Archive for the ‘Standing on my Soap Box’ Category

The Fear Island Special that Aired on Animal Planet Last Night was Full of Shit

June 4, 2018

The Animal Planet network has a history of airing misleading pseudo-science on many of their specials.  In their fake documentaries, researchers (usually actors posing as scientists) are on the hunt for creatures undiscovered by science.  In the past they have supposedly discovered evidence for mermaids and the continued existence of a long extinct shark species known as Carcharodon megalodon.  Last night, they aired a special culminating Monster Week entitled Fear Island.  A trio including a so-called scientist, a skeptic, and an Indian tracker were following a particularly large specimen of Kodiak bear.  The so-called scientist had a theory that Kodiak bears were either an hybrid between brown bears (Ursus arctos) X polar bears (Ursus maritimus) or an hybrid between brown bears X and an extinct species of bear from the Pleistocene (Arctodus simus).  They used camera traps and collected DNA samples from hair and feces to prove that this bear was an hybrid, and that it was 2600 pounds which would make it more than double the size of an ordinary Kodiak bear.  This gave the show a verisimilitude of real science, but it was not.

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Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  They air unscientific bullshit.

There was a big problem with this special–scientists have already conducted many genetic studies of the Kodiak bear population.  Kodiak bears grow to more than double the size of the average mainland brown bear because of their diet…not because they are somehow a different species.  They enjoy an unusual abundance of salmon.  Genetic studies suggest Kodiak bears are the same species as the brown bear, and there is no admixture of polar bear in this population.  Moreover, the genetic studies indicate there is so little genetic difference between mainland brown bears and Kodiak bears that the latter should not even be considered a separate subspecies.  Nevertheless, at the end of the special Animal Planet claimed their genetic tests determined the Kodiak bear the hosts were following was a brown bear X polar bear hybrid, but tests to determine if there was giant short-faced bear DNA were inconclusive.  I promise, this supposed genetic test will never be subject to peer review in a real scientific journal because they were full of shit.  The giant short faced bear belonged to the Tremarctine group indigenous to the Americas, and these bears were separated from the Ursus bears by millions of years of evolution, making it highly unlikely that they ever interbred.  Plus, there is no genetic material of giant short-faced bears available for comparison.  So, of course, that finding would be inconclusive.

No way did the bear they were following weigh 2600 pounds as they estimated.  Any brown bear walking past a camera trap is going to look big, and I’m sure their estimate was badly miscalculated.  To prove it weighed that much, they would actually have to weigh it.

The Indian tracker told of an incident when 6 bears carried a dead bear to an hole they dug and buried it in a funeral like ceremony.  He told it with a straight face, but obviously he was pulling their leg.  Nevertheless, the so-called skeptic believed his story.  Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  This network lost its credibility a long time ago.


Sadistic American Safari Hunters are Contributing to the Extinction of Africa’s Megafauna

April 2, 2018

Until well into the 20th century tropical diseases and tribal warfare left large areas of Africa uninhabited, and megafauna flourished.  An estimated 10 million elephants lived on the continent in 1900 and populations of rhinos, giraffes, zebras, lions, and other species were much higher than they are today.  Now, there are just 430,000 elephants living in Africa, and all of Africa’s megafauna are in danger of extinction.  The biggest threats are from overpopulation of people and loss of habitat.  Farmers convert wild lands into agricultural plots, and pastoralists with their increasing herds of cattle will not tolerate ungulates competing for grazing range or predator attacks on their livestock.  Illegal poaching is another major threat.  Trophy hunters from America claim they are helping to protect the last remaining populations of megafauna by supporting local groups that protect hunting preserves from poachers.  Instead, these sadistic safari hunters are contributing to the ongoing extinction of Africa’s most iconic animals.

For a price hunters can still go on a safari and kill rare mammals.  Here are some of the prices on the internet I found for guided safari hunts: elephant ($38,000), endangered white rhino ($66,790), lion-leopard-buffalo ($32,500 for a 26 day safari), zebra ($3500), baboon or jackal ($300).  Giraffes are pretty cheap too–$3450.  Incidentally, giraffe populations are in severe decline.  1 hunter paid $350,000 to kill an extremely rare black rhino.  By contrast a 4 day photographic safari costs just $2500. I am not against sustainable hunting for food, but the idea that rich people would spend this much money to slaughter rare animals in poor countries disgusts me.  This is what they do with their recreational budget?  Travel across the world to wipe out the last remaining populations of iconic animals with high powered rifles? These people are sick.  They make me think of the Nazis who killed my relatives during the Holocaust.

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Here is an example of a Richie Rich douchebag on a safari hunt.  This is 1 of Donald Trump’s sons. He paid a fortune to murder a leopard.  He and his brother went on a safari and killed a leopard, civet cat, antelope, and buffalo. Why the hell would anyone kill a civet cat? He bragged about giving the antelope meat to the locals…the people who can’t afford to hunt these animals themselves.  What a jerk.  Trump’s entire family are a bunch of crooks who are using the White House to personally enrich themselves.  The U.S. is a disgrace for electing such a racist sexist pig to be president.

The claim that these safari hunts help conservation efforts is dubious at best and downright false in most cases.  First of all, there is a moral disconnect between letting rich American hunters slaughter wildlife for trophies,while local poor people are forbidden from hunting for bush meat to help feed their families.  This system stokes the kind of anti-colonial resentment that would foster sympathy for the poachers.  Then, there is the corruption.  Most of these African countries are so corrupt that money spent on safari hunts is pocketed by a few local gangster autocrats, and it does not go toward conserving the wildlife.  For example the $350,000 the hunter spent on killing that black rhino that I mentioned above went to an organization that doesn’t even help conserve black rhinos.  The money is supposed to go to guards that protect the big game animals, but instead it invariably ends up in the hands of some corrupt local politician who doesn’t give a shit about wildlife.  The safari hunters themselves are frequently corrupt.  They often bribe guides to let them get extra trophies above their limit.  Safari hunters claim they only shoot animals past their breeding age.  This demonstrates ignorance about basic biology, and it a ridiculous lie anyway.  None of the big game species they hunt ever live long enough to become infertile with age.  Moreover, they purposefully shoot the best looking trophies–the individuals with the largest horns and the lions with the most luxurious manes–and these animals are the strongest most fertile specimens within the population.  A noted wildlife photographer saw entire lion prides in Botswana wiped out by trophy hunters.  The safari hunters killed all the adult males, so the only male lions left in the area were the cubs that grew up and mated with their mothers, causing inbreeding that led to local extirpation of the pride.  A recent scientific study determined that trophy hunting so weakens the gene pool that it could eventually lead to the extinction of African megafauna.

