Boing Boing covers ‘cannibal fever’




Responding to “cannibal fever,” CDC denies existence of zombies


‘CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” wrote the US government agency spokesman David Daigle in an email to The Huffington Post.’


Cannibal news: MMA fighter, high on ’shrooms, ate friend’s still-beating heart


California judge has determined that a 27-year-old mixed martial arts
fighter accused of killing his friend and sparring partner “by ripping
his still-beating heart from his chest after gruesomely beating and
torturing” him is mentally fit to stand trial. Prior to the attack, the
two had consumed mushroom tea. There have been an awful lot of news
stories like this one, this week.


Another cannibal in the news


‘A professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute is being held for
reportedly cutting off his wife’s lips and eating them, according to the
Sydney Morning Herald. She was allegedly having an affair. From the Baltimore college student who allegedly ate his housemate’s brain and heart to Miami’s nude face-eater to Montreal’s animal-torturing, human dismembering porn star, it’s quite a week for grotesque murders and crazed cannibalism.’




The Perfected Self

Teaching machine, designed by B. F. Skinner
Teaching machine, designed by B. F. Skinner

“B. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. But Skinner’s ideas are making an unlikely comeback today, powered by smartphone apps that are transforming us into thinner, richer, all-around-better versions of ourselves. The only thing we have to give up? Free will.”  (The Atlantic).

Why New Yorker writers and others keep pushing bogus controversies


English: Steven Pinker at the Göttinger Litera...

Steven Pinker on the false fronts in the language wars: ‘Nature or nurture. Love it or leave it. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.If you didn’t already know that euphonious dichotomies are usually phony dichotomies, you need only check out the latest round in the supposed clash between “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” theories of language. This pseudo-controversy, a staple of literary magazines for decades, was ginned up again this month by The New Yorker, which has something of a history with the bogus battle. Fifty years ago, the literary critic Dwight Macdonald lambasted the Third Edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary for aiming to be “a recording instrument rather than … an authority” and insufficiently censuring such usages as “deprecate” for depreciate, “bored” for disinterested, and “imply” for infer. And in a recent issue, Joan Acocella, the magazine’s dance critic, fired a volley of grapeshot at the Fifth Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary and at a new history of the controversy by the journalist Henry Hitchings, The Language Wars. Acocella’s points were then reiterated this week in a post by Ryan Bloom on the magazine’s Page-Turner blog. The linguistic blogosphere, for its part, has been incredulous that The New Yorker published these “deeply confused” pieces. As Language Log put it, “Either the topic was not felt to be important enough to merit elementary editorial supervision, or there is no one at the magazine with any competence in the area involved.” ‘ (Slate Magazine).

Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neandertals declined

English: comparison of Neanderthal and Modern ...

“We all know the adage that dogs are man’s best friend. And we’ve all heard heartwarming stories about dogs who save their owners—waking them during a fire or summoning help after an accident. Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows the amazing, almost inexpressible warmth of a dog’s companionship and devotion. But it just might be that dogs have done much, much more than that for humankind. They may have saved not only individuals but also our whole species, by “domesticating” us while we domesticated them.

One of the classic conundrums in paleoanthropology is why Neandertals went extinct while modern humans survived in the same habitat at the same time. (The phrase “modern humans,” in this context, refers to humans who were anatomically—if not behaviorally—indistinguishable from ourselves.) The two species overlapped in Europe and the Middle East between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago; at the end of that period, Neandertals were in steep decline and modern humans were thriving. What happened?

…In every respect, modern humans surpassed Neandertals. In fact, the
greater success of modern humans was so clear that… the human population increased tenfold over
the 10,000-year overlap period. Modern humans thrived and Neandertals
did not—even though Neandertals had lived in the European habitat for
about 250,000 years before modern humans “invaded.” Why weren’t
Neandertals better adapted to their environment than the newcomers?

There is no shortage of hypotheses. Some favor climate change, others
a modern-human advantage derived from the use of more advanced hunting
weapons or greater social cohesion. Now, several important and disparate
studies are coming together to suggest another answer, or at least
another good hypothesis: The dominance of modern humans could have been
in part a consequence of domesticating dogs—possibly combined with a
small, but key, change in human anatomy that made people better able to
communicate with dogs.” (American Scientist).