Sunday, January 24, 2010


Vivisection 1/22/10 British scientists are blowing up live pigs to study the effects of bombs. A man in Oaklan Park, Florida, performs a "coffee-table operation" on a dog he was watching and kills it. Here is a video (caution) of a seriously twisted experiment by Russian scientists.

Gatorland! 1/21/10 Scientists have determined that a shared breathing mechanism indicates that alligators and birds shared a common ancestor.

Kite-fighting 1/19/10 Friend Franck Cordes notes that there is a chapter on kite-fighting in The American Boys Handybook of Camp-lore and Woodcraft by Daniel Carter Beard (orig. 1882).

1/16/10 Moments after I published this post about the swallowing disorder pica, I was contacted by follower Lisa Wood, a gifted artist who collaged a series of plates based on the case histories of the swallowed objects in the very collection I mentioned. And her friend is writing a book on the same subject, due out later this year!

Disaster intensity scales 1/13/10 Here are some aerial photos of the earthquake damage in Haiti from National Geographic. As horrible as the tragedy and its aftermath is, unburied corpses do not pose much of a health risk. Scientists have identified a number of seismic zones throughout the world that are past due for an earthquake.

Mirror miscellany
1/17/10 Reader Kent Schnake points out the often overlooked observation that as long as a mirror is well-polished, we don't see it - we see what is reflected!

Sinkholes 1/12/10 Rubislaw Quarry in Aberdeen, Scotland - the largest man-made hole in Europe - has been sold.

Views from space 1/11/10 There are disputes over the ownership of a large meteorite that fell in Australia. Another meteorite fell through the roof of a doctor's office in Lorton, Virginia. Meanwhile, the Great Wall of China has been recreated in chocolate (although I don't usually link to weird chocolate).

Good cove, bad cove 1/6/10 Dolphins have taken up hydroplaning to catch the fish closest to shore. A French researchers suggests that heroic acts by animals like dolphins are more common than thought. Here is a story from this summer of a beluga whale carrying a struggling diver to the surface in China.

Snakes to the rescue
1/4/10 Federal officials have banned 9 species of constrictors from being imported into the U.S.

Parade floats 1/2/10 The plane that Capt. Sullenberger safely crash-landed in the Hudson River is for sale.

Bushmeat 12/27/09 A curious young chimp in the Congo investigates the remote video camera. The heart-wrenching tale of a humanized chimp named Jerry. A chimp is at the center of a custody battle in Sarasota, Florida.

Nipple shields 12/20/09 There is a strange time capsule in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - a 1950s-era drugstore - and look what's on the shelf toward the end of the video!

Circus animals on the lam 11/13/09 Spanish photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez has been stripped of his title of photographer of the year because it was discovered that the wolf in his award-winning photo had been rented from a wildlife park. The hippo who escaped from the zoo in Montenegro has returned to her enclosure.

Humpback whales 11/10/09 Close encounters with beluga whales in the Arctic circle.

Odd animals
11/4/09 This strange creature that turned up in Texas has been identified as a hairless raccoon.

Engineering feats
11/1/09 A schematic drawing of the British warship H.M.S. Temeraire, built in 1793.

One man band 10/24/09 Here is a deft performance by a member of the Brooklyn-based chamber music ensemble Project Trio.

Lizard lore
10/17/09 Villagers in Indonesia are supplying Asian demand for geckos to be used in traditional medicines.

Dinosaur eggs 10/3/09 American paleontologists have announced that prehistoric velociraptors also spit venom at their prey. Australian scientists blame humans for the demise of the megafauna that lived 400,000 years ago.

Animal clarity 8/16/09 The unusual shell of the scaly-foot snail, discovered in 2003, may assist in the design of armor for soldiers and vehicles, say American researchers. Similarly, the silence of owls in flight (pictured) have inspired aircraft technology.

Jaws in 1916 8/8/09 A harrowing account of an Englishman being eaten by a shark while on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa.

Creative cremains 7/24/09 The far-flung posthumous travels of American adventurer Ralph White. Ongoing repairs at a crematorium in Coventry, U.K., are marring Sikh death rituals.

Bride and groom 6/1/09 A British teacher sacrificed himself and drowned to save his bride on their honeymoom in Egypt.

Cave paintings at Lascaux 5/27/09 Plans are afoot in Italy to breed the aurochs depicted in cave paintings back from extinction.

The art of David Teniers the Younger
5/22/09 Japanese macaques huddling together for warmth.

Chihuahuas in the weird news 5/2/09 What's a follow-up without a chihuahua story? This one was found by security staff at the Dublin airport being smuggled in a Bulgarian man's suitcase.

Emmett Kelly 4/25/09 An example and explanation of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, a form of synchronicity.

Bears in the news 4/24/09 The den of a black bear hibernating in Minnesota is being monitored by a remote camera that just captured the birth of her 3 cubs!

Giants 4/17/09 A German model stands 6' 9" tall.

Centenarians 3/26/09 Here is a fantastic video of people aged 1 through 100.

Spider prey 3/7/09 Video of a giant centipede eating a bat. And watch this toad's defense when it is about to be eaten by a tarantula!

Megafishes 2/15/09 A blind British woman landed a 214lb catfish in Spain, after which she released it back into the river.

Disturbing decapitations 1/23/09 A human head and a red flower were found at the tomb of a Mexican drug lord.

Caves 1/15/09 A BBC video of the Crystal Cave of Giants in Chihuahua, Mexico.

More mammoths 1/6/09 DNA analysis of frozen soil by an international team of scientists shows that woolly mammoths existed for thousands of years longer than previously thought.

Dr. Seuss 12/25/08 A disagreement in Minnesota parallels the plot of Dr. Seuss's story The Zax.

Blizzard of 1888 12/14/08 Many wondrous photographs of ice caves around the world. A long-predicted form of stable ice has been confirmed in the lab by British scientists. Scientists have assessed that the ice in the artic Beaufort Sea is "rotten." Pioneering 19th c. images of snowflakes by American photographer Wilson A. Bentley have gone on sale. Photos and an explanation of hair ice. And a live audio feed from under the ice in Antarctica.

Conjoined twins
11/29/08 The world's oldest conjoined twins, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon of Ohio, are moving in with their brother rather than into an assisted-living facility.

Albinos 11/18/08 "White Bambi" spotted in the Italian Alps.

Oldest zoo in the world 11/10/08 A neighborhood association has stopped the Oakland Zoo from its practice of cutting down non-native trees and feeding the crunchy snacks to elephants and other animals. An Asian elephant has been born for the 1st time at the Melbourne Zoo. A Norwegian man who is trying to collect 1 million giraffes to win a bet is nearly halfway there.

Animal extinction
11/9/08 The eel population in London's River Thames have dropped precipitously (98%).

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