No! Not the turtles!

Freshwater turtles are in serious trouble: about a third of the world’s species are on the edge of extinction, and others are facing all kinds of problems. It’s the usual litany: habitat destruction, over-hunting, the exotic pet trade, and of course, Chinese medicine (traditional Chinese medicine: where ignorance and superstition lead to gratuitous extinction events).

Turtles are an ancient clade — and the cause of their decline is clear and inarguable. It’s us. I think I need to die before I have grandchildren so I don’t have to explain to them how we screwed up their planet.

Psychic destruction in Belize

Two children are missing in Belize, and no one knows what happened to them. So a helpful ‘psychic’ declared that they had been fed to the crocodiles in a nearby sanctuary. The results were predictable.

Reports are that the mob shot and killed some of the 17 crocs held in captivity at the sanctuary. Also destroyed were the Rose’s two story home that included a laboratory and nursery for baby crocs. One baby American Crocodile was to be flown to Chicago to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill. USA for the first ever animal exchange program between Belize and the USA. Over $2,500 in vet supplies that were recently donated for a new humane society that Cherie, along with other locals were working on in Punta Gorda were also lost. “This one wrongful incident has effected and hurt many innocent people and animals,” added Cherie.

The sanctuary looks like it was an amazing setup: all power was provided by solar and wind, they offered educational programs, they were training students, and they were also supporting local eco-tourism. And of course their primary mission was protecting endangered reptiles.

Now it’s all destroyed by the lies of one ignorant fraud, whipping up a mob into a ridiculous frenzy. Even now the people who ran the sanctuary can’t come back — they’ve been threatened with death.

Ignorance isn’t just a passive failure. Ignorance topples and destroys the great things people build up.

The organizers are asking for donations — they’re hoping to rebuild.

International wiring account number for donations
Belize Bank # 630-1-1-10130
Account# Vince & Cherie Rose Fire Victim Account

Discovery Channel besieged

A gunman with an explosive device is holding hostages at the Discovery Channel building until they give him what he wants. What does he want? Well, he’s nuts, and his
page of demands is loading very slowly, so here’s what I was able to extract:

The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:

1. The Discovery Channel and it’s affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn’s “My Ishmael” pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other’s inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!

2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.

3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!

4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn’t, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone living otherwise what good are they??

5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don’t build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!

7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!!

8. Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You’re the media, you can reach enough people. It’s your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!

9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy before they take the world to another nuclear war.

10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather than advertisements of Arms sales and development!

11. You’re also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war.

Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.

For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!

It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES! Population growth is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It’s like a couple are having 30 babies even though it’s just one! If the US goes in this direction maybe other countries will too!

Also, war must be halted. Not because it’s morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!

The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans.

Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.

The humans? The planet does not need humans.

You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!

I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it.

These are the demands and sayings of Lee.

So, basically, he wants the Discovery Channel to yell loudly at people to fix human civilization until they correct all of the world’s environmental problems, and he wants everyone to stop having babies and eating food from farms.

I don’t think that threatening television personnel with death and asking them to scream as crazily as he does is going to help. Let’s just hope that this can be resolved without anyone getting hurt…and by “resolved”, I mean get James Lee into a mental hospital.

Just the fact that he thinks the channel of “American Loggers,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Dirty Jobs,” “Ghost Lab,” “Swamp Loggers,” “Pitchmen” and “Shark Week” will be his allies in his crusade to end the blight of humanity suggests there is something wrong in his head.

Shouldn’t someone ask the Dakotans?

BigThink has been having a Month of Dangerous Ideas, in which each day they publish a pro and con for a provocative idea, like “Tax Fat People” or “Mandatory Bible Study” (promoted to make people more moral, believe it or not), from which you’d get the impression it was mainly a month of stupid ideas. There were a few interesting ones in the mix, though.

One that comes up now and then again is the idea of Pleistocene Rewilding, that we should remove people from a wide strip of the center of the country, from North Dakota down to Texas in the more elaborate versions of the plan, and actively work to repopulate it with megafauna resembling the pre-human distribution — bring over elephants and lions from Africa, and in more ambitious extremes, genetically re-engineer extinct species, reconstructing mammoths from elephant stock, for instance. I admit, it sounds very cool — I wouldn’t mind seeing great herds of bison and mammoth strolling near Morris, now and then, but ultimately it sounds like another stupid idea.

It falls apart for me on a couple of real problems. We can’t reconstruct species yet, and rebuilding a whole ecological network? Yeah, right. There’s always this focus on the big fragile animals, but if you want to rebuild the Pleistocene midwest, maybe the most important first step would be reconstructing the distribution of prairie grasses, which isn’t easy. We’ve got these things called “parks” which often have goals like preserving the flora and fauna of a region, and they struggle to do even that — we have regional parks here that take some pride in preserving patches of pre-farming prairie, and even that takes hard work and constant maintenance. And, of course, what Pleistocene Rewilding proposes is bringing in large stocks of what are basically alien species and turning them loose. That always works out well. Ask the Australians.

