Terror Birds

Today, I took David to his first-ever trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Needless to say, it was a hit.  The visit led us talk a lot about some recent documentaries we've been watching on DVD, the “Walking With…” series from BBC and Discovery Channel.  We first watched “Walking with Dinosaurs,” which was pretty amazing.  But actually, what turned out to be even more fascinating was the sequel, “Walking with Prehistoric Beasts,” about when gigantic predatory birds (i.e., Terror Birds) and all sorts of bizarre and now long-extinct mammals ruled the planet after the extinction of the dinosaurs.  I found it interesting how we are all so familiar with dinosaus like the T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, etc., but how most of us have surely never heard of the nine-foot tall Terror Birds which roamed the plains of South America for millions of years as the top predator (and even made it into Florida before going extinct) or the 20-foot long Megatherium, a massive sloth.  If you like nature documentaries at all and are the least bit curious about amazing extinct animals species you've never heard of, you should really check this out. 

Media and missiles

A couple weeks ago I posted about the complete failure that is our nation's anti-missile system.  With North Korea's recent test launch, I thought I'd link to this analsysis that shows how uncritically (and insufficiently) mainstream media reports on issues like this.  As the analysis in the link shows, most major outlets simply reported that we had readied our missile defense in response to the North Korean threat.  Very few of these reports actually mentioned that the missile defense system does not work.  If you want to look for bias in the media, some might say here is a clear conservative bias in favor of the administration.  That would be wrong, though.  What is in evidence is a bias towards ignorance and laziness.  Despite the fact that people have been writing for years about the problems with our missile defense, it would have taken actual work to do research on the issue.  Much easier to pretty much unquestionally parrot an administration press release. 

%d bloggers like this: