this common sense: “I don’t want to change the way I live. I want to change the way they live.” Common sense says that victory means living without worry that some foreigners might kill us on behalf of their causes, but also without having to bow to domestic bureaucrats and cops, especially useless ones. It means not changing the tradition by which the government of the United States treats citizens as its masters rather than as potential enemies. Victory requires killing our enemies, or making them live in debilitating fear.

A must-read.

07 Sep 2017

Tweet of the Day

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07 Sep 2017

Holler Girl

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The West Virginia memories of Amy Gentry illustrated with photography from Travis Dewitz.

link

06 Sep 2017

Californians Congratulate North Korea For Building Hydrogen Bomb

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What could be more appropriate? They are the people Kim will be using it on.

06 Sep 2017

Houston Drive-By Shooting Goes Wrong For Criminals

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Liberty Info:

It was a scene right out of a Wild West movie where the hombres on horseback ride into a Texas border town in the dead of night and gallop down Main Street, firing indiscriminately.

However this was no movie and the horses these thugs were driving was a Nissan Altima and that fabled Main Street was Glenburnie Drive, in North Houston, Texas.

Miraculously the homeowner escaped uninjured; however what followed next would put Clint Eastwood to shame, within a matter of seconds after that awesome display of firepower, the homeowner reached for his own weapon that he apparently had at the ready and began immediately returning fire at the speeding auto, which swerved and hit a parked car.

Wounded the three thugs exited the vehicle and continued the pitched firefight on foot. The homeowner who is an avid marksman continued returning fire hitting all three, stopping them before they could reach his property.

One of the men was immediately killed at the scene, while the others were rushed to the hospital. A second shooter was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, while the third is in critical condition battling for his life.

According to news reporters, aside from being an excellent marksman the Texas homeowner is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and goes to the shooting range regularly and practices his skills with his AR-15, the weapon he usually has by his side when sitting on his porch late at night.

Police are investigating the shooting; however, it’s an obvious case of self-defense and another example of why our Second Amendment was created.

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