I think African countries should promote photographic safaris instead of hunting safaris.  Money brought in by safari hunting amounts to less than 1% of tourism dollars brought into Africa by foreigners.  An increase in photographic safaris could easily replace this revenue.  Nevertheless, African megafauna is in big trouble.  As long as a certain percentage of the billion Chinese who live on earth are dumb enough to believe rhino horn is an aphrodisiac, I just don’t see how poaching can be stopped in corrupt African countries.  “Conservation” by safari hunters is a colossal lie that is only contributing to the extinction of these magnificent mammals.


Knell, R.; and Carlos Marinez-Ruiz

“Selective Harvest Focused on Sexual Signal Traits can lead to Extinction Under Directional Environmental Change”

Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Science November 2017

The Korean Demilitarized Zone is an Amazing Wilderness

August 26, 2017

North Korea is not going to attack the U.S., no matter what Donald Trump says or doesn’t say.  The little fat turd who controls North Korea knows it would mean the end for him because even China wouldn’t back him, if he was the aggressor.  And the U.S. isn’t going to attack North Korea.  Trump will listen to his generals when they tell him an attack on North Korea would draw China into the war, and China has hundreds of nuclear weapons and enough surface-to-surface missiles to sink our entire Pacific fleet.

I feel sorry for the North Korean people because they are forced to live under the little fat turd’s rule.  But the U.S. voluntarily elected a giant fat turd as president.  Actually, referring to Donald Trump as a turd is an insult to turds.  A turd in a punchbowl would make a better president than Trump.

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A turd in a punch bowl would make a better president than Donald Trump.

Trump opened up his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “drug dealers and rapists”–words that sounded like they came straight out of Archie Bunker’s mouth.  Ironically, Trump must think rape is only bad if a Mexican is the rapist because Trump brags about how he can rape women and get away with it. Trump is so dumb he equates peaceful protestors with neo-Nazis, and he thinks Jefferson Davis and other Confederate figures are comparable to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  They are not the same–they are the opposite.  George Washington helped found this country, while the Confederacy tried to tear it apart.  The Confederacy was an enemy of the U.S..  Enemies of the U.S. should not be venerated.  Trump has no credibility because he rarely tells the truth about anything.  He makes up absurd conspiracies and tweets them out in the middle of the night.  This is the symptom of a man who doesn’t have all his marbles.  Trump is also highly unethical, but I’m not going  to delve into this here because just the details of his crooked business interests could fill volumes.

Trump disgusts me, but I am even more disgusted with the stupid uneducated fools who voted for him.  They all look like a bunch of angry, shriveled-up losers.  They are so dumb they actually think this billionaire prick gives a shit about them.  Trump’s economic policies, if he ever is able to enact them, would greatly aid ultra rich plutocrats, like himself, while steamrolling the working class chumps who voted for him.  Trump proved this when he said he would actively work to make Obamacare fail.  This means he cares more about a legislative victory than the well being of the American people.  The election of Trump is an insult to the intelligence and integrity of the American people.  I think many people voted for him because of name recognition.  They were familiar with this dumb bigoted celebrity from his brainless TV show.  Other people are attracted to his xenophobic racism.  It is disturbing to realize there are millions of pro-rape racists living in this country.  I hate Trump voters.

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Trump supporters are shriveled up old losers.  His rallies are a sea of white faces, though occasionally there will be a token black guy carrying an awkward sign saying “Blacks for Trump.”  The Trump campaign undoubtedly paid for the token black guy to stand there.  Trump was elected by pissed off racists.  It is alarming to realize there are tens of millions of brain dead racists in this country.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone divides North and South Korea.  People haven’t lived in this zone for 64 years, and the land has reverted to wilderness.  The KDZ is 400 square miles of mountains, forests, prairies, wetlands, and tidal marshes.  At least 52 species of mammals live in the KDZ including 5 kinds of deer, wild boar, Asiatic black bears, leopards, leopard cats, and raccoon dogs.  Many of the species that live here are rare or extinct in the rest of Asia.  Critically endangered long-tailed gorals (a kind of goat), musk deer, red-crowned cranes, white-naped cranes, and black-faced spoonbills make the KDZ their home.  There are even rumors of Siberian tigers roaming the KDZ.  It seems impossible that so much wildlife can exist here.  Reportedly, there are 2500 landmines per square mile, and animals occasionally do trigger them.  Animals can thrive in minefields but can’t tolerate the presence of man–another example of how detrimental people are for wildlife.  Maybe some day, if Korea is ever unified, the KDZ will become a park.  In the rest of China and Korea wildlife has been obliterated, and pollution is a disaster.  Asia badly needs a park like this.

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The critically endangered red-crowned crane finds refuge in the KDZ.

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Ruddy kingfisher.

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Korean water deer.

Naemorhedus caudatus

Long-tailed goral.


