The Epic Rap Battle I never knew I needed: Renaissance artists vs TMNT

Growing up, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — the comics, the cartoons, the video games, the movies, everything. Who am I kidding — I still do. I always wondered how the Renaissance artists after whom the Turtles were named would react to the idea of having ninjas — who were also mutated turtles, mind! — named after them, having their names’ value polluted for at minimum an entire generation.

Well, apparently so too did the folks in charge of Epic Rap Battles of History.

Fair warning — these rap battles often use problematic language, including this one which has a brief (but rather tame) instance: “you guys draw more dicks than New York Pride”.

The Turtle costume used in this video is awesome.

Pet turtle digs in and lives 30 years in family’s junk room

Red-footed tortoise on some junk

Manuela on some junk
Photograph by: Perla Rodrigues , TV Globo

While I’m slightly skeptical about the “just so” nature of this story, it’s still an adorable story, and I don’t see any aspects of it that make it particularly implausible. Apparently, a pet turtle (technically a tortoise, but turtles are turtles, I have it on good authority!) got lost in a junk room and, thirty years later, while the dad’s kids were going through his stuff after he died, they discovered the turtle had made a nice little home for itself next to a turntable and survived several decades on, probably, termites.

“At that moment I was white and did not believe,” explains Almeida.

Crawling around in a box with an old record player was Manuela, a red-footed tortoise the family had written off as lost back in 1982.

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Baby turtle eats raspberry

I’m posting this to prove a point, on top of the obvious squee and funny factors.

That point is, human beings can be complete monsters sometimes. Treating cute little turtles as sport, as though there was any contest between the turtle and an automobile. For shame. Look at that turtle, having trouble eating a raspberry! Look at its raspberry beard! They are adorable and nigh helpless and people still swerve to hit them.

Maybe humanity doesn’t deserve to survive this global warming nonsense we’ve brought on ourselves. Bah.

Blanding’s turtles, nearing extinction, find help in NS zoo

Our local zoo, Oaklawn Farm, has reportedly taken on and hatched some hundred Blanding’s turtle eggs, a breed of Nova Scotia turtle that’s on the endangered species list. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is the former home to the largest African lion in captivity in North America, Rutledge, who died of old age recently.

Blanding turtle hatchlings in a tank

In June, more than 100 Blanding’s turtle eggs were moved from Kejimkujik National Park — in the southern half of the province — to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford.

They’ve since hatched and the tiny turtles are quickly getting stronger and bigger on a steady diet of trout pellets and mealworms.

“There is a very high predation rate and it’s estimated that only about one per cent of these hatchlings survive naturally,” said Duncan Smith, a biologist with Parks Canada.

“That’s why we’re seeing if we can bolster that with this incubation and headstarting program.”

Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized freshwater turtles. Adults have dark-green, high-domed shells with yellow flecks and are easily identified by their distinctive yellow throats and undersides.

The Nova Scotia population of the Blanding’s turtle is listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, while the provincial Endangered Species Act lists them as endangered.

The original story at CBC has some absolutely adorable video of the hatchlings.

It is good that the Zoo is taking on these new challenges, with how clean and safe and expansive the habitats are (in my estimation) for their charges. Every time I’ve visited, I’ve gotten the sense that the animals are taken care of very well, with plenty of roaming room and appropriate habitats for each species. It warms my heart that the endangered turtle species is being given a second chance by these great folks. If it weren’t nearing the end of the zoo season, I’d take a run down just to see them.

That reminds me, I have yet to post my recent visit to the Halifax Natural History Museum and the pics I took of Gus and some other turtles. Now that I’ve remembered once, I’ll surely forget again. Remind me again sometime, will you?

Turtle chases tomato

Here I am on Labour Day (that’s right, check that extra U!), slaving away at some code rather than playing on the blogosphere. I mean, sure, it’s FUN to program, but I’m still neglecting my blogoduties. So, here’s some squee filler.

You should also check out PZ’s excellent analysis of the scientific evidence for how turtles evolved their shells. It’s both informative and well-illustrated, and the illustration of the turtle fetus kinda makes me go “awww”.

Royal Thai Navy <3’s sea turtles

I’m pretty much in desperate need of happy-making material at the moment. And yes, the film series in my previous post was quite replete with that (see especially Hugh and Gerald’s story of the First Pride Parade — their story about the police officer’s awe is great). But sometimes it takes a special sort of something to fix my doldrums.

Something like this nuclear bomb of adorableness.

Apparently the Royal Thai Navy’s efforts were instrumental in preserving the otherwise endangered hornbill sea turtles, and they’ve been doing it since 1950.

Even turtle porn is adorable

Longtime readers will, I’ve no doubt, recognize that I have a bit of a thing for turtles. Our Lady of Perpetual Win certainly noticed, and sent along a link to Ed Yong’s slideshow at Not Rocket Science showing a pair of green turtles near Sri Lanka actually mating.

Yeah, that’s right, put on the Barry White, these turtles are gettin’ it on. All sexy-like, with the hot plastron-on-carapace action.

Green turtles mating

Shamelessly stolen from Ed's site. Go there, there's more pics!

(Also: Stephanie sends me, and not you, porn. U jelly?)

Full-out Atheist On Atheist War!

Oh holy shit, we’re talking honest-to-goodness internecene throwdowns happening all along the Great Atheist Rift! Crommunist fired the first shot, like Franz Ferdinand himself, declaring that anyone who likes cats must naturally be infected by toxoplasmosis, which is the only explanation why anyone would subject themselves the nonsense that is a cat’s existence.
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