Two of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on this site are
http://www.chrisdamitio.com/little-xxx-house-on-the-prairie/ (which details how Finland accidentally gave the DVD release of Little House on the Prairie – one of the most beloved family programs ever made in the USA (based on a beloved set of children’s books) with an adult’s only rating. The google search that finds it is “Little House on the Prairie Porn”
And, here I am griping about both these posts and no doubt filtering more people who want to see the Ingles Family breeding their livestock, but not in a positive family friendly way. If that isn’t f***ed up, I don’t know what is.
We the Scary Arab Clowns admit to taking some satisfaction in being right, but the misery that you and your people are going through bring us no joy. With that being said, we wish you peace and equality with the rest of the third world.
U.S. unemployment will approach 10 percent as the country endures its worst recession since World War Two, leaving more than 13 million Americans jobless, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
We admit to joy that there are less billionaires than there were before.
The financial crisis is taking its toll on the world’s richest people, wiping 332 names off Forbes magazine’s “rich list” of world billionaires.
Just 793 people can now lay claim to a place on the list, but on average they have lost 23% of their wealth.
Sadly, the wealthy feel this crisis the least:
Nearly 291,000 properties in the U.S. got a foreclosure filing in February, the third highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began tracking the data in January 2005.
Hawaii had 537 foreclosure filings in February, up 59.3 percent from January and up 275.5 percent from February 2008. There were 337 foreclosure filings in January and 143 foreclosures in February 2008.
And the poor and desperate will continue to murder each other in increasing numbers:
Police in Texas say a man shot and wounded his estranged girlfriend and then killed her mother and her son before killing himself in a home in a Fort Worth suburb.
Police say the shooter was found dead of a gunshot wound inside a home in North Richland Hills on Tuesday night.
and not just in the USA
A 17-year-old in black combat gear killed 15 people in southwest Germany on Wednesday in a shooting spree that started at his former school.
But there is good news too: Monkeys in Thailand have learned how to floss and are teaching their offspring, so when we humans disappear, the next species will have good dental hygiene.
TOKYO (AFP) – Thai monkeys have been observed showing their young how to floss — proof primates teach offspring to use tools, a Japanese researcher said Wednesday.
“I was surprised because teaching techniques on using tools properly to a third party are said to be an activity carried out only by humans,” Professor Nobuo Masataka of Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute told AFP.
His research team observed seven female long-tailed macaques and their offspring and monitored how often the mothers cleaned the spaces between their teeth with strands of human hair, in a colony of 250 animals near Bangkok.
The study found that the frequency of teeth-cleaning roughly doubled and became more elaborate when the infant monkeys were watching, suggesting that the females were deliberately teaching their young how to floss, he said.
“The study is still at the hypothesis stage,” Masataka cautioned. “We would like to shift our focus to the baby monkeys to check whether the mothers’ actions are effectively helping them learn how to clean their teeth.”
Bush said that an emergency exists and ordered federal aid to supplement the $15 million in federal funds already appropriated for the event.
Boing Boing today has a list of ‘folk theories’ that allow people to be roped into guru cults:
• The folk theory of everything being connected
• The folk theory of ancient wisdom
• The folk theory of holiness
• The folk theory of sex being a loss to the spirit
• The folk theory of harmful technology
• The folk theory that only the heart knows what is true
How can humans be both a part of nature and apart from nature?
What is nature? Is there anything that is not a part of nature? In our modern society we like to classify things as natural or man-made, thus we signify that things made by human beings are not a part of nature. Human made objects are considered to be outside of nature while bee-made objects such as honey or wax are considered to be inside of nature. This distinction has never made sense to me. While it is possible to create a system of typology in which human beings exist outside of nature, I completely reject the notion that in a universal sense, it is possible for humans or human activity to be anything other than a part of nature. Just as the honeycomb and the deer path are a part of nature, so are the superhighways, satellites, and plastics created by human beings.
I do not argue that all nature is good. Clearly a species of grazing animal arriving without the aid of human beings to an island where they soon obliterate a unique species of grass is not a good thing for the grass. I would argue that in the same sense, human beings pulling carbon from the depths of the earth and converting it into carbon that affects the atmosphere of the planet is not a good thing for many of the species involved (including humans), however, it is a part of nature.
Part of the reason that human beings have had such an adverse effect upon the planetary systems that they exist within is because humans have deluded themselves that they are not a part of nature. In this process, humans became convinced that the rules that apply to other systems within nature do not apply to human beings. Humans are no different in their destruction than chimpanzees with sticks who destroy anthills, it is simply a matter of the scale of destruction which sets us apart. We have used our complex brains to figure out how to exploit nature as if we exist outside of it rather than to figure out how to coexist with it from within.
