Category Archive: Ecology

Mar 15 2013

TED Talk: spreading bullshit about the desert

What? TED vectoring pseudoscience? Unpossible! In one recent particular instance, though, a TED talk firmly grounded in bullshit — literal and figurative — is gaining a mortifying amount of traction with people who really should know better. The lecturer is Allan Savory, who for the last couple decades has been pushing his own brand of …

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Mar 12 2013

Good report on Federal wildlife torture from a surprising source

Sometimes, even Fox News gets one right [trigger warnings, as you might expect from the post title]: The brutal approach by Wildlife Services is part of a culture of animal cruelty that has long persisted within an agency that uses taxpayer money to wage an unnecessary war on wildlife, according to two U.S. congressmen who have …

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Mar 10 2013

Bring back the Shasta ground sloth

Bringing extinct animals back to life is big news this week. Not because there’ve been any particular recent breakthroughs, but because the upcoming issue of National Geographic features the topic as a cover story, and is hosting a related TEDx meeting this Friday in Washington D.C. that’s also sponsored by Stewart Brand’s Long Now Foundation. …

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Feb 22 2013

More boat than fish

How is it, living in the Anthropocene? Sea levels will likely rise a few feet by the year 2100. Current fish wet biomass is about 2 billion tons, so removing them won’t make a dent either. (Marine fish biomass dropped by 80% over the last century, which—taking into consideration the growth rate of the world’s …

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Feb 05 2013

Nevada seems to have more than its share of idiots

Finally my lifelong lack of a college degree pays off! As it turns out,  college degrees are bad for living things. At least that’s according to sterling citizen Cliff Gardner of Ruby Valley in Nevada, who said this to the New York Times: “I’m sure most of the people being considered for [the state’s Department of …

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Nov 21 2012

What is a species, anyway?

Hilary Rosner has an interesting piece at Wired Science on the campaign to keep the critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish from going extinct. Background: during the Pluvial period there were a lot of occasionally interconnected lakes in the American southwest, and some of those lakes had little fish in them of what we’d later call …

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Oct 30 2012

Humans versus wildlife

I figure we could use some less-than-apocalyptic news today. Over the last couple decades, the management of Tilden Regional Park in the hills above Berkeley, California has closed a main road artery through the park each year between November 1 and April 1 in order to protect a local amphibian. The road parallels a seasonal …

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Oct 13 2012

Paper describes cost of biodiversity, though not its value

This is interesting: a new paper in Science purports to chart the cost of protecting what’s left of the world’s biodiversity, and the figure seems be eliciting gasps: We estimate the cost of reducing the extinction risk of all globally threatened bird species (by ≥1 IUCN Red List category) to be US$0.875-1.23 billion annually over …

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Oct 08 2012

One good thing about The Oatmeal

Screen shot 2012-10-08 at 4.31.07 PM

… is that no matter how inflammatory a blog post you might write, Matthew Inman will step up and make you look utterly reasonable by comparison. “How much do cats actually kill?” at The Oatmeal. Note that there are many, MANY red pixels in his cartooning this time.

Oct 07 2012

The Balance of Nature

One of the things that bugs me most about some of my fellow environmentalists, aside from the patchouli, is the near-religious adherence — even among those enviros who eschew religion — to the notion that natural ecological systems have an innate and emergent self-repairing property. It’s a dangerous idea that breeds complacency, and it’s really …

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