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Invasion of the Cephalopods

February 12, 2010

Face it, something about these animals is just plain alien. Few Earth natives can lay claim to having anything like Bizarre Alien Biology, and cephalopods are among them – they have two gill hearts, one systemic heart, and blue blood. They are invertebrates without carapaces, yet unlike worms and their mollusc kin snails and clams, they move with purpose and have large, staring eyes with Hellish Pupils. There are suckers on their tentacle-arms, and a few species like the giant squid have hooks. Their mouths are beaked and positioned strangely, their bodies look weirdly like heads, they expel clouds of ink to distract their predators, they move strangely, and some can leap out of the water like flying fish. Many of them can change colors. And of course, they are bizarrely intelligent.

In fiction, sometimes they’re horrible, mysterious denizens of the deep. Sometimes they’re cute and funny. Largely this is a matter of size, but it’s also true that generally the east favors the comical cephalopod while the west favors its big, evil cousin. Cephalopods live in every ocean. link

Their human counterparts, the bald golden ratfucking vampire squid, seem to have captured the planet as well, without the attribute of bizarre intelligence, but instead with devious control of flashing electrons floating above pools of darkness.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. artemis54 permalink
    February 12, 2010 10:25 am

    Consider the complexity of their world. Here’s new footage of an oarfish in its world, even though it’s just a baby well shy of the 50-60 foot length it will someday reach.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 12, 2010 10:43 am

      That was really cool. I’ve only seen pictures of those before when they had died and washed up on a beach.

      Yesterday I was looking for a copy of a new video of Saturn’s aurora I could embed here and luckily enough there was one listed on the same page as that oarfish vid.

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 12, 2010 11:13 am

        Wow, that’s quite some aura Dora!

        • cometman permalink*
          February 12, 2010 12:21 pm

          You want some more-ah?

          No credit given for the background music but that guitar playing sounds very familiar.

          • Stemella permalink*
            February 12, 2010 12:47 pm

            Yes! That guitar certainly does sound Zappish

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 12, 2010 11:14 am

      I like its forelock antennae thingies. It is like a massive eel with feelers. Eeek!

  2. cometman permalink*
    February 12, 2010 10:45 am

    Goldman Sachs fucks with banker transaction tax poll.

    Guess a $100 million bonus just isn’t enough.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 12, 2010 12:11 pm

      Jeebus. Those goldies have subzero shame. May they one day soon be smited by something big and ominous.

  3. cometman permalink*
    February 12, 2010 11:08 am

    Lots to think about in this ZH post which argues that the whole world is broke.

    I’m thinking the Brits are going to need to do a little more than put up big fake children’s blocks all over the place encouraging people to buy bonds. I suppose if you have the mentality of a child you might think buying bonds concocted by the freemarketeers was a good idea.

    This part from Albert Edwards sounds about right:

    Ultimately economic prosperity over the past decade has been a sham: a totally unsustainable Ponzi scheme built on a mountain of private sector debt.GDP has simply been brought forward from the future and now it’s payback time.

    This was never anything but smoke and mirrors and the oligarchs are still trying to pretend they can fix things with the same policies since nobody involved in perpetrating the scam wants to admit the truth about it and pay the consequences by having to admit all those “profits” were never real in the first place.

    But I just don’t get this part from Durden which seems like he’s blaming Keynesian economic policy again for the world’s troubles:

    …Edwards places the causes (and “solutions”) of the escalating problem precisely where it belongs: at the core of the Keynesian systemic outlook flaw.

    It was Keynesian economic policy that brought 4+ decades of relative stability to the economic system in the US and created the middle class. Keynes was an advocate of using monetary policy (adjusting interest rates) to stabilize things, but I sure as hell don’t think those he would have chosen a bunch of Friedmanite trickle down ideological freakshows who were well aware that their ideology if implemented would primarily enrich themselves at the expense of everybody else to run the monetary policy show. There is nothing Keynesian about deregulating the entire financial industry so a bunch of paper pushers could run roughshod over everyone while claiming that finance and not labor is the new driver of wealth.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 12, 2010 12:14 pm

      Boy, that was depressing. Probably true that the game as we know it is pretty much over. As to the critique of Keynes, you have to remember the strong Austrian school bent that many of the Zedgers have. There is indeed nothing Keynesian about deregulation. That would be the Chicago style.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 12, 2010 1:02 pm

