Archive | February, 2011

The Theoretical Hindrance of Over-specialization

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Caravaggio


I’m sharing with you a paper I’m preparing for submittal into a Paleontology Society for which I am a member. The paper, a summary of some spectacular research, is logically limited to the field of Paleontology. However, I also wanted you, the reader, to use this paper think about the implications of over-specialization and its theoretical negative impact upon creative-based productivity. Based upon the research overview below… on one hand, you’ve the specialist – the Paleontologist – this is his life’s work and encompasses all he knows. On the other you’ve the polymath – he knows a little about a lot and leverages different methodologies to supercharge his results in a diversity of fields. Ergo, I submit to you that this research would not have been undertaken to the degree it was without the influence of the polymath (knowing what I do about paleo-study).

We, as a race, will benefit to a higher degree if we can break-down the historical myopic paradigm inherent with our fascination with being a “Specialist”. Can you imagine a job interview where the HR rep asks “so I now know you understand database design… but what do you know about art and architecture? Do you play a musical instrument?” Art, Architecture… even Musical Theory offer a rich baseline in which to expand one’s knowledge of technological structure and design. This isn’t about being a generalist. This is about building a diverse foundation of knowledge from which to produce the necessary elements in which to optimally “think differently” about an esoteric or highly-specialized subject matter. To over-specialize without this foundation should be thought of as synonymous with “to maintain the conventional, to snuff-out change, and even to under-perform.” Broadening one’s array of interests should be considered in a similar fashion to how dissimilar foci was considered during the Renaissance – literally a standard for which all else depends. Some of my smartest friends display pure genius in highly-concentrated, very specialized areas. However to get to know them one would quickly understand that they pull from a diverse field of disparate interests (hobbies and even play [essential for creativity]) to stay fresh and relevant in their chosen path.

Without further ado…

Dinosaur Census Reveals Abundant Tyrannosaurus and Rare Ontogenetic Stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian)

A recent study carried out by a seasoned paleo-group, two of whom unknowingly carry my “favorite person” designation, produced some groundbreaking evidence of certain bio-ecological niches during the Cretaceous period. Groundbreaking, not only from the presented results, but also by the sheer nature of these two cerebral rock stars working together. Paleo-High Priest John Horner (most likely known through his work as the “Jurassic Park” Movie Advisor) and Polymath Nathan Myhrvold (of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures fame) engaged in building a dinosaur census via what they entitled, the Hell Creek Project (1999–2009). This study draws from multiple lines of evidence from geography, taphohistory, stratigraphy, phylogeny and ontogeny. The project set about to investigate the relative abundance of large dinosaurs preserved in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana, USA. Overall, the dinosaur skeletal assemblages in the Hell Creek Formation (excluding lag-influenced records) consist primarily of sub-adult or small adult size individuals. Small juveniles and large adults are both extremely rare, whereas sub-adult individuals are relatively common. The studies conclusion proposes that mature individuals (of at least some dinosaur taxa) either lived in a separate geographic locale analogous to younger individuals inhabiting an upland environment where sedimentation rates were relatively less, or these taxa experienced high mortality before reaching terminal size where late stage and often extreme cranial morphology is expressed.

The surprises remained tied to the relative abundance of Tyrannosaurus skeletons. They were cited as being as abundant as Edmontosaurus, an herbivore, in the upper Hell Creek Formation and nearly twice as common in the lower third of the formation. Note for non-paleo enthusiasts, this data triggered an excited response from anyone who considers himself or herself a Vert-Paleo specialized Bone Hunter. The smaller, predatory dinosaurs (e.g., Troodon and dromaeosaurids) are primarily represented by teeth found in micro-vertebrate localities and their skeletons or identifiable lag specimens were conspicuously absent. This relative abundance suggests Tyrannosaurus was not a typical predator and likely benefited from much wider food choice opportunities than exclusively live prey and/or specific taxa. Of importance, it was indicated that Tyrannosaurus adults may not have competed with Tyrannosaurus juveniles if the potential for selecting carrion increased with size during ontogeny.

In conclusion, the study further validated that Triceratops (my specialty) remain the most common dinosaur and isolated skulls contribute to a significant portion of this census. Associated specimens of Triceratops consisting of both cranial and postcranial elements remain relatively rare (and that which comprise a high proportion of my personal collection). This rarity may be explained by a historical collecting bias influenced by facies (in this case the mixing of Cretaceous and Paleocene taxa) and oft-related taphonomic factors (decomposition dynamics). The limited discovery of postcranial elements may also depend on how extensive a fossil quarry is expanded after a skull is collected. Taken together, the survey paints a fascinatingly broad picture of life in the Cretaceous period in what would eventually become modern-day North America. 

