Friday, April 02, 2010
It was during a fine day in 1994 that a brother and sister out walking their dogs along the banks of the Ribble spotted something odd in the water. Rather than observing the usual discarded shopping trolley they spotted some way up ahead a tall thin object sticking up out of the water. They estimated that it stood some four feet above the water. On seeing the object, one of them commented "look, the Loch Ness monster." It's fair to say it was far too far south for a start (that’s just a light-hearted comment before you point out the many, many reasons it isn’t).
Initially thinking that the object was nothing more than a branch stuck in the river bed and partly protruding above the water, you can imagine their surprise when, as they got closer, the object then submerged into the river; and that it appears was the last time that anyone caught sight of the mystery monster of the River Ribble.
Of course, if anyone knows of more sightings I am sure that many of us would like to hear about them.
On this day in 1882 American outlaw Jessie James was shot by Robert Ford and in 1936 Bruno Hauptmann, who was convicted for the kidnapping and killing of the Lindbergh baby, was executed by electric chair.
And now, the news:
Gecko survives week in cold fridge after being packed in apple bag
Vt. town gets $150K grant for salamander crossing
Foster squirrel mum
Thai Police Force Takes Monkey On The Beat
Monkey cops… They can’t be ‘beat’.
If anything should be clear from the range of creatures that I write about at Tet Zoo - think caecilians, borhyaenoids, imaginary giant owls and rhynchosaurs - it's that there's an almost infinite amount of technical information on obscure creatures 'locked away' in the technical literature. Among the most remarkable of mammals are, without doubt, the winged cats or pantheropterygines, yet for all their fame and notoriety, most of the information on these creatures has remained widely scattered in the literature and a good synthesis is absent....
In a heart-wrenching press conference today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he is adopting a one-legged wolf he calls Gimpy.
The adoption took critics by surprise, who noted that Salazar has made decisions over the past year that have resulted in the deaths of more than 400 wolves in Idaho and Montana alone.
"I just wanted to reach out to Gimpy," said Salazar. "I know I've done some things that may have been a problem for some wolves, but this is one little guy that I can call my own. He broke my heart and then he mended it again."
Salazar made the decision after seeing a YouTube video of Idaho Governor Leroy "Butch" Otter unsuccessfully firing on Gimpy from a helicopter as the wolf rode around in a red, jerry-rigged Radio Flier wagon using his remaining leg for propulsion. "That little fellow has a lot of pluck," said Salazar, referring to Gimpy, not Otter. The wolf will be flown to Washington, D.C. next week courtesy of FedEx.
In response to a UN report on the fatal toll of polluted water across the globe, this week the bottled-water industry published a study containing welcome news: Bottled water can reverse the water crisis and dramatically improve global welfare, but only if more third-world citizens will embrace the pure, refreshing mountain-spring water of Fiji/Dasani/Arrowhead/Aquafina.
According to the study, bottled-water drinkers are statistically far less likely to fall prey to such life-threatening illnesses as malaria, legionellosis, schistosomiasis, and guineaworm; suffer less from such psychological afflictions as post-traumatic stress disorder; have far lower infant-mortality rates; and are also more likely to own a house, cars, and/or swimming pool.
"This proves that bottled water is much better for you than dehydration," said water-industry spokesman Howard Williams. "Pardon my pun, but the data are crystal clear."
The Center for Biological Diversity did not file suit yesterday against any state or federal agency for harming endangered species. Exxon and Walmart also reported no new litigation by the activist group. Asked about the development by The New York Times, Center director Kierán Suckling replied, "Well, we just thought . . . you know . . . it's spring, let's chill for day, take the dog for walk."
The event met with mixed reaction from critics and supporters. Center member John Spark of Albuquerque, New Mexico, requested a return of his membership dues, complaining, "Spring schmring, I don't contribute money so these guys can sit around on their butts. The world is overpopulationed, overpolluted, and underprotected, and I expect these guys to fix it right now. What are they going to do next, sleep?"
Interior Department spokesperson Hugh Snickery commended the Center. "I wish the Center would more take days off. We've got offshore oil leases to get out, BLM lands to overgraze, and species to ignore."
