Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where's The Outrage?


Yo - "Conservatives",

Michael Jackson was plagued with financial problems at the time of his death in 2009. Last year, the IRS sued Jackson’s estate, claiming that it owed over $700 million in federal taxes.

If you're really all that het up about Da Gubmint staying off everybody's back, then you need to be raising something of a stink every time.  Being selective about your deep concern over who's getting stepped on is why the rest of us are pretty sure you're a lot more worried about who gets to join your little club and who doesn't.  

BTW, here's a tip for ya: You're not in the club.  And your eagerness to slag people in order to keep them out of the club is an obvious attempt to suck up to the bosses who are in the club, and - listen to me now cuz I'm talking sense here - that's not gonna get you into their club.  They need you to think they think you're cool so you'll go on doing the heavy lifting, but you're just another credulous rube gettin' played for a cheap trick.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baloney Detection



1) Is the source reliable?
Errors occur, but if the source's errors tend to be all on one side or bunched together, it should raise a big red flag.
2) Does the source make similar claims on other subjects?
On related (or even marginally tangential) topics, is this source making the same general statements of fact?
3) Have the claims been verified independently?
Can the claimed results be replicated? 
4) How does the claim fit with the way we know the world works?
Too good to be true = prob'ly not true
5) Is the claim falsifiable?
What's the alternative explanation?  What's been done to try to disprove it? 
6) Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
Any claim supported by only a few points, while challenged by lots of other points, is prob'ly bogus.
7) Are you playing by the rules of the scientific method?
UFOlogy vs SETI
8) Is the one making the claim presenting positive evidence?
Or are they just making unsupported denials of an "opposing" theory?
9) Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
Pointing out a few anomalies or outliers doesn't negate current theory
10) Is the claim being driven by personal belief?
Is Confirmation Bias at work here? Is the claimant pushing a "theory" in support of an ideology and/or religion and/or world view?

Barely A Start



So that's 1 down and only 1,499,999 (veterans living in poverty) to go.

Our veterans would be a lot better off it we'd just stop making so many of them, and if we'd stop acting like spoiled children when it comes to paying what we owe.

Mo' Buttuh

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meanwhile, Back At The Planet

I hate it when I get to thinking there's more truth being spoken by fictional characters on a TV show than by anybody in any position of authority anywhere here in These United States of Opinion-As-Reality.

At the same time, I wonder if this is just to see if anybody's listening. 

And I wonder if this little vignette is simply a plot device in Aaron Sorkin's devious little brain. 

And what if it's only an attempt to illustrate his other point about Crowd Sourcing and the dangers of instant reactions due to the immediacy of social media driving the mob, which is masquerading as "true democracy"?

And I wonder if the whole thing is so twisty-turny that it spins off into the infinite numbers of universes where everything that can happen does happen, and all you have to do to make it real is to say it's real.

And what about the very very very very real shit hitting the fan because of Climate Disruption?

and and and - fuck, I hate my brain sometimes.

God Love The Onion

Even when they hit a little too close.  Or maybe because they hit so close.


FERGUSON, MO—Ahead of a grand jury’s decision over whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, police in the city of Ferguson have reportedly heavily increased their presence this week to ensure residents are adequately provoked. “We’ve deployed additional officers throughout Ferguson in order to make absolutely certain that residents feel sufficiently harassed and intimidated,” said St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar, assuring locals that officers in full riot gear will be on hand to inflame members of the community for as long as is necessary. “It’s absolutely essential that the people of Ferguson have full confidence that law enforcement is committed to antagonizing them every step of the way.” At press time, the Missouri National Guard was on standby with tanks and urban assault vehicles in case Ferguson residents required additional incitement.

Monday, November 24, 2014

All That Snow

I haven't been following it closely, but I know that the Buffalo area got something like 88 inches of snow over just a few days at the end of last week.  And now the weather is turning a lot warmer, so they're expecting to add the problem of significant flooding to the problems of dangerously stranded people and collapsing roofs and assorted other calamities.

