Monthly Archives: September 2016

‘Photobomb goes horribly wrong!’ NASA’s flying frog has people ‘ribbited’ [pics]

http://twitter.com/#!/michellemalkin/status/378170057311805440

Snicker! But, what?

Oh my.

http://twitter.com/#!/fabiank1975/status/377993763924111360
http://twitter.com/#!/MarkTapson/status/377968208411496449

Heh. Gotta love social media!

NASA confirms that the photo is real.

http://twitter.com/#!/NASA/status/378166501033119744

Viewers of the photo continue to be “ribbited.”

http://twitter.com/#!/TheAtlantic/status/378005801354276864
http://twitter.com/#!/io9/status/378161112069718016
http://twitter.com/#!/RBPundit/status/378167588477362177

NASA also says in the Instagram caption that “the condition of the frog, however, is uncertain.” NASA has a deadpan sense of humor. Who knew?

http://twitter.com/#!/DonlynTurnbull/status/378168460666101761

CBS Mark Knoller also feels for the poor frog.

http://twitter.com/#!/markknoller/status/378172687626932224

And win:

http://twitter.com/#!/ekaiser1901/status/378183217561346048

Sarah Palin blasts Phil Robertson suspension; Free speech ‘endangered’ [pic]

http://twitter.com/#!/SarahPalinUSA/status/413487351579418624

As Twitchy reported this evening, A&E has suspended “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson for comments he made to GQ Magazine in regards to homosexuality.

The suspension isn’t sitting well with Sarah Palin, who also shared a photo taken with members of the “Duck Dynasty” cast:

null

Democrats push reprehensible and false narrative: W. Va is racist, straight up

http://twitter.com/#!/JammieWF/status/200234383502868480

Democrats are in full frantic spin mode over the hilarious news that many West Virginian Democrats chose a prisoner over President Obama in their primary yesterday.

And in Indiana they must be totally bigoted against old white dudes. We’ve already established that in NC they are barbarians and bigots and such, natch.

Now, the excuse for West Virginia is the good old stand-by: Raaaaaacist!!!11eleventy

I'm extremely embarrassed to be from WV today… 4 out of 10 ppl voted for a convicted felon instead of Obama yesterday #racist #idiots

— K€LS€Y (@K_Shingleton) May 9, 2012

Ah, the race card. You just knew it was coming. #juddmentum http://t.co/ex8vmtkN

— RB (@RBPundit) May 9, 2012

Naturally. When in doubt, race-bait.

It can’t possibly be about Obama and his coal industry killing policies!

Certainly couldn't be because of O's #WarOnCoal RT @slone: To Explain Obama's WV Humiliation, Dems (cont) http://t.co/KXX2KLft

— JoeC (@JoeC1776) May 9, 2012

Obama spinning #juddmania as racism…when the problem is that everyone in WV knows the WH is trying to purposely bankrupt the coal industry

— Sarahtonin (@Sarahtonin0) May 9, 2012

https://twitter.com/#!/txantimedia/status/200248311360405506

Coal is the backbone of the WV economy. The Obama EPA is trying to destroy coal. Is it really surprising WV Dems aren't fans of Obama?

— Josiah Neeley (@jneeley78) May 9, 2012

Democrats are quick to label the people of WV racist. However, they were voting against Obama bcos of his efforts to destroy Coal industry

— Sharon Broadie (@SBroadie) May 9, 2012

3 of the supposedly racist WV counties that voted for Judd last night actually voted for Obama in '08 general. it's mainly abt coal not race

— andysere (@andysere) May 9, 2012

Talking to family back in WV. Many voted for federal inmate, Keith Judd, to protest the Obama admins attack on coal/energy industry.

— Stacy Mott (@Stacy_Mott) May 9, 2012

Try talking to real people sometimes, Democrats, instead of just rushing to paint good, honest people as racists.

Oh, and here’s a little history lesson.

