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  • TalkRational: it's as if at least two distinct groups of people who have diametrically opposed points of view with completely incompatible underlying assumptions are having an argument. Oh, and for added fun, everyone here seems to believe that everyone else is a disingenuous prick or a complete retard.

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Topics - borealis

The Soap Opera / Amnesty for Bart Roberts?
Bart's been asking. Meep and I figured we'd ask the membership.

It's been a long time.
via facetious at MR:

Mary Beard has been excised from much of her screen time in the American version of the BBC series Civilisations because of an aversion to showing "a slightly creaky old lady with long grey hair", she has suggested.
Professor Beard, 63, who co-presented the series with Simon Schama and David Olusoga, said that she was "rather sad" about the decision, which was taken without her consent.
She wrote on Twitter in response to a review of the American version by the Wall Street Journal, which described the PBS broadcast as "anodyne".
She told her 192,000 followers: "Really hope that friends in USA realise that my Civilisations episodes on PBS are very different from original BBC versions, have been drastically changed. The originals were far from 'anodyne' I promise."
This is amazing, go read.

Huge "mega-colonies" of penguins have been discovered near the Antarctic peninsula, hosting more than 1.5 million birds. Researchers say it shows the area is a vital refuge from climate change and human activities and should be protected by a vast new marine wildlife reserve currently under consideration.

The huge numbers of Adélie penguins were found on the Danger Islands in the Weddell Sea, on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is a difficult place to reach and has seldom been visited. But scientists, prompted by satellite images, mounted an expedition and used on-the-ground counts and aerial photography from drones to reveal 751,527 pairs of penguins.
Science / Re: Those footprints in Crete
CBC article:

Many of the reactions to the Trachilos discovery were negative, to say the least. Ahlberg has been publishing papers since 1989 -- including in Nature and Science -- and had never experienced anything like this before.
"We got ferociously aggressive responses saying this couldn't possibly be true and these can't be footprints at all," said Ahlberg. "In every round [of reviews], there would be at least one, and sometimes several, reviewers who were in the first instance savagely hostile. They would just flatly deny that these would be human or hominin footprints. They would say almost anything -- they're bear or monkey [tracks] or whatever."
Ahlberg shared some of the reviews with CBC, and they appeared to match his descriptions, but warned that they could not be reproduced for confidentiality reasons.*C*1195*0*0*A

I thought there was an earlier thread about this controversial find, but I can't locate it with search.
I think we need a thread for highlighting how far outside normal this administration has gotten.

Ryan Zinke redecorates Interior:

Less than a month after the bear showed up, it was temporarily moved to allow for artwork to be hung on the wall behind it.
Mounting the heads of a trophy elk and a bison Zinke has named "Rosie" proved onerous. First, a delay in transporting them from his old congressional office left Zinke "not extremely happy," as Nassar put it. Once the heads arrived at Interior, an assistant apparently suggested putting them in a cabinet or display case, but Zinke was "not keen on that idea," according to Nassar, insisting they be mounted on the wall. Employees then tried to outfit the heads with D-rings in a final "attempt to preserve the historic woodwork," but the bison proved "too top heavy," wrote Diana Ziegler, director of the Interior Museum. The heads were ultimately installed directly into the wall.
In late March came the arrival of a stuffed bobcat, a piece from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's collection.
"To end the week on a somewhat light note, the 'bobcat has landed'.," Nassar joked the Friday the stuffed animal was delivered. "Luckily, the Secretary decided to not hang it on a wall and he said the taxidermy journey is done. Then as I was leaving, I was told a puma may be showing up so maybe the journey is only over for this week."

Buzzfeed chronicles Zinke's year - he keeps his knife collection on a table in his office:
Technical Issues and Questions / gib can't reach tr
Needs halp. Is on mr.

Has tried more than one browser, cach is clear, all the usual.

Technical Issues and Questions / Two Issues
When I log in, I frequently get an Error message that says my session timed out. There's a 'back' option beneath the error message, but it doesn't work. Clicking the main forum head or new posts lets me try to log in again and it usually works second try.

When I hit 'post', I often get an empty reply box. I click 'back' and my post is there, usually not actually posted, but sometimes if I hit 'post' again, I get the message 'already posted', and sometimes it just double posts.

Jagmeet Singh, new leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada

Jagmeet Singh is the next leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada, taking more than the 50 per cent of the votes in the party's federal leadership contest.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal jury has found Ammon Bundy and his six co-defendants not guilty on all charges for taking over a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon earlier this year.
Standoff leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others were charged with conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Several also were charged with possessing a firearm in a federal facility.

All seven defendants were found not guilty Thursday on all charges. The jury had no verdict for Ryan Bundy's theft of government property charge.

Can some American explain to me how a jury could decide these oafs are not guilty? So it's okay to intimidate workers, manhandle research and artifacts, dig shit trenches and destroy the area, and with no repercussions at all?
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Invertebrates

Razor clam I think.
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Rodents

You're my last ratling and this ain't happening:
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that the three-month notice period "has long been anticipated" as part of the U.S. process.
No formal consultation is required under Canadian law, but Freeland said the government has been consulting closely with "the provinces and territories, industry, unions, civil society, think-tanks, academics, Indigenous peoples, women, youth and the general public."
"This will enable us to assess what matters most to Canadians and to advance our interests," the statement said.
"We are at an important juncture that offers us an opportunity to determine how we can best align NAFTA to new realities -- and integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment."


Mexico's foreign minister was meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington Thursday.
"The government of Mexico welcomes this development," Luis Videgaray told reporters. "We are prepared, we are ready to work together ... to make this trade agreement better."
"We understand that this is a 25-year-old agreement," he said. "The world has changed, we've learned a lot and we can make it better." 

