Archive for the ‘animals’ Category
Hyde Park unofficial ceremony remembers 7 July victims. Families complain that the government didn't tell them how to commemorate the anniversary.
Swedish feminists burn cash in wage equality protest. Y'know, if they'd just asked me, I would have happily paid for photocopies of the original £8,500 for them to burn, and then spent it on something awesome.
Some meerkat groups choose to get up later, and then mitigate it by skimping on their morning ablutions. Sounds familiar, naming no siblings' names…
Meanwhile, UN to set up agency promoting women's rights. I hope the 'gender' part of the title doesn't apply only to women. We should always aim for no discrimination based on gender, not 'gender equality' between the two mainstream groups.
'Big budget' porn film shot in London hospital. Yes, apparently the offence is mainly over the fact that the film's budget was higher than the NHS's. Ditto occupational health standards. Zing.
Taiwan chocolate art exhibition. That 'jade' cabbage is beautiful. And the dice and mahjongg pieces, so cute! Exit through the gift shop… NOM.
Close encounters with giant harpy eagle of Venezuela, who very effectively sorts out a nasty ape that is trying to climb towards her nest. In the second clip, another young man stares out a different filthy ape and takes the mickey out of its walkie-talkie.
Dangerous dogs bill 'does not go far enough'. I disagree with the criticisms in the main…
Changes proposed include more emphasis on the owners' responsibility, attacks which take place on private property becoming a criminal offence, and legislation no longer being breed specific.
I don't fully understand the part about attacks occurring on private property (the interview clip seemed to suggest the opposite of what I understood from the article, and I haven't bothered to look up the details yet), but as for the other two changes mentioned, they're completely sensible. A person's race is never an excuse for criminal activity; childhood abuse and upbringing, on the other hand, certainly do shift the blame onto the family. Besides, you can't end up with a situation where you're forced towards genetically testing a litter of crossbreeds, and even ending up with brothers and sisters coming under different laws because of the exact proportion of Staffie in their blood.
The Bahá'ís just can't seem to catch a break. It looks likely that those in Iran (where, I will point out, their religion originated, unlike Islam!) are due further terrorisation and mob violence with the silent collusion of Ahmadinnerjacket's jackboot cronies.
The coalition government is sticking with Labour's Equality Act, apart from the bit about forcing employers to make public how much less they pay their women employees than men.
Inequality just isn't going away. The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor is widening, and somehow I don't quite trust the Tories to close it, even with their collective arm twisted by the yellow contingent.
"Do you think being a comic writer means you've not been taken seriously?" "I think that coming from a comics background has meant that I have never cared at all about being taken seriously. … I come from comics. That's not even the gutter: that's the drain that the gutter runs into."
Good Omens is still the best thing I've ever read from Gaiman. It was co-written with Terry Pratchett, with the result that both loopy writers bounced off each other magnificently, to glorious results. (The worldbuilding in American Gods and Anansi Boys was enjoyable too, but only because Pratchett's Small Gods – which, unlike Gaiman's books, I can find really scary – had burrowed into my brain during a formative stage.)
I never knew Gaiman's family members were Scientologists. That must help with horror writing.
Speaking of living in a controlled environment, how do you fancy life in a village where children are banned?
30% of children feel scared when they see adults drunk or drinking too much, – which I suppose makes me 30% child, because I know drinkers terrify me. I'm more disturbed by the proportion of children ("nearly half") for whom drinking to excess is a normal, non-frightening sight.
I'll cheerfully admit that I don't know who Justin Bieber is, but 4chan has sent him off to North Korea. Well done, /b/uddies. Can he stay there?
(Presuming, that is, that anyone reads these.)
Pope Benedict XVI UK visit a 'mistake' says Ian Paisley. We are also sad to learn that the Pope will not be speaking on Thought for the Day while he's over here spreading his hateful anti-progressive anti-secular message at our expense, while at the same time being a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and – well, you get the idea.
British actor Andrew Garfield cast as new Spider-Man. Good, whatever. He can't be worse than Botox Puppy was. All the same, I was under the quaint impression that Spidey was a New Yorker.
In a statement, Denham told the court on Thursday: "All I can say is, I'm so sorry. I see myself as a mere scumbag paedophile who took advantage of a situation and used my power to abuse young people."
