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I’m not sure if this story is more important for its scientific implications, or for its humor value.  Scientists believe they have discovered the first species which had sex.  It is called microbrachius dicki which, I’m pretty sure, is Latin for ‘little brachy dick.’  Fortunately, they are only fish, and they have probably been extinct for  a couple of hundred million years, or they might be insulted.Microbrachius Dicki

What always amazes me is how scientists can know.  This happened 385 million years ago, none of us were around, I don’t even know if the dinosaurs had arrived yet.  How the hell can  we know  today what their sex life was like.

Well, scientists have made this discovery leap of logic because they noticed on fossils (i.e. it’s been staring us in the face for years, just that somebody finally put 2 and 2 together) of the little guys that some of them have appendages.  So, instead of assuming a tail, or perhaps an early version of fingers, scientists figure it was obviously man’s best friend.

So, it’s probably a fossil with a penis, and evolution would have absolutely  no reason to develop a penis except for  the purpose of using it.  So, they’re the first that we know of, but were they the first?  We don’t know.  Fish, crustaceans, and other sea dwelling spcies, tend to not talk to us very much.

Since it was found in Scotland, the world’s first pickup line was “Aye, Lassie, would ye like to see my Loch Ness Monster?”

Anyway, another weird thing about these little critters is that once they’d figured out how to make sex, they apparently stopped doing it again.  Giving them credit for inventing  sex is like giving them credit for inventing 3-D  printing, or giving the Vikings credit for discovering North America.

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TV Programming Sucks

I’m not going to comment too much on the news tonight, except to repeat this line that somebody posted on facebook: More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

True, that.  I’m sure it’s good to be aware and all, but it does seem the hysteria is a bit over the top,

Today was,  by my standards (and my standards are very, very low) a productive day.  I got a poem written, which I kind of like, and got a bit of work done on the book I’m writing.  Really, if I were the kind of writer with high standards of productivity, I’d be getting through three or four chapters a day and  the whole thing would have been finished months ago.

The reason for even that meager amount of productivity was that my internet connection was down.  But, even at that, I wasn’t forced into full time writing – as I should be, every day, just by force of will power.  No, I spent most of the day watching TV.

Good Lord, there is an awful amount of garbage on TV. The entertainment channels we get in English all have cop shows, it seems, all the time.  One of them seems to be obsessed with Hawaii 5-0 (new, not classic).  Putting a show in a beautiful setting does not change the fact that it is a pathetically formulaic piece of propaganda, an argument in  favor of occasionally slapping a suspect around.

Of the four discovery channels I usually watch, two had shows about auctions (really, I no longer care that stuff in abandoned warehouse storage rooms gets auctioned off, or that there are people who will bid for the junk enthusiastically.)

The only thing that’s worse is the “People Who Have Boring Jobs and Yell at Each Other a Lot”  program, which seems to be on quite frequently.

The other two had programs about cars.  Few subjects bore me more than cars.

So, I stumbled onto “Honey Boo Boo,” on the apparently misnamed Learning Channel.  I’ve heard people talking about this show, but this is the first I’ve ever seen it.  I lasted about 10 minutes.  A  girl was having a wedding shower, the only female present who was not morbidly obese, and they gave her a wrestling themed shower because she LOOOOOVES wrestling.  Also, some talk about farts.

I was embarrassed to watch it.  I was embarrassed for everyone involved in making it.  And I have no respect for anybody who actually enjoys stuff like this.  There is something wrong with you.

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Today in My Life

Today was not  a bad day.  As I left the house I realized I wasn’t sure where my 1st lesson was supposed to take place because the girl’s mother told me that they might be moving this weekend but she would call me and let me know.  She hadn’t called so I figured I’d just go to the same place and  hope for the best, but she  called  just before I got to the Metro and said they  were, indeed,  still there.