Comments (8)

Hollywood – A Rant Story

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Thraxxus

Over the years we have collectively watched the citizens of the Hollywood world, in many instances, become something ugly. I am not referring to people like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman or Meryl Streep – these people are the ones that others in the industry should aspire to be – and realize I am not a fan of Streep – but she keeps her nose clean. Recently, since the crowing of O.J. Simpson as the dumbest human alive (a crown that has since changed hands several times over as if it were a prized possession), we have seen a slide into complete embarassment and shame by members of the industry. Gone are the days of respectful people just doing their job and going home. It is not enough to do that – there must be antics, there must be shenanigans and there must above all things be lawlessness.

Let us discuss these people and give them, what I hope to be but secretively know won’t be, their last bit of time in the lime light.

1) O.J. Simpson was a phenom of a football player. People still talk about his skills, even though he has been eclipsed by so many. He became a comedy actor, had a gorgeous wife, and beautiful family. Then he went bat shit crazy. Maybe he already was crazy, really, who knows. What kills be about O.J. is that it wasn’t enough for him to get busted once, or twice, but several times before he did any real hard time. Let us replace O.J. in that white SUV for a moment with another inner city black guy named Mark. Had Mark been suspected of the crime that O.J. had been suspected of then they would have pulled Mark’s bullet riddled body from that SUV.

2) Whitney Houston is a multi Grammy winner singer who once had the voice of an angel. The woman had the ability to hit notes that would crush souls and hold those notes for what seemed like hours. Whitney decided that life on top of the world was just too hard and that snorting her body weight in cocaine would solve that problem. So many people wanted her to bounce back so many times that they just kept giving her chances. Finally when she came out of hiding looking like a used up crack whore people got it – Whitney is dead.

3) Winona Ryder sat firmly on top of Hollywood’s pantheon wearing the crown of great young and hot female actresses. Slowly reports started to come out about how crazy she is. Apparently, and People magazine did a story on this replete with supporting photos, she turns into the guy she is dating. The guy is a rocker, she dresses in his clothes, gamer? Same thing. Whatever the guy is, at all, she becomes him like some weird pod person or doppleganger. If that wasn’t weird enough Winona then goes on this shop lifting rampage through Beverly Hills – stealing what she could easily buy. How is it that her life got so boring that she needed to become a criminal?

4) Lindsay Lohan was a successful child actress who became a red headed bombshell over night in the movie Mean Girls – trust me when I say many people had dirty, borderline illegal, thoughts about her in that film. She was catapulted to stardom to a point where Disney made her one of their prized horses – and having Disney back you is the golden ticket folks – all you have to do from that point on is not screw up too much and you are wealthy, forever. No, that didn’t work for Lindsay. She needed to party her career away and in epic fashion. She eventually followed in the foot steps of Winona, needing to steal which she could buy, or be gifted with, to some how feel alive. What a waste of skin. I do hope that the judge takes her recent statement that bordered on the stupid and ridiculous, “I didn’t steal anything”, and smacks her about the face with it as they watch the video of her stealing a necklace, again. Put her in a psychiatric hospital and leave her in solitary for 3 years.

5) Charlie Sheen, son of acclaimed actor Martin Sheen of Apocalypse Now, has graduated to quite possible the most arrogant and stupid person to ever grace Hollywood. This idiot has been down the path to ruin several times now and each and every time gifted a chance back into the game. CBS just announced that they are dropping him and his show because of his childish antics both on and off the set. What does he say in retort? Something bordering on insanity. This guy should have the cell next to Lindsay. Let me show you.

“What does this say about (Chuck Lorre) after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me. I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows … I fire back once and this contaminated little maggot can’t handle my power and can’t handle the truth. I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words — imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists. I urge all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong.

Remember these are my people … not yours…we will continue on together…

Charlie Sheen”

Yes he is that crazy. Chuck Lorre is the wrong guy in Hollywood to bash, period. Why? “Chuck Lorre (born Charles Michael Levine; October 18, 1952) is a writer, director, producer and composer who has created many American sitcoms, including Grace Under FireCybillDharma & GregTwo and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Lorre also serves as executive producer of the sitcom Mike & Molly which premiered in September 2010.” Yeah.

Aren’t we all tired of this crap – or is it the Train full of trains each filled with babies going over a cliff syndrome?

Comments (6)

Gadhafi Just Doesn’t Get It.

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Thraxxus

According to msnbc.com, a few days ago, Gadhafi announced to the world that he will never step down – vowing instead to die as a martyr.

