animals


Conservationists have pointed the finger at Nobel Peace Prize-nominee and abstract concept the Internet as one of the greatest threats to rare and threatened animals the world over.

In all fairness, it does not appear that the Internet has actually developed sentience and reached out from cyberspace, intent on murdering both our cutest and most threatened species. All it has done is what it does – make people more connected. And as is so often the case, the people connected in this way are truly awful excuses for human beings – namely wealthy people who like to eat, snort, or sleep on the pelts of rare animals and other people who have no qualms about hunting down and killing the aforementioned rare animals. The impact of this is clear – we can either keep endangered species like polar bears and rhinos OR we can have the Internet. And since endangered animals, of all but the best trained variety, do not bring us porn, it is an easy bet which one we will be  keeping around.

This news does deal a blow to the Internet’s chances at the Nobel peace prize, though. Try and name another Nobel Peace Prize-winner who was responsible for the annihilation of a species. If you’re thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr., think again! Despite the reverend’s best efforts, small groups of pandas remain extant in the wild, dealing a crushing blow to the American civil rights movement.

Advertisements

The most dangerous thing to threaten polar bear habitats the freaking ice melting out from under them, which is totally NOT caused by global warming, you filthy hippie, is grizzly bears. Sick of being consigned to more southerly habitats, grizzly bears are arriving with troubling regularity in what scientists traditionally think of as polar bear habitat in Manitoba, Canada.

The bad news is that the two biggest species of bear in the world slugging it out with their very survival at stake is terribly, terribly sad, and promises to be just one more strike against the polar bears already dimming prospects for long term survival.

The good news? Dude, did you not see the part about “the two biggest species of bear in the world slugging it out with their very survival at stake?” This will be a super awesome animal fight, on par with shark versus crocodile, gorilla versus anaconda, and boxing kangaroo versus talkshow.

Place your bets on the future of all ursine-kind today and get prepared for the battle of the century. Round One, FIGHT!

It is a generally accepted scientific fact that dinosaurs are, technically speaking, pretty awesome. But apparently, the speedy ground dwelling carnivore known as Sinornithosaurus was even more awesome than previously suspected. Not only was it a feathered raptor about the size of a turkey that ran down it’s prey, but evidence suggests it also had venomous fangs, reminiscent of those found in rear fanged snakes today. The venom probably didn’t kill prey outright, but merely disabled it, making it a simpler meal for the sinornithosaurus.

But still, venomous fangs!And really folks, is there anything so cool that venomous fangs don’t make it just a little more cool?

I thought not.

After the death of all of it’s polar bears, presumably because being dead is simply a more reasonable and respectable lifestyle choice than being a polar bear in St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo has decided to make the most retarded decision possible over what to do for their Christmas display. That decision? To replace the dead bears with animatronic facsimiles. Which is to say, robotic polar bears.

Merry Fucking Christmas, Kids.

Really shitty robotic polar bears.

You can tell this is a retarded decision because PETA supports it, and it’s a well known fact that PETA is a front group for the meat industry designed to make every person who has even a semblance of respect for animal rights look like a brain damaged asshole through the consistently ludicrous, offensive and well publicized actions of PETA.

While Gizmodo expressed the completely reasonable concern that the development of a robot bear army is bad news, there is worse to this decision than just it’s implications in the inevitable robot uprising. It will serve as a nightmarish warning to the rest of the zoo’s charges, who will only be able to reasonably conclude that their departed bretheren have been returned to them in a state of horrific un-life, unable even in death to escape the dread clutches of St. Louis.

The folks at Chuck E. Cheese have to be fucking elated at this development though, knowing that they have a whole slew of new business opportunities building shitty robotic versions of actual animals that are too difficult or expensive for small zoos to acquire or keep. Did your rare white tiger get mauled to death by a pair of lions? Why not replace it with a version that costs half as much, never needs medical care or food, and erupts into a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ every hour on the hour?

And why stop at making inroads into crafting zoo animals that can also play the banjo and terrify children? When real polar bears go extinct in ten years, we can just place animatronic bears on ice floes to star in our wildlife films and keep elephant seals in their fucking place.

