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The outer space octopus theory

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Here’s something fun for Wednesday evening. What with the recent news that the government wants to spend money looking for extraterrestrials, what if we already have some aliens living right under our noses? (Well… under our boats anyway.) Another scientific study has been released offering the controversial claim that there’s a decent chance the octopus (and the rest of the cephalopods) arrived on Earth in the form of frozen eggs 250 million years ago and actually evolved on another world. (Express UK)

The paper suggests that the explanation for the sudden flourishing of life during the Cambrian era – often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion – lies in the stars, as a result of the Earth being bombarded by clouds of organic molecules.

But the scientists go on to make an even more extraordinary claim concerning octopuses, which seem to have evolved on Earth quite rapidly something like 270 million years ago, 250 million years after the Cambrian explosion…

“One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.

“Thus the possibility that cryopreserved Squid and/or Octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago should not be discounted as that would be a parsimonious cosmic explanation for the Octopus’ sudden emergence on Earth circa 270 million years ago.”

This wasn’t the first group to suggest it. In 2015 another research group reached a similar conclusion. The more you read into it, the less crazy it sounds. As we’ve studied the various animals on the planet in ever deeper detail, the octopus really doesn’t seem to fit in with everything else.

They’re an invertebrate, but they have 10,000 more protein-coding genes than a human being. They have problem-solving skills, they use tools and have been observed constructing a shelter out of things like broken coconut shells. (Not just using a shelter they find, the way crabs do, but actually building something.) And where did that instant camouflage ability come from? Their nervous system is almost entirely unique among animals.

And they just don’t look right. Most of the animals you see on the land, in the water or in the air follow a basic pattern. There’s a central body with four protruding limbs and a head of some sort. Even the animals like snakes that don’t appear to have legs have vestigial limbs inside. The insects made the switch to six legs but the basic layout is still the same. (Don’t get me started on the centipedes. They’re probably from another world also.) And then there are the cephalopods. Eight to ten limbs sticking out of a central mass with a huge brain, eyes with structures resembling a camera (like ours, actually) and a host of other differences.

If you happen to be a fan of the theory of panspermia, is it really such a crazy idea? Dormant cells get blown out into space on some other planet, hitch a ride on some rocks and debris and survive in a dormant state until they crash land someplace else where they can take root. Maybe that explains why the octopus is just so darn weird.

In any event, if you want to amuse yourself for a couple of minutes, check out this octopus changing color and texture dozens of times in a row to match his environment as he moves along the ocean floor. It’s beyond amazing.

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Caravan reaches Mexican border, breaks through fence on Guatemalan side

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The migrant caravan reached the southern border of Mexico Thursday night and NBC News reports some have already crossed the border. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal described the situation along the Mexican border as tense:

Tension was palpable in Ciudad Hidalgo, a tiny tropical village in Mexico surrounded by rain forest and banana plantations that borders Tecun Uman in Guatemala, with the two towns separated by a muddy river. Late Thursday, some 300 Mexican federal police officers equipped with antiriot gear were deployed to the border crossing ahead of the caravan’s expected arrival…

Many migrants marched along the river banks on Thursday afternoon. “Let them know that we are going to cross to Mexico!” shouted a man clad with a cap in front of the crowd.

The border between Mexico and Guatemala (at this location) is the Suchiate River. Here’s what that looks like from the bridge spanning the river:

There are gates on both sides of the bridge to control traffic. Buzzfeed’s Karla Zabs is there covering developments this morning. A short time ago the caravan began massing at the Guatemalan gate:

And that led to a standoff. The AP reports that “young men” eventually tore open the barricade and swarmed onto the bridge:

Migrants in a caravan traveling through Central America have broken down gates at a border crossing and are streaming toward a bridge to Mexico.

After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence Friday, some clambered atop it and on U.S.-donated military jeeps.

Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down.

Men, women and children then rushed through toward the bridge, about 150 yards (137 meters) away.

This tweet translates as “Bombshell! Thousands of Hondurans manage to enter Mexican territory!”

The Noticias video below helps explain the sequence of events. This is a live stream but you can scroll back. First people were massed at the yellow gates on the Guatemalan side of the bridge. Then they broke through those gates and streamed onto the bridge as seen in that clip above. The migrants made their way to the Mexican side of the bridge and, at first, it appeared the gates were open, but they were pushed closed by police with riot shields.

A shoving match ensued between the police and the migrants trying to re-open the gates. Some migrants are throwing things at the police and the police appear to be using batons to keep people’s hands off the gates. Finally, when the gate is shut, you see some men jumping off the bridge into the water where they swim to a nearby raft.

Stalemate, at least for the moment:

I’ll update this post when the situation changes.

