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Monday, 13 June 2016


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Can't say the Muslim word can you? Instead you blame an inanimate object lol. Legislation is ineffective but concealed carry is. Later, I gotta increase my donation to the NRA next.

[Hey, what do you want, Frank? I used as a starting point for my stats the RFK murder, which was the first serious incident of Arab terrorism in the U.S. Sirhan was a Palestinian of Jordanian birth whose only quarrel with RFK was RFK's support for Israel. It was intended to bracket the radical Islamist links of the Orlando shooter (I never mention shooters' names).

I didn't talk about mental illness, either, which might be even more pertinent here. --Mike]

Re. the gun death toll: if people started avoiding large gathering places where these scenarios take place, the resulting business-owner response would demand control so people would fee safe enough to gather and spend money. Only money talks in politics, and a force with deeper pockets and louder vice than the NRA is the only way to force change on this subject. Logic has no place in the discussion.

Two non-fiction books I've enjoyed recently:
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericcson and Robert Pool
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

Sounds like a good way to go. My wife recently started training for a Triathlon, but she has become discouraged by the running, even using the run-walk method, since she ends up with foot pain so easily.

I use walking combined with weight lifting, but my walks are pretty vigorous, uphill to the gym, then downhill back, for around three miles. I like to run but my strength was always sprinting middle distances. Jogging feels like torture (which I suppose is why it works).

The saddest thing about the Orlando shootings will be that in a few days it will be forgotten,replaced by some new horror or excitement. And any lessons learned will be forgotten.
But, do keep running, its good for the mind, soul and body. Not to forget waistline and ego.

Careful about messing around with the Bill of Rights. Once you take away one right, it's a shorter route to taking away the others.

To quote, "Just sayin'".

Be careful out there, Mike!

Have so far read three books this Summer that are timely and well-written:
"Thieves of State" by Sarah Chayes is about corruption as a driving force for radical recruitment in failed Nation/States, eg Afghanistan;
"Saving Capitalism" by Robert Reich is a readable account of how our "free market" capitalist system actually works;
"The Third Extinction" by Elizabeth Kolbert shows what we humans are doing to our environment.


My, my, Robert Dannin doesn't seem like he is very happy. In fact he doesn't seem like the kind of person who has ever been happy. Needless to say a lot of what he rants about, especially the parts about National Geographic, don't seem very real to me. And for the most part I was there during those years. Anyone who would denigrate Bill Garrett, Tom Kennedy and Kent Kobersteen and call their assistants "flaks" doesn't have much actual knowledge of how things work. And anyone who would call David Turnley's coverage "soporific" is just photographically ungrounded. He makes factual mistakes in a number of places. Amid all the cogent discussions about the fallout from the McCurry images, his rant seems somewhat deranged.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It's as clear as the nose on your face Mike.

You can ride a stationary bike and get a workout, comparable to running, without overly stressing the joints and dealing with adverse weather. A treadmill works too.

[Except that's not what it says, as you well know. It says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In other words, the people may keep and bear arms in order to constitute a well-regulated militia. And what "militia" meant then—rather than now, when it has come to mean a radical militant splinter group—is, in its modern manifestation, the National Guard. And that's as clear as the nose on YOUR face.

And we can get no closer together than that, because, QED, the sentence is exceptionally poorly worded and doesn't make clear what it means. --Mike]

Here's my experience of starting to run late in life (at 60). I had been a regular power walker for many years but decided for health reasons (high cholesterol) that I needed to do more. Thinking I was relatively fit I started out running about 1.5 miles. I injured my calf almost immediately and could not run on it for 6 weeks.

When I was finally able to run again I walked for a mile, ran for 1.5 miles and walked .5 miles to cool down. Been doing that every second day for 9 months injury free. I'm slowly extending the run portion to 2 miles. That should do me I think.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer is a must read. It's well-researched and Pulitzer-worthy. This is a haunting account of how the extreme right has succeeded in crushing the middle class, corrupting all branches of government, and dodging taxes through creating bogus think tanks. The book focuses a lot of attention on the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries (the second largest privately held corporation in the US). Other notables are the late Scalia and the family Walton. Now that I've finished the book, I realize the concept of democracy in the US is negotiable.