The latest problem to crop up unexpectedly at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider? A bird dropped a piece of bread on some machinery outside of it, causing significant overheating. For those of you playing along at home, this means the most sensitive and advanced piece of scientific equipment ever known to man is not only vulnerable to terrorists – it can’t even protect itself from pigeons.

The collider wasn’t operational at the time, because that would have required the collider to be operational at some point, but if it had been working when it was attacked by the highly advanced warfare of a bird carrying some bread, fail safes would have shut it down.

 

At what point do we give up and just turn this thing into the world's biggest, coolest Laser Tag arena?

 

Remember though – its distinctly possible this bird was a double agent, dispatched by the folks at ConCERNed to stop the LHC before it kills us all. They have a lawsuit alleging that turning the machine on is a violation of the human rights of the entire world coming before the UN, but I think we all know how effective the UN is in these matters. Could it be that ConCERNed is using an army of trained animals to covertly take matters into it’s own hands?

Hey, it’s not the least likely theory on why the LHC remains broke-ass down. That would be the recently published paper on how the collider is being sabotaged. From the future. By God. Which, it turns out, actually may not be as crazy as it sounds.

Though in all fairness: It’s really hard for anything to be as crazy as that sounds.

Virginia Foxx, despite spelling her name with a double x in the traditional ‘stripper or pornographic performer’ style, is actually NOT a stripper. Rather, she is a caricature of the old lady from the ‘Where’s the beef?’ commercials if she went off her meds and decided to spend the recent of her brief, mean time on Earth strangled hippies with her ancient, claw-like hands. She also has the honor of being the craziest, most offensive member of Congress to come out of the Carolinas recently, which is really and truly saying something.

After calling the Matthew Shepard murder a hoax and repeatedly using the phrase “tar baby” on the floor Congress, Foxx recently declared the prospect of health care reform to be a bigger threat to the nation than “any terrorist right now in any country.”

Now, I’m no fear-monger, but I have to take issue with the fact that Virginia Foxx (again, not a porn star, despite what her name would lead you to reasonably assume) certainly appears not to hate or fear terrorism at all. Which is just wrong headed. If there’s one thing the last eight years have taught us, it is that nothing is scarier than terrorism. Nothing, anywhere, ever. The very word “terrorism” is, grammatically speaking, literally two thirds PURE TERROR and one third suffix. Nothing is scarier than that. Not health care reform. Not swine flu. Nothing.

So why doesn’t Virginia Foxx hate terrorism? Does it have something to do with her confusing stripper name? That’s a question only she can answer.

But until she can answer it, I think she should step down and relinquish her seat in Congress to someone who we know hates terrorism. For example, this bear in India’s Kashmir, who killed a pair of militants who were holed up in his cave. That bear fucking HATES terrorism. Hates it so much he mauls terrorists, or even just militant guerilla rebels, which are a lot like terrorists, kind of, to death. So even if he is Indian, and a bear, he is a True American. Not like Virginia “Probably Never Been An Adult Film Star But Totally Spells Her Name Like One” Foxx.

Researchers at the University of Western England are working on making programmable robots out of living tissue, prompting the humble slime mold make the jump into the 21st century by getting all cybernetic up in here.

The mold has already proven capable of carrying small objects along during it’s growth process. Professor Andy Adamatzky and his team hope to take these possibilities to the next level, using chemical and light stimuli to control the way the mold grows, essentially programming it to carry objects to a specific point. Eventually, the hope is that they will be able to manipulate the mold, which already completes intricate computing tasks like finding the shortest distance between two points, to not only carry but assemble items.

Adamatzky isn’t the only one who thinks biological systems can help drive the next developments in computing and robotics. A recent episode of the Robots Podcast featured discussions with Charles Higgins, who is attaching the optic systems of dragonflies to improve robotic sensory capability and Steve Potter, who is growing neural circuits – essentially miniature brains in petri dishes – that, when attached to robotic sensors, can give us a better idea of how the same circuits function in the brain.

Next Page »