        That’s what is so weird about that site. They correctly point out the failings of the current system but then are constantly citing Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school as a potential antidote. Now I haven’t delved to deeply into the Von Mises Institute website or libertarian philosophy (is it even possible to delve deeply into a shallow philosophy that boils down to me, ME ME?) but while they have some decent articles there is also a lot of Randian libertarian claptrap. And as the zhedgers among others point out it was Randian asslicker Alan Greenspan who more than anyone else steered economic policy off the cliff. There seems to be some big disconnect there, but maybe I’m missing something.

        Anyhoo, I have a hard time reading more than a few comments there (or at most sites for that matter) because people start coming at you from all different angles and ideologies and after a little while everything stops making sense when taken together.

        Bit of a tangent here, but I’m reminded of Vernor Vinge who is a computer scientist and scifi writer. In this book and its sequel, he posits a future where the whole known universe is wired together and people are constantly barraged by a torrent of information, most of which is complete garbage and nonsense or deliberately false, and the trick is to attempt to figure out what is bogus and what is not. He wrote it in 1993 well before the intertubes really took off. Once again it looks like the scifi writers got it right.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    February 12, 2010 11:35 am

    Here’s a story that makes me say grrrrrr

    Regulators Hired by Toyota Helped Halt Investigations

    Former regulators hired by Toyota Motor Corp. helped end at least four U.S. investigations of unintended acceleration by company vehicles in the last decade, warding off possible recalls, court and government records show.

    Christopher Tinto, vice president of regulatory affairs in Toyota’s Washington office, and Christopher Santucci, who works for Tinto, helped persuade the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to end probes including those of 2002-2003 Toyota Camrys and Solaras, court documents show. Both men joined Toyota directly from NHTSA, Tinto in 1994 and Santucci in 2003.

    Another instance where the revolving door of so called regulators into the open arms of lucrative corporate malfeasance fucking over innocent people. SEC, Wall Street, NHTSA etc etc.

    Shit. You simply cannot trust anything or anyone these days. If the Toyota people still had any fucking integrity they should immediatly commit seppuku. The former regulators should be placed in the path of cars with faulty brakes and accelerators.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 12, 2010 1:09 pm

      If doing the right thing by the most people winds up costing the few some potential money, these days it sure seems like there are always people willing to make sure the right thing doesn’t get done. It’s always been that way to some extent, but it seems to have permeated every aspect of society.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 12, 2010 1:26 pm

      Nice essay which speaks to the thoughts at the end of your comment- Empire of the Sunset.

      Like most who grew up here, I was steeped in the lore and legend of this place. Despite obvious flaws in the narrative (how exactly does one ‘discover’ land upon which others are living, anyway?) there existed a strong sense that at the end of the day some part of our cherished ideals would emerge in time to set things right. Principles like due process, free speech, the work ethic, checks and balances, equal opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness held meaning if only as a reminder that our collective lives stood for something and that our destinies were in our own hands. It may well have been an illusion all along, yet even the most cynical among us likely believed in the underlying ethos at some point in time.

      Unfortunately, that America — even in its illusory state — has ceased to exist. We are no longer an abstract beacon of hope to the world, but rather a purveyor of concrete hellfire. We rain automated death from above and commit orchestrated theft from below. We export despair and import disdain. We’ve abandoned even keeping up the pretense of fair play and adherence to principle. We’ve become global pariahs and domestic piranhas. Awash in a sea of surfaces, distractions, and palliatives, we unsurprisingly have failed to notice that the sun has already started to set on our adolescent empire.

      ~snip~

      I wonder if people living under the auspices of failing empires throughout history have felt similarly. The silver lining (there has to be one, right?) is that all previous empires have fallen and the sun still came up the next day.

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 12, 2010 3:10 pm

        That’s it exactly, the sentiment in that piece. Even in the worst moments of America’s past there was more of a sense of balance in things, a sense that balance could be possible, even if that possibility for justice, equality and liberty was an illusion. Now, not so much. Even the possibility has been crushed by the severe corruption. Koyaanisqatsi Our systems are dysfunctional. There needs to be a revolution whether by man, nature or the Universe at large, to bring balance back to the larger systems here on Gaia.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    February 12, 2010 11:37 am

    What I want to know is why is Europe saving grease? Is a shortage anticipated?