U.S. Government Will Allow Religious Nuts to Bury a 1 of a Kind Scientific Specimen

February 13, 2017

Democrats like to paint Republicans as being anti-science and of course this is true.  Republicans dispute scientific facts about everything from the harmful effects of pollution to the fundamental basis of biological science.  But when it is politically expedient, democrats can be just as anti-science.  On September 28, 2016 democrats caved-in to religious nuts who want to bury an extremely rare specimen where it will be lost forever to science.  The specimen is known as Kennewick man, first discovered 20 years ago.  It’s a nearly complete skeleton of a man who lived 9,000 years BP.  Skeletal remains of humans from this age in North America are so rare that only a few have ever been discovered.  The Army Corps of Engineers was going to let Native American tribes bury this precious specimen shortly after its discovery, but some scientists banded together and sued for the right to study it.  They won in court and luckily we now have increased our knowledge about the life of early archaic man in the Pacific northwest.  In 2015 a genetic study of this specimen determined Kennewick man shared a common ancestry with modern Native-Americans.  Unfortunately, this gave new legal momentum to the religious nuts who want to perform a ceremonial burial with the specimen, even though the study did not show any direct relationship with the tribes that inhabit the region today.  An amendment introduced by a democratic congresswoman was attached to a bill signed by then President Obama that will let these idiotic Indians throw away any more potential scientific knowledge we can learn about Kennewick man.  Future advancements in science could give us the opportunity to glean further knowledge from the specimen, but alas, unless there is another successful lawsuit, this rare specimen will be lost.  And it’s all because of the unnecessary deference given to stupid superstitions.

This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man or "the Ancient One" was carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull, and lends a deeper understanding of what he may have looked like nearly 9,000 years ago. The remains will be repatriated to Columbia Basin tribes for traditional burial under legislation passed by Congress. Photo: Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

The government is going to let ignorant Native-Americans bury this 9000 year old skull. A nearly 1 of a kind scientific specimen will be lost to science forever.

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I didn’t realize that Obama and the democrats were just as anti-science as the republicans.

In my opinion all religion is brainwashing for simple-minded people, and scientists know this, though they are often reluctant to say so.  If this dispute involved Christian fundamentalists, many scientists would be loudly protesting this amendment.  I’m sure they would call them “bible thumpers.”  But they seem unusually quiet about this because they are afraid of being called racist or politically incorrect for getting in a conflict with an indigenous belief system.  Well, I won’t be silenced.  I have no tolerance for ignorant beliefs no matter what group spouts them.  These Native-Americans are pushing their religion on us, and I think it is an outrage.  This specimen doesn’t belong to them.  They did not personally know Kennewick man.  None of their great-great-great-great-great grandparents knew Kennewick man.  In fact the ancestors of some of these tribes may have even fed upon Kennewick man’s kin.  (See: ) Their claim on this specimen is based on phony political correctness. They can’t demonstrate to which tribe Kennewick man belonged, probably because none of the tribes existed yet when he lived.  So all the 5 tribes of the Pacific northwest (Umatilla, Nez Pierce, Colville, Yakama, and Wanapum) are going to share the burial ceremony, and the specimen is going to be buried in a secret location to prevent disinterment. How ridiculous.  What politically correct bullshit.  When Europeans discover thousand year old human specimens in Europe, no group ever comes forward to claim they have the right to the remains because they are relatives.  Human remains are not sacred…they are just bones.

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Native Americans on their way to bury scientific knowledge.

After I die I do not want to be cremated.  I want to be buried, so there is a chance my remains could be discovered by scientists 30,000 years in the future.  They can study or do whatever they want with my skeleton, and I’m pretty sure I won’t care.

Irrational Admiration and Hatred

May 10, 2016

I recently read and enjoyed Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant, a British writer who details his experience moving from an apartment in New York City to a dilapidated big house in rural Mississippi.  The book is interesting in its description of the many eccentric characters Grant encountered and in its examination of backward race relations in Mississippi.  I’ve lived in Georgia since 1976.  Grant’s description of current racial interactions in Mississippi reminds me of the Georgia I moved to then.  But Georgia has progressed.  Mississippi seems to be 40 years behind Georgia.


This book is the entertaining true story of a British writer who moves into an old house in rural Mississippi.

Of course, I was interested in Grant’s experiences with the nature of Mississippi, a region mostly consisting of farmland, swamp, forest, and fallow field.  His house is located on an oxbow lake, and the entire region is right in the middle of the Mississippi flyway–an important migratory route for birds.  I expected a fish out of water story, but Grant readily adapted to hunting, despite his supposed reluctance. Note this passage about a dove hunting “party:”

I missed the first three doves that came my way, and hit the fourth.  It fell to the ground still fluttering its wings in a wounded death panic.  I swallowed my horror, and following Mike’s example, I picked it up by the head and twirled it around to break its neck.  Its feathers were so soft, its beauty so ruined by blood and death.

I felt sad, upset, shaky, and proud all at the same time…The doves made such small, fast-moving unpredictable targets, a smudge of gray darting and veering, but I managed to bring down two more, and I started to feel the excitement of it, the quickening of the blood, the total adsorption in which I was trying to do.”

I’m not buying it.  How does an human being go from being “sad and upset” to excited in the space of a few paragraphs?  And why would someone feel proud over killing a small bird with a shotgun?  I think Grant is full of shit here because he was prepared to enjoy killing animals.  I also suspect he wanted to act like an hick in order to shock his pretentious city slicker friends. I’m not against hunting for food, and Grant chose to hunt deer in Mississippi for economic reasons–to put food on the table.  I’m not buying this either.  Deer hunting is not an economical way to put meat on the table.  Rifles cost hundreds of dollars and ammo adds interest to this bad “investment.”  Luckily for Grant, a neighbor loaned him a firearm.  But he still paid over $100 to have his deer processed.  Moreover, the time he spent hunting could have been spent working and making money.

I am opposed to killing animals for the hell of it.  Grant adapted the “killing animals for the hell of it” attitude rather too readily as well.  He slaughters armadillos, mistakenly thinking they are invasive pests.  Some people complain because armadillos dig holes in their yards.  But dogs dig holes in yards, and these same assholes would never think of shooting their dog because it dug an hole in their yard.  I hypothesize 9-banded armadillos are not invasive, but instead are the same species that lived in North America during the Pleistocene.  (See: )  Armadillos are merely recolonizing lost territory.  A study published in the Southeastern Naturalist determined killing armadillos is futile because other armadillos quickly replace the ones that are killed.  So the killing of armadillos serves no purpose.