I just downloaded this picture from Google, but I'm pretty  sure it's the same guy

I just downloaded this picture from Google, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy

I got there and the lift was out of order so I had to walk up 5 flights but that’s O.K., a  bit of morning exercise.  Had  a really nice lesson, she’s a very motivated girl. Their apartment was in  a bit of a jumble, they moved this afternoon.

Then I came home, jonesing for a joint, and Helena had hidden my box of goodies.  So, I had to call her to find out where and she told me not to smoke in the flat, because my Mother in Law was coming and, in fact, showed up about  two minutes later, so that plan  was on hold.

But then she (my Mother in Law) went into the center, because there was an event at the shopping center where H works and the kids were in the fashion show, so all was good.

I still had to leave the flat to smoke, though, so I went to  the park in front of Invalidovna, (the semi-derelict old building where Hell Boy was filmed), a park where I have written many of my better poems, and sat there.

It was a lovely Indian Summer (or Babileto, meaning Grandmother’s Summer) day.  There was a bald,  almost bikerish looking guy wearing shorts and walking his big, black Labrador, he had one of the ball throwing things that are a bit like an adapted LaCrosse stick, and on a converging path were two very respectable looking  middle aged ladies with some kind of miniature poodle.

The poodle got right into the game, even got the ball, and soon he and the labrador were best friends, chasing each other and the ball.  Tiny dog with the heart of a hero and big dog with a heart of total marshmallow, became best friends and then parted as their owner’s paths converged and then separated moments later, making the most of a sweet window of opportunity.

Then I had to visit a few bookstores, looking for a language book the student’s mother specifically wants.  Didn’t find it, but an afternoon spent browsing in bookstores is always  a pleasant afternoon, and on the way I saw a guy in a horse’s head, playing the keyboards.

That’s something the world needs more of.

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Grisham Feels the Wrath

John Grisham said something, and people are furious.

You know John Grisham.  He writes novels about ethically challenged lawyers who eventually do the right thing, slimeballs with a heart of gold.  They sell millions of copies and, very often, get made into movies.  They are generally big, blockbuster movies whose titles start with “The”: The Firm, The Client, The Pelican Brief, and many more.

Evilest Man in the World (for today)

Evilest Man in the World (for today)

Here’s what he said:”We have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child, but they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever.  They haven’t hurt anybody, ok? They deserve some type of punishment, whatever. But ten years in prison?”

He went on to tell the story of a friend of his who got popped and sentenced to 3 years.  I’m sure that, to some extent, Grisham is probably guilty of listening to his friend’s side of the case more than the court’s verdict.  That’s natural.

People on facebook, of course, are up in arms.  I’ve seen such comments as ‘he should have his dick shot off with a shotgun’ and ‘he’s just as bad as any rapist,’ as well as one I saw calling for people to burn all their John Grisham books.

I remember that happening to The Beatles after John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus Christ (which may well have been true).  They survived the controversy and their music still sells well.

John Grisham will survive, as well.

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UFO Stuff

Well, it’s unidentified.  It must be an object of some sort.  Isn’t everything?  And it does appear to be flying.  So, it’s a UFO.  To me it looks a bit like a bug crawling across the lens, but I don’t know shit about photography.ufo

The guy who took the video sounds like he knows his stuff,  both r.e. photography and astronomy.  So, unless it gets debunked by people who know more about those subjects than I do, I’m going to file this under proof positive that intelligent, spacefaring extraterrestrials are flying their craft around the moon, I suppose because they want to keep an eye on us but really don’t have any desire to mingle, in the same way that human zoologists might prefer to observe the behavior of a nest of poisonous serpents remotely.

To me, everybody sounds like they know their stuff.  I watch Discovery Channel stories on alien encounters and  find the evidence, anecdotal though  it may  be, to be compelling, in many cases.  Unfortunately, I also get the same vibe when  they’re doing ghost stories.

While I am certain there are highly evolved,  spacefaring creatures in the galaxy, I’m still not so sure about ghosts.

So, how can we tell the crazy people from the genuine article?  The thing is(and this is the great beauty of the modern world), that we don’t need to make that distinction.  Let scientists (and the world has no shortage of brilliant scientists) examine the film, come up with their theories, and  put them to the test.

