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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Nov 8 2008

The African continent is slowly splitting apart –

– along the East African Rift, a 3,000 kilometre-long series of deep basins and flanking mountain ranges. An enormous plume of hot, partially molten rock is rising diagonally from the core-mantle boundary, some 2,900 kilometres beneath Southern Africa, and erupting at the Earth’s surface, or cooling just beneath it, in the Afar region of Ethiopia. It is the rise of this plume that is stretching the Earth’s crust to breaking point.

In September 2005, a series of fissures suddenly opened up along a 60-kilometre section as the plate catastrophically responded to the forces pulling it apart. [ read article ]

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Nov 6 2008

Ancient trees recorded in mines

This story is amazing!

Spectacular fossil forests have been found in the coal mines of Illinois by a US-UK team of researchers. The ancient vegetation - now turned to rock - is visible in the ceilings of mines covering thousands of hectares.

… Once the coal seams have been removed (what were, essentially, the compacted soils of the forests), it is possible to go into the tunnels and look up at what would have been lying on the forest floors. [ read the whole article ]

And scroll down to the second half of this page for more incredible details like these:

… a unique snapshot of what tropical rainforests were like 300 million year ago, at a time when gigantic woodlice, several feet across, crawled on the forest floor and equally large dragonflies flew through its branches…

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Nov 4 2008

Have you ever noticed…

… that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

To find out why they think this happens, read the BBC article here.

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Jan 31 2008

May I speak to God please?…Do you know when he’ll be back?

Why, oh why, is that Canada only makes international news with bizarro stories?

Our serial killers are… pig farmers, which is grisly yet efficient (if you don’t know, you don’t want to), albeit not very glamorous. Our departing prime ministers try to sell off the furnishings of the government-owned official residence.

… an attempt by the Mulroneys in 1993 to sell the furniture, decorations and drapery they had accumulated at 24 Sussex Drive … for about $150,000. [more Mulroney corruption here]

We also harbour “rogue elves” that impersonate Santa and write shocking letters to small children in his name.

Each Santa letter Canada Post delivers contains the same main message with a hand-written personal postscript.

[2-year-old child recipient] Maya’s personal “P.S.” said: “This letter is too long, you dumb s - - t. [full article]

And now the latest — just in case you were thinking of flying Air Canada:

… the co-pilot was carried into the cabin with his hands and ankles cuffed after he was restrained by cabin crew and a passenger.

“He was very, very distraught. He was yelling loudly,” Finucane told Canadian broadcaster CBC. “His voice was clear, he didn’t sound like he was drunk or anything, but he was swearing and asking for God. He specifically said he wants to talk to God.” [full article]

I read a few different articles and it sounds like the Air Canada co-pilot removed his shoes and was running about the airplane screaming. Not good for nervous fliers.

Why is it that small children and the insane love taking their shoes off?

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