A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘elephants

[BLOG] Five D-Brief links: microbiome, genetic engineering, elephant ivory, Moon, O’Neill colonies

  • D-Brief examines the importance of the microbiome in human beings.
  • D-Brief observes that the genetic engineering of two twins in China to make them resistant to HIV might also shorten their lifespans.
  • The poaching of elephants, happily, is decreasing as demand for ivory goes down worldwide. D-Brief reports.
  • D-Brief takes a look at the history of imagined landings on the Moon.
  • D-Brief looks at the long history of O’Neill colonies in popular culture, as imagined settlements in space itself.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber considers democracy as an information system.
  • The Crux shares what we have learned from our studies of the tusks of the mammoths.
  • D-Brief notes another landmark of the InSight mission: It brought two CubeSats with it to Mars.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the odaliques of Matisse, paintings of North African women in intimate positions, in the contexts of colonialism and #metoo. What untold stories are there with these images?
  • Anakana Schofield writes at the LRB Blog about her problems finding CBD oil post-marijuana legalization in greater Vancouver.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the support of Popular Mechanics for paper maps, even in the digital age.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution praises Toby Green’s new history of West Africa, A Fistful of Shells, a book that emphasizes the influence of West Africa in the Americas and the wider Atlantic world.
  • The NYR Daily carries a Tim Parks essay questioning whether it is worthwhile for an author to consciously seek out literary glory.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel reports on the possibility that rocky planets might get large moons only if they suffer large impacts.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the insulting remarks of Russian liberal Oleg Kashin towards Ukrainians, and Tatars too, suggesting even liberal Russians might well be inclined to be anti-Ukrainian.
  • Arnold Zwicky notes a remarkable word error in noting the 40th anniversary of the deaths of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, changing “assassination” into “assignation”.

[NEWS] Five links about smart animals: elephants, octopuses, gorillas, primates, termites

  • D-Brief notes that elephants seem to count the same way humans do.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the reasons why octopus mothers maintain such long, silent vigils over their eggs.
  • Happily, the mountain gorilla is now no longer a “critically endangered” species. CBC reports.
  • The Crux looks at how studies of communication among other primates can help solve the question of how language developed among humans.
  • D-Brief notes the determination that a collection of termite mounds dates back four thousand years, product of a sophisticated hive insect society.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the frequency with which young red dwarf stars flare, massively, with negative implications for potential life on these stars’ planets.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal for probe expeditions to Pluto and Charon, and to the wider Kuiper belt beyond.
  • D-Brief explains just how elephants manage to eat with their trunks.
  • JSTOR Daily answers the question of just why so many American states–other subnational polities too, I bet–have straight-line borders.
  • Language Hat links to a recent blog post examining the very specific forms of language used by the Roman emperor Justinian.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Paul Campos looks at where the whole concept of “political correctness” came from, and why. (Hint: It was not anti-racists who did this.)
  • Geoffrey K. Pullum at Lingua Franca describes the circumstances behind his new book, _Linguistics: Why It Matters.
  • At the LRB Blog, Caroline Eden writes about the shipwrecks of the Black Sea, preserved for centuries or even millennia by the sea’s oxygen-poor waters.
  • Gabrielle Bellot writes at the NYR Daily about how she refuses to be made into an invisible trans woman.
  • At the Speed River Journal, Van Waffle describes–with photos!–how he was lucky enough to find a wild growth of chicken of the woods, an edible bracket mushroom of the Ontario forests.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the loss of Ukraine by the Russian Orthodox Church will contribute to that church being increasingly seen as a national one, limited by borders.