One thing that helped me with running was watching how Emil Zátopek ran- he was very loose and it almost looked like he was drunk and stumbling forward, but he was letting gravity do half the work for him.

By staying loose and falling, not striking, on the balls of your feet, my semi-old bones don't mind jogging nearly as much as my young, heel-striking bones did back in my 20's.

There's never been any doubt that the second amendment protects an individual right. The only argument for it being only a collective right is based on grammatically misconstruing the "militia" clause (which, yeah, is my poster child for "never apologize, never explain"); but that's not how English works! Also, the language is the same as is used everywhere else in the Bill of Rights to protect individual rights. No court has ever found it to be anything but an individual right. And the debate over passing it makes it clear an individual right was intended.

Anything else is revisionist history.

Today, firearms prevent or mitigate hundreds of thousands of crimes a year in the USA. They're also used in the commission of some crimes.

"Common sense" is the last thing we need here; we've been doing the same thing for 70 years (chiseling away at gun rights in any way possible; since 1934 at the Federal level), and the result has been continuing horrific crimes. Doing the same thing while hoping for a different outcome is one of the definitions of insanity. "Simple, obvious" solutions have been tried and made no difference at all. It's not a problem amenable to simplistic easy solutions.

[One word: Australia. --Mike]

I say we all stop paying our auto registration fees until there's gun reform that licenses guns as tough as we license cars.

I suppose now for your rather mild call for rewriting the second amendment you will get death threats from the usual suspects. Thus proving the valid nature of your comments.

From what I understand, Australia suffered from a similar gun madness, but they were sensible enough to legislate sensible gun legislation after one of their needless slaughters which allowed gun ownership with Real background checks on All firearm purchases.

Result: Gun related deaths cut by 50%.

As for ol' Stevo- he burned himself, as the video recently linked here more than adequately proved.

I'm sorry you chose to get into the gun control argument (and much of it is irrational arguing on both sides), as it is a much more complex issue than politicians on both sides, or most of the media, seem to understand. Suffice it to say that most gun control in place, or proposed, cannot work, and we have evidence from places like Chicago and Washington D.C. The proposals fail to address the real underlying issues causing violence. They are like putting make up on smallpox leisions, and are no more effective. However it is great at generating volumes of vitriolic 'hate' mail. And I think totally foreign to the normal tone and orientation of TOP.

RE: interesting stories, see, there used to be these people called 'journalists' and sometimes they would write short stories for immediate publication and sometimes they would write longer stories for publication after a while, sometimes even as a book! Unfortunately, all the journalists are gone, killed off by Peter Thiel and the dwindling print markets.

As for a nonfiction, I’ve just started reading Nicholas Stargardt’s The German War, which extensively examines how German civilians and soldiers experienced and viewed WWII. Maybe it will provide me some insight on how the Tea Party and Trump could attain such widespread political support.

By the way, glad Frank P has no problem with folks having unfettered access to hand grenades, machine-guns, LAW rockets, or perhaps even portable nuclear devices, because after all, they’re just inanimate objects.

Walking has been hard for me, but I set myself a challenge. Not a challenge just in my head, but one that had a real price. I booked a ticket to Paris. It's a walking city. The flight was five months in the future from when I booked, so I had time to make enough progress to be able to at least not embarrass myself. And my son lives in Paris, so there was the added "weight" of not reneging on a commitment to visit him. I told a lot of other people to - I trapped myself.

I needed to lose weight to reach my goal of being able to walk Paris, so I used an app to help me track both my steps and my calories and nutrition. I won't mention which app - there are several, and the one I selected is competent but not spectacular. But for the most part the app has worked pretty well. I think the first step on fitness may be simple awareness.