Another animal that Grant kills for the hell of it is the cottonmouth water moccasin.  He also admits to accidentally killing nonvenomous snakes, an illegal act in most states.  He kills cottonmouths because he believes they are dangerous.  Yet, he allows his large German shepherd to roam the countryside at will where it could potentially encounter and kill a small child.  (Allowing his big dog to run loose is evidence that Grant is an hick at heart.)  This illustrates a common irrationality shared by many people.  (I also had a former neighbor who freaked out about a rattlesnake on one occasion, but he often allowed his pit bull terrier to run loose. What a shmuck.)  People hate and fear snakes, often killing them on sight.  People admire and love dogs.  But fatal dog attacks are more than 10 times as common as fatal snake bites in the U.S.  Dogs have killed an average of 32 people per year over the past 10 years, and 2/3rds of the victims have been children.  By contrast snakes have killed less than 3 people per year over the past decade in this country, and some of these cases were people who unnecessarily handled the snake, including nutty Pentecostals.  (And those religious snake bite victims might have survived if they would have put their faith in doctors instead of God.  They refused medical treatment.)  A number of years ago, a dog ripped off a 10 year old girl’s arm at the shoulder.  The case received national attention.  A few dozen people sent the girl sympathetic get well cards, while she was in the hospital.  Thousands of people sent letters to the dog shelter where the dog was being held, begging the authorities not to euthanize the animal and many offered to retrain it.  Not only do people love dogs and hate snakes, they love dogs more than they care about the well being of other people.  Anybody who lets their big dog run loose is an inconsiderate jerk and should spend time in jail.

Here’s a link to some photos of people who were attacked by dogs.  I don’t want to post them directly on my blog because they are disturbing. Note how dogs attack the face.  One photo shows a man with half his face literally torn off.

Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus).  Venomous snakes are much less dangerous than dogs.

Statistics reveal another example of irrational admiration and hate.   Drunk drivers are reviled, and doctors are greatly admired.  Drunk drivers were responsible for 9,967 deaths in 2014 in the U.S.  But a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates medical malpractice causes the premature deaths of 225,000 people per year in this country, making it the 3rd leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.  Another study, this 1 published in the Journal of Patient Safety, estimates medical malpractice is responsible for 440,000 annual deaths in the U.S., and millions more are severely injured each year.  Doctors and hospitals are far more dangerous than drunk drivers.  My wife has been disabled for 21 years because of a medical mistake.  My late father, a physician, always said, “stay away from doctors.”  So when you turn 50 and get that letter from the government urging you to get a colonoscopy, think twice about it.  I will never have that invasive procedure done.  Doctors are scarier than drunk drivers.  The volume of death and suffering they bestow is horrifying.









Sign my White House Petition to Create a Pleistocene Park

April 4, 2016

I visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a few years ago and left greatly disappointed.  I had hoped to see an abundance of wildlife.  Instead, I saw a grand total of 1 squirrel, 4 Canadian geese, and 6 crows.  My daily constitutional in my neighborhood yields a greater variety of wildlife than that.  It was depressing to discover suburban Augusta, Georgia offers better wildlife viewing opportunities than a famous national park.  There are 2 areas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park where wildlife watching is recommended–Cades Cove and the Cataloochee.  However, when I visited, the road to Cades Cove was closed.  The access road to the Cataloochee is a single-lane unpaved path winding up a steep mountain without guard rails.  I judged it far too dangerous to continue up this life-threatening hazard.  The National Park service should be ashamed of the sorry infrastructure here.  It’s like something one would expect in a Third World country.

In a National Park, good wildlife viewing shouldn’t be confined to just a couple small areas.  Wildlife should be abundant throughout the park.  The problem with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the hands-off management policy of the park service.  A dense old growth forest covers most of the park.  This is poor habitat for most large mammal species, and it supports very low wildlife populations.  An attempt to re-establish red wolves in the park some years ago failed because there was nothing in the park for them to eat, showing just how low wildlife populations are here.  Red wolves can live off rabbits-the park doesn’t even have many of those.  Moreover, this park, wrongly thought to be natural, is like nothing that ever existed in nature prior to ~1900.  Native Americans, beginning about 14,000 years ago, set fire to the woods every year.  This created a mosaic of habitats including open woodlands and grassy prairies.  Large centuries-old oaks and chestnut trees were widely spaced with luxurious grasses and flowers growing in between.  Before man colonized the region, large herds of megafauna maintained a similar landscape.

I propose that the National Park service transform Great Smoky Mountains National Park into a Pleistocene park by actively managing it to improve habitat for wildlife.  After a detailed study they could install a management plan that would recreate an environment more similar to that of the Pleistocene than that of today’s aberrant abomination.  Some old growth forest would remain standing, especially along creeks and rivers that serve as natural fire breaks.  But most upland areas would need to be clear cut in some places and thinned out in others.  Pasture grasses and native flowers could be planted and large mammal species such as bison, horses, and llamas could be introduced, so that the open environment could be maintained by their foraging and trampling.  A fire management plan would also maintain this environment.  Eventually, Siberian tigers could be introduced to control the population of large ungulates.  Tigers would also cull wild boar and bears.  A functioning Pleistocene-like ecosystem would be far more interesting and worthwhile than the park as it currently exists.

Accordingly, I ask that you sign my White House petition, requesting the Obama administration to order the Park Service to create a Pleistocene Park.  You can do so in the following link:

If the petition gets 100,000 signatures by May 2, 2016, the White House will write a response.  President Obama has shown little interest in the environment, since he’s been in office.  He has not called for the establishment of more protected wilderness lands, and he’s thrown wolves under the bus by taking them off the endangered species list.  I am curious how he would respond to this.  I’m sure he will defer to the Park Service party line.

The National Park Service won’t like my proposal.  I believe their policy, though they would never admit it, is to keep wildlife populations as low as possible, so they don’t have to bother with problematic human-animal interactions.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife recently chose to delist grizzly bears as a threatened species.  This will allow redneck states, such as Wyoming, to reduce the overall population of grizzly bears.  (See: ) These jerks want to maintain a population of 500 grizzly bears by killing 50 per year.  If there were only 500 humans left on earth, and 50 were killed every year, humans would rapidly become extinct.

