Life Finds A Way

Quick…where does that quote come from? 

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For those of you that didn’t figger it out…it’s a line spoken by Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcolm in the 1993 film Jurassic Park based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crighton…and yes, according to the interwebs the line is in the novel as well.

Umm…where was I going with this line of thought?

Oh yeah…I remember.

There’s this Italian on twitter with a handle of Massimo who posts as. Rainmaker1973 and. He claims to be an engineer…he posts interesting stuff in the astronomy, astronautics, meteorology, and physics disciplines…and usually they’re pretty interesting. There have been several occasions when he was talking out of his rear end in our opinion from Neil or Connie’s knowledge about submarines, medical technology (oops, clinical laboratory science…she likes that term better than medical technology) or other subjects they’re relatively conversant in…but most of the time he seems pretty much on the money and usually links to original sources.

Anyway…Life Finds A Way…

One of his posts today linked to some research done by Stephen Rossiter who is an evolutionary biologist (whatever that is) at Queen Mary, University of London back in 2010 on bats and dolphins and some additional research finished this year on the genomes of those two animals.

So…what do bats and dolphins have in common.

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. Ah…you there in the back.

Yes, you’re absolutely right…they both use sound based echo ranging to navigate, avoid obstacles, and most importantly…find lunch.

Echo Ranging

It turns out that in both of these mammals there are about 200 genes that changed over the evolutionary cycle to produce the ability to create the sound pulses, transmit and receive the echo, and triangulate the location of lunch…and that they turn out to be the same 200 genes in both species. In other words…an airborne mammal and a seaborne one independently evolved the same capability in the same way.

Like Ian said…life finds a way.

Another example…again coming on a post by Massimo.

All mathematicians, practically all scientists/engineers/technical people, and some portion of everybody that doesn’t fall into one of those categories know of the existence of something called a Fibonacci Curve…which is based on the Fibonacci sequence which was discovered/invented/whatever by several folks independently. Indian research has shown that it was known as early as circa 450BC-200BC as the ancient Indian mathematician Pingala wrote about it…but that is relatively obscure and was only figured out in 1985…which is why it is The Fibonacci sequence and not the Pingala sequence. It was made more famous by…and named after…Fibonacci who was an Italian mathematician in the mid 1200s. His actual name was Leonardo Bonacci but he was also known as Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Bigollo Pisano (‘Leonardo the Traveller from Pisa’ in Italian). Fibonacci was coined in 1838 by Italian-Franco historian Guillaume Libri and is a shortened version of filius Bonacci…or son of Bonacci in Italian…and his coinage was based on a 1506 Roman Empire notarized document that mentions Lionardo Fibonacci. Anyways…that’s where the name comes from…and I had no idea that the Roman Empire had notary publics available.

The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers such that each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers…starting with 0 and 1 as the first two numbers in the sequence. The first few numbers in the sequence are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…and well you get the idea.

The sequence appears widely in nature, music and many other scientific disciplines…for example the shells of the nautilus are based on the sequence…the most well known example is The Fibonacci Spiral  which looks like this.

UntitledImage

And as it turns out…this is closely related to gravity, centripetal, and centrifugal force somehow as you can see in the following image.

UntitledImage

Anyway…that’s enough science for today…lemme see what else I can free associate about.

Ah…well, just like Life Finds A Way…it is also true that Stupid Finds A Way. And by stupid here I’m really talking only somewhat about stupid and also about misleading “journalism” articles.

Vogue magazine…as you can see
here
…has a profile of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles in their August issue…and a photo (well, actually two different photos depending on which version gets delivered to your door if you’re a subscriber or to your newsstand if you get it that way) of Ms. Biles. Immediately after the issue was released…you guessed it…the WAMM was out in force decrying the image on the cover. Criticism from this “broad spectrum of voices” which includes one the NYT National Picture Editor and the founder of Black Women Photographers…doesn’t seem like a very broad spectrum to me but that’s not really germane to the stupid here…anyway the photographer supposedly did Ms. Biles a disservice by the photographer who “washed out her skin tone and made the images look muted”…and this same broad spectrum says that Vogue should have hired a black photographer as it would be better from both an ethical standpoint as well as because only black photographers know how to properly light black skin.