@snarkandboobs @TwitchyTeam West Virginia seceded from Virginia in order to fight on the side that freed the slaves.

— Pat Wilson (@OrinocoPat) May 9, 2012

Boom.

Exploring A Condemned Duplex Is Creepier Than You Might Think

For many people with an adventurous streak, there is nothing more interesting than exploring abandoned homes and buildings.

There’s just something about the experience that really gets your blood pumping. It’s so interesting to spend time in these spaces and wonder what happened inside those walls before they succumbed to disuse and neglect.

Sure, everything is broken down, but you can usually walk away and go about your daily life as usual afterward without being too disturbed. Unless, of course, you’re Redditor Asherbaby.

Asherbaby and one of his friends decided to explore a condemned duplex located directly behind the friend’s house.

The exploration started innocently enough.

But things quickly took a turn for the worse. I really hope that’s not blood.

Then they started noticing these bizarre tally marks on the walls.

It looks like someone was stuck in here for days, marking each one with a line and watching time slip away.

They just went on and on and on…

In the corner of one room was this creepy-looking video camera.

And what scary abandoned house would be complete without a bunch of handwritten letters sitting around?

They were scattered everywhere.

When Asherbaby put these photos up online, commenters said it looked a lot like the home of a schizophrenic.

Despite the obvious signs to stop, they continued exploring.

While nothing happened to them, Asherbaby said that the place had a really bad vibe.

(source: Reddit)

If I know my horror lore (and I do), Asherbaby and his friend are due for a visit from a very creepy demon or ghost in the near future. Sorry, guys.

7 Ways To Convince People That Evolution Is More Than Just A Theory

If you’re tired of arguing with people who don’t understand evolution, here’s the ammunition you need.

1) The fossil record.

“The fossil record is incomplete! Where are the missing links?” ask creationists. Yes, the fossil record is “incomplete”. The only way it could be “complete” would be if literally every single living thing had been fossilised after it died. That doesn’t happen, because the process of fossilisation is incredibly unlikely, especially for land creatures.

Ghedoghedo / Wikimedia Commons / Via simple.wikipedia.org

But given how unlikely it is, the fossil record is amazingly good. Take any species of large vertebrate alive at the moment, and there’s a good chance there will be fossils which could be its ancestor. In some cases there are lots.

For instance: Whales. We know whales are descended from land mammals. But for a long time, it wasn’t clear which. Darwin thought their ancestors might be something like a bear; later evidence suggested it’s probably a relative of cows and hippopotamuses. But there wasn’t a fossil of a whale-ancestor on the brink of becoming aquatic.

And then, in 1994, a skeleton was found in Pakistan, of a 50-million-year-old animal which is now known as Ambulocetus natans. It’s an ancestor of whales, but it has small hooves: It lived a largely but not exclusively aquatic life, like that of modern seals.

Aetiocetus. Nobu Tamura / Wikimedia Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

That’s not the only whale ancestor. There’s Pakicetus, a dog-sized predator which lived between 52 and 48 million years ago, and which appears to have been amphibious, perhaps spending a good portion of its time in the water, like a hippo, but still comfortable on land. Or, later, there’s Aetiocetus. While Ambulocetus had nostrils on the tip of its snout, and modern whales have blowholes on the tops of their heads, Aetiocetus has nostrils half-way up its nose. It’s a beautiful example of a fossil which shows how an earlier species evolved into a later one.

“Sahelanthropus tchadensis – TM 266-01-060-1” by Didier Descouens – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

I’ve chosen whales: I could have chosen penguins, or turtles, or horses, or, of course, humans. Yes, a “missing link” has been found between humans and apes. In fact, several have. There is Sahelanthropus, an ape which lived around the time that humans and chimpanzees diverged. Then there are the Ardipithecus and Australopithecus ape-men. Then comes the arbitrary line where we start calling them humans: The genus Homo includes, among others, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neandertalis and Homo sapiens, all of which have several fossil examples.

