5 stories
·
0 followers

Wombat Breeding Could Help Save a Species

2 Comments and 8 Shares

2 wombat

1 wombat

Taronga Zooin Australia is celebrating the arrival of its second Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey in three years, a breeding success story that could also help the Critically Endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

The female joey, which has been named Sydney, has just begun venturing outside mom Korra’s pouch at eight months old, to the delight of keepers and visitors.

3 wombat

1 wombat

2 wombat

3 wombat

4 wombatPhoto credit: Taronga Zoo

Keeper Brett Finlayson said the birth was particularly exciting as Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are notoriously difficult to breed.

“Compatibility and timing seem to be crucial ingredients for success, as the female is only receptive to the male for a 12-hour window. Korra and our male, Noojee, have proven to be a great pairing as this is their second joey in three years,” said Brett.

See photos and learn more after the fold.

5 wombat

6 wombat

Discovering the successful “formula” to breed Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats is also seen as an important step towards saving their Critically Endangered cousin, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, of which there only around 200 left in the wild.

“There’s no zoo-based breeding program for Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats at this time. However if we can perfect and apply what we learn from our breeding program here to Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats in the future, the ramifications for this critically endangered species could be immense,” said Brett.

Read the whole story
pavlov02
3021 days ago
reply
Breeding program could save endangered species.
popular
3021 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
satadru
3021 days ago
reply
because wombats
New York, NY

Free Speech

21 Comments and 73 Shares
I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
Read the whole story
pavlov02
3028 days ago
reply
Just seems like common sense to me but that seems in short supply.
popular
3034 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
19 public comments
merlinblack
3031 days ago
reply
Not applicable in Canada but a good lesson I'm discourse.
ÜT: 53.542319,-113.494597
Romanikque
3032 days ago
reply
Alt text is better than the comic for this one...
Baltimore, MD
tewhalen
3039 days ago
reply
Wikipedia: "The Citizens' Councils used economic tactics against African Americans whom they considered as supportive of desegregation and voting rights, or for belonging to the NAACP; the tactics included 'calling in' their mortgages, denying loans and business credit, and boycotting black-owned businesses. In some cities, the Councils published lists of names of NAACP supporters and signers of anti-segregation petitions in local newspapers in order to encourage economic retaliation. For instance, in Yazoo City, Mississippi in 1955, the Citizens' Council arranged for the names of 53 signers of a petition for school integration to appear in a local paper. Soon afterward, the petitioners lost their jobs and had their credit cut off." -- Apparently, no free speech rights were violated.
chicago, il
grammargirl
3039 days ago
reply
Yup.
Brooklyn, NY
stefanetal
3039 days ago
reply
This strikes me as an 'argument from definition'. But the definition itself is contested. Lot of rights don't work this way, for instance there are non-retaliation laws asociated with many rights (especially in labor law -- say the right to marry includes the right, for the most part, not to get fired for getting married).
Northern Virginia
tewhalen
3039 days ago
Like, remember this comic when your supervisor shows up to your cubicle and asks you to donate to the "Conservative Victory Fund PAC" or lose your job. At least you'll have the comfort of knowing your free speech rights weren't violated.
chrisamico
3039 days ago
reply
I'd love to post this at the end of every news site's comments policy.
Boston, MA
diannemharris
3039 days ago
reply
I have to save this for future postings, everywhere
satadru
3039 days ago
reply
It's dawning on me that wikipedia needs Tl;DR links pointing to the relevant xkcd pages.
New York, NY
ChrisDL
3039 days ago
reply
You haven't lived until you've shared an XKCD online
New York
sfringer
3039 days ago
reply
Couldn't be better stated on free speech...
North Carolina USA
neilcar
3039 days ago
reply
Eventually, XKCD will be the answer for every ridiculous argument.
Charlotte, North Carolina
karmakaze
3039 days ago
reply
Alt text: I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
07974
darastar
3039 days ago
reply
THIS X1000
ktgeek
3039 days ago
reply
Yet another xkcd that will be reposted and reposted until the sun burns out.
Bartlett, IL
Michdevilish
3039 days ago
reply
Free to leave
Canada
JayM
3039 days ago
reply
.
Atlanta, GA
[deleted]
3039 days ago
...
aaronwe
3039 days ago
reply
There should be a "BUT FREE SPEECH!" corollary to Godwin's Law.
Denver
mindspillage
3039 days ago
reply
This was basically designed to be passive-aggressively linked to in mailing lists/forums/IRC...
north bay, California
stavrosg
3039 days ago
I can't count how many times this would have been useful in the past...
sulrich
3031 days ago
and for that reason it's getting an expansion snippet.
jtgrimes
3039 days ago
reply
Alt text: I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
Oakland, CA

