Thursday assorted links


#7 Thoughts on the budget deal?

1. That's not exactly evolution via natural selection. Rapid changes via selective breeding have been observed in everything from chickens to mulberries. Their findings on mitochondrial dna mutation rate are not new either.

@Val DeLa - but surely you're aware of the seminal study that found rapid evolution of birds, as observed by Darwin, in Latin America in the 1970s, and in guppies a few years ago in Costa Rica? Evolution that happened in a few generations. Further, this study is more narrow than what you envision, specifically, this is the key sentence: "For a long time scientists have believed that the rate of change in the mitochondrial genome was never faster than about 2% per million years"; it's not about natural selection per se, nor selective breeding per se.

What is interesting is this fast mitochondrial drift may throw off some 'tree of life' schematics, maybe, depending on what type animal is in study.

I myself grow CX meat birds, which are via selective breeding designed to mature in about 45 days, and reach marketable size in about 30 days (1 kg dressed). I find that chickens are closer to lizards than to mammals. They are dumb, docile creatures (the CX bird) and don't complain much when you invert them into the killing cone, making sure you tie their little legs so they don't kick out when you slit their little throats and bleed them out. Their meat is delicious. The other birds don't seem particularly upset to see their former coop mates being slaughtered. Some other chickens (not the CX) even get excited and want to peck at the blood. CX birds are too lazy to look for alternative sources of food other than the grains they are fed from the time they are chicks. Even often earthworms are neglected, though some more aggressive birds will eat worms with relish, and chicks will play tag to "catch the chick with the worm in its beak", which is always a hoot to watch.

Have any of these, Ray?

Wow! Thanks for the link, carlolspin (Carl, do you like the latest Fast & Furious series? I bet you lol at the spinning car stunts). Goth chicken looks awesome, never seen one before, but at $200 a bird, too expensive for me, as I'd be afraid I might lose it. I would not eat this bird nor a Silkie (which I've seen). We do have swans, two of them, and they're pets, trying to make babies now, but just when they started hatching more than one egg (the swans will hatch several eggs before the female broods or sits on them), one of my gf's in-laws got hungry and ate the extra egg...bad! I had told them not to do that, since the swan needs several eggs to be hatched before they get broody. Now the one egg is sitting there, the swans are on egg-laying strike (they are not fed properly so they don't produce eggs, but it's not my pet so I don't interfere much, though I have been feeding them a bit extra, hence the eggs) and in a week or so the one egg will go bad and turn rotten unless the female lays another and sits on them...

This pretty much explains why I think fish and chicken make good food sources, while you have to be kind of an asshole to eat mammals.

Well, excuuuuuse us!

Hey, leave us out this. We eat fish and berries and grubs.

Bears eat mammals too. Including baby seals.

uh...heh heh...well now that you mention the seals...say is it getting a little warm in here?

My ears are burning...

Chinese who want more than one child just have to emigrate

I can't even possibly dream up a possible reason.


What happened to Cowen's third law?!

#1b - good and informative read - now I'm hungry

That was a surprising story

2. If the demand for money (credit) were higher, so would interest rates lenders charge (to borrowers) and lender's pay (to creditors/investors/depositors). Trying to find the answer in tea leaves to a low "natural" rate of interest exposes the theoretical absurdity of some economists. Just today I know two people real well who are losing their skilled positions (one in accounting and the other in IT) because their functions are being outsourced, at least in part to people overseas. If you think your job isn't at risk, you need to get a grip.

"If you think your job isn't at risk, you need to get a grip."

Of all the people I know in Vegas, the one with the best compensation and also the best job security gives handjobs for a living.


#2 - Rates are low and will stay low because: the Fed wants them low; the Treasury ($19 trillion in debt) needs them low; and the private economy is moribund or intimidated and so doesn't borrow, or buy for that matter. In short, central planning and government coercion. N.B. I didn't throw out 280 possible reasons.

Demand and supply have reduced impact on rates (price of money) when the currency printing presses are running double shifts 24/7.

1. That's not really evolution, in the sense of speciation. (Recall the title of Darwin's major work.) All these authors are saying is that mutation happens faster than some people thought.

