Category: Animals

Cut Back on Emissions; Save the Polar Bear

polar bearMore and more species are becoming endangered as the years go by.  It probably would not be a surprise if one day, we hear news about the human race being in danger of disappearing because of what we are doing to the environment.  Sometimes, though, we make the most interesting connections.

Take polar bears and data centers, for example.  They have been the focus of some discussion lately.

How so?

Apparently, the extent of global data center service has reached such proportions that this industry is one of the leading contributors to global warming.  Believe it or not, the Information Age has a negative impact on the environment, and polar bears are being used as a focal figure in the awareness campaign.

Obviously, if global temperatures continue to increase, the polar ice caps will melt, leaving those adorable fuzzy white creatures without a home.  If this happens, of course, the bears just might disappear from the face of the earth.

Data centers are not solely to be held responsible for this issue, though.  While it may be tempting to point fingers at a single industry, everyone has his role to play in the matter.  Emissions from vehicles – both private and public alike – are as much to blame.  Daily activities that may seem benign also contribute to the amount of emissions.  Governments must do their part, and so must individuals.

The bottom line is that more is at stake than the polar bear.  Everyone is responsible for saving the earth.  We need to act now or probably suffer negative consequences in the very near future.

Gandalf the Vulture No Longer a Threat

Pilots flying in Scotland last week were treated to a novel warning from air controllers: watch out for a high flying vulture (high flying being a literal description).  Gandalf, a Ruppell’s Vulture “escaped” during an airshow called World of Wings.  The show was being held in Cumbernauld, which is near Glasgow, when Gandalf supposedly caught a warm thermal.  This propelled her high up into the skies, and she was not seen again – for a while.

The “loss” of Gandalf, who has been with World of Wings for six years, prompted civil aviation authorities to warn pilots.  Gandalf is originally from the African continent and has a wingspan of three meters.  This gives the bird lots of flying power.  Believe it or not, this kind of bird can actually fly up to 30,000 feet!  Indeed, this capacity makes the bird a potential threat to airplanes in flight.

There have been many incidents in the past of aircraft colliding with birds.  In many cases, these collisions have caused pilots to opt for an emergency landing.  Remember the commercial airplane that had to land on the Hudson River?

To make things worse, Gandalf’s kind can fly for very long distances, making it difficult to predict where he would end up.  The good news is that the bird has finally been found – at a Falkirk brickworks, interestingly enough.  Experts were worried that the bird might reach as far as the European continent, but their fears were alleviated when Gandalf was spotted.

So if you’re flying anywhere near the area – you’re safe from show vultures now. ;)

Photo credit: Birdfinders

Aussie Man Sits On Croc, Gets Bitten

What did he expect anyway? The guy was drunk, however, so I guess he was not thinking at all. AP reports that an Australian man was thrown out of a pub in the northwestern part of the country. The 36-year-old guy then proceeded to scale the barbed wire fence protecting the Broome Crocodile Park.

He wanted to give Fatso, the name of the 16-foot saltwater crocodile, a pat; but he ended up getting more than he bargained for. Why he had to sit on the back of the croc, one can only surmise, but Fatso didn’t like it one bit. He responded quickly by swinging his head back and biting the man on the right leg.

Surprisingly, the crocodile let go of the man’s leg so he was able to escape and managed to scale the fence once again – this time to get the heck out of there. He was quite fortunate to have received only lacerations on his leg (nasty as they are) as saltwater crocodiles are not known for letting go of limbs (or anything for that matter) once they get hold of them.

As for the man, no other information was released about him except that he is a tourist from eastern Australia.

Here’s a tip for you: the next time you see a saltwater crocodile, try to refrain from giving it a pat and sitting on its back, will you?

China Proposes Jail Time For Dogeaters

a_Asien_dog-meat_21Eating the meat of dogs is a tradition in certain parts of the world. In China, dog meat is a tradition ingredient in hot pots. With the changes that have occurred over the decades, however, this tradition is in danger.

The government has proposed jail time for people who are caught eating dog meat. The bill has been proposed in alignment with animal rights. Included in the bill’s coverage is cat meat. People who are charged and found guilty can go to jail for up to 15 days. A fine of around $700 is also part of the penalty. Businesses that are found guilty of serving dishes with dog meat or cat meat in them can also be charged under the provisions of the bill. The fine for businesses ranges from 14,000 USD to 73,000 USD.

As expected, this move has stirred up controversy. Pet lovers have taken up for the cause, while others say that the ban is quite unrealistic. On the one hand, some people see the cruelty in certain practices. One such practice is beating the animal (dogs in particular) to death. This is done to force the blood into the meat, making it tastier and richer. On the other hand, some people value the tradition of consuming the meat of cats and dogs. They think that the move to ban such meat is akin to throwing away part of the people’s history and culture.

It’s definitely a delicate situation, and I am glad I do not have to make the decision about it.

Cockroaches In Your Mouth – Eeew!

260px-Female_Madagascar_hissing_cockroachNo one in his right mind would do this, right? Well, think again! This guy from Lansing, Michigan wanted his 15 minutes of fame, so he stuffed these icky creatures into his mouth.

Sean Murphy, a pet store employee, decided to make a go for a Guinness World Record and put not one, but 16, cockroaches in his mouth. Mind you, they weren’t any ordinary roaches. In fact, they were Madagascar hissing cockroaches. According to Wikipedia, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is:

“also known as the hissing roach or simply hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 2–3 inches (5-8cm) at maturity. They are from the island of Madagascar off the African coast, where they can be found in rotting logs.

Unlike most cockroaches, they are wingless. They are excellent climbers and can scale smooth glass.”

So Sean Murphy got 16 of some of the biggest roaches in the world! He said that each of the roaches were at the very least, 2 ½ inches long. He initially tried for 12 roaches, but he just kept adding one more until he got all 16 in. While the feat has been documented, Guinness says that they still have to verify Murphy’s stunt. Until that has been done, amazing (and disgusting) as it may be, he is not a world record holder yet. He remains undaunted, though, and says that next year, he will be going for 20 roaches in his mouth – alive, hissing, and all!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia




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