Photo

3 Comments and 6 Shares


Read the whole story
pavlov02
3033 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
2 public comments
Romanikque
3014 days ago
reply
GD life.
Baltimore, MD
satadru
3015 days ago
reply
So Many SportsBall Metaphors.
New York, NY

Photo

2 Comments and 3 Shares




















Read the whole story
pavlov02
3033 days ago
reply
The reaction time of a blonde is twice the norm so she still should have hit the time traveler. lol
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
gabrielgeraldo
3033 days ago
reply
PLOT TWIST
São Paulo

Fear Cuts Deeper Than Swords: Bergen Community College Freaks Out Over "Game of Thrones" T-Shirt

7 Comments and 17 Shares

Tragedy is inevitable. Our reaction to tragedy is not. We cannot govern every risk, but we must govern our reactions to risks. Here's the question we must ask ourselves: when awful things happen in the world, will we abandon reason and accept any measure urged by officials — petty and great — who invoke those awful things as justifications for action? Or will we think critically and demand that our leaders do so as well? Will we subject cries of "crime" and "drugs" and "terrorism" and "school shootings" to scrutiny? Will we be convinced to turn on each other in an irrational frenzy of suspicion, "for the children?"

If we don't maintain our critical thinking, we wind up with a nation run more and more like Bergen Community College in New Jersey, where we may be questioned and sent for reeducation for posting a picture of our daughter in a popular t-shirt on Google+.

Naturally the FIRE has the story, sourced from Inside Higher Education.

Francis Schmidt is a popular professor of design and animation at Bergen. Schmidt posted to Google+ a cute picture of his young daughter wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt in a yoga pose next to a cat. The t-shirt was this one, bearing the phrase "I will take what is mine with fire and blood," a quote from Daenerys Targaryen, a fictional character in a series of fantasy novels (which has sold tens of millions of copies) turned into a hot TV series on HBO (with close to 15 million viewers per episode.) Googling the phrase will instantly provide a context to anyone unfamiliar with the series.

So: a professor posts a cute picture of his kid in a t-shirt with a saying from a much-talked-about tv show. In the America we'd like to believe in, nothing happens. But in the America we've allowed to creep up on us, this happens:

But one contact — a dean — who was notified automatically via Google that the picture had been posted apparently took it as a threat. In an email, Jim Miller, the college’s executive director for human resources, told Schmidt to meet with him and two other administrators immediately in light of the “threatening email.”

Although it was winter break, Schmidt said he met with the administrators, including a security official, in one of their offices and was questioned repeatedly about the picture’s meaning and the popularity of “Game of Thrones.”

Schmidt said Miller asked him to use Google to verify the phrase, which he did, showing approximately 4 million hits. The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that “fire” could be a kind of proxy for “AK-47s.”

Despite Schmidt’s explanation, he was notified via email later in the week that he was being placed on leave without pay, effectively immediately, and that he would have to be cleared by a psychiatrist before he returned to campus. Schmidt said he was diagnosed with depression in 2007 but was easily cleared for this review, although even the brief time away from campus set back his students, especially those on independent study.

So. That happened.

Pressed for an explanation of this lunacy, Bergen Community College Kaye Walter retreated into the first refuge of a modern authoritarianism, "think of the children":

Walter said she did not believe that the college had acted unfairly, especially considering that there were three school shootings nationwide in January, prior to Schmidt’s post. The suspects in all three shootings were minors targeting their local schools (although three additional shootings at colleges or universities happened later in the month).

This — this — is the core demand of the modern Fear State. Tell us what to fear, leaders, for the night is dark and full of terrors. Tell us what we have to do. Tell us what to think, and how to assess risks. Tell us "if you see something, say something" so we may feel duty-bound to vent our fears and insecurities about our fellow citizens rather than exercising judgment or compassion or proportion. Assure us that you must exercise your growing powers for our own safety, to ward off the terrible things we worry about.