Now I’ve looked at the images on the cover in the linked article above…and I also googled for images of Ms. Biles and to me it pretty much looks like her skin color is about the same in both…albeit the cover images have a few more spectral highlights in them…which is…ummm…what pretty much all Vogue and other magazine cover photos have in them so as to provide some visual pop sitting on the newsstand.

No…what this is really about is the supposed “better from an ethical standpoint” of hiring a black photographer…and here is where the stupid goes off the rails.

This supposedly incompetent photographer…who doesn’t know how to light black skin despite having photographed many black folks including President Obama and his family, Whoopi Goldberg, LeBron James, Rihanna, Joan Armitrading, and Serena Williams among others. This supposedly incompetent photographer has a string of awards as long as your arm and literally dozens of photos you would immediately recognize if I posted them all here (but I can’t because of copyright of course)

The name of this incompetent boob…who clearly has no idea how to light black skin for a photograph…and clearly has no idea of how to produce final images that I’m quite sure were approved first by the photographer, then by numerous folks on the Vogue staff up to and including the publisher and Ms. Biles herself…

Annie Leibovitz…yeah, she’s incompetent all right. I can’t say that I think much of her politics but to infer that she’s incompetent and Vogue should have hired a black photographer who would know better is…well…stupid finds a way.

And yes…the twitter rabble is right…in some of the photos in the profile Ms. Biles skin does appear darker…but perhaps that is because of the mood that Ms. Biles, the photographer, the editor, and the picture editor wanted for those particular images.

Nah…it is incompetence…the WAMM has spoken.

You probably saw on the news this week how Florida has 15,000 new cases of the CoViD on Sunday and how this is clearly proof that the state opened back up too soon. However…lost in the agenda were several facts which would have enabled one to actually make a determination of whether this 15,000 number was significant or not. First…the more tests you do…the more positive results you will get and since testing is increasing then QED the number of cases will be increasing. Second…and more important really…is that the 15,000 new cases number gives no indication as to what testing method or methods were used. There are several of these and basically cases are broken down into people that have active infections and people that used to have an active infection which may or may not have been symptomatic but now those recovered people have antibodies against the virus. Now those antibodies may or may not be long lasting…that isn’t fully known yet by medical researchers…but positive antibody tests are classified as “new cases” according to guidelines…and unless you know how many of those new cases were “recovered but have antibodies” cases it is impossible to know the significance of “15,000 new cases”. I think it’s fairly safe that active infections (both symptomatic and asymptomatic) are increasing in the state…but incomplete data provided by the state is just allowing the WAMM to go on and on about “skyrocketing cases” and “the state needs to shut down again”.

Looking at the data…the spike on Sunday was on July 12…which just happens to be the weekend after the Independence Day weekend. Yes…the governor allowed the beaches to reopen as well as bars for the holiday…but he did order masks in the bars and proper social distancing. Unfortunately…too many idiots went out en masse to drink themselves into a stupor while either in a crowded bar or crowded beach and paid no attention to social distancing. So…infected on Saturday, 4 days or so to start feeling bad and go get a test, another 3 days or so for the test results to come back and get reported to the state…and magically 8 days later the number of cases goes up.

Should the beaches and bars have remained closed? Well…as I’ve said before national, state, and local leaders have to weigh both the public health issues, economic issues, and the solvency of businesses that rely on summer tourism when making these decisions…and then they make the best decision they can. That’s what the governor here did…and he allowed limiting with restrictions…which if you saw the news reports were clearly ignored by the vast majority of the folks on the beach…which were primarily fairly young adults from what I saw but then they are always a majority of the people on the beach or getting hammered at the trendy drinking establishments. Like I said…stupid finds a way.

Then there are the out and out lies in support of an agenda…like whether or not voting by mail is a good thing or a bad thing. Like most other debates…there are pros and cons on both sides and each side has some valid points while ignoring the valid points that the other side has. Connie and Neil voted absentee many times through his Naval career…but I have to agree with the side that says that there is a potential for fraudulent balloting if the state mails every voter an absentee ballot. Not necessarily a fact that it will happen…but there is a higher possibility. There are ways around this…and most states and localities have rules on requesting, submitting, and validation of absentee ballots to try and eliminate these as much as possible…but the other side is vehemently against these rules in general as well as being vehemently against voter ID laws.