A non-profit organization in Russia has already established a Pleistocene Park located in Yakutia, Siberia.  Surgey Zimov hypothesized the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna caused the transformation of a steppe grass environment in northern Asia to willow shrub tundra.  Twenty years ago, he spear-headed an experiment to reverse this transformation.  His organization bought tundra land and introduced horses to an enclosed area.  They helped the horses along by converting this land into pasture.  At first many horses were killed by wolves or died because they ingested poisonous plants.  But the horses have learned not to eat the harmful plants, and they have proved capable of surviving the deep snows that some thought would doom the whole herd.  The experiment supports Zimov’s hypothesis because the horses (with a little initial help) have transformed willow shrub tundra to grassland in their enclosed living space.  The grassland is similar to what existed during the Pleistocene.

Pleistocene Park, Russia

Pleistocene Park in Siberia.  The introduction of horses led to the transformation of tundra shrub to grassland habitat in areas where the horses are enclosed.

Caribou, bison, moose, elk, and musk-oxen have also been introduced.  (A small population of the former already occurred here.)  Caribou are now the most abundant ungulate in the park. Researchers hope the moose browse down the willow shrub, so that more grazers can be introduced on a larger scale.  Introduced elk escaped from an enclosure, but some found there way to the park without human help.  The list of potential future introductions includes Bactrian camels, saiga antelopes, yaks, asses, Siberian tigers, and cloned woolly mammoths.

A secondary discovery of this experiment determined the conversion of willow-shrub habitat to grassland mitigates the effects of climate change.  The hard compacted surface resulting from horse trampling keeps the permafrost intact.

Siberia is too far to travel.  I want to see a Pleistocene Park established within driving distance of my house.  Please sign my petition.



The Pleistocene Christmas Tree

December 21, 2015

Christmas is a pagan holiday that probably originated during the Pleistocene.  Many of the pagan traditions associated with Christmas are rooted in northern European mythology, and they predate written records, so historians have no way of knowing for sure when they began. However, the celebration of the winter solstice was widespread throughout the ancient world, and people enjoyed this holiday thousands of years before the Judeo-Christian bible was ever written.  The wise men of the primitive world believed that the sun was a God.  This actually makes more sense than what the Abrahamic religions claim because life on earth does depend upon the sun.  The Abrahamic religions propose that a Supreme Being created the sun, but this belief leaves one to wonder who created the Supreme Being.  In a culture without scientific knowledge paganism seems just as logical if not more so than Judeo-Christianity.

The ancient thinkers noticed the days became shorter during fall and winter.  It seemed as if the sun God was dying.  The shortest, and therefore the deadest, day of the year was December 21st.  But by December 25th the days began to get longer, hence the rebirth of the sun God.   The Romans celebrated this time of the year with a pagan festival known as Saturnalia.  People enjoyed wife-swapping and drunken orgies while the little kids were distracted with toys.  When Christians wrested political control of society from the pagans, they could not eliminate this pagan tradition.  Instead, they incorporated it and substituted Jesus for the sun God.  This is why Christmas is mistakenly thought of as a celebration of Jesus’s birthday.  It is not…it’s a celebration of the sun God’s birthday.

The exact origin of the pagan celebration of winter solstice is unknown because it predates literacy.  Some very ancient evidence of pagan rituals is suggested in art and relics found in caves.  In 1825 an archaeologist found an interred skeleton rubbed with red ochre in Paviland Cave located on the coast of Wales.  He mistakenly named this specimen the “red lady of Paviland” because he thought the remains represented a Roman whore.  Later scientists determined the skeleton was of a 6 foot tall man in his 20’s who lived about 34,000 years ago during an interstadial when sea levels were lower and the cave was located farther inland.  Much of the English Channel then was prime hunting ground for mammoth, rhino, horse, bison, aurochs, and deer.  This skeleton was buried with ivory rods that have been interpreted to be Druid magic wands.  The Druids were pagans who celebrated the winter solstice.  However, this specimen is not convincing evidence that the early people who lived here were directly ancestral to the Druid culture, and it’s not known whether or not they celebrated the winter solstice.  They may have been too busy just surviving in the harsh natural world to think much about the universe and their place in it.

Ogof Paviland Cave

Paviland Cave, Wales.  A skeleton with evidence of pagan rites was found here.  It dates to 34,000 BP.

Skeleton of the “red lady of Paviland.”  Later scientists recognized that the red lady was actually a man in his twenties.

Many of the symbols of the winter solstice are based on ancient traditions.  Evergreen plants such as holly, ivy,  coniferous trees, and mistletoe symbolize life and fertility during the deadest time of the year.  The tradition of bringing these plants into a dwelling predates the bible by thousands of years.  Martin Luther, the anti-semitic founder of Protestantism, gave approval to this Pagan tradition by claiming the triangular shape of the typical evergreen tree represented the trinity.  The real reason he gave his approval was because he could not get rid of this Pagan tradition, so he assimilated it instead.

White Spruce Tree

White spruce.  The extinct Critchfield’s spruce closely resembled this species.  Critchfield’s spruce, formerly widespread across southeastern North America during the Ice Age, would have made a great Christmas tree.

The character of Santa Claus is based on Odin, a God from Norse Mythology.  Not only does Odin slay the bad guys, but he leaves gifts for children under evergreen trees on the day following the winter solstice.  What a wonderful superhero.  There never was a real life Christian saint known as Saint Nicholas.  The Roman Catholic version of Saint Nicholas was simply an assimilated amalgamation of 2 pagan water gods.









The legend of Santa Claus is based on Odin, a pagan God from Norse mythology and 2 water Gods from Greco-Roman mythology.


Scientists give Religion too much Respect

February 9, 2015

Warning: I’m standing on my soap box today.  This blog article might offend Christians, Jews, Muslims, mentally disabled people, the LGBT community, and Native Americans.

