Guest Post: Whale Activity
LW writes: To continue our attempts to learn from nature:
Threesome activity. Not sure this one needs much text for framing it.
From Sarah Taber's great twitter feed.
Heebie's take: There is a photo at the link, but if this is your kink, you'll be disappointed.
The passionate abstract:
Given the huge size of their testes (approximately 1,000 kg), it has been hypothesized that North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) have a mating system that is based upon sperm competition. Herein, we report an observation which provides support for this hypothesis. On 11 August 2000 in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, a mature female right whale was observed copulating simultaneously with two mature males. The female made no attempt to resist copulation. For anatomical reasons, double copulation would be difficult or impossible in most mammals; however , it is quite feasible in right whales, and the fact that it actually occurs provides strong support for the belief that females of this species promote sperm competition as a mating strategy.
In college, my friend took a class in Ergonomics. The textbook was hysterical, full of lots of diagrams of humans engaged in repetitive motions. Pretty much any diagram of repetitive motion looks like a sex act, possibly novel. And then the accompanying text is all about wear and tear, fatigue, prolonged ability to complete the act over time, etc etc etc. We laughed till we cried. It's probably a good thing I never took a college course in whale threesomes.
Meet-up -- Charley in the Bay Area
CharleyCarp writes: I'll be in the Bay Area on April 26 with nothing planned for the day or evening. Does anyone want to meet up?
So I got summoned for jury duty. The last time this happened, I deferred. When I showed up, I was #3 in the seating order. I ended up on the jury for a week. Ok, fine. Someone on the admin side confirmed that if you defer, you get placed in a low number and end up on juries.
I'm debating whether or not to defer this time. I'm #64 currently, and it will be the last week of classes. It would be disruptive to miss the last week of classes, but maybe I'm far enough out to risk it. Or maybe I should just defer and pick a week in the summer and assume I'll spend it in court.
Do these things vary widely all over the nation? Is there any strategy here? I'm not opposed to serving on jury duty, but I'm a little daunted by the scheduling implications.
The more I write, the more clear it becomes to me: I should see if I get to pick the week upon deferment. If so, pick a convenient summer week and assume the trial wouldn't last more than 1-2 weeks. (But what if it does? what about plane flights? and various commitments?)
I know I'm naive, but I'm bummed about Dominion settling with Fox. I had a fantasy of a really delightful trial that ripped Fox News a new one. I was not so naive to think it would make a dent in Fox's business model, but I still wanted the trial to unfold.
Guest Post: Squeak!
Mossy Character writes: Interesting under the anthrobabble.
Belgian NGO Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO; Anti-Personnel Landmines Removal Product Development) innovated landmine detection in the early 2000s by using explosive detection rats in Mozambique and Tanzania. In 2015, after much negotiation with the government, APOPO imported these rats to Cambodia to implement its technique. Ever since, the use of rats in landmine detection has disrupted life on Cambodian minefields in two ways: by altering how deminers see each other and by altering the choreography of demining. The altered choreography set scenes that constituted new relationalities after war, reconfiguring the humans and nonhumans found on a minefield.
Together, we watched Frederic gather straw frantically to pad his crate, perhaps trying to line it the way he might insulate an underground burrow. Spit-matted straw fell through the wires.
"Which one is your favorite?" asked Sokha, the vet.
"Frederic," I said, sympathizing with his Sisyphean task.
"Good choice," Sokha smiled.
I was extremely worried while reading that the article was going to turn dark and the rats would frequently perish in the mine-detection process. But it's not grim! Everyone is alive at the end!
Also, Mossy is not kidding about the anthrobabble:
Donna Haraway uses the concept of "string figure" to draw attention to the ways in which worlds are (re)configured through processes that entangle and disentangle actors, categories, and practices. For Haraway, string figures are "imploded" materialities and metaphors, interlinked so that each configures, refigures, and reconfigures the other (1994, 63-65).
What are we talking about.
Guest Post: Low effort guest post/question
Moby Hick writes: Is Clarence Thomas actually on the take, as opposed to just getting (unreported) wing-nut welfare? I can't figure it out from the papers.
Heebie's take: As canon dictates, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.
(You all probably already know this, but I bothered to look up the origins of "irresponsible not to speculate" and found out that it was Peggy Noonan in the (still paywalled) WSJ, in 2000:
The speculations to which Noonan was referring were her theories that President Bill Clinton had some secret motive for orchestrating the dramatic intervention that sent 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba: Fidel Castro had blackmailed Clinton with intercepted tapes of Clinton having phone sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, for instance.
What the everloving fuck.)