“I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents,” Gadhafi said. “I will die as a martyr at the end.” He vowed to fight “to my last drop of blood.” – msnbc.com

That is his picture there. To me he looks a bit like someone who has partaken of a hookah just a weeee bit too much – just saying.

Let us for a moment consider the word martyr – dictionary.com defines it as follows:

mar·tyr

  1. a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce hisor her religion.
  2. a person who is put to death or endures great suffering onbehalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
  3. a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: amartyr to severe headaches.
  4. a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning orexaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

Let us consider this and how it might apply to Gadhafi (really can there be more spellings for this dude’s name?)

  1. Nope. this has nothing to do with religion as those rising up against him share the same religion with him.
  2. Not sure how this applies. His beliefs maybe, but those of others? Clearly not as his own people are telling him that they don’t believe in what he believes in – that being him being in power.
  3. This might apply to him in some fashion, but really isn’t applicable in this context – unless of course he is totally bonkers – which seems to be the case anyway. “Hey Gadhafi your citizens are in revolt!” “I have a headache! I am a martyr!”
  4. This one makes sense. The guy is pretending that he is in pain etc. Catch is – who cares? Supposedly he has stolen a total of 31 BILLION DOLLARS from his people. Can we really feel sorry for someone who has done that?

To put it bluntly Momar needs to be hunted down, along with his crazy kids, and summarily put to death. These guys are evil, not martyrs. They have raped, murdered, and plundered their own people. They were not leaders, they were criminals. Then all that wealth they stole needs to be put to use – like fixing the country they victimized.

Comments (3)

What Exactly is Media Responsible For?

Posted on 22 February 2011 by Thraxxus

It is no secret that I listen to NPR religiously on my drive in to the office. I have mentioned several times in the past that as American News Mass Media goes they do appear to be the most neutral when it comes to reporting. In actuality NPR gets called on their mistakes and news stories on a daily basis by their listeners and readers but then they are not afraid to read those disagreements to the same public that made them. I respect that. However it is a sign that NPR is a flawed news organization, just like all the others, but to a lesser extent.

Ironically this morning NPR had a broad story about the conflict going on in Libya right now where some of the citizens of that country have risen up, much akin to those of Egypt not but two weeks ago, to voice that they no longer wanted to be under the rule of Gadhafi(I have found as many as ten different ways to spell this dude’s name). NPR’s coverage of the story was done in small blips and interviews with people on the ground there. On February 21, 2011 it was reported on many Mass Media News Stations that the Libyan Air Force had started to bomb their own people in several Eastern Cities. On NPR there was a lady who lives in the region that had been reportedly bombed and she stated that no bombs had been dropped at all. There were no explosions. No buildings had been destroyed. No air strikes of any kind.

Who is misinformed? Where did they get their intel?

This leads us to the question, which has been raised before on Blinkinblogs, “What responsibility does Mass Media really have to tell the truth?” Realize that the lady that had been interviewed by NPR could have easily been lying or wrong or both. However the pattern here for telling a fib to sell a paper is more on the Mass Media Mogul than than the lowly peon living in the streets. So if the stories that were spread by the Mass Media Stations in the USA and around the world, were done so without supporting evidence what happens to them? Do they get fined? Are they somehow held accountable? Sadly no.

To quote ScanJack “Mass Media is a business and nothing more.” Stories sell. Stories with sex, violence or death in them sell even better. So they got the story wrong? So they maybe even made some of it up? Who cares right?

A Mass Media station reported that Bob Hope died a few years back (I may have already mentioned this on BB – I am old and infirm and thus cannot remember). That MM corp was called by Bob Hope’s Media Counsel who explained that Bob Hope was alive. The MM in question responded with “how do you know that he is alive?”

The answer was simple “Because I am having breakfast with him right now. He told me to tell you that the next time that you report that he is dead that perhaps you should check to see if it is true before hand.”

Comments (8)

We have No Tomato for You!

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Thraxxus

Given that everybody knows that global warming is a farce made up by a super secret society of godrillionaire interlopers who want nothing more than to scare the bejeezus out of all non godrillionaire interlopers it can be said that recent weather events around the world are all just totally random and based on bad luck – amirite!! No. Let us take a look at some things that have recently come to light that may cast aside some of these beliefs that global warming is a joke.

