The Politico’s editorial meetings

This strikes me as about right:

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Killer dolphins

So, I was especially intrigued by the recent fatal orca attack, as I had just watched part of a documentary about killer whales with David, in which we both learned that the are actually the largest species of the dolphin family.  I had actually come to believe in recent years, that whale vs. dolphin was an artificial distinction for the purposes of language and that as far as scientists go, they were just all cetaceans.  But here was a nature special suggesting this was a real difference.  To the google!  Anyway, I learned that while there are some artificial distinctions based on size, that for the most part scientists consider all members of the family delphinidae to be dolphins.  In addition to all the dolphin species, this includes a number of similar whale species (killer whale, false killer whale– a new one for me, pilot whale, and right whale).  Interestingly, porpoises are not part of this family.  Okay, probably more than you wanted to know, but I quite enjoyed research the matter. 

On a note you might find more interesting, Salon had a very interesting interview with a marine biologist on the subject of captive orcas.  You would probably not be too surprised to learn that when you take a highly social and intelligent species and place it in extreme captivity, you tend to get psychological pathologies.  It was pretty interesting.  After watching The Cove, I am definitely opposed to the captivity of all cetaceans (be they members of the dolphin family or not).  Watch this trailer, and hopefully you will be intrigued enough to watch the movie.  It is a terrific, action-packed documentary. 

Amy Bishop

So presumably you remember Amy Bishop, the Alabama-Huntsville professor who shot and killed several colleagues, apparently due to being denied tenure.  I know I'm belated on this, but just wanted to make one point.  Initially, there was actually a fair amount of commentary suggesting that Amy Bishop became a killer because of the difficulties women face in the workplaces of academia.  Emily Bazelon talks about it here.  Anyway, what I thought was interesting was the fact that a number of feminists, none too brightly, latched on to this idea.  If you pay any attention to spree killers and related whack-o's, (e.g., the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building), they are all aggrieved victims in their own eyes.  Amy Bishop was a woman, so obviously she was going to see her grievances through that lens, just like the Texas whack-o saw himself as a poor, downtrodden white man.  The obvious mistake here, is putting any stock or belief into the actions and/or rantings of the type of person who flies their plane into a building or shoots their colleagues. 

 

 

 

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