strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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This Week’s Wildlife and Conservation News Roundup

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 24, 2014

Here’s what’s new this week, from The Nature Conservancy Cool Green Science blog:

New Research

Twerking saves lives: well, at least for black widow spiders. Researchers find males shake their bodies rapidly to avoid being eaten by females. (Nat Geo) 

Land sparing vs. land sharing – how do we move forward from the debate? (Conservation Letters/open access)

Shaking up the old tree network: How fungi help make space for diversity in tropical forests. (PhysOrg)

E.coli offers clues to dispersal – and possibly control — of invasive species. (Eurekalert!)

Insect soup: It’s not a new meal, but a way to measure biodiversity. (Mongabay) [RC note: And for the same story, five months ago on Strange Behaviors click here.]

Nature has women troubles. After much online criticism, editors of the journal Nature apologize for printing a letter suggesting that gender imbalance is all about the quality of papers received.

And… Nature editor Henry Gee reaps his share of criticism for outing (and dis’ing) anonymous  and outspoken advocate of science communication, Dr. Isis. GeeIsisGeeNature.

Climate Change

Why hasn’t framing climate change as an impending disaster worked to convince more people? New research from Tony Leiserowitz and Ed Maibach suggests the failure of climate change to have immediate disastrous consequences might have convinced fence-sitters that it won’t ever. (Collide-a-Scape)

Yet another downside to suburban living: higher household carbon footprints. UC Berkeley’s Daniel Kammen and Christopher Jones model carbon footprints for  30,000 zip codes in PNAS. (Eurekalert!)

Conservation News

Round up the usual suspects. Following a fatal shark attack, Australian politicians make plans to kill sharks. (Strange Behaviors)

Conserving the last frontier? Scientists call for protection and restoration of deep ocean ecosystems. (Nature)

Another drone application for conservation: unmanned aircraft search for rare and elusive pygmy rabbits. (Boise State Radio)

Biobullet brucellosis vaccine for bison rejected. (TreeHugger)

How to tell if a population is viable in an uncertain world. (Ecology)

Human Dimensions

Nay-sayers take that. The Gates Foundation takes on myths of global poverty. (Philanthropy News Digest)

Science Communications

Does a 1957 paper by William Shockley (yes, the eugenics William Shockley) explain which researchers will be the most productive publishers (as well as the academic superstar system)? (Dynamic Ecology)

Why should scientists talk to reporters and work with their PIOs? It gets you more conference invites, talks with policymakers, and invites to collaborate on research, says a new study. (That is, if you care about that stuff.)  (SciLogs)

Jeremy Fox on why there are ecology blogs, but no ecology blogosphere (you could say the same thing for conservation).  (Dynamic Ecology)

This & That

Jared Diamond’s ecocide explanation why civilization on Easter Island collapsed has itself collapsed under recent scholarship. But why hasn’t Diamond changed his mind? (Cosmos)

Space conservation? Japan sends giant electromagnetic net into space to clean-up. (New Scientist)

Turkeys inspire new early-warning technology for TNT. (UC Berkeley News)

– See more at:

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