Links 12/9/12

Links for you. Science:

City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites: Lining nests with material from discarded cigarettes may help keep out parasitic mites.
Physics Says No to Warp Drives, but NASA Says Maybe
Cruel new fact of crustacean life: lobster cannibalism
Rewriting the invention of DNA barcoding
The catfish that strands itself to kill pigeons

Other:


The Rich Have Plenty to Give, but Forget Deficits
(must-read)
Yet More Evidence That High-Frequency Trading is Bad For Us
Degree Inflation? Jobs That Newly Require B.A.’s (this doesn’t happen when unemployment is low, by the way)
What if We Made Fewer Ph.D.’s?
Let’s get real: Gun control is about protecting domestic violence victims like Kasandra Perkins (and the first comment just shows how people shut their brains off on this topic)
Santorum’s Three Things to Avoid Poverty: The Very Serious Person’s Version of Makers vs. Takers
Stimulus bashing based on ignorance. The facts are the facts.
Cliff Walking
Which Is The Real Doomsday Plan: The Fiscal Cliff Or The Debt Ceiling Showdown?
Please Help a Conservative Escape Epistemic Closure (good roundup of links too)
The Decadence of Procreation
FreedomWorks’ Pro-Coal Lobbyist Tom Borelli is Former Professional Pro-Tobacco Scientist

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One Response to Links 12/9/12

  1. Zachary Smith says:

    *** City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites: Lining nests with material from discarded cigarettes may help keep out parasitic mites ***

    My first thought was to ask whether or not the birds are doing this deliberately, and it turns out the authors of the study addressed this very question.

    “Presumably, both new and smoked butts can provide thermal insulation, but only the latter would protect against ectoparasites, thus a choice test under controlled conditions could be used to disentangle which is the primary function of this behaviour. Birds could distinguish smoked and non-smoked butts from their scent, just as some birds that use the chemical compounds of plants as defence against parasites appear to rely on olfaction to collect those with effective chemicals [24].”

    I’d like to see the results of a new test of this sort.

    *** FreedomWorks’ Pro-Coal Lobbyist Tom Borelli is Former Professional Pro-Tobacco Scientist ***

    “Is their no dirty product that Tom Borelli won’t defend for the right price?”

    Now that’s a darned silly question. And that Fox is giving him time in front of their cameras says a lot about that bunch of creeps as well.

    *** Cliff Walking ***

    This piece spends a lot of time beating up on the Republicans, and that’s OK, for they really are awful. But it takes two to tango, so the author basically had to slide this tidbit in somewhere.

    “That the Obama administration is complicit in the game being played is even worse.”

    BHO isn’t some innocent who just arrived from the farm with bits of straw still sticking to his clothes. He’s on a Mission, and while he may do some meandering around for purposes of deception, I’m still expecting the worst. He’s going to continue doing the awful things he’s done for the past 4 years because he’s convinced they’re the Right Things. And because that’s what the people who put him into the White House want him to do.

    *** Physics Says No to Warp Drives, but NASA Says Maybe ***

    I doubt if this is possible – not because I know anything about the physics of the matter, but because if it could be done, I think the universe would be full of space ships. And that one or another space-travelling species would have colonized earth long ago, and the newcomers would have taken over Earth and reconfigured the place to their own liking.

    In his delightful 1956 short story “The Claustrophile” Theodore Sturgeon speculated that it would take only one really-well space-adapted creature to pretty much take over the universe if they had the ‘right stuff’ like an inertia-less Faster-Than-Light drive and suspended animation and FTL communications. I figure we’d have to assume there would be lots more than a single species of aliens doing this if it’s possible at all. So once again, I doubt if it’s possible. :)

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