Monday, November 16, 2015

Peter Singer on respect

"When children see animals in a circus, they learn that animals exist for our amusement. Quite apart from the cruelty involved in training and confining these animals, the whole idea that we should enjoy the humiliating spectacle of an elephant or lion made to perform circus tricks shows a lack of respect for the animals as individuals" – Peter Singer from the book Animal Liberation (I think)

Asking an elephant to stand on its hind legs or to sit is an affront to respect but Australian philosopher Peter Singer is A-OK with people having sex with animals* so long as the animal isn't harmed. Although it isn't mentioned, I will assume that he also demands those having sex with their pets respect them in the morning.

*in an article titled "Heavy Petting"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

book note : library crime and punishment

Biblioteca Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca sign : Hay excomunion reservada a su santidad contra cualesquiera personas, que quitaren, distraxeren, o de otro cualquier modo enagenaren algun libro, pergamino o papel de esta biblioteca, sin que puedan ser absueltas hasta que esta esté perfectamente reintegrada.
A sixteenth-century sign, posted in the Biblioteca de Salamanca, threatens excommunication to anyone stealing a book from the premises. seen here (PDF)
The text :
Hai excomunion reservada a su santidad contra qualesquiera personas, que quitaren, distraxeren, o de otro qualquier modo enagenaren algun libro, pergamino o papel de esta biblioteca, sin que puedan ser absueltas hasta que esta esté perfectamente reintegrada.

In English :
There is excommunication reserved to his holiness against any person who takes, loses, or other any way alienates any book, parchment or paper from this library, they can not be absolved until it is fully repaid.
On 14 November 1568 Pope Pius V established a decree excommunicating book thieves leading to this sign. (almost related - Seinfeld s3e22 The Library)

The sign in context

What a marvelous looking library :

Sunday, October 25, 2015

TV cop incompentence

Clip from Criminal Minds season 10 episode 18 "Rock Creek Park" :

(What's going on : The wife of an increasingly prominent Congressman is kidnapped and so the FBI team tries to figure out who would take her.)

(transcript of the episode clip)
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : Is there anyone who would want to hurt her?
Congressman Troy : No, no-no.  Sophie's a wonderful, sweet woman.  I, on the other hand, I'm not very well-liked in this town.
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : and who are your enemies?
Congressman Troy : Well, where do we begin? We have the oil lobbies.  Uh, we have the NRA and PETA. You have an equal opportunity offender.


FBI Agent Derek Morgan : So the gun lobbyists were dismissive of the congressman saying they don't waste their time with one-termers like Troy. But anyway, even if they were involved I highly doubt they would outsource the job to the Russian mob.
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : What about the oil companies
FBI Agent Kate Callahan : Pretty slimey, pun intended. But none of our sources say they were involved.
FBI Agent Derek Morgan : Well, considering how much oil comes out of Russia, they are the most likely candidates to have ties to the mob.
(later it is suggested that the Congressman supported fracking ban would drive Russian oil prices up so the oil companies aren't suspect.)

I've mentioned TV law enforcement incompetence before.

1) The congressman describes himself as "not very well-liked" and an "equal opportunity offender" but they only investigate groups he specifically named.
2) they forgot to look into PETA even though he mentioned them! They didn't even a "pretty slimey" or "pretty stinky", as the case may be,  comment.
3) With the NRA they don't ask "sources" they just asked one of their lobbyists if they did it.  On the bright side, the writers consider NRA lobbyists to be upright and honest citizens who the FBI can take at their word without needing to offer one whit of evidence. On the other hand, the writers really think that a NRA lobbyist would imply that kidnapping the wife of a 2 term congressman wouldn't be wasting their time.
4) There is the suggestion that, sure, the NRA might kidnap the wife of a longer serving politician but that they wouldn't outsource the work to the Russian mob. It's unclear if the writers feel the NRA would do it themselves with Wayne LaPierre in a ninja suit or if they would just employ Americans to do it.


Bonus :
(transcript of the clip)
Penelope Garcia : I found the smoking gun or at least the stuff that goes in to the gun to make it smoke. Credit card receipts from the congressman show he purchased ammo for a handgun and then more smoke he sent that ammo to a PO Box registered in his name in Virginia.
FBI Agent Kate Callahan : And why would he do that?
FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner : Did you have your wife kidnapped?
Congressman Troy : What? No! What? Why are you saying this?
FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau : You purchased ammunition for a handgun last month and you had shipped to a mailbox in Virginia, which means you likely own a handgun although there isn't one registered to your name
Congressman Troy : Yes, I have a handgun.
FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau : That you bought illegally?
Congressman Troy : Uh, well I had to after having been so staunchly pro gun control.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


So I saw this online :

It talks about telling the truth but it sure looks photoshopped. I'm about 93% sure this is what it looked like pre-photoshop :

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Out of Context Fun : Sweden Solar System

Uranus / Your anus has been vandalized!
people standing around looking at Uranus

Out of Context Fun : Sweden Solar System :
The Sweden Solar System is the world's largest permanent scale model of the Solar System. The Sun is represented by the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the largest hemispherical building in the world. The inner planets can also be found in Stockholm but the outer planets are situated northward in other cities along the Baltic Sea. The system was started by Nils Brenning and Gösta Gahm[1] and is on the scale of 1:20 million.Uranus (2.6 m in diameter) was vandalized and the new model is planned for somewhere in Gävle, 143 km from the Globe.
Like many people, upon reading this I did an image search for Uranus and found the above picture. I had assumed that vandalized meant someone had spray painted Uranus and people would have to spend hour after hour scrubbing Uranus with a harsh solvent and a wire brush. It turns out that Uranus was stolen and so Uranus had to be replaced. Because someone in Gävle apparently mistreated Uranus the location was moved. You can now find Uranus in Lövstabruk, Sweden.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Melvin Kaminsky

From the movie Mel Brooks : Make a Noise (2013)

A Star is Born....? Melvin Kaminsky aka Mel Brooks

A Star is Born....? Determination.... Man of the World.... Happiness.... Confusion.... [four dot ellipsis in original]
Here are just four reasons why First Sergeants get that way – This character is known in the Army as Pvt Melvin Kaminsky, and to be expected, he hails from Brooklyn. Head of the entertainment crew for Special Services, Kaminsky is very much in demand as an M.C. His stage name is Melvyn Brooks. His last appearance before entering the Army was in the play, "Bright Boy", so he says and he adds "I had three lines in that show, was on the stage about two minutes, what a part!" A member of the Combat Engineers before coming to Dix, Kaminsky expects to be discharged in June