Oh no, WordPress, that fresh press is a bit offensive!

#wordpress @wordpress

Check out the above screen capture from WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed page.

See anything that stands out (note: see bright red circle with arrow).

It appears that plus-sized actress Octavia Spencer appears in a photo above the words, “Oscars 2012 – Winners” and below that it reads, “The Happiest Cow.”

Now, a smart person might think that the blog that posted about the Oscars is called, “The Happiest Cow.”

But a silly, juvenile reader might see that and think someone is calling a slightly overweight (but way freaking cute) Oscar Winner, The Happiest Cow.

And it’s for this reason I submit this post. Respectfully. Humorously.

And with the greatest of intentions.

(This post should secure Cafe Witteveen as the only blog to NEVER, EVER get a Freshly Pressed billing).



Bert and Ernie are about to take your childhood and dash it all over the rocks

Remember when you were little and your cute little imagination gave your action figures, dolls, My Little Ponies, or whatever, voices.

I mean, those of us who didn’t get a Teddy Ruxpin anyway.

Check out the new augmented reality toys that Qualcomm is going to release soon that will render your childhood imagination a bit of an antique.

Seriously, though, this toy has nothing on Socrates, who predicted (probably the wrong word) that writing would encourage forgetfulness.

According to this post at TYWKIWDBI, Socrates wrote:

[Writing] will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”

Video via The Daily What

Own a cat? Going coo coo for coco-nuts? Blame your cat!


Does the above look like the face of a killer?

If it doesn’t, you better think again.

In this article titled, “How your cat is making you crazy,” Kathleen McAuliffe describes how Jaroslav Flegr, a prolific biologist, may have found that the parasites found in cat poop can get in your brain and rewire your handiwork.

Maybe that’s why Tina and I are nutballs.

From the article:

The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes. Since the 1920s, doctors have recognized that a woman who becomes infected during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus, in some cases resulting in severe brain damage or death. T. gondii is also a major threat to people with weakened immunity: in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before good antiretroviral drugs were developed, it was to blame for the dementia that afflicted many patients at the disease’s end stage. Healthy children and adults, however, usually experience nothing worse than brief flu-like symptoms before quickly fighting off the protozoan, which thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells—or at least that’s the standard medical wisdom.

But if Flegr is right, the “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. He also believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia. When you add up all the different ways it can harm us, says Flegr, “Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.”

This information certainly sheds light on the “Crazy Cat Lady” stereotype.

It appears to be too late for us. But you still have a chance … go … tell … the … world …

about …




… it!

Read on

Via Kottke

Wow, science, you’re amazing!

Check out these newly, discovered, limbless amphibians called Chikilidae found in regions of India. They evolved around 350 million years ago, and their eggs looked like your eyes fell out of their sockets and now their covered with their worm-y parents.

Read about them at this PDF here.

Here’s a short-ish description:

The limbless, primarily soil-dwelling and tropical caecilian amphibians (Gymnophiona) comprise the least known order of tetrapods. On the basis of unprecedented extensive fieldwork, we report the discovery of a previously overlooked, ancient lineage and radiation of caecilians from threatened habitats in the underex- plored states of northeast India. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of mitogenomic and nuclear DNA sequences, and comparative cranial anatomy indicate an unexpected sister-group relationship with the exclusively African family Herpelidae. Relaxed molecular clock analyses indicate that these lineages diverged in the Early Cretaceous, about 140 Ma. The discovery adds a major branch to the amphibian tree of life and sheds light on both the evolution and biogeography of caecilians and the biotic history of northeast India—an area generally interpreted as a gateway between biodiversity hotspots rather than a distinct biogeographic unit with its own ancient endemics. Because of its distinctive morphology, inferred age and phylogenetic relationships, we recognize the newly discovered caecilian radiation as a new family of modern amphibians.

Keywords: caecilian amphibians; Chikilidae; new family; systematics; northeast India

And for you video hounds, here’s a motion picture for you:


George W. expands his direction and target audience

Regular reader, blogger and interim Le Café Witteveen rockstar George W. announced today that he’s opening up his blog to more topics, namely parenting.

George has, what, a zillion kids now. And surely having a zillion kids and living as an atheist has some kind of learning and teaching potential.

How many times did your parents, or some sitcom parents, say something like, “Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual.” Parents often take the generational memes of their parents and pass them along to their kids.

That’s most of the reason why Christian moms and pops raise their kids to become Christians. Muslims, Muslims. Hindus, Hindu.

It seems as natural as cats raising cats. Or giraffes raising giraffes.

Doesn’t it?

I know there’s some offensive syntax above that someone is going to get all Richard Dawkins on me about.

But most of us don’t have non-believing parents. And that idea of the Instruction Manual gets tougher with the absence of this huge part of lots of our upbringings.

I’ve given the idea of atheist parenting a lot of thought. And I would be proud to exchange bible verse memorization for poetry memorization. In fact, I would have bible lessons, and koran lessons. But we’d learn math, science, English, French, etc.

There wouldn’t be a limit put on what could be learned or taught.

But since my efforts for fertility have turned up dry, I like the idea of living vicariously through George.

So go get ’em, Gee Dub. We’ll all look forward to it.

In case you missed it, here’s the link for George’s blog.