August 22, 2005
If a group of US researchers have their way, lions, cheetahs, elephants and camels could soon roam parts of North America, Nature magazine reports.
The plan, which is called Pleistocene re-wilding, is intended to be a proactive approach to conservation.
The initiative would help endangered African animals while creating jobs, the Cornell University scientists say.
Jobs like "cave man" are so over. This is 2005; we do not have time to fight off baboons on our way to work. Also, if these animals are so wonderful to have around, why can't someone else keep them, like, oh, I dunno, AFRICA?
I am totally against anything that has to do with colliding this modern life with the Pleistocene era. I'm pretty much against the Pleistocene Era as a rule, but I don't want to generalize. I'm sure they're nice people in their own way.
"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," said Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, US.
"But if people hear the one-hour version, they realise they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now we are investing all our megafauna hopes on one continent - Africa."
I wonder how sad he would be to know that I don't have any hopes about megafauna. I'll think about it all day today, I promise, but I guarantee that I won't think any better of it when I'm done.
In all seriousness, can we look at this for one second?
But man's arrival on the continent - about 13,000 years ago, according to one prevalent theory - pushed many of these impressive creatures to extinction.
Their disappearance left glaring gaps in the complex web of interactions, upon which a healthy ecosystem depends. The pronghorn, for example, has lost its natural predator and only its startling speed - of up to about 60mph - hints at its now forgotten foe.
If our ecosystem has been so unhealthy for 13,000 years, how come I haven't noticed? How devastating is an unhealthy ecosystem if we can go for THOUSANDS of years and never know it was unhealthy until we read the BBC one day? Maybe the problem is that the BBC talks too much. Did these folks at Cornell ever think about that for an hour or so?
So, the proposal they have is to just drop in some wild cheetahs and some camels and some other animals and let them go nuts.
I'm no eco-specialist person, but it seems to me that ecosystems must develop over, say, 13,000 years and if you just drop in new elements from other ecosystems there is a good chance that, in addition to people dying, things will just get wildly out of hand. I mean, this 2005, not the Pleistocene. Haven't these people heard of killer bees or those awful fish that got into some lakes up north?
"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators," said lead author Josh Donlan, of Cornell University. "There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realising predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."
I'm sorry but we already took precautions with this sort of thing once when we drove the bastards into extinction.
However Americans might do more than put up with their new compatriots - they might actually welcome them.
According to Dr Donlan and his colleagues, the re-wilding plan would offer ecotourism and land-management jobs to help the struggling economies of the Great Plains and Southwest.
This is so laughable I'm laughing. I'm picturing our healthy midwestern brothers and sisters with automatic weaponry and a bad attitude when a feral horse messes with the wrong apple pie.
Dr Donlan said that large tracts of private land are probably the most promising place to start, with each step carefully guided by the fossil record and the involvement of experts and research.
"We are not advocating backing up a van and letting elephants and cheetah out into the landscape," he said. "All of this would be science driven."
So, they're not advocating just letting some animals loose. Really? So, they're talking about zoos. If the animals aren't loose, they're contained. If they're contained that's a zoo. I'm fine with zoos -- even really big ones.
Of course, now that I'm at the end of the article and they're taking all the crazy talk back, I'm hurt. I feel completely mislead.
Why don't they write a follow-up article with the headline "Polar Bears and Otters Roam Manhattan" about the Central Park Zoo? Residents would be shocked, I'm sure.
August 09, 2005
WINTON, Calif. - A 17-year-old featured in the “Brat Camp” reality TV series was charged for allegedly spray-painting racial slurs in front of a home.
Isaiah Alarcon of Winton is one of nine teenagers featured on the ABC program, which documents their progress through a 50-day Oregon wilderness school known for its success at teaching children better behavior.
Alarcon told sheriff’s deputies on July 29 that he used spray paint to scrawl the slurs on the street outside a black preschool teacher’s home, said Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin.
Oh, for shame, Isaiah. For shame. Did you learn nothing in the wilderness?
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told thousands of visiting students that if U.S. forces were to invade the South American country, they would be soundly defeated.
The U.S. government has strongly denied Chavez's claims that it is considering military action against Cuba's closest ally in the Americas.
But Chavez said late Monday that the U.S. government, which "won't stop caressing the idea of invading Cuba or invading Venezuela," should be warned of the consequences.
"If someday they get the crazy idea of coming to invade us, we'll make them bite the dust defending the freedom of our land," