A Whole Lot of This and That

labba
Rondi, here is one of the critters I mentioned eariler. This bugger above is called a “labo”. It’s a nocturnal rodent indigenous to Guyana, and is considered a delicacy among those who enjoy so-called “wild meat”. I’ve been warned, though, that it can only be eaten curried. Stewed, roasted, sauteed, skewered, kebabed, boiled, broiled, pan friend, deep friend, chicken fried –none of that is good enough. Labo must be curried.

For those who have not been there yet, my Guyana pics (and some from other photographers) are here:

www.flickr.com/photos/raywat/sets/72157594561300946

I’ve also uploaded about 20 small videos taken in Guyana, of about 30 seconds each, to Google Video. However, Google will take a couple of days to process them all before making them public. So stay tuned.

And now, the news…

If you haven’t already caught this gem, it seems chimps have been observed making spears with which to hunt small mammals. Now where oh where might this lead?

This is a great article about the negative side of online video sharing services, like YouTube and Google Video. The article is great because it also has links to some of the best shared videos in history! My favourite is the Miracle Jackson one.

For a while now, I’ve been following the development of Second Life, this genuinely virtual universe that abuts our own. No time or inclination to actually join Second Life, but examining it can be rewarding enough, on an intellectual level. Apparently it’s taken a great evolutionary leap forward, because there are now terrorists in Second Life.

Meanwhile, the Christian Right may have some head-scratching to do after they hear what George Bush said about Osama bin Laden.

While we’re on Bush, it seems several US Generals are threatening to quit if BushCo drags them into a war with Iran. Hmm, I can see the draft-dodging fat-ass Rush Limbaughs and Dick Cheneys of the world already writing their scripts for calling these men cowards. Let the swift-boating begin.

Well, since this is the home of the Daily Perv Link (TM), here’s a follow-up to an earlier DPL about a man caught sodomizing a dead dog. Yes, the dog was dead before he commenced the foul deed –several days dead, in fact. Now, someone like this is clearly mentally ill. If the dog had been alive, I’d argue for a very stiff penalty indeed. But it was dead. Does he really need to go to jail for sticking his willy in rotten meat? Send the man to a psychiatrist and let’s keep the prisons for real sociopaths.

While we’re on the topic of what constitutes criminal behaviour, here’s a story about a woman arrested for using profane language in an airport. I’m not going to make a fuss about this one, since an airport is, in some circumstances, private property, and the owners can legally set reasonable rules of behaviour on that property. But the story is worth reading only for one small nugget of information: the woman is working on her PhD…. in dance theory.

Now this, on the other hand, I will make a fuss about. A man gets 200 years in prison for “possessing child pornography”. Now, let me be clear: the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, especially for commercial purposes, is one of the most heinous crimes in our modern world, and deserving of the most severe punishment. However, someone who purchases and views such materials suffers from a mental illness and needs treatment, not punishment. It is those who directly abuse children and profit from the abuse that need to feel the hammer of the criminal justice system. I am really quite uncomfortable with this increasing trend of the state punishing us for what we choose to feed our brains.

On a similar topic is the recent declaration by the head of a new US Justice Dept task force on “obscenity”, that “[porn] has profound consequences, eroding families, increasing violence against women, warping perceptions of sex and helping child predators groom victims.” The problem is that there is virtually no real evidence to support that claim. Nada. Instead, this moralistic crusade is based, I believe, upon religious beliefs and personal morality, not upon a rational assessment of societal cause and effect.

The religious Right likes to complain that ours is a modern, scientific society with no room for heart. I would argue the converse, that there is increasing evidence that North American (mostl American) society is based less on rationalism and more on personal biases and assumptions of behaviour.

So what does constitute a crime? I think this qualifies. Frightening stat from that article: in over 40% of the rape cases studied, the victim eventually admitted that no rape had occurred. Yikes.