But as I read thru some of the articles posted online and as I browse thru the video reports being run on Big Media, I keep wondering how it is that nobody's asking, "When was the last time something like this happened?"

I've been in Buffalo during a Lake Effect snow storm, and I wanna tell ya, it's impressive watching 15 or 20 inches of snow pile up overnight, but here's the thing:

Seven Fucking Feet in about 2 ½ days

And yet nobody's the least bit curious that it might have anything to do with a little thing quaintly referred to as "Climate Change"?

It was said years ago that people had already been born who would die as a result of catastrophic disruptions due to shifting global climate patterns.  Well, there're at least a dozen dead because of this storm, which means Climate Change is (and actually has been) killing Americans.  And here we sit doing nothing but watching coin-operated politicians and corporate managers and lobbyists and press poodles playing grab-ass in the mud for another 2 years?

We are so very fucked.

Speak Your Mind

Say what you want to say about how you disagree with a president's policy decisions or whatever, but if this is what you're all about, then you're advocating for actions that are exactly what the US was set up to be the exception to.  

And that makes you the traitor, not Obama.



The Daddy State Update


Here's some stuff from a short interview with George Lakoff:
You write, "remember that voters vote their identity and their values, which need not coincide with their self-interest." I remember writing a commentary on a poor congressional district, let's say about 98 percent white, in Kentucky. Most of the residents were on food stamps, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid - or all of them. However, they have voted in recent elections by landslide majorities to re-elect a congressman who opposes food stamps and supports cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Can you elaborate on how this can occur?
A single moral worldview dominates conservative policies in every domain of life - family, personal identity, sex, religion, sports, education, the market, foreign policy and politics - what I’ve called strict father morality. Your moral worldview is central to how you understand your life.
In a strict father family, the father is in charge and is assumed to know right from wrong, to have moral as well as physical authority. He is supposed to protect the family, support the family, set the rules, enforce the rules, maintain respect, govern sexuality and reproduction, and teach his kids right from wrong, that is, to grow up with the same moral system. His word defines what is right and is law; no backtalk. Disobedience is punished, painfully, so that children learn not to disobey. Via physical discipline, they learn internal discipline, which is how they become moral beings. With discipline they can become prosperous.
If you are not prosperous, you are not disciplined enough, not taking enough personal responsibility and deserve your poverty. At the center is the principle of personal responsibility and moral hierarchy: those who are more moral (in this sense of morality) should rule: God over man, man over nature, parents over children, the rich over the poor, Western culture over non-Western culture, America over other countries, men over women, straights over gays, Christians over non-Christians, etc.
On conservative religion, God is a strict father; in sports, coaches are strict with their athletes; in classrooms, teachers should be strict with students; in business, employers rule over employees; in the market, the market should decide - the market itself is the strict father, deciding that those who have financial discipline deserve their wealth, and others deserve their poverty; and in politics, this moral system itself should rule.
Conservatives can be poor, but they can still be kings in their own castles - strict fathers at home, in their personal identity: in their religion, in their sex lives, in the sports they love. Poor conservatives vote their identity as conservatives, not their lack of material wealth.

BSDI

Both Sides Do It

Remember that BSDI starts with BS.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Contrarian-ish

Out at the margins of the "mainstream" of issues is the problem of taking an oath of office.

By swearing on a bible and invoking the name of a god whose official involvement in  government is prohibited by the very constitution you're swearing to uphold, you're kinda negating the whole thing from the start.

We need to try a little harder to avoid setting ourselves up to fail.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What We're Not Talking About



So, it's not about "Amnesty".  But it is about using the word 'Amnesty' to stir up the shit-for-brains-knee-jerk bunch.

I guess I'm wondering a tiny bit - why does Megyn admit it on the air like that?  I get the feeling she's the DumFux News version of Up-Chuck Todd - not the least bit interested in getting to the facts; she's only there to keep the mill wheels turning; her job is to tend to the Horse Race.  If she ever asks Ted Cruz on the air why he opposes Immigration Reform when it seems pretty clear Obama's trying to do basically what Repubs want him to do, she'll be fired immediately.  So maybe she's feeling so confident of her position of power she just let's it slip(?)

