August 4th, 2012
Stuff I learned on the internet today: Why you should give a square shit about wombats.
June 25th, 2012
Why Aren't Cities Littered With Dead Pigeons? It turns out that the answer, in part, is … turtles.
Yes, there's a video. A deeply unsettling video, the memory of which is likely to keep me from getting to sleep tonight.
November 1st, 2011
The Law of Unintended Consequences was in full effect in Canada in 1923:
At 2:00am on Sunday, 15 April 1923, the "rule of the road" changed, in Nova Scotia. After this day, all traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. Previously, automobiles, streetcars, horses, bicyclists, and all other vehicles and travellers adhered to the left-hand side of the road. [...]
[...] In Lunenburg County, 1923 is still known as The Year of Free Beef; the price of beef dropped precipitously because oxen which had been trained to keep to the left could not be retrained – oxen are notoriously slow-witted – and many teamsters had to replace their oxen with new ones trained to keep to the right; the displaced oxen were sent to slaughter.
[Via James Nicoll]
September 20th, 2011
Abroad: they do things differently there…
Swiss animal lover Priska Küng runs a kind of matchmaking agency — for lonely guinea pigs that have lost their partners. She lives with around 80 of the furry, squeaky little creatures, in addition to six cats, a number of rabbits, hamsters and mice in the village of Hadlikon, some 30 kilometers from Zürich.
Küng, 41, rents out her guinea pigs, a service that has been in high demand in the Alpine nation ever since animal welfare rules were tightened up a few years ago. Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other's company.
As a result, the sudden death of a guinea pig, shocking enough in itself, can also place the hapless owners outside the law if they only had two of the pets. [...]
[Via The Awl]
June 16th, 2011
June 9th, 2011
How can you not want to read an interview which includes the question…
When is fighting a lion not a matter of life or death?
… and the statement1 that …
[...] the lion will probably not let me punch its crotch.
[Via FP Passport]
- In response to a later question. ↩
March 27th, 2011
Buster is feeling shy, as usual. Buster is so acutely shy that researchers at the Seattle Aquarium can't tell whether this giant Pacific octopus is a boy or a girl. If Buster is a boy, he'll have a special tentacle (the third to the right, going clockwise, from the front of its mantle) that is both an arm and a dick. And, since the suction cups on octopuses* also function as taste buds, his special tentacle will be an arm and a dick and a tongue – making all octopus sex fisting and intercourse and cunnilingus, simultaneously. The young blonde giving the "feeding demonstration" to a large pack of squirming schoolchildren explains these facts more delicately.
"What if you tasted everything you touched?" she asks. The children are silent. "When you open the bathroom door? When you tie your shoes?" The kids offer a few ewws to her and each other. An assistant perched on top of Buster's tank, her feet dangling above the water, skewers some oily herring onto a spear. While the assistant submerges and gently jiggles the herring in front of Buster's cave (the only things visible are an eye and an indistinct bulge of octopus flesh), the guide gives her spiel about octopuses – how the only bony part of their body is a beak, allowing them to squeeze into small places; how octopuses have three hearts in their mantles; how they squirt ink at predators to disorient them; how they are masters of disguise. They have three sets of camouflage cells that can mimic almost any pattern behind them – a checkerboard, multicolored coral, the moving shadow of a passing cloud – and they can flatten and pucker the texture of their skin to blend into most surfaces. (Compared to octopuses, chameleons are pikers.) Despite the vast palette of their skins, octopuses are colorblind. [...]
[Via The Essayist]
March 15th, 2011
November 7th, 2010
May 19th, 2010
February 19th, 2010
Coming to the extras disc of the next David Attenborough box set?
Moderator: Before we begin this panel discussion, I'd just like to say that it's always a pleasure to witness great artists collaborating together on film, and with this film in particular, the result was a remarkably profound experience. So without further ado, please welcome the stars of the film: Lion, Wildebeest, and the Hyenas.
Moderator: Lion, let's start with you. What did you see in this project that made you want to be a part of it?
Lion: When I learned that British Human Who Smells Like Ham was going to direct I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do. Whenever I get an opportunity to participate in what I believe will gratifying work, I leap at the chance.
November 17th, 2009
September 28th, 2009
Like the X-Men's Wolverine extending his claws, the Spanish ribbed newt slashes through itself with its sharp rib bones to create defensive spines, according to a new study.
Now I'm afraid to look at the internet tomorrow, for fear of what hideous, spiny creature I'm going to read about next…
September 27th, 2009
Is it just me, or does this newly-discovered variety of leopard gecko look like something that should be starring in a low-budget horror movie?
You know the sort of film: in the opening scene, some luckless bastard with very few lines stumbles on their lair and before he can react he finds himself buried under a swarm of carnivorous1 reptiles.
Next thing you know, they've acquired a taste for human blood and a wave of them is sweeping down on the nearest town…
September 14th, 2009
It's the surprised expression on the dog's face that does for me every time…
August 16th, 2009
The World's 50 Freakiest Animals naturally fall into three groups:
- Cute ones: the Proboscis Monkey, Pygmy Marmoset, and Angora Rabbit.
- Ugly yet neat-looking ones: the Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle, Dumbo Octopus, Pangolin, and Elephant Shrew.
- Utter horrors, the mere sight of which will prevent me from sleeping tonight: the Wrinkle Faced Bat, Star-Nosed Mole, and the Hagfish.
[Via Making Light]
November 6th, 2008
- Technically, I believe it's rated at cute6. ↩
October 22nd, 2008
50 Stunning Underwater Photos does exactly what the title promises.