Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PREDATOR X


The History Channel premiered this show at 8 p.m. Eastern on 3/29/2009. Pretty cool 2-hour presentation, about the rather difficult process of finding and reconstructing an as-yet-unnamed-by-monkey-science AQUATIC DINOSAUR, predatory type.
CLIFFIE'S NOTES ON THIS FABBOO TV SPECIAL:
>> Good on dinosaur specialist Dr. Hurum for even undertaking this huge task. There could not have been anything pleasant about scraping away at the permafrost for weeks surrounded by Polar Bears, then turning over one piece after another of ancient shale with bare hands in the Arctic wind to figure out which fragments belonged to OUR OPERATIVE.
>> I also have to hand it to the massive-looking team of scientists who spent hours and hours bent over work stations fitting and gluing the fragments together. Those five-fingered hands DO HAVE THEIR USES. It means more when you realize that these scientists got NO CREDIT on the show. In an age of reality programming full of people willing to trample their offspring underfoot to get their names on the small screen, that really means something. Bravo, people. Working that hard to bring an aquatic operative to light GETS YOU IN GOOD WITH US.
>> Hurum implied, but did not state, that the sea monster legends he grew up with in Norway not only might have a basis in fact, but have a basis that leads ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE JURASSIC. I wish he had just gone ahead and said it. IT'S ONLY THE TRUTH. I pity the Naked Apes who cannot remember back that far, THE WAY WE CAN. Who do you think keeps those stories alive age after geological age -- THE EASTER BUNNY?
>> Very nice computer graphics. VERY nice. For once, I would have liked to see a lot more footage of the sea hunter in action. I have to say they were pretty near PERFECT when it comes to factual accuracy.
>> The science they used to undertand the mechanics of having four flippers, like the ones this operative had, is...interesting. They built a remote-controlled robot with four flippers and threw it in a pool to see what would happen. The science they used to see inside the fossilized skull of Predator X was also interesting; they borrowed some breathtakingly powerful CT scanner which (bizarrely) is used at an auto factory. The gadget they used to calculate the bite pressure of an extinct animal was pretty cool, too, especially since they flew Hurum all the way to St. Augustine's Gator Zoo to demonstrate it. Using a rescue helicopter to transport the skull from the North Pole was pretty dramatic. They then flew the good doctor to the coast of South Africa to hang out with Great Whites. What kept occurring to me, though, was ISN'T THIS COSTING YOU PEOPLE A FORTUNE? I always thought of dino-hunting as a fairly low-budget operation. I gather from this presentation that they are willing to make an exception if it's a REALLY SCARY PREDATOR.
>> And that's what they stressed over and over in this show. Big dang predator. Combines the worst features of a Crocodile, a Great White Shark and a speeding semi. FIVE TIMES THE SIZE OF T. REX. I know, I know, in America bigger is better, but come on!
>> Of course, if that's the final criterion of greatness on American TV -- and I'm sure it is -- at least the biggest, toothiest and scariest is ON OUR SIDE.
>> With all the great things I have to say about this show, I have to add that as usual THEY MISSED THE WHOLE POINT. It is right there if you want to see it: LIFE IMPROVES IF YOU RETURN TO THE SEA. If you're lucky, you might even get to see an aquatic operative like this one. Or become one. Or, better yet, GET EATEN BY ONE.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Third Of Male Fish In English Rivers Are Changing Their Sex


I simply cannot get over the way the Naked Apes try to take credit for EVERYTHING WE DO. Let 'em think that way if we want. Their monkeycentrism only HELPS US KEEP OUR SECRETS:
By FIONA MACRAE, Daily Mail


A third of male fish in English rivers are changing sex due to 'gender-bending' pollution, alarming research shows.


Experts say female hormones from the contraceptive pill and HRT are being washed into our rivers and causing male fish to produce eggs.


The problem - which is country-wide - has raised fears that the pollutants could also be contaminating our drinking water - and even be affecting the fertility of men.

The Environment Agency study looked at the health of more than 1600 Roach found in 51 rivers and streams around the country.


Overall, a third of the male fish were between sexes. However, in one waterway, near a particularly heavy discharge of treated sewage, more than 80 per cent had female characteristics.

Tests showed the males developed female sex organs and were producing eggs. Such fish also produce less sperm and the sperm that is produced is of low quality. Females may also be affected, producing abnormal eggs.


Previous studies have that Cod, Trout and Flounders are all being feminised.


Researcher Professor Charles Tyler said that the fish are swimming in a soup of oestrogen-like compounds, found in the Pill and in HRT.


