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Everything posted by bombus

  1. looks like a common frog to me, just a big old one! They can exhibit great colour variation.
  2. Rhinos are very short sighted because they don't need good sight so individuals with bad sight were not weeded out and were able to pass their genes on. Humans have a very poor sense of smell because we don't really need one, and individuals with poor senses of smell....blah blah blah. Wearing glasses is no longer a hindrance to passing genes on (and are now even worn as a fashion item) so humans probably will get worse sight in the future (if technology doesn't stop it happening). Unless it's a hindrance to passing genes on, 'maladaptive' traits will increase as they won't get selected against. The term 'maladaptive' is a fuzzy one though as has been mentioned above.
  3. Strangely, the closest (genetically speaking) group to humans other than primates, is the cats. I have seen domestic cats use their paws to scoop food from a tin and bring it to their mouths. Maybe there's more going on there than people have realised!
  4. Yes. If life is that is... although chemicals evolve too.
  5. Well, non-human animal. But actually, as has already been pointed out, what do we mean by intelligence? Humans are very very good at some things, but destroying the very ecosystems that supports us - and knowing that we are doing it but not changing behaviour - isn't very intelligent at all! C/f Easter Island! The bees may out live us yet! Good point about mice being extra-terrestrial. Forgot about that!
  6. It's honey bees. If you consider a hive to be a single animal, which it kinda is as only the queen is fertile. Otherwise it's mice isn't it?
  7. Read this: The purpose of life is to disperse energy: The truly dangerous ideas in science tend to be those that threaten the collective ego of humanity and knock us further off our pedestal of centrality. The Copernican Revolution abruptly dislodged humans from the center of the universe. The Darwinian Revolution yanked Homo sapiens from the pinnacle of life. Today another menacing revolution sits at the horizon of knowledge, patiently awaiting broad realization by the same egotistical species. The dangerous idea is this: the purpose of life is to disperse energy. Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with the second law of thermodynamics, the unwavering propensity of energy to disperse and, in doing so, transition from high quality to low quality forms. More generally, as stated by ecologist Eric Schneider, "nature abhors a gradient," where a gradient is simply a difference over a distance — for example, in temperature or pressure. Open physical systems — including those of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere — all embody this law, being driven by the dispersal of energy, particularly the flow of heat, continually attempting to achieve equilibrium. Phenomena as diverse as lithospheric plate motions, the northward flow of the Gulf Stream, and occurrence of deadly hurricanes are all examples of second law manifestations. There is growing evidence that life, the biosphere, is no different. It has often been said the life's complexity contravenes the second law, indicating the work either of a deity or some unknown natural process, depending on one's bias. Yet the evolution of life and the dynamics of ecosystems obey the second law mandate, functioning in large part to dissipate energy. They do so not by burning brightly and disappearing, like a fire torching a forest, but through stable metabolic cycles that store chemical energy and continually reduce the solar gradient. Photosynthetic plants, bacteria, and algae capture energy from the sun and form the core of all food webs. Virtually all organisms, including humans, are, in a real sense, sunlight transmogrified, temporary waypoints in the flow of energy. Ecological succession, viewed from a thermodynamic perspective, is a process that maximizes the capture and degradation of energy. Similarly, the tendency for life to become more complex over the past 3.5 billion years (as well as the overall increase in biomass and organismal diversity through time) is not due simply to natural selection, as most evolutionists still argue, but also to nature's "efforts" to grab more and more of the sun's flow. The slow burn that characterizes life enables ecological systems to persist over deep time, changing in response to external and internal perturbations. Ecology has been summarized by the pithy statement, "energy flows, matter cycles. " Yet this maxim applies equally to complex systems in the non-living world; indeed it literally unites the biosphere with the physical realm. More and more, it appears that complex, cycling, swirling systems of matter have a natural tendency to emerge in the face of energy gradients. This recurrent phenomenon may even have been the driving force behind life's origins. This idea is not new, and is certainly not mine. Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger was one of the first to articulate the hypothesis, as part of his famous "What is Life" lectures in Dublin in 1943. More recently, Jeffrey Wicken, Harold Morowitz, Eric Schneider and others have taken this concept considerably further, buoyed by results from a range of studies, particularly within ecology. Schneider and Dorian Sagan provide an excellent summary of this hypothesis in their recent book, "Into the Cool". The concept of life as energy flow, once fully digested, is profound. Just as Darwin fundamentally connected humans to the non-human world, a thermodynamic perspective connects life inextricably to the non-living world. This dangerous idea, once broadly distributed and understood, is likely to provoke reaction from many sectors, including religion and science. The wondrous diversity and complexity of life through time, far from being the product of intelligent design, is a natural phenomenon intimately linked to the physical realm of energy flow. Moreover, evolution is not driven by the machinations of selfish genes propagating themselves through countless millennia. Rather, ecology and evolution together operate as a highly successful, extremely persistent means of reducing the gradient generated by our nearest star. In my view, evolutionary theory (the process, not the fact of evolution!) and biology generally are headed for a major overhaul once investigators fully comprehend the notion that the complex systems of earth, air, water, and life are not only interconnected, but interdependent, cycling matter in order to maintain the flow of energy. Although this statement addresses only naturalistic function and is mute with regard to spiritual meaning, it is likely to have deep effects outside of science. In particular, broad understanding of life's role in dispersing energy has great potential to help humans reconnect both to nature and to planet's physical systems at a key moment in our species' history. SCOTT SAMPSON Chief Curator, Utah Museum of Natural History; Associate Professor Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah; Host, Dinosaur Planet TV series
  8. coacervates. An on the other point. Maybe there is a grand design, but any God worth his salt would have put a design in place long before life emerged. God wouldn't go around designing slugs tongues, and cockroach legs, and fish gills, and monkey ears. He'd have just put in place some laws (like the Laws of Nature) and let nature do it all for him. My God is very clever!
