Octopuses

The reason that octopuses don’t do as well as mammals and birds in laboratory intelligence tests is that, unlike birds and monkeys, octopuses quickly get bored with repetitive tasks and find some novel way to play with the apparatus…

Octopuses can assemble and disassemble compound objects…

They are curious, flexible, adventurous, and opportunistic…

When they get bored, octopuses tend to become hostile in a mischievous way. They learn how to turn the lights out in a laboratory by squirting water at electrical sockets, and they will squirt individual lab workers whom they particularly dislike. They can easily recognize individual humans and are capable of holding grudges. They will sometimes show contempt by dumping down the drain any food that they consider beneath their standard. Other animals might thoughtlessly consume the food or just leave it untouched. But an octopus will make sure that a feeder in the lab is watching while it walks over to the sink and throws the food down the drain in full view.

When lab attendants are not paying attention, bored octopuses will snack on other animals in the laboratory and go back to their tanks without getting caught. Not only can they walk across floors, they can even open door handles. Those who are fed up with captivity will find ingenious ways to escape, in some cases even reaching the ocean. They are aided in these Houdini stunts by having a boneless, perfectly deformable body that can squeeze through any hole larger than its eyeballs.

from Closer Encounters by Jason Jorjani

Environmental hero

In 1993, Steven Donziger, a recent Harvard law school graduate and human rights attorney, began working on an environmental case on behalf of Ecuadorian native tribes poisoned by Texaco’s dumping waste in the Amazon. The case eventually became a 30,000-person class action lawsuit against Texaco in New York federal court. Texaco/Chevron did not dispute that pollution occurred, and “freely admits that large sludge pits still dot the Amazon”, the New Yorker reported.

Chevron lost a $10 billion judgment, but instead of paying the judgment they have spent literally billions of dollars going after Donziger, confining him to house detention for 3 years for the “crime” of appealing a judge’s ruling.

It’s a heroic tale, and it tells us how much Big Oil fears activists and fears the truth.

Read more from TheGuardian

Background and other lawsuits by Nan Greer
Newsweek article from 2008

When lying is illegal, those who define ‘truth’ are beyond criticism

Censorship is the inevitable reaction of power towards speech that it finds threatening. If you’re on a platform where censorship is widely practised, you’re in the right place; if you’re being censored, you’re probably saying things that powerful find inconvenient or even threatening. You have to be resilient and persistent, and not let the censors distract you from your message.

s/He who blogs under the pseudonym “Eugypius

Nothing enrages the official authorized commentariat like the common riff raff having access to platforms and audiences. That’s why the official authorized commentariat have been the most vocal voices calling for internet censorship and complaining about the rise of a more democratized information environment. These elitist wankers have been fuming for years about the way the uninitiated rabble have been granted the ability to not just talk, but to talk back.

Caitlin Johnstone

Twenty-five years before “Ignorance is strength”

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have thus far harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of disassociated knowledge will open up terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
— H. B. Lovecraft

Veterans’ Day and the Fog of War

WW I was completely unnecessary. No one knew what it was about, except the people who profited from lending money to both sides. The Armistice that ended WW I set the stage for WW II.

Here is David Swanson writing about the Fog of War in a present day context.

U.S. and other Western diplomats, spies, and theorists predicted for 30 years that breaking a promise and expanding NATO would lead to war with Russia. …. President Obama refused to arm Ukraine, predicting that doing so would lead toward where we are now — as Obama still saw it in April 2022. 

U.S. plays [a dominant role] in weapons dealing and war, it’s responsible for some 80% of international arms dealing, 90% of foreign military bases, and 50% of military spending, the U.S. military arms, trains, and funds the militaries of 96% of the most oppressive governments on earth, 3% of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth, etc., etc. [And] the U.S. did not want Osama bin Laden put on trial…

The chief fog fact is that the U.S. and its NATO sidekicks have been preventing the ending of the war, not just by providing the weapons for one side of it, but by blocking negotiations. 

Nonviolent action works!

David Swanson

AFGO

Bless those who challenge us to grow, to stretch, to move beyond the knowable, to come back home to our elemental and essential nature. Bless those who challenge us for they remind us of doors we have closed and doors we have yet to open.

Navajo saying

Glimpses of Camus

To give up beauty and the sensual happiness that comes with it and devote one’s self exclusively to unhappiness requires a nobility I lack…isolate beauty ends in grimaces, solitary justice in oppression. Anyone who seeks to serve the one to the exclusion of the other serves no one, not even himself, and in the end is doubly the servant of injustice.

— Albert Camus, born this day in 1913

What makes a man feel alone is the cowardice of others. Must one try to understand that cowardice too? But it’s beyond my strength. And, on the other hand, I cannot be a scorner.

— A.C.

Camus grew up in poverty but under the sun and by the sea in Algeria where he found beauty and joy in nature.  He knew there was a grey, depressing form of poverty that did not provide such solace.  He was trying at a young age to express what he later said differently: “I cling like a miser to the freedom that disappears as soon as there is an excess of things.” 

Edward Curtin

The lie lulls or dreams, like the illusion. The truth is the only power, cheerful, inexhaustible. If we were able to live only of, and for truth: young and immortal energy in us. The man of truth does not age. A little more effort and he will not die.

— A. C.

Truth is something so noble that if God would turn aside from it, I would keep the truth and let God go.

Meister Eckhart