We are as subject to the rules of nature as any other species on our planet. When it rains we get wet, when it is too cold we freeze, and when it is too hot we die. Our ability to deal with temperature is perhaps more complex than a dog that grows a thicker coat in winter and sheds its hair in summer, but again, it is a matter of scale. The coats we wear are not connected to our bodies but they are the extension of our bodies into the time and space determined by nature. We, as pointed out by Julian Steward, are subject to the complex cause and effect relationships of nature. Thus, it is impossible for human beings to exist outside of nature. A semantic argument may be able to be made, but so long as nature affects us and we affect it, we are a part of it. Our bodies and processes function within the cycling of decomposition. Within our bodies exist a multitude of organisms that we would perish without. There are also huge segments of nature that would perish without us fulfilling our part within the grand system. One could argue that these components that rely upon us are not natural, but since they are also dependent on the cause and effect of nature, this argument is moot.
The existence of culture, fire, rituals, or other human attributes do not set us apart from nature. They are a part of nature. Nature is rarely balanced. If it were, it would not be natural.
Ah yes, Food. Thanks for the reminder Mink. Food is what it all hinges on. Things will be fine in the U.S. and the world as long as there is food. We have plenty of food, right? I mean look how fat Americans are. I took a tour bus full of fat Americans to the North Shore the other day and they didn’t seem to be lacking in food, though some complained of hunger about 4.5 minutes into the excursion. They were from a cruise ship after all….
SCOTIA, Calif. – After more than 20 years of protests, the last two people living in the giant redwoods of Northern California were climbing down for good, assured by the new owners of the forest that the ancient trees would be spared from the saw.
Still, the tree sitters looked rather lost.
Having lived nearly 200 feet off the ground for 11 months, Nadia Berg — who calls herself Cedar — seemed unsure of her footing on the lush forest floor of Humboldt County’s Nanning Creek grove. Cedar had made herself at home in a tree dubbed Grandma, a massive double redwood joined at the base, and had grown accustomed to the whistles and whispers and ways of the woods.
“Being here, for me, hasn’t been a sacrifice,” said the 22-year-old Alberta native, still in her harness after rappelling down Grandma last week for the final time. “I feel so honored that I could be here for the trees.”
Berg’s neighbor, Billy Stoetzer, a 22-year-old activist from the Missouri Ozarks, came down last week, too, after living for nearly a year in a hammock-like shelter in the branches of Spooner, a 300-foot mammoth at least 1,500 years old.
With that, the great timber wars of the North Coast came to an end.
It was a long, twilight struggle that redefined environmental activism and introduced the American public to a new type of civil disobedience — tree-sitting.
So quietly did the truce happen that almost no one involved can believe it. But the drawn-out, sometimes violent, battles between Pacific Lumber Co., the largest private owner of old-growth redwoods, and environmental activists who flocked here to save the trees, are history. Pacific Lumber has new owners, a new name — Humboldt Redwood Co. — and a new pledge to protect old trees, some of which were around before Jesus was born.
The end began a few weeks ago, when Michael Jani, the president and chief forester of the new Humboldt Redwood Co., hiked into the woods to meet the tree-sitters.
“I went out, looked at the trees, looked at the stand of trees that were around them and I explained to them that under our policy, we would not be cutting those trees,” said Jani, a 35-year veteran of logging companies.
Protecting old-growth trees was part of the plan that Humboldt Redwood, largely owned by Don and Doris Fisher of The Gap Inc., submitted to acquire Pacific Lumber in bankruptcy court. Among other things, Humboldt Redwood promised to spare any redwood born prior to 1800 with a diameter of at least four feet. It also pledged to avoid clear-cutting, or cutting down trees in vast swaths, a practice that the timber giant aggressively practiced under its previous owner, Maxxam Inc.
Environmentalists are cautiously optimistic that the company will do as it promises. So for weeks, the tree-sitters at the Nanning Creek and Fern Gully groves have been clearing out their encampments, removing their platforms and figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives.
“At this point, I’d like to focus on growing a garden,” said an activist who goes by the nom de guerre Rudi Bega, as in “rutabaga.” The 28-year-old Idahoan is an 11-year veteran of the timber wars who helped recruit, train and organize tree-sitters. Link
A 7-year-old male monkey named Wukong (R) and a 6-year old female monkey named Xiaoya are seen during a special wedding ceremony at a zoo in Wenling, Zhejiang province, September 4, 2008. The zoo organised the special wedding ceremony hoping to attract more visitors, local media reported.