I won't ever jog or run, but I like the idea of varying walking speed - thanks for that tip. After a bit more work maybe I'll bring the Chamonix down to world headquarters and we can go for a wee hike.

"if people started avoiding large gathering places" ... the onus is on victims of hatred?

I can see how Dannin's piece smacks of deflection in defense of his friend, McCurry. After all, he goes to great lengths to lash out at the entire industry, while lauding McCurry for all the good things he has done - without really addressing himself to McCurry's use of staging and Photoshop. Lost in all the seeming deflection, though, is the larger point I think he is making.

As most fans of Magnum Photos probably know, it's a cooperative that requires each of its member photographers to pay in one-third of their earnings. After overhead is paid from this pool, remaining funds are distributed to member photographers according to their need. This allows photographers to work free of money worries, and to do their work as they please. One of my favorites, for example, Josef Koudelka, has always steadfastly refused to accept paying assignments. McCurry, by contrast, is one of the only Magnum photographers who will accept virtually any paying work, and he is more than happy to carry the agency financially.

I think Dannin is saying that National Geographic is straight up in the business of manufacturing political and corporate propaganda. They regard their assignment photographers as employees, not partners. If you're going to continue shooting for them, you're going to produce the images they want, and in the way they want them produced. And the same thing goes for other agencies and publications (I think Dannin is saying). In other words, working and getting paid necessarily involves compromise and a certain measure of corruption. He's saying that in comparison with what goes on behind the scenes, McCurry's transgressions are rather slight, and understandable, and ultimately harmless.

Not sure how I feel about that, but it's good to hear this counter-argument.

I had to take up running 2 years ago after running out of time for really hard core long distance cycling---I used to average 3-5000 miles per year for well over a decade. It was impossible to go from that amount of exercise to nothing.

The problem for running with me was and is that it tends to be a tedious bore. The fastest pace feels like a dead one-legged turtle frozen in molasses in the middle of January. I switched from running (no shuffling for me) on the nearby 1964 Olympic track to along a nearby river which helped a lot.

I haven't read any recent studies questioning whether running is good for people in their forties or over*, but I suppose some exist. When running correctly old knee damage idea has little evidence that I have seen either, but I read about people developing problems. I also heard most of the same stuff about cycling.

As you wrote, a person has to listen to their own body and decide for themselves. Is any pain or discomfort just beneficial soreness from a good workout or is it a sign of injury. With just a bit of experience, that is usually easy to tell.

This sort of exercise is necessary for me for photography too. I don't get a chance to go to the mountains like I once did, but on days off or when I have time, I can walk 5-13 or more hours a day looking for photos. And I also need it in case I am offered another Panasonic, say a GX8, so I can run as fast and hard in the other direction as possible.

*My uncle still runs 5 and 10k races at around 80.

Interestingly, max force is the same for heel and forefoot strike, http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/4BiomechanicsofFootStrike.html

Lots of stuff here. I won't buck gun owner religious fundamentalism. There is no arguing with [them].
I'm glad that you can do some running and enjoy it. At 63 I've sped up my daily walks by including some jogging in the middle. My orthopod is not happy with this, but if it blows out my hip, then it does.
I don't see [Dannin's] letter as torching NatGeo or Magnum so much as shining light on the realities of photo business practices. Money rules. Period. At the end of the publication day, sensibilities and ideals just don't figure in.

On resting days from walks or runs vary your training by doing some resistance work (weights or bands or seal ropes or whatever) for your upper body / arms to work out other muscle groups. Gently, of course.

I don't think I could do the work I do if I did not get in the pool and swim a couple miles at least five days a week, and walk five miles at least three times a week. But I've been consistent for decades.

