Friday, March 31, 2006

Repackaged Notes III

` Yes, there's more.

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in out air and water that are doing it.’ – George ‘Dubya’ Bush

“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?” – former president of American Motors, Lee Iacocca.

` First, something actually quite trivial:

* Have you ever wondered what happened to Cheeta, Tarzan’s baby chimp? An answer in the form of a quote: “Oh, he was born way back in 1932, and he managed to outlive everyone else in those films! Last I knew, he worked on paintings and watching his Tarzan movies with his grandson, pointing out the parts when he was onscreen.”
` Hey, that reminds me – anyone wonder why the Tarzan of the movies used vines to swing on, even though vines are too rooted and tangled in trees to swing free of them (without falling down)? Originally, Tarzan was supposed to jump from tree to tree like a really springy chimp. However, it couldn’t be done for the movies and so vines were resorted to in lieu of superhuman athletic abilities.

` And now, something really creepy!

* There are forty species discovered so far (this was in 2005) which seem to be specially suited to whale-falls – which are like windfalls, except involving dead whales. A whale-fall community seems to be able to survive up to a hundred years simply be sucking all the fats and sulphides from whale bones, such as those female worms discovered to contain bunches of tiny males.
` The bacteria living there are so good at degrading fat in cold water that the biotechnology company in San Diego, Diversea, is looking to see whether their enzymes might be useful in cold-water detergents.
` Whale falls are just starting to be investigated really, and there have only been ten so far. Some of them rely on taking beached whales to the bottom of the sea floor, which can take two days and usually involves throwing away one’s stink-saturated clothing afterward. They have sunk 20 whales this way, stationing time-lapse cameras, or submersibles to pick up bones.
` Pinky and Osedax are but two names of weird worms that live in whale carcasses. They are really strange to science, though now you realize that in some ocean basins up to half of these types of specialized species may have gone extinct because of our whaling in the past.

* A lot of people, not knowing any other context of the swastika (or 'fylfot'), may assume that it was created with the intent of representing the Nazis.
` Not so: This same ideogram was a good-luck symbol of the Navajos and other Native Americans. Indians also used the sign, and it is still used by Hindus, Jainas, and Buddhists.
` Also called the Wheel of Life, this cross-like symbol turns in the clockwise ‘deosil’ direction, though when turning ‘widdershins’ it is supposed to be kind of ‘black magic.’ The Nazi symbol was a swastika. The counterclockwise swastika, called a sauvastika, symbolized night and/or Kali, a terrifying goddess.
` The Nazi fylfot in particular, also known as the hakenkreuz (hook-cross) or swastika, originates from the Teutonic runic ideograph called Thorshmarr ‘Hammer of Thor’. Its primary meaning, despite the name, was the solar wheel and the cycle of life.
` Though depicted in mirror-image often, its meaning was the same, as deosil and widdershins, occuring in European magical practice, does not apply to Teutonic runes.
` The fylfot is also common in Native American symbology, from Northern Plains beadwork and Southwest pottery and sand paintings, usually deosil. In Northern Plains, it means the four directions and that the sacred place of two-leggeds (us) is at the center of the world-hoop.
` In the 1870s, the swastika was popularized notably by Heinrich Schliemann, a German archaeologist who found many examples in Troy and Mycenae. He was fascinated by it and publicized it, referring to it as an Aryan religious symbol. Racists attracted to this connection to the Aryans quickly latched onto it. Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels was a fanatical Aryan supremacist who used it has the symbol of his cult in 1907, as well as anti-Semitic and militarist groups. Hitler did the same in 1920 and was surprised at its effectiveness.

` On a related vein:

* Gerald Holtom was the commercial artist who created the peace symbol, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament headed by Bertrand Russell. The CND was planning an Easter March in 1958 to Canterbury Cathedral to protest the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston.
` First, he was thinking about a Christian cross-in-a-circle. But then, he discovered that in semaphore language, two flags held in an upside-down V-shape means N and one flag up and one down is D. That stands for Nuclear Disarmament.
` Also, the symbols combined resemble an inverted crow’s foot, a symbol which has an ancient history as a symbol of death and despair, looking like a person spreading their arms in defeat. The circle also can mean ‘eternity’ or ‘unborn child’ or even other things.
` A national Republican newsletter noted that it looked like a Nazi emblem, but somehow I don’t think this was the intention! Also, right-wing groups saw it as the ‘broken cross,’ sign of the Antichrist. One John Birch society member said Nero had had Saint Peter crucified on an upside-down cross and that in the Middle Ages it signified the devil.
` The Birchers also distributed bumper stickers that proclaimed the peace symbol the ‘Footprint of the American Chicken.’

* In Kenya, a(n obviously political) study shows that schoolkids brought up without meat have been found to be smaller, weaker, and less intelligent than others. The 544 children in the study were all about seven. Now, Kenyans’ diets consist mainly of starchy, low-nutrition corn and beans that lack sufficient iron, zinc, calcium, and AE and B12. So, a supplement wouldn’t hurt, would it?
` Some of these kids were given 60g of minced beef each day to supplement their ordinary diet. Other groups were given a cup of milk, an equivalent of calories in vegetable oil, or no supplement.
` Over two years, kids given food supplements gained an average of 400g more weight than those without. Those given meat showed up to an 89% greater increase I upper-arm muscle compared with the non-supplemented children. Children who had milk supplements had only 40% more. The kids given the meat supplements were more active in the playground, more talkative and playful, and showed more leadership skills.
` Of all the supplemented children, the ones who took the vegetable oil had the least improvement.
` So what does this tell us? That vegetable oil is not a good dietary supplement, probably because it doesn’t contain much protein or calcium. Other plant-based comestibles, including fortified soy milk, or even heavy-grain bread, have a lot of both.
` And what is the conclusion of the study? That a parent who raises a child without feeding them meat is an unethical parent.
` That is ridiculous. Who came up with this study? I forget because I’m careless and didn’t even write these people’s names down. It shouldn't be too hard to find, though, I just don't have time to. Still, it was flawed and used to an illogical (and ideological) conclusion!

` Speaking of eating flesh, here’s a bizarre story I saw on television:

* Chickens can apparently survive without almost all of their heads. Mike the rooster was one. He lived in Colorado with his owner Fred Olson, and apparently was doomed to be dinner one night.
` It was September 10, 1945, when Mike was two and a half pounds, and the axe came down. But Fred was really amazed when he did not eventually drop to the ground! Apparently, his jugular had been missed, and he never bled to death because a clot formed. Strangely, the chicken carried on as if nothing had ever happened. He had his brain stem and one ear and that was good enough for him.
` For a good eighteen months, people admired him and came to know him. He also grew to a whopping eight pounds – how’s that for a headless chicken? At the end of his life, Mike was in a hotel on a celebrity run when he choked on a piece of grain. Fred couldn’t find the eyedropper he used to feed Mike with, and the rooster suffocated.

` And last but not least, oh, I love these things….

Listen = Silent, The eyes = they see, Conversation = voices rant on, Funeral = Real fun, Software = Swear Oft.

` Well, I must go now. I'm at a coffee shop in Snohomish where I just captivated an audience for a few minutes! That was cool! And now, I'm off to go foil a superhero.
` And Galtron... Get Better, Don't Turn Blue, and Climb Walls!


Galtron said...

Hey, thanks!

...There's a worm called 'Pinky?' Uh... is that its only name?

S E E Quine said...

` To be sure, I got my information a while back - according to this Nature Article as published in Sound Net, this was over a year ago.
` I would guess that 'Pinky' now has a proper classification.