"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
Jeff Clark's review of the newest Echo And The Bunnymen release, "Crimes Of Passion" for Stomp And Stammer Magazine.
Variations on a theme, a short history of alligators biting and threatening people - mostly children, mostly African-American - a surprisingly popular motif of candy wrappers, sheet music, and post cards.
Dr. Brady Barr wears a "croc suit" to crawl up to basking wild crocs, close enough to attach a scientific device. His disguise, created by National Geographic engineers, is a prosthetic head attached to the front of a protective metal cage covered with canvas and a generous plastering of hippo dung to mask his human scent. Sez he: My heart raced and I held my breath expecting the worst, all the while wondering if my little croc suit could withstand an attack from a half ton reptilian giant. Also, an experiment monitoring crocs with a web cam and an RC racer.
Animal Face Off! A herd of buffalo battle a pride of lions and two crocodiles. Like "The Warriors" at a watering hole.
Judge Refuses to Dismiss NSA Spy Program Lawsuit. Judge Walker has denied the motion by the government to dismiss the EFF's suit based on the state secrets doctrine. Read the order [pdf] and more coverage and analysis at SCOTUSblog.
Sputnik rides again: Follow the amazing adventures of Sputnik the crocadilly. What was he up to August 7th? In metioning anything crocky, we should give a shout out to old Rol.
Animals thought extinct found in remote Cambodian jungle: British scientists have found a wilderness in the Cardamom region of Cambodia where exotic species, some though to be extinct, have been found. These include the Siamese crocodile, the wolf snake (a new species so named because of its dog-like fangs), large populations of tigers and Asian elephants, and the gower, a forest cow. Ironically, the habitat was protected from significant human intrusion because it was a longtime Khmer Rouge stronghold and also because routes lead to and from it are landmined.