Wait. Before that let us discuss ever so briefly what global warming is – this needs to be done because recent weather conditions in the northern hemisphere have been record breaking cold. Global warming means that the base temperature has risen. This means that the air and ocean temperatures have risen. This causes ice to melt on both land and in the sea. Also warm air has the ability to hold more water – thus more moisture gets into the air. Consider this happening over the ocean – the air gets filled up with lots of water, then moves over land. Now winter comes and all that air gets colder (the sun is now pointed at the southern hemisphere) and kaboom – you have a nightmare of cold water falling out of the sky.

So a warmer overall climate equals really nasty water based weather conditions – aka blizzards, ice storms, etc. Now onto the recent findings.

  1. Some scientists took a look at these extreme weather conditions (blizzards, tornadoes, record cold fronts etc) and ran ZILLIONS of climate based simulations world wide to show that this stuff doesn’t just happen on a normal world – it requires certain temperatures.
  2. Apparently when you, the over weight, over fed, three chins on the back of his head American goes into Wendy’s to order a 9 patty burger you will now have to ask for tomato – they don’t just put it on there any more. Why? Apparently the extreme weather has wiped out the tomato crops. Probably just sun spots or something.
  3. You may not have been paying attention to things outside of your local mall recently and thus you may not have heard about island based nations disappearing under the oceans of the Earth. Yea, its true. How does that happen? The oceans don’t just fill up with more water as the world doesn’t just automagically manufacture that much more water – IT DOES NOT  HAPPEN. So where did all the water come from that raised the sea levels? Land ice is melting at record rates – scientists have been reporting on it for decades. Probably aliens are doing it to us.
  4. If you live nowhere near the ocean then global warming won’t effect you as much as it does the island dwellers – however if you live on the coast then maybe, just maybe, you won’t have much of a home soon. Just saying.
  5. There are a few other effects that are being tracked as well – but hey – they are all probably just made up by people working for people who report to those interlopers we discussed – right?
  6. Food prices are sky rocketing. Why? Climate is killing everything – no biggie.

Am I concerned? Not really – I don’t live near the ocean. That said I do eat and thus need food and there is soon to be less of it and being a 6 trillion pound American I can just not abide by that. MORE WINE!

Comments (7)

What the Shat?

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Thraxxus

Five O’clock Charlie just sent me this video of our esteemed actor William “Wild Bill” Shatner playing as a master of disguise on a TV show back in the 1970s called The Barbary Coast. I really wish I had the entire series (both episodes) on DVD High Res. Sigh.

Comments (1)

Cryptic Ode sans the Epode to Lindsay Lohan

Posted on 09 February 2011 by Caravaggio


I do not understand why people so easily fall into the cliche of smoking after sex. I prefer to read verse subsequent to mounting the sweet flesh of a woman. Each word of the poet, each stanza, in a way they are like the rhythmic thrusts of the main course doth inter. Pushing and prodding the pleasure centers, subtly and expertly building to a symphony of ecstasy provided for me and the hooker. What could be better than reading verse after such a thing? Why only a rebate or perhaps a coupon, maybe even a freebie.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed my art. Good-bye, Lindsay, good-bye.

Comments (1)

The World Comes Full circle

Posted on 08 February 2011 by Thraxxus

It should be known that in the animal kingdom (a term that has always interested me) animals kill each other daily – in some instances members of the same species do each other in for reasons that to humans may seem silly – granted we are animals and kill each other for reasons even more ridiculous but who is counting right? There are a multitude of reasons that we could discuss for years so let us just agree that animals do kill each other naturally.

The sick part about humans is we kill for all sorts of really stupid horrible reasons – greed, lust, hatred blah blah. You all know that – hell all you have to do is pick up any history book and you will read all about it – wait – do they make history books anymore? What has always truly sickened me is how humans have managed to take the natural instinct of some animals to kill each other for pure reasons and bastardize those instincts through a series of truly vile activities so that said animals try to kill each other no matter what the occasion – and humans do all of that for sport. Take dog fighting for instance – Michael Vick (yeah I know the dude will never live it down – but who cares, prick), a prominent, and arguably one of the best of all time, football player was totally enthralled by the concept of two maltreated dogs locked in human forced mortal combat to such a degree that he managed to almost ruin his life over it.

So let us for a moment consider Cock Fighting (no not the X rated version). This is another situation where humans have taken a natural tendency for two roosters to try to kill each other over territory and turned it into sport by wrapped little blades on their already sharp feet and letting them stab each other to death – in the name of sport of course. Now to the title of this little article – humans have forced animals to kill each other for thousands of years in the name of sport – thus it seems only fitting when one of them finally fights back. This time it wasn’t a large powerful fighting dog eating his handler or slaughtering an innocent child – no – no this time it was one of those little birds with those little blade tied to his feet – and he ran a guy through with them – and that guy? He died.

