June 2009

Cute Overload

If your work week is draining you, if you feel like throttling your boss,  or at least throwing the hole punch at that smarmy co-worker that keeps commenting on your lack of love life, then I have just the ticket.

For the ultimate de-stress hit, jump over to CuteOverload.com  Packed with the cutest (duh) pictures of animals that you have ever seen, you will be smelling the roses and smiling about life within just a few minutes.

The Growing Problem of "Growing Dogs"


Everyone knows it-Americans are getting fatter and fatter every year. Obesity is hitting us hard health wise. The rather unfortunate fact of the matter is that Fido and Muffy are getting fat right along with us.  

 I was at my sister's place yesterday and noticed (I tried not to, really) that her dog had gained a few pounds. "She's big-boned," my sister said in defense of her chubby dog. After making a few comments that I shouldn't have made, I realized that she was serious- the vet was concerned about the dog's weight and had encouraged her to get the dog on a diet. Like any good parent, my sister got a little protective of her furry friend. What was she doing wrong?

New Species Found in Ecuador

Scientists have found a handful of new species of creatures while working with Conservation International in Ecuador and Peru. The prime area of exploration, the Upper Nangaritza River Bain, is composed of remote mountains made up of forests, located in the Cordillera del Cor.

Along with an assortment of katydids, the Dendrobates poison arrow frog, the tiny “minute” Pristimantis frog, the Hyalinobatrachium glass frog, the Enyalioides lizard, and the “ugly salamander” are all potentially new species.

I showed my daughter the pictures, and while we both agreed that the “ugly salamander” is hideous, calling something ugly by name really isn’t a very nice thing to do. Even “appearance-challenged salamander” would have been better than flat out “ugly.”

Truck Stop Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger is more than just a friendly, furry animal who adorns cereal boxes, he’s also an actual living, breathing Siberian Bengal tiger who lives outside a truck stop atGrosse Tete , Louisiana.  Obviously not the ideal home for one of the world's rarest and largest wild cats.

Tony is being used as nothing more than a tourist attraction at the Tiger Truck Stop by his owner Michael Sandlin, and there are many who are fighting for him to be moved to a wildlife reserve.

Save the Mekong River Wildlife

In the US it is easy to see rivers as recreational.  A place to sail, swim or fish.  But in many parts of the world rivers are often the life line for millions of of people. The Mekong River in southeast Asia is one such life line, and the residents who depend on this particular river say that the proposed building of 11 hydroelectric dams in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos, will have a devastating affect on the humans and wildlife that depend on it.

Save the Chimps!

Chimpanzees are smarter than we are. At least they are smarter than the average American college student at memorizing lists of numbers from 1-9. (I don't know if that is a rather sad commentary on our educational system or a big thumbs up for the Chimpanzees.) They are also our closest-living ancestors, and have amazing family bonds. You might even say that they have better family values than we do, but that is another argument for another post. These are but a few reasons that the loss of 90% of the Chimapanzee Population in the last 20 years on the Ivory Coast's  is a travesty.

President Obama is a Fly Killer!

I just knew there was some kind of catch. A man just couldn’t be that wicked cool, smart, tech-savvy and generally all-around groovy with two cute kiddies and an awesome, intelligent wife. Something had to give.

Behold, Obama the Fly Killer!

A fly on the wall has no business during a White House interview, says President Obama. While CNBC’s John Harwood attempted to get an interview in the East Room, the fly simply wouldn’t stop interrupting, buzzing his own intelligible questions into the president’s ear—and our Commander in Chief had had enough.

Swatting the offending creature once it landed on his hand, he put a quick end to the multi-eyed invader.

Ant Behavior: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We've all heard the same lament from our parents. Why can't you be more like your brother? Why don't you get straight A's like your sister? Now imagine your father as a scientist studying ants every day for a living. You have no sense of community- why can't you be more like the ants? (It's got a certain sting to it, doesn't it? Sorry, bad pun intended.)

Bert Holldobler, a "bug scientist" from Germany recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss  his recent book, "The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance and Strangeness of Insect Societies" and his earlier book, "The Ants". The way Professor Holldobler describes bugs sounds a lot more similar to the way Marx and Engels described the proletariat than to anything you would have heard on the Animal Kingdom as a kid.

New Report On a Most Unusual Mammal

Recently the Journal of Mammalogy featured a new study on a rather unusual little mammal called the long-beaked echidna. This study, which was primarily the work of Muse Opiang who was a research intern at the Wildlife Conservation Society during the study, provided much needed information about this rare little animal and the current status of the long-beaked echidna's populations.

The long beaked echidna, also known by its common name the spiny anteater, has a spiked like armored shell and long snout. But it is not just the appearance that makes this animal so unusual. The long-beaked echidna is a mammal; however, instead of having offspring by live birth as most known mammals do, the long-beaked echidna actually lays eggs the way we often see various types of reptiles doing.

PETA Flogs a Dead Fish

Pikes Market in Seattle is a 102 year old institution beloved by locals and tourists alike. It's a huge market, partly outdoor, and partly indoors—three subterranean floors with lots of small stores and restaurants. One of the long-term vendors of fresh food and produce is Pike Place Fish Market. This is a fabulous fish market, with some of the most incredible, and freshest fish you're going to find unless you go out to the boats yourself. There's a tradition at Pike Place Fish Market:

One man points to an enormous white-bellied fish, and another man in a wet apron scoops it up from the ice, hoists it over his shoulder and sends it flying 15 feet toward the counter.

"Hali-BUT! Hali-BUT! Heyyyyyy!" six men scream in unison. "Goin' right home! Goin' right home!" The counterman catches the hurtling fish neatly between the head and tail fin and slaps it onto a wrapping sheet.

Cows and Methane Gas, A New Dietary Approach

A few years ago, researchers at my alma mater the "esteemed cow college" Washington State University looked into whether or not gaseous emissions from cows had an effect on global warming. Surprisingly, the results came in that the methane gases the cows were belching, were also trapping heat and not helping the cause to fight green-house gases. In fact, methane gases are known to have up to 20 times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide.

Gay Penguins happy parents to a chick

Two male Humboldt penguins from the Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany have successfully hatched a chick that had been discarded by its natural parents a month prior. According to zoo staff the homolicious penguins are caring for the chick as a normal heterosexual penguin couple would.

"Another couple threw the egg out of their batch. We picked it up and put it in the nest of the gay penguins," veterinarian Joachim Schöne said.