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Comment: Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

by Velox_SwiftFox (#46617817) Attached to: Researchers: Rats Didn't Spread Black Death, Humans Did
Where's the link between Norway rats and the plague at all? Domesticated rat pictures published along with stories about the disease? Circumstantial evidence is also quite weak when totally absent. It might be considered "circumstantial" that Norway rats appeared along with the disappearance of the known disease-transmitting ones, in the same niche, but it is fairly well established.

Comment: Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

by Velox_SwiftFox (#46616815) Attached to: Researchers: Rats Didn't Spread Black Death, Humans Did
Interesting arguments. And not all hollow, though I would have used typhus as an example. Just because an animal can be infected by a disease doesn't always mean it is a credible source for transmission to humans. Or that they serve as a reservoir for other animals to catch it. Perhaps Norway rats "can" carry hantaviruses, but the CDC page is quite specific about the rodents that pose a threat to humans carrying it; deer mice one strain, white footed mice another, a third wild "rice rats" and "cotton rats". Toxoplasmosis pretty much isn't spread by anything except felines, though, or eating an infected animal raw. The emphasis seems to be using the vague association of whole groups of economically or otherwise pestiferous animals with specific diseases as an excuse to campaign against noninvolved species, rather than as an honest evaluation of the amount of risk that might be mitigated by removing the animals involved. Raccoon roundworm poses a threat of causing human brain damage, but the simple fact is it mostly doesn't happen, while rodents that catch it can be debilitated for easy catching by the raccoons, and presumably often are. The threat of rat lungworm infection is also very scary as a rationale for controlling giant African snails in Florida, while the cases seem to amount to one man in Australia who swallowed live slugs on a bet; few people go around licking up African snail slime trails. Even relatively tiny numbers of sparsely scattered wolves are attacked as a threat by people using the scary possibilities of carrying the common dog tapeworm, while it is present in the much more dense dog and sheep populations, clearly an excuse for people who don't like wolves, period. Even the article linked to uses a domesticated version of a Norway rat as an illustration, though it isn't actually blaming the disease on "rats". It implies a shared blame, at least the possibility, with little or nothing to go on.

Comment: Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

by Velox_SwiftFox (#46615111) Attached to: Researchers: Rats Didn't Spread Black Death, Humans Did
Well, it's rather a simple chain to follow. Black rats were associated with the plague. Brown rats replaced them, plague stopped. Still, the common wisdom still seems to remain "rats" were responsible for spreading the disease, sanitation measures, that apparently arrived after the disease was already gone, getting the credit. Even "transportation improvements", apparently, although those would tend to spread it more.

Comment: Re:Need More Stargate ! (Score 1) 116

by Velox_SwiftFox (#46261033) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

Also, constellations aren't groups of stars. They simply appear to be because they are in the same direction to an observer on Earth. Some of the stars in most constellations are orders of magnitude more distant than the others.

"The seventh symbol is the point of origin" - but this point would also require multiple coordinates, or would be unnecessary because it is implicit in the gate you are dialing from. Hello? As if you had to dial an extra single numeral at the end of a phone number to specify the unique telephone you were calling from.

Don't get me started on everyone on every planet speaking English, without as much excuse as the Star Trek universal translator.

Comment: Re:Space-time effects of wolves (Score 1) 84

by Velox_SwiftFox (#46235551) Attached to: Iconic Predator-Prey Study In Peril

Neat, yes, I wasn't aware of that effect.

I assume it will have a lesser effect with so many fewer wolves around this time, unless some are added. So the last boom/bust would have benefited more, this one likely worse.

There seems no record of wolves tolerant enough of each other for them to catch up at this point (1000 moose last winter, IIRC. With about a one-third increase a year on Isle Royale, recently.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.