GraphJam: Child’s Estimate of Parents’ IQ

31 08 2009

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

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On with the show!

28 09 2008

Sorry for the temporary break in transmission…

My sister and her boyfriend arrived back from Canada last week. They were able to drop by in Sydney on the way to Rockhampton, so I tried to take some time out to catch up with her. Had a few dinners in the city and went to Taronga Zoo on Saturday. Animal pick of the day – orang-utans!

I really need a camera for these sort of things don’t I. But alas I don’t even have a decent one on my cheap French phone. So enjoy a sexy video for Wii instead.

Go-karts!!  Hee Hee!





Monkeys are dirty commies

20 09 2008

Not that there is anything wrong with that…

Back at NERS – Ed Yong explains implications of a study that showed capuchin monkeys showed interest in making sure that other monkeys got the same rewards as themselve, when in a social environment.

The researchers did lots of test modifications to try and rule out any source of bias in the tests.

The main test was the test monkey picking one of two tokens. One would let the test monkey receive a piece of food. The other would not only let the test monkey receive a piece of food but also another monkey would too.

Rather than being self-absorbed and just picking any old token to get itself some chow – the test monekys showed bias for picking the “pro-social” token that lets both monkeys get food. No factors appeared to significantly affect this – except hiding the other monkey from the test monkey. This sort of reinforces the social basis for the behaviour. The monkey is hardly going to try and give food to a monkey it doesn’t know is there.

Monkeys also had some sense of stranger danger too – they weren’t likely to be socially helpful to a complete stranger monkey. Showing a similar “circle” style of relationships (family>friends>others) that is used to describe human social networks.

Go read Ed’s post for further analysis on the greater impact on animal and human behavioural sciences

(yes I’m being a little lazy, I just unpacked into my new flat and am trying to offload numerous web item thingys)





Heureka!

18 09 2008

I’m all a bit confused about this discovery.

It’s a new species of ant, found in Brazil, so they naturally are going around calling it “the ant from Mars“.

The ant is so strange and un-ant-like they are placing it in a new sub-family of ants. I’m not even sure if I should be actually calling it an ant (It’s a maybe-ant). The maybe-ant sub-family split off very early from other ant families in terms of evolutionary divergence – which has lead people to draw similarities between the situation of monotremes and other mammals. So, it’s also being dubbed the insect platypus. It does not have anything nearly as cool as a five-pronged schlong, poison spurs or even a duck-bill. It just has a shit pair of legs at the back.

That’s right. It’s a cripple. Nature quotes an entomologist as saying the maybe-ant “doesn’t even look like it could walk at all”. It’s also blind. Has a “delicate” mouth. And has pigmentation issues.* It probably hasn’t been discovered before because it has just been wallowing in self-pity for its entire existence.

The closest living relatives of ants are bees and wasps. The maybe-ant doesn’t quite share many characteristics with its other airborne cousins. Much like platypuses don’t really resemble modern day birds or lizards much either. Further examination may however show some similarities.

*Update: I could add that it is spineless too, but I think that’s just rubbing it in.





More naked children – for concerned parents

8 09 2008

WordPress blogging software handily has internal statistic tracking software.

It’s not always reassuring that “naked kids” continues to be a popular search term redirecting people towards this site. I suppose I can take some pleasure in wasting the time of people who are looking for such photos, and further reassurance comes from most of those search results are not pornography, but often news stories about child pornography.

This story – “Parents face porn claim risk” – was one of the results that appeared. As I clicked through the link, my visitor data will show that I came from a search for “naked children” (can I please be allowed to naively believe that all such hits are of such a nature).

“PARENTS sending family pictures over the Internet could be accused of child pornography under planned new laws, the State Government has been warned.”

I crashed an 18th birthday on Saturday (hey, I knew the lass, I just wasn’t exactly invited). At the party was a photobook/scrapbook that included a single naked-baby photo of the girl – ‘frontbottom’ and all. Obviously included merely for nostalgia and embarrassment purposes. Does this count as distributing child pornography?

The Australian government and public’s reaction to naked children in art recently with the Bill Henson affair has shown a very low (non-existent) tolerance to naked children being percieved as anything else.

The story is from the UK as far as I can tell. But could a similar situation arise through interpretation or extension of Australian laws?

Normally my authorative side is supportive of restricting freedoms to protect heinous crimes such as child abuse. I am generally in favour of removing all forms of corporal discipline to remove any excuse for child abuse in domestic and school settings. But to me this seems excessive on the surface.

Obviously something would need to be found that would separate private distribution of child family snaps, and more nefarious purposes. Allowing distribution between family members to be excused is not a solution – statistics show that abusers are often close family and friends of victims.

Would this be a freedom that families in Australia (or the UK, USA or elsewhere) be prepared to sacrifice to help combat child pornography?