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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Butterflies, freeBies, and Bollocks about aBuse verdicts.

Yesterday I walked 10104 steps, which was 4.8 miles, burning 704 calories. Yey me! And yey for pedometers...

There is an incredible story in today's Guardian about a butterfly which became extinct in the UK in 1979, whose lives depended on some rather intricate trickery.

It has now been re-introduced to 10 secret, and 1 public site in Britain, and its survival story is really quite incredible.
The rather unimaginatively named Large Blue butterfly [...] begins life as a normal caterpillar and the young larvae feed on wild thyme flowers.

From then on its life depends on its con trick. As each larva drops to the ground, it secretes a sticky sugary substance which is irresistible to ants.

The ants are tricked into thinking that the larva is a lost ant grub and take it into their underground colony.

But not any old ant will do, only large colonies of a single species of red ant - Myrnica sabuleti - can act as a suitable host.

An incredible phase in the caterpillar's life then begins where for 10 months it turns into a carnivore - eating the ant grubs while the hapless ants feed and care for it as one of their own.

The caterpillar pupates in the ant nest, finally emerging for a few brief days in the last stage of its remarkable life as a beautiful butterfly.

Changing farming techniques led to the decline of the red ant the butterfly depends on and in 1979 the Large Blue became extinct in Britain.

Mathew Oates, the National Trust's adviser on nature conservation, said: "Over the next few weeks and future summers we look forward to welcoming visitors at Collard Hill to come and see this rare and beautiful butterfly and understand its extraordinary life of deception."


Free stuff

There are pages and pages of lists of sources of free information, loads of things you needed to find out, and also things you didn't know you needed to find out. There is also some cool, free software and loads of discount voucher codes for many online shops. I don't get any exciting commission or anything for any of those, they are just cool and handy.

Michael Jackson

Monday's entry here caused a bit of a stir in the comments. So, responses follow, though how much I do or don't go into this I will see, as I am exhausted and fairly miserable.

Ok, so slowdown shows us this picture which, oh my god, I agree is so weird. I'm quite glad to not be a part of mankind because, if nothing else, he's certainly not apologising on my behalf!

Then metatron joined in. S/he begins, 'Unless you have some categorical evidence to support your disgust - and I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that I doubt this is true - then how exactly do you know that the decision was wrong?'.

Firstly, categorical evidence of sexual abuse very, very rarely exists. It just isn't that type of crime. Secondly, there are aspects of the prosecution's evidence which I actually do think are fairly categorical. Like that both Michael Jackson's and the kid's fingerprints were found on some of Jackson's pornography. This has been widely discussed as typical behaviour of abusers grooming their victims, when it is actually more than that. An adult showing a child pornography is already sexually abusing them.

Let me restate that. Showing children pornography is sexual abuse.

And thirdly, you are demanding categorical evidence that he was guilty. Surely on that basis you agree that he could not ever be safely declared innocent, as proving a lack or absence of something can be virtually impossible. There is evidence that he is guilty. What possible evidence could there be that he wasn't?

'What is your hatred based on?'
My hatred is based on the facts above, and the actions of this man, who when previously accused of sexually abusing a child, paid them off with $millions instead of letting the evidence stand for itself. And a man in his forties who routinely shares his bed with children in any case, and whose house is like a child's fantasy playground. It is also like a paedophile's fantasy playground, let's face it.

'Did you follow the case? Did you see the prosecution's "evidence"?'
Yes. Yes.

'Or does Michael just look a bit odd? Wow! I like your idea of justice.'
Umm hold on. Yes, he does look a bit odd, but the connection between that and his guilt is what? Are you presuming (rightly) that I think he looks odd, and presuming (wrongly) that that is why I think he is guilty? Can I paraphrase your good self in asking where the evidence is to make such a random connection?

'The prosecution failed to produce even the slightest sliver of credible evidence. All they had was hearsay from habitual liars, but you're certain he was guilty because ... ? What?'
Well, what I said above really. And what Jennifer and many commenters say here, and what many, many people are saying all over the world and the web! But I went into some of it at least above and that will have to do.

'Perhaps him being a man didn't fit in well with your feminism?'
Well, perhaps him being a man who showed pornography to a child doesn't fit in well with my feminism? And him being a man who has used his immense wealth and undeserved influence to completely control his surroundings to, thus far, protect himself from the justice of the real world doesn't fit in well with my feminism. And maybe his being a man who possesses and uses lots of fetishising and demeaning and 'barely legal' porngraphy doesn't fit in well with my feminism.

'Might I suggest you try acquiring the trait of objectivism?'
You might, but I had to look it up. Objectivism, it seems, is less of a trait and more of either the particular philosophy of Ayn Rand, or a movement within art, in areas such as poetry or literature - a type of 20th century poetry in which objects are selected and portrayed for their own particular value, rather than their symbolic quality or the intellectual concept of the author.

So, that said I'm going to presume you meant objectivity (though even then I'm still not sure it's strictly a trait, but that's the obsessive linguist in me so I'll stop). I do have the skill of objectivity. I have done enough reading, studying, debating, campaigning, reasoning and just plain living to have that skill. But objectivity in itself is really quite dull, especially where opinionated blogging is concerned.

I generally believe that objectivity is the place to start, using the objective facts and statistics and generalisations and information to then build an opinion. If you want to read total objectivity then a blog is not the place to look. In theory a news reporting website would be a source of objective fact but that is virtually never the case either. True objectivity is a lot rarer in our media than is often thought.

But yes, I understand and appreciate objectivity, but as a basis to then build on with what I know and live and learn subjectively and through experience, as that is what is vitally important.

'I wasn't aware that the average hippie sought the existence of a police state and mob justice by gut feelings, preferring it to due process.'
I'm not the average hippie, thank god. I'm not the average anything. And you are right that no average hippie, nor this hippie here seeks the existence of a police state. Unfortunately we mostly live in one, but believing Michael Jackson has bought his way out of allegations several years ago, and has bought his way into the service of a persuasive team of barristers this time, does not in any way equate to seeking a police state.

Breathe out.

The adorable custard spy jumped in with her own wonderfulness: 'Metratron, sort yourself out! Consider this: would any other 45 year old man found to have been sleeping with children get away with it? Really? And for someone who wants an evidential basis for statements, please at least have the courtesy to READ Hippie's blog before you accuse her of making judgements on the basis of appearance (I don't believe the post made any reference to MJ's looks)or gender. In contrast, you've demonstrated your own tendency to do this with your facile assumption of "she's a feminist - she must hate Michael Jackson because he's a man"! Think about it. Learn something new yourself.', to which I nod a lot and smile and giggle, and slowdown rejoined the discussion, with 'I concur. I don't see what Hippie's opinion on Jackson has to do with feminism, apart from the fact that Metatron obviously seems uncomfortable with both. I also suspect that he/she/it meant 'objectivity' rather than 'objectivism', but that's just the sort of slip people tend to make when indulging in their own subjective rants. They also tend to forget that they're on a blog - where strong personal opinions are to be expected - and consequently end up forgetting their manners. But that's just my opinion.'

I am mainly quoting those last two comments, rather than discussing them. This is partly because they articulately and cleverly make their own points very clearly, and it is partly because I'm really tired now and need to rest! But waves to Custard Spy and slowdown for knowing why I blog, and why I'm not an appalling person who makes judgements on the basis of unusual facial features.

2 comments:

slowdown said...

Well put. And as if that wasn't enough, it seems that some of the Jackson case jurors - yes, the jurors - have their suspicions: one is quoted on the BBC saying "I feel that Michael Jackson probably has molested boys". Christ on a pogo stick.

cat said...

Only in America...