Is Bergen some sort of unlikely citadel of irrationality? At first glance it may seem so. After all no well person would interpret the t-shirt as a threat and report it. That takes irrationality or dysfunction. No minimally competent or intelligent or honest school administrator would pursue such a report upon receiving it; rather, anyone exercising anything like rational discretion would Google the thing and immediately identify it as a mundane artifact of popular culture. No honest or near-normal intellect would say, as Jim Miller did, that the "fire" in the slogan might refer to an AK-47, a profoundly idiotic statement that resembles arguing that "May the Force Be With You" is a threat of force. Nobody with self-respect or minimal ability would claim that this professor's treatment was somehow justified by school shootings.

But Bergen isn't an anomaly. It's not a collection of dullards and subnormals — though Jim Miller and Kaye Walker could lead to think that it is. Bergen is the emerging norm. Bergen represents what we, the people, have been convinced to accept. Bergen is unremarkable in a world where we've accepted "if you see something, say something" as an excuse to emote like toddlers, and where we're lectured that we should be thankful that our neighbors are so eager to inform on us. Bergen is mundane in a world where we put kids in jail to be brutalized over obvious bad jokes on social media. Bergen exists in a world where officials use concepts like "cyberbullying" to police and retaliate against satire and criticism. Bergen exists in a world where we have allowed fears — fear of terrorism, fear of drugs, fear of crime, fear for our children — to become so powerful that merely invoking them is a key that unlocks any right. Bergen exists in a country where our leaders realize how powerful those fears are, and therefore relentlessly stretch them further and further, so we get things like the already-Orwellian Department of Homeland Security policing DVD piracy.

Certainly the Miller-Walter mindset is not unique in American academia. We've seen a professor's historical allusion cynically repackaged as a threat. We've seen a community college invoke 9/11 and Virginia Tech and Columbine to ban protest signs. In pop-culture debacle much like this one, we've seen a college tear down a "Firefly" poster as a threat. We've seen satire and criticism punished as "actionable harassment" or ""intimidation."

As a nation, we all need to decide whether we will surrender our critical thinking in response to buzzwords like "terrorism" and "drugs" and "crime" and "school shootings." On a local level, we must decide whether we will put up with such idiocy from our educational institutions. So tell me, students and teachers and alumni of Bergen Community College. Are you going to put up with that? Because institutions that act like this are not helping young people to be productive and independent adults. They are teaching fear, ignorance, and subservience.

If you feel strongly about it, you could tell Bergen Community College on its Twitter Account or Facebook page.

Update: Bergen made a statement doubling down:

"The referenced incident refers to a private personnel matter at Bergen Community College. Since January 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school shootings have occurred in the United States. In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern."

There are at least two maddening components to this. First, they didn't just "investigate" — they suspended the professor and made him see a psychiatrist because he posted a picture of his daughter in a wildly popular t-shirt from pop culture. Second, the statement is an implicit admission that the college refuses to exercise critical thinking about the complaints it receives. There is no minimally rational connection between school shootings — or any type of violence — and a picture of someone's kid in a pop-culture t-shirt. The college is saying, in effect, "complain to us about your angers or fears, however utterly irrational, and we will act precipitously on them, because OMG 9/11 COLUMBINE TEH CHILDREN." Shameful. Ask yourself: what kind of education do you think your children will get from people who think like this?

Fear Cuts Deeper Than Swords: Bergen Community College Freaks Out Over "Game of Thrones" T-Shirt © 2007-2013 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

Read the whole story
pavlov02
3039 days ago
reply
The fear of fear has created this Orwellian nightmare.
popular
3039 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
5 public comments
satadru
3034 days ago
reply
'Bergen is unremarkable in a world where we've accepted "if you see something, say something" as an excuse to emote like toddlers, and where we're lectured that we should be thankful that our neighbors are so eager to inform on us.'
New York, NY
Cynic17
3038 days ago
reply
Really, BCC? Freaking REALLY???

How can anyone hope to learn critical thinking and rational decision making from these people?
mikejurney
3039 days ago
reply
There is no rational excuse for grown adults to do slavishly act on policy without considering context.

More importantly, I do no believe that any institutional administrator could be so valuable every other day of the year that this kind of event wouldn't merit firing.
New York, New York
GreenChange
3037 days ago
I think the thing to do here is to get hundreds of people scouring twitter, Facebook, instagram, LinkedIn, etc looking for out of context quotes from BCC staff and alumni, and reporting them as threats and harassment. Flood their inboxes, and force them to review their stupid policies or else be faced with having to investigate them all and suspend half their staff and students.
acdha
3039 days ago
reply
Sigh…
Washington, DC