If you are a software engineer, or work in an office with software engineers, or have ever been near more than one software engineer, you’ve seen the O’Reilly programming books with the animals. A bit of digging on the company website reveals that each book’s cover animal is selected not by the author but by O’Reilly’s creative director, Edie Freedman, who goes on to state: “I never reveal the reasons behind my choices, but I can assure all interested parties that there is always a reason.” So in the end, it’s up to you to figure out how a Mexican agouti, tarsier, or axolotl will guide you on your [...]
After they dined on Napoleon’s horses, the Parisians ate all the feral cats and stray dogs they could find. It was 1870, and the real politicking of Otto von Bismarck had brought Prussian forces to France. The siege of Paris began on September 19th, and over the next four months the Parisians would eat every horse, donkey, dog, cat and rat within the city’s walls. When they ran out of those, they turned to the city’s zoo, in the Jardin de Plantes.
The deer and antelope were the first to go, looking comfortably like the horses and donkeys that had filled menus during the first few weeks of the [...]
"Dinets and his colleagues observed crocodile species on three continents—Australia, Africa and North America—and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations. They found that four species climbed trees—usually above water—but how far they ventured upward and outward varied by their sizes. The smaller crocodiles were able to climb higher and further than the larger ones. Some species were observed climbing as far as four meters high in a tree and five meters down a branch."
–Pictured: a crocodile that has climbed a tree.
Photo by Kristine Gingras
Every five years, scientists take a survey of the axolotl in ancient Lake Xochimilco, in southern Mexico City, the only place in the world where the amphibian still lives. In 1998 there were 6,000. In 2003 there were 1,000. In 2008 there were 100. And in 2013 there were 0. RIP axolotl, you delightful primitive weirdo.
"Animal cruelty has been a fact of life on productions since the inception of Hollywood. (Nearly 100 horses died during the shooting of 1959’s Ben-Hur alone.) Action-adventure films and Westerns were known to treat animals harshly in their attempts to attain verisimilitude long before the advent of CGI. As early as 1939, after a horse was forced onto a slippery platform, tilted to ensure it would plummet 70 feet off a cliff to its death, during the shooting of Jesse James, the Hays Office, typically busy with other forms of morality policing, invited the AHA (not to be confused with the Humane Society of the United States) to be present [...]
"These fun pictures, taken by a host of photographers, show animals seeming to have a good laugh."
Experts who examined the two-headed shark say it's the first ever bull shark to be found with two heads—somebody put the dead fetus in the MRI machine because why not, and found that it wasn't "conjoined twins" but an actual two-headed shark and the first two-headed bull shark ever to be put inside the MRI machine.
Researchers also claim the baby monster would not live long in the wild, but this sounds like eugenics. Wouldn't the baby two-headed shark have twice the chance at survival?
Anyway, shark abortion [...]
Past the array of simulcast screens with hypnotized leather-skinned regulars clutching bettor's tickets like Blackjack hands, and beyond the families seated on long, wooden benches exchanging crumpled dollars for informal wagers, were the chariots. They were enameled and gleaming in candy apple red, cobalt blue and, pearl white. Beyond them were the tiny, darting heads of the ostriches that will pull them to glory.
The Cameltonian and Ostrich Derby is a Meadowlands Racetrack innovation, squeezed in between a few of the night's regular horse races in the hopes of attracting spectators beyond the usual racetrack diehards. The camels and ostriches come from Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm in Nickerson, Kansas, a [...]
There is literally nothing on the internet that interests me today; the only thing I found interesting enough to read fully was this three-sentence description of Canadian primates on Wikipedia:
The only primates that live in Canada are human beings. They are only distantly related to the New World monkeys of Central and South America, and the species originated in east Africa. Humans first arrived in large numbers to Canada around 15,000 years ago from North Asia, and surged in migration starting 400 years ago from around the world, especially from Europe.
Which is pretty funny but not really enough for a post, you know? So I'm just going [...]
The pignose frog, also known as the Indian purple frog, is one of the weirdest-looking frogs on the planet. It looks like a frog supervillain. It looks like a New York financial industry fatcat grown soft on the blood of the poor—but only on the outside, as its eyes and mind remain hard and cold and shrewd. It looks like Danny DeVito could play it in a movie without unduly taxing the makeup artist. It looks like what you would imagine Karl Rove would look like if your only knowledge of Karl Rove came from the descriptions of others. And it's purple. What kind of animal is purple? Not [...]
