Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another big DUH, in my opinion.

So, during my daily surf of, I came across this article --actually, I've been looking at it for a couple days, but have only been moved to comment today.

Basically, the gist is, that cows that are allowed to graze as nature intended, produce better milk which is healthier for human consumption.

To this, I would like to throw out a universal DUH.

Come ON, people.

It's not that I'm not glad that Science is actually proving that letting animals live the way they're supposed to live, as far as what we're feeding them is a good thing-- it's just that I'm dumbfounded that we NEED science to tell us so. To me, that kind of information is OBVIOUS. It only makes sense that if you feed cows what they're NATURALLY SUPPOSED TO EAT, that they will be healthier, and as a result, what they produce for our own consumption will be also. It just makes SENSE. It's the same nonsense as the "discovery" that letting cattle graze naturally results in better beef.


I'm pretty sure I got my point across with all those duhs. I think adding further duhs would be excessive.

Not to compare apples to oranges, but Let me just put it to you this way.
Pigs are naturally fastidious animals. The reason that they're so gross when we raise them, is because we're not giving them the space to be anything else. If you're wondering, pig farming the way its done here, produces all kinds of hazardous waste that then has to be disposed of, not to mention the stink, which makes property values fall like lead balloons. I'm not saying that it would save the world if we let Pigs have a little bit more space to breath, and eat the food that they would normally eat if left to their own devices-- I'm just saying, that no doubt science has already proven that you'll not only have happier, healthier pigs, but you'll also have better pork to eat. And what would this cost the industry? Some land. Actually, it might even save them money in the long run, because they'd have less of a problem with gross waste products, and the expense of proper disposal.

I'm just saying.

Get a clue.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Poor Wolfies. Nobody wants to Keep you.

So, you've heard talk about how they're delisting wolves from the protection of the endangered species list. Or maybe you haven't.

What's really Burning my Toast, is the news that Idaho and Wyoming are ALREADY planning to hunt the wolves-- they're planning to reduce the populations that are in place by 85%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, AWESOME! We brought the wolves back! LETS GO KILL THEM ALL.

You have to understand, that a healthy population is required to bring a species back from the brink. Bottlenecking destroys important genetic differences and mutations that can allow a population to survive natural disasters, things like disease, or loss of prey. They need the genetic variation to help them to adapt to changes in the environment they're living in (global warming, anyone?).

So what's the magic number?
One Thousand.
If a population drops below 1000, bringing them back is a lot more difficult, and even if it's met with success, the genetic variation that will ensure a future for the species in the long term, is pretty much hit or miss, lost.

(You should know, too, that their assessment of recovery for the wolves, is a count of 30 breeding pairs across the rocky mountains. With pack sizes averaging 10 wolves, this is about 300 wolves. What's 15% of 300? Lets give them the benefit of the doubt, and call it 400, since they said they exceeded the number of wolves they needed. Have you done the math? 15% of 400, is 60. Lets say that Wyoming has a third of the wolf population within its borders, and Idaho another third. that's a reduction from 133 wolves, to 20 in two of the zones within which the wolf was previously protected. Montana is the third state involved. Lets say they only hunt, oh, 50% of their wolves down (I'm feeling generous toward Montana at the moment). that's a reduction from 400 wolves, to 106. EVEN considering that this bunch of wolves is a Metapopulation, meaning there are a bunch of other wolves elsewhere, This doesn't bode well for our Rocky Mountain Wolf friends. This metapopulation is completely isolated from other wolf populations. Genetics are important. Maintaining a healthy number of wolves is important to maintain genetic variation and animals that will survive. )

oh yeah, I forgot:
"However, the Act requires us to ensure a species is no longer threatened or endangered not that its viability would be theoretically maximized."

Way to go Federal Government. Lets not make sure the job is done right the first time. Lets just make sure it's good enough for the moment. So that after each state within the protected area culls their wolf populations to nothing, you can RE-invest another 23 million dollars into saving them ALL OVER AGAIN.