Incidentally, a lot of recent genetic paleontology (e.g., estimating the time when human and chimpanzee forebears diverged) depends on constant and known rates of mutation. Does this piece call into question a lot of other work?

"constant and known rates of mutation" are one of those daft assumptions people make because otherwise they couldn't write papers. It is, if you like, less evidence-based than career-based.

Mitochondria are the power plants of multicellular organisms.

If they are evolving, this is also evolution for the organism.

The pad thai article is actually fairly interesting. The attempt at making Thais out of all the Tais of Thailand is an on-going project. Not quite there yet.

I look forward to the US declaring a burrito with genuine mayonnaise is the national dish.

Puhleze - bbq is our national dish - it's yummy as hell, source of many fights as to the "proper" style and excludes vegetarians so they can feel all special snowflake

We are too big for national dishes. Regional dishes might be fun.


Yet another attempt to prove that people who do not speak or write like me are morally and genetically inferior.

While The Independent is of course doing this for a lark, I am intrigued by the notion.

Aussies speak much like Londoners, especially the late (lamented?) cockneys. Except we are much less keen on enunciating. This probably makes our accent more pleasant than cockney, but also makes it harder for us to understand one another.

I have always pegged Aussie slurring as part of our laid-back self image. But after reading the article, I wonder if both the slurring and the self-image could be traced to ancestral drunkenness. A working man in London will go down to the pub and drink as much beer as is consistent with him earning his bread tomorrow. The same bugger, as Aussie convict, or some other type of Old Sydney Town lowlife, might have been inclined to drink as much rum as he could get, not caring about tomorrow.

An since such people were common, the rest of society had to learn to communicate with them, even when they were still drunk at 10am.

If it were true, it would have only changed the pronunciation of a few words such as "stop", "or", "I", "will" , "shoot" and "you".

And turmeric causes an Indian accent.

4. So Aussies sound like Aussies because they're too drunk/lazy to say all the consonants, huh?

I guess that fits. When I was crossing the English Channel and waiting outside the ferry's loo, a man of unknown nationality stepped out and said "Chores mite". That didn't match anything I knew of European languages, til I heard him later talking to his Aussie friends on deck. Oh I get it, "It's yours, mate".

2 - I remember that one. That was some pretty good analysis right there. It is hard to imagine what anybody can do to alter the demand for treasuries given the lack of realistic alternatives. It is what it is for the foreseeable future I think.

Should we dig up the earliest "turning Japanese" prognosticators and give them praise? For all that the phrase has died out, it doesn't seem far from our path.

Intentional Vapors reference?

If so...well done

I guess that all the economists who proposed the parallel had the Vapors on the radio, one time or another. (I listened to KROQ before they had a playlist.)

I remember first seeing the video on "Friday Night Videos" - before cable was a thing

God, I am old

5. Puffins are at risk of extinction.

So millions of the birds still exist. There has just been a crash at some breeding sites in the last year. Singular.

I think a more credible headline would be that environmental experts are beclowning themselves again.

Where do you get the information about these millions of remaining birds?

I know that environmentalists can come across as somewhat alarmist to some people when they express their concerns and/or values, but I'm hardly aware of any environmental research that deserves the description of "beclowning themselves".


Estimates range from 3 to 4 million pairs.

How many pairs of passenger pigeons were there in 1860?

The point wasn't that puffins are or aren't going extinct. The point was that Nathan calls out the "millions" number as questionable when it's readily available to anyone with ten seconds and a keyboard. Then when it's demonstrated to be accurate, he of course moves the goal posts.

To paraphrase Rosalind: "I am Nathan. When I think I must comment."

It's not alarmist if it's going extinct in one place but not another.

Would you disregard extinction of humans in America if they were all to disappear tomorrow, consoling yourself that there were plenty of people left everywhere else?

Local extinction matters.

Some of their breeding sites have had a bad year. One bad year.

How does this credibly reflect a risk to the puffin?

1) Could leftover pesticides in the feedstock explain the higher than normal rate of mutation?

Real lede for #4 is "rhetoric teacher thinks everyone should take rhetoric lessons." Me I prefer to communicate via emoticon :) :) :)

You've posted a link to the history of Pad Thai before, a couple of years ago.

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