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 12, 2010 12:19 pm

      for biofuel?

      Worse than Abba? You decide.

      :-D

  6. Stemella permalink*
    February 12, 2010 12:38 pm

    In honor of our new overlords and their New Year of the Tiger (also the sign of the year of my birth) here’s a nice little vid of tiggers in the wild and an interesting article about their origins.

    Tigers evolved with snow leopards, gene study reveals

    It turns out they are more closely related to the elusive snow leopard than the lions and other big cats.

    Quite sadly there are now fewer than 3500 of these beautiful animals left in the wild.

    • cometman permalink*
      February 12, 2010 1:16 pm

      Wow, until I read the article I thought you meant there were less than 3500 snow leopards which was a higher number than I’d heard before. What a shame.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 12, 2010 3:28 pm

      Fewer than 3200, some say, and the estimates are probably high as the Indian government, for one, never tells the truth when a lie is handy. A number of their official “tiger preserves” have precisely zero tigers, which they’ve admitted when forced to do a count.

      Maybe only fifty in China, which of course ir responsible for eating them all in the name of some ridiculous antique superstitions.

      You know what really jumped out at me? WWF ran the numbers and found there are more tigers in captivity in the US than there are wild in the entire world. However one feels about that, it is a fact that should be pondered before condemning Indonesia’a plan to license tigers as pets for the rich as a means of saving the subspecies.

      It’s supposed to be the year of the dugong too, god help them.

      • cometman permalink*
        February 12, 2010 4:02 pm

        I hadn’t realized it was that bad. I’d have guessed it would have been in the low tens of thousands which still isn’t very high. Keeping them as pets may be the only way to keep them around – as they get rarer in the wild their value to hunters will get even higher.

  7. cometman permalink*
    February 12, 2010 2:42 pm

    A little levity heading into the weekend – The 50 Most Loathsome Americans, 2009.

    A sample:

    30. Joe Lieberman

    Charges: Appears intent on darkening the future of the uninsured in order to exercise a personal grudge. Opposed to government-run insurance, except for Medicare, Medicaid, his 2006 plan “Medi-kids,” And his own plan to expand Medicare, which he now vehemently opposes, on principled grounds, of course, which have nothing to do with campaign donations or waving his baboon-purple ass in the face of Democrats and poor people everywhere. Exemplifies the smug, detached narcissism that characterizes the Senate.
    Exhibit A: “I can do more for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance.”
    Sentence: Lieberman has a mild heart attack, and is immediately rushed to a cemetery.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 12, 2010 3:17 pm

      Awesome! This will be a fun read. I will say upon first glance we’ve done verbal justice to quite a number of those listed here in our little pod!

      Have a great weekend everyone.

    • artemis54 permalink
      February 12, 2010 4:32 pm

      Thanks, I love that annual roundup. The only thing, and I mean thing, missing is Andrew Young, at once John Edwards’ pimp, whore, accomplice and assassin. Guess his book broke a little late for press. This Machiavelli of the strip malls strikes me as one of the most loathsome human beings of all time.

      • triv33 permalink
        February 15, 2010 9:57 am

        Yessss. He came along on the ass end of the year like the festering hemorrhoid he is. I hear Elizabeth might sue him, I hope she does.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    February 12, 2010 5:01 pm

    What in the fucking hell?

    NBC carries the opening ceremonies of the games live on the east coast but delayed in Washington state? This is our city too. We go there all the time. Ridiculous. Why anyway? Theoretically more people watching then? This is just disgusting.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 16, 2010 10:42 am

      What’d you think of the ceremonies?

      I thought there was some pretty amazing imagery between the Orcas and salmon, the Fiddler and the moon, all the First Nations graphics and poles, and the major inclusion of First Nations people in general. So un-American! :)

      If missed and interested, here’s a link of the cultural part for reruns: link

      • artemis54 permalink
        February 16, 2010 7:37 pm

        I liked them very much, esp having the First Nations welcome the athletes.

  9. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 8:06 am

    Welcome back from the long weekend everybody.

