The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Something else to feel guilty about

Prozac in fish. Are they happier or not? Who knows? I hope I don't find out what all the stuff I'm taking is doing to, say, Polar Bears or Muskrats. I hate to even contemplate it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

South Korean Spec Ops Hits Pirates

Glad the South Koreans are on our side. Living themselves in a militarily tense situation, they are generally not to be taken lightly. Especially by pirates. Compare to their measured response to North Korea when it does something far more violent, but where a violent response, though politically attractive, would be internationally dangerous.

Now, tomorrow, something stupid will happen, and I'll have to eat my words.

Update: well, not stupid, but related.

Wear your body armor

Full on feud in Ypsi. "... isn’t considered gang-related" say Sheriff's officials. Depends on what you mean by "gang," I suppose.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ancient dog remains discovered: dogs don't protest

A National Geographic article (and several others around the web) is reporting the discovery of the oldest unquestionable dog (not wolf or other canid) remains at a site in Texas. The piece of bone was dated at 9400 years old. There are other, much older sites associating dogs and humans elsewhere in the world, but this, if the dating is right, is the earliest in the New World (if you accept that Texas is part of the New World.)

Perhaps unfortunately for dog lovers and of course the dog in question, there was also clear evidence that he or she was eaten by the humans, but in any early relationship there are ups and downs.

What is most interesting is that under the terms of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), dogs anywhere could have demanded that bone be turned over to them for religious and other purposes, as would be the case if the remains had been human and clearly of some native American origin. Non-native remains, e.g. Irish remains; Polish remains; African-American remains; Well, German, but I think my grandfather was from Belgium or maybe Spain remains are not so covered; a patchwork of Federal, State, and local laws pertaining to remains apply, and none that I'm aware of go as far as NAGPRA to permit sheer intervention -- outright removal of the material from scientific facilities and denial of access by scientists -- unless you can prove it's Aunt Tilly we're talking about here. Archeologists with tenure on the their minds or those who rely on information from Native American communities to carry out their work are cautiously supportive of NAGPRA. Those who are ethically disinterested are opposed to it, and are extremely opposed to a new round of restrictions now being debated. It even raises church-vs-state questions, since it often sets government-funded research efforts against religious beliefs.

But since the dogs were clearly here at the same time as the Native Americans (who were illegal immigrants, having slipped over the heavily guarded Bering Straight, when the Polar Bears weren't looking,) dogs today would certainly be upheld by NAGPRA if they demanded that the small fragment of skull be turned over to them for ... well, whatever.

However, a spokesdog expressed no interest whatsoever in the issue, being fully engaged with an analysis of a large smoked beef bone. It is understood that cattle, not being native to North America, have no rights under NAGPRA, but a spokespig for the National Association of Porcine Americans said that unless the upcoming changes in the law recognize their unique status as America's Other White Meat, the formation of a fourth party for the 2012 election was virtually assured.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New weight-gain drug enters trials

Wood-Charles Pharma, the international pharmaceutical arm of Wood-Charles Enterprises, announced today the start of clinical trials for its new weight-gain and artery occluding drug, Ergoporkorol. A spokesman said that the company had identified a large, unserved segment of the health care consuming public, faced with the need to regain lost weight after chemo therapy. In response, WC Pharma is testing a new oral treatment, consisting primarily of pig bits, lovingly ground up, spiced, garnished with smoked ham (which is also pig, of course) and taken as often as possible until desired weight levels are achieved or 80 to 90% arterial blockage occurs.

Reacting to criticism from competitors, the FDA, and the French Government that Ergoporkorol was simply a standard country pate', not very esthetically rendered, WC Pharma's Vice President of responding to surrender monkeys said, "You and what army?"