Today begins the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year. According to the Chinese zodiac, we are saying goodbye to the year of the snake (get outta here, snake!) and welcoming the year of the horse. More specifically: each year is also assigned an interaction with one of the Chinese elementals that make up the universe, so this year is the year of the Wooden Horse, which may not have the undertones of Grecian subterfuge in China that it has here.
Those born in the year of each of the 12 animals are said to share personality traits with the animal in the year of which they are born. [...]
Former Salon editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman's secret Lerer-supported "content plus commerce" startup has been revealed—they were waiting for their Techcrunch exclusive blog post, which they now have. Because that's how you get readers! OH WE KID. Anyway, it's about kittens and hamburgers, and which one you should eat or not! Money quote: "Look at the front of The New York Times — they have a significant animal story on the front page every week. It’s our plan to launch a site to try to own that topic." (Well, not this week, there isn't one trending, but that's just because they went so big with their recent People DO IT [...]
23 Replacement Similes For Humans To Use Once All The Animals Are Dead And No One Knows What "Animals" Were
Now that we're well on into our planet's sixth mass extinction event, and with recent news that we're charging towards environmental catastrophe faster than ever, it's time we start thinking about contingencies not in terms of "if" but in terms of "when." Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the human species will survive. Some people, like Annalee Newitz, author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction, think we will! But even if she's right, certainly, there will be changes we'll have to get used to. Besides the hilarious "Great, I'll have beachfront property" jokes the wittier among us [...]
Wild Nature Institute is the nonprofit creation of wildlife biologist Monica Bond and quantitative ecologist Derek Lee. They live and work for much of the year in Africa, where they study and inventory iconic and threatened wildlife populations such as the Masai Giraffe, which is rapidly declining due to lost habitat, disease and illegal hunting.
Ken Layne: Hello, Derek Lee! Because you are traveling between Nairobi and Zanzibar and I'm on the other side of the planet, maybe we'll do this in email format? So what is it that you and Monica do in Africa? This past week sounds like it held a lot of safari travel and [...]
"Originally they thought it was a dog, but it wasn't a dog."
"Rangel called Sky 'the little perfect dog' who always seems to know what to do in a show ring. 'You put the lead on her, she puts the tail up.' With a laugh, he added, 'You put food in your pocket, and she’s like, "What do you want me to do?"’ He was as effusive in praising Sky as he was four years ago for Sadie. 'We love her,' he said. 'She knows she did something good. She’s a princess dog.'" —Westminster is, generally speaking, bad for dogs, as it encourages inbreeding, the dominance of "purebred" dogs, and impractical or downright dangerous physical traits, like brachycephalism (a flat face, [...]
At the Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary in the northeast of England (England, for the uninitiated, is a series of small wet rocks in the North Atlantic Ocean), penguins have been given anti-depressants because penguins are apparently pretty perceptive and are aware of the awful place in which they live. This winter has been the wettest on record in Scarborough, and while the Humboldt penguin (native to coastal Chile) is perfectly capable of dealing with brutal cold, these particular penguins are no match for the psyche-destroying sleet of an English winter. Hopefully they'll be kept away from the knives.
Photo by Fruggo
Hello, class, and welcome to Today In Frogs. Today's frog is called the Devil Frog, by scientists, for real. Above you will find an artist's rendering of it eating a dinosaur (?) (!).
The Devil Frog, Beelzebufo ampinga, lived about 70 million years ago in Gondwana (fossils are now found mostly in Madagascar). Back in 2008, some scientists decided it was the biggest frog that ever lived, the size of a "squashed beach ball," which apparently is about 16 inches long, and that it probably ate baby dinosaurs. An artist promptly drew that picture of a frog eating a dinosaur, thank you artist.
There aren’t a lot of people who specialize in spotting flaws in the ethical logic for veganism. That’s quite possibly because no one cares about obscure intellectual discourses over animal rights. I certainly didn’t while I was a vegan. After I saw the light and stopped eating animal products my first year at The University of Texas, I read bits of Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat, but I could never get into them. I rejected animal farming because it was violent, gruesome, cruel and needless. I didn’t need academic theorizing to keep me convinced.
But after [...]
"She was once celebrated as 'the Shirley Temple of the animal world.' She was so popular that she became the subject of a custody battle between two competing zoos. When she suffered a broken arm, rapt New Yorkers followed every twist and turn of her convalescence. Her name was Pattycake, and she was the first gorilla born in New York City. She died on Sunday at the Bronx Zoo at 40 years old." —Raise a banana to Pattycake, the sweetheart of the Bronx Zoo and the first native New Yorker of her species. She'll be replaced by somebody with a graduate degree and a part-time blogging job looking [...]