Devon farmer's warning over 'Nazi super cows'
Originally posted by maureenlycaon at Devon farmer's warning over 'Nazi super cows'
That's the title of the Exeter Express & Echo article. (Fark article here.) I think the understanding of the "journalist" involved is on a level with the theory of spontaneous generation. If they care to emigrate here, they could have a bright future at FOX News.

The once-extinct aurochs were brought back to life by Adolf Hitler's scientists in the 1930s after officially dying out 4,000 years ago. . . .

The pair traced the species' descendants to domestic breeds and managed to ''pull the wild genes out'' in a Jurassic Park-style experiment. . . .

Heinz and Lutz Heck found their descendants in a cattle from the Scottish Highlands, Corsica and the French Camargue, as well as Spanish fighting bulls.

They then identified the particular auroch gene, which they were able to use to bring them back from the 'dead'.

To tackle this morass of mistakes one by one:

No, Heck cattle are most certainly not aurochs, and Adolf Hitler's scientists did not bring the aurochs back to life, nor did the aurochs go extinct 4,000 years ago. The last one died in 1627, in Poland.

What the hells is a "Jurassic Park-style experiment"? There was no genetic engineering here, no inserting of different species' DNA, no nothing of the sort!

There is no magical "aurochs gene", for fuck's sake! And Heck cattle are not zombies!

The cattle in question don't truly deserve the name "aurochs", though enthusiasts often claim they are aurochs. They are not "Nazi cattle" either, even if the Nazis liked them. A better name would be "Heck cattle", since the creators of the breed were the Heck brothers, Heinz and Lutz, two zoo directors, back in the 1920s and 1930s. Their origin is a bit of historical weirdness.

A lot of different philosophical and artistic strains as far back as the nineteenth century went into what eventually became the Nazi movement, and the Heck brothers were in tune with this. As part of this, people became fascinated with anything that they thought had to do with "the German race's" history, prehistory and barbarian past -- including the ancient forests they lived in and the beasts they knew. For reasons that would take too long to go into, the original aurochs (ancestor of the domestic cow) and the primitive horse (the tarpan) loomed large in this racial fantasy. (Yes, there is a Heck horse breed, too.)

So, the Heck brothers had the idea that they could bring back the extinct aurochs just by selectively breeding its descendents: domestic cows. They crossed and recrossed selected "primitive" breeds to create a breed of cattle that they thought was identical to the aurochs, mainly because it looked just like it -- or so they said.

As anyone who knows something about genetics can tell you, this isn't true. Just because an animal looks like its ancestor does not mean that its genome is identical.

The article calls Derek Gow a "Devon farmer". It's a dark day when tabloid writers can't even check Wikipedia. From the Heck cattle entry: "Derek Gow, a British conservationist who operates a rare breeds farm on the Devonshire-Cornwall border, bought a herd of 13 Heck cattle in 2009."

The guts of the story boil down to this: seven of the cattle were so vicious that Gow couldn't keep them. ''The ones we had to get rid of would just attack you any chance they could. They would try to kill anyone. Dealing with that was not a lot of fun at all."

They ended up being sent to a slaughterhouse. There, in a nutshell, is your Nazi supercow menace: seven beasts who are now Nazi burgers.

Darkmoon's video card went out again.
It also went out last winter, in Nov. or Dec.

I am off to Fry's via bus, apologies to anyone who had planned anything involving gaming this morning.

just for kicks

Interesting article on women and education in ancient China.

So.. My old journal is alive again...
It's here:

And they don't understand why people pirate their stuff . . .
Originally posted by maureenlycaon at And they don't understand why people pirate their stuff . . .
I ordered my copy of the Pacific Rim DVD set on the 21st. By some miracle, the beast showed up at my house barely two days later, in good condition. That's the good part.

The bad part? Well, besides the fact that Windows Media Player Classic has problems with the aspect ratio and I need to watch it in VLC instead?

Well, there's a promise on Amazon that when you purchase the physical media here, you also are entitled to a free, legal digital copy of the movie, which you can download any time in the next two years. It's called "UltraViolet". Of course you can't copy it, but that's to be expected. Sounds cool, yes?

Except that when I opened the DVD case and had the key in my hot little hand, I went to the URL to download it, a domain I'd never heard of before, Then I discovered that I have to make an account with two different domains, Flixter and UltraViolet. Better yet, they sent me through fill-out forms demanding my real name, address, etc. In other words, the whole thing appears to be yet another personal data-mining operation, perfectly suited to get more meatspace and email addresses for spam, disguised as a service.

Oh, yes, and they also offered to let me log in on my Facebook or GooglePlus accounts. Since I also regard both of those as data-mining operations disguised as services, that wasn't much help.

Of course I could have given a false identity, I suppose. I have no idea what will happen then. If they find out, it seems it would be inefficient to go after me legally; they'd likely just delete the account. But would they have some way of deleting the digital copy I have? Does the thing have programming to check home now and then? And remember, I can't copy it, even to move it to another folder or hard drive.

Now, if I'd illegally bootlegged the thing, I wouldn't have this problem. Or, I could get the software to rip the DVD to my own hard drive, and then I'd have a backup copy.

It all goes to show -- in an environment where the MafIAA treats its customers as potential criminals, pirated downloads have the fewest problems.

The physical media itself? Oh, it's fine, a good-quality copy that plays nicely in VLC and in the latest version of Media Player. The second DVD has a blooper reel, animations, kaiju and jaeger designs, and so forth. I would recommend it, but you'll have to make your own provisions for a backup copy -- or resign yourself to being spammed and reduced to a marketing entity.

Food for thought

(no subject)
I ought to see if there is a way to merge journals so that people don't get confused.

updates and stuff
Well, Darkmoon and I will hopefully be settled in in Encino by the end of November.

@ntshadow - happy belated birthday. Hope Sandy wasn't too rough up there.

Technical phone difficulties
We fired the cable company and swapped to Verizon.

As a result we lost blocking capability and have been receiving constant and harassing calls from private/unknown numbers who either will not leave a message, refuse to identify who they are when we do speak, or hang up (are autodialers).

I've had to block anonymous calls as a result.  It's cut down on most of it and I'm working on getting call block enabled on the line.

The phone number hasn't changed, i'm sure it's just an issue with regards to the port.

This is an FYI to my friends who do wish to keep *their* numbers anonymous who might have received the "your call is not being answered blah blah blah" message and wondered.. "WTF????"


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