Dunno, but here's the thing: As soon as there actually is some kind of amity and collaboration in DC, ad revenues at Fox and NBC and CNN hit the skids.  They need the fight - shootin' wars, political campaigns, race trouble, gun violence - whatever makes us more likely to watch the coverage is what gets pushed by the image-makers and the pollsters and the lobbyists.

The reason we keep hearing about "both sides" is because billions of dollars are being spent on both sides of any given issue in order to keep us in a state of constant tension.

Tried and true - divide and conquer - if we're kept busy enough fighting each other over a few scraps that slop onto the floor, we're more likely to discount the simple fact that we've been bustin' our humps workin' together to put the food on that fuckin' table in the first fuckin' place.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Today's Pix (NSFW)











Next Up at UVa

The story continues.  And it just gets weirder as UVa appoints former Deputy US AG Mark Filip to head up the investigation into the total fucked-up-edness of a party culture (this time centering around Phi Kappa Psi) bordering on straight-up Caligula.

From our "local" rag The Daily Progress:
Late in a day of unrest Thursday on Grounds, University of Virginia officials announced the appointment of former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip to lead a review of the school’s policy and procedures for dealing with sexual assaults.
A statement from Rector George Keith Martin released just after 8 p.m. broke a nearly daylong silence from university leaders, including President Teresa A. Sullivan, in the wake of allegations of a September 2012 gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house at UVa.
An account of the attack detailed in a nearly 9,000-word story in Rolling Stone ignited a storm of scrutiny Wednesday.
Earlier in a day when hundreds of students rallied and vandals shattered windows and spray-painted messages of protest on the walls of the house on Madison Lane, Phi Kappa Psi voluntarily surrendered its fraternal agreement with UVa and suspended all chapter activities. Charlottesville police are investigating the rape allegations at Sullivan’s request.
In case you missed them - here's a coupla details I find interesting.

First, from the Daily Progress article:
The Governing Board of the Inter-Fraternity Council at UVa released a statement saying members were “horrified, disgusted, and viscerally saddened” by the story.

“That some fraternity men commit sexual assault is irreconcilable with everything we hope our community to be, and we are mortified that any fraternity member is responsible for perpetrating such a heinous crime,” they said in the statement.
BTW - a member of that Council was interviewed at length by Rolling Stone (weeks if not months before publication), so translation: "We are shocked - shocked - to find there's rape going on here!" 

Second, Mark Filip is a Phi Kappa Psi alum.  Let that one sink in for a bit.  I'm not saying there's no value in the guy being somebody who knows his way around a fraternity.  But when there's an obvious problem with foxes in the chicken coop, I hafta be just a little skeptical about hiring a coyote to look into it for me.

To be real clear here, I don't want anybody throwing shit at the Frat House or at the little Frat Rats living there.  

This kinda nonsense might feel OK at the time, but it just makes it easier for some people to rationalize sympathy for the perps:



That said, it's not gonna hurt my feelings one little bit if we find a way to put an end to the elitist entitlement legacy bullshit that persists in the continuation of anything so obviously toxic to a democracy as The Greek System is.

So, take whatever action against PKP necessary to facilitate its demise.  I'd like nothing better than to sue the fuck out of 'em, and then bulldoze the house.

Use the money from the lawsuit to build a brand new Women's Health and Crisis Intervention Center - right there in the heart of Frat-boy Fuck-around Central.

Require every Fraternity and Sorority to contribute half of their dues (and whatever other income they get) to the maintenance and support and perpetuation of the thing until time itself crumbles into the dust.

EvilleMike has spoken.  So let it be written.  So let it be done.

Listening

It's axiomatic that when you wanna figure out something that's complex and weird and difficult to understand, you need to get a buncha smart guys in a room, get 'em talking and then listen to what they say.

