Fruitbats, fellatio & freedom

May 15, 2010

I had been planning to post my frustrations at yesterdays travel schedule and may still do so tomorrow. Suffice it to say that we had to put down in Chicago before making Dallas three hours late; would someone please tell the airlines that an aircraft is a Faraday Cage. Two hours to get through immigration (15 minutes for US Citizens I timed it), three hours queuing to get allocated to same flight next day then a shuttle bus to a Dallas Centre hotel at 0100, exactly 24 hours after I got up. However I got pinged by Dylan Evans first thing with a story that is so absurd that it sounds like a sketch for Monty Python except that it is serious.

I met Dylan through an online discussion about crowd sourcing and distributed connection and hope to meet up later this year. Dylan is a lecturer in behavioral science in the School of Medicine at the University of Cork. He, like many a biologist I know, argued that humans are not as unique as we think. In an ongoing debate with a colleague he referenced a fully peer reviewed article (not some sordid internet search) that showed that fruit bats indulged in fellatio apparently to prolong to stimulate sexual intercourse. Now there is a wider debate here as to the uniqueness of human beings that has been taxing me of late but I’ll come back to that in the future.

Now the absurdity starts, following a complaint (what social and intellectual inadequate would complain about such an example) which was not upheld by an investigatory committee, Prof. Michael Murphy President of UCC placed Dylan under a two year “close supervision” order. Personally I would have fired anyone who brought such a frivolous complaint and the same would apply to a student. This is not a rural primary school, but an institution that purports to be a centre for higher education. You can read the story here, please sign the petition here and whatever you do don’t talk about fruit bats if you take the ferry to Cork this year, you may end up in some mediaeval correction unit.

And a late addition – a poem from the blogosphere

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