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This question actually came up in a conversation I had with a colleague (I asked the question):
If you had to choose one or the other, would you rather eat a ratburger or an insectburger?
Surprisingly, that colleague and another one that I polled had trouble deciding. Maybe it's just me, but I'd think it's a really easy choice -- rats are still mammals, not too different from rabbits (which I've eaten once before), whereas insects are bugs (ick!).
If we could eliminate insects from the world without messing up the food chain, I'd be all for it. But it appears that the Endangered Species Act doesn't just protect charismatic mammals like elephants and bears and lions, but also picture-wing flies:
Picture-wing flies are about two to three times the size of common
house flies and are considered harmless to humans. Other species of
picture-wing flies are found outside Hawaii.
The flies are named for the intricate markings on their clear wings
and are known for their elaborate performances when protecting their
territory or courting a mate.
Two to three times the size of common house flies?!? Yuck!
While raking leaves this afternoon, I noticed a dead rabbit in our backyard. I didn't get very close, but it didn't seem to have suffered any fatal wounds, so perhaps it died of old age, disease, or internal trauma. In any event, is it a biohazard? Do I just bag it up and dispose of it with the trash? Or do I call Animal Control or some such equivalent city department?
The scientists say that not only could large tracts of
North America act as breeding sanctuaries for species of large
wild animals under threat in Africa and Asia, but that such
ecological history parks could be major tourist attractions.
"Africa and parts of Asia are now the only places where
megafauna are relatively intact, and the loss of many of these
species within this century seems likely," the team, led by
Josh Donlan from New York's Cornell University, said.
"Given this risk of further extinction, re-wilding of North
American sites carries global conservation implications," the
team wrote in Wednesday's issue of the science journal Nature.
Sleep-deprived mothers of newborn babies
should spare a thought for bottlenose dolphins and killer
A study has shown the young of those two species do not
sleep at all during the first month of life. They are active 24
hours a day -- and their mothers have learned to cope.
That's just scary. Though I note that the study concludes that the "mothers" have learned to adapt. Does that mean that dolphin and killer whale dads don't share equally in the raising of the little ones?
I've just had 7 hours of committee or faculty meetings in the last 29 hours. I'm too wiped out to blog about much, but here are some quick links:
- Judge tosses Lynndie England's plea: This isn't meant to be any defense of England if she did what she is accused of doing (and what the pictures seem to substantiate), but I noticed that an earlier version of this story had a picture of her with her baby. The plea, had it been accepted, would have capped her sentence at something less than 11 years, but the cap was secret. Still, presumably there was some significant prison time involved. I can't imagine being kept from my little guy for any amount of time like that. . . . What a true punishment, if she's convicted in her court-martial.
- My son the tease: My baby son has a new trick where he extends his finger food like he's going to give it to me, actually touches my palm, and then quickly takes the food back, smiles and chortles, and then eats it. Where do babies learn things like this?
- "American Idol," what's wrong?: Ann Althouse has it right; this is the worst season of "American Idol." It's been too many weeks of boring songs sung boringly to be anything but the fault of the performers. They're not bad, but they just aren't good the way that Kelly, or Fantasia, or even Clay and Reuben were.
- Kevin Brown looks done as a major league pitcher. I had drafted him in the 14th round of my fantasy baseball league, but I cautiously kept him on the bench until he showed me something. All he showed me was that he was throwing batting practice in the first inning of his starts. I cut him even before yesterday's debacle and added Erik Bedard of the Orioles. At least Brown didn't cost me anything other than the opportunity cost of whoever I could've picked and the roster spot; I didn't get saddled with any of his outings.
UPDATE: Another random thought:
- Why is it never charismatic mammals thought to be extinct that are rediscovered? Instead, it's three species of snails. . . .
I see rabbits in my backyard all the time, and I've heard of people in Iowa City having problems with raccoons. And don't get me started on deer -- I see them all the time in the fall. But as much of a wilderness as eastern Iowa is, I've never seen bison roaming free in the streets . . . .
BANG NIENG, Thailand - A year ago, they were filming battle scenes for the movie "Alexander."
Now six elephants are pitching in to help with the massive cleanup from
the tsunami that devastated many of Thailand's prime tourist