George Lakoff is one of those guys:
Liberals tend not to understand conservatives, and their confusion is showing. On the one hand liberals see conservatives in disarray and react with glee at the fragmentation: the Tea Party vs. Libertarians vs. Neocons vs. Wall Street. Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, brought down by a Tea Party unknown. John Boehner unable to control his majority in the House. Republican primary challenges everywhere.
On the other hand, liberals are scared stiff of the Koch brothers and other wealthy Republicans bankrolling Republican candidates at every level all over the country. They are scared of a Republican takeover. And they should be.
--and-- 
At the heart of conservatism is strict father morality, as we have seen. But strict father morality has complexities and natural variations. What liberals don’t see is that the diversity can give conservatism as a whole considerable strength.
Different versions of conservatisms are defined by particular domains of interest. Strict father morality applies to all the domains—individual liberty and self-interest, world power, business, and society. These domains of interest characterize libertarian, neocon, financial, and Tea Party conservatives.
A better understanding of the Proto-Fascist crap we're up against is the first step in staying ready to fight back.

One of the main problems "with the liberals" is the tendency to think that there can actually be an end to a political fight; that once the election is over, the question's been settled and they can go about their business and stop worrying about it.  

All the great "liberal stuff" - Civil Rights, anti-trust law, labor law, Social Security, banking regulations, Medicare, EPA, OSHA, etc etc etc - all the stuff that actually makes us great because it makes us try a little harder to live up to the promises we made to ourselves in The Declaration and the Preamble - all the amazing LIBRUL/PROGRESSIVE accomplishments over the last 40 or 60 or 80+ years is being pared back because "the conservatives" never stop fighting to get their The Daddy State cemented into place.  

It's never over.  There is no such thing as "Once And For All".  Get used to it and understand that either we get busy winning or we get busy losing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ain't Nothin' New

I guess some of the shit we complain about now is the same shit we've been complaining about for what's getting to be a very long time.

Here's some Herblock stuff from 40 or 50 (or more) years ago.










Lance The Boil

When it seems like the world's all fucked up, one thing we have to stop and consider seriously is that maybe the world's just all fucked up.

Eventually, ya gotta get all that putrefaction out. If you don't drain the abscess, it just gets worse.

...At that same moment, she says, she detected movement in the room – and felt someone bump into her. Jackie began to scream.
"Shut up," she heard a man's voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face. The men surrounding her began to laugh. For a hopeful moment Jackie wondered if this wasn't some collegiate prank. Perhaps at any second someone would flick on the lights and they'd return to the party.
"Grab its motherfucking leg," she heard a voice say. And that's when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.
The Bill Cosby rape thing:
If Shonda Rhimes had a show called How to Get Away With Rape, it would only need one episode, and it would be a short one.
The hot-shot lawyer main character would give her client this advice: be a respected figure in your own community and target victims with lower status than your own. If you follow those rules, people will be uncomfortable with the consequences of believing your victims. They will not want to do that work. In fact, they will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it.
Show over; roll credits.
On Tuesday, Janice Dickinson became the 15th woman to accuse Bill Cosby of raping, drugging, or sexually assaulting her, and the fifth to do so publicly. These women tell a similar story: that they met Cosby when they were young women. That he spent time with them under the guise of professional mentorship. And that he, at some point, drugged their drinks and assaulted them while they were incapacitated.
First:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." --Edmund Burke

And then:
"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering. . . . In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it on herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail" --Judith Herman, 1997, Trauma and Recovery (pg 7-8)

Today's Yeah But

Jim Webb seems like such a straight-shooter-no-nonsense kinda guy, it's a little difficult for me to buy in.  And since being honest is such a complete political liability, I just don't give him much of a chance - 'course, nobody tho't he could beat George (Macaca) Allen either.

But here he is anyway:



It starts out with pretty much the usual zero-content platitudes about "good leadership" and "solving problems", but the thing gets a lot more specific than most intro speeches I've heard.  

And so, here we go again - Hillary's the default Democrat again, and so I gotta look at alternatives again.  Yeah, but - the Repubs are still fingers-in-the-mouth-jumpin'-up-and-down-crazy, and they're likely gonna nominate somebody who lets 'em think they could pass for normal by making Ronnie Raygun look like Eugene Debs.