On the gun thing.... all the gun lovers are [edited, sorry Kirk --Ed.]. I'd love to see the actual, concrete numbers on "prevented hundreds of thousands of crimes." That's beyond fantasy into dangerous delusion. I would ask all your readers: When is the last time you had to shoot someone? How many people have you shot preventing crimes? I'm going to believe the answer is close to zero. Most police officers I know have never had to pull a gun on anyone. It's all movies and propaganda. Worthless brainwashing. "Rugged individual" B.S. fit for bad TV.

An interesting read: https://www.amazon.ca/Arms-Culture-Credo-J-Somerset/dp/1771960280

Thank you very much for posting the Robert Dannin article on Photocritic International. I look forward to the others coming this fall.

When 21st Cent. Fox purchased National Geographic in 2015, there were many cries of lament on the web for the fall of NG. Sadly, after reading Dannin, it would appear this was in fact a rather natural match.

I was a runner (athlete not jogger) until my late forties when my legs were unable to help me do the running I enjoyed. Around that time I was visiting a colleague in Philadelphia and he invited me to go bike riding with him one afternoon. Transformation. One discovered new areas, in new ways. It was wonderful exercise and no strain.
On returning to London, I found an old bike and started cycling to work, not on the main roads, to work. It provides a completely different experience - commuting was no longer a chore.
Now, in Europe, where we have many cycle ways, the legs got to the stage where going up hills was making cycling difficult. Electric bike. Transformation. The old enjoyment returns, the legs can do it and it's still great exercise.

I think you mentioned this some time back, and if not I don't know where it come from, but I think it's right on: Buy a suit when you're in your early 20s and make sure you can keep wearing it. As soon as it gets tight, watch out...

I move every day, and sneaking up on 40 I haven't put on the pounds that many of my peers have. But I keep an eye on my weight, and I have a threshold (about 10 pounds from here) at which I'll take drastic measures.

I'm not one to run, but it's important that each finds their own way to keep healthy. Get the inertia going in the right direction early on, keep moving, keep moving...

"One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take our shoes off at the airport. Thirty-one* school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation on guns."
-John Oliver

* The # has since risen.

USA would be way down on my list of countries to visit as a tourist, just seems to get worse all the time and that is backed up by statistics like those published in the NYT today.

That can't help with bringing income to American businesses chasing the tourist dollar.

LA working visit OK, 25 years ago and didn't stray from West Hollywood but now...

Douglas Adams's publisher apparently used to send a bike messenger over to Adams's house at the end of each day to collect that day's pages. It was the only way he could hold him to any kind of schedule. With that in mind, Mike, in return for the weekend off, please update us each Monday on the word count for the weekend.

Mike, you obviously feel passionately about hot button political issues in US politics, so I again urge you to start a political/social blog. But please, please keep these out of a photography blog. You won't be able to keep up with the moderation, the sewers of abuse will gush. The many decent folk from all sides of the political spectrum, who find a common pastime (and oh boy, we need activities that bring us together) away from the rancour of today's social and political discourse, will lose a valuable, informative and stimulating site.
Too many people are unable to have a rational discourse without sliming the character of those they disagree with. You can already feel the rage in some of the posts. Please don't spoil this wonderful site.

Regarding guns and all, as an Australian I stand in awe of so many Americans' ability to deny obvious reality. N ot every American, of course: try Raging Pencils for example http://www.ragingpencils.com/2016/6-13-16-bad-news-bearers.html. Health care is another issue like that. :)

Also read Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus, and Rainbow Pie, for some historical perspective on the gun issue.

On running and walking -- you don't need a book! And from where I sit as a 74 year old who walks about 6km every morning before breakfast and does a lot of incidental walking during the day, perhaps the same distance again, I wonder where you are at. True, I am overweight, which holds me back; my slightly younger bro cycles up to 40kms/day and is as lean as he was as a teenager.

A high school reunion shows that many of us high school jocks are still active, but the really active ones were some (not all) of the non-jocks -- they didn't injure their growing bones and joints (I did for my knees, particularly the right one, playing football).