Which is a fair summary.
I sent my father some advice on introducing a dog to new cats with no bloodshed. This is actually quite straightforward to accomplish, and you can get the general gist from my abstract:
The cat's unshakeable belief in its own inherent superiority, and ability to convince the dog of the same in the face of overwhelming evidence, is one of the reasons it is such a successful parasitic lifeform. The cat seeks to displace the dog's benign mutualism for its own ends without the host's knowledge.
I recommend Hillaire Belloc's exhaustive treatment, a classic for anyone interested in the subject. Meanwhile, in the realm of speculative fiction, many of the terrifying parasitic alien lifeforms in Neal Asher's novels are rather reminiscent of the cat or its passenger-cum-co-conspirator, Toxoplasma gondii.
Ouch! What's that pain in my horn fingers? Ah, it's my chronic Finnophilia flaring up again.
(Only 1Mbps, I know – but you should bear in mind, if you live in a fortunate area, that over a quarter of the UK doesn't even have that.)
Can they prove it was NOT holy water? Because I'm hoping there are no homeopaths walking free in South Korea.
I'd like to see that cartoon shown on the page, but can't find it online. I did find this web safety film, which is excellent.
SIEGE POWER! Fifty-one brave souls sabotaged the drawbridge and held Red Castle from invading cherrypickers for three hours. This without any supplies of grapeshot, jelly shots, crossbow bolts or boiling oil. Bold defenders, we salute you!
Wonder Woman gets trendy makeover. More from a source that actually understands comics:
To add insult to injury for WW fans, from that summary it sounds like a lame House of M style story. Oh well, I bet she gets un-rebooted at the end, making this (no pun intended) a non-issue.
If Australians can manage without imported purified water, there's hope for us all. It's a horrific product and I wish Concord, Massachusetts the best of luck in vanquishing the unethical companies that peddle it.
In pictures: Heroic dogs. I think I recognise that first dog from the cover of a book I own about dogs in warfare… clearly some much-deserved recognition.
But I don't think Peter really understood "the honour of meeting King George VI and a young Queen Elizabeth", do you?
A white councillor has been found guilty of racial harassment after, in a debate about ring-fencing funds for white communities only, she called another white councillor a traitor to her race.
Israeli pig-farming kibbutz draws religious ire – not because they're eating the meat left over after they're used for organ experiments (although some members of the kibbutz do indeed chow down on pork chops), but for the fact that they are keeping pigs on Ye Holy Lande at all.
I'm all for people not eating pork—along with shellfish, beef, sheep, tuna and anything else sentient that you care to omit from your diet—but if you claim that pigs are disgusting and dirty, rather than the adorable, sensitive, cuddly, ear-scritchy, bone-splintering fun they obviously are, there's just something wrong with you. These baby Sus scrofa are hereby holier than you until further notice.
China's latest walking fashion accessory: ZEBRA DOG!
Now, baby red pandas. Two sets, actually. Baby Red Panda Born at National Zoo and Calgary Zoo keeps hands off infant pandas (mentions but doesn't specify the subspecies, but I guess at A. f. fulgens from this picture and this. A. f. styani tend to be darker, but obviously everyone varies and I'm not an expert. Styani are also bigger and live in the northeastern part of their wild range. I've been known to claim that my authorial totem is a big, dark styani. If you want to know why red pandas are brilliant, apart from the obvious, check their funky moves. ILLUSTRATED PARENTHETICAL DIGRESSION FUR THE WIN. Cough. redpandasrule)
As usual, the abstract of the paper is a bit more clear than this reporting.
What's that old saw? Those who eavesdrop never hear anything good about themselves…
[Special message for the Pakistani government only: God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner God has a partner][shirk'd!]
And now it's time for your irregular Two Minutes' Schadenfreude. Watch them squirm, splutter and exaggerate their hardships:
Cyborg Cat: minutes after the anaesthetic wears off, he is already turning on his masters and infiltrating their restricted areas.
See all the trouble caused by silphium going extinct? Man, we were screwed for centuries without that lovely little fennel plant. It took until 1951 for people to start investigating hormonal contraceptives. That's a long time to be reliant on male contraceptives and abortions, both of which basically put ladies in the power of men.
