Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Day in the Life of a Seagull

Dutch researchers attached a GPS to a female seagull to track her travels during a day. The video animation is the result of the data collected.  332 km were covered during the day.

I'm still not giving them my chips.

Friday, 25 October 2013


Ah Iceland, beautiful vistas, Bjork, Sigur Ros and necropants.

Yes, you heard right, necropants. A wonderful pastime for all the family in 17th century Iceland. What are they? Well it's a little Silence of the Lambs meets those trendy printed tights, minus the trendy printed tights.
The only known intact pair is housed in the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft and is shown below. I thought I ought to include a warning, but let's face it, you all had a good look at the pic way before reading this boring text.

More explanation from the Museum:

"If you want to make your own necropants (literally; nábrók) you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his dead. After he has been buried you must dig up his body and flay the skin of the corpse in one piece from the waist down. As soon as you step into the pants they will stick to your own skin. A coin must be stolen from a poor widow and placed in the scrotum along with the magical sign, nábrókarstafur, written on a piece of paper. Consequently the coin will draw money into the scrotum so it will never be empty, as long as the original coin is not removed. To ensure salvation the owner has to convince someone else to overtake the pants and step into each leg as soon as he gets out of it. The necropants will thus keep the money-gathering nature for generations."

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Back in Action

Hi everyone,

Sorry to just abandon you all but I had to take off time to write my Honours thesis. It's all done now (thank the Spaghetti Monster) so I'll start by getting into the swing of things. There is a book review of the one solitary book I read in the last month, but it was a damn good one that managed to take my mind off iodopyridines.


Book Review: 'Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity' by David Kirby

'Death at Seaworld' is a fascinating and meticulously researched work that centres upon the death of a killer whale trainer at the U.S. theme park in 2010. However the work also takes on the entire history of the captivity of these whales, as well as research undertaken in the wild.
What you get to read may be argued as one-sided as it argues strictly against the captivity of killer whales, but with the evidence presented, there is no other conclusion that could be reached. It does essentially come down to animals performing under extreme duress for the pleasure of humans to bring in dollars.

There is a lot of focus on policy and politics about marine mammals in the U.S., but it never gets bogged down in too much detail, and the people who played a part in these affairs are well-drawn and interesting people in their own right.

An interesting section looks at the plight of Keiko, the star of the 'Free Willy' movie. Keiko was hired from a Mexican animal park to star in the movie. The conditions that he was in were dismal with a very small concrete tank, that was so shallow that his pectoral fins always touched the bottom and had lesions on them. The tale of his journey being an experimental re-release into the wild is a wonderful and enlightening story.

I guess what also sets this work apart from the usual anti-captivity arguments is that it is strictly about killer whales. The author does make an argument for captivity of certain species for educational and conservationist purposes. He is not a die-hard anti-this anti-that person. The argument put forward is strictly about this species and it's conditions and treatment in captivity.

So if you are a bit of a zoological nut check this book out. I highly recommend it.