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Iranian monkey experiments--can puppies be next?

From California simian correspondent Bill (who's apparently branching out in the evolutionary tree), 'Germ Warfare' fear over African monkeys taken to Iran (Times of London):

Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments.

An undercover inquiry by The Sunday Times has revealed that wild monkeys, which are banned from experiments in Britain, are being freely supplied in large numbers to laboratories in other parts of the world. All will undergo invasive and maybe painful experiments leading ultimately to their death.

Because, you see, Muslims don't like dogs.  It's a joke, Son!

Seriously, what are those wacky Mullahs in Tehran up to now, hmm? 
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. . .unable to resist 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' joke

Boingboing brings to our attention the naked man who hijacked a Las Vegas city bus.
On Tuesday morning, Charles P. Sell, 35, stole a beer from a Las Vegas 7-Eleven and then hijacked a bus. He was buck naked at the time. He is charged with robbery, grand larceny, and malicious destruction of private property.
I can't wait to see the next commercial from the Vegas tourism folks.
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An Ah-Ha moment

Occasionally, you read something that lets you better understand somebody else's thinking.

Obama, as quoted at Gateway Pundit:
--I think you are privatizing something that is what essentially sets a nation-state apart, which is a monopoly on violence
Of course, the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment is all about ensuring that the state in fact does not have a monopoly on violence.  Should the state become sufficiently tyrannical, it is the right (and, perhaps, the duty) of the people to dissolve it--that comes from the Declaration of Independence.

States very seldom dissolve peacefully.  Just ask the Iraqis about that.
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Braaaaaains! Primate Braaaaaains!

Primates evolved larger brains at least twice, says Science Blog:
"The result is clear: early fossil members of both the New World and Old World anthropoid lineages had small brain sizes, thus the larger brain sizes seen in both groups today must have arisen independently," says Flynn. "Documenting that large brains evolved separately several times within Primates will enhance understanding of the timing and pathways of brain expansion and its effects on skull growth and shape, and may lead to new insights into the genetic controls on encephalization."
Braaaaains!  I just like typing 'braaaains!' 
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The world's premier bacon-blogger

is John Scalzi.

He writes some decent science fiction, too.

I thought y'all would like to know.
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Racism in America today

TV network to show only the Democrat's National Convention.  From Live Feed:

But John McCain shouldn’t expect the same treatment. The network doesn’t plan any coverage of the Republican convention.

"We are not a news organization," said Rodgers, speaking at the opening session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. "We are a television network designed to celebrate African American achievement."

"My audience is 93% black," Rogers added. "I serve my audience."

One of the talking points supporting black racism like this is that it's impossible for blacks to be racist because they're the minority.  But how does that change, if The Man is black?

Also, why are there not one but two cable TV networks which unabashedly cater to a racist (black) audience?  Oh, yeah, that's right, blacks can't be racists, by definition.


Via Gateway Pundit.
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15 reasons why creationism is bunk

Little Green Footballs reminds us of this Scientific American article, from which we excerpt a sample (go read the entire article for more goodness):

9. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.

This argument derives from a misunderstanding of the Second Law. If it were valid, mineral crystals and snowflakes would also be impossible, because they, too, are complex structures that form spontaneously from disordered parts.

The Second Law actually states that the total entropy of a closed system (one that no energy or matter leaves or enters) cannot decrease. Entropy is a physical concept often casually described as disorder, but it differs significantly from the conversational use of the word.

More important, however, the Second Law permits parts of a system to decrease in entropy as long as other parts experience an offsetting increase. Thus, our planet as a whole can grow more complex because the sun pours heat and light onto it, and the greater entropy associated with the sun's nuclear fusion more than rebalances the scales. Simple organisms can fuel their rise toward complexity by consuming other forms of life and nonliving materials.

It is a source of constant amazement to me that people do not consistently apply scientific principles--those who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming seem to accept creationism uncritically, and vice versa.  Both seem pretty bogus to me, although I'll grant that global warming has a higher class of bogosity than creationism.
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The healthcare problem:

Megan McArdle (via Instapundit):
Everyone in the healthcare debate is looking for a villain: heedless consumers, careless doctors, grasping pharma companies. But the truth is, most of the increase in health care costs comes from new treatments, not abuse of the system. And a lot of those new treatments raise a question: how much are we willing to pay for marginal improvements in survival, or quality of life?
I don't know how much of the cost increase is due to the new treatments, vs. artificial price controls via Medicare, but certainly things like CT scans which didn't exist thirty or forty years ago add to the total cost of medical care we're paying today.
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Down memory lane

Q & O Blog reminds us of this Democrat campaign promise, from 2006, two short years ago:
“Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”
Well?  You guys won big in '06.  How's that commonsense plan for lowering gas prices working out?

It used to be that when one party promised something and failed to deliver, we tossed them out on their asses and gave the other guys a try.

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Indentured Servitude

Also known as "Mandatory National Service."  A really, really bad idea.  But Armed Liberal over at Winds of Change floats the insidious trial balloon once more:
I'd like to see this principle extended, and based on raising my own sons, think that taking a year or two between high school and college to do some kind of public service would be a good thing for most kids. Some might choose to join the military. Others would perform other kinds of community service. Those who needed it might attend two years of an academic boot camp, designed to make sure they could read and calculate effectively when they got out. We'd have a surplus of undertrained 18 year olds afoot, and we'd have to figure out things to do with them. Parks need supervision, community organizations need workers, much of it - like the WPA - will be make-work. But to a big extent, that might be a better thing than paying universities to babysit them.
My response, as posted in the comments on Winds of Change:

Indentured servitude by any other name . . . evil ideas are no less evil because pretty names are contrived for them, or lofty aspirations are assigned to them.

"Hell is paved with good intentions."  Welcome to Hell, here's your accordion.

The fundamental problem is that the entire underlying theory of the political system of the United States is that the individual citizen is sovereign, and all powers of the government derive from the sovereign individual.  Indentured servitude (or "mandatory national service") completely inverts this relationship--to advocate it, you must concede that every individual's life belongs to the state. That leads directly to serfdom. (Now, it's given that almost everybody has forgotten this inconvenient truth about the American political system, but it still hanging on, if only by a thread.)

Practically, the assertion that "taking a year or two between high school and college to do some kind of public service would be a good thing for most kids" may or may not be true. 

But is it important enough to you that it's worth advocating a form of indentured servitude?

And, also practically, no one can guarantee that all of these young serfs will not be used for purposes which are in the long run destructive to the body politic.  Government has a pretty bad record of ignoring unintended consequences.  I do not think that subjecting all people from ages 18 to 24 (or whatever) to two years of mandatory "service" will be nearly as beneficial as some may think it will be.

There are some ideas which reach the level of "horrifying" for anyone who believes that freedom and liberty are worth aspiring to.  Mandatory national service is at the top of that list.

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