In my 40s and into my 50s I was pretty lean and ran 10kms every morning in good time, and built an adobe house in my spare time. but then the old football injury in the right knee raised its ugly head again and running was out.

So I walked. And I am still walking.

Very true about recovery times increasing with age. Also true about getting onto natural surfaces with fairly flexible soles on your shoes; the unevenness exercises all the bones and joints.

Right now, I am stepping up the uphill part of my morning walk with a view to a serious (several hour) steep walk/climb in a couple of months. http://rabaulvolcanoadventures.com/volcano-treks----the-advent.html (I live in Rabaul and produced that site). I often climbed Tavurvur as a young journalist in search of a story in my 20s, but never Kombiu. Last orders, gentlemen!

I'd suggest mixing cycling with running. Not on a stationary bike, which is incredibly, painfully boring, but a real one which makes the scenery pass by and allows you to go places and see things. It will build your cardiac fitness while doing far less damage to your lower limbs. Running is good too, but I think you need to be biomechanically perfect to run consistent long distances without damage.
I've never really stopped, so I don't know about the working up to it phase, but there are still periods when stress of work and relationships get you down, and you have to recognise that there are times when you need to scale back. There have also been several times when I became convinced that my slowing was an inevitable consequence of age; then in each case things changed, the joy came back, the inflammation went away and the distances came back up. At 54, I probably won't get back to the 350km/week of cycling I was doing at 48, but the real decline is much slower than one imagines.

Thanks for having the ethical fortitude to venture into the question of gun rights. With all respect, I disagree that the second amendment is soooo hard to understand. Sure, it might be written using language and style that was more common in the 18th century than the 21st, but it's clear enough.

The ability to own machines with no other purpose than killing is based on two assumptions. First is that militias are necessary to the defense of the nation. That’s not the case anymore; we have a standing military the does regulate its weapons. Second is that the militias are well-regulated. Too many gun enthusiasts ignore the first clause of the second amendment, as Jeff1000 does.

To Michael McKee's point that there's no arguing with those who accept no limits at all on firearms, I must disagree with you also, although I understand your point. Yet those of us yearning for a saner stance have to adopt some of the zealotry of those whose position seems be ‘more guns, despite all the shooting deaths. To yield the debate to them without any challenge at all does nothing except passively affirm their inaccurate conclusion that society has no right to regulate weapons. But according to the second amendment, it's not that the government has a right to regulate firearms; it has an obligation to do so. After all, it's well-regulated militias that are necessary...

What is absolutely necessary to the defense of the nation is a more informed, more reflective and more resolute citizenry. It's past time for the regulation of devices that have no purpose other than to kill people.

I live in farm country where we have kids pickups in the High School parking lot with rifles in them. A shooting club in the school. Next small town over has an olympic style shooting team with some now qualified to train at the Olympic Training Center as a result. Hunting and shooting are a way of life here. Kids shoot gophers and blackbirds and animals that do harm to the crops. They hunt deer with their fathers and mothers. These are kids who are driving a $500,000 combine at 13 years of age. Driving a full sized Kenworth truck hauling grain on the farm and from the fields at that age. They are working with farm machinery under the direction of the older generation, learning what it takes to be responsible and dependable.
Teaching responsibility is what we see working, not restricting it.
There are always nutcases and firearms misused are as bad as drunk drivers. It is the person, not the tool.

Americans' views on guns and gun control have by now become entrenched, much like religious beliefs. I don't think any amount of reasoned persuasion will change anyone's mind at this point - pro or anti. Besides, if the slaughter of around 20 small children only days before Christmas did not move the needle on gun control, I am convinced that nothing will.

As for running, the Army took out of me any and all desire to ever run, unless it is for my life. I do walk, though. And having dogs is a great excuse to get out there and walk, rain or shine.

Good non-fiction? Any of Eric Larson's books but most recently "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania " or
Edward Dolnick's books about the Art World, "The Forger's Spell (P.S.)" and "The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece".

