Episode 234 – The One Where We Ride Goat-Birds To Endgame!

In This Week’s Show, episode 234, and I am inevitable…ly gonna pronounce most of this stuff wrong…

Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while The Titans haven’t struck us down yet, we are trying their patience!

Shea’s Life Lesson

This week I learned that my favorite part of Avengers; End Game was when Pepper Pots took the Infinity Stone and put them in her vagina to cure the world of cancer.

But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!

This Week’s Beer

Wasatch GhostRider White IPA, Salt Lake City, UT

Donated by: RW
BA Link: bit.ly/2ZBsVOY
BA Rating: 3.68/5
Style: Belgian IPA
ABV: 6%

  • Aaron: 8
  • Shea: 8
  • Steve: 6

This Week’s Show

Round Table Discussion

Drag Queen Bingo!

Thanks to everyone who shared, donated, and came to the event! The total I’ve heard around the facebooks was 27K! Which is a fantastic boost to those living with HIV/AIDS. We need to give a special thank you to Marie & Shannon, as well as Amanda for making it to DQB! It was great to see you, sorry I had to duck out early, but I’m sure Steve and Shea kept things lively.

Headlines Hotshots

Avengers Endgame! (no spoilers!)

So I wanna talk about Endgame, but I don’t want to be like the guy in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong… the unnamed-because-of-shame-I’m-sure man had just left a showing on the 24th and decided to start yelling spoilers loudly as others were queued up in line to see the film. When the paramedics arrived he had to explain that he got his ass beat for spoiling Endgame. The first responders seem genuinely annoyed to have to help him and social media is littered with pics of him bleeding followed by comments like “he got his just deserts served” and “[feels] good seeing this.” So yeah, Thanos demands your silence and you’ll get your ass snapped if you spoil shit.

bit.ly/2ZSn2gn

Once in the theater, moviegoers in Zhejiang province had to sit though worse-than-usual previews as Luandu District People’s Court announced on their WeChat (because everywhere is fucked) that they would add a 30 second mini-feature to the usual mugshots of debtors displayed before movies. They called it an easter-egg, the rest of us just call it public shaming and judging by the pic, everyone was looking at their phones anyway, so why bother.

bit.ly/2ZSn2gn

Apparently it works though, since instituting the pre-movie shame, some 3 million people and businesses have repaid a fucking tone of debt.

I think it’s safe to say that once you get into the theater, you’re in for a hell of a ride. Just remember to breath… unlike another 21-year-old Chinese movie goer who became so emotional toward the end that she began uncontrollable sobbing and hyperventilating to the point that paramedics had to be called to bring her oxygen and get her out of the theater before Thanos claimed her as well.

bit.ly/2UZgzgd

So yeah, it’s a good movie. We’ll do a proper review later, but I’ll say I enjoyed the hell out of it and I totally get almost dying, or almost getting murdered, because of the film’s rollercoaster showing. That said, if you’re feeling like you’re not up to it, you can always swing by Dickson Tenn.’s Dickson theater, located across from a church and school, which is showing the new Heckboy movie… unfortunately, it has a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes… maybe Endgame can lend a few of their currently 97 percents…

bit.ly/2ZTCYiA

The Other Side of Low Voter Turnout

www.huffpost.com/entry/indonesia-elections-worker-deaths_n_5cc6942ee4b08e4e34841e60?ncid=APPLENEWS00001

In America, we’re lucky if we can get a meaningful election turn out. Indonesia has a different problem.

Because of cost-cutting measure, this week’s elections where by far the most complicated voting undertaking … perhaps ever. At least until India’s elections that is. So they rolled presidential, parliamentary, and local elections up and did it all at once. Which kinda makes sense when you think about it. Well, until you figure in the death toll. All in all there were 245,000 candidates trying to 20,000 positions that 150 million people, about 80% of the population, voted for that day. Voters flocked to some 800,000 polling stations to submit their votes… on paper.

Paper that would need to be counted by the nearly 6 million workers doing the counting and verifying. Even with the huge workforce the BBC said workers were “expected to work through the night in sweltering conditions,” causing many to fall sick with fatigue. How much fatigue? Well, some 2000 employees have fallen ill and at least 272 have died since the April 17th vote. Yeah, nearly 300 people died of counting – that’s why I have an art degree and let math happen on my phone’s calc app like god intended.