Full text and some discussion at Blue Virginia.

No more Clintons

No more Bushes

No more Rockefellers

No more Kennedys

No more legacies

No more dynasties




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

There Are No Nations

It's worth seeing just about anything Paddy Chayevsky wrote because of the speeches and/or soliloquies.

The clip is from Network (1976), and it's been a favorite for me for a very long time.

"We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies.  The world is a college of corporations inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business - the world is a business, Mr Beale.  It has been since man crawled out of the slime..."



I like to say I'm a Capitalist because god is a Capitalist, and that I believe strongly in Regulation because god believes strongly in Regulation.

I think Capitalism is the closest analogy to the way the biosphere has evolved to operate.  

As an organism, I have to take in enough calories to build up something of a surplus, so I'll have the energy necessary to make the effort it'll take to go out and get my next meal - income vs outflow; profit and loss etc.

But I also have onboard mechanisms that're there to regulate the functioning of my system.   Blood sugar (eg) is a good thing, but my pancreas is there to regulate it so I get the benefits without it reaching levels that're harmful to me. Bunches of other mechanisms of regulation are built into my system as well.  I have a hypothalamus to help regulate my body temperature; my brain stem does all kinds of nifty things like regulate my heart rate and my breathing and my eye-blinks etc etc etc.  Regulation is what works to keep me in healthy balance with myself and the world around me.

So, to be a little clearer, I don't have a problem with Capitalism.  I only have a problem with Capitalism when it's allowed to go crashing thru people's lives as it speeds toward the Logical Extreme (aka Unfettered Free-Market Capitalism) - which is where we get Feudalism and Slavery and Conquest and Authoritarian Rule and all of the really shitty ways of running things that America's supposed to be the exception to.

Always always always remember - a business is not a democracy.

A Sensible Position Statement

Finally - a Dem with enough starch in his britches to stand up and say it straight out and for real.  Never mind that he's on his way out and so he risks absolutely nothing if he actually tells the fucking truth for a change, but hey - I can give the guy one last Atta Boy:

"Every dollar that we spend on fossil fuel development and use is another dollar we spend digging the graves of our grandchildren. And I'm not going to be a part of it anymore. I'm through."  -- Sen Tom Harkin, D-IA


hat tip = Democratic Underground

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Here Comes The Sun

On day 3 of a weather cycle that seems determined to destroy the resilience of even the cheeriest among us - science, muthuhfuckuh:


The surface of the sun from October 14th to 30th, 2014, showing sunspot AR 2192, the largest sunspot of the last two solar cycles (22 years). During this time sunspot AR 2191 produced six X-class and four M-class solar flares. 
The animation shows the sun in the ultraviolet 304 ångström wavelength, and plays at a rate of 52.5 minutes per second. It is composed of more than 17,000 images, 72 GB of data produced by the solar dynamics observatory (sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov) + (helioviewer.org). 
This animation has been rendered in 4K, and resized to the Youtube maximum resolution of 3840×2160. The animation has been rotated 180 degrees so that south is “up”. 
The audio is the ‘heartbeat’ of the sun, processed from SOHO HMI data by Alexander G. Kosovichev. Image data courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.”Image processing and animation by James Tyrwhitt-Drake.
To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email licensing@storyful.com

hat tip = Little Green Footballs

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sauce For Ganders

Seems like every time I get into any debate on any subject with any "conservative", it's all but inevitable for that "conservative" to tell me I really just want "the nanny state" to take care of me.

It's a tough one to rebut because it takes time (which the opponent doesn't give you), and you have to string a buncha things together (which the opponent insists on disrupting); it requires a bit of thought (which the opponent seldom allows himself to do), and assumes a fundamental level of knowledgeability (which the opponent refuses to acquire).

So here's the thing:  "What's the difference between my Nanny State and your Daddy State?"

You claim I want to be taken care of by a government that will meet my every need by stealing from somebody else.