[NEWS] Five links on non-humans: gorillas, orcas, elephants, crows, parrots

  • JSTOR Daily reported on the legacy of Koko the gorilla, on the insights she opened up into non-human minds.
  • The mourning demonstrated by this orca mother with her calf, and the grief that is implied, remains moving. CBC reports.
  • Julian Benoit at The Conversation writes about the import of DNA analyses on our understanding of the evolution of elephants.
  • French theme park Puy de Dome has recruited six crows to collect garbage from its grounds. Smithsonian Magazine reports.
  • D-Brief reports on findings that Native Americans in New Mexico may have been breeding parrots.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • At Anthrodendum, Elizabeth Marino takes issue with what she identifies as the naively and fiercely neoliberal elements of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.
  • Anthropology.net’s Kambiz Kamrani takes a look at an innovative study of the Surinamese creole of Sranan Tongo that uncovers that language’s linguistic origins in remarkably fine detail.
  • Architectuul examines the architecture of Communist-era Hungarian architect István Szábo
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the nearly naked black hole at the heart of galaxy ZwCl 8193, 2.2 billion light-years away.
  • The Big Picture shares photos from the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.
  • Gerry Canavan has an interesting critical take on Star Trek: Discovery. Is it really doing new things, or is its newness just superficial?
  • Centauri Dreams considers the impact the spectra of red dwarfs would have on biosignatures from their worlds.
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at Australia’s Darling River, a critical watercourse threatened by extensive water withdrawals.
  • Inkfish notes that patterns of wear on the tusks of elephants indicate most are right-handed.
  • Joe. My. God. links to a study suggesting a relationship between Trump rallies and violent assaults.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining why people drink Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the use of Xhosa as the language of Wakanda.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mourns Alfred Crosby, the historian whose work examined the epidemiological and ecological changes wrought by contact with the Americas.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a map showing indigenous placenames in Canada.
  • In the aftermath of the death of Stephen Hawking, Out There had a lovely idea: what nearby major stars emitted life than arrive at the moment of his birth? Hawking’s star is Regulus, and mine was (nearly) Arcturus.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests AI will never be able to centrally plan an economy because the complexity of the economy will always escape it.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines Stephen Hawking’s contribution to the study of black holes.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a list of moons, fictional and otherwise, from Endor on down.

[PHOTO] Seven extinct mammals from the AMNH (@amnh)

The AMNH has a grand collection of fossils of extinct mammalian megafauna, particularly of Pleistocene megafauna. Our Earth was indeed filled with wonders.

Mammoth #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #mammoth #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Stenomylus #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #stenomylus #camel #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Megaloceros #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #megaloceros #deer #antlers #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Cats #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #cats #catsofinstagram #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Lestodon #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #lestodon #sloth #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Glyptotherium #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #glyptotherium #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Gomphotherium #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #amnh #fossil #gomphotherium #mammal #extinct #americanmuseumofnaturalhistory #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm

[NEWS] Three links about smart animals: elephants as legal persons, cetacean footage, bonobo empathy

  • Three elephants in Connecticut are the latest animals subject to a bid by activists to grant them status as “legal persons”. The Washington Post reports.
  • Gary Chabonneau has won a court battle versus the Vancouver Aquarium to secure rights to footage he took of their captive cetaceans. CBC reports.
  • Bonobos have been proven in a recent experiment to have the capacity to be empathetic towards strangers. National Geographic reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “‘Giving them something natural’: Toronto Zoo elephants find happy retirement in California”

CBC News reports on how Toka and Thika, two elephants formerly resident at the Toronto Zoo, are adapting well to their sunset years in a California sanctuary.

For Toka and Thika, retirement is turning out just fine. There’s warm sunshine, new friends to spend time with and the chance to do whatever they want.

Three years after they were sent halfway across the continent, the aging elephants from the Toronto Zoo have found a new lease on life roaming the hills of a northern California sanctuary.

“Toka has fit right in and she is a part of the group now and I think that’s really good for her,” Ed Stewart, executive director of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary, told CBC’s the fifth estate.

“Thika is a much bigger challenge but it’s been good for her, too.”

After much debate and controversy surrounding the fate of the zoo’s last elephants, Toka, Thika and Iringa were trucked 4,000 kilometres to the PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 10, 2017 at 11:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Burlington evidence room the final resting place for many ivory artifacts”

The Toronto Star‘s Peter Goffin reports on a very sad repository in Burlington for ivory objects, among others, caught by customs.

Lonny Coote sweeps his hand over a snow leopard pelt and a tin of caviar, reaches past a stuffed parrot, exotic medicines, $11,000 alligator shoes, and points to a tiny white figurine.

It’s ivory, delicately carved into a three-inch elephant and mounted on a little wooden platform. It sits next to a short elephant tusk.

“These were seized from 888 Auctions,” he says.

Coote is regional director of Environment Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate, the government body that polices the trade of endangered and threatened species.

His team’s “evidence room,” in a non-descript government building in Burlington, Ont., is the final resting place for hundreds of trophies, tchotchkes and fashion mistakes imported or exported illegally and confiscated by the government.

888 Auctions, a Richmond Hill-based seller of antiques, pleaded guilty on Nov. 14 to exporting the carved elephant, a small elephant tusk, and a leather case made from python skin.

The company and its director, Dong Heon Kim, were fined a combined $12,500 and sentenced to two years’ probation. Their endangered animal goods ended up in Coote’s evidence room.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm