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[...]
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 [...]
A common wild animal that lives throughout the San Francisco Bay Area is leaving local residents scratching their heads in utter amazement. The animal, a coyote, became trapped in a backyard in the popular Mission District. Who has a backyard in the Mission? Mark Zuckerberg? Let's say "Mark Zuckerberg." He trapped a coyote in his immense backyard behind his mansion, which violates your privacy.
"Mission District Coyote is telling no tales," reports the local CBS website. What did Mark Zuckerberg do to this coyote, so that it cannot tell tales? What is a wild member of the canine family if not a beloved storyteller? "A wayward coyote trapped [...]
A wild gray wolf continues to wander all over Northern California, a year after crossing the state line. The wolf, named OR-7 by wildlife biologists because he's the seventh male in the Oregon pack that has been unwillingly fitted with a radio-satellite collar, has traveled more than 2,000 miles back and forth across the top of California in search of a mate and its own territory.
Like many young males today, OR-7 has a Twitter account. But that is not why cow farmers in rural parts of Northern California are so angry. Cow farmers hate any kind of predator and any kind of wild nature—the last wild [...]
"For more than 1000 years, people believed that hyenas were hermaphrodites, since female hyenas have long, fully-erectile pseudopenises that mimic male genitalia. Seeing a hyena play the role of mom while sporting what looks like a penis would bewilder even an astute naturalist. Not only do female hyenas look like males, they are also the more aggressive and socially dominant sex, exhibiting aggression more than three times more often than male hyenas do." —There's a lot of hyena genitalia on display in the above video, and some graphic usage thereof. But if that kind of thing doesn't bother you (or, hey, if that kind of thing is precisely what [...]
Why can't we stop watching baby animal videos? BECAUSE THEY'RE ADORABLE, obviously. But also there is some kind of Science involved that I didn't really follow because I was too busy looking at the kitty who was all "WHA?" Anyway, enjoy.
"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 [...]
"An article on Feb. 17 about a decline in field trips for students because of the New York City school bus drivers’ strike referred incorrectly to the 280-pound albino Burmese python at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The python, a favorite of schoolchildren, is a 'she' (Fantasia), not a 'he.'" —The NYT is taking this accountability thing very seriously, when it comes to enormous albino zoo animals that are a favorite of children.
It's time for "America's National Holiday," which means watching your favorite animal vermin on video! There is an actual "rat bowl," but it's so disturbing—it features three oiled baby rats, all sliding around and being weird, plus it is really a bowl of old cooking oil in someone's filthy kitchen—that we cannot put it on a family publication such as The Awl. Plus, the "embed code" is turned off. So enjoy this "rat bowling" instead. Do you know the difference between a common rat and a pro football player? The rat has never been arrested for assault or torturing dogs! Also most rats are not homophobic, and none [...]
A 25-year federal campaign against sea otters in Southern California is finally ending, because it turns out sea otters will go down the coast if they want to, because declaring the whole of Southern California from Point Conception to the Mexican border an "otter-free zone" just wasn't a very good idea.
In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a program of forced otter relocation, capturing the endangered animals whenever they strayed into the Santa Barbara channel. Why? Because the U.S. Navy and the commercial fishing industry objected to an earlier plan to establish a backup population of the endangered sea mammals on San Nichols Island, [...]
"Germany plans to slap a fine of up to 25,000 euros on people having sexual relations with pets, but zoophiles plan to fight the move. They say there's nothing wrong with consensual sex and that the true violations of animal rights are taking place in the farming industry."
What a year it's been for animals! It's hard to believe it was a mere twelve months ago when the animals got together and decided that this was going to be the year that they did stuff. And boy did they ever! Will 2012 be filled with as much stuff-doing by animals as this year was? Only a fool would venture to predict. But until then, we can always relive the magic of the stuff the animals did this year with this video, a tribute to stuff and its doing. Enjoy, everyone! Except those of you who get squicked out by that cat with two faces, who shows up [...]
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?
Of the many trends noted by the New York Times in recent years, perhaps this trend piece is the least controversial: "Owls are a staple of children’s books and cultural kitsch—here wooing pussycats in pea-green boats and delivering mail to the Harry Potter crew, there raising a dubiously Wise eyebrow in the service of snack food," the science section article notes. And yet, is there more to this kitsch animal transformed into an icon of modern style? Some say yes. Others—the owls, in particular—are most distinctive for what they have not said on the subject.
Did you forget to stay up late waiting for results from the U.N. climate talks in Doha? Well, you'll be happy to know global warming is solved thanks to a bold consensus decision to take aggressive international action on carbon emissions and sustainability. No, wait, that is not what happened. Here's a typically sunny reaction: "It’s very, very depressing. There is nothing [in the text] at all on finance, nothing about emissions reduction, it's all about workshops and talk shops. There is no commitment by [by rich countries] on anything."
Then again, "low expectations" were the only expectation at all. Sorry, polar bears and etc.
It's very easy to kill your household animals in a hurricane. The easiest way is to suddenly panic and have to leave your house and lock your animals in it. Or, if you live in Red Hook, perhaps you will lock your chickens in their coop and then leave the neighborhood, forcing your neighbors to risk their lives in chest-deep water to save them. In other parts of town, people locked up or tied up dogs and cats, because they didn't know what to do, and left birds in cages—and abandoned them. These things happen! Most of us would agree that it is better to save yourself first [...]