Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pablo Escobar still haunts Colombia — in hippo form

Drug lord Pablo Escobar imported many exotic animals to his hacienda. Most of them are gone now, but Colombia turns out to be a nice place for hippopotamuses, and their herd is growing.

Sixteen years after the infamous Mr. Escobar was gunned down on a Medellín rooftop in a manhunt, Colombia is still wrestling with the mess he made.

Wildlife experts from Africa brought here to study Colombia’s growing numbers of hippos, a legacy of Mr. Escobar’s excesses, have in recent days bolstered the government’s plan to prevent them — by force, if necessary — from spreading into areas along the nation’s principal river. But some animal-rights activists are so opposed to the idea of killing them that they have called for the firing of President Álvaro Uribe’s environment minister.

From The New York Times, via OMG Facts.

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This is why we don’t do it in the road, for the record

Bert Knox had “a history of lying in the road”.

Yeah, he got run over. 🙁

Via Obscure Store.

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A portrait of the comedian Bill Cosby in the medium of jello

 A portrait of the comedian Bill Cosby in the medium of jello

From Epic Ponyz.

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Small male spear squids don’t bother mating, just try to slip their sperm in there

There are two types of male spear squids: large “consorts”, who do all the mating, and “sneakers”, who make up for their smaller bodies by having bigger sperm.

Rather than courting, a sneaker waits for a female to begin laying her eggs, at which point he rushes in head first and deposits his spermatophore near her external sperm storage organ (just under her mouth). When timed well, the released eggs will pass over the sneaker’s sperm and possibly become fertilized, if the eggs haven’t already been fertilized by the consort’s sperm inside the female’s oviduct.

From 80beats.

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This is not even mentioning the time Rick Perry fucking killed an innocent person

Rick Perry’s about to announce his candidacy for President, and with the John Kerry of the GOP currently leading the pack, Perry looks pretty well-positioned to become the front-runner for the Republican nomination. He’s got both the social conservative cred and the record as a successful governor of a state that’s done relatively okay during the Great Recession. Somehow though, it seems like we’re forgetting a crucial part of the Rick Perry Story. Take it away, Alex Pareene:

Perry’s flirtations with neo-Confederate organizations and symbols — ably documented by Justin Elliott — are so extraordinarily reprehensible that it should immediately and permanently disqualify him from being taken seriously for national office. The Confederacy was not a bunch of generally well-meaning dudes who went a little too far, it was a gang of racist traitors who launched a bloody war to defend a monstrously unjust institution.

This, of course, is not even mentioning the time Rick Perry fucking killed an innocent person. Which, talk about disqualifying! This is the new front-runner, the man who doesnt care that he killed an innocent person. Whee!

Via The Dish.

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Birds with bigger brains adapted better when Communism fell

Researchers in the Czech Republic and Germany have been looking through bird data from their countries around the fall of Communism.

Most of the factors appeared to affect bird populations similarly in the three regions. But brain size apparently made a big difference in the former communist nations: Birds with bigger brains tended to show a slight uptick in populations sizes in East Germany, and even bigger gains in the Czech Republic. The “increases of species with large brains suggest that species with good cognitive abilities might have been better able to adapt to rapid socioeconomic change and make use of novel opportunities after the end of communism,” the authors write.

The population gains might not be caused by brain size, but there’s at least a correlation there.

From Conservation Magazine, via The Morning News.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger survived Maria

From Gawker:
 Arnold Schwarzenegger survived Maria


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Sealand is a naval platform with a royal family, a prime minister, and a government-in-exile

 Sealand is a naval platform with a royal family, a prime minister, and a government in exile

During World War II, the UK deployed several military platforms around its coast, including Rough’s Tower, which happened to sit outside the 3-mile range that the UK considered part of its territory. After the war, all the platforms were abandoned, and Rough’s Tower sat empty until the days of pirate radio. A broadcaster named Roy Bates ran off some other broadcasters to take control of the platform in 1967. The UK outlawed broadcasting from even outside the 3-mile zone, so Bates never used Rough’s Tower for radio. Instead, he renamed it Sealand and declared it a sovereign country.

In 1968, Roy’s son Michael shot at some British workers, and Roy was brought up on arms charges. The court decided the case couldn’t proceed because Sealand was not in British waters, and Roy took this to mean his micronation’s sovereignty had been fully recognized. He made a Sealand flag, a national anthem, and a currency.

At some point, Roy made Alexander Achenbach Prime Minister of Sealand, which was probably a mistake because Achenbach took over the place while Bates was away in 1978. Bates flew in with a helicopter and some mercenaries and captured Achenbach and his men. Germany sent a diplomat to negotiate Achenbach’s release, as Bates was holding him prisoner for treason. Bates gave his prisoner up and took the visit as another country’s acknowledgement of his sovereignty.

Nowadays, no one lives on Sealand, but it does have two websites: the official government’s site and the site of the government-in-exile, led by Achenbach’s successor.

In the last ten years, Sealand was home to data haven HavenCo. After that, Pirate Bay was interested in the platform, but Michael Bates decided against selling because he had written a book and “Hollywood [was] making a movie out of it”. Meanwhile, the government-in-exile is busy hawking a free energy device.

Also here you can find a midi file of Sealand’s anthem.

Sources: Wikipedia, Sealand Official Site, Sealand’s Rebel Government, Damn Interesting, Torrent Freak

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This rat chews on poison then licks itself with its poison saliva

They found that to make its poison fur, the rat — which averages about 14 inches (36 cm) long — chews the bark of the A. schimperi and licks itself to store the resulting poisonous spit in specially adapted hairs. This behavior is hardwired into the animal’s brain, similar to nitpicking behavior of birds or self-bathing of cats, the researchers suspect.

They have no idea why the rat doesn’t die from the poison itself.

Via Neatorama.

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Super jazz band

 Super jazz band

By Eye Jay Tea, via Hey Oscar Wilde.

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