    Here’s a little more about the Greeks and Goldman Sachs. The previous articles we talked about had mentioned the deals started in 2002 but this one says it was done in 2001 and the shady deal allowed Greece to hide its debt and gain entry into the EU that very year after having been previously rejected.

    You’d think the of all people the Hellenes would have been wary of geeks bearing gifts. Sounds like there are other shoes waiting to drop since other countries participated in similar deals.

    Other Mediterranean countries, including Italy, have resorted to similar tactics.

    The disclosures triggered questions in Parliament yesterday over whether the UK Government has entered any ‘swap’ arrangements curbing its debt burden.

    Goldman Sachs declined to comment last night.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 16, 2010 10:10 am

      Trojan Goldiesux indeed.

      Here’s a recent piece on the epic pathos and scathos from Naked Capitalism with several good links attached to it.

      EU Showdown With Greece Looming

      • cometman permalink*
        February 16, 2010 11:47 am

        Scathos!!! Haha! That sums it up very nicely. What I really want to know is when all of this debt gets restructured, are the same banks who restructured it so well the first time around going to be allowed to take another whack?

        The Germans seem to be the most pissed off about all this so far since their house is in relatively good order. At least as far as we know. Did you happen to catch the latest Harper’s yet? Can’t remember if its the lead editorial or the first item in the “Letters” section, but there was a very good piece about the German workforce and how workers are given a seat at the table in corporate decision making which is one reason why they still manufacture high quality goods and have a trade surplus that was only recently surpassed by China. Maybe along with trying to force austerity measures to other EU countries the Germans could try to promote that policy abroad as well. If the past few years are any guide, forcing budgets cuts on social programs is not going to go over well with the Greek population. Maybe if people were given a chance to shape the policies that actually affect them the medicine would go down a little easier.

        • Stemella permalink*
          February 16, 2010 6:21 pm

          I’ve got the latest Harper’s but hadn’t had the chance to read it yet. The article “Consider the Germans” is in the Notebook section. It not only mentions that labor has a seat at the table, but that some of the politicians actually watchdog their business sector. They still make stuff, good stuff.

          If my current Toy doesn’t kill me or expires too quickly my next weehicle is going to be German. Probably very used so I can afford it, but German it will be.

          Anyway, I’m less hopeful than the author at the moment that a German socio-economic system could be transplanted here. Maybe in pockets here and there at the state and local? Nationally, not a chance.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    February 16, 2010 10:22 am

    Here are some articles I cruised over the busy weekend

    On Afghanistan

    Obama’s Indecent Interval

    Three good ones from Chris Floyd


    Last station surging into the savage past in afghanistan

    Moloch in Helmond: A price worth paying for imperial PR

    Collateral accumulation – Passing on the abiding wisdom of empire

    On Obama
    Lead, Follow or Get out of the way

    and from today on our new overlords
    Move over China Sells whopping 342 billion treasuries

    and as an antidote (won’t allow embed link)

    • cometman permalink*
      February 16, 2010 2:40 pm

      Thanks for all the links. Just finished reading them all. I didn’t have a chance to read much over the weekend except the newspaper which pissed me off enough as it is. I was reading a local paper about the attack on Marja which was described as a surprise attack to clear out terrorists or some such claptrap and I just about hit the roof. What the fuck kind of reporting is this which tries to convince the rubes this was a surprise when it’s been talked about for a week or so in advance?!?!?!? As Floyd notes, this surely wasn’t lost on any “terrorists” who cleared out well in advance and left non-combatants trying to hang on to their homes to be blown to smithereeens.

      That FP article was very good although I still can’t figure out why writers insist on throwing things like this in despite so much evidence to the contrary at this point:

      Obama is one of the most intelligent men ever to hold the U.S. presidency.

      For someone so intelligent he’s awfully insistent on continuing the policies of the man considered to be the stupidest president we’ve had in quite some time.

      I liked this from the Green piece:

      The system is truly broken, but the truth is that all systems are broken, and all systems are also not broken. It’s in the nature of people to switch systems, and to want to switch systems, as a cheap potential solution to their problems. But, in reality, institutions and constitutions don’t make nearly as much difference in the quality of governance as does the character and commitments of the people at the helm, and that of those who choose them. Good people with good intentions and a good helping of guts will produce good results, even when faced with daunting obstacles built into the system of governance. Rip-off artists, on the other hand, will not be deterred by mere checks and balances. And those who seek to do nothing while the country burns will be able to under any constitutional order, at least for the short-term.