At the same time, you say I shouldn't be involved in the decisions being made regarding what happens to me and mine; I should just shut up and go along with whatever you and your coin-operated politicians think I should be willing to kiss your ass for; and BTW - the stuff your Daddy State is handing to you and your guys is the stuff you're stealing from me and my guys, so go shit in your hat.

Need one more?  Both sides, motherfucker.  Since both sides do it; both sides are the same; both sides are to blame for whatever it is we wanna piss and moan about right now - well if the Nanny State's a thing, then the Daddy State has to be a thing too.  Booyah.



The Real Outrage

Olbermann brings it - and nothing will ever be the same.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It Just Ain't Healthy

Mashing up Christianism and Patriotism and Militarism - then taking impressionable young men and training them to put aside their instincts for compassion and kindness - and then arming them to the teeth and turning them loose in a place halfway around the world where they don't speak the language and the native culture is a complete mystery to them - what could possibly go wrong?



This is not (and never was) only about the wounds we can see - the savagery of war is trained into the minds of the people we send to fight it.  There's no way we can justify feeling shocked or appalled or somehow indignant when we find out some of these people have done what we've told them to do.

And let's try not to pretend these veterans can come home and "be normal" - nobody comes out of a war not fucked up way or another, civilians included.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The First Black Prez

In Remembrance






Lux aeterna, Luceat eis, Domine
Thy everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord.
Turn to me and be gracious, for my heart is in distress.
Oh God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
My tears linger at night, but joy comes in the morning light.
Lord, in your infinite mercy, grant them rest.
Rest forever more.

Veterans' Day

It's not just about what we want "our" guys to do to "their" guys.  

It's about what happens to everybody when we do the things war demands of us.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome

Life goes on, but it may have to go on without us.


Black Fungus Eats Harmful Radiation in Chernobyl

BY CHRIS V. THANGHAM MAR 3, 2008 IN SCIENCE
Fungus living in the walls of a failed nuclear reactor in Chernobyl was found with high melanin content, implying it survived living under dangerous radiation. Fungus might be a possible food source in high-radiation places like outer space.

Black fungus was found growing on the walls of Chernobyl’s damaged and highly radioactive nuclear reactor by robots sent to scour the area. Later, scientists analyzed the fungus and found it contained high content of melanin, a pigment found in human skin that gives it color, as well as protection from solar and ultraviolet radiation.
Melanin is found in many fungal species. Scientists say the melanin found in fungus and humans are similar in chemical composition.
Nuclear (and other high-energy) reactions give off ionizing radiation, dangerous rays and particles that can damage genes and thus cause mutations and eventually cancer. With fungi, however, they seem to thrive under the same conditions.
Ekaterina Dadachova at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine explained the reason why fungi thrived in Chernobyl: She said just like pigment, chlorophyll converts sunlight into chemical energy that allows green plants to live and grow. The melanin helps fungi to make use of the ionizing radiation and makes them grow.
Researcher Arturo Casadevall, an immunologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said to LiveScience.com:  "In general we think of radiation as something bad or harmful. Here we have a situation where these fungi appear to benefit, which is unexpected,"
So, the researchers wanted to test this theory and see whether it is reproducible. They did experiments on three species of fungi and found that ionizing radiation significantly boosted the growth of fungi that contained melanin.
As LiveScience.com reports: The researchers exposed two kinds of fungi – one that naturally contained melanin (Wangiella dermatitidis) and another that scientists induced to make the pigment (Crytococcus neoformans) – to levels of ionizing radiation about 500 times higher than normal, the doses one might see at high altitudes. Both species grew significantly faster, findings detailed in the May 23 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.
Although fungi seem to thrive in nuclear radiation, they do not clean it. They are only able to harness the energy that radioactive materials give off.
Scientists say this ability of fungi to live off ionizing radiation could be useful in space. Dadachova said: "Since ionizing radiation is prevalent in outer space, astronauts might be able to rely on fungi as an inexhaustible food source on long missions or for colonizing other planets."

Today's Pix