What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain Part II

So, how does it happen that apparently intelligent people fail to follow basic sound intellectual processes to come to obvious conclusions?

Well, I think politics and profit play a part.  No doubt there are also human beings out there whose intellectual processes get shut down by emotion and fear and these fragile souls are so unnerved by the fear of an impending terrorist attacking them that all higher brain function shuts down and simple equations cannot be solved.  There is only fear and plenty of fear mongers to play on that fear to sell plastic sheeting, duct tape and worse.

But I think there is also some element of evolutionary neurological function at work in these abject intellectual failures.  Human beings evolved to sense imminent danger (sorry, I think Darwin’s theory of natural selection makes more sense than the 6,000 year old earth creation theory).

We are spooked by things that might be moving in the dark near us.  We evolved with a neurological system that has been honed by natural selection.  A neurological system that was a little slow at spotting a hungry predator became lunch instead of a parent.

Our neurological system did not need to evolve in a way that would recognize slow moving threats.

Be patient, we are getting close to the frog’s eye and what it tells the frog’s brain.

What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain Part I

I watch a lot of stuff in US culture today and am amazed at what I see and hear.  The television talk shows are full of debates on whether the US should torture people.

Let’s review, shall we.  The US has signed numerous treaties that bar torture, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture.   The US has prosecuted interrogators who waterboarded US soldiers for war crimes.

Is there need to do more analysis?  Are we country of laws or a country of liars, cheats and hypocrites?

Waterboarding is torture.  Investigate the people who did this, indict them, prosecute them and put them in jail.

Res ipsa loquitor.

Men In Black

If you think that the scary guys in black suv’s are simply a Hollywood team that appear in movies like Conspiracy Theory, read this story from the Washington Post.

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

More than 75 miles of conduit in the Tysons Corner area must be moved.

Metro Dig at Tysons Stirs Underground Intrigue

By Amy Gardner

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 31, 2009

This part happens all the time: A construction crew putting up an office building in the heart of Tysons Corner a few years ago hit a fiber optic cable no one knew was there.

This part doesn’t: Within moments, three black sport-utility vehicles drove up, a half-dozen men in suits jumped out and one said, “You just hit our line.”

“The construction manager was shocked,” Georgelas recalled. “He had never seen a line get cut and people show up within seconds. Usually you’ve got to figure out whose line it is. To garner that kind of response that quickly was amazing.”

“Every time we dig a hole, we run into issues that we didn’t expect,” he said.

Goguen, the engineer with the Dulles rail project, laughs at the stories of past encounters but has no desire to meet up with the men in the black SUVs.

High Anxiety Over Top-Security Cable

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Interesting Transportation Technology

Thanks to the Guardian for the article. We do have alternatives to internal combustion engine and the day is coming when we will need to make the switch.

clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

On the road with the Airpod air-powered car

An air-powered car? Sounds almost too good to be true – so a sceptical Alex Benady took one for a test drive

Airpod City Car

How would you react to someone who tried to sell you a car that runs on fresh air? Perhaps you would think he was peddling a potentially planet-saving technology. More likely you would dismiss him as a conman or a fantasist. Yet that is precisely the pitch being made by French auto engineer Guy Negre, a good-humoured man in his mid-60s who claims to have developed a car powered by compressed air: one that produces a fraction of the carbon emissions of a standard engine, reaches speeds of 30mph-plus, that can travel 65 miles on a one-minute recharge and, best of all, costs from just over �3,000.

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Quote for the Day

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or  communist.”
— Sir Winston Churchill
(1874-1965) Prime Minister of England
November 21, 1943

Churchill was a guy who knew a bit about totalitarian governance.  It does appear he could not conceive of a democracy engaging in the totalitarian  practice that he speaks about.

Habeas corpus.  Is that an “old Europe” idea?   I hope not.


From the Yemen Times:  An American federal judge ordered on Monday the release of a Yemeni detainee from Guantanamo Bay after spending seven years in detention. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler gave the government until June 15 to report back on the status of his release.

Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a 26-year-old who is listed as Ali Bin Ali Aleh, was held in Guantanamo Bay as detainee number 692.

A Suburb With No Cars?

Here’s an idea whose time has come.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars
VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. “When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said Heidrun Walter, a media trainer and mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.

Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called “smart planning.”
“All of our development since World War II has been centered on the car, and that will have to change,” said David Goldberg, an official of Transportation for America, a fast-growing coalition of hundreds of groups in the United States — including environmental groups, mayors’ offices and the American Association of Retired People — who are promoting new communities that are less dependent on cars. Mr. Goldberg added: “How much you drive is as important as whether you have a hybrid.”

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Cool House, Sort of Yuppie Trailer Park Style

Take the tour. It’s small and it’s got style.

clipped from www.claytonihouse.com

The Clayton i-house:


The core product is a 992-square-foot, one-bedroom home featuring a detached “Flex Room” connected by an “Outdoor Living Space” or deck made of recycled materials. If you look at the floor plan … the main structure looks a little bit like a lower case “i,” with the Flex Room as its dot. Hence the name.   read more…

i-house I Flex I Layout B


The i-house looks like a house you’d order from Ikea, sounds like something designed by Apple and consists of amenities-solar panels, tankless water heaters and rainwater collectors-that one would expect to come from an offbeat green company out of California selling to a high-end market. But Clayton Homes, one of the largest manufacturers of mobile homes out of Maryville, Tenn., is looking to enter the market of environmentally friendly, prefab homes with a model that is seriously affordable.   read more…

1 Bed, 2 Bath  Tres Cool!

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