I was having a hard time understanding a recent news report on National Public Radio.  The story was about opposition to the execution of a mentally disabled man in Georgia.  I couldn’t figure out what the hell mentally disabled meant.  When I think of the disabled, I think of someone like my wife who can’t walk.  Finally, I remembered mentally disabled was the politically correct term for retarded.  Politically correct fascists have declared the word, retarded, to be offensive and derogatory.  I don’t understand how calling someone mentally disabled could be any less offensive than referring to them as retarded.  Public figures are so afraid now of offending certain groups of people they use confusing terms that just muddy communication.  Another example is the ban of the word, queer.  Instead, the accepted term is LGBT, even though that isn’t any more clear than using the word, queer.  A person listening to a  news report about LGBT people doesn’t know whether the reporter means the L, the G, the B, or the T.  Aren’t the L and the G redundant anyway?  Clarity in language doesn’t matter anymore, just as long as no one is offended.

Scientists are usually among the most enlightened members of society and fear offending people more than most.  This is a shame.  Half of Americans reject the fundamental basis of biological science because it interferes with the narrative of their Sunday school bible stories.  I wish that just once, a prominent scientist would stand up and publicly declare that the bible is full of shit.  People believe the bible is a holy sacred work.  It is not.  It was written thousands of years ago by ignorant fanatics who  favored slavery, oppression of women, and the execution of misbehaving children among many other crimes against humanity.  The God of the bible is pro genocide.  Yes, God told the Israelites to kill every man, woman, child, baby, farm animal, and pet in the town of Jericho.  Christians claim Jesus repudiated the excesses of the Old Testament, but this isn’t true.  In Mathew 5:17 Jesus endorsed all of the Old Testament atrocities when he said, “Do not think I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Tissot The Taking of Jericho.jpg

After the walls of Jericho tumbled down, the Israelites committed genocide, slaughtering men, women, children, farm animals, and pets; all according to God’s orders.  The bible is full of shit like this.  Anyone who considers the bible to be a “holy” book hasn’t really read it.  The bible is for morons.

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a mass murderer, an armed robber, a bigamist, and a pedophile.  The Islamic religion was forced upon the Middle East at the point of a sword, just as Christianity was forced upon Europe.  During the Age of Reason secular forces gained control over religion in most of Europe, allowing science and modern progressive values to advance.  If not for this power transfer, western civilization would still be oppressed by a theocracy, not unlike that seen in the Arab region today. Laws in Western countries are no longer written by clerics…for the most part.

Here is an exception. The U.S. Congress passed the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act–a law influenced by religious beliefs.  Indian skeletons and associated artifacts found on government land are supposed to be reburied, according to the stupid superstitions of the tribe that has the closest cultural affiliation to them. Politicians think it is important to show respect for Indian traditions.  I think this law is an impediment to archaeology and historical knowledge.  Scientific data can be lost because the religious beliefs of some idiotic Indians might be offended.

The conflict between science and Native American Indian religious beliefs became apparent in the case of Kennewick man.  The skeleton of a 9500 year old man was discovered along the Columbia River in Washington.  Specimens of humans from this time period in North America are incredibly rare.  Kennewick man was almost a 1 of kind type of discovery, yet the Army Corps of Engineers planned to give the skeleton to a local Indian tribe that was going to bury him without study.  Fortunately, a group of scientists pooled their money together and sued the government for access to the specimen, and several judges ruled in their favor.  Local Indians could not prove they were culturally associated with Kennewick man.  Bill Clinton, the rapist president, ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to bury the site where Kennewick man was found, so scientists couldn’t study the archaeological context, but at least they are allowed to study the skeleton.

Reconstruction of Kennewick Man’s face.  Idiotic Indians wanted to rebury the skeletal remains and prevent archaeologists from studying this extremely rare specimen.

Some Indians believe skeletons are sacred spiritual remains.  This is a really stupid belief.  There probably is no such thing as a spirit, and even if there is, I doubt a spirit would hang around its lifeless remains.  Shouldn’t a spirit be gone to the spirit world?  Physical remains should be unimportant, if there is such a thing as a spirit world.  There just is no logic in the belief that a corpse is sacred.

Alcohol abuse causes 12% of Native American fatalities–4 times the rate of the general population.  Indian babies are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder at 7 times the rate of the general population.  39% of Native American women suffer spousal abuse–by far the highest of any ethnic group.  The prevalence of alcoholic wife-beating losers in the Native American population is a  much more serious problem than whether some ancient bones get reburied or whether the Washington Redskins change their name.  Indian protestors need to change their priorities to focus on problems that really matter in this world, rather than the imaginary spirit world.

Native American protester outside Washington's game in Dallas in 2013.

If Indians are offended by the Washington Redskins, I’ve got the perfect solution for them…Don’t go to any Redskin games, you stupid jerks!

Can Conservatives get any more Heartless and Hateful?

June 25, 2014

I try to keep this blog focused on natural history, but some times I become aware of an issue that compels me to stand on my soap box and shout my outrage to the world.

I’ve read a couple of excellent books this summer–Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (my favorite writer), and Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga by Stephen Davis.  The former is a novel that delves into the plight of undocumented immigrants seeking a better life in this country, and the latter is a biography of Led Zeppelin.  There are many fascinating details about history’s Number 1 rock band in Hammer of the Gods, but a few incidents  during the group’s concert tours of the south in 1969 seem eerily similar to how conservatives view undocumented immigrants.  Of course, southern kids loved Led Zeppelin and were always the band’s most boisterous fans, but the adults did not treat these hippies with southern hospitality.  Police threatened to physically brutalize the band, forcing Atlantic Records to hire their own thugs for protection.  Waitresses refused to serve them, and some  old southern fried fucks literally spit on the band members.  Hotel owners told the band members not to swim in the hotel pool because they didn’t want them to spread disease.  This last nugget of ignorance is what rings a bell.

