Open Thread For November

Murgatroyd (with variants including Murgatroid and Margatroid) is an English surname of Yorkshire origin and nobility.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

191 thoughts on “Open Thread For November”

  1. Hahaha! What a brilliant illustration of what an idiotic bureaucracy the UN is. UNESCO has named the Mongolian group the Hu, whose ‘music’ celebrates the history of the Mongols and their most well known leader, as the first group from the rock genre to receive the Artist for Peace accolade.

    Mongols. Artists for peace. Right.


    1. The fact that they are Mongols should be no detriment to them receiving a peace price. To claim so is racist, pure and simple.

      On the other hand, if their music celebrates Genghis Khan, then the award seems dubious at best, but that would apply whether or not they are Mongols.


      1. It seems to me that a ‘prize’ should be earned in some way. It is apparent in this instance that the way that the Hu have ‘earned’ this peace prize is by performing music, the lyrics of which celebrate them as Mongols, and therefore particularly fierce and warlike people, violently attacking other people who are not Mongols.

        The fact that they are the first rock group in the world to be presented with this prize is just some kind of bizarre joke.

        If they were doing something significant to promote international peace, then fine, but they’re not doing anything like that. They’re celebrating violence with their music.

        They also celebrate a nomadic way of life. If you know anything about history, it is that it was very common, more the norm than the exception, for nomadic herders to repeatedly raid sedentary farmers and kill, rape, kidnap, steal, etc. Before the Mongols it was the Xiongnu who made life hell for Chinese farmers during the Han Dynasty for hundreds of years, until the Chinese generals got fed up with trying to appease them and buy them off, and realised that the Xiongnu would never leave them alone until the Chinese had genocided them – so ultimately that’s what they did; planned a very well thought out strategy, trapped them and killed them all, except for a fairly small number who managed to evade the Chinese armies and fled westwards, where they were absorbed into various Mongol tribes.


      2. My wife is part Mongol, by the way, and I can assure you there is no way in hell that she deserves a peace prize.


  2. Jenna Ortega doesn’t understand why she has freckles. Duh. She doesn’t come across as too crushingly stupid, so I think she must be just educationally deprived (she was home schooled by a mother who works as an ER nurse and has five other children, so…)


  3. Jenna Ortega was suffering from Covid-19 when this was filmed, and her symptoms were not trivial. Tough kid.


  4. Which country/region has the most aged population?

    Are you surprised to learn that it is South Korea?


    1. You probably are. It depends on how ageing population is defined/measured. But however defined, South Korea is starting to get up there, for two of the same reasons as Japan – birth rate has plummeted, and they live a long time.

      Soon, every person under the age of 30 in South Korea will be a member of a boy band or girl band, and will have had plastic surgery and endless drilling in dance classes, etc.

      That’s a racist statement. It’s also a reasonable approximation of the truth.


  5. Historically, Mongols never took off their clothes. They wore them continuously until they rotted.


  6. I’m going to watch Wednesday a second time, with the subtitles switched on – I missed too much of the rapid fire humorous dialogue the first time through, plus many of the scenes are richly complex and it is hard to take everything in with just a single viewing.


  7. Yeah, they deserve the first UNESCO peace prize to be given to a rock group for sure. I simply can’t think of any group more deserving than this lot. What a classic piece of UNESCO stupidity.


  8. They could have considered Florence + the Machine, but that would have been racist because they’re descended from hateful imperialists who genocided native peoples and destroyed cultures, as opposed to Mongolians…oh…I might need to rethink this…


  9. Want something with a rougher edge, these are the Okubo sisters – Shoka the elder who plays tenor guitar and Momiji the younger who plays harmonica and likes to appear on stage in shorts that are so short they are virtually non-existent paired with thigh boots, and she’ll give you a free harmonica lesson too. Oh no, the Japanese…damn…


    1. Were they two of the same species, a mating pair even, or did individuals of two different species make a coordinated jail-break? I need to know.


  10. Here it is – found it. South Korea now has the world’s lowest fertility rate. (I wonder if this video will work.)


    1. Mind you, long term population projections are extremely unreliable. But once a population starts to fall, there is nothing that will stop it, so it’s going down, it’s just a matter of how fast and how far.


  11. I belatedly got around to listening to a podcast by Razib Khan with Sarah Haider, who at the young age of 20 was one of the foundation members of Ex-Muslims of North America and has been fearlessly outspoken in criticising various aspects of Islam ever since, so I thought I would post the podcast for BIRGER’s interest/information.

