Tag Archives: animals

Enough with the drama

The animal kingdom is going crazy…Certainly you remember the dramatic chipmunk

This apparently goes beyond the mammalian kingdom and birds are getting into the act as well

And…whatever the hell this thing is…

Finnish Fridays

Ever hear of the Aviation Museum of Central Finland?  Sounds like a bore, right?  Well, it also serves as the Finnish Air Force museum and they’ve got some pretty cool panorama displays of their collection.

Those long, dark winters encourage the Finns to invent some pretty strange hobbies.  Take wife carrying, for example.  Not willing to let the men folk monopolize the reputation for being tough, there’s also husband carrying.


And now, for something completely different.  Wolverines to the smooth sound of new age guitar playing.

Kvick Tänkare

There’s some hypothesizing that one reason dolphins have such big brains is because they have to keep track of a large number of really complex relationships.  More complex than any animal other than humans.

Male bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) form tight bonds with friends and allies that are as intricate and devious as those of humans. Researchers already know, for example, that males team up as duos or trios—known as first-level alliances—so that they can mate with a female without her swimming away… But rival males will often try to steal the female, causing the duo or trio to join forces with other duos and trios in what’s known as a second-level alliance.

Now Connor and colleagues have found an even higher level of alliance. In the biggest fights, the team found, the second-level alliance may receive help from another group of male dolphins, forming what the researchers call a “third-level” alliance. Even among chimpanzees, scientists have not witnessed such sophisticated partnerships, where one group of animals receives help from another group in a fight.

Brian over at Gamecrafter’s Guild has taken the legend of the tomte and adapted it for 4th edition D&D rules.  First rule to remember…don’t piss off the tomte.

Great story from Sweden:

Swedish porn mogul Berth Milton has come up with an unusual business proposition for his next project: five-star hotels where guests can stay for free in exchange for having their indiscretions filmed and broadcast over the internet.

But hey, Mr. Milton wants you to know that if he builds one of these in your neighborhood, you needn’t worry about your property values falling.

“It has to be a hotel for non-swingers as well — not super-explicit where everybody’s running around naked. That takes the style and class out of it,” he said.

Oh…as long as they keep the style and class.

The balance of this post is NSFW

Even better story from West Virginia.  Police reports tend to be pretty dry and boring affairs.  Still, when there’s a good story it can shine through even the most boring official lingo.  And anytime a police report includes a quote like this you know there’s a doozy of a story attached:

“Somebody is going to eat my pussy or I’m going to cut your fucking throat.”

Oh, and it gets even better.  This story has everything…a marriage on the rocks, a motor lodge, two half naked buddies, and a crazy lady with a knife.  (h/t Balko)

Kvick Tänkare

The Department of War Studies at Kings College has started a podcast…I haven’t given it a listen yet but it’s in my Zune queue now.

Nice beaver!! Brandenburg is experiencing a beaver boom and the it’s causing problems according to Spiegel.  I know it’s juvenile but I can’t pass up on some of these (unintentionally?) great lines (I’m channeling my inner Beavis and Butthead)  :

“A beaver doesn’t have any business being at a dike,”

“hunting beavers just doesn’t work at all.”

“You can live with beavers; you just have to want to.”

In order to prevent beavers from penetrating the lower parts of the dikes…

Looks like Sweden is going to send officials to Greece to help out with their influx of asylum seekers.

Evolutionary venom resistance among King Cobras, squirrels and others…

The TSA continues to be confused over its mission at airports.  It acts as if its primary mission is to elicit compliance from travelers rather than security (maybe they see the two as synonymous)?

…the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation [back scatter scanners] over the low-tech ball check [newly invasive, yet still ineffective pat downs].

Would you rather look cool or ride comfortably?

 

Kvick Tänkare

Finnish wolf populations are crashing.  Apparently too much illegal hunting and a less than adequate conservation plan.

Does this count as stimulus?  New York City spends about $100 million a year paying people for NYPD excesses.

Russian governor finds a worm on his salad plate during a state dinner at Moscow and tweets it.  Not a good idea to mess with Comrade Bear:

The Kremlin’s top foreign policy adviser, Sergei Prikhodko, took Zelenin to task on Wednesday, saying that a law should be introduced allowing for governors to be subject to “termination for imbecility.” He added: “I won’t even comment on irresponsibility and foolishness.” Zelenin quickly removed the Twitter post and photo.

I have a nook but Amazon has a great idea with their new ‘singles‘ idea.

