Friday, October 11, 2013

Coffee and Provocation

The Kids Are Not Alright:
England is the only country in the developed world where the generation approaching retirement is more literate and numerate than the youngest adults, according to the first skills survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In a stark assessment of the success and failure of the 720-million-strong adult workforce across the wealthier economies, the economic thinktank warns that in England, adults aged 55 to 65 perform better than 16- to 24-year-olds at foundation levels of literacy and numeracy. Please note that survey did not include people from Scotland or Wales. I will let others decide if adding those numbers would improve things, or make them worse!  The OECD study also finds that a quarter of adults in England have the maths skills of a 10-year-old. About 8.5 million adults, 24.1% of the population, have such basic levels of numeracy that they can manage only one-step tasks in arithmetic, sorting numbers or reading graphs.
Lies About Lemmings:
Due to the antics of the Republican party of late, there has been a lot of talk about lemmings. Please note that in the real world, lemmings do not actually throw themselves off of cliffs into the sea in order to kill themselves. This is fiction perpetuated by a 1958 Disney documentary called White Wilderness, in which the filmmakers manually ran a pack of lemmings off a cliff for entertainment purposes. This lie-packed documentary went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  Please discuss. 
Free Pulp!
How about 1,661 pulp novels as free ebooks?  Get your free pulp here!
A New Species or Just a Booger?
A U.S. biologist coming back from a primate research trip to Africa, discovered he had a tick up his nose. After carefully removing the little bugger, he had it sent off for identification and discovered it was a new species. The tick also suggests a new field of research:  how blood borne pathogens might migrates from apes to humans, and back again.
Rats With Mad Skills:
Can your dog do as many tricks as these rats?  Mine can't!
An Iron Age Cable Knit?!
Melting glaciers are telling us more and more about primitive man. A Norwegian glacier recently exposed a wool iron-age sweater woven in diamond twill.  After 1,700 years in the ice, it still looks to be in pretty good shape!
Comment Trolls Kill Content:
Comment trolls kill content and research shows theris a very good reason to scrap them altogether or to moderate them severely.  Following up on that research, the Popular Science website has announced it will no longer allow readers to comment on new stories at all.  Goodbye trolls!
Another Not Extinct Species:
As I have noted in the past, most animal extinctions are due to rats and cats on islands, and about as many species are "rediscovered" every year as are pushed over the brink and into the abyss.  The latest rediscovery of a formally "extinct" species is the Pinnochio Lizard, a type of anole, rediscovered in the cloud forests of Ecuador.
A Dinosaur in Every Bucket:

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