    But in the podcast she surprised me, in that she has moved on somewhat, because she feels that apostasy from Islam has taken on a life of its own in North America and other, even younger, people have taken up the role of protectors of apostates, and she is now speaking out publicly on other topics, including that she is a ‘gender atheist’, i.e. she is non-woke and sees no use for the word gender or the concept of gender beyond that of biological sex and sexual orientation (i.e. the way the world was before the whole transgender hysteria blew up and the way I still am). She has a theory that ‘wokeness’ tends to be confined to former Evangelical Protestants who have become atheists and that it is their new religion. Muslim apostates are far more inclined to be disagreeable about being ‘woke’, because they needed to be disagreeable people to break away from Islam in the first place. Another way of putting that instead of saying they are disagreeable is that they are inclined to be independent thinkers who make up their own minds and speak their minds, regardless of whether what they say might offend (or, in woke vocab., ‘oppress’) other people or not. I can see her point.

    She can get away with ‘oppressing’ people to some extent because she’s pleasantly brown, although she has been lambasted by legions for being islamophobic. Yes, she is islamophobic and she has a multitude of reasons for it, which she can rattle off for you like a machine gun. Now that it is more than 10 years since 911, it’s no different or worse than an atheist criticising the Evangelical Right in the USA. She oppresses me because she has far more hair on her head than any human deserves to have, but that was involuntary on her part, so I’m inclined to let her off.

    Then she drops the bombshell that she listens to Joe Rogan’s podcasts, which actually didn’t surprise me as much as it has evidently surprised some. For those unfamiliar with Rogan, he is a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter and current MMA/UFC commentator, and he has a podcast which has been running now (amazingly) since 2009 and which is very heavily subscribed – he has enough followers to form his own medium sized country.

    I also have listened to some of Rogan’s podcasts. I am not remotely interested in MMA, cage fighting or staging fights for money – I learned martial arts for self defence and to be able to protect people I care about, and it has served its purpose in that it has saved me on three occasions that I recall vividly and maybe some others I recall less well because they were less dramatic; I am much more interested in Rogan’s podcasts in which he enquires into some sphere of science, engineering, tech, STEM…you get the idea.

    My take on him is:
    (1) He is not overly bright, but he is not of sub-normal intelligence. He is not well educated in the formal sense.
    (2) He is unusually very open-minded, which has the negative effect that it makes him an easier target for conspiracy theorists – but then he understands the importance of fact checking; at least, I think he does.
    (3) He is hugely curious – he wants to learn about and understand literally everything. That is not a trait in a human that is deserving of criticism, unless it over-reaches into inappropriate curiosity about people’s personal affairs, which I guess he does do a bit of now and again, sometimes for comedic effect (and I have to admit he has made me laugh about that stuff on occasions).
    (4) He is completely honest. He is totally honest when he says he did not know something or does not understand something. He never pretends to have knowledge he doesn’t possess. Because of this trait of very open honesty, he scores high on trust with people – what he says might well be a load of nonsense, but you can have a high degree of confidence that he himself believes what he says. He won’t lie to you.

    The result of this collection of traits and his phenomenal following is that, alongside a lot of the knuckle-dragging MMA types, he gets a lot of very interesting and quite prominent scientists and other boffins on his podcast. One example I remember vividly was he talked to a guy who is a genuine expert in the subject of sleep; possibly the world’s foremost. Each podcast lasts for three hours, so he is able to go into subjects with these people in very considerable depth. He had that sleep guy on several times, because there was a lot to talk about. Sleep is an important subject.

    So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that Sarah Haider listens to his podcasts when they are about science. I am not encouraging anyone to subscribe to Rogan’s podcast, I’m just explaining why I understand why Sarah Haider does – because she knows she can trust what he says as what he truly believes, a commodity in short supply in the modern world. Maybe it always was.

    As for Sarah Haider, the few times I have heard her speak, she has always been worth the time to listen to. I particularly like the way she states her position on biological sex and the total lack of need for the word ‘gender’ outside of describing male or female. There is nothing else. Cancel me. Like I give a damn.


    1. Florence looks a bit like a wrongly coloured, much taller and dangerously more animated version of an adult Wednesday Addams.


    1. Even if a teacher was inappropriately dressed this is still right-wing media bullshit being used to unfairly vilify an entire class of generally innocent people. Further, I have seen reports that this was a right-wing male identified teacher trying to troll the trans community. Haider is undoubtedly a flaming transphobe right-wing chud. No decent person should assist in spreading this kind of crap.


