Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Jonathan Alter, in a piece called, "The Price of Loyalty" (NEWSWEEK, Nov. 7, 2005, p. 47) catalogues the following items about what happens to people who disagree with the current regime in Washington.

"This has been the Bush pattern. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill presciently says a second tax cut is unaffordable if we want to fight in Iraq—he's fired. Bush's economic adviser Larry Lindsey presciently says the war will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion (an underestimate)—he's fired. Army Gen. Eric Shinseki presciently says that winning in Iraq will require several hundred thousand troops—he's sent into early retirement. By contrast, CIA Director George Tenet, who presided over two of the greatest intelligence lapses in American history (9/11 and WMD in Iraq) and apparently helped spread "oppo ammo" to discredit the husband of a woman who had devoted her life to his agency, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom."


I can't get over the selfishness of America's most wealthy, those who can afford to buy, maintain and gas up the gas hogs of the world. Here's a snippet of an article by Fareed Zakaria of NEWSWEEK magazine.

"In almost every region [of the world] efforts to produce a more stable, peaceful and open world order are being compromised and complicated by high oil prices. And while America spends enormous time, money and effort dealing with the symptoms of this problem, we are actively fueling the cause.

"Rising oil prices are the result of many different forces coming together. We have little control over some of them, like China's growth rate. But America remains the 800 pound gorilla of petroleum demand. In 2004, China consumed 6.5 million barrels of oil per day. The United States consumed 20.4 million barrels, and demand is rising. That is because of strong growth, but also because American cars—which guzzle the bulk of oil imports—are much less efficient than they used to be. This is the only area of the American economy in which we have become less energy-efficient than we were 20 years ago, and we are the only industrialized country to have slid backward in this way. There's one reason: SUVs. They made up 5 percent of the American fleet in 1990. They make up almost 54 percent today." —Fareed Zakaria in NEWSWEEK, Aug. 29, p.41.


Believe it or not, in zoos and other non-wild places, lions and tigers do hybridize. That is, they get it on with each other and offspring are born. . . of course, sterile offspring. I had never heard of this. They are called ligers and tigrons. This fact comes to us from Dawkin's THE ANCESTOR'S TALE in a passage where he discusses some of the speciation ramifications of gender in evolution, p.399.


How many phylum are there in the animal kingdom? Those are the huge categories. . . .

Answer: Thirty-eight.

I just love to sound so smart when the answers are right here on the page under my nose. Did you know. . .

. . . that in some species the males are so small they can ride around on females' legs or other body parts? (Man, talk about getting under the skirts of our women folk!)

. . .that the fan arrangement of our fingers and toes derive from the fins of our fishy ancestors? Right here, under my nose, on the pages of a book.

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