Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Virtueller Wochenendausflug

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

SWR Expedition in die Heimat: Die Loreley, der Fels am Strom.

Bevor wir in die Pfalz gezogen sind, haben André und ich über sechs Jahre oberhalb des Mittelrheintals gewohnt und sind in der Zeit den größten Teil des Rheinsteigs gewandert. Die Köngisetappe, auf der die Moderatorin hier unterwegs ist, sind wir gleich mehrmals gelaufen, gern auch mit Besuch aus Nah und Fern.

Zuletzt war ich diesen Sommer im Mittelrheintal wandern. Auf der Loreley war allerdings gerade eine riesige Baustelle, weil das Areal völlig umgestaltet wird. Schade, es ist nicht mehr so beschaulich wie früher… aber Busladungen an Touristen verlangen nach Infrastruktur.

Dennoch: Das Weltkulturerbe Oberes Mittelrheintal ist immer (wieder) eine Reise wert!

Ecology meets Art

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology”. He was heavily influenced by Alexander von Humboldt, about whom I recently read a book called The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (highly recommended, by the way).

Haeckel is most well-known for his incredibly detailed and beautiful drawings of radiolarians and other Kunstformen der Natur (art forms in nature). Recently, a new book with his drawings was published:

The Guardian: Ernst Haeckel: the art of evolution – in pictures.

“The influential evolutionary scientist, who coined such terms as ‘stem cell’ and ‘ecology’, was also a virtuoso illustrator. The editor of a new book celebrating this work introduces some highlights.”

Creative Review: Feast your eyes on the art of Ernst Haeckel. “A new book from Taschen compiles 450 drawings, watercolours and sketches of living organisms by artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel.”

The book is fairly costly, but if you prefer a cheaper, sort of do-it-yourself version, there’s always the Art Forms in Nature: Coloring Book. 😉

Und für Menschen, die der deutschen Sprache mächtig sind, existiert eine HTML-Version von Kunstformen der Natur (vollständige elektronische Faksimile-Ausgabe). Dort kann man sich einzelne Tafeln anschauen oder zum Ausdrucken herunterladen. Es gibt auch eine tar-Datei mit allen Tafeln (16MB) sowie das komplette Buch als PDF (272MB).

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How to train your kitty to stop waking you up in the middle of the night

Friday, October 27th, 2017

NPR Fresh Air: Who Says You Can’t Train A Cat? A Book Of Tips For Feline-Human Harmony. (36:53min, transcript)

“The common wisdom about pets is that you can train a dog, but you can’t train a cat. Today’s guest says you can train a cat, but it takes an understanding of how cats learn. Sarah Ellis is the co-author with John Bradshaw of the book, “The Trainable Cat,” which is now out in paperback. Among the things she’s trained her cats to do is come when she calls, voluntarily walk into the cat carrier to go to the vet, take medicine and be friendly to her dog and her baby.”

“Killing wolves and bears in this cruel, unsportsmanlike fashion is outrageous, especially in national wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans.”

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

NPR the two-way: Congress Rolls Back Obama-Era Rule On Hunting Bears And Wolves In Alaska.

“By a largely party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill that repeals Obama-era hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The House already voted last month to abolish those restrictions — which were instituted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 to protect predator species from hunters — and so the bill now heads to the desk of President Trump, who is widely expected to sign it.

The FWS rule facing repeal explicitly prohibited many kinds of “predator control” on the 16 federally owned refuges in Alaska. That prohibition included a ban on the aerial hunting, live trapping or baiting of predators such as bears and wolves — as well as killing those predators while near their dens or their cubs.”

Tiny but dangerous

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The Guardian: Single clothes wash may release 700,000 microplastic fibres, study finds. (September 27, 2016) “Tiny plastic particles released by synthetic fabrics can cause harm to marine life when they enter rivers and oceans.”

“Each cycle of a washing machine could release more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibres into the environment, according to a study.
Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you’ve never heard of
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A team at Plymouth University in the UK spent 12 months analysing what happened when a number of synthetic materials were washed at different temperatures in domestic washing machines, using different combinations of detergents, to quantify the microfibres shed.

They found that acrylic was the worst offender, releasing nearly 730,000 tiny synthetic particles per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric, and nearly 1.5 times as many as polyester.”

So far, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot we consumers can do, except not wear synthetic clothing. However, there’s a company called Guppyfriend that is developing a washing bag designed to catch those microfibers. Here’s their Kickstarter page.