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For Harry Potter Fans

funny pictures of cats with captions

January 14, 2009   4 Comments

RIP

A possible hero, Number Six, 80 and a great villain, Khan Noonien Singh, 88.

January 14, 2009   17 Comments

I Wish They Had Asked

The BBC reports on the environmental disasters on Macquarie island.

Apparently ships deposited rabbits on the island, and cats, rats, and mice jumped ship there. The authorities removed the cats as a threat to the sea birds without properly reckoning what would happen if you removed the main predator. The result was entirely predictable to anyone who looks at systems, and not individual components – the rodent population soared and is destroying the island’s vegetation, as well as attacking eggs and young chicks.

So next they are going to work on the rodents.

I view the feral cats that I take care of as replacement for the snakes that were wiped out. Without the snakes the rodent population soared, and the cats keep them under control. I manage the predation of birds by feeding the cats, but they never lose their instinctive anti-rodent behavior. You have to balance the system. You can’t remove the predators without causing the prey population to spike. They needed to deal with predators and prey at the same time. I wonder if they considered chemical birth control instead of poisons. It would be a bit slower, but it would achieve the same result.

January 14, 2009   6 Comments

As If You Didn’t Know

It’s another Emily Litella moment for the Count Floyd faction of the media.

As reported by McClatchy: About the risk from those Internet predators: Nevermind

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force examined the extent of the threats children face on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, amid widespread fears that adults were using these popular Web sites to deceive and prey on children.

But the report cited research calling such fears a “moral panic,” and concluded that the problem of bullying among children, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.

“This shows that social networks are not these horribly bad neighborhoods on the Internet,” said John Cardillo, a member of the task force and chief executive of Sentinel Tech Holding, which maintains a sex offender database. “Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.”

[Read more →]

January 14, 2009   2 Comments

They Got Him

The Pensacola News Journal reports Missing pilot captured

An Indiana pilot who faked a distress call and bailed out of a plane over Alabama was found at a Gadsden County campground Tuesday night after slashing his wrist in a suicide attempt.

Marcus Schrenker, 38, was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital by helicopter, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Law enforcement learned of his location after he sent an e-mail Tuesday to a family friend from a computer at the KOA Campground outside Chattahoochee, according to the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office.

Gadsden deputies and the U.S. Marshals Service North Florida Fugitive Task Force found Schrenker in a pup tent at the campground before 9:30 p.m.

This is about 100 miles East of me. If he wasn’t going to be shipped back to Indiana, he would probably have spent significant time in that area as Chatahoochee is the location of the state’s secure mental health facility [AKA psychiatric prison]. Given the current economic conditions and a suicide attempt, a one-hour hearing on a Baker Act claim followed by immediate commitment would be much preferred by local officials than an extended criminal trial.

January 14, 2009   2 Comments

Total Waste Of Time

Daniel Gross wrote a “Newsweek Web Exclusive” titled, What’s the Best Fix?. He spends two web pages not giving you a clue.

The entire article is made up of people complaining about the various options without identifying anything as being a solution, only listing the opinions of people as to why each option will fail. Frankly there isn’t any clear explanation of what the problem is.

One of the more annoying things is that in the entire article only one person, Greg Mankiw, is even presented with any credentials. Reading it you would think that the opinion of Amity Shlaes has the weight of Paul Krugman.

January 14, 2009   2 Comments