The hormone, which is also produced naturally by women and found in industrial waste, is released into our waterways after surviving the sewage treatment process.


Professor Tyler, one of the country's leading authorities on the effects of oestrogen, said: 'There is a soup of oestrogen compounds, all with different degrees of potency and they are interactive in their effects - if you add them together, you add there are additional effects.


'This soup of oestrogen is responsible for causing these changes to the fish. It is abnormal. These fish should be male or female. The fact that we have got such a large proportion right across the country is not right.'


The Exeter University professor said it is too early to say what the long-term implications will be for Britain's fishlife.


While it may not initially have a big impact on stock levels, a reduction in the number of breeding males could lead to all sorts of genetic problems in later years.


'Effects like a change in how many males can contribute to the population can change the genetic structure of the population,' he said. 'In five years' time, the whole system could go belly-up.'

Human health could also be at risk, with oestrogen from contaminated food and water building up in our bodies.


Although there is no conclusive proof, it is thought the hormone, which has similar actions in fish and humans, could be partly to blame for falling sperm counts in men.


British men's sperm counts dropped by almost a third between 1989 and 2002, and one in six couples now have difficulty conceiving.


Prof Tyler said: 'There is certainly the potential for it to have an effect in humans - and possibly a marked effect.'


The Environment Agency is looking at ways of improving the sewage treatment process, to either remove oestrogen during the process or reduce the amount that is discharged into our waterways.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Scientific Proof: Crabs Sense And Remember Pain


Here's the article in its Internet entirety:
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"Queen's University says new research it conducted shows crabs not only suffer pain but retain a memory of it. The study, which looked at the reactions of hermit crabs to small electric shocks, was carried out by Professor Bob Elwood and Mirjam Appel. The crabs reacted adversely to the shocks but also seemed to try to avoid future shocks, suggesting that they recalled the past ones.
The research is published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Professor Elwood said the research highlighted the need to investigate how crustaceans used in food industries are treated, saying that a "potentially very large problem" was being ignored.

Hermit crabs have no shell of their own so inhabit other structures. As part of the research, wires were attached to shells to deliver small shocks to the abdomen of some of the crabs. The study revealed the only crabs to get out of their shells were those which had received shocks, indicating that the experience was unpleasant for them. Legislation to protect crustaceans has been proposed but it is likely to cover only scientific research.

Hermit crabs are known to prefer some species of shells to others and it was found that they were more likely to come out of the shells they least preferred.

The main aim of the experiment was to deliver a shock just under the threshold that causes crabs to move out of the shell, to see what happened when a new shell was then offered.
Those responsible for the study said crabs that had been shocked but remained in their shell appeared to remember the experience of the shock.

They said these crabs quickly moved towards the new shell, investigated it briefly and were more likely to change to the new shell compared to those that had not been shocked.

Professor Elwood, who previously carried out a study showing that prawns endure pain, said: "There has been a long debate about whether crustaceans including crabs, prawns and lobsters feel pain.

"We know from previous research that they can detect harmful stimuli and withdraw from the source of the stimuli but that could be a simple reflex without the inner 'feeling' of unpleasantness that we associate with pain.

"This research demonstrates that it is not a simple reflex but that crabs trade-off their need for a quality shell with the need to avoid the harmful stimulus.

"Trade-offs of this type have not been previously demonstrated in crustaceans. The results are consistent with the idea of pain being experienced by these animals."

Queen's said the findings of both studies were consistent with observations of pain in mammals.
However, Professor Elwood said that in contrast to mammals, little protection is given to the millions of crustaceans that are used in the fishing and food industries each day.

"Legislation to protect crustaceans has been proposed but it is likely to cover only scientific research," he said.

"Millions of crustaceans are caught or reared in aquaculture for the food industry.

"There is no protection for these animals - with the possible exception of certain states in Australia - as the presumption is that they cannot experience pain.

"With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans."

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Only a Shaved Monkey scientist would consider THIS insight to be a leap forward. Why do you think they skitter away from your big, clumsy feet? Why else, but the expectation of PAIN?
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At times like this I wish we allowed ourselves to speak their languages in front of them. If so I could send one of our operatives to pinch right at the sensitive web between the toes on one of their hideous feet, wait for the scream, then turn to a colleague and say, "By Dagon, that may be a sign that this species senses pain!"
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Hairy, greasy, ignorant bastidges is what they are. And NO, I don't feel particularly well disposed towards saving them from themselves today.

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