Suckling declined Snickery's offer of a world holidays calendar.
PKD Industries, a private research company, has partnered with Procter and Gamble, maker of Febreze®, to market an ingenious spray product that neutralizes CO2, leaving nothing in its wake but a mild and pleasant odor.
The spray, dubbed the Ubik 3000, comes in different models to cover all leading causes of CO2 emissions -- including coal-fired power plants, aircraft, deforestation, and vehicles. Its mist bonds with CO2 molecules, changing their structure into a harmless perfume. Power plants around the world are expected to ditch elaborate carbon-credit schemes and scramble to purchase tens of thousands of cans of the new product. Climate-conscious individuals will use it on the tailpipes of their cars, ATVs, and Ford F-150s.
The spray comes in four fresh fragrances: Enchanting AtmosphereTM, Arctic Chillaxin'TM, Greenhouse F/XTM, and French Vanilla. PKD Industries researchers hope to expand the product line with a spray that neutralizes methane emitted as livestock flatulence.
In a surprise move on the FOX News Morning Show, former Alaska governor and current 2012 pre-candidate Sarah Palin broke down and offered an apology for not only her crypto-redneck politics, but her entire media-crafted persona. "I'm actually not down-home at all," wept the former John McCain running mate, as she removed her designer eyewear and dabbed at smeared mascara with a square-cut manicured fingertip.
Palin explained to the shocked hosts that her publicly stated disbelief in evolution and global warming, hatred of wolves, "ignorance" of basic geopolitics, and folksy twang were crafted by the New York advertising agency Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe. The agency, whose board of directors includes Karl Rove®, carefully tested the persona on focus groups to ensure approval among her core constituents, Americans who are opposed to education, health, and the "environment."
In actual fact, Palin revealed, she holds an advanced degree in conservation biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she wrote a dissertation on the theoretical implications of endogenously changing carrying capacity.
"I'm so glad to be free of that God-awful twang," said Palin. "And you know what? I just love polar bears. Love 'em to pieces."
In the wake of the revelation, the Discovery Channel announced it will not air its planned 2010 reality TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska.
Last week, Pennsylvania law-enforcement officers apprehended an intoxicated middle-aged man after he reportedly tried to revive a road-killed opossum on a highway northeast of Pittsburgh.
A witness reported seeing the male, 55, kneeling before the partly squished marsupial and gesticulating. "I think he was performing a séance," said the witness.
Another bystander said the man was giving the opossum mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. A trooper on the scene confirmed that the "extremely intoxicated man did have his mouth in the general area of the animal's mouth, I guess."
Neither the séance nor the mouth-to-mouth appeared to be successful, as the opossum had been dead for some time.
Read more on this true story from the BBC here.
Photo credits: Sarah Palin courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Staff Sgt. Mac Metcalfe, Alaska Army National Guard; Ken Salazar and gray wolf; bottled water courtesy Wikimedia Commons/saw2th under the Creative Commons attribution license; Kierán Suckling courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Eric Rolph under the Creative Commons attribution license; Ubik cover courtesy Doubleday Publishers and Philip K. Dick; Sarah Palin courtesy Flickr Commons/geerlingguy under the Creative Commons attribution license; road-killed opossum courtesy Flickr Commons/Colin Purrington under the Creative Commons attribution license.
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Author: Michael Woodley
Publisher: CFZ Press, 2008
Price: £7.99 (paperback)
Next best thing to a textbook on Fortean marine zoology
By Bob Rickard March 2010
In 1860 the naturalist P. H. Gosse wrote one of the key books of early cryptozoology, The Romance of Natural History. In it he introduced his own ideas about what he called ‘the Great Unknown’: “the existence of the sub-mythic monster popularly known as ‘the sea-serpent’.”
He goes on: “The cloudy uncertainty which has invested the very being of this creature; its home on the lone ocean; the fitful way in which it is seen and lost in its vast solitudes; its dimensions vaguely gigantic; its dragon-like form; and the possibility of its association with beings considered to be lost in obsolete antiquity; all these are attributes which render it peculiarly precious to a romantic naturalist.”