Now me…I have no problem with voter ID laws…after all you need an ID to buy booze, cigarettes, lottery tickets, drive a car, cash a check, and many other things in modern life…and voting is (a) the right and responsibility of all citizens as well as (b) one of the most important things we do in life…so I have no issue at all with requiring a voter to prove who he/she is before voting so as to verify that they are citizens of the US and thereby eligible to vote as well as to ensure that he/she votes once and only once. 

However…the other side has at least a semblance of a valid point that getting an ID is costly…so it is my opinion that the state issued ID for voting purposes as well as booze purchases and all the other things requiring an ID listed above should be relatively inexpensive and available at any DMV office or county courthouse. The only thing that needs to be paid for is the relatively inexpensive birth certificate to prove citizenship…not necessary if you’re a naturalized citizen but then you were provided proof of that when it happened and the relatively low cost of the ID itself. Yes…it might require the voter to take time off from work…and it might require transportation to the ID issuing place…but let’s be real. None of that is very expensive…and the same costs are applicable to everybody that needs the ID…black/white/brown/yellow, man/woman, rich/poor, whatever. For the other side to claim that voter ID laws are “systemic voter suppression” is just disingenuous as they’re ignoring the fact that voting is one of the most important rights we have. Speaking of ID though…since multiple forms of “they probably already have one of these” ID are accepted…if the poor suppressed voters in the inner cities have no ID…I wonder how they buy their Colt Malt Liquor or lottery tickets…or drive their car?

Where was I going with this…oh yeah, absentee ballots. There is an article
here
…the headline says “100,000 mail-in votes went uncounted in California’s primary”…and the first couple of paragraphs…which is all most people read if they get past the headlines before going straight to the comments section to voice their outrage…kind of imply that these ballots were rejected by state officials and that “highlights a glaring gap in the state’s effort to ensure every vote is counted”.

It then goes on to talk a bit about how this is a debate between making sure that every vote is counted and the efforts of Republican lawmakers to suppress the vote…and how absentee voting rules need to be relaxed to ensure that every voter gets a mail in ballot in the mail and has a chance to have “every vote counted”.

Now I’m all for having all the votes counted…but first one has to make sure that they’re valid ballots. At the polls this is generally done by crossing the voter’s name off of the list for the precinct…but in today’s “let’s allow them to vote anyplace” environment I guess they make a pencil and paper list for folks not registered for that precinct…and I’m not sure how a voter is prevented from going to every precinct and voting more than once as given the efficiency of most government bureaucracies I’m not convinced they would get found out if they did but whatever.

Finally…the article gets down to the reason the ballots weren’t counted…and amazingly enough, assuming you managed to read that far…it wasn’t due to voter suppression…it was due to voter stupidity.

Of the 100,000 ballots that were rejected…it was actually a total of 102,428 which was about 1.7% of the 7 million ballots returned…70,330 of them failed to be returned within the specified time limit which was on or before Election Day or within three days after Election Day. Another 27,525 either did not have the voter signature on the clearly indicated line on the envelope or else the signature on the envelope did not match the signature on file for the voter…which means that someone else signed it for them which is against the law. There were more than 800 ballots received that did not actually have the ballot inside the envelope. For those of you who’ve never voted absentee…you fill out your ballot which is then placed in a sleeve to hide it from view and the sleeve is placed in the envelope. The outside of the envelope is filled out with your name, address, and signature across the flap where it is sealed and then it goes into the mail. On receipt of the ballot…it is first examined to see if the outside of the envelope is correctly filled out with the matching signature and that the voter is a properly registered voter…if not it goes in the rejected pile and most states re-review those to have a second review on signature match criteria. If it matches…the envelope is opened and the sleeve is removed and typically the sleeve goes into a sealed box that is locked up when not actually being filled with sleeves. The envelopes go into another sealed box for later review if necessary…but there is no correlation between a sleeve in the one box and the envelope in the other box to ensure the voter for an individual ballot remains anonymous but verified registered.

So…those 100,000 ballots that weren’t counted…stupid finds a way.