Do I wish death on people? No, that is evil. That said I do wish for Justice – and ladies and gentlemen, Justice was served.

Comments (10)

Blaming Dungeons and Dragons, Again

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Thraxxus

Since the creation, and adoption by thousands of people trying escape reality for just a little while by playing, of Dungeons and Dragons there have been many people who have tried to blame Dungeons and Dragons for loads of things. Many of my friends’ parents were absolutely convinced that playing DnD would lead their children straight to the devil and sacrificing virgins and the like – I always thought the latter sounded at least mildly amusing. Much akin to heavy metal music, and now video games, any time some teenager goes crazy and kills lots of animals are people those investigating the matter immediately check to see if said Psychopath played DnD because if he did then clearly that was the cause – not the fact that he was treated like crap in school, had a terrible family life, was clinically depressed or needed medication. DnD made him do it.

Ironically Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, never killed anyone – you’d think the creator of an evil game would be the conduit of evil himself – turns out he was just a kind old dork who liked the idea of being a valiant Knight or Wizard over being a short portly fellow – who thunk it eh?

Apparently some judge has now sided with some warden regarding the concept that Prison Inmates playing Dungeons and Dragons leads to gang mentality. Ponder. Ponder. Ponder. Right. A bunch of guys sitting around a table in a prison not fighting, raping, and murdering other inmates, playing a game where they are someone else in another world leads to gang violence. The article is too awesome to say more about it here, you really just must read it to believe it. My favorite part was how the Dungeon Master, the dude who runs the game session, becomes a default Gang Leader, Lord, or whatever the hell they are called.

I can see it now:

Dungeon Master: “You enter a low tunnel. The walls are cold stone. Ahead of you you hear the sound of footsteps.”

Wizard: “I cast my light spell.”

Dungeon Master: “You cast your light spell. Now I want you to kill the guard named Bob.”

Wizard: “Umm.. What?”

Comments (7)

Friday’s Dendritic Flatulence – made fresh for you

Posted on 04 February 2011 by Caravaggio


Community plays AD&D

Cast your eyes upon a recent episode of Community for one of the funniest Dungeons-and-Dragons themed stories I’ve seen. Well-researched and written. Simply Hilarious. Pay particular attention to Rutalicus the Dark Elf. Also a highlight, Hector the Well-endowed’s slow-mo adventuring with the Elf princess played within the scenario of the Cavern of Draconus.

Outstanding. Don’t miss it.

Comments (1)

Some Science is Really Guessing

Posted on 01 February 2011 by Thraxxus

We like to think that science is deadly accurate – in fact people like Caravaggio and I hope that it is, but we also recognize that sometimes its not – in fact some scientists can even just be full of crap. Caravaggio has recently posted about some of those fine people – and I won’t comment on them as he did a fine job snarking it up himself.

I live in the midwest, and if you have been paying attention to the news you know that I am smack dab in the middle of Snowmageddon and the Snowpocalypse according to the weather folks. The funny thing is weathermen and weatherwomen, also called Meteorologists – the joke being that they actually have nothing to do with meteors – har har we get it, are scientists whose job is to make an educated guess. Does this mean that they are not doing real science?

NO.

What it means is that they are using the best science they have at their disposal to guess at what it about to happen and what will happen in the near future. Tragically these people are often made fun of for their bad guesses – but realize what they are trying to do – PREDICT THE WEATHER. Folks, that is not an easy thing to do as you may be interested to know that the weather here in the midwest is actually affected by the weather in China, and so on. The world has a weather system, and the stuff you are looking at is a vast subset of that.

Why did I bring this up? A few days ago, we here in the midwest were told that we’d have a blizzard that day. Then the next day same thing. First it was 6 inches of snow, then 8, then 16, then 21, now they say 24. If they are using science how did they not say 24 day one with an exact date and time of when that would start? Because the science they are using to do these predictions is not as deadly accurate, or all inclusive, as it needs to be, and making it so is extremely difficult.

I think this is where Caravaggio and I actually agree on things. The scientific method is based on the idea of a theory that you test over and over and over again. Theories are constantly in flux. We have what is right right now based on what we know right now. We aren’t fudging data (this is where Caravaggio lost his mind on that vaccine dude who apparently altered his findings – at rightfully so I might add), we aren’t altering, we aren’t misinterpreting. We are reading what we have NOW right here in front of us, and historically it has meant X. Can that perspective change? Sure, in like 5 minutes – because the weather changes that often.

Is it Science? Yes. Is it a definitive science? Not yet – but they are getting there.

Comments (6)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here