(Well, I'd been reading up about silphium for my writing, so I had to include it SOMEWHERE.)
This thing is called a Crom-eyed Tosspot, or rather it is now. Edit: It does not after all look like Charlycrash, but I still think it's pretty. :P
Slow worms colonise landfill site in Cardiff Bay, where they have been moved with great expense and care.
Good otter. Very good otter. Very good and very newsworthy five seconds of silent, black-and-white footage of otter. If more news stories consisted of otters having fun, being otters and generally taking the mickey out of people with cameras, the world would be happier and also more whiskery.
The mainstream news has been really rubbish with regard to red panda stories. Allow me to red-ress that a little. Here an El Paso zoo director has gone to China to see about fresh paramours for his red panda roomies, while some Croatian red pandas are moving from Zagreb to Zurich, a trip for which they won't need the first 25 chapters of the A-Z. (note, incidentally, the well-researched photo accompanying the article. Here is a Zagreb red panda and further proof that the pandas are in fact red. I found these in a matter of seconds. The Croatian Times fails at wildlife).
There is still no pangolin news that doesn't involve bushmeat, and I really don't want to cover THAT.
In other red panda
news nightmares, scream for me.
New 'keeper' at Point of Ayr Lighthouse, and a very handsomely eerie one too.
"He was the pope who managed to tear down barriers" except to women, AIDS victims, gays, all the children he allowed to be raped……. but hey, that was some hands-down good work with the Jews.
Oh good, there's an obligatory Irish dance in it. *vomit vomit*
An interviewee says you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it, "you just have to be a man. Or a woman. You have to be a man or a woman." So I suppose I'm outside its target audience anyway.
Refugee guides bring London's V&A museum to life. This sounds brilliant. I'd like to go on one of these tours.
A nice Great Whales spotter's guide. Gotta catch 'em al… oh wait, DONE! :D
A grab bag of newsy scraps I snuffled up before and after the weekend:
Typing is helping a boy with autism communicate. I'm dismayed that it took until he was nine. NINE? What were his teachers doing all that time? To think of him being trapped inside all that time and (reading between the lines of the article) being spoken to as if he was an idiot who didn't understand anything…
This isn't a win for this child. It's a late, very late mitigation of an epic fail.
Water voles make a comeback in UK (i.e. Ratty! I was always Ratty whenever we read Wind in the Willows when I was little. This is because Ratty is fabulous. Seriously. Read the book.)
He says he will co-operate with the investigation despite his immunity as a Vatican diplomatic passport holder.
I reckon he was very likely ordered to do as much, just so the unfairness of 'diplomatic immunity' granted by their silly little made-up state is kept well out of the discussion.
Tuesday, 13th June 1911: a Very Important episode from Scott's Antarctic diaries. Yes, there's a dog involved. FACT: If they'd used dogs instead of ponies (as Amundsen did), they would probably have survived and, who knows, perhaps even beaten Amundsen (but not likely, because he chose the better route too).
By the way, if you hadn't noticed (I think I've mentioned it before), they're publishing Scott's Antarctic diaries in 'real time' on the linked site. You can subscribe and follow their RSS feed.
And lastly, a puffin with noms.
For those playing Godwin at home, there is mention of Hitler in the last section. But before that, the most important news story of the day is obviously this one:
Can we have your liver, then? Lab-grown tissues are something about which I'm ridiculously excited, both from a fant/SF authorial perspective and because I can't wait to nom down on some vat-grown meat. (Here speaketh þe blood-thirsty vegetarian carnivore, a straunge and terrible creature that doth graze on vegetarian BLTs.)
US experiment hints at multiple Higgs bosons. Honestly. It seems barely worth keeping up with particle physics, the way entities keep multiplying unnecessarily!
I have to wonder what subatomic physics will look like in a few years' time. I kind of hope it'll be unrecognisable, that we've been moving in the wrong direction and that they'll look back on all our groping after Higgs with nostalgic disdain.
A good article about where patriotism meets nationalism and racism. Do not on ANY account read the comments, for they are full of blah.
