Archive: June 2009

PETA takes a page from the Fred Phelps playbook.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Update, 6/4/09:

Well, then:

Anti-Abortion Protesters Crash Vigil For Slain Doctor

About 10 members of the Westboro Baptist Church bearing signs with messages like “Baby killer in hell” were an unwelcome presence at a vigil for murdered abortion doctor George Tiller.

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Oh, no, no, no. Just, no:

WICHITA – A national animal rights group plans to erect billboards in Wichita urging people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian.

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One version of the billboard says, “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian.” The other says, “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.” Both feature a photo of three baby chicks.

Lindsay Rajt, campaign manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the billboards were prompted by the recent shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday at his church.

“The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation,” Rajt said today.

“We think we would be irresponsible if we don’t talk about how we’re all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat.” […]

Rajt said the timing or content of the Wichita billboards may be controversial.

But, “If our billboards leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, we just think they might give a thought to what animals feel when they go to the slaughterhouse,” she said.

“We want to remind people that no matter where they come down on the abortion issue, each and every one of us can spare a life every time we sit down to eat.”

Frankly, the actual content of the proposed billboards is rather inoffensive – and downright blasé when compared to 75% of PETA’s other ads. In fact, I think the “pro-life” version is rather cute – and, on a subtle level, calls so-called “pro-lifers” out on their hypocrisy and ethical inconsistencies. The pro-choice one, meh, not so much; it just strikes me as a forced corollary to the “pro-life” billboard. A reach, albeit a harmless one.

But the timing – the timing is beyond crass and tactless. Fuck that shit, it’s downright amoral.

(More below the fold…)

Administrivia: can you hear me now?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Just a quick heads up: We may or may not have a problem with comments on easyVegan. About a month ago, there was a sudden drop off in comments, including spam and trackbacks; whereas I’d been getting hundreds or even thousands of spam comments a week, now I receive maybe ten. Same with my other blogs, as well as those belonging to my husband. Speaking of my geekier half, he’s trying to resolve the issue – assuming there even is an issue – but no luck so far.

Anyhow, if you left a comment but it never showed up, drop me a line at easyvegan [at] gmail.com. Or, if it’s not terribly bothersome, please leave comment on this post so that I know you’re out there and my tubes aren’t broken. Just a quick Hey! will suffice.

If you’ve never commented here before, WordPress holds your comment in a moderation queue, an inconvenience necessitated by the aforementioned spam that I’m loathe to do away with. As long as your comment complies with my comment policy, I will approve it. If it doesn’t but you amuse me, I’ll approve it anyway. I usually approve comments within a few hours, but keep in mind I live in the U.S. Central time zone, and need my zzzzzs.

Bob Woodruff on boiling humans.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Journalist Bob Woodruff made an appearance on The Daily Show last night in order to promote his latest project, Earth 2100:
 

 

I find it interesting that Stewart and Woodruff open the discussion with a clip of Earth 2100 that invokes the anecdote of the frog submerged in a pot of boiling water: namely, if you put a frog in a pot of water that’s already boiling, she’ll jump right out, having sensed the heat and danger. But if you place her in a pot of cold or lukewarm water and gradually raise the temperature, she’s none the wiser, and will remain in the deathtrap until she becomes frog soup. In this metaphor, humans are the frogs, and the pot is earth.

Which is all fine and good, except according to Snopes, this is a folk tale:

Like a fable, the “boiled frog” anecdote serves its purpose whether or not it’s based upon something that is literally true. But it is literally true? Not according to Dr. Victor Hutchison, a Research Professor Emeritus from the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Zoology, whose research interests include “the physiological ecology of thermal relations of amphibians and reptiles to include determinations of the factors which influence lethal temperatures, critical thermal maxima and minima, thermal selection, and thermoregulatory behavior”:

“The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.”

The “boiled frog” legend is a ubiquitous one – one that, given its falsehood, is both speciesist and completely inappropriate for what I assume is supposed to be a scientific documentary. The latter point is a given, but allow me to explain the former: central to the anecdote’s premise is the idea that a frog is so utterly stupid that, given subtle but entirely discernible cues, “it” would remain oblivious to the increasing danger and allow “itself” to be boiled alive. “Let’s not be like those lesser animals!” the tale cautions. Except. In denying climate change and poo-pooing slight increases in average global temperatures as “insignificant,” the human species is actually exhibiting less sense than Dog gave a frog. The frog isn’t earth’s complacent village idiot – we are.

Also of note: Jon alludes to the presumed vivisection which led to the “discovery” that frogs might allow themselves to be boiled alive, given the right circumstances. Both Stewart and Woodruff appear to think that such gruesome experiments probably took place years ago, in the distant past. Except.

“The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.”

While I can’t locate citations for these experiments, Wiki suggests that they’re more recent debunkings of “research” performed in the late 1800s (“research” on which the legend is apparently based).

So, yeah, we boil frogs alive – or attempt to, anyway. And that’s not even the worst of it.

Anyhow, back to Earth 2100.

(More below the fold…)