The company believes that some of the best ideas don’t need to be stretched to more than 50,000 words in order to get in front of readers, nor do they need to be chopped down to the length of a magazine article.

I’ve read more than a few books that had an interesting central idea but clearly had been padded to get to ‘book length’.

I guess I’m not that observant but I really dig how Kings of War categorize their posts.

The world according to San Francisco:

Wiley E. Coyote von Cologne

Hopefully the ACME corporation has an outlet in Europe since it appears everyone’s favorite supra-genius* has pulled up stakes, left the Southwest and moved to cooler climes where the prey isn’t so savvy.

Staff at Cologne’s zoo are in a state of shock after a brutal attack on the facility’s penguin colony. Foxes tore five penguins to pieces, according to the German tabloid Express.

In 2008 in Aachen, they attacked another penguin enclosure, murdering 13 out of the zoo’s 19 birds. The calling card of the fox: decapitation.

No word on the presence of rocket sleds, explosive tennis balls or spring powered shoes, leaving one to believe that Mr. Coyote is no longer patronizing the ACME Corp (and after his nasty lawsuit who could blame him).

Bonus fact:  apparently a group of foxes are called a ‘skulk’ (no, not these foxes)

*  When I started my first job after graduating from university, I was asked how I wanted my business cards to read.  I responded that I just wanted a plain card with my name with ‘Supra-Genius’ written under it.  While the request caused a bit of confusion among the administrative staff and, ultimately, my request was denied.  Of course the company went out of business a few years later, a factor I attribute to their lack of imagination and humor.  So…nertz on them.

For the birds

I’m not a ‘bird guy’.  I have a couple of feeders and will occasionally watch what stops by but I can’t tell any but the most basic bird calls.

Still, Andrew Zuckerman’s bird photos are really amazing and his book is on my wishlist.

Me?  I’m a humble guy with a pretty average camera.  At the risk of over playing my hand with too many pictures of the blue herons that have set up shop on my bike route to work, I give you:

Who knew frogs came in extra small?

Last weekend while we were out hiking I saw some movement on the ground that I assumed, at first, were some sort of bug.  Upon closer inspection however, I discovered they were, in fact, the tiniest frogs I had ever seen.

That is what you call puny…

Catfish hunter…

Along my bike route there’s a blue heron that’s been staking out the canal right by the trail (and away from those appalling Canada Geese).  Over the days he’s (she?) been getting increasingly desensitized to the presence of humans to the point that this morning it barely moved as I rode close enough to almost touch it.  This afternoon, on my way home from work I passed by it and saw it looking into the water intently for a moment and then striking.

It ended up catching a catfish:

I had some difficulty getting good shots given it was late afternoon and the heron was in the deep shadow so I switched to video and the results were much better.  Watch this guy destroy his prey before gulping it down in one motion.

Greetings from the reptile house

I had an extended weekend at my mountain redoubt and got a bit of hiking in.  While there I got to see a pretty wide variety of wildlife.  Unfortunately, most of it when I was without my camera.  But I did get these guys on film.

A small wood turtle which was kind of cool since I’ve never seen one at TwShiloh undisclosed HQ and the fact that they’re pretty uncommon due to poaching for the pet trade.  Don’t believe the stereotypes about slow turtles, either.  This guy could move.

I’m not positive on the identification of this one but I suspect it’s a juvenile black rat snake.  There are only two venomous snakes in Northeast Pennsylvania:  the copperhead and the eastern timber rattlesnake.  Both of those are super easy to identify and so long as you know you aren’t looking at one of those you can get pretty close to anything else (note:  that doesn’t mean non-venomous snakes aren’t aggressive.  I had a common garter snake take some lunges at me like Nag from Rikki Tikki Tavi.)

For some reason many of my neighbors have decided that the appropriate thing to do when buying a house in the middle of a forest is to cut down all of the trees and put in a lawn.  Now, the soil is total crap up there and so, providing you don’t want to convert your land into a giant money sink, the lawns just end up looking like overgrown fields in a couple of years.

As one of decreasing numbers of hold outs who insists on thinking that one of the charms of being in the forest is, like, actually seeing a forest the animals in the area are getting pushed into areas like mine as they search for places to nest and rest.  The lawns are also attracting new animals to the area.  For the first time in almost forty years of going there, I saw my first woodchuck there and the rabbit population seems to be exploding.  I’m hoping the fox we saw last year was an indication the ecosystem would adjust but the huge numbers of people who let their cats and dogs run loose might throw a monkey wrench into the works.