Arief Priyo Susanto, a spokesman for the country’s election commission (KPU), said Sunday that 1,878 election workers had fallen sick for similar reasons. Susanto said the government had urged health facilities to provide the best possible care to sickened election staff and had promised to adequately compensate the families of the deceased.

So there ya go, not the usual lives-given-for-the-right-to-vote headline but still…

Prabowo Subianto, who ran against incumbent Joko Widodo, said the election commission was “not prudent in managing the workload” of its staff. No word yet on if he won Chancellor of Obvious Shit…

Fucking Rich White Guys, AmIRight?

bit.ly/2ZOQqUM

According to a new study from Nikki Shure from the University College of London and Phil Parker of the Australian Catholic University has attempted to measure the pervasiveness of bullshit and more importantly, whose tossing it around.

Study participants were asked to assess their knowledge of 16 math topics on a 1 to 5 scale. However, “proper numbers,” “subjunctive scaling” and “declarative fractions” aren’t real maths. Using data spanning nine predominantly English-speaking countries researchers delineated a number of key findings. First, men are far more likely than women to be masters of hyperbole… and by masters I mean sources and by hyperbole I mean making shit up to be an expert at then doubling down on nonsense because reasons. Oddly, if it were a championship game Canadian men would take the gold… insert jokes at my expense here. The study drew from the Program for International Student Assessment, which is administered to tens of thousands of 15-year-olds worldwide… so there’s also that. Because find me a group of people more cock-sure of their own bullshit than 15-year-old guys and I’ll give you an infinity stone. “These 15-year-olds are most likely already thinking about applying to university or entering the labor market, both of which are points during which bulls—ing may serve as an advantage,” Shure said. The data revealed that boys across all nine countries were significantly more likely than girls to pretend expertise, with the difference between the two working out to nearly half a standard deviation in some countries – a big gap, statistically speaking. The other major gap was in income. Respondents from the wealthiest families (according to pre data collected) regularly showing a greater likelihood to be full of shit and stand behind it despite being wrong, wrong, wrong wrong… wrong wrong wrong wroooong. North Americans in general were full of more shit the Europeans. the study gives reason to believe there’s a useful life skill to be had here, such as the ability to bluff your way to success. “Being able to bulls— convincingly may be useful in certain situations (e.g. job interviews, negotiations, grant applications),” the study authors write. Which explains why rich, affluenza affected kids all suck. Also, Google Docs spell check corrected affluenza for me… so that’s fucking ridiculous. The study also suggests that men’s higher propensity toward this behavior “could help them earn higher wages and explain some of the gender wage gap,” said study co-author Nikki Shure. “This has important implications for thinking about tasks in job interviews and how to evaluate performance.”

This Week’s Stories

Patron BEEER IN HISSSTOOOORYYYYYYY!!!!

bit.ly/2ZOQzaM

Missing Jenn? Well good news everybody! Jenn recorded a patron story with us before she left and it’s available right now at patreon.com/w4w!

Like Shea, I too have learned something this week. Thanks to Science Daily I have learned that a steady supply of beer is pretty much the only adhesive keeping human societies together.

From the intro to the article (it’s very evocative):

A thousand years ago, the Wari empire stretched across Peru. At its height, it covered an area the size of the Eastern seaboard of the US from New York City to Jacksonville. It lasted for 500 years, from 600 to 1100 AD, before eventually giving rise to the Inca. That’s a long time for an empire to remain intact, and archaeologists are studying remnants of the Wari culture to see what kept it ticking. A new study found an important factor that might have helped: a steady supply of beer.

Nearly 20 years ago, Ryan Williams (an associate curator and Head of Anthropology for the Field Museum of Chicago) and a team of fellow scientists discovered an ancient Wari brewery in Cerro Baúl in the mountains of southern Peru.

