Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking.
It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong.
You know what this is, John?
No, Barry White mud.
This is QUICKSAND
posted by lonefrontranger
on Sep 3, 2014 -
With growing fascination for the large land vertebratomorphs that are so startlingly diverse on Tatooine, I secured Imperial funding for an expedition to Tatooine, to survey the exotic megafauna and search for fossils of Tyrannodraconis that might further illuminate their evolution. My ensuing report
summarizes my trilogy of investigations and discoveries from this “holiday in the suns." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura
on Jul 22, 2014 -
"Elephants are obviously amazing, or rather, they are obvious receptacles for our amazement, because they seem to be a lot like us. They live about as long as we do. They understand it when we point at things, which our nearest living evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, doesn’t really. They can unlock locks with their trunks. They recognize themselves in mirrors. They are socially sophisticated. They stay with the same herds for life, or the cows do, anyway. They mourn their dead. They like getting drunk. When an elephant keels over, its friends sometimes break their tusks trying to get it to stand up again. They bury their dead. They bear grudges against people who’ve hurt them, and sometimes go on revenge campaigns. They cry. So why would you want to put a bullet in one?"
... Journalist Wells Tower accompanied one of Botswana's final
elephant hunts. This article contains graphic content of an elephant hunt which some may find disturbing.
posted by zarq
on Jun 5, 2014 -
Global Forest Watch
uses satellites to monitor forest
loss in near real-time
). It is now possible to see when forests (or even a couple big trees) are being cut down at the the time it happens, allowing officials and the public to notice and possibly take action. There is also a timeline showing forest loss/gain over time - how has your neighborhood fared?
posted by stbalbach
on Feb 20, 2014 -
Accidental Rewilding - In places once thick with farms and cities, human dispossession and war has cleared the ground for nature to return
The forest had entered a cycle Tomaž had not seen before, in which many of the giants had perished. Some had died where they stood, and remained upright, reamed with beetle and woodpecker holes, sprouting hoof fungus and razor strop. They looked as if a whisper of wind could blow them down. Others now stretched across the rocks and craters, sometimes blocking our path, sometimes suspended above our heads. Among the trunks lying on the ground, some were so thick that I could scarcely see over them. Where they had fallen, thickets of saplings crowded into the light. Seeing the profusion of fungus and insect life the dead wood harboured, I was reminded of the old ecologists’ aphorism: there is more life in dead trees than there is in living trees. The tidy-minded forestry so many nations practise deprives many species of their habitats.
by George Monbiot [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 25, 2013 -
"Hi, my name is Paul Rosolie.
I'm a naturalist based out of southern Peru and today I'm headed into the jungle to show you a place that very few people have gotten to see. I'm in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, this is the far western Amazon and some of the deepest jungle on earth."
posted by stbalbach
on Feb 20, 2013 -
DNA analysis has confirmed the death, by poaching, of the last Javan rhino in Vietnam.
This marks the official extinction of the Vietnamese subspecies of Javan rhinoceros. The entire species is now represented by just 35 individuals from the Indonesian subspecies, all of whom reside in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.
posted by Scientist
on Jan 16, 2013 -
"Decades ago, the Mbuti typically sold about half the meat they captured; now they sell nearly every carcass, saving only the prized entrails and heads for themselves. The hunt, in essence, has devolved into an all-out commercial endeavor, staged not for subsistence, but to feed growing regional markets. And the impact is clear.
posted by Scientist
on Nov 13, 2012 -
This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. - Wired.com "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground
posted by The Whelk
on Jan 24, 2012 -
"The Western Soundscape Archive [...] features audio recordings of animals and environments throughout the western United States."
"The project's geographic focus includes eleven contiguous western states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming - as well as baseline sound monitoring in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise
on Dec 14, 2011 -
Most people know that Venice has long been threatened by chronic flooding, but in recent years the Queen of the Adriatic has faced a rising tide of a different sort: advertising
From the Doge's Palace
to St. Mark's Square
to the bittersweet Bridge of Sighs
-- named for the grief its splendid views once inspired in crossing death row prisoners -- immense billboards lit late into the night
now mar the city's most treasured places.
Allegedly built to cover the cost of restoration work in the face of government cutbacks, the ads have brought in around $600,000 per year since 2008 -- a fraction of the shortfall -- and show no sign of going away any time soon. Their presence prompted a consortium of the world's leading cultural experts led by the Venice in Peril Fund
to air an open letter
demanding the city government put a stop to the placards that "hit you in the eye and ruin your experience of one of the most beautiful creations of humankind." Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, for one, was not moved, saying last year "If people want to see the building they should go home and look at a picture of it in a book."
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 4, 2011 -
I drive past the Meadowlands
every day now for the past 2 years on the NJ Turnpike. I kept seeing construction equipment and this area of dead dumping land slowly transform into one with actual streams like out of some plan
. Turns out, there was
. [more inside]
posted by rich
on Apr 29, 2011 -
In 1975, with $3,000 in savings Roxanne Quimby and her boyfriend moved to Maine
. They bought a tract of land on which they built a cabin and an outhouse. Near her Guilford homestead, Quimby later met beekeeper Burt Shavitz and used his beeswax to create candles (making $20,000 in her first year selling at local crafts fairs) -- and later their (yes, the two cofounded a company together
) best selling product Burt's Bees Lip Balm
(it's Burt's image
that still graces many of the company's products). With the phenomenal success that followed, she sold 80 percent of her shares in the company
to New York investors in 2003 (eventually the company was sold to Clorox
) to help fund significant land purchases
. For years Maine sportsmen have been outraged with Quimby for forbidding hunters, loggers, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on the 120,000 acres of woodlands she now owns. Quimby has recently offered a compromise. She wants to donate 70,000 acres
to help create a new national park (Maine Woods National Park
) while "setting aside another 30,000 acres of woodlands
... to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed." [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Mar 28, 2011 -
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth
. The culmination of five years of field work
, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques
in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups
-- including many sights
rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular
, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries
, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta
, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score
from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes
for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough
. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Mar 7, 2011 -
You didn't much like Raptorize
and were hoping for something about real raptors (not F-22 fighters), therefore I am pleased to give you the goods on Birds of Prey
. Raptors are birds that hunt
(or scavenge) for meat, not plant life, and share several physical traits
(although they can vary in size from miniature
(pygmy) owls to Andean condors
), among the largest birds of prey in the United States
), secretary birds
) and vultures
) are all raptors; all have hooked beaks, fantastic
and sharp talons
. The word raptor comes from the Latin rapere
(to seize), apt description
of their hunting style
. Raptor breeders
abound, as do raptor associations (quite a list at the Global Raptor Information Network
injured raptors back to health; you can Adopt-a-Bird
, and even donate regularly to help the birds via your very own Raptor Center Credit Card
. Failing that, you can always help
more about conservation
of these magnificent
and beautiful creatures
. And if you are super keen, you can attend the
Winter Raptor Fest 2011
. [more inside]
posted by bwg
on Dec 14, 2010 -