A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘cetaceans

[NEWS] Five links on life and intelligence both near and far: ‘Oumuamua, ET, blue whales, orangutans

  • Craig Welch at National Geographic notes how scientists, by carefully decoding the songs of blue whales, are figuring out how they are leading their lives.
  • Sarah Gibbens at National Geographic notes a new study suggesting that, since 1999, hunting and environmental devastation has reduced the orangutan population of Borneo by almost half, by 150 thousand individuals. This sounds almost like genocide.
  • Universe Today notes evidence that ‘Oumuamua had a very violent past.
  • Nadia Drake at National Geographic explores the recent study suggesting that, unless there were signs of menace, most people actually would react well to news of extraterrestrial life.
  • Vikram Zutshi at Open Democracy recently suggested that contact with extraterrestrial intelligence could be good for the Earth, might even help us save it. Certainly this civilization would have survived the Great Filter; certainly it’s a corrective to lazy assumptions of automatic menace.
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[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • anthro{dendum} shares an essay by digital ethnographer Gabriele de Seta on the pitfalls of digital ethnography, on the things not said.
  • The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture shares photos taken in the course of a mission by dentists to provide care to rural Jamaica.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the TRAPPIST-1 worlds in depth, finding that TRAPPIST-1e seems to be the relatively most Earth-like world there.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that British banks are cracking down on the use of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin.
  • Gizmodo suggests the Chixculub impactor that killed most of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous may also have played havoc with fragile tectonics of Earth. Responsibility for the Deccan Traps?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders if the Democratic Party risks getting steamrollered over DACA.
  • At Lingua Franca, Geoffrey Pullum dissects the claims that an orca capable of mimicking human words can use language. The two are not the same.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the origins of the American system of higher education in the wealth generated by slavery.
  • Towleroad notes that Bermuda has ended marriage equality. Boycott time?
  • David Post at the Volokh Conspiracy is decidedly unimpressed by the behaviour of Devin Nunes.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Anand Pandian at anthro{dendum} considers Ursula K Le Guin from the perspective of an anthropology doing fieldwork in cultures very different from their own.
  • Anthropology.net notes the discovery, in India, of Levallois stone tools dating 385 thousand years, long before the entry of Homo sapiens into the area.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares video, assembled by an amateur astronomer, of the ongoing expansion of debris around the Crab Pulsar.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the discovery of organic molecules in the Magellanic Clouds.
  • D-Brief describes the orca Wikie, who learned six words, while Language Log is skeptical of the idea that Wikie’s ability demonstrates anything about the orca capacity for language.
  • Cody Delistraty links</a. to an essay of his considering the extent to which we can separate the works of artists from the artists themselves.
  • Drew Ex Machina describes the politics and technology that went into the launch of Explorer 1, the United States’ first satellite.
  • JSTOR Daily examines the question of why children and teens in the United States convicted of crimes can face such long periods of imprisonment in jail.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that, sometimes, dialogue is not enough to reach one’s opponents.
  • The LRB Blog considers the apocalyptic imagery tied up in the flooding of the Seine, in Paris.
  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrates the 14 years of operation of the Mars rover Opportunity, and the science that has come from it.
  • At Speed River Journal, Van Waffle celebrates the many things that we can learn from trees.
  • [NEWS] Four culture links: Tim Horton’s, Patuá in Macau, firebirds, humpback whales

    • Edward Keenan points out that the reluctance of Tim Horton’s franchises to accommodate the new Ontario minimum wage is really hurting their all-Canadian branding, writing at the Toronto Star.
    • Matthew Keegan at The Guardian examines the imminent demise of Patua, the Portuguese-based creole now spoken by only a very few people in Macau.
    • Of course multiple species of birds in Australia have developed the cultural trait of active helping wildfires expand in their own interest. It is Australia, right? The National Post reports.
    • Live Science suggests that the humpback whale that saved a diver from a shark attack may not have been planning to do just that. I wonder …

    [NEWS] Cannabis shopping, saving right whales, forests during climate cha

    • I have to say that I like the new retail landscape for cannabis being imagined, as much of a break with the old highly personalized network of buyers though it may be. (Non-smoker, here.) CBC reports.
    • This account of the complex paperwork required of people trying to save right whales entangled in fishing nets is almost humourous in its tragedy. CBC reports.
    • Many forests destroyed in recent wildfires are not recovering, on account of ongoing climate shifts making the regrowth of old ecologies impossible. CBC reports.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    December 15, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    [NEWS] Four links on animals: Beluga DNA, the dolphin of Tiji, the language of crows, pandas

    • The DNA of the beluga whale has been sequenced for the first time, using the DNA of belugas recently dead at the Vancouver Aquarium. Global News reports.
    • Japanese fishers responsible for the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a cove in Taiji, so red that it makes the water red, claim they do not feel guilty. (Why try to hide the slaughter, then?) The Guardian reports.
    • Vanessa Hrvatin, at the National Post, notes an effort by researchers at the University of Washington Bothnell to try to decipher the language of crows. What are they saying?
    • MacLean’s wonders if there is cause to be concerned for the welfare of Canada’s pandas, now in residence in the Toronto Zoo and scheduled for a move next year to the Calgary Zoo. Is that place safe?

    [NEWS] Seven population links: Germany, climate, Brexit, overpopulation, Amazon, whales, parrots

    • DW reports on the profound and apparently irreversible depopulation of rural areas of the former East Germany.
    • Stephen Leahy at VICE’s Motherboard notes that pronounced global cooling may be responsible for the emigration of Donald Trump’s grandfather to the United States, that he was a climate refugee.
    • Christian Odendahl at politico.eu suggests that Brexit, by encouraging skilled immigrants (and others) to leave the United Kingdom, might work to the benefit of a Germany experiencing labour shortages.
    • David Roberts at Vox talks about the many reasons why, as an environmental journalist, he does not talk about overpopulation as a problem.
    • National Geographic reports on another massacre of indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon by goldminers.
    • Phys.org warns that, at the current rate of deaths, the right whales of the North Atlantic might face extinction. Gack. (Sometimes I think we deserve a visit from the whale probe.)
    • This heartbreaking story co-authored by Ted Chiang takes the Arecibo radio telescope and the Puerto Rican parrot, the iguaca, and does something terribly beautiful and sad with the confluence of the two. Go, read.