“It was like a microbrewery in some respects. It was a production house, but the brew houses and taverns would have been right next door,” explains Williams. And since the beer they brewed, a light, sour beverage called chicha, was only good for about a week after being made, it wasn’t shipped off site — people had to come to festivals at Cerro Baúl to drink it. These festivals were important to Wari society — between one and two hundred local political elites would attend, and they would drink chicha from three-foot-tall ceramic vessels decorated to look like Wari gods and leaders. “People would have come into this site, in these festive moments, in order to recreate and reaffirm their affiliation with these Wari lords and maybe bring tribute and pledge loyalty to the Wari state,” says Williams. In short, beer helped keep the empire together.

So like any good beer-loving scientists, they need to know more! So they decided to have a look more closely at the ceramic containers which held the beer. They used several techniques, including one that involved shooting a laser at a shard of a beer vessel to remove a tiny bit of material, and then heating that dust to the temperature of the surface of the sun to break down the molecules that make it up. From there, the researchers were able to tell what atomic elements make up the sample, and how many — information that told researchers exactly where the clay came from and what the beer was made of.

Per Williams:

“The cool thing about this study is that we’re getting down to the atomic level. We’re counting atoms in the pores of the ceramics or trying to reconstruct and count the masses of molecules that were in the original drink from a thousand years ago that got embedded into the empty spaces between grains of clay in the ceramic vessels, and that’s what’s telling us the new information about what the beer was made of and where the ceramic vessels were produced. It’s really new information at the molecular level that is giving archaeologists this new insight into the past.”

By looking at the chemical makeup of traces of beer left in the vessels and at the chemical makeup of the clay vessels themselves, the team found two important things. One, the vessels were made of clay that came from nearby, and two, the beer was made of pepper berries, an ingredient that can grow even during a drought. Both these things would help make for a steady beer supply — even if a drought made it hard to grow other chicha ingredients like corn, or if changes in trade made it hard to get clay from far away, vessels of pepper berry chicha would still be readily available.

The authors of the study argue that this steady supply of beer could have helped keep Wari society stable. The Wari empire was huge and made up of different groups of people from all over Peru. “We think these institutions of brewing and then serving the beer really formed a unity among these populations, it kept people together,” says Williams. He continues: “This research is important because it helps us understand how institutions create the binds that tie together people from very diverse constituencies and very different backgrounds. Without them, large political entities begin to fragment and break up into much smaller things. Brexit is an example of this fragmentation in the European Union today. We need to understand the social constructs that underpin these unifying features if we want to be able to maintain political unity in society.”

So there you go folks, beer is the great unifier! Also Trump doesn’t drink and Obama brewed his own beer. Take that for what it’s worth.

“Aliens”

bit.ly/2ZOYDZ3

So, Oxford. Ivory league. Hallowed Halls… right?

Dr. Young-hae Chi, Professor at Oxford’s Oriental Institute has been doing the media circuit for an exciting new theory he has. And it is exciting… if not… you know… true.

In 2012 Dr. Chi gave a talk at Ammach Conference entitled “Alien Abduction and the Environmental Crisis” in which he unironically detailed his theory that “perhaps human civilization is coming to an end”. Which, an argument could be made for. However, his talk’s citations were… let’s go with less than stellar. Citing Dr. David Jacobs an “abduction research” (in quotes because… not a real thing) who’s exciting work argues that the primary purpose of aliens – which aliens, who knows, just ‘aliens’ – is to colonise Earth by interbreeding with humans to make hybrids, the second generation of which are already ‘among us.’

Dr Chi argued that “it is not only scientists and theologians, but also non-human species who appear to be greatly concerned about the survivability of the human species”. So at least they care eh.

As evidence he points to aliens’ appearance on Earth at time of great environmental calamity. But also, he can’t point directly to the aliens, so there’s that. He explains “it may be more or less assumed that the hybrid project is a response to this impending demise of human civilisation”. He hopes that if we get our shit together now not only can we stave off climate change but also “prove aliens wrong in their judgement of our moral capacity”.

In 2018 he proposed The Oxford Union to host a debate titled “Aliens exist on Earth, Yes or No?” … it was not accepted. He since wrote a book in Korean that roughly translates to “Alien Visitations and the End of Humanity.”

Dr Chi believes that there are four types of aliens: small; tall and bold; aliens with scales and snake eyes; and finally, insect-like aliens. The latter of these seems to be the highest in the hierarchy, he said, and gives orders to the lower ranks. So… Halo’s Covenant basically.