It’s actually not very helpful to talk in terms of “transitional forms”. All species are transitional. Humans will probably look very different, if we exist, in a million years’ time, but we don’t feel like a “transitional form” between Homo erectus and future humans. Instead it’s worth talking about “transitional characteristics” between older species and more recent ones. Tiktaalik, which appears to be an early ancestor of amphibians, has lots of transitional characteristics between fish and amphibians: Its fins are limb-like and can support it out of water, and it has a lung-like organ. It lived about 375 million years ago, and we know about it from fossils found in Canada.

If anyone ever says to you that the fossil record is “incomplete”, ask them how much more complete they would like it to be.

2) The spread of species.

People sometimes complain that evolution is “unfalsifiable”. What they mean by that is that a scientific idea should make testable predictions, and that evolution, apparently, doesn’t — so, if the theory of evolution is false, you can’t prove it false.

That’s nonsense. There are dozens — thousands — of testable predictions that the theory of evolution implies. Let’s take a look at one subset: The geographical spread of species.

The Virginia oppossum, the only marsupial to live in North America. ThinkStock

Marsupials are a group of mammals that give birth to their young at a much earlier stage than other mammals, and then carry them with them in a pouch on their bellies. The group includes kangaroos and wombats and opposums, among other creatures.

There’s a confusing thing about them, though: They live on landmasses separated by thousands of miles of ocean. Most marsupials are found in Australia and New Guinea and other nearby islands. But 100 species or so are found in the Americas, mainly South America, with a few in Central and one in North America. They’re not found in the Asian landmass which sort-of links the two, so they can’t have walked, and they certainly can’t have swum.

Julo / Wikimedia Commons / Via sk.wikipedia.org

The theory of evolution predicts that there must have been some way that the ancestors of the Australasian and American marsupials made it into their respective continents, without having to swim across any oceans. In Darwin’s time there was no available explanation.

But other lines of evidence put the common ancestor of modern marsupials at around 150 million years ago. And in recent decades, geologists have shown that back then South America and Australia were part of one huge supercontinent called Gondwana. Marsupials all lived in the same place, and the two groups were separated by the movement of tectonic plates.

A New World brown spider monkey (left) and an Old World black-footed grey langur. Magnus Manske / Fir0002 / Creative Commons Licence / Via en.wikipedia.org

The theory of evolution predicts that the geographical spread of species will be dictated by whether their ancestors could actually have made it there. Penguins could probably survive in the Arctic, but you don’t find them there, because their ancestors lived south of the Equator. The common ancestor of Old World and New World monkeys lived before South America and Africa had split apart. To falsify the theory of evolution, you’d simply need to show that some species couldn’t plausibly have made it from point A to point B. In the 156 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, that hasn’t happened.

3) Anatomy.

Evolution has to work on what already exists. If it’s true, then we would expect to see that, for instance, body parts in one species can be mapped onto those of another, because they share an ancestor.

And that’s exactly what we do find. Look at the human hand. It has five fingers, each with four bones, including the one in the body of the hand. And if you look at the forearms of all mammals, you’ll see the same structure.

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre / Via oceanlink.info

What’s really surprising is that it’s true even if the creature in question hasn’t got “limbs” like ours. The flippers of whales and seals, and the wings of bats, have exactly the same pentadactyl (five-fingered) structure. And lizards and frogs have it too. It’s because we all share an ancestor, a creature called Eusthenopteron, which lived about 385 million years ago.

“Venus Flytrap showing trigger hairs”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

It’s not just limbs: You can see homologous structures in plants (the basic “leaf” structure has been co-opted for things as diverse as onion layers and Venus flytrap mouthparts). The ears of modern mammals include bones that are homologous to the bones of lizards’ jaws. The mouth parts of insects are hugely diverse, depending on the lifestyle the insect has, but every one has the same basic structure. If evolution weren’t true, there would be no reason to expect these signs of common descent.

