Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Even Evil Has Standards

The rightous flee Heartland, the lukewarmers the sky dragons

Eli has discovered a blog with much to say about the usual evasions that one finds in the comment, and in the posts at other blogs than Rabett Run, among other things, the ultimate in Godwin.  Blogs have been awash commenting on the Heartland Institute seppuku act and its possible effects

TV Tropes gets the recent walk back by the insurance companies and others from Heartland pretty well right, but this equally applies to some of the lukewarmers and coolers to some of the Kramm like pap that is out there.

Eli is particularly fond of the description of Australia
That's right, Australia. Australia isn't a very important country (thanks a lot, mate), but is still an enormous piece of real estate, so the Big Bad can make it look like an impressive gift while keeping his mitts on the more important countries like the US, the UK, Russia, China, etc. Also, it has 25% of the uranium in the world and is the largest exporter of beef by... quite a large margin. Not to mention most of the capital cities are naturally defended by terrain, which is very useful for a supervillain. (Take Melbourne: the only way in by sea, Port Phillip Bay, requires a map or you hit rocks in the shallows; by air you have to travel a few thousand kilometers from anywhere; and by land you have to put up with lots of forests and distant homes.) Plus, they have great beaches. 
Add to that the fact that the first British settlements in Australia were penal colonies, and that Australia's greatest national hero was a criminal, and you can see where the Australian people could be inclined to welcome most supervillains with open arms. Funnily enough there are reports stating the Australian army is the second best trained in the world, and there's 75,000 ADF (Australian Defence Force) members to boot. 
On the other hand, it's the single most infertile continent save for Antarctica, precisely because Australia has had little tectonic activity during the past 30 million years, its soils are amongst the oldest in the world, and rainfalls are scarce except in the cyclone-ridden tropical northern parts and in coastal areas, which are subject to heavy floods. Oh, and there are a lot of thunderstorms and lightning (very very frightening), 
And bushfires. Don't forget the bushfires, especially since they can lead to exploding trees. Eucalyptus trees have very hard wood and highly flammable oil. Add extreme heat to them and they tend to pop like giant popcorn kernels. And spiders so big, they have health bars. In fact, why stop at spiders? A huge percentage of Australian animals are venomous and/or homicidal, and a ridiculously huge percentage of deadly animals are Australian (last count was six of the top ten deadliest of the world enjoy warm Decembers and frigid Augusts). 
The entire continent can be certifiably considered a deathtrap. So it's the perfect place to set up a lab if you're a Mad Scientist and need a thunderstorm to zap your Frankenstein's Monster with lightning or to power your flux capacitor. Not so much if your plans include an active volcano Supervillain Lair with Lava Pit. But at least you can get the Shark Pool filled with sharp-toothed predators even on a low budget. Note that any opinions actual Australians may have on this plan are irrelevant (Oi!) - except in more realistic works that take their military capabilities into account. 
 * Eli wishes to point out to Roger, Andy, Lucia and Fred, that the above cartoon falls under the heading of ironic exaggeration.  In this he is with Micha Tomkiewicz.  YMMV


Anonymous said...

What liver gnawing eagle would not feel at home perched among the antipodal wedge tails and white bellies?

Hank Roberts said...


KAP said...

Reminds me of a similar scene in "The Rocketeer" ... from the 9 minute mark to the end of the clip:


KAP said...

That's Paul Sorvino as the mafioso and Timothy Dalton as the Nazi spy.

Anonymous said...

TVTropes must be the most dangerous time-sink on the internet. I don't go there. It's always "just one more click" and there's 100k of vaguely entertaining gibberish to drain away the rest of the day.

Just say no.

Danger Mouse

Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid, that is why they call me "Hey Stoopid".

Thanks Eli, an interesting form of sardonic humor, it reminded me of the old Jack Benny/Rochester comedy skits on TV way back in the fifties.

They do say, down under in Oz, the Americans with their literal sense of humor, always fail to understand sarcasm.

Such is life.

bill said...

"A huge percentage of Australian animals are venomous and/or homicidal, and a ridiculously huge percentage of deadly animals are Australian'

Actually, this is the safest continent in the world. I've spent years wandering about in the Outback and for the most part all the poisonous critters will only compete with you to get out of the way with the most pronto, or they're all in the water with the Great Whites, and if you're silly enough to go in there...

Well, actually some Tiger Snakes get grumpy. And King Browns. Death Adders are a bit of an issue too, I guess... but I've trodden on Copperheads 5 times, each time breaking my previous record for standing high-jump, and I remain unpunctured.

What we don't have is big scary mammals (well, we do - bulls, camels, bloody big scary razorbacks - but they're all imported). The natives are about as benign as critters get. Wombats might get grumpy but they can't tear your arms off or gouge out your eyes. Koalas are permanently stoned, man. And Skippy was nice - and very, very helpful - everyone knows that!

