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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee at the time...

PZ Myers asked that his readers turn their webcams on before reading ray's drivel.

So I did.


  1. I'm currently contemplating upon releasing a video of my own reaction.

    As to the post at hand, I did a side-by-side comparison of Ray's different versions of it and was amazed how much he had actually edited it.

    Anyway, look here if interested in a more detailed view. After so many posts on the subject I didn't feel like this was worth a new one.

  2. Stew,

    You should do more video-blogging...you have a great onscreen persona.

  3. At PZ's site a commenter called RW Thomas said:
    I'm going to quote mine!



  4. It's so sadly funny that anyone with a webcam think that such videos are of interest to people.

    It actually would have been more interesting if PZ had been drinking coffee. Then we could have seen it shoot out his nose or something.

  5. LOL Stew, that was great. That's pretty much how I react to every single thing Scumfort writes.

  6. LAOF,

    The videos are of interest to some people. Namely, those of us with a sense of humor.

  7. NM said:

    "The videos are of interest to some people. Namely, those of us with a sense of humor."

    Yes, and I think it would have been more humorous if he'd been drinking coffee when he started to laugh.

    Don't you think that would be funnier?

  8. Wait - I guess I missed the whole point. Is that PZ or Stew in the video?

    My apologies if I was totally off in left field. I guess I need some coffee.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Nice video, but you want to ham it up a bit in the end next time. ;)

  11. Mr FreeThinker,
    The problem with most Youtube videos like these are that they are made without a purpose. That's why no one wants to watch them.

    This video had a definite purpose. So it does have some value.

  12. I apologize for my stupidity in confusing who was in the video.

    Rather than delete my previous idiotic posts, I'll leave them her for everyone to get whatever 'merriment' out of them that you can. (Just don't fall off your chair)

    Yes, Stew, you are quite photogenic.

    Zipping 'lip' now....

  13. (...but Kaitlyn I think you may again be confusing me with someone else....)

  14. LAOF,

    But I already fell off my chair. Does this mean I can't get up?

    I have lots to do today...let me up off the floor, please!

  15. NM -

    ARISE, "evolutionary religious zealot", ARISE..... then get back to work.

    (knowing you made me break my vow to zip my 'lip')

  16. I am risen!!!

    (And I really do have to get to work!)

  17. wow hewli,

    I didn't realize how extensively Ray edited his original post. Thanks for preserving it for posterity! Do you think Ray knows about the concept of a rough draft?

  18. Laof,

    Good thing. I was just about to tell you to shut the fuck up and quit dissing Stew.
    You'd be lucky to have half of the talent he does. :>

    But, since you weren't dissing Stew, you still don't have half the talent he does. :>

  19. Milo said...

    Do you think Ray knows about the concept of a rough draft?

    That's not the key question. It all depends whether he finds the Bible to be supportive or dismissive of such a concept. It doesn't seem promising, as I could not find "rough draft" in a preliminary scuttle through some Bible concordances.

    I was talking on Skype with my girlfriend and asked her to read Ray's epic "teh Sexs". She's a veterinary student... too bad she didn't have her camera set up, sounds like she had a great time.

    We also caught Ray's latest, "Durr y iz thar gurrlz?", and it kind of broke the camel's back. It's not funny anymore. Not, f'ing, funny. JEBUS WHAT A DOLT!

  20. Tangent (response to LAOF's link).

    The Democrats here stereotypically increase the size of government, and siphon money from taxpayers' wallets.

    Even if I agree with this characterization, this current economic crisis (in the US) is going to require the spending of taxpayer money - in some measure.

    Could Obama find ways of funding this without robbin mah stash in the process? Maybe. Am I expecting a really sucky ride over the next 4 years?


    If that means I get to keep less money than before, I'm willing to accept this to some extent. Where that line is drawn (for me), I'm not sure.

  21. I think Ray is waiting to get in the last say on his post on the evolution of the sexes.

    Somebody set me straight if need be here, but it seems that there are competing theories on how and why the sexes evolved rather than merely continue asexual reproduction. One I read about one time postulated that it could have started with canabilism.

    Anyhow, he has chosen an area where I think he knows full well there is some controversy and he can capitalize on it by filling in the details with his God-of-the-Gaps.

  22. WeM -

    My link? I deleted that post - you musta been refreshing at the right time. Your post is very good, however.
    (I deleted it because I felt it was too off-topic. But feel free to comment on it anyway.)

    On topic - I (me, myself) find it hard to do two things:

    1. Criticize intolerance without sounding intolerant yourself

    2. Defend yourself for not being defensive.

    Froggie -

    I'll have to accept your assertion that I do not have half the talent that Stew does B-cuz, quite frantkly, I'm not sure what talent(s) Stew does or does not have.

    :-l aof

  23. Oooh ooh! I could easily do both, LAOF, but I'll choose the first in your list:

    "Intolerance sucks. Wear a thick skin, grow up, and accept that not everyone agrees with your opinion."

    Neither intolerant nor tolerant of intolerance. Feel free to quote and repost as needed.

    Where's my cookie?

  24. By the way, your point about Stew made me laugh. Thanks, I was having a bad day at work :)

  25. Whateverman -

    Here's a couple quotes for you, along the lines of the now 'phantom' URL:

    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.