4) Genetics.

The most striking evidence that all creatures share the same ancestor is this: They all share the same basic genetic code. The gene for an eye in a fruit fly will make an eye in a mouse. DNA is the language that all life talks in (unless you count viruses as alive, and even they use RNA, a simpler molecule, to hijack the DNA in other creatures’ cells).

ThinkStock

But the evidence from DNA is subtler than that. By comparing the genetic code of species, biologists have shown that more closely related creatures share more DNA. Humans share about 99% of their genetic material with chimpanzees, our closest relatives, but only about 96% with gorillas, our slightly more distant cousin. By comparison, we share about 35% of our genes with daffodils, our far, far more distant relatives.

As our understanding of genetics has improved, we’ve been able to use it to piece together great swaths of our evolutionary history. For example, the fact that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals was revealed by genetic analysis.

5) Convergent evolution.

The geographical spread of species is limited by their ancestry, as we’ve seen. But sometimes species separated by thousands of miles face similar challenges. A herbivore on the grass plains of North America would have the same sort of problems that a herbivore on the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa would. If evolution were true, you would expect unrelated species to have evolved to come up with similar solutions.

And lo and behold, that’s true. The American pronghorn looks and behaves much like an African antelope, but is not an antelope and is only very distantly related to them. Because it faced fast-moving predators on wide grass plains, it evolved long legs for sprinting and a nervous disposition, like its equivalents in Africa.

Pangolin. ThinkStock / Getty Images

Aardvarks, anteaters, Australian echidnas, pangolins, and armadillos have all evolved to eat ants or termites, and have developed powerful arms for digging into the nest and long snouts with long sticky tongues to swipe their prey out of them. But these groups are incredibly distantly related; the last common ancestor of all five lived about 400 million years ago. For comparison, the most recent common ancestor of humans and pangolins lived less than 100 million years ago. The ant-eating specialities evolved independently, because they’re a good way of solving a problem.

6) We’ve seen evolution happen, in real time.

Normally we think of evolution as something that happens over thousands or millions of years, and it often is. But there are plenty of examples of it happening in human timescales.

The most famous example is the peppered moth, which lives in forests in Britain and is camouflaged against tree bark. Up until the 19th century they were all white, but when the Industrial Revolution blackened the trees in British forests, the white colouring became much more visible. In 1811 a first dark specimen was recorded, a mutant. Against the dark trees they were much harder for predators to spot. By the end of the century it outnumbered the white ones. But as the heavily polluting industries in Britain fell away in the 20th century, and the forests became cleaner again, the white moth became more common.

Biston.betularia.f.carbonaria.7209“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Some creationists will tell you that the peppered moth is an example of “microevolution”, and doesn’t represent the “macroevolution” which would explain the creation of whole new species. In that case, point them to the apple maggot. Since the introduction of apples to North America, a whole new species of fly is steadily emerging. Before 1850, the ancestors of the apple maggot fed on hawthorn. Now, the subspecies of maggots which eat apples rarely eat hawthorn, and vice versa. The two are apparently in the early stages of speciation.

“Rhagoletis pomonella” by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.orginsectimages.org. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

More importantly for humans, bacteria and viruses evolve much faster, because they go through so many generations so quickly. There are now dozens of kinds of microbe which are resistant to various drugs. Penicillin, the first breakthrough antibiotic, is largely useless these days, because so many bacteria are resistant to it. That is evolution in action: A bacterium which happened to have a mutation which protects it against an antibiotic will, in an environment where that antibiotic exists, have more offspring than its rivals.

7) Evolution is indeed a “theory”. But “theory” doesn’t mean “hunch”. It is both a theory and a fact.

People who don’t believe in evolution sometimes say it’s “only a theory”, because it’s called the “theory of evolution”. That’s because, in everyday language, we use the word “theory” to mean something like “hypothesis” or “guess”. But scientists use it to mean something much more specific. Here’s how the American Association for the Advancement of Science puts it:

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.” It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.

