Feb 28 2009

Saharan cheetahs

The first camera-trap photographs of the cheetah, taken as part of a systematic survey of 1,750 square miles of the central Sahara, are providing scientists with information on population numbers, movement and how it interacts with its environment.

…and their precise expressions at the exact moment of stepping down on something funny and unexpectedly triggering flood lights and a whirring, clicking camera machine.

Seriously though, it’s an interesting little article, and a lovely cat. Don’t miss the second photo — you have to hit the teeny “next” above the first one.

If the thought of another dwindling species threatens to immobilize you with despair, do something! Give Panthera (a wonderful wildcat conservation organization) your pocket change! And enjoy the gorgeous photos on their website.

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Dec 31 2008

More on Swedish Xmas Traditions

The recent article I did on the Swedish Christmas goat got me reading up a little on the subject. In the process I learned about shape-shifting Santa and the Xmas goat’s relationship to Thor. That’s one connected goat.

Although now either confused with, or replaced by, the more mainstream image of Santa Claus, Tomte is actually a gnome, a figure harking back to Norse paganism.

Tomte has been described in many different guises; indeed some believe he has the ability to shape-shift at will. However, he is usually depicted as a bearded old man with a tall, pointy red hat.

Living under the floorboards of the house or barn, Tomte is fabled to protect the family and livestock. Since the late nineteenth century, Tomte has come to be associated with Christmas, appearing with the Christmas goat (julbock) who gives out presents to children.

The julbock is most probably descended from the Norse mythology of Thor, God of thunder, whose chariot was pulled by goats.”

This quotation humbly nicked from here.

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Dec 29 2008

Before Santa, there was… a goat.

And not just one, by the sound of it. Whole herds of them. Well, it’s logical: lot’s of stops, only one night, etc…

“Goats have a special place in Swedish tradition. According to folklore, they delivered festive gifts before Father Christmas took over.

So it’s sad to see that despite their past generosity — or perhaps because of it? people sometimes don’t like feeling beholden — a certain three-ton goat has become a repeated target of ill-will. Personally, I’d like to know what possible grudge the American tourist had against him.


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Dec 9 2008

Goats on the payroll…

Seems like such an simple and obvious idea… why don’t we do this more often? I’d love to see this in Paris. We could use a little more wildlife. This city doesn’t even have squirrels! (A bar of fine Parisian chocolate to the first one who can tell me the story behind that one!) Anyhow, have a gander at a video of city-worker goats doing their job in LA.

If only we could get them to gather autumn leaves, too. Those leaf blowers are evil. They pollute (the ones I’ve seen belch out a black cloud of pollution), they shatter the peace with a horrible amount of noise and ergonomically I’ve heard they’re very bad for the workers who use them.

Now if I can just get some goats to help me with the housework… who am I kidding? They’d just eat my throw rugs and scare the bejeezus out of the cats with their rectangular pupils.

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