strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

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  • 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 Cool Green Science News Roundup

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 31, 2014

Here’s the latest roundup from the Nature Conservancy blog Cool Green Science:


The early bird becomes cat food: New research finds Central American agoutis that get up earlier are far more likely to be eaten by ocelots. Sleep in! (The Agouti Enterprise)

Texas bans the destructive and cruel practice of gassing rattlesnake dens. Finally. (Strange Behaviors)  [RC: Well, not yet.  But they are working on it.]

Big win for a rare trout: Paiute cutthroats are restored to 100 percent of their original range. (Ted Williams)

Snake on a plane (not): Biomechanist Jake Socha uses a 3-D printer to demonstrate how flying snakes turn their bodies into aerofoils. (Popular Science) 

A new book entitled “Are Dolphins Really Smart?” argues no. But maybe the book isn’t so smart, either. (Southern Fried Science) 

Conservation Tactics

Why avoided deforestation is paramount for biodiversity conservation – and why financial incentives to protect them should be knockout good. (Conservation Bytes)

Is conservation work in zoos too random? (Conservation Magazine)

Would granting animals “personhood” protect them more effectively than animal protection laws? Verlyn Klinkenborg argues the negative. (Yale Environment 360) 

Are we at a turning point for corporations becoming greener in their practices? Or is this just a massive PR move? Fred Pearce takes a critical look. (Yale Environment 360)

Resolved: Ecosystem Services — for or against? (Conservation Letters)

New Research

Doing science (or science writing) outside academia can become an exercise in journal-envy. A list of open-access journals in conservation and ecology can help. (writingfornature)

How green is your roof? And is your roof greener if it’s white? A new study in the journal Energy and Buildings analyzes the most effective methods to make your roof environmentally friendly. (Conservation Magazine)

Plants conduct electricity, but could you grow a circuit? (MIT Technology Review)

We already knew that the switch from hunting/gathering to farming changed the landscape and the human way of life, but a new study showed it changed our genes too. (Science Magazine)

The world’s first magma enhanced geothermal system could bring new meaning to the words lava lamp (UCR Today)

Do protected areas attract migrants? Use appropriate boundaries and statistics to get reliable answers. (Conservation Biology)

Climate Change

Nowhere to run: Climate change is cutting off migration routes of animals like elk and bighorn sheep, threatening to undo one of our greatest conservation success stories. (NWF Reports) 

Reporting on resilience: The annual report of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) touts progress, including crop insurance for 1.1M Indian farmers. (World Bank)

Latest Snowden revelations: US spied on other countries’ negotiators during Copenhagen 2009 climate summit. (Guardian)

Latest victims of climate change: Penguins (Magellanic and Adelie). (Guardian)

Science Communications

If your goal is going viral — you know about emotion and arousal, but what about the secret handshake? (New Yorker)

Making the invisible visible: Why scientists and designers struggle to work together. (FutureEarth)

No one reads blogs. “So why bother?” you say. Yeah, well: No one reads your papers, either. (The Serial Mentor) 

This & That

It’s peanut butter jellyfish time. (Deep Sea News)

In which we see another side of Andrew Revkin, and bid a fond farewell to Pete Seeger. (Andrew Revkin)

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