July 14, 2021 Wednesday links

  1. Conversations with Tyler – Richard Prum on Birds, Beauty, and Finding Your Own Way (Ep. 126): “Well, that’s a really cool thing. Actually, if you go back to the gait of a crocodile or any tetrapod, the front legs and the hind legs were really coupled. You have to do that well. Going back, probably, in the very long bipedal theropod dinosaurs — long history of bipedality in theropod dinosaurs. Those things had to be uncoupled, and it required a lot of rewiring both of the motor movement, the brain, the muscles, et cetera. That’s ancient in the lineage of birds.andWe usually thought that you have social monogamy, at least two birds helping raise the young, because the young are so needy and they have to grow up quickly. But there’s another possibility, which is that they could evolve to be so needy and grow up quickly because they managed to get males at the nest.” andNow, sometimes albatrosses don’t breed until they’re 20 years old or even, on average, maybe it’s what — 10 years old. What are they doing in the meantime that’s so important?andThe real fundamental mystery is why do flowers smell beautiful? That one does not have [laughs], at least immediately, appealing answers because, it turns out, there are no receptor genes in common between a bee and a human, and they’re responding to the same flower odors in a similar way.andBees are making choices, and they’re making aesthetic choices based on the memorably rewarding experience of using a flower.and I think one of the things that can impress a person without the experience to understand that the hard work is worthwhile, or will be worthwhile, is spectacle.andThe scale of cat death — I don’t know the numbers, but way more birds are killed by cats than are killed by all the wind power in America. It’s devastating. It’s billions of birds.
  2. The Art of Fishing With Birds – youtube
  3. Sun Ra UFO Story as told by Brother Ah – youtube, via Ted Gioia
  4. Slow Boring on “Protesting Joe Biden thanks to a fundamental misreading of the situation” – hits on big points about how “people trying to defend the status quo almost always win in U.S. legislative fights because we have a lot of veto points” and how naming the solution is sometimes not the most productive course if “you are actually interested in constructive social change.” From interfluidity: “Durable change does not in fact come from crushing a near-equally-matched social enemy. It comes from cooptation until the rump social enemy is small, and can then be cleanly defeated… At home as abroad, the real struggle is always for hearts and minds. The rest is just carnage.”

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