Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Great Bwana and Cecil the Lion.

The Great Bwana and Cecil the Lion.

The recent shooting of a well known African lion by a Minnesota dentist has started a campaign against him, causing him to close his dental practice for a day. Lost in the storm is the long existing  underbelly of the rich, hunters and colonial culture  in treating the world as an object, Safari Club International. A world of canned hunts in private places where the privileged shoot an animal of their choice, much like royalty of old. It is best expressed by the “art” of taxidermy, where the once living being becomes a mere decoration, often a symbol of accomplishment. This has been true since colonization, whether poor Tasmanians, Native American or African. Both people and Thylacine are object  for collection, proving one’s man or womanhood via scalps and stuffed heads. Thus we have the numerous pictures of rich white people posing with the very inedible species of the world, for as any real hunter knows, carnivores do not taste good. Mr. Palmer is not unique, but is the very symbol of the great white hunter: despite the condemnation from any hunter or sportsmen group, he symbolizes the culture best. The world is for me and it’s beings are for my amusement and collection. The argument  put forth, as empty as anything, is always a bizarre mix of honoring the animal and self justification.  But, if one runs a simple thought experiment and uses human bodies as taxidermy, the consequences become a macabre moral maelstrom of horrific memory, with holocaust memorials and hidden pictures of colonists with the dead indigenous as result.  What has happened, is a newer way of thinking, part old and part new, now runs through the culture. It sees animals as having value unto themselves, a value very old and within many cultures, and another, that acts like this are immoral. Displaying such things is often now the butt of small penis jokes, something much closer  to the truth than most white men would dare to admit. It is all about empty manhood and the need for validation, and any subsistence hunter  knows that. You cannot eat the horns, a truism not needing mention. I have very little sympathy for Dentist Palmer,  as he has used his profits from overcharging patients and society to travel the world shooting animals he didn’t eat or need. Frankly, looking closely, the man, like many in our world, simply has acted psychopathically all his life and got away with it, for industrial society is that at its very core, a place for the wealthy to enjoy the soylent green of the natural world and other’s  labor. Thinking of the many doing hard time for selling bags of an innocuous weed, it is hard to feel any pity. He is still nothing more than a wealthy Cabela customer, however. His strain is as deep within our culture as is the myth Of George Washington’s honesty. The west was built on killing things for fun, whether King or colonist. It is all King  Leopold’s land.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The old man and the wolves

 Reading this: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/282833431.html, and inside my brain statistical hairs start standing on end, bells go off, and finally, a plague of mathematical modelling locusts descends and places the land into darkness. I read the original article with supplements here: http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70122639.

Rolling my R's...It is Crrrap. A 90% confidence interval for population estimates varying by up 5000 individual moose using two different survey methods the authors admit are not compatible, then evaluating variables using a "simple simulation study" for comparing the variables by what is experimental computation? Let me say this, I don't know who the reviewers were, but if I tried to pass off these methods, I should be laughed out of the room. When you have those kinds of error estimates with this sort of modest population size, then start using assumptive linear models to get p-values out of this, it is garbage. I The only way this was published was by his old name and employer. Before a reporter even dares start putting this opinion up, he needs a second opinion.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Celebrating Conquest is appropriate

A central myth of America's origins is the concept of the United States being somehow "different" or exceptional; this is at the core of our politics, and as much a myth as any other origin story. Reagan, the "Great Communicator", actually said very little of any substance based in reality. Instead, he repeated the myths that many Americans believe religiously, much like Dale Carnegie taught salesman. The cynical, gullible and indoctrinated lapped it as dog in gravy.

The United States, and the founders were neither different or exceptional. Our history, from the beginning, has as much been a conquest as any other nation state, ours built on the genocide of the natives, the enslavement of blacks and natives and the exploitation of poor whites. The founders cared not for "democracy" and in fact were terrified of it, thus the Republic. George Washington's central concern was property rights  across the Appalachians, taken from the natives and the hopeful profits derived more than anything else.

With this history, Columbus Day is actually an appropriate holiday to celebrate, for it honors a bloodthirsty, profit seeking European willing to exploit, murder and torture merely for his own enrichment and amusement, something at the very core of the United States culture as it was built on the genocide of the natives, the enslavement of blacks and natives and the exploitation of poor whites.  The view of natives and others as subhuman is just as much  American as it was of Columbus'.