Thousands of young children from Central America are escaping the rampant gang violence of their home countries by crossing the U.S./Mexican border.  U.S. border patrol agents are arresting them and confining them in small holding cells, even cages.  OUR TAX MONEY IS BEING SPENT ON PUTTING INNOCENT CHILDREN IN CAGES.  This is outrageous.  To justify this inhumane treatment, stupid redneck politicians claim these children might spread diseases.  These hypocritical politicians don’t give a shit about children getting sick.  Conservatives invariably fight to weaken or overturn environmental laws that prevent children from getting sick.  All of a sudden, they are concerned with childhood sickness?  Well, I say innoculate these children and send them to elementary school.  Put them up for adoption.  We should welcome them, not put them in cages like unwanted cats and dogs.

Brownsville US immigration

The United States can’t even spare a bed for these poor kids?  What a disgrace.

Conservatives claim the cost is too high to care for the children.  These are the same people who oppose abortion.  They favor forcing women to have unwanted children, yet are unwilling to pay for the care of children after they are born.  Conservatives should look at it this way: the Central American refugees are the replacements for all the aborted fetuses for which these jerks shed their crocodile tears.  We should adopt them, educate them, and let them be the future generation that supports us in our old age.  Opposition to accepting Central American refugees on the basis of economics is selfish and short-sighted.  It may cost more money to care for them now, but in the long run they could potentially pay us back with tax revenue from future labor.  Tax revenue from immigrants is the best hope of saving Social Security.








This is all the technology required to defeat the racist wall politicians had built along our border with Mexico.  There is no wall across our border with Canada because most Canadians are white.  The wall costs billions to maintain, yet does not keep a single person out.

The fence along the U.S./Mexican border is a racist symbol.  It prevents no one from crossing the border because it is easily defeated with a low tech ladder.  It costs billions of dollars to maintain–money that would be better spent on the care and education of the children who want to live here.

Conservatives refer to these children as “illegal aliens.”  This dehumanizes them and makes them sound as if they are monsters from outer space.  The other day, I listened to a local radio talk show host, Austin Rhodes, constantly refer to them as “illegal aliens” in one of his recent rants.  What really had him upset was the possibility that a child of an undocumented immigrant might get an education in a public school at taxpayer’s expense.  Really?  A kid getting an education is a catastrophe?  His racism was obvious.  According to his point of view, “illegal aliens” were like something subhuman who didn’t belong in school with real people.  He considered them all “bad guys.”  His sanitized racism appeals to the same types of old fart racists who spit on Led Zeppelin 45 years ago.

Austin Rhodes–Augusta, Georgia’s hate radio propagandist.  His sanitized racism still has a great deal of appeal in the south.  He referred to “illegal aliens” as “bad guys.”  His beef?  The children of undocumented adults might get a free education.  Heaven forbid!  What a catastrophe!  A child might get a free education.  This coward is a total shmuck who once threatened to send men to my house to beat me up.  Why?  Because I merely repeated a fact published in The Metro Spirit–a paper that publishes his asinine weekly column.  His former producer, Troy, the Apeman, Bradley warned me I should “pray I never meet him in the street.”  I guarantee Bradley would do nothing to me, if I met him on the street.  He is also a cowardly bully.  Bradley was too afraid to even take or return my phone call when I called him after his macho boast.

The Statue of Liberty - see all state symbols

Statue of Liberty

It is against American principles to keep poor oppressed people from living in this country.  We are a nation of immigrants.  Immigrants make the U.S.A. strong.  Undocumented immigrants are not all bad guys, as redneck conservative pundits claim.  They are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families.  Conservatives need to pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty and read these words.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” –Emma Lazarus

I Believe in Science, Facts, and Logic. Therefore, I think Al Sharpton is a Fraud and Jenny McCarthy is a Dumb Bunny

July 21, 2013

I apologize for straying from natural history this time, but I can’t resist commenting on the irrational hysteria surrounding the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial.  This case would have never become a national media sensation without Al Sharpton.  Al Sharpton has made a career of fomenting unfounded racial resentment.  It is true that African-Americans are treated unfairly by the U.S. justice system.  Voter ID laws, disproportionate penalties for crack compared to cocaine, and stop and frisk policies are just some examples of how local governments subjugate African-Americans.  However, Al Sharpton has a history of inciting racial hostility over causes that are not representative of unfair treatment.

Al Sharpton became famous in the 1980’s when he led protestors against the jury’s decision in the Bernard Goetz case.  Four black teenagers had attempted to mug Goetz on a subway, and he shot all of them.  Most people would regard Goetz as a hero who stood up to some bullies.  But not Al Sharpton.  He thought it unfair that black criminals didn’t get to steal from whitey.  Apparently, Al Sharpton wants to make it illegal for white people to defend themselves when faced with a violent attack from black people.  This seems to be a recurring theme in his protests.  In 1991 Al Sharpton incited an anti-semitic riot in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn that resulted in the death of a Jewish foreign exhange student and a gentile who the crowd thought was Jewish.  Sharpton has called Jews “diamond merchants” with “blood on their hands.”

Al Sharpton incited a violent anti-Semitic riot in 1991, resulting in 2 deaths.

Most famously, Sharpton is known for publicizing Tawana Brawley’s phony rape story.   The girl falsely claimed she was raped by 4 white men, including a police officer. Like the Zimmerman case, it became a national media sensation.  The story was completely untrue and Sharpton had to pay a $65,ooo libel settlement for falsely claiming that a law officer kicked Brawley.  Despite his discredited history as an anti-semitic, fraudulent, race-baiter, MSNBC gave him a platform with a daily hour long news/commentary show.  Here, he was free to cry wolf again and make up false allegations of unjust treatment in the George Zimmerman case.  The media jumped on the bandwagon and unfairly lynched the unfortunate clod.

After his role in the Tawana Brawley scandal, Sharpton should have disappeared from the public view in disgrace.  Instead, he’s been given a tv show.

I’m not a big fan of nosy wannabee policemen, and when I first heard about the Zimmerman case, it sounded terribly unjust, but after studying the details, I changed my opinion.  At the very least the jury couldn’t assume without a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was lying and had initiated the fight.  The not guilty verdict was the only logical conclusion a reasonable jury could have made.  I’m convinced, based on the facts and logic of the case, that it was Trayvon who initiated the fight.  Here’s my reasoning.

