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 Green News Roundup

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 28, 2014

Here’s the weekly news roundup  from the Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science blog. (OK, it’s the second one I’ve posted this week, but that’s because I let last week’s get away from me.  I apologize.)

The one near the bottom of this list, about Lady Gaga being bitten by a venomous mammal, reminds me of an old verse that arose from a geographic rivalry in the Turkish hinterlands:  “A viper bit a Cappadocian’s hide/And poisoned by his blood, that instant died.”

I am hoping in this case that the biter, a slow loris, has survived:


Are elephants as smart and social as we like to think? (Strange Behaviors)

Get up close and personal with a water opossum and other wild critters of Nicaragua. (Mammal Watching)

Reasons to love wildebeest, as if you need an excuse. (Tetrapod Zoology)

New Research

Bears use wildlife road crossings to find mates. (LiveScience)

From the start-with-the-basics-file: USGS had to locate all the wind turbines in the US before studying their impacts. Results in downloadable report and GIS files. (USGS)

Try this at home. New tool (Global Forest Watch) allows web-based, near real-time tracking of deforestation. (ScienceInsider)

Climate Change

An ounce of prevention: The impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems is immense, but there is hope for people who rely on fisheries if they institute sustainable practices now. (Nature Climate Change)

James Hansen launches program on Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions at Columbia University. (ScienceInsider)

Caution! Silver bullets may ricochet. Analysis of five potential geo-engineering approaches to climate change mitigation shows minimal impact or adverse consequences under high CO2 scenarios. (Nature Communications)

Almost too good to be true: Study shows offshore wind turbines could mitigate hurricane damage and provide clean energy. (Nature Climate Change)

Nature News

The invasion has begun: Thousands of invasive quagga mussels confirmed in Lake Powell. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Maybe biocontrol can help Lake Powell: promising results using bacteria to control zebra and quagga mussels. (New York Times)

Large canals have a dark past. How would a canal across Nicaragua impact the environment and the people who live there? (Wired Science)

Conservation Tactics

If Indonesia can’t protect its orangutans, why doesn’t it just sell them to those who will? A provocative essay by former Cool Green Science contributor Erik Meijaard. (Mongabay)

Marine reserves: more — or better? Is practicing the art of the possible diluting the effect of marine protected areas? (Aquatic Conservation)

Plants engineered to produce moth pheromones provide an alternative to pesticides and artificial pheromones. (

Science Communications

The new openness of science publishing presents opportunities and challenges for those who write about scientific discovery, says Carl Zimmer at AAAS. (The Loom)

People don’t know what they don’t know, and the effect has a name: Dunning-Kruger. The good news: with a little negative feedback, we can learn. (Pacific Standard)

There’s communication to draw attention to an issue and there’s communication to develop relationships. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but they also aren’t the same thing. (The Science Unicorn)

Maximizing science impact through teamwork: Outcomes are better when scientists and communications experts work together. (SciDevNet)

This & That

Lady Gaga is bitten by a venomous primate, and sparks outrage over illegal loris trafficking in the process. (Mongabay)

Life hacks: PhD candidates know something about overcoming procrastination. (The Contemplative Mammoth)

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