      Very true. Too bad nobody seems to be able to see the snake oil salesmen coming any more while the good people with good intentions are constantly trivialized as not being “electable” whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

      I think he’s right that people are figuring this out but I just don’t know if it will be enough. Some of the bible thumping Faux News watchers I spoke with over the weekend actually admitted that Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter were vile and nasty human beings. Wasn’t enough to get them to stop watching Faux News though. They also seemed pretty appalled when an acquaintance came back from Iraq with serious mental problems causing a marriage to fall apart after witnessing girls his daughter’s age get raped and killed while over there. Probably not enough to get them to change their voting patterns though.

      • Stemella permalink*
        February 16, 2010 4:10 pm

        We need the 100th monkey effect to be real and to come to fruition in terms of mass awareness.
        It’s pretty tough when there are so many who obstinately hold on to their preconceptions, unwilling to consider an alternate view, let alone approach. We are painfully slow to adapt sometimes, we hairless monkeys.

  11. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 12:34 pm

    Couple good older reads I ran across describing the recently deceased Charlie Wilson.

    Speaking Badly of Charlie Wilson

    And via the Harper’s website – The Rehabilitation of Charlie Wilson.

    This guy would be a lot more amusing if it weren’t for that pesky blowback thingy which has cost us so much in this country and puts me in a frothing lather every time I have to take off my shoes for some jackass in a badge at the airport.

  12. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 1:15 pm

    Good article on the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota. Sounds like more and more states are getting interested in this idea since we last mentioned it.

    Gubernatorial candidates in Florida and Oregon and a Washington state legislator are advocating the creation of state-owned banks in those states. A report prepared for a Vermont House committee last month said the idea had “considerable merit.”

    ~snip~

    [Bank president Eric] Hardmeyer says he’s gotten “tons” of inquiries about the bank’s workings, including questions from officials in California, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington state.

  13. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 1:18 pm

    Another good one on the latest attempt by the already rich to “save” Africa. The plan is to sell off chunks of Africa’s arable land to developed nations (who are depleting their own arable land) who will then use the big agribusiness model to produce food which they can then send back to their own countries. I guess Africa gets any food that might be left over. What could possibly go wrong?!?!?!

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 16, 2010 5:31 pm

      Can you say X1N1 originating in American giant pig farm in Mexico?

      Fuck. When are they going to get it through their goddamned greedy profiteering econo-terrist heads that this bigger is better model is just fucking wrong?!?!

  14. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 1:23 pm

    Just mentioned today that the Greeks would not take well to austerity measures imposed on them in light of the dirty dealings from Goldies and the Morgans which helped cause their problems.

    Here’s their latest reaction – Kaboom!!!!!

  15. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 1:37 pm

    All of a sudden I’m in the mood for an attitude adjustment.

    And this conversation sounds awfully familiar to ones I’ve had with various cable and satellite providers :P

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 16, 2010 5:52 pm

      hahahaha I’m gonna destroy it and then I’m gonna write about it. Goddamnit fuckyou!

      Oh that was classic. Gotta love the Gonzo. What an interesting combination of grumpy old wasted fuckers you shared with us! :)

  16. cometman permalink*
    February 16, 2010 1:45 pm

    Researchers may or may not have found WIMPs, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles that theorists posit are a candidate for dark matter.

    A 9-year search from a unique observatory in an old iron mine 2,000 feet underground has yielded two possible detections of weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. But physicists, who include two University of Florida researchers, say there is about a one in four chance that the detections were merely background noise — meaning that a worldwide hunt involving at least two dozen different observatories and hundreds of scientists will continue.

    • Stemella permalink*
      February 16, 2010 6:05 pm

      I thought it was going to say, Researchers have found WIMPS in Washington DC and dark matter in an underground undisclosed location ;P

  17. artemis54 permalink
    February 16, 2010 3:31 pm

    The Sky Island Alliance has produced new photos of at least one jaguar in Sonora, thirty miles south of the border on a ranch that works closely with SIA.

    Whatever you do, don’t tell Arizona Fish and Game. They are sure to find some way to reach across the border and fuck everything up.

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