1. Zimmerman called the police before he began following Martin.  If he had planned to kill Martin, he wouldn’t have called the police and risked getting arrested for murder.

2. Martin referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker.”  Zimmerman had a black girlfriend in high school, and a black friend vouched for him on the talk show circuit.  This suggests that Martin was the racist, not Zimmerman.

3. Martin started running–an act that DID make him look suspicious.  Moreover, if he would have kept runniing, there is no way Zimmerman could have caught up to him.  This suggests that Zimmerman was telling the truth–Martin did circle back and ambush him.  I used to work as a door-to-door salesman.  It was not at all unusual for people to ask me, while I was walking, what I was doing in their neighborhood.  I explained.  I did not run or sucker punch them.  When I worked in black neighborhoods, police often stopped me and asked what a white guy was doing in a black neighborhood.  A normal person would simply ask a stranger why they were following him.  Martin likely decided to act with hostility instead of civility.

4.  FBI crime statistics and other sources show that black people are anywhere from 39 to 65 times more likely to violently attack white people than vice versa.  These numerical odds make it overewhelmingly likely Martin was the aggessor.

5. Zimmerman’s bloody nose, black eyes, cuts on the back of his head, and Martin’s bloody knuckles all support Zimmerman’s story.

Zimmerman’s injuries were more convincing than the media originally reported.

6. John Good witnessed Martin on top of Zimmerman, bashing his head into concrete.  (Martin was not unarmed.  He had his fists.)  This evidence alone would have stopped a Grand Jury from indicting Zimmerman.  Based on this witness testimony, there should have never been a trial.  I can’t believe John Good was a witness for the prosecution.  He supports the defense’s case.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and a very liberal defense attorney, believes the special prosecutor in the Zimmerman case should be disbarred for not making exculpatory evidence available to the defense in the affidavit that charged Zimmerman.  The original prosecutor decided they couldn’t make a case based on the evidence.  But thanks to the misguided outcry led by Al Sharpton, Florida’s idiotic governor appointed a special prosecutor who bypassed a Grand Jury.

The judge who presided over this case was a very stupid woman.  She should have dismissed the case for lack of evidence.  She also allowed about 10 people to purjure themselves when they identified the screaming on the phone as either Martin or Zimmerman.  This was perhaps the most ludicrous part of the trial. All of Martin’s friends and family testified it was Martin screaming; all of Zimmerman’s friends and family testified it was Zimmerman screaming.  In truth a person can’t recognize another person’s scream recorded from a distance on a cell phone.

The reaction to the verdict has been irrational.  Some black people say they can’t go jogging in a hoodie any more.  This is ridiculous.  Martin wasn’t shot because he was wearing a hoodie; he was shot because he probably acted like a crazy animal.  A black man jogging in a hoodie in a white neighborhood is a lot less likely to be attacked than a white man jogging in a black neighborhood.  Some people just need to get a grip on reality.

I am a liberal and usually agree with Bill Maher and the talking heads at MSNBC.  But they are so wrong about the Zimmerman case.  Bill Maher has a segment on his show called dispatches from the bubble in which conservatives are trapped in a bubble where facts and logic can not penetrate.  When it comes to the Zimmerman case, it is Bill Maher, MSNBC pundits, and African-American talking heads who are in a bubble where facts and logic can not penetrate.  Even Maher’s jokes about Zimmerman are stupid.  Maher joked that Zimmerman’s defense team made him seem like a “stupid pussy” because they admitted Zimmerman was getting beat up.  According to this reasoning, anyone who ever gets beat up is a “stupid pussy.”  Bill Maher looks like a physical wimp.  I am 100% sure I could beat the shit out of Bill Maher.  According to his logic, this would make him a “stupid pussy.”  On the most recent episode of his show, he also stupidly cited statistics showing black men were 354% more likely than whites to be killed in stand your ground cases.  Does he not realize this is because black men are overwhelmingly the aggressors?  They are being shot more often because they are attacking more often.


Barbara Walters picked Jenny McCarthy to replace Elizabeth Hasselbeck on the tv show, The View.  The move was a kind of dumb blonde exchange. The cast of The View also includes the stupidity of Whoopi Goldberg who doesn’t think Roman Polanski committed “rape-rape” when he drugged an underage teenaged girl and forced her to have sex with him. 

I regret writing this part of my essay because it probably ruins any chance I might have with Jenny McCarthy, but I think her outspoken crusade against vaccination makes her a dumb bunny.  She wrongly assumes vaccinations can cause autism because her son manifested symptoms of this disorder after he was vaccinated.  According to this logic, I could eat lunch, walk outside to get the mail, and get killed by a car.  Eating lunch caused me to get hit by the car.

Over 2 dozen scientific studies have failed to find any link between vaccines and autism.  Pediatricians unanimously urge parents to get their children vaccinated.  So the controversy is between the unanimous opinion of medical science vs. a Playboy bunny whose sole talent is showing off her birthday suit to the entire world.

Jenny McCarthy sitting in the tickle chair on the Howard Stern Show.  Howard Stern tickled her til she peed in her pants.

The following is a link to nude photos of Jenny McCarthy.  She might be fun to play with in bed and arousing to look at, but that does not qualify her as an expert on vaccinations.  I would post the nude photos directly here, but some people are afraid a kid might see boobs.…1047.6234.0.8234.….0…1ac.1.21.img.NeyiPO7QSZ4

Vaccinations help make people immune to such once widespread and potentially fatal diseases as the measles, tetanus, diptheria, whooping cough, hepatitis, mumps, chicken pox, and meningitis.  Vaccinations have almost eradicated these diseases.

Corynebacterium diptheriae–the bacteria that causes diptheria.  The death rate for children under the age of 5 who get diptheria is 20%.

In California the “natural living” movement is popular and many parents are opting not to get their children vaccinated.  Diseases such as the measles and whooping cough are returning and killing babies.  “Natural living” also includes natural mortality due to infectious diseases.  Some people choose to be misinformed or are incapable of discerning propaganda from scientific fact and logic.  This irks me to no end.