I Don't Want No Scrubs
Friday, April 24, 2009 | Author: eventer79
And if you get that reference, gold star for late-90's music literacy!

Friday Fun Fact!

There is a species of Central/South American leaf-cutter ants (Mycocepurus smithii) in which there are NO male ants (girl power, yeah!). These amazons only reproduce when the queen clones herself. No males have ever been found, but even if they were, the ants could not mate because their "no-no parts" have literally evolved away to nothing.

The colonies live in a symbiotic (translation from bio-geek: both parties benefit) relationship with a particular fungus: the ants clean and feed the fungus, the fungus in return feeds the ants' babies.

I am reminded of a quote from Nicole Hollander:
Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women.

Go ahead, my dear lady ants, eat all the chocolate cake you want!
Too Perfect Not To Post
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Or should I say "purr-fect" since it is a creation of the LOL Kittehs. Go take a walk with your "significant otter" or dog or whatever and enjoy the fresh wonder of spring as you wander.

Art With A Message
Monday, April 20, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Studies suggest that the human mind cannot really comprehend amounts above 1,000. So when we hear about hundreds of thousands or millions, it is difficult for us to grasp the scope of what we are hearing and thus, for many, difficult to relate to and be concerned about the related issues.

Artist Chris Jordan apparently took this as an assignment and created a series of beautiful pieces to help people visualize the scale of threats facing our worlds oceans. A couple of my favourites:

This 11-foot-wide digital collage of photos shows 2.4 million pieces of plastic--the number of pounds of plastic trash that enters the oceans every hour.

A closeup of the trash. This work is part of a series called Running the Numbers II, based on his book, Running the Numbers, which I now totally want to check out!

The most poignant of the group, this contains 270,000 shark teeth, the amount of sharks who are killed by finning for soup daily.

A closeup of some of the teeth used. It makes me weep to think of these animals being finned and tossed in a ghoulish display of greed based on a completely incorrect and archaic "tradition." If you are not familiar with the practice, you can learn more here.
Insects and Inebriation
Friday, April 17, 2009 | Author: eventer79
You know you tuned in just for your Friday Fun Fact! So here you go!

The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight, and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

This is equivalent to a 150 lb human lifting 7500 lbs and pulling 4500 lbs. That means the Ant-Human can single-handedly bench press a female elephant and drag a female hippopotamus. That makes me tired.....

My question is: who paid for the research that ferreted out which side ants fall on when they are drunk? Did someone follow ants to tiny clandestine pubs or feed them insect-sized cocktails?

I can say with some authority that a human will fall pretty much any which way when intoxicated, but only after asserting that they are in fact NOT intoxicated and don't need any help at all, thank you very much.

Cool Cash for Insightful Innovations
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Have a great idea to help the environment that would work on a community level?

Want to win $20,000 for it?

Then enter the Green Effect contest from National Geographic and SunChips.

I actually think this is a pretty good idea to encourage creative thinking and make conservation fun and feasible. The emphasis is on idea which can be implemented on a local scale, "small steps [that] add up to meaningful progress and positive change."

And who DOESN'T want postiive change these days? I sure do, since the only change I see is the handfull of nickels leftover from my paycheck after I pay the bills. So get those mental wheels turning and who knows, you could end up with a grant to make real change happen!!
Wander Smart
Monday, April 13, 2009 | Author: eventer79

Traveling this weekend left me thinking about how we can make our trips more effecient and less wasteful without annoying the snot out of ourselves. So here are a few easy tips for getting to and getting around the places you want to be without screwing them up in the process.

*USE taxis, buses, trains, trams. Not only do you save money on fuel, but you reduce your impact AND the amount of time you spend lost in some random place. Even better, walk or ride a bike and get a perspective you would have missed zipping by in a vehicle.

*In hotels, don't have the maid service come in every day. Do you change your sheets and towels at home every day? Yeah right, don't lie, no you don't. This saves a TON of water and energy every time you hang that 'do not disturb' card. Plus, no one that you don't know is entering your hotel room and exposing your belongings to outsiders.

*Hiking? Always stay on trails and paths -- straying increases erosion and you may be unknowingly trampling plants and animals that cannot survive your clodhoppers.