      1. You could try reading this and see if you can see yourself in it anywhere, or whether you are more like one of the Kasakela chimpanzees in the Gombe Chimpanzee War.

        Because you are no scientist.


      2. Charles, read the link to the piece by Phoebe Maltz Bovy in the Globe and Mail about how the school district is defending the teacher’s gender rights. That makes it pretty clear that this is not about a right wing troll or fake story, although it has been picked up and circulated by the right wing media for self-evident reasons.

        The fact that the school district is not censuring the teacher for obviously deliberately exposing the students to that perverse provocation, but on the contrary is defending the teacher, tells me just how far down the drain Canada has gone as a country.

        If my daughter had been attending that school, she wouldn’t be any more.


  12. 11/1/2022

    On leaving my apartment about 12:45 today, I heard nothing but street sounds including slow traffic noise. The mail van was leaving; I got no mail today. It’s sunny, partly cloudy nice weather with no major weather events coming up soon. We had more rain last night, though it’s still a little dry. Someone sitting on the front steps of one of the apartment buildings is playing music. The mail truck then turned around, I’m not sure why. I continued to hear no bird noises, but there was the sound of wind in the trees. The cat was not present but his food dish was. So many leaves have blown off the trees they getting a bit bare, making it look like November. Cresting the hill the birds remained silent. Finally descending the hill I heard some bluejays on my right. Then I heard chirping birds, likely either house finches or bluebirds. There were robins to my right as well as more bluejays. I heard a bird singing in the distance, also to my right. It may have been a mockingbird. In the wooded area I heard angry birds to my left, apparently robins. There were also chirping birds in the same direction. The woods are getting quite bare and looking more open.

    I heard a mockingbird and bluejays across the practice field. The mail van drove into the Notre Dame entrance. The football season is over for the Fighting Irish, they finished four and six. Though the last game was a victory it was not exactly a great season for them. The grass is looking greener, thanks to the recent rains, though it doesn’t look like Ireland by any stretch of the imagination. There were mockingbirds singing in the distance. The school parking lot was full of student’s cars; the Congregationalist church’s parking lot was fairly full too. I’m not sure if it’s overflow from the community center or if there is a meeting at the church. The weather remains mild with some rainy-looking clouds but no serious weather is expected. There were no bird sounds in the church area until what sounded like a flicker was heard to my left. I car pulled in to the drive by the Congregationalist church’s entrance, there is probably a meeting going on. Traffic noise is fairly high with the end of noon rush hour and the water company truck is coming through; they must be checking meters.

    Returning, the Spiritual Director’s house’s yard is all scalped off except for some Oregon grape shrubs. There is some activity taking place at the community center as there are a number of cars present. There was a bird in the distance on my right, but I couldn’t make out its call. Then a business jet flew across the ridge making a lot of noise. I heard a bluejay in the distance in front of the school and there were others calling ahead of me. There were other birds singing and a mockingbird whose song I could not localize. There was also a mockingbird singing across the baseball field, perhaps Doug. Also, There also was mockingbird singing behind me, probably Fred. Bird calls continued up ahead. As I turned toward the wooded area I noticed the baseball field was quite green, looking like the Emerald Isle . I heard bluejays calling and a mockingbird singing up head of me. A towhee called across the practice field. A possible mockingbird is singing in the wooded area or on the practice field. I assume it’s a mockingbird and not a thrasher. I heard a close by bluejay in the wooded area.

    Ascending the hill I heard a mockingbird to my right, probably Carl. Also a robin and nearby bluejays up ahead. There was a mockingbird singing to my right in the distance, possibly Bob. There was a loud bluejay to my left, mockingbird song continued, and robins calling softly up ahead to my right. Cresting the hill, a fair number of bird calls were to be heard, both to my right and left rear. There were more bluejay calls to my right. The acorns are mostly gone, run over by traffic or blown away by wind and rain. Robins called on the right. A DHL van drove by. Approaching the complex I heard towhees to my right and to my left. In the complex area I heard no sounds but a leaf blower and some traffic noise. Approaching my apartment there were bluejays to my left in the front yard. They were making whistling calls and I saw a small bird, perhaps a flycatcher. The bluejays continued to whistle. At my door I saw a squirrel ran off by the air conditioner, they are very busy at this time of year. Here the Notes app recorded the following sentence: “Are you ever farming minutes?” What I may have said is quite obscure to me.


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