  9. Yes you are quite right on all counts, and Communism was basically tried too early! Marx said we'd have to get through capitalism which would bring us to socialism and eventual communism. Communism would only really be possible in a post industrial utopia such as The Culture in Ian M Banks' novels. The question is, how do we get there? Capitalism may kill us all before we even get close.
  10. As a scientists you should know that capitalism will fail because it relies on endless economic growth, but we live on a planet with finite resources, so endless economic growth is impossible. Capitalism is really just one big pyramid scheme. The thing is, like those who get in early on pyramid schemes, the rewards are great, but those further down the line end up ruined. This is exactly what capitalism is doing to the planet right now. Those further down the line (our children/grandchildren) will pay the price of our riches. The light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long, and capitalism is burning so very very brightly. Capitalism is the hare to the tortoise of Communism (although I prefer to call myself an environmentalist). If the human race paced itself in a more planned global system for the benefit of all mankind we could last long enough to develop technologies that would ensure our continued survival, but capitalism wastes so much on crap we don't need, all our resources will have been gone long before we can conquer the stars, and once they're gone, we're neolithic man for evermore. Sir Fred Hoyle in 1964 put it bluntly. "It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on the Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing intelligence this is not correct. We have or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." You want a better system than capitalism? Easy - Democratic Socialism. It doesn't mean you can't get rich, it would just put limits on how rich you can get (maybe no-one should earn more than say $200,000 a year) and limits on how poor you can get too.
  11. Ever wondered why? Because communism threatened profits for the rich! Oh I see, so it was nothing to do with making money then, it was just doing good for the Guatemalan people! How silly of me. And it comes from a former US diplomat and a daughter of an employee of UFCO so it must be true. Of course, if United Fruit could do all that AND still make a profit just think how much Guatamala could have made if it had made the profits rather than a US company... So what? Er...., yup, I think you (collectively) are! Right! And don't Americans eat well! So much food that over half of it gets thrown, and yet your still the fattest nation on the planet, while half the world starves. I'm gonna get nowhere with this. I give up. If you really think you're right then call my bluff. Read Susan George, read Monbiot, read Pilger, heck, read Karl Marx! It may alter the way you think for the better. All the best!
  12. HANDS. That's the difference with primates. Primates started using hands to grab things. Every other animal uses its mouth, even squirrels which hold things in their paws when eating use their mouths first. I have no evidence for this, but I think it's correct. I can't think of anything else other than primates that uses hands/paws like that. Can anyone think of any other animals that do?
  13. Our genes also make us GOOD. It's our evolution that makes us compassionate and caring for others and we can even extend this to other species. It's what makes humans unique and great! It's what being a human should be all about. Lets stop being evil and try to be good!
  14. Yeah, but they can't take it up with their governments because their governments would just kill them with weapons and support from the West (principally the US), and if they do manage to topple these governments the West just puts sactions in place and funds coups to get rid of the chosen government. C/F Nicaragua! Ok, I'd suggest you read Susan George ' how the other half dies' as a good starting point. Its a well known and well respected book. Maybe a bit out of date in some ways but basically still applicable to today. She has written other books since. Well, maybe, but do you know what the current US annual budget for weapons is? 650 Billion! Makes Bill gates look like a pauper. You could solve most of the worlds problems with that and remove any argument for terrorists to carry out their deeds.
  15. Don't use different bulbs. Just get semi opaque paper (say greaseproof paper for cooking, or similar) and wrap different amounts around your different vials of pond water. Its far cheaper, easier and very effective!