In Switzerland everyone has an automatic weapon in their broom cupboard. They don't go out killing each other. Go figure

I should add "very rarely"

In my youth I trained for marathons to fill the void left by cratered relationships. Last year I tried something different; I trained for and ran a 50k trail ultramarathon. And then she left.

Running is still,at 50 and still a bit over weight, my favourite exercise/pastime. In the last few years I've also added cycling - more for social reasons than any other. It's downside is that, like photography, it's too easy to become gear focused. Running is essentially simple.

On running though. Start and build up slowly. The reason a lot of starting runners get injured between 6 and 16 weeks is, as you noted,that the cardiovascular vascular system adapts faster at firat than muscle, connective tissue and bone and you really do need to get strong over time to keep it up

One counter note though. I think that you shouldn't force yourself to heel strike. Mid and forefoot is also good, provided you you build the strength and residence slowly.

Hope you enjoy it and it becomes a lifelong activity


Nothing I hate worse than wading into a gun-control discussion, since, as noted, they never really go anywhere, but . . . . I've never understood how folks can read the 2nd amendment as applying only to elements of the U.S. Army like the National Guard. Unless the founding fathers intended that their fledgling nation should be defended by fisticuffs, writing an amendment guaranteeing the army the right to bear arms would be as daft as guaranteeing the navy the right to have ships. It makes no sense. But, the National Guard is not the militia.

In those days the government couldn't afford much of a standing army and many people had a healthy distrust of such things anyway. Overland transportation was also abysmally slow, so in case of civil disturbance the "militia" was called up from the population of able-bodied men (the "people"). In order that the militia be "well-regulated" (well-equipped, in the parlance of the day), the "people" needed to have arms at home, since the government wasn't going to be able to provide them. When the danger had passed, the "militia" would return to their homes and go back to being the "people."

In other words, the people are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms, so they can form a useful militia when necessary. Ironically, the most useful weapon to keep and bear for militia duty would be a military-style rifle or carbine, which nowadays in this country would be an M-16 or M-4, or, failing that, a semi-automatic version of the same such as an AR-15.

One can certainly argue whether or not this is still a useful approach given the vast changes in the intervening centuries, and what the limits of this right are and what it means to "infringe" it, but the core notion seems pretty straightforward.

Weighing yourself every day in the morning, before eating, is an essential part of achieving and maintaining your weight and fitness goals.

Often, we fall into avoidance patterns, particularly after "falling off the wagon" for a few days.

A couple of weeks of self loathing go by quickly, and what could have been a minor change in eating and exercise habits to correct a setback now requires a full, depressing restart of your fitness routine.

Hi Mike: a bit of history and current US law; the "militia" is defined as all males between 18 and 65. Because in colonial days there was no National Guard, there were just your neighbors who carried the most advanced weapon of the day. That was the famed Kentucky long rifle in many cases. So the well regulated part really means you and the guy next door....

As for running you are right, it truly sucks at 50+ trying to get back in shape after losing it.

Dear Mike,

"...a study I saw a few years ago claiming that evolution fitted us to run..."

I don't have anything to say about the pros or cons of running, not having ever been so inclined, but I sure have something to say about this sentence fragment.

ANY study that asserts that something is good because evolution fitted us for it falls somewhere between crackpottery and quackery. It's a violently false misuse of evolutionary theory.

Evolution cares about one thing: Do you have viable grandchildren. Well, more accurately: do you, on average, have more viable grandchildren than whatever other species is competing for your eco-niche. Once you hit that point, evolutionarily you are gold. All other driving forces are secondarily.

Equally important, evolution doesn't care how you have those grandchildren. If the random walk of genetic mutation results in half of you dying by the age of 25 but the other half producing more than twice as many viable grandchildren, guess which way the genetic drift is going to go? Evolution doesn't look for a global that alone optimal solution, it looks for local maxima, and not even a particularly strong one.