And you're too late: Australia's already about to fall in behind a Super-Villain. Name's Tony Abbott...

John said...

#1 venomous creature to come out of Australia?

Rupert Murdoch.

His gift to the world? Headlines like


Sou said...

Thanks for the chuckle in there with the message.

Australia is definitely unsafe and not a place for the trepid. Redbacks, funnel webs, tiger snakes, death adders, king browns, box jelly fish, sea snakes, sharks and pygmy possums - all trying to scare the living daylights out of you. Not to speak of floods, fires and droughts.

(PS if you want to get rid of someone, give them a glowing reference. It follows that if you want to keep some place special just for yourself ...)

BTW Kangaroos are terrific animals. Don't provoke them though. There was a report in the local paper a few years ago of a kangaroo drowning a rhodesian ridgeback who had been attacking the roo.

Sou said...

PS Not all the above fauna succeed. Pygmy possums don't do 'scare' very well :)

Anonymous said...

My boss had to leave work early today. His son was on his way to hospital in an ambulance after being bitten by a redback spider.


ronz said...

you are right sou roos shouldn't be messed with. the one my parents got me to ride to school on could be a real bitch. If i pulled her ears to hard she would whip me with her tail.

Craig Allen said...

What is more, we have Bandy Bandies

Anonymous said...

Just an idle biological diversion...

Why is Australian fauna so damned poisonous? One contributing factor is the continent's old age and geological quietude, which result in poor fertility. To make a living in a trophically-challenging environment an animal needs to be able to keep what it catches, and the good way to ensure this is to make sure that dinner isn't going to go far once it's encountered.

Poison works well in this.

Of course, this doesn't apply to those damned stinging trees, although protecting one's own nutrient stores isn't far from the previous point...

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid.

Had quite a chuckle on the replies to this thread.

Down under in Oz, the evil government owned and run TV station called 'ABC TV' created a special show to highlight all these evil flora and fauna and called it "Bush Tucker Man".

Mmmm, all that deadly Oz bush tucker, is very tasty indeed.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1gVqNhoruQ)

In other news, Steve McIntyre just told a really big lie about Gavin, on this thread after replying to a response from Rashit Hantemirov, a noted Russian expert from the "Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences". Submission dated May, 16th, 2012, 9.01 am:

"Steve, I’m horrified by your slipshod work. You did not define what you compare, what dataset used in each case, how data were processed, and what was the reason for that, what limitation there are, what kind of additional information you need to know. Why didn’t you ask me for all the details? You even aren’t ashamed of using information from stolen letters.
Do carelessness, grubbiness, dishonourableness are the
necessary concomitants of your job?"

Steve's very lame reply, time stamped May 16th, 2012, 9.36am :-

"He has to coexist with Briffa, Schmidt and those guys. I suspect that he’s received criticism for providing me with data. I didn’t do anything complicated in the calculation, so I’m not sure what his specific problem is."

Now, we come to Gavin's reply: Yamalian Yawns(http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/05/yamalian-yawns/)

A question asked by D Hogaza(165 page 4) time stamped May, 16th, 2012, 11.36 am, begins thus "Conspiracy theory again, on McI’s part:"

Gavins Reply: "Response: For the record, I have never met or corresponded with Hantemirov about this or any other topic. - gavin"

Steve McI., just kicked his own goal twice, ouch!

bluegrue said...

Hantemirov's points:
1) You did not define what you compare,
2) what dataset used in each case,
3) how data were processed,
4) and what was the reason for that,
5) what limitation there are,
6) what kind of additional information you need to know.
7) Why didn’t you ask me for all the details?

McIntyre retroactively puts up the R-script (which he forgot, just like his e-mail to Hantemirov alerting to the post which was never sent), expecting Hantemirov to learn R first and then plough through undocumented code. Noone of the audience has the data to verify the calculation. You could argue this covers 2 and 3, IMO that's a stretch.

Steve outright dodges 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7. And not one of the acolytes cares.

Anonymous said...

"He has to coexist with Briffa, Schmidt and those guys. I suspect that he’s received criticism for providing me with data. I didn’t do anything complicated in the calculation, so I’m not sure what his specific problem is."

I suspect McIntyre is suffering from a mental illness.


EliRabett said...

Eli guarantees that others are running that code right now. Posts (probably deep climate and moyhu among others) to follow.

First you have to flush the game out of the bush.

Anonymous said...

Most of the Oz fauna referred to are (almost certainly) venomous.

OTOH, at least one Canadian mining consultant is undoubtedly poisonous!


Cymraeg llygoden