    My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    - Thomas Jefferson

  26. I disagree most strongly with the first statement, but heartily support the second :)

  27. Henwli,

    I am posting this in response to Y derr r gurlz. Not that it really matters. I could also post about earthworms who have both sexes or frogs and amphibians that have spontaneously changed sexes when they were lacking males or females. It does seem all pointless.

    No Sex Please, We're Female Sharks

    ScienceDaily (May 23, 2007) — Female sharks can reproduce without having sex, scientists have found. A female hammerhead shark has given birth without mating with a male and its offspring has no paternal DNA.

    An international team of researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska has found evidence that sharks can reproduce asexually by an unusual method known as “parthenogenesis”. This is the first scientific report of asexual reproduction in sharks.

    Head of the Queen’s research team and study co-author, Dr Paulo Prodöhl, from the School of Biological Sciences, said: “The findings were really surprising because as far as anyone knew, all sharks reproduced only sexually by a male and female mating, requiring the embryo to get DNA from both parents for full development, just like in mammals.”

    “The discovery that sharks can reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis now changes this paradigm, leaving mammals as the only major vertebrate group where this form of reproduction has not been seen.”

    The long-term study was prompted by the unexpected birth of a baby hammerhead shark in an aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo in December 2001. The astonishing thing about the birth was that none of the three candidate mother hammerheads in the tank, all of whom been caught in Florida waters as babies themselves, had been exposed to any male hammerhead sharks for the three years since their captivity.

    Initial thinking was that the mother had mated with a male before capture, and then somehow stored the sperm for over three years before finally fertilizing her eggs in the aquarium, or alternatively, perhaps the hammerhead female had mated with a male shark of a different species that was in the tank.

    By using DNA profiling techniques to examine the genetic makeup of the baby hammerhead and the three candidate mothers, the researchers were able to identify which of the three females was the actual mother. Surprisingly, the baby shark’s DNA only matched up with the mother’s – there was no DNA of male origin in the baby shark! This finding eliminated the possibilities of earlier mating with a male hammerhead followed by sperm storage, or hybridization with another shark species in the tank.

    Females of only very few vertebrate species can give birth to fully formed young without requiring their eggs to be first fertilized by a male’s sperm. This unusual reproductive ability, known as “parthenogenesis”, is only very occasionally seen in some vertebrate groups such as birds, reptiles and amphibians. However, it has never before been seen in other major vertebrate lines such as mammals or sharks.

    Co-author Dr Mahmood Shivji, who led the Guy Harvey Research Institute team, said: “We may have solved a general mystery about shark reproduction – our findings suggest that parthenogenesis is the likely explanation behind the anecdotal but increasing observations of other species of female sharks reproducing successfully in captivity despite not having contact with males.

    “It now appears that at least some female sharks can switch from a sexual to a non-sexual mode of reproduction in the absence of males. Unfortunately, this occurrence is not benign because it results in reduced genetic diversity in the offspring since there is no new genetic variation introduced from the paternal side.”

    The researchers found that the most likely form of asexual reproduction that had occurred was a specific type called “automictic parthenogenesis” that leads to less genetic diversity in the offspring compared to even the mother.

    “During this process the unfertilized egg, which contains about half of the mother’s genetic diversity, is activated to behave as a normal fertilized egg by a small, genetically nearly-identical cell known as the sister polar body. The resulting baby shark therefore gets a double-dose of genetic disadvantage”, says lead author Dr Demian Chapman, who took part in the study while he was a graduate student at the Guy Harvey Research Institute.

    The discovery raises concerns about the genetic and reproductive health of dwindling shark populations.

    Now Head of Shark Research at the Pew institute for Ocean Science, Dr Chapman continued: “Not only does it experience reduced genetic diversity because it has no father, but around half of the genetic variation present in the mother is not passed on to the offspring.”

    “Female sharks might reproduce like this more often when they have difficulty finding mates at low population densities. This could hasten the erosion of population genetic diversity and perpetuate the production of genetically disadvantaged offspring.”

    Dr Prodöhl added: “The bottom line is that we have to include a whole new dimension to our thinking about shark reproduction and its influence on population health. If the ability of female sharks to switch from sexual to asexual reproduction is widespread under conditions of low encounter rates with males, incorporating this new information into our management and conservation efforts will be imperative to prevent further declines in genetic diversity for an intensely, and many instances over exploited, group of fishes.”

    The research team’s paper was published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters on 23 May 2007.

  28. Actually, if you were to take Stew's picture, change his hair color, remove the glasses, thin the face out a bit, change the pitchfork to a 4-tine instead of a 3-tine - you'd still have someone who looks nothing like me.

  29. LAOF,

    That was pretty funny.

    Not as funny as Ray's being of late, but funny nonetheless.

  30. Stew,

    I am still laughing. You produced the best response yet to the unfathonable idiocy of Ray's post.

    No props. Sheer astonishment personified.

  31. Luckily time zones and night shifts often prevent me from reading and responding.

    LAOF - the vid was just a bit of fun, literally thrown together on a whim after reading the comments on PZ Myers' post on the topic.

    I am rather thick skinned so don't break sweat over anything, no offence was taken, no apologies necessary.

    If I were to do a vid of my respone to "Durr y iz thar gurrlz?" it would be much calmer, being as it consists of a simple shaking of the head. The bounds of stupid/dishonesty are being pushed so that it is disappointing rather than funny.


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