Equally important, what happens to you after you have those grandchildren is largely irrelevant* in terms of evolutionary drive. Evolution doesn't especially care whether you live or die.

Mike, in primitive terms, you aren't of grandparental age, you're of great-grandparental age. You are way past the sell date. Even if there were an evolutionarily-valid reason for you to run when you were younger, there's no reason why that will still be valid. Maybe, maybe not, but it's not because evolution said it was a good thing.

You want examples? Evolution selected us to really like sugars, fats, and salt. Because they are fast, concentrated sources of energy and a vital nutrient that is sometimes hard to come by in the jungle. That is what evolution has fitted you out to want to eat, for good reasons if you're young and living as a primitive.

No points for the following question, because it's so easy: what are leading dietary contributors to diseases of the “elderly” (meaning anyone beyond the age of 35, in evolutionary terms)? Bingo. What evolution fitted you out for is not so good when you're older, but evolution don't care because by then it is done with you.

We are not the only species that falls prey to that. Cats really love their protein. Major cause of mortality in elderly cats is one form or another of kidney failure; protein is really hard on kidneys. But evolution had no reason to be especially concerned with the health of 15-year-old cats.

Or consider this–– evolution fitted us out as a constantly-sexual, pair-bonded species that is not strongly monogamous (genetically, the latter is very useful). Let's us a breed like bunnies with excellent genetic diversity and still have extended parenting. Woo hoo, mondo viable grandchildren!

So, if we're going to do with evolution fitted us out for, we should all be having as much unprotected, fertile sex, with as many partners as we possibly can. That is, after all what we were “designed” for.

Everyone clap who thinks that is a particularly good idea.

Insert sound of crickets here.

For those who found this longissimus, non legi:

Any time someone tells you that you should be doing something because you're evolutionarily fitted out for it, run (or walk) away very rapidly!

(*Not entirely–– there are evolutionary advantages to wisdom gained with age. But it doesn't require a lot of teachers in the pack. 99% of you old geezers? You're dispensable.)

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

[Be [all] that as it may, I read an argument by an actual expert on the subject and was persuaded, so that's the basis of my belief. At the very least, the shock of running is known to strengthen the bones, and not just the bones of the legs. Sorry I can't share the source, but I can't find it; I looked. --Mike]

Regarding bizarre nonfiction stories, add https://www.damninteresting.com/ to your RSS reader. Posts are irregular, but always a wonderful read about some factual event you've never heard of.

Good words on Orlando -- terrible waste of human potential. Seeing the amount of gun related homicide in the US in media, I can't understand how the US cannot react and change. We've had almost every part of your society hurt by this (i.e. young, old, families, ethnic groups, students), how you cannot mobilize yourselves to do something about it baffles me.

In Australia it only took one mass murder to really change things: everyone related to those poor people who died and moved to change. I'll note that we don't have the same history with guns as the US, though.


On the other front: Happy trails! Keep running!


Inconvenient facts:

1207 last year, 525 so far this year, all well documented.

And tobacco? Still a thousand per day?

I find the whole gun control debate to be saddening, as there seems to be no possibility of a rational well-intentioned debate just people with very definite views (on both sides) shouting at people who disagree with them and congratulating those who agree.

I find particularly the second amendment discussions to be interesting, as whilst it would be most consistent to assume it is a personal right, its intention was never clear even from the beginning with the founding fathers having different views over what it should mean.

I listened to a very enlightening talk about the history of it, and especially how the 14th amendment changed the nature of it:


And that is just looking into the second amendment side of the matter. There are so many other factors that I will restrain myself from going into, which while I find fascinating, is at too high a risk of going down a rabbit hole.

Perhaps you're already a fan, but I'd suggest reading anything by Jon Ronson. So You've Been Publicly Shamed is excellent.

"I say we all stop paying our auto registration fees until there's gun reform that licenses guns as tough as we license cars."

"as tough as we license cars"? You go to DMV and pay the fee or mail it in. What is tough about that?

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