*Reuse water bottles by refilling from a tap or one large central source instead of buying a new bottle of water every time. It's also a great place to stick travel stickers!!

*Turn off all the lights when you leave your hotel room -- the switch is right by the door and is easy to flip on as soon as you get back.

*When eating out, you really don't need to grab 42 napkins when you pick up your food. One or two will do and will cut down on waste.

*Choose your activites carefully. Hike through the forest instead of riding in a Jeep or ATV -- these vehicles do a LOT of damage every time they pass through a habitat and eat fuel as well as squishing plants and animals. Sports like golf hog resources and land, so if you must partake, choose a course that uses recycled water and preserves habitat for wildlife.

*Only grab those brochures or maps if you are really going to use them, and recycle it when you are done.

*If you see trash lying on the ground, pick up at least one piece and dispose of it properly, every little bit helps.

*Don't patronize hotels/resorts/activity providers who do not practice at least basic conservation measures to save water and energy. If a giant resort has been built smack in the middle of pristine forest habitat and is lit up like an alien landing strip and is covered by concrete, you can bet your money is going right towards habitat carnage. Try to choose businesses who support the local community and are pro-active about conservation.

*Don't buy souvenirs like shells, butterflies, meats, wood products or other items which may come from imperiled species or habitats. Take lots of photos (digital, of course, almost unlimited reuse and doesn't consume paper or chemicals) and try to buy directly from the person who makes the craft or item of your choice, should you choose to buy (and always buy local, of course).

*Don't underestimate the great time you can have closer to home -- a local state park or waterway undoubtedly holds adventures all its own and will be cheaper and much more effecient to get to.
Everyone Needs a Vacation...
Thursday, April 09, 2009 | Author: eventer79
And I'm taking mine! At least as close as I can get to one. So no amazing and educational posts for you, my dear wanderers, until I get back. But keep wondering as you wander, because as a great writer once said:

The world shall not perish from want of wonders,
but from want of wonder.
Think You're Smarter Than a Goldfish?
Friday, April 03, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Ok, maybe that won't be the next new gameshow to blow ratings, but turns out that Goldy just might be smarter than you gave him credit for. Once again, National Geographic News provides me with my handy (and on time!!!) Friday Fun Fact. (article here) Fish can count! Yes, like 3 is more than 2 and less than 4. So they don't just swim around making kissy faces after all. Nature is just cool -- how can anyone argue with that!

Kinda gives the cartoon below a whole new creepy meaning...next they will be saying "we are learning to program your computers to destroy you!"

How To Make My Head Explode
Thursday, April 02, 2009 | Author: eventer79
I wrote about issues surrounding America's grey wolf populations here and here. I had high hopes that the new administration which claimed to value science would actually LOOK at all the good studies out there on apex predators and their vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Without a top predator, you cannot HOPE to have healthy prey populations (and healthy prey animals are usually what is desired by both the hunting and viewing public) and by trickle-down effect, healthy plant communities.

Much as I hate to use Yahoo news as a source, this is the first place I saw this AP release about a formal rule released by DOI (Dept of Interior, which the US Fish & Wildlife Service is in) and Secretary of the Interior Salazar. This does nothing more than condone and encourage unjustified slaughter in states whose trigger fingers have been itching for decades. It unethical and illegal, not that either of those has ever stopped Sarah Palin, or should I call her Redneck Barbie. She tries to claim her wolf genocide is "predator control" that will provide more moose and elk for hunters. Which is about the biggest load of bullshit that has ever been dished, as wolves are successful at pulling down large game perhaps 1 out of 20 tries and more often scavenge. On top of that, wolves never attack or kill animals that hunters want to shoot; they always pick the weakest link and as a result, actually stregthen herds, a fact which has been borne out among Yellowstone elk herds. Maybe Palin's gun will misfire and knock her into the ocean somewhere off the coast of Alaska and she will just disappear...

CURSE YOU ALL!!! *shaking fist*

I am too angry to continue right now... If you have the opportunity, write, call, sign petitions, I don't care, just tell Washington that this is UNACCEPTABLE, UNJUSTIFIED, and has ZERO basis in science or ethics.