If it really is an extraterrestrial spaceship, that will be way cool.

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Con Fusion

They’re talking about fusion again.  If it’s for real, this is the ultimate power source.  Ships will be able to sail across the  ocean, powered by the ocean.  Coal and nuclear power plants would be replaced, electric bills would drop and the air would clear.  Tech minded types would be able to go off the grid altogether.  The middle east would lose its economic importance, and its political importance would fade soon thereafter.Mr. Fusion

If it’s for real.  Actually, I read an article on this subject a week or so ago, that an Italian inventor was claiming he’d found fusion.  (Nuclear plants today all  use fission, the splitting of the atom.  Fusion gets power to merging atoms. )  Most articles on the subject didn’t take him seriously, said he’d been yammering on about fusion and an LENR (low energy nuclear reactor) for years, and hadn’t really proved it.

Now, Lockheed Martin is talking about it, so maybe people will take it a bit more seriously.  Which is a shame.  It seems to me that the big money people, who own all the newspapers and such, too, are poo-pooing the idea when it’s an outsider has it, but once it comes from inside the tent, they’re  suddenly all for it.  Probably just flat out stole the guy’s idea, added a few shiny bits, and turned on the old spin machine.

But, they say, it will still be about ten years before it’s ready.  That makes me think the whole thing might be bullshit.  If they’ve figured out how to create fusion, then they’ve figured out how to create fusion.  They should be producing energy, like, already.  Why the foot dragging?

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It is always silly season in American politics and the chances that effective governance will take root in that world dominating nation, that modern Rome, is pretty close to nil because an effective Democracy depends on an informed, and intelligent, populace, and the USA just doesn’t have it.

We really can't live without them

We really can’t live without them

I don’t think any place on Earth really does, but some places are closer than others, and the USA is way low on that list.

It’s not just a question of being able to figure out the right and the wrong of a matter.  That’s important, but it’s still in second place.  The important thing is knowing what’s worth  arguing about.

I’m very much in favor of reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, but it doesn’t crack the top ten of issues I think matter.  It may not even be in the top 20.

I’m in favor of abortion being a decision made by a woman and her doctor, but it’s not  as important to me as the threat of a thermonuclear war.

I’m bothered by litter and graffiti and cashiers who won’t give change or  directions because it’s not their job, but I’m not going to go out in the streets and protest about it

So, how do we determine which issues are the most worth arguing about?  Two things.  a) is there a solution immediately at hand?  That is, is it something that something that something can be done about? and b) is it going to wipe out life on planet earth?

So, here’s my list.

1.  Honeybees.  If they go extinct, hundreds of millions, maybe billions of people will die while humanity converts to other forms of plant pollination.  And the solution is as simple as banning those chemicals which have been proven to kill honeybees.

2.  Homelessness.  Not exactly going to end life on Earth, but could eventually lead to REAL class warfare, and that would be pretty ugly.  Imagine armies of hundreds of thousands of people who have not bathed.  Again, the solution is obvious.  Give everybody homes.  This would also create a lot of jobs in the short term and that’s pretty important, too.

3.  Giant Meteorite striking the  Earth, killing us all deader than dinosaurs.  Maybe evolution is a giant game of Snakes and Ladders, and we’re doomed to slide back down and start over from cockroach  level.  The solution is not so immediate, but we need to get cranking on space research pronto.

4.  Global Climate Change.  Could definitely wipe out all life on Earth  by turning the air into a noxious, unbreathable cloud.  The solution is to go for solar energy and wind energy and replace stinky,  old  cars with comfortable, energy efficient public transportation.  Also, it would look cool.

5.  Stress.  Like rats in an overcrowded maze, we are living in a tighter, tenser world with every rise of 100 million or so in world  population.  It is only a matter of time until people snap and start killing each other for no rational reason.  Oh, wait, we’re already there.  Solution: legalize pot.

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