‘Your d*ck smaller than rice crispy’: Iron Sheik takes Current TV host to the mat

http://twitter.com/#!/yesnicksearcy/status/363367442686296064

Heh.

Current TV host John Fugelsang is accustomed to being able to say pretty much whatever he wants on his show, which isn’t hard when your audience consists of lefty drones. When John chooses to spout off on Twitter, however, he becomes accountable for what he says. This afternoon, he decided to knock professional wrestling:

http://twitter.com/#!/JohnFugelsang/status/363360727085498368

And walked straight into a camel clutch:

http://twitter.com/#!/Tark31/status/363364509899325440

Big mistake, pal:

http://twitter.com/#!/the_ironsheik/status/363364080813211648
http://twitter.com/#!/the_ironsheik/status/363364298539548674

Ouch. Fugelsang foolishly climbed back into the ring for another swing:

http://twitter.com/#!/JohnFugelsang/status/363366352519979008

But he was just cruisin’ for a bruisin’:

http://twitter.com/#!/the_ironsheik/status/363367526556004352
http://twitter.com/#!/the_ironsheik/status/363370743448338434

Yikes.

***

Related:

Twitchy’s coverage of the Iron Sheik

Mariah Carey reportedly close to inking $17 million ‘American Idol’ deal

http://twitter.com/#!/4danlopez/status/226680439509774336

Out:  J-Lo and Steven Tyler. In: Mariah Carey.

The pop diva may be close to signing a $17 million deal to become an “American Idol” judge. That’s $17 million per season. Deadline reports:

I have learned that Mariah Carey is finalizing a deal to join Fox’s American Idol as a new judge. I hear Carey would command a salary of more than $17 million for next season, which would set a new record for talent on a reality series, eclipsing the paycheck of Idol‘s Jennifer Lopez.

Although Fox and Carey have yet to confirm the rumor, excited fans are weighing in.

Mariah Carey will b american idol judge?? well for the 1st time they will have a real singer on the panel!!! Thats good

— ❤Inbal (@INBALFOREVER) July 21, 2012

Omg if Mariah Carey joins American Idol… the world of musical talent shows will soon be a joyous one. Britney AND Mariah? Yes, please.

— Ryan S. Collins (@ryanscollins) July 21, 2012

Mariah Carey just signed on to be a judge on American Idol!!! Bow the fuck down to one of pops queens!!!!

— Matty (@mattymonsterz) July 21, 2012

https://twitter.com/Jer_bearJeremyT/status/226610290039590912

https://twitter.com/DuhKneeShuhh/status/226683700144910336

https://twitter.com/vettuh/status/226577161656619008

But not everyone is finding religion.

This sucks. I love American Idol, but now I have to endure Mariah Carey hocking her songs on stage like JLo? I want the Idols to shine. grrr

— wissphoto (@wissphoto) July 21, 2012

Uh oh. Hopefully Carey haters won’t express their disappointment by launching another Mariah Carey death hoax.

Politico’s new labor reporter has rich Twitter history of bashing … Politico

http://twitter.com/#!/resnikoff/status/515565235600887808

Many in the news business are congratulating labor reporter Mike Elk for joining the staff of Politico.

Excellent news that @politico is hiring @MikeElk to cover labor!

— Doug Henwood (@DougHenwood) September 26, 2014

Congrats to @MikeElk on the Politico move. If you want reporting on labor and unions, he's the guy to hire.

— Kevin Bogardus (@KevinBogardus) September 26, 2014

Delighted to welcome @mikeelk to @PoliticoPro's Labor & Employment vertical. With @politicomahoney already on board we're rarin' to go!

