Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
You should read the fourth book in the pile. Blatantly.
Normally I have either one or two books sitting in my bedroom waiting to be read, in which case I read whatever's on the top of that pile, or no books at all waiting to be read, in which case I go to the library and employ my customary semi-random book-choosing method. But now, having recently had a birthday and having also been foolish enough to go to the classics section of the top floor of Blackwell's, I have a rather large pile of books waiting to be read and it has perversely made me entirely unable to choose which of them to read or indeed whether to read something else entirely.
So should I read:
1) the first book in the pile;
2) the second book in the pile;
3) the third book in the pile;
4) the fifth book in the pile;
5) the fourth book in the pile;
6) the sixth book in the pile;
7) the seventh book in the pile;
8) another book that I can probably find in my local large public library (please specify)?
Left Brain/Right Brain has some cogent thoughts as to precisely what is wrong with it. (Short version: it portrays autism as an evil demon which parents can drive out of their children if they fight it enough.)
"Okay guys, we need to work out what to evolve into, on the table is 'opposable thumbs' or 'need to consume our own bodyweight in bamboo' - who's for bamboo?"
However I have to concede that Arthur's 'spell it differently' suggestion is more practical than my 'make all English-speakers pronounce it differently'...
It should be zooologist, surely?
Here's a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac,
Since when have pandas either singly or as a group had control over the direction of their evolutionary development?
FOR FUCK'S SAKE BIOWARE, WOMEN PLAY YOUR GAMES AS WEL AND YOU ARE PUTTING ME OFF! (And I *like* women).
"You turn a scared kid into a real bitch..." Great. Yeah. That's total a strong woman, Bioware. Because women are capable of being bitches when they've first been broken and then transformed into something else. Fuck you.
It's not really about domestic cats, the article, but about feral cats. There's these programs called something like Alleycat Allies or something, and it's people who are cat lovers who think it's great to feed feral cats, which crop up everywhere cats exist.
They have this catch-neuter-release program, claiming that this will make colonies die out, while the feeding keeps them from hunting other things. Only none of those things actually work. They can't catch nearly enough to have any effect on the population and feeding them just makes them strong when they hunt anyway, as cats do.
Domestic cats only contribute to the problem when people let them run loose or don't neuter them, or abandon them--which is another thing these programs kind of encourage if people know there are people caring for stray cats.
Do you have a link? Or a citation if it's plant fibre. I'd like to read that.
This reminds me of a disturbing article I read recently about all the cat rescue groups who've basically bullied even conservationist groups into accepting them when they're terrible for the ecosystem. When scientists explain why catch-neuter-release programs don't work and how feral cats destroy endangered species etc., cat-lovers just refuse to accept it. One woman who pleaded with cat owners to at least keep them inside got the angry response of "If you're so worried about the birds, why don't you keep them inside?"
That said, there's a strong case to be made for preserving "iconic" species simply because they raise awareness."
The thing about saving the big species in their natural environment, though, is that it the biodiversity tends to come with the package. I'm not familiar enough with panda conservation to talk about it, but the other example Packham uses is tigers.
The main thrust to preserving tigers in India is in protecting land, which obviously benefits the rest of the species in that patch. Tying funding too closely with the one species does create issues, for example that the authorities in charge of parks may stretch the truth about how many tigers are actually living in the park. However the international attention it attracts is very beneficial and it does make pretty good sense. Generally speaking, the amount of tigers the national parks have is a good indication as to how healthy they are, because they need x amount of other species to support them. Funding the tigers in their natural environment is also funding the deer, the monkeys, the birds, the insects and - crucially - the people.
It's kind of like the Oxfam charity gifts. If I give you the goat package I'm not actually paying for a particular goat named Dave - I'm helping fund all their projects.
You have to respect a man who... says "screw the pandas."
Well, a lot of conservationists and zoo-keepers have been saying this for a long time. To other pandas. But the response is usually, "Nah, I'd rather lie on my back and eat bamboo." Hence the lack of baby pandas.