More of the Prez with falcons

When cognitive worlds collide…. From http://www.whitehouse.gov/:


President George W. Bush holds a falcon as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan, stands by during dinner Sunday night, Jan. 13, 2008 in the desert near Abu Dhabi. White House photo by Eric Draper


President George W. Bush and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan look at falcons during their dinner Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, in the desert near Abu Dhabi. White House photo by Eric Draper

As Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs looks on, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino holds a falcon Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, during a dinner in the desert near Abu Dhabi. White House photo by Eric Draper

Caption Contest

Official caption: “President George W. Bush holds a falcon shown to him by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, during a visit to Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in Dubai. White House photo by Eric Draper

Anyone want to suggest some dialog?

Good Reading from Prairie Mary

Many here will enjoy two recent posts by writer Mary Strachan Scriver, who sometimes comments at Querencia.

Here are excerpts from each. I encourage you to read the full texts.

From the post H-ANIMAL:

“…I’ve been reading about species genomes (the close relationship between the dog genome and the human genome, for instance) and mammal brain anatomy. Evolutionary evidence is fine stuff and I love fossils, theories and imagining back to the very first ocean one-celled animals. I love the reaching out across the cosmos to the black holes and the star nurseries. But that’s not the same thing as realizing that WE are animals, that our lives are woven into the lives of animals, that viruses and larger parasites constantly move through us (see the recent NYTimes article called “Tiny Specks of Misery, Both Vile and Useful”). Our companions bring both minor and culture-changing effects. We ARE animals, we are ANIMALS, we contain reptile/mammal/primate to say nothing of billions of tiny symbionts.”

And here’s some of the post HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES

“…Among the issues HSUS takes on are: disasters (they show up, get on television, then disappear), dog fights (esp. the celebrity cases like Vick), high-profile humane stories like the truck-load of collies stopped at the US/Canada border, zoos, rodeos, hunting, wild horses, dog races, puppy mills, etc. Easy to demonize. Their budget for the people who travel to “hot spots” to make media appearances is about $2 million. If you look at their website, journalist’s inquiries are guided to a full panel of specialists. They have an adaptable policy towards agricultural animal abuse and oppose the eating of meat and the wearing of fur. (Pacelle is vegan.) Money changes hands.”

Taking ’em to the woodshed

Noting Steve’s recent post on his New Year’s coursing run, our wonderfully ferocious friend Teddy Moritz sent this picture and note about her lurcher, Kell. Her suggested caption, “Meanwhile, back East, a lurcher without many coursing opportunities uses his time in the woods well.

Teddy writes: “This is Kell, named by a friend for the Irish Book of Kells, son of my Hancock lurcher Celtic, now deceased. Kell was owned by a friend out west for four years but she never used him for anything except as a yard dog who caught ground squirrels. I’ve had him since May and his life has turned around. He’s very obedient, very useful and just a nice dog. He’s a lurcher to lurcher cross.”

I asked Teddy if she could add any favorite squirrel recipes and she wrote back, “steam ’till soft then cook like chicken, or make a stew in crock pot, or fry, or…..” In other words, it’s all good.
“However,” she adds, “having a hawk and seven dogs to feed, Carl and I don’t eat much squirrel.”

Felony Harassment

You may recall the Missouri teen who committed suicide after receiving hurtful messages through a popular social networking site. Another neighborhood teen, possibly with the knowledge and aid of her mother and a friend, posted the cruel personal messages under a false identity. A federal inquiry is underway to see if those who created the fraudulent online profile and sent the messages can be prosecuted. No Missouri law was deemed to have been broken.

In a follow-up AP story, a panel formed by Missouri governor Matt Blunt is reported to have recommended “making certain types of harassment a felony, such as if anyone 21 or older harasses people 17 and younger.”

Later in the same story:

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola University Law School, told The Associated Press that if the government convened a grand jury it would be trying to create a case in which MySpace would be the victim of a fraud — meaning the person who perpetrated the fraud could be prosecuted.

“The whole case is curious,” she said, and could raise First Amendment issues of free speech.

The subject of “cyber bullying” received much coverage after the suicide. Legislative and policy responses to the threat (or perceived threat) of online bullying are probably inevitable, much as they have come from a concurrent flap about “traditional” playground bullying.

No one needs to remind us that teen suicide, for any reason, is tragic and probably represents some failure on the part of those within the young person’s circle. In some ways we may all be responsible. But is the establishment of felony harassment statutes the proper remedy?

I’m the father of twin girls, aged 7. They visit http://www.pbskids.org/ and enjoy playing with Microsoft Paint but are probably not aware of anything else related to our home computer or the Internet. They do not yet have email addresses, although they will be given them at school next year and be expected to use them. Their slightly older cousins are well ahead of my kids and send me text messages from their cell phones. The future for mine will include these things—all our current electronic communication modes and more—and I’m sure I’ll be fighting a losing battle against them all the way.

I’m obviously not a Luddite (although I have sympathies). And my general state of panic about being out of touch with my children will doubtless win out in the war against the cell phone and the email address. But will I want to see my kids on myspace.com? Will I want them chatting up strangers and swapping pics? Let’s not go there for a while, ok?

As for Internet identities, I think the best we can say at present is that anonymity is too easy. It’s the great pitfall of this medium. We are all (even when we use our own names and photos) somewhat fictional characters and largely free of responsibility for our actions online. It’s something I’m going to have to explain to my girls one day soon.

What is this?

Annie D. sent a pic of this little critter titled “baby chupacabra”. She was kidding but we don’t know what it might be. I think the ears look rather “batty”, but as Annie says it has an apparent tail. Marsupial?

Anyone have an idea? Darren? Carel?

Update: “Batwrangler” Sheila comes up with an ID: it’s a newly discovered eastern pygmy possum.

More pix here.

Iron Men and Wooden Ships?

Cast- iron livers, anyway. John McLoughlin recently sent me a lengthy note on the water and rum consumption of the men of the Revolutionary War frigate The USS Constitution, better known as “Old Ironsides” I was going to excerpt it but it is too good to cut.

“The U.S.S. Constitution, as a combat vessel,
carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475
officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of
sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e.
fresh water distillers!).

“However, let it be noted that according to her ship’s log, “On
July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with
a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of
fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder
and 79,400 gallons of rum.”

“Her mission: “To destroy and harass English shipping.”

“Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour
and 68,300 gallons of rum.

“Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November.
She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of
Portuguese wine.

“On 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days
she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled
12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

“By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted.
Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the
Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whisky
distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch
aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

“The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February, 1799,
with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no
whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.”