— Timothy Noah (@TimothyNoah1) September 26, 2014

I'm excited to join @TimothyNoah1 @politico in building the biggest labor news desk in US – I already feel an immigrants love for the place

— Mike Elk (@MikeElk) September 26, 2014

Some clever tweeters did a little digging, though, and wonder how Elk wound up at an organization he has spent so much time bashing.

Hahahah … did anyone at @politico vet this guy? RT @johntabin: LOL. Thanks for this, @BuzzFeedAndrew pic.twitter.com/TOromhu4f6

— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) September 26, 2014

Twitter user @HGTomato retweeted these Mike Elk classics.

So I heard POLITICO keeps its office in Virginia to take advantage of unemployment/ right to work laws

— Mike Elk (@MikeElk) November 28, 2011

Seriously, politico is gonna get a pay wall, I feel like u would have to pay me to read politico

— Mike Elk (@MikeElk) May 9, 2013

somewhere there is a dude who brags on OkCupid that he works for Politico….

— Mike Elk (@MikeElk) September 12, 2013

How does @dylanbyers still have a job – can someone explain that?

— Mike Elk (@MikeElk) April 24, 2013

Politico media reporter Dylan Byers retweeted that one — water under the bridge?

I think the Mike Elk story shows the wisdom of making your words as sweet as possible — just in case you have to eat them later.

— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) September 26, 2014

* * *

Related:

Labor reporter Mike Elk is ‘beat’ and wants you to pay for his Florida ‘vacation’

Liberal journo Mike Elk sad about death threats to death threat connoisseur Erik Loomis 

Labor journalist Mike Elk laid off from In These Times magazine

‘Competence!’ Here’s a sneak peek at the ‘new CDC Ebola protocols’ [photo]

http://twitter.com/#!/BigRMV/status/522461747723378688

So, it’s official: When it comes to dealing with Ebola, the CDC really doesn’t seem to have a clue.

CDC now says maybe we need to re-examine Ebola protocols. But don’t worry, it’s all under control.

— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonDC) October 14, 2014

because of lack of strict quarantine protocols, CDC now has to ask 132 passengers on 10/13 Frontier flight 1143 to call 1800-CDC-INFO

— Prudence Paine (@PruPaine) October 15, 2014

as @deltasmelt points out, the plane wasn't even decontaminated after. The CDC's monitoring/alerting protocols seem to have been breached.

— iLoveScienceSexually (@AceofSpadesHQ) October 15, 2014

My wife, the ER nurse, this morning: “These CDC protocols are obviously not working.”

— RB (@RBPundit) October 15, 2014

#CDC (Obama admin) protocols for #Ebola are weaker than WHO; don't include hand-washing at each stage of protective gear removal.

— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) October 15, 2014

"Those responsible for the sacking of the proper protocols have been sacked." – The CDC, Pining for the Fjords

— Chris Barnhart (@ChrisBarnhart) October 15, 2014

This explains a lot:

BREAKING: New CDC Ebola protocols released. They… may need some work. (Art by @CalebHowe) pic.twitter.com/JkNAb5UCQY

— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) October 15, 2014

Now that looks like “Inherent Resolve”!

Competence! RT @LeonHWolf BREAKING: New CDC Ebola protocols released. They… may need some work. pic.twitter.com/TpRa2KCiwZ

— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) October 15, 2014

***

That awkward moment when CDC claims Ebola ‘protocol breach’ or something. Then ‘forgets’ to mention it HERE

‘Idiocracy is upon us’: CDC director does a 180 on Ebola ‘protocol breach’ blame

Here’s a flabbergasted Rob Lowe summing up CDC Ebola presser with two words

Piers Morgan on the CDC saying it needs to ‘rethink’ Ebola: ‘No s*** Sherlock’

Nine Ebola tweets that the CDC probably wishes it could take back

‘I want to trust CDC, but … ’: Second health care worker with Ebola flew commercially before diagnosis

‘Ya think?!’ CDC director says second nurse who contracted Ebola shouldn’t have flown