Explaining his theory of a comprehensive bio-system, Dr Chi stated, “If they are far, they shouldn’t be concerned about us. I don’t think they are from far away, they are just next to us, we can’t see them. We can use an analogy of fish which can think and perceive things only in the way they can and humans also perceive only in the way we can, so our perception of the world is limited by our organs.”

But why, you might be asking… well…

“One possibility is that they find our DNA valuable for the preservation of the stock. Secondly, to create species which can survive in the future climate conditions…Thirdly, some abductees report that these hybrids are of a very high intelligence, so are they producing these hybrids as a problem-solver, a future leader?”

When asked if he was optimistic about the future, he said “judging from the way the ETs are acting they have a better view of our future, perhaps it is pointing to a pessimistic future”. Which means even the nutters are worried about climate change and more willing to do something about it than our leaders.

He added, “So, they come not for the sake of us, but for the sake of them, their survival, (but their survival is actually our survival as well) the survival of the entire biosphere. That is where I progressed in developing my theory and I’m still looking for more evidence to support my view.”

And as far as evidence goes, yeah, that would really take the cake, but sadly, the cake is a lie.

 

Goat Tree, Not Gotese

I’m sure we have all seen the pictures of goats climbing in trees, in recent years I have seen the images all over the internet and in memes and wall calendars.

You probably know that these are real images not photoshopped or doctored at all. It has been thought that these iconic nimble goats have been using their skills to do the best with the environment they live in. These goats reside primarily in Morocco on the roads near Marrakech, and for years tourists have been flocking to the flocks and paying farmers to take their photos and pet the goats.

But an investigation by Aaron Gekoski, a British environmentalist photographer, has uncovered that the tourist destination seems to be an exploitative scam. Local farmers appear to be bringing the goats in and forcing them into the trees before charging tourists to take photographs of them. When the goats eventually tire from balancing on the tree and I assume fall off, they are brought down and new goats are swapped in.

“After seeing tourists’ interest in the tree-dwelling goats, some opportunistic farmers decide to manipulate the situation for financial gain,” said Mr Gekoski.

“I heard they even brought goats in from other areas, built platforms in the trees and now cajole the goats into the trees, charging tourists to take photographs.

“They will take the goats home in the late afternoon, before coaxing them back into the trees at sunrise.

“The goats are incredibly nimble and dextrous when it comes to navigating the trees, though generally they just stand in one place, looking rather sick and forlorn.

“All the tourists who visited seemed blissfully unaware though and ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ before taking photos and selfies.”

Aaron Gekoski has hosted a number of environmental tv shows and is currently working on a campaign to end cruel wildlife tourism attractions. The Morocco investigation was part of that work.

Dr Chris Draper, head of animal welfare and captivity at the charity Born Free, said: “Images of goats in trees have become iconic, suggesting a rural idyll where crafty and agile animals have learned to make the most of their environment

“Sadly, the reality seems to be that this is anything but natural, and is instead an exploitative set-up, designed to snare unsuspecting tourists to pay to take pictures.

“The animals are unable or unwilling to move from where they are placed in the trees by people.

“This means that they will be unable to move into shade or to forage in a normal manner.

Born Free, a national animal advocacy group, urges everyone to keep an eye out for animals while travelling and on holiday: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Next Week’s Beer

Pentagram by Surly Brewing

Donated By: Jaded Zappa

  • BA Link: bit.ly/2ZQWIDn
  • BA Rating: 4.15 out of 5
  • Style: American Wild Ale
  • ABV: 6.66%

Faith In Humanity Restored

Recommended by listener Bill

yhoo.it/2ZUE8KO

Faith from an unlikely source… BYU

A Brigham Young University valedictorian came out as gay in a powerful commencement speech that celebrated personal victories for classmates and his own.

Matty Easton a 24-year-old political science major, had previously come out to family and friends, but chose to come out to everyone else in a powerful way.

I’ll let him speak for himself

BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has a strict honor code that has resulted in the punishment of LGBTQ students, the Salt Lake Tribune noted. The church recently repealed a policy that considered same-sex married couples “apostates,” thus allowing their children to be baptized.

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