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)

  • Wall of the Dead

  • Categories

This Week’s Green News Roundup

Posted by Richard Conniff on March 21, 2014

This week’s green news roundup from the The Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science blog:


If biodiversity is so important for human well-being, why isn’t Europe languishing? (Conservation Bytes)

Character displacement as the driver of evolution: new doubts, and doubts about the new doubts. (Wired)

And you thought The Birds was scary? Kelenken is Wired’s absurd creature of the week. (Wired)


Frog creates “chemical invisbility cloak” to confuse aggressive ants. (Mongabay)

Bats bouncing back: there are signs that the bats who survived die-offs from white-nose syndrome can resist infection. (Strange Behaviors)

Snowy owl mania continues: 9 photos to celebrate the ongoing irruption. (Huffington Post)

New Research

Basin-level data on forest disturbance is consistent with an Amazon carbon sink – and points to small-scale disturbance as the big player. (Nature Communications)

What is the most sustainable way to harvest rainwater? A new study looks at ancient systems to answer this modern question. (Environmental Science and Technology)

How do fireflies glow? Study in PNAS found that it started with an enzyme that makes fat. (Ars Technica)

A new way to cry wolf: is the latest questioning of the role of large predators and trophic cascades good science, or just tilting at windmills? (Mary Ellen Hannibal)

Climate Change

Up to 30 more dry days per year for the Mediterranean, Central America and Indonesia by century’s end, says new research. (Nature)

What we know: AAAS surprises the internet by releasing its own report to help the American people understand the science of climate change. (AAAS)

Can we have green energy and save birds? The answer is blowing in the wind. Maybe. (Audubon)

Nature News

Another victim of the polar vortex in North America: honeybees. (Compound Eye/Scientific American)

Cows, crops and timber: an ambitious agroforestry program in Colombia improves incomes, restores degraded land and makes farms more resilient to climate change. (Yale E360)

“There is no sector in American business that wouldn’t like to have better environmental information,” says NOAA CIO Joseph Klimacivz. Ocean Agency working to make data more accessible. (America Geophysical Union, EOS Transactions)

Science Communications

The anti-tweet. Longform digital journalism is a great medium for science communication. The Tow Center at Columbia University is exploring how all the pieces fit together. (National Association of Science Writers)

The secret life of Science Guy Bill Nye, in video on NOVA. (PsiVid/Scientific American)

To open access, or not to open access? Excellent review of the landscape and its pitfalls by Gary C. White. (The Wildlife Society News; HT Sharon Baruch-Mordo)

Science comprehension is a “culturally random variable.” (Translation: All cultural groups — including conservatives — have equal levels of science literacy.) (Dan Kahan/Cultural Cognition Project)

This & That

The return of the science patron. Solutions-focused environmental science benefits in a big way from the growth in science philanthropy – but is there a downside? (New York Times)

Did you miss taxonomy appreciation day? (Small Pond Science)

– See more at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s