Your guys best be wearing their big-kid pants.
So, Americans, is this going to stick enough for the world to enjoy watching a genuine presidential impeachment proceeding with lots and lots of high drama and utter madness reported daily for months?

Because that would be interesting.
The Soap Opera / FX Spamming
Making this public.

FX has been spamming almost continually, making threads with a quoted post or PM one after another. He's hard to keep up with.

Speaking as an Admin, I'm considering the possibility of giving him a timeout 24 hour ban or something like that.

Input please?
Science / Tyer Wind Converter
Flap like a hummingbird...

The unique design doesn't generate quite as much power as a similarly sized wind turbine, but it provides other key advantages that could expand where the Tyer Wind Converter can be installed. Not only are the flapping winds quieter, its creator claims they are less prone to being damaged in high wind scenarios. They also pose less of a threat to birds, and thanks to a smaller footprint can be installed in dense urban areas, or packed even tighter in a large wind farm to maximize power output.

The Tyer Wind Converter isn't available for sale yet, but its creators have built working prototypes that are currently being tested in real world conditions to see if it can actually deliver on its promised improvements, and most importantly, actually generate enough power to be worth the cost.
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Tilikum is dead
Heroic and long suffering orca Tilikum has died, at the approximate age of 36.

Born off Iceland, kidnapped to Sealand Canada, later sold to SeaWorld Orlando, it is to be hoped his fame as an unpredictable, powerful, intelligent wild animal will help to end the breeding and display of cetaceans in big fish tanks everywhere.

He is famous for being implicated in the deaths of at least three humans, and for being a subject of the documentary Blackfish.

While the breeding program continued, Tilikum was SeaWorld's most prolific male orca, forced to sire 14 calves during his time at SeaWorld Orlando.

He was notable also for his great size, at more than 22 feet and 11,800 pounds.

Vale, Tilikum.
What the hell?

Are these laws likely to actually go into effect?

This week, Texas lawmakers added another particularly bizarre and callous step to this already arduous process. On Monday night, state health officials finalized new rules mandating that all fetuses aborted in a hospital or clinic must be buried or cremated, regardless of gestational stage. These regulations will now take effect on December 19; reproductive rights advocates say the effect on women in the state of Texas will be devastating.

When the law takes effect, Trigilio added, abortion clinics that cannot find a nearby funeral home willing to provide fetus funeral services could be forced to close their doors, exacerbating the dire lack of access in the state. And, as the director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Texas noted in July, the costs associated with cremating a body are substantial: An average basic services fee costs $2000. Though health officials in the state insist that clinics, not women, will be forced to cover the costs, it's very unlikely that there won't be some sort of financial effect on abortion patients.

Critics call it a "fetus funeral" law and say such legislation is a blatant attempt to impose a specific moral agenda on women and reproductive healthcare providers, to legally enshrine the idea that fetuses can die--which also implies that they're distinct, living beings at some point. Texas isn't the only state to propose a fetal burial rule in the past year or so. South Carolina and Mississippi legislatures voted on similar bills, though they both failed to pass; Ohio is currently considering one; and Indiana and Louisiana have both enacted laws of their own, though both are currently on hold pending ongoing litigation.
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Elephant refugees
Whole article is intensely depressing.

To avoid ivory poachers in neighboring Namibia, Zambia, and Angola, elephants like this family are fleeing in astounding numbers to Chobe, where illegal hunting is mostly kept in check. (See National Geographic's elephant pictures.)

"Our elephants are essentially refugees," says Michael Chase, founder of the Botswana-based conservation group Elephants Without Borders, which works to create transboundary corridors for elephants to travel safely between countries.

Illegal killing for ivory is so intense that in 10 years scientists expect to lose 50 percent of Africa's remaining elephants, Chase says.
British red squirrels are being afflicted by a medieval strain of leprosy that was thought to have disappeared from Europe over 700 years ago, according to a new DNA analysis. Researchers say the chances of the dreaded disease spreading to humans is low, but the discovery suggests this strain of leprosy has been lingering for quite some time.

A DNA analysis performed by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) has shown that leprosy in Britain's red squirrels is being caused by the same species of bacteria responsible for human infections. Human cases of leprosy are practically unheard of in Britain, but scientists say the red squirrels could be a source for the bacteria in the UK, frustrating attempts to eradicate the disease.

Humans have little to worry about, but sadly the squirrels:

This news comes at a particularly challenging time for the British red squirrel. Their numbers have drastically declined in the UK over the past few years, and only 140,00 remain. These creatures are being threatened from habitat loss and the squirrelpox virus carried by invasive grey squirrels.
Arts and Entertainment / Leonard Cohen Dead
Mafia / Stuffed Toy Mafia on Mindromp
A video shared with CBC News and produced by the Arctic Research Foundation appears to show images of the submerged HMS Terror, one of Sir John Franklin's two ships lost in the doomed 1845 Franklin Expedition, in a Nunavut bay.
On Monday morning, British newspaper the Guardian reported that the ship, which was abandoned in sea ice in 1848 during a failed attempt to sail through the Northwest Passage, was found "in pristine condition" in Nunavut's Terror Bay, north of where the wreck of HMS Erebus -- the expedition's flagship -- was found in 2014.
The crew of the Arctic Research Foundation's Martin Bergmann research vessel found the shipwreck, with all three masts standing and almost all hatches closed, on Sept. 3.
"Resting proud on 24 metres of water, we found HMS Terror -- 203 years old, it is perfectly preserved in the frigid waters of the Northwest Passage," Arctic Research Foundation spokesman Adrian Schimnowski says in the video.