I can only imagine the problems the PRC will have in the fall since Governor Newsom signed a law requiring a ballot be mailed to every one of the 21 million registered voters in the state…and I can pretty much guarantee you based on governmental bureaucracy morons that if a person voted both in person and via the mail in ballot they would have a very good chance of being undetected.

Back in the day when Neil and Connie were first married and through most of his Navy career they were registered voters in Florida. When he retired in the early 90s they re-registered in Virginia…but we received absentee ballots for just about every election held from then up until we sold the house in VA and because SD registered voters. So…they could have voted twice and gotten away with it. Never did…but it is illustrative of the problems that one side says could happen and we need to make provisions to eliminate them…while the other side says we need to make every vote count without making sure they are valid votes or even allowed to vote.

There’s a controversy in Florida over whether or not convicted felons in the state can vote in November…the court case is currently pending. Back in 2018 the states voters passed Amendment 4 which restored the voting rights of most convicted felons. The amendment states that “any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.” Notice that the amendment says nothing about fines and restitution being paid. Subsequent to this…the legislature passed and the governor signed a law that required fines and restitution to be paid as well…since when sentence is imposed it includes some combination of prison, probation, fines, and restitution…the important thing is that the financial penalties are part of the sentence. That makes perfect sense to me…after all the judge says “I hereby sentence you to and puts in the things in the sentence including fines and restitution”…so to me it is perfectly clear that the financial penalties are part of the sentence.

Naturally…the WAMM and Democratic Party sees it the other way…which is what their lawsuit is about. Me…I think that legally the state is right and the courts will rule that “I hereby sentence you” includes all of the following restrictions regardless of whether all of the restrictions are listed in the amendment text. Stupid finds a way…here illustrated by the poorly written amendment…but then this is the same party that had their leadership say about the Obamacare Act…”we have to pass it so we can see what is in it”. 

On the RV sales front…we’ve had our rig listed for sale on rvtrader.com but so far have only had a half dozen inquiries. All but one of them we responded to the initial inquiry and never heard back from them…but then we had the last one which actually turned out to to be at least a semblance of a real offer…at least until we started talking about it with…well let’s just call him E.

When we priced the rig we went through the NADA pricing guide and got the average retail price for a rig our age, make and model, and equipment and then compared that to several known sales of similar age and configuration of New Horizons rigs…and then priced ours a bit under the average retail price hoping to encourage buyers.

So E comes in and asks a few questions which Neil answers and then decides to put in an offer. He says that he “ran the numbers”…and never revealed how he got those numbers…and proceeds to declare that the actual worth is about 12K less than our asking price…so he offers to put that much in escrow plus another 5K to cover our paying for the transport of the rig to Idaho for his approval using escrow.com…they also offer a title/payment transfer service to protect both sides.

E’s idea is that he puts the offer plus 5K in escrow, we send in the signed title to escrow.com, and then we arrange for transport to Idaho for his approval of the rig as specified in the inspection report. He sends us this email at ab out 1800 Idaho time and the next morning at about 0600 Idaho time we get another email specifying that he has 3 quotes for the transport from 2800 to 5,250 and has a quote for inspection of 500. At this point we start to get funny thoughts as getting those 4 quotes overnight…for a person who said on the phone that he just sold his house and needs the RV asap to live in…well getting quotes that quickly overnight and offering more like wholesale price rather than retail price starts to smell like a guy looking to flip the rig and make some profit. Nothing wrong with that…but be honest about it.

We have another several emails back and forth talking about the escrow and Neil explains to him that we want to protect both sides and that if we have signed over the title and sent it in to escrow.com, don’t have the money, and give physical custody of the rig to the transport service for him to approve in Idaho before the funds get released provides no protection to us at all. We told him that one of two methods would work. He could fly down and close the same here and then transport was on his dime…or we could use the escrow service to swap the signed title and the funds and he would then have title to and ownership of the rig here in Florida and he could arrange transport. He claimed that “if he has the title then we could give the transport company some old piece of junk rather than what was on the title”…Neil explained to him that would mean we could go to jail for auto theft or fraud or whatever and we had no interest in that. Neil reiterated the two sales closing options that were acceptable to us…and further stated that he would be happy to serve as his agent to give the keys and rig to the transport service or that E could pay the campground manager a couple hundred bucks to take possession for him and give it to the transport service.

