Thursday, October 05, 2017

Coffee and Provocation

It Came Out of the Sky and Out of Time to Kill a Dog
A meteorite was kicked up from the surface of Mars when an asteroid hit a single martian volcano 11 million years ago. In 1911, that meteorite, and a few of its friends, entered earth's atmosphere and crashed into a village near Cairo, Egypt, killing a dog. This is the only known modern space-rock casualty.

Let's Make a Film About an Alcoholic French Poodle
Apparently this idea got the green light in Hollywood back in 1964, making it the worst Tony Curtis movie ever.

Tom Swift's Electric Rifle Can Kill
The Taser is named after the Tom Swift's Electric Rifle, another bit of science fiction come to life. Taser says it's wire-fired electric guns cannot kill, but that'a lie. They killed Patrick Burns back in 2010, and they have killed hundreds of others as well, as an investigation by Reuters made clear.

Stupid Foreigners
Pheasants are the 'most likely species' to die on UK roads. An estimated 35 million captive-bred pheasants are released every year for the shoots, and over 38 percent of reported road kill birds are pheasants.

Monk Parakeets are Colonizing Mexico
There were only a few Mexico sightings of community-nesting Monk Parakeets in 2005, but by 2015, feral colonies of the birds were documented in 97 cities throughout the country.  The growth of the birds was driven by a ban on Monk Parakeets in Europe, which coincided with a 2008 Mexican law which made it illegal to purchase native Mexican parrots as pets. The result was a massive shift in the Monk Parakeet trade away from Europe to Mexico, with more than half a million Monk Parakeets imported into Mexico between 2000 and 2015.

Puerto Rico Bird Catcher Trees
Two new ‘birdcatcher’ trees have been found in Puerto Rico. The sticky seeds of the tree entangle, and sometimes kill, birds.

The Continuing Crisis
Scientists have written an entire paper on how to distinguish between fake and real dried tiger penises which are part of Chinese "traditional medicine" hokum and fraud.

The Airforce Dropped Two Nuclear Bombs on North Carolina
These were not dummy bombs, but real ones. One landed fully armed, the other bomb was only one switch from armed.

Ocean Drones to Replace Mine-Seeking Dolphins?
The Navy is working with Bluefin Robotics and Hydroid on developing underwater drones to detect sea mines -- a job previously done in part by trained dolphins and sea lions.

Eyes Wide Open
In the People's Republic of China, twenty million surveillance cameras are keeping an eye on citizens, while Artificial Intelligence-enabled tagging of individual cars, pedestrians and cyclists creates a searchable database. Is this the future for all of us?

The Best Feral Cat is a Dead Feral Cat
Cats kill 1 million Australian birds a day.

1 comment:

LRM said...

When I lived in Mexico, I was used to seeing wild parrots around everywhere--white-fronted and, occasionally, yellow-headed amazons. I'd see flocks of them overhead, or stumble on noisy groups in the trees.

More than two decades later, while walking across a snow-covered Midway at the University of Chicago, I saw a flash of green. I thought I was hallucinating at first, but followed it with my eyes, and was amazed to see a group of about 20 monk parakeets, just sitting under an ash tree. At the time, it was lovely little exotic moment, on an otherwise bleak day.

It's difficult for me to read this, but I suppose not so difficult to understand (how the monk parakeets might establish themselves so quickly). They certainly have done so extensively in the U.S.