I have a better idea. Why not just set aside large continuous swathes of land in various biomes and declare them to be real wildernesses — we have national parks and wilderness areas now, we could just start right there and enforce stricter policies of non-exploitation for a few centuries — by not permitting grazing, mineral exploration, logging, and RVs to rip through, but instead taking seriously the idea of creating fallow land where nature works without human guidance. We do not, however, have even the political will to do that much in this country, so rewilding is even more of a fantasy.

Although I do confess that the dream of depopulating Texas does provide some political incentive. Until you realize the Texans would just be spread around more.

I hate Traditional Chinese Medicine

Quacks, every one, and monsters promoting destruction of the unique and precious. Look what they’ve done in the name of giving impotent, tiny-dicked ignoramuses a magic potion:


Poachers have butchered the last adult rhinoceros at a South African game reserve, cutting off her horn and letting her bleed to death, the chief game ranger says.

Rhino horns are just large lumps of keratin, nothing more. They do nothing to make men attractive, they don’t enhance an erection, they don’t increase desire. You might as well make a pill from ground-up fingernail clippings, it is the same thing.

But there is one thing that does enhance virility…

No, I shouldn’t say it. It’s a closely guarded secret.

It’s too dangerously effective. It’s a formula that will make your penis grow 4 inches in a day, make you multi-orgasmic, and generate steely erections that stay up for 3 hours and 59 minutes (if you have an erection that lasts 4 hours or more, see your doctor).

But then, since they’ve just about exterminated rhinos, I guess it’s only fair that I mention the alternative.

The magic ingredient is…

The one indispensable component of this formula is…

The ground-up genitals of TCM pharmacists. Shocking, I know, but it’s a fact. TCM pharmacists never have sexual problems because they are constantly doping themselves up with their panaceas, and their tissues are saturated with the most effective reagents in their pharmacopias.

The best way to collect them and maintain their active properties, of course, is to hover over a TCM pharmacy in a helicopter, and wait for the proprietor to step out; then hit him or her with a tranqulizer dart, rappel down, and then swiftly chop out the magic organ with a chainsaw. After you’ve flown away, throw the bloody bits in a blender with a dozen raw oysters and some tequila, and swallow the liquified results straight down.

If the TCM pharmacists are over-harvested, the second best source of good virility enhancing tissue is the crotches of the people who have been gobbling down TCM remedies, including, of course, the one I just gave you (I have never taken any TCM potions in my entire life, I quickly assure you).

Of course, I do not personally endorse this protocol. But you know, boys will be boys, and spoiled rich Asian tycoons will be spoiled rich Asian tycoons.

And a bright and cheery good morning to you, too!

You know, every morning I get up and try to plow through the flood of email I get overnight, and it’s always full of these dire stories and horrible events. So here I will share with you a little sense of how I feel when I open my mailbox.

It’s amazing that I’m still such a happy fellow. I think the giggles are a consequence of being punch-drunk, though.

A war against mosquitoes?

Well, this was a weird article in Nature that made me think, at least: A world without mosquitoes. I was surprised to learn that there are actually ecologists/entomologists who believe the world would be a better place if we could simply exterminate entire genera of winged pests — that mosquitoes fill a readily replaceable niche, that they make minimal positive contributions to ecosystems, and we’d gain immeasurably from removing animals responsible for so much human suffering. The one thing they also agree on, though, is that there is no way to do it.

And so, while humans inadvertently drive beneficial species, from tuna to corals, to the edge of extinction, their best efforts can’t seriously threaten an insect with few redeeming features. “They don’t occupy an unassailable niche in the environment,” says entomologist Joe Conlon, of the American Mosquito Control Association in Jacksonville, Florida. “If we eradicated them tomorrow, the ecosystems where they are active will hiccup and then get on with life. Something better or worse would take over.”

The article does mention mosquitoes immense contributions to biomass in general in many environments, particularly in the arctic, but this doesn’t seem to perturb the mosquito-haters. It’s odd, since I live in Minnesota, where we get clouds of the bitin’ beasts, and they are regarded as major nuisances…but at the same time everyone understands that they also feed the fish that stock our lakes. I don’t think a widespread mosquito extinction program would be entirely popular.

The commenters on the article seem much more sensible. I was happy to see one quoting Aldo Leopold:

The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.

The article mentions, for instance, that every animal in an arctic caribou herd loses 300 mL of blood a day to the depredations of mosquito swarms, which is definitely horrific for the caribou—but that’s biomass that’s getting transferred to birds and bats and fish. It seems to me that preventing that would be a rather substantial blow against species diversity, even if it did make some big charismatic mammals much more comfortable.

Who are you gonna save, zombies or sharks?

I know you all think sharks are tough, vicious eating machines which have thrived for hundreds of millions of years, but many species face extinction from overfishing, unprincipled slaughter, and, well, the zombie menace.

Seriously, they’re at risk, and some organizations are working to save sharks. And unfortunately, that requires money. Currently, one group from Shark Rescue is in a desert race to raise attention about the plight of the sharks, and to raise money (there aren’t many sharks in the Gobi Desert, I know, but the goal is planetary awareness, with sharks as just one example). Donate if you can.

Compensate for the zombie depradations, if nothing else.