Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Bits and Pieces - June 5, 2012

I love it that birds are the descendents of dinosaurs. Some are more so than others, in various ways. Chickens' stolid stance. Jays' aggressiveness. Roadrunners' fleet run. And, of course, the birds that are not like dinosaurs at all: hummingbirds. From apatosaurus (once known as brontosaurus) to those tiny flying machines. Very cool. This article on birds' and dinosaurs' skulls brings up another issue: does evolution tend to favor neoteny, the preservation of youthful characteristics into adulthood? Humans have some neotenous characteristics of apes. And birds have a neotenous skull relative to dinosaurs. Or if this isn't generally true, what makes it favorable to survival?

Another question. Paul Kerr notes a comment on the Iranian Supreme Leader's fatwa against nuclear weapons from this article. The fatwa has been repeated numerous times. So can we believe it? Let's leave the business about religiously-sanctioned lies aside. National leaders have been known to lie in the defense of their country or for lesser reasons. Is a religiously-oriented leader of a supposedly religious country any different? Why or why not? Does he have the last word? I don't know the answers to any of these questions.

Germany is supplying submarines to Israel that can support nuclear missiles. I'm not sure this is a total surprise; the procurement of these submarines has been known for some time, and it's been at least speculated that they can support nuclear missiles. The history going back to the 1950s seems to me to be something that hasn't been available. I don't recall it from Avner Cohen's Israel and the Bomb, the sourcebook on such things.

How euro coins from different countries diffuse across France.

Oregon's Josephine County takes the Republicans' political economy to its logical end. Some of the people there seem distressed. I wonder if they voted to have enough taxes to run the county properly.

Don't bother to pass on that Facebook privacy notice.

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