The newest episode of LibertyWeek is now up and ready for everyone's listening pleasure. You know, the podcast that I co-host yet haven't mentioned on my own blog until this week. That's the one: LibertyWeek!
UPDATE: Well, it took until this morning, but someone has registered their (qualified) displeasure here.
Here's how the Japanese hornet treats other insects (and would presumably treat us, if we were small enough). An adult hornet will fly miles to find some squishy shit to feed to its children. Often times, it finds its food in, say, a hive inhabited by thousands of bees.
What to do? Well, Vespa japonica sprays the nest with some of the acid/pheromone and brings in reinforcements, usually consisting of 30 or so fellow hornets. They then descend upon the beehive like an unholy plague of hell-born death engines and proceed to make this world a scary goddamned place. This is maybe 30 wasps against 30,000 bees and the 30,000 bees do not stand a chance.
Behold the hornets systematically seize them with huge, wicked jaws and literally fucking cut them apart, one by one by one by fucking one. In three hours, there are piles of limbs and heads and just fucking bits of things that could possibly have been alive at one point, and the hornets have stormed the hive and flown away with all the bee's children. Who will then be eaten.
Nature is fucking hardcore.
When the Patriots got near the goal line, they opted for subterfuge. With Faulk lined up in the backfield, the Patriots faked a direct snap to him. Instead, the ball was in Brady’s hand. Evoking the Statue of Liberty play, he turned his back to the defense, keeping the ball hidden on his hip. By the time he spun around, Welker was so open in the back of the end zone that he was waving as if for a fair catch. The touchdown pass gave the Patriots a 21-14 lead and made the rest of the game seem inevitable.
“I’m looking for my Academy Award on that play,” Brady said.
In 2006 two Indian fishermen, in a drunken sleep aboard their little boat, drifted over the reef and fetched up on the shore of North Sentinel Island. They were promptly killed by the inhabitants. Their bodies are still there: the helicopter that went to collect them was driven away by a hail of arrows and spears. The Sentinelese do not welcome trespassers. Only very occasionally have they been lured down to the beach of their tiny island home by gifts of coconuts and only once or twice have they taken these gifts without sending a shower of arrows in return.
Several archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras. From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. War is a big word for dawn raids, skirmishes and lots of posturing, but death rates are high—usually around 25-30% of adult males die from homicide. The warfare death rate of 0.5% of the population per year that Lawrence Keeley of the University of Illinois calculates as typical of hunter-gatherer societies would equate to 2 billion people dying during the 20th century.
At first, anthropologists were inclined to think this a modern pathology. But it is increasingly looking as if it is the natural state. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University says that chimpanzees and human beings are the only animals in which males engage in co-operative and systematic homicidal raids. The death rate is similar in the two species. Steven LeBlanc, also of Harvard, says Rousseauian wishful thinking has led academics to overlook evidence of constant violence.
[Former editor Bill] Buford, who is 53, is now a staff writer on the New Yorker, where he must conform to house-styles and age-old constrictions, but at Granta in 1979 it was like a playground. The first issues took over Buford's Cambridge rooms, where he was studying for a second degree in English (he soon established himself as the dominant and bullish force in the editorial partnership). He remembers sheets of film on every surface, and a final editing process that involved scissors and tape. The design - not as clean or well-spaced as it is now but nonetheless sturdy and readable - was based on an American academic quarterly. Buford intended to return to America after the first issue but when it sold out its run of 800 copies and a subsequent reprint, he thought, 'Maybe there's something here...'
The cost of a subscription was set at £3.50, although it wasn't specified how many issues a reader would receive for this investment (which was, it turned out, one of the best omissions Buford ever made). The magazine moved to premises above an art gallery, and then above a hairdresser. 'For the third issue,' Buford says, 'I got a manuscript sent to me by Tom Maschler from this new guy that everyone was excited about called Salman Rushdie.' This issue, Granta proclaimed in its portentous and painful way, 'collects work from writers and critics which suggests it might be the end of the English novel, but also the beginning of British fiction'. Clearly something was changing. Martin Amis and Ian McEwan came to Cambridge to read work in progress, and admission fees helped pay the rent. Buford recalls a later conversation with Amis in which the novelist said: 'If you were a literary fiction writer and you were a kid, your horizon was empty, there was really nothing else going on. People weren't writing fiction or talking about it - everyone wanted to work for the BBC.'
When the Rushdie manuscript came in, later to be published as Midnight's Children, Buford says: 'It was everything you wanted a British writer to be doing - it had narrative flair and culture and history, and it was very aware. Everything then broke open.'