We do need a word in English for "discrimination based on country of origin". At the moment we use "racism" for both that and ethnic group, which gets pretty confused. "Nationalism" is already taken, though, and "countism"… er, no.
Prayag Thakkar, a 19-year-old student in Gujarat state, is one of them: "I have idolised Hitler ever since I have had a sense of history. I admire his leadership qualities and his discipline."
The Holocaust was bad, he says, but that is not his concern. "He mesmerised the whole nation with his leadership and iron discipline. India needs his discipline."
Dimple Kumari, a research associate in Pune, has not read Mein Kampf but she would wear the Hitler T-shirt out of admiration for him. She calls him "a legend" and tries to put her admiration for him in perspective: "The killing of Jews was not good, but everybody has a positive and negative side."
Shilpi Guha says she started reading the book but could not finish it and she wouldn't like to dwell on the dictator's negative side.
So, can someone's positive side ever be completely outweighed by nasty things they did or said? Is there a limit in wickedness beyond which we can rule that there's nothing whatsoever worth emulating about the person? Or can somebody's works — art, architecture, literature, music — be judged on their own merit without being tainted by who made them?
I'd been considering the question from a different example the other day when I caught part of a BBC Four repeat of Stephen Fry's documentary on Richard Wagner (who, in keeping with his contemporaries, had some pretty unsavoury views about Jews; something that troubles Fry, who has Jewish antecedents and loves Wagner's music).
And I still don't have the answer. Some people enjoy religious music in spite of its glorification of a god they dislike or deny, and all the despicable things done by the Churches. I don't like music that puts forth a message I dislike, so I disagree there. But if the music is all about magic rings and Valkyries, or the book is all about elves and hobbits, telling its own story that on the surface is nothing to do with the author's other views, should it be enjoyed as free as possible from its mundane origins? Or does artistic criticism demand that we take nothing without its full and proper context, cleverly squeezing from every work symbolism for whatever we happen to know about the author's life and times?
Whatever, I'm still not going to read Mein Kampf. Snoresville.
I am interested to know what you think.
You can imagine an editor's eyes lighting up on being handed this story on a Friday. "Any clowns involved?" she asks, with a slavering sort of gleam. The work experience boy backs away, clutching a tube of Digestives to his chest.
"First an admission: I am a Jew, and a journalist. And now an apology: I hate the solipsistic writing I am about to be guilty of, where the journalist puts himself at the centre of the story."
So do I, but this is a good article nonetheless.
Thousands spent to bring Mauritius dog Dodo to Aberdeen. Money well spent. We came very close to doing the same one time when visiting Crete many years back. Poor little Nico got run over in front of us and we ended up setting his leg and treating him.
Cornwall tortoise sanctuary classed as zoo, which it turns out is a terrible thing for them.
I can offer a home to one or two…
How blind to change are you? The clips haven't been working for me so far, so I can't thrash you all.
Updates from my Twitter feed don't seem to be being crossposted here for some reason. I don't know why that could be yet.
As far as important updates blog readers may have missed, @cubicgarden is improving slowly and able to receive visitors.
Surely if it's a seasonal 'illness', it's likely related to some kind of fermenting fruit? That would be my first guess towards a theory anyway…
Web domains owned by BBC revealed, including bestmurders.co.uk, jellyparties.co.uk and watchagrownmanrot.co.uk. None as exciting as they sound.
Close encounter with a venomous mammal: the Hispaniolan solenodon
The prize for the answer is braggin' rights. Nowt else.
My mistress bids me wait in durance stern.
With ignorance she blocks my path to joy;
Unjust delays are wrought at every turn,
My every plea set back by falsehoods coy;
Or else she seems to wilt, or then relent,
Yet in the granting, buck my earnest wish
With pale commital, watered-down assent –
A day-old tin of bleak and joyless fish.
Such cheapest chicken wafted at my face
That any cat would balk to call a meal!
There's gravy when I wanted jellied plaice
Or tuna when I becked for curried veal!
That witch! that crone! a wight with no remorse!
I shan't be coming back for second course!
What colour is the cat who writes this complaint, AND WHY? No marks will be given for an incorrect reason. (Hint: You don't need any foreknowledge of my household to work this out.)
Comments will be screened for a couple of days to let everyone guess.