This is one of the coolest and most hopeful stories that I’ve seen in a while. Sometimes it seems like there is nothing new under the sun and then we find that right under our noses exists a place like this that hasn’t been ruined by humans yet…(yet)
Wildlife Conservation Society Discovers “Planet of the Apes”
New Census Shows Massive Goirlla Population in Northern Republic of Congo
This is great news for gorillas—new figures double all previous estimates
NEW YORK (AUGUST 5, 2008) – The world’s population of critically endangered western lowland gorillas received a huge boost today when the Wildlife Conservation Society released a census showing massive numbers of these secretive great apes alive and well in the Republic of Congo.
The new census tallied more than 125,000 western gorillas in two adjacent areas in the northern part of the country, covering an area of 18,000 square miles (47,000 square kilometers). Previous estimates from the 1980s placed the entire population of western lowland gorillas, which occur in seven Central African nations, at fewer than 100,000. Since then, however, scientists had believed that this number had dwindled by at least half, due to hunting and disease.
The census data were released at a press conference at the International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. The WCS scientists who worked on the census include Fiona Maisels, Richard Malonga, Hugo Rainey, Emma Stokes, and Samantha Strindberg.
The new census was the result of intensive fieldwork carried out by the Bronx Zoo-based WCS and the Government of Republic of Congo. The researchers combed rainforests and isolated swamps to count gorilla “nests” to accurately estimate the population. Gorillas construct nests each night from leaves and branches for sleeping. Population densities ranged as high as eight individuals per square kilometer in one particularly rich forest patch, which ranks as among the highest gorilla density ever recorded.
WCS says a combination of factors account for such high numbers of gorillas, including successful long-term management of the Republic of Congo’s protected areas; remoteness and inaccessibility of some of the key locations where the gorillas were found; and a habitat where there is plenty to eat, particularly in some of the swamp forests and the “Marantaceae” forests, which are rich in herbs.
WCS has worked with the Government of Republic of Congo in the northern area of the country for nearly 20 years, helping to establish the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and manage the Lac Télé Community Reserve, while working with logging companies outside of protected areas to reduce illegal hunting.
“These figures show that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas,” said Dr. Steven E, Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “It also shows that conservation in the Republic of Congo is working. This discovery should be a rallying cry for the world that we can protect other vulnerable and endangered species, whether they be gorillas in Africa, tigers in India, or lemurs in Madagascar.”
The tally of northern Congo’s gorillas incorporates 73,000 found in the Ntokou-Pikounda region and 52,000 from the Ndoki-Likouala landscape, where a previously unknown population of nearly 6,000 gorillas was discovered in an isolated raffia swamp. WCS cautioned that many of the gorillas live outside of existing protected areas, though the Government of Congo has committed to creating a new national park in the Ntokou-Pikounda region.
“We knew from our own observations that there were a lot of gorillas out there, but we had no idea there were so many,” said Dr. Emma Stokes, who led the survey efforts in Ndoki-Likouala. “We hope that the results of this survey will allow us to work with the Congolese government to establish and protect the new Ntokou-Pikounda protected area.”
Mr. Claude Etienne Massimba of the Government of Republic of Congo’s Department of Wildlife and Protected Areas said, “We hope that these results will speed up the classification of the Ntokou-Pikounda zone into a protected area.”
Across Central Africa, gorillas face the looming threats of hunting for bushmeat and the spread of the Ebola virus, which is lethal to gorillas as well as humans. WCS is working with partners to combat Ebola, eliminate commercial hunting, and secure this last stronghold for Africa’s apes.
Many gorilla conservation projects are funded through two primary programs of the federal government—the Congo Basin Forest Partnership at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Great Apes Conservation Fund at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both of these programs are at risk of being cut in the Fiscal Year 2009 federal budget. Although the budget process in Washington has stalled, WCS is calling for Congress to restore and grow these programs by completing work on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget before the end of September.
Western lowland gorillas are one of four recognized gorilla subspecies, which also include mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. All are classified as “critically endangered” by the IUCN, except eastern lowland gorillas, which are endangered. The Wildlife Conservation Society is the only conservation group working to safeguard all four subspecies. WCS’s conservation work in Central Africa was funded in part from admission fees to the Bronx Zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, which has raised more than $8.5 million for conservation in Central Africa since the opening in 1999.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org
Stephen Sautner: (1-347-819-7746; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Linda Corcoran: (1-718-220-5182; email@example.com)
John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275; firstname.lastname@example.org)