  16. Thanks. U OK with Me 2. But read Susan George 'How the other half dies'.
  17. The problem with that argument is that there is no moral basis for it, only one based on, well, greed basically. If its OK to kill people for greed then we'd have to admit we ARE evil. If we are evil then the US is indeed 'the great satan' as the Ayatollah Khomeinei said. I'd rather not believe that. I would like us to be GOOD. And there was me saying earlier that this isn't Star Wars or LOTR!
  18. My main point was the fact that Countries DO plan far ahead. I however, find these guys very scary. They seem to assume they know what's best for the world, and when you see how messed up US culture is (and please don't try to say it aint), I seriously doubt it.
  19. Yeah, but you miss the point. This is profit and benefit for Western companies and people AT THE EXPENSE of the people in the countries they are messing with. The profits leave the country to make westerners rich. That's why the West IS rich! This is why the middle east, many in South America, many in Africa etc hate the West. We rip them off. This is the type of thing that fuels terrorism. Take (for example) the fruit industry of Guatamala. In 1953 the Govt. confiscated 400,000 acres of uncultivated land from United Fruit and began to redistribute that land to 100,000 peasants so that they could feed themselves. In 1954 The United States conspired with United Fruit to back a coup which toppled the Guatemalan govt. The land reform was reversed, United Fruit got its land back and popular organisations were crushed with thousands being killed. Between 1954 and 1967 over 100,000 people in opposition to the government have been killed by Govt forces (according to the British Parliaments Human Rights Commission). Between 1981 and 1983 the native Indians were persecuted by the Western backed government with their subsistence crops being burnt, over 440 villages destroyed. At least 100,000 Indians fled to Mexico with half a million becoming internal refugees and god knows how many killed. This is so the land can be sold to Multinationals to grow cheap fruit for export to the West. Economic development in these countries by Multinationals makes them poorer, not richer! That's how the world works! Why do think Ethiopia was starving in the 1980's? - Because all the best land was not used to grow food to feed the population, but used to grow cheap coffee for the West (and their not even allowed by World Trade Organisation rules to refine the coffee themselves, they are only ALLOWED to sell the raw beans, so lose out on the processing where most of the profit is made). When the rains didn't come in the south millions died, even though Ethiopia would be perfectly capable of feeding itself if we left them alone. We also sell their corrupt Governments arms to fuel wars. And when it all becomes a mess we offer them charity! No wonder they hate us!!
  20. One of the primary reasons for the earth's climate cooling at the end of the creataceous is thought to be the spread of deciduous forests, locking up carbon dioxide in the form of wood and thusly a significant amount was no longer permanently in the atmosphere. Much of this carbon was taken out of the cycle when the trees got fossilized as coal. Similarly, carbon as oil was taken out of the system. By burning fossil fuels at the rate we are, we are re-introducing this carbon back into the cycle and it is done so quickly that there is not the time for it to be coverted into non-atmospheric carbon within the carbon cycle. Temperatures are just bound to rise as a result. It may be a temporary situation in the geological timescale but, on such a timescale 10,000 years is a blink of an eye! Not good for humans!
  21. OK. Obviously stuff like this is within the realm of conspiracy theories, but it's not 'out there' stuff at all, and there is lots of circumstantial evidence to suggest it is the case. First off there is: "The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a neo-conservative think tank with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. PNAC's web site says it was "established in the spring of 1997" as "a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership." PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members hold highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration. The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project (501c3)." For more info try: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century And as for the US engaging in war for profit check out the quote below: "I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our countries most agile military force - the Marine Corp...I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914...Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys...I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers...I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests...I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded honors, medals, promotions. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We operated on three continents." - US Major General Smedley. I remember seeing a newsreel about US forces in Somalia (Black Hawk down etc). One of the soldiers said to the camera something along the lines of "The only reason we're here is to look after the profits of American companies". It was around 1991 (I think). This stuff is still going on today, just as it always has! I'm tellin you, it's no whacko conspiracy theory! P.S. While just checking to see if US General Smedley actually existed I found this website! http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm
  22. Bettina, I apologise unreservedly for my former harshness. I have been reprimanded and made to see the error of my ways. I am forgetting my manners and at my age should know better. Please do not hold it against me. I'm a nice guy really!
  23. I thought gravity was an effect (of matter warping spacetime), rather than a force like, say, electricity... I also though the effects of accelaration are indistinguishable from gravity. This is why a rotating object is in constant accelaration even if its velocity is constant - hence artificial gravity on rotating space stations. Am I right???
  24. Yes but who wants to take a chance like that!? I'd rather take a chance of being wrong than dead.
  25. Oh pleeease. The idea that manking has little influence is preposterous. Go to any major city you like and the temperature is around 3% warmer than the surrounding countryside. This sunspot nonsense is pseudo-science. Our atmosphere shields us from solar flares so sun spots will have no noticeable effect on climate.
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