Monday, June 18, 2007

Clever new hack in archaeology.

Something new under the sun in animal archeology, which doesn't happen every day.  A new and fabulous way to discern the locomotion style of an animal based on only the skull.

"We have shown that there is a fundamental adaptive mechanism linking a species' locomotion with the sensory systems that process information about its environment," says Alan Walker, Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology and Biology at Penn State University, one of the team's leaders. The researchers studied 91 separate primate species, including all taxonomic families. The study also included 119 additional species, most of which are mammals ranging in size from mouse to elephant, that habitually move in diverse ways in varied environments.

The project is the first large-scale study to document the relationship of the dimensions of the semicircular canals to locomotion. These structures are filled with a fluid, which moves within the canals when the animal moves. The fluid's movement is sensed by special cells that send signals to the brain, triggering the neck and eye muscles to reflexively keep the visual image stable.

The basic hypothesis of the project was that the organ of balance -- which helps stabilize an animal's gaze and coordinate its movements as it travels through the environment -- should be irrevocably linked to the type of locomotion produced by its limbs. "If an animal evolves a new way of moving about the world, its organ of balance must evolve accordingly," Walker explains. From the visual information, the animal tracks its position relative to stationary objects such as tree trunks, branches, rocks or cliffs, or the ground. Having a stable image of the environment is especially crucial for acrobatic animals that leap, glide, or fly.

By mapping the structure of the balance organ to each style of movement they have created a map for comparison of extinct species.  Example, baboons have much more development of the semicircular canal than sloths.  Humans have more than baboons. Given a skull fragment with most of the canal structure in it and a CAT scanner to image it, you can arrive at a general idea of what kind of animal it was.

Damn that's clever eh?  I love cleverness like that.

The Phantom

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Punks with guns.

Having got nowhere trying to kill Jews and Lebanese Muslims, the Palestinians have settled for killing each other.
Hamas fighters overran one of the rival Fatah movement's most important security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, and witnesses said the victors dragged vanquished gunmen from the building and killed them in the street.
No independent confirmation on the killing them in the street part, but the media spin is predictable:
The moderate President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, for the first time in five days of fierce fighting, ordered his elite presidential guard to strike back. But his forces were crumbling fast under the onslaught by the better-armed and better-disciplined Islamic fighters.
Translation from MSM Speak, gang leader Abbas's murderous punks aren't as tough as the Hamas punks, and besides Hamas is getting better bang bang stuff from Egypt.  Must have a special deal with the Egyptians,  without whom, by the way, these rival gang shit heads would be reduced to fighting with pointed sticks.  Hamas probably paid somebody off bigtime.

The MSM is now dignifying this with the title "Civil War", but really its a case of two criminal gangs fighting over turf.  Change the names Hamas and Fatah to get a better idea of what is going on.  Crips vs. Bloods in San Diego, with RPGs and mortars they bought from Mexico using money they got from the UN and the EU.  But less organized.

Whoever comes out on top is going to be the next bunch of a-holes the Israelis are expected to "negotiate" with.  Kind of a special revelation on the complete futility of the Mid-East Peace Process.  Looks like Israel had the right idea with the Wall.  Put up a fence and let the rats duke it out over UN table scraps.

Speaking of the UN, lets see how much aid the Egyptians sends to help their suffering brothers and sisters in their time of need.  I'm betting they send zippo, other than selling the bastards more ammo.

The Phantom

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another step on the road to perdition.

Today the Supreme Court of Canada announced that collective bargaining is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Previous decisions of the Blackbirds held that Canadians have no right to private property.  Or freedom of speech (that'd be the hate speech legislation).  Or guns.

Just to be clear, unions are protected by the Charter but not people.  This concludes our Perdition road trip for today.

The Phantom

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pipeline bomb plot: mostly crap, kids.

Ok, so they caught four guys plotting to "blow up" the fuel pipeline that runs into NYC.  Good cop work, a well earned attaboy for Homeland Security.

But now we get the overheated media "lets make a buck!" coverage.  Example, "Pipeline Security A Joke" from the NY Post.

Or, "Ex-Airport Worker Plots Massive Attack On JFK"  (Officials Believe Attack Could've Been Worse Than 9/11)

Uhm, no.  There's two unalterable facts about pipelines.  First, you can't guard them.  Not a chance.  They are too long, and they are too numerous.  Second is that you can't "blow them up" as described in the red-hot but dead-wrong MSM reports.

The most you can do to a pipeline is put a hole in it.  If it is running natural gas or gasoline you can get a dandy fire going where the hole is, but you can't ignite the whole pipeline.  No oxygen in it, just fuel.  The most that Abdul Bin Dumbsheisse and his merry band of idiots could do is interrupt fuel deliveries for a little while, maybe make the MSM some more money selling doom and destruction stories.

When exactly did "educate and inform" become "alarm and dishearten"?  I'm starting to think journalists are a bigger problem than these moronic terrorists.

The Phantom