That’s the last we heard from E.

So…still for sale at this point.

A couple more images from the past since I got no new ones.

Snow Egret with his golden slippers…I think this one was from up in SC someplace as it doesn’t look like the right vegetation that we would see here in southern FL.

D71 1162

D71 1121

D71 1117

Connie on a hike…this one is definitely from SC so the others probably are as well.

D71 1116

Interesting things found on the net

Everybody has heard of fire breathing dragons…but I betcha never seen a fire breathing polar bear before. And didja know that a polar bear is actually not white at all…it’s jus’ a trick? Yep…the fur is translucent and the coat is about 5 or 6 inches thick…and the skin underneath is black because in the cold climate the black skin absorbs more heat from sunlight than white would…this is also why the fur is translucent so the sunlight will penetrate through to the skin. Ima tryin to lern y’all sum stuf every day ya know.

Those readers who are familiar with the 23 novel science-fantasy series “The Dragonriders of Pern” written originally by Anne McCaffery starting in 1967, jointly with her middle son from 2003 until Anne’s death in 2012 and by the son thereafter will…as do I…(a) wonder just where the heck in the arctic they found firestone, (b) will recognize this as a male since chewing firestone makes females sterile and hence they use nitric acid sprayers to eliminate thread instead, and (c) will recognize that the cold adaptations of a polar bear make him most excellently suited for the cold of between. (Editor note: green dragons are female but they chew firestone and are sterile since their smaller size means they are unable to keep up with golden dragons on mating flights…bronzes, browns and the smallest blues are male…there’s also a single white named Jason which is either male or neuter as gender isn’t specified…but I digress.)

FireBreathingPolarBear

You’ve seen some talk on the news about defunding the police since a lot of their missions are better handled by crisis counselors, meter maids, or social workers. We think this is probably a good idea as police aren’t trained for some of the situations they’re placed in…but in order to do it you’ll need a whole system setup so that social workers are on shift and available 24×7. And they’ll need to proceed to the call either with or along with the police response because you never really know from the 911 call exactly what services are required…and since the social workers will be unarmed and are female more likely than not they really need officers along in case a situation turns violent…I would not want to be the chief of police in a city where the police did not respond, the social worker did, and the social worker got raped and murdered by the psycho. Anyway…

DefundingPolice

I need me sum of dees back to school supplies.

BackToSchoolSupplies

Jus’ wunderin here…

TrumpMasks

NoMilkCow

In other news tangentially related to this one…apparently another cause of the rampant systemic racism in the justice system is because cops, prosecutors, juries, and judges have an implicit bias against AAE…that’s African American English…or what a progressive would call the inability due to lack of education or refusal to speak in complete sentences that make sense. Case in point…Neil grew up in the south and we lived in Charleston SC for awhile so he is quite familiar with southern, black southern, and normal patois and he also has a passing familiarity with Gullah which is a pigeon English spoken on some small islands off the coast of GA or SC…can’t remember which. Anyway…back when he was a contractor working at Suitland Federal Center in MD which is over in a prosperous but majority black part of town south and east of Washington DC…he and a USMC buddy of his frequently went running at noontime off of the base. Down near the river right across from the old RFK Stadium where the Redskins used to play there was this little store with a sign out front that advertised “B and S…Market, Deli, Liquor Store, and VD Clinic”. Normally he and Rick would be shirtless and in shorts and running shoes only…and there were these two…well ancient is the best description of their age that comes to mind…anyway there were these two elderly black gentlemen that sat outside the store on the veranda most days in rocking chairs. Every time Neil and Rich went past these two gentlemen waved and called to them…they were obviously being friendly so Neil and Rich waved back and answered them. 

And to this day…despite being from the South where these two gentlemen were obviously from and thus he should have known…he has no idea what those two gentlemen were actually saying…maybe they wuz speaking AAE I guess.

TylenolBan

And finally…this one which Connie’s choir director posted and I thought it was appropriate to pass along as I know that several of our regular readers are choir singers at their church of choice.

ChoirPracticeCommandments

Cyas.

About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

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