Posts Tagged 'mammals'

Remains of the Night

Something got this bat, or else something else (a car?) got it and then something ate of it. I’m struck by the delicate structure of the rib cage.
***

The entomologist and curator Alex Wild said this on Twitter yesterday after the disaster in Brazil: “The loss of the Brazilian National Museum to a preventable fire? This is very much the future of science and museums in the United States if people like Trump succeed in holding power. Every spare cent eventually funneled away from public goods into the oligarchs’ pockets.”

There Were Whales

D. Graham Burnett’s The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century is a whale of a book. He traces the… evolution (?) of whale science from the cutting room floor of factory ships by scientists who were more or less creatures of the industry, flensing their way through interesting collections of oils (which lubricated ICBMs, among other things) and data, ever so much more data, as species were hunted to the brink, to a rather sudden transformation, a re-mystification in many senses, of whales in the late 1960s.

By the 1970s, Greenpeace and other factors had made saving the whales a rallying cry, the focus of environmentalism. Weirdo-weird guy John C. Lilly, he of the dolphin “mind” and, uh, other parts, best (?) represents the transition: from Defense Department funded explorer of brain-washing and sensory-deprivation to Navy-funded (briefly) dolphin evangelist to LSD-dropping freak babbling about alien consciousness. (The Navy still exploits dolphins for war.) Lilly gave LSD to dolphins, too, by the way, but, as Burnett points out, researchers were doing to that to a lot of animals, including the two-legged kind.

The wretched International Whaling Commission, an entity of whale industry states designed to perpetuate the industry, was finally beaten to submission to a whaling moratorium (with too many exceptions) in 1982.

I started this book some time ago. Here’s what I wrote about it then. It’s a deep dive. I got out of the water for a while and only just recently returned. I’m glad I did. The last chapter is fascinating. You could do worse than just reading the conclusion, which breachs one of the great questions of history writing.

Et In Arcadia Ego

Mammal Monday

Rat on the rocks.

Mammal Monday

Half a dozen Greys were around or up inside this tree. (Some kind of walnut, I think; fruit looked pecan-y but leaves didn’t.) Also I wasn’t sure if the nuts raining down upon me were intentional. Poetic fallacy and all.

The tree certainly makes the animal work for it.

Update: We ran into Daniel Atha, of the NYC Ecoflora Projet. He had just come from taking a specimen of this tree! It turns out to be butternut (Juglans cinerea), which is also known as white walnut. It’s the only living one in the city he knows of. The specie sis beset by butternut canker; in some states 80% of the butternuts have been killed off.

Reading: Resistance: Reclaiming An American Tradition by Jeff Biggers. (Please don’t use Amazon. The link is to Indiebound. Or your local library.)

Mammal Monday

This feature of the blog is sporadic, for there’s a rather limited selection of diurnal mammals to be found with any regularity in the city.
But baby Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) should carry you through the weeks.Cute, right? Don’t be deceived by anthropomorphic mammal-philic charisma. Without regulating predators like coyotes and foxes, small mammals like these chippies become, as they say in the groves, problematic. Chipmunks are hosts for a pallet of tick-born diseases, and they are extraordinary good predators themselves, meaning their population explosions become problems for birds and others.

Mammal Monday

Ondatra zibethicus: muskrat! As busy as the proverbial beaver.Thoreau reveled in calling them “musquash.” (See Geoff Wisner’s collection of HDT on animals.)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Senator Susan Collins says the President has assured her he won’t be asking his Supreme Court candidates about Roe v. Wade. Two things: 1) Trump’s record on lying tells us he’ll say ANYTHING to try and get what he wants; and 2) the list he’s using is from the Federalist Society, an organization openly dedicated to transforming the American court system. The people on the list have already been asked about Roe.

Also, Senator Collins seems to think it’s legit for someone — who will in all probability have his case(s) in front of SCOTUS — pick another of the justices.


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