Welcome to Steele Park

Editor Emeritus:Penelope Puffbear Quivertail 2000-2014

This site contains cross-postings of most of my posts at Agonist.org.

It also has a number of music videos and recipes.

It temporarily backs up JoeBageant.com while that site is being rebuilt.

It is affiliated with Steele Park Press.

Catblogging: Cry “Havoc!”

Continue reading Catblogging: Cry “Havoc!”

Friday Cat Blogging – Scottish Independence!

What could have been:

Continue reading Friday Cat Blogging – Scottish Independence!

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise

New study overturns 20 years of consensus on peak projection of 9bn and gradual decline

The Guardian, By Damian Carrington, September 18

The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.

The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people. “The previous projections said this problem was going to go away so it took the focus off the population issue,” said Prof Adrian Raftery, at the University of Washington, who led the international research team. “There is now a strong argument that population should return to the top of the international agenda. Population is the driver of just about everything else and rapid population growth can exacerbate all kinds of challenges.” Lack of healthcare, poverty, pollution and rising unrest and crime are all problems linked to booming populations, he said.

If present trends continue, that is…

Body odor linked to love and politics

Al Jazeera, By Wilson Dizard, September 17

Politics stink — literally — according to scientists who released a study this week showing that people find the smells of others who share their political viewpoints more viscerally attractive than the odors of their ideological opponents.

The researchers suspect that preferences of this kind stem from evolutionary adaptations that support bonds between friends and allies.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive,” said Brown University’s Dr. Rose McDermott, the head author of the report.

“So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” McDermott said.

Jukebox Catblogging

The theme today is musical kittehs, all genre welcome.

Continue reading Jukebox Catblogging

Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

   Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled Cockleburs of Culture and later added Cocklebur Time Again. I was, of course, using cockleburs as a metaphor for those annoying little habits, practices, beliefs and expectations which our cultures (or ourselves) seem determined to embed in our lives.

   The Great God of Cockleburs was evidently not amused by my figure of speech. Continue reading Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

Gagging in Australia

The Twitterverse and FB are alive with the sounds of Wikileaks latest release, the text of a gag order imposed on any revelation of an ongoing investigation into multinational bribery.

The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar payments to persons with high-level political connections in AMalaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in order to secure contracts for the production of Australian plastic currency banknotes for these countries.

Including sealing an affidavit from senior Aussie diplomat.

Friday Catblogging: Stoned

Washington & Colorado…for starters.

Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Stoned

Is SPK really in Belize?

or is he greeting Obama in Denver?

Cats of the Fourth

Friday: CatAstrophes

Continue reading Friday: CatAstrophes

A first step

Stirling Newberry has an interesting post over at The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

It is time to awaken and wage war. It is time that Americans accept the sacrifices which war demands, that we might have the peace that victory affords.

What we fight for is simple, and it is the historical mission of the Democratic Party. We seek a just world, based on a just peace – and, when required by circumstances, we are willing to wage a just war to accomplish it. Continue reading A first step

So if anyone still thinks that Internet-mediated discourse doesn’t matter…

…the link below the fold should definitely put the issue (if not one’s mind) to rest. Russian strategic culture now either a) believes the “Colour Revolution as directed weapon” interpretation sold by so many Internet hucksters, or b) has placed a massive agitprop investment in selling the frame at the highest levels. I don’t know which of these options scares me more. I can only hope that the intelligence professionals over there don’t buy this simplistic tripe and actually realize how much more beyond intentional control things really are.
Continue reading So if anyone still thinks that Internet-mediated discourse doesn’t matter…

Thoughts on D-Day

   Watching the observance – one almost says celebration – of D-Day, I can’t help but remark that aside from the few veterans, most ‘celebrants’ are too young to remember it and/or have never put themselves in harm’s way. Indeed, many have worked hard to avoid military service while loudly urging others to fight.

   A few postings have appeared of Ike’s comment:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

   or General Butler’s “War Is a Racket” but for blunt truth, it’s hard to beat a soldier telling it like it is.

   And for a good example of how the warmongers operate, consider St. Ronnie.

Novel Thoughts – Writing and Reading


    Several Agonistas are writers beyond blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Many are serious readers; i.e. we read serious books. We have discussed here and here the lack of respect and attention given quality writing and culture in general.

Nota bene: I use the term culture as a philosophic term rather than as an anthropoligist. :-D

Continue reading Novel Thoughts – Writing and Reading

Friday Catblogging: Central Asia

Kyrgyz Cat Hurling

Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Central Asia

Friday Catblogging: Travelling

Waiting for SPK in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan…

Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Travelling

Catblogging: Global Warming


Continue reading Catblogging: Global Warming

Hereditary Trauma – Epigenetics

Science Daily.

The researchers studied the number and kind of microRNAs expressed by adult mice exposed to traumatic conditions in early life and compared them with non-traumatized mice. They discovered that traumatic stress alters the amount of several microRNAs in the blood, brain and sperm — while some microRNAs were produced in excess, others were lower than in the corresponding tissues or cells of control animals. These alterations resulted in misregulation of cellular processes normally controlled by these microRNAs.

After traumatic experiences, the mice behaved markedly differently: they partly lost their natural aversion to open spaces and bright light and had depressive-like behaviours. These behavioural symptoms were also transferred to the next generation via sperm, even though the offspring were not exposed to any traumatic stress themselves.

However, certain questions remain open, such as how the dysregulation in short RNAs comes about. “Most likely, it is part of a chain of events that begins with the body producing too much stress hormones.

The environment leaves traces on the brain, on organs and also on gametes. Through gametes, these traces can be passed to the next generation.”

Given that most of history for most people over the last 10,000 years has been pretty grim, one wonders how much the stresses of war, poverty, disease, slavery etc have determined what we casually call ‘human nature’.
Instead of asking what would life be without all the Sturm und Drang, maybe we should ask what humans would be without centuries of it.

Down Or Out

shackThe world in general and America in particular often seems like a house whose owners can no longer maintain it. It just gets more and more messy and run down as time passes. They know that eventually the roof will fall in but they neither fix it nor move out.

I’m sure my outlook is not that uncommon today. Indeed, the way things are going, optimism might well be grounds for a psychiatric examination. It was not always this way, and it may be instructive to examine why.

Ken Smith has been keeping Joe Bageant’s website live and recently posted this.
Go on, read it. I’ll wait.

The takeaway I see in that short article is twofold: the person-to-person connection (which just happens to be father/son) and the whole-different-lifestyle thing.

Continue reading Down Or Out