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BREAKING: Nellie Ohr Invokes Marital Privilege Preventing Her From Answering Questions About Talks With Her Husband Bruce Ohr

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Nellie Ohr, wife of twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr appeared on Capitol Hill Friday to face lawmakers in a closed-door grilling.

Mrs. Ohr was supposed to appear for a deposition last month but she was refusing to cooperate with lawmakers.

Now this…

Nellie Ohr invoked marital privilege on Friday preventing her from answering questions about her husband Bruce Ohr.

MANU RAJU: Very rare bipartisan agreement: Both sides say Nellie Ohr interview has been led to nothing. She invoked marital privilege preventing her from answering qs about talks with her husband. @MarkMeadows sees no reason to bring her back. @CongressmanRaja calls it a “nothing burger”

Rep. Mark Meadows confirmed Nellie Ohr invoked spousal privilege. 

The House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees sought to question Nellie Ohr after her husband Bruce Ohr gave an explosive testimony to Congress.


The former Associate Deputy Attorney General told Congress the FBI knew his wife, Nellie Ohr worked for oppo research firm Fusion GPS yet failed to disclose that information to the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court].

Nellie Ohr was paid multiple large payments by Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm that commissioned dossier author Christopher Steele.

Mrs. Ohr also previously worked for the CIA and was a corrupt Communist sympathizer who spoke fluent Russian.

This story is still developing…please check back for updates.

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Disney Princess movies are now problematic

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This week there have been stories about two different Hollywood actresses who both find Disney Princess movies to be problematic in some way. Once celebrities are talking about it, it’s sure to become a trend if it wasn’t one already. First up is actress Keira Knightley who told Ellen Degeneres that she doesn’t allow her daughters to watch Cinderella or the Little Mermaid. From the BBC:

Knightley told Ellen DeGeneres that 1950’s Cinderella “waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself. Obviously!”

She said of Little Mermaid: “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!”

The actress added: “And this is the one that I’m quite annoyed about because I really like the film. I love The Little Mermaid! That one’s a little tricky – but I’m keeping to it.”

I realize there’s probably no upside to arguing about something like this but I guess I expect a bit more from people who actually work in the film industry telling stories for a living. Cinderella is not about a woman waiting around to be rescued by a rich man. That’s missing the real emotional core of the story. Cinderella is about a woman who has been unfairly abused her whole life by her family but whose good qualities are finally recognized and given the respect they are due. The point of the story isn’t that she marries a rich dude, though that does happen. The point is that Cinderella is elevated after years of oppression and her family is punished (violently in some version of the story) for their wicked behavior.

As for the Little Mermaid, I have daughters and I’ve seen this more times than I can count. So I can say with certainty that Knightley gets this one wrong too. In the film, Ariel is obsessed with living life on land and after rescuing a drowning prince she agrees to trade her voice for a chance at happiness (largely because her father refuses to help her pursue her dreams). When Ariel asks how she can win the prince without her voice, the villain suggests she use her looks and pretty face.

But it doesn’t work. Under the villain’s spell, the prince is going to marry the villain until Ariel’s friends intervene and help her get her voice back. It’s only at that moment that the prince realizes Ariel is the one he loves. So, even if you woke-analyze this thing to death, the message isn’t ‘give up your voice for a man and rely on your looks.’ Only the evil villainess recommends that and it doesn’t work. The message here is that a prince will love your voice first and foremost and, in fact, probably won’t love you without it. That seems like a pretty decent message for girls.

Actress Kristen Bell, who starred in Disney’s megahit Frozen, also has problems with at least one of Disney’s princess films. During a recent interview with Parents magazine, she said she talks to her kids about elements of Snow White that bother her, including the kiss:

“Every time we close Snow White I look at my girls and ask, ‘Don’t you think it’s weird that Snow White didn’t ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got that apple?’ I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing something right.’”

The apple question is not the only one that Bell—a Disney Princess herself as the voice of Anna in Frozen—has after reading the tale. “Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she has asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”

I guess her kids won’t be trick or treating this Halloween since that would also be taking food from strangers. The kiss thing is especially silly. Snow White wasn’t taking a nap, she was all but dead. The dwarves were mourning her. Also, the prince isn’t some random guy. He fell in love with her at the beginning of the film and has been searching for her ever since. The whole point of the kiss is that it’s symbolic of his “true love” not some pervert taking advantage of an unconscious woman. And even when he kisses her he clearly believes she’s dead. The prince is surprised when she sits up, alive. Snow White then falls into his arms and rides off into the sunset with him. She loves him too. She’s happy. There is nothing creepy about it.

I wouldn’t expect your average woke-feminist to care about any of these details but, again, these women tell stories for a living. The details and the symbolism ought to matter a bit more than making some political point. Instead of taking a second look, Bell is now claiming to be the victim of misplaced internet outrage:

Here’s Keira Knightley on Ellen:

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