Thursday, April 13, 2017

Coffee and Provocation

An Ancient Feather Factory?
Prehistoric Native Americans farmed macaws in 'feather factories' in Pueblos from AD 300 to AD 1450. Macaws are tropical jungle birds, and they live no closer than 300 miles to the south of the where they appear to have been kept for feather production.

Good News!
44 viable eggs have been found from one of the most endangered turtles on the planet, the Burmese roofed turtle. Fewer than five females of this species remain in the wild.

Bad News!
China has just opened a captive breeding facility for Orcas, with five males and four females.

The Tree That Kills Birds
Pisonia trees -- also known as "birdcatcher trees" -- are found in Hawaii and New Zealand and they kill birds with their sticky seeds which also trap insects. When birds land on the branches of the tree looking to eat insects, the seedpods can also weigh down and trap the birds.

How You Stop Abortions and Save Lives and Money 
When Colorado invested in IUDs and other "fire-and-forget" birthcontrol devices, that state produced a "miracle": teen births and abortions dropped by nearly 50%, and the birth-rate among teens who were already mothers fell by 58%. There was also dramatic reduction in expensive high-risk births. Now Oregon, Washington, and Delaware are copying the initiative. Full applause!

And How Is the Soup?
During an 1870 siege, trapped Parisians dined on rat, cat, ostrich, and elephant.

Violent as Hell, But Not the Worst
A new study suggests that humans are one of the most innately violent species on the planet. "Across the mammal spectrum, the rate of lethal violence against a member of the same species is about 0.30 percent, or a 1 in 300 chance of being killed by one of your own kind. For the ancestor of great apes (including us), it was 1.8 percent. And for humans, the rate bumps up to 2 percent, or a 1 in 50 chance of being murdered." But humans are not the most violent mammal on earth -- that distinction belongs to the Meerkat.

That's Just the Rat Lungworm Talking
The parasite that causes rat lungworm disease is now endemic in the southeastern United States, and it’s expected to spread northward invading our brains.

Back From the Dead
Hebrew was nearly extinct as a spoken language by AD 200, but it continued to be used as a literary language and as the liturgical language of Judaism, evolving various dialects of literary Medieval Hebrew, until its revival as a spoken language in the late 19th century by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda.

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