Despite the fact that I am still on the “Model T ” iMac and its incredibly slow speed, I thought I had best jump back in before the world passes me by! I have a bunch of purely bloggish referrals i have collected in the past week, even a few which have gotten past the sharp eyes of Reid, Matt, O & P— and some that haven’t but that I think I should call more attention to.
Plus there is all the material and photos from my Turkish trip– dogs, PIGEONS, culture, food, more. Because photos send so slowly on this computer I will be trickling these through over several days or more, through Reid.
Bloggish referrals, first. Here is a New York Times story on the “resurrection” of the quagga, a zebra- like equine from South Africa. Much is made of whether it is a “real” quagga or not, but according to Jonathan Kingdon, in Volume 3 B of his magisterial 7- volume East African Mammals, the quagga is a mere race, conspecific with the common zebra. So why should it not be possible to breed back to the lost “morph” by selecting quagga- like individuals, as taxidermist Reinhold Rau has done?
But it is a good article, barring some oddly sad PC observations about how taxidermy was evidence of white South Africa’s attitudes of “dominion”, as opposed to present day museums’ emphasis on African culture and videos. Such very liberal scientists and cultural commentators as Kingdon, Oliver Sachs, and the late Stephen Gould, all of whom have written essays in favor of old- fashioned “Cabinet Museums”, might disagree.
Re Anne Hocker and the Washington Times: pigeon keeping is now illegal in Chicago. A federal court found that keeping pigeons is not a fundamental right. Probably not, but the question might be framed better. Don’t people have a fundamental right not to have ancient and harmless pastimes suddenly criminalized?
Notoriously, handguns are also banned in Chicago,which has not affected the crime rate at all.
A new carnivore has been found– photographed!– in Borneo. What is it?—- looks like some kind of civet to me. Though Borneo has been well studied, this discovery reminds us of how much is just… out there, if we don’t destroy the habitat. In Borneo, we are still doing that…
Odious and Peculiar link to this Scotsman story on how Stalin planned to breed human- ape hybrids as invincible worker and soldiers, and incidentally to “destroy religion”. Yeah, that always works. Stalin still holds my title as “Worst 20th Century Tyrant”, though I realize that Hitler and Mao will always be contenders. Related more detailed story here.
Reid found me this NYT science article on the “Cute Factor”. I remain suspicious of “cute” , perhaps because we are all so susceptible to it, and I am not alone. “….said Denis Dutton, a philosopher of art at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, the rapidity and promiscuity of the cute response makes the impulse suspect, readily overridden by the angry sense that one is being exploited or deceived. “
And speaking of Hitler: “The new Beetle looks like a smiley face,” said Miles Orvell, professor of American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. “By this point its origins in Hitler’s regime, and its intended resemblance to a German helmet, is totally forgotten.”
Another piece from the invaluable NYT Science pages– did you know that if you eat meat with shot in it , the lead may end up in your appendix? Remarkable X- ray!
Only: IT IS NOT BUCKSHOT! Buckshot is used for, well, bucks. BIRD shot is used for birds.
Of course, I’m sure the writer has opinions on guns…
More to come…