So. we already bottlenecked these wolves, an isolated metapopulation. Now we brought them back, and thank god other places haven't utterly destroyed THEIR wolf metapopulations, because we could reintroduce wolves with genetic variation. Now we're going to start killing them off again, and put them back into that same bottleneck. Are we going to be that lucky twice? I guess the Feds are depending upon it.

Say goodbye to genetic variation, my friends, and healthy wolf populations in the future.

One more quote to show the love our federal government has for the continued survival of our wolfy friends (from the same document as above):

We determined that a three-State wolf metapopulation that does not fall below 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves per State in mid-winter is biologically recovered.

Next year, expect to be relisting the Wolves under endangered. They're not going to be recovered for long, when Wyoming and Idaho wipe out 85% of their 100 wolves each.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Shameless Plug.

I don't know how many people read this, but I wanted to plug a book written by a friend of mine.

I have admired his writing, his voice, since I've known it. You should too. And show that appreciation by purchasing his book: Scream Queens of the Dead Sea


Saturday, April 12, 2008

One more way to justify prostitution.

For years, women have been trading sex for investments. Investment in themselves, in their children, in their family, in their security. For years, women have been doing this, and men have been willing to pay out. Apparently, it's a mutual thing. I'm not sure why this surprises anyone, since we do see that kind of behavior in other animals-- think elaborate nest building by males of bird species. Think territory and protection for females of predator species.

Why do we think we're really any different?

Humanity stumbles on this roadblock EVERY time. We think we're special. We don't understand that so much of what we do, how we live, is wired into our makeup. Maybe we're so smart that we don't recognize instinct when it takes over. We're too good at rationalizing when we do things we don't understand. But we're hard wired, just like the rest of the animal kingdom. Why should it be a surprise that we're also hardwired when it comes to why we have sex? Lets see--there's all the selfish reasons, personal survival and making life better... and then there's the big one. The one that encompasses everything, because it allows us to EXIST.


Getting something out of the deal isn't just for penguins anymore.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Genetic Science vs. Big Business

So, we've entered the age of genomic sequencing. Sweet. Now you can send away for a kit, and with a couple swabs of your cheek to pick up some cells, you can learn everything that's wrong with you (at least so far as we understand what genes do and cause what, anyway).

So you get the results, and you find out that you're chances of getting cancer (any cancer, pick one, I don't care. it's for the sake of argument), are astronomical. You're facing an almost positive diagnosis in your future.

Lets say that you are a child when you learn this information. Lets say they tested you at birth. Do you tell the insurance companies? Do you hide the fact that you have a genetic predisposition for serious deathly illness from future employers? But it's in your files. What happens when the insurance companies find out? What happens to the price of your insurance when all of a sudden, they KNOW without a doubt, you're going to be needing serious payouts from them?

Have we really thought about the implications of this? What it means for us in the future? what it means for our children? For that matter, what about the human psyche? If you already know you're going to die young because of whatever terrible disease that's laying dormant in your cells, how does it change your life? What matters anymore? If it were me, Work certainly wouldn't be making my priority list. What's the point of working toward a future, when there's no future to work toward?

No. I think that I'll skip the swab and genotyping kit for now. I don't want to know when I'm going to die, and what's going to be the killer. And I sure as hell don't want anyone else getting their hands on that information. Maybe they can't jack up my insurance premiums, or deny me employment yet, but I have every confidence that big business will find a way to profit off of my genetic failures-- or, if not mine, not yet, Certainly, that is not the legacy I want to leave my children.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Human Vs. Animal

I found this article today, when I was doing my casual perusal of biology related news.

It says that there are as few as 50-100 genes unique to the human genome. Out of the 23,000 genes that this article says we humans have, that's less than half a percent. Half a percent gives us this intelligent consciousness, the ability to drastically alter our environment, and the desire to make a difference in the world. Half a percent elevates us from Primate, to Human. Somewhere in that half a percent, is the gene that disconnected us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

They're starting to study these human-specific genes now, and take a long look at them. Why they haven't really done this before now I don't know, but I bet that what they find is going to be really interesting. Or maybe it will be totally mundane. Wouldn't it be scandalous if in the half a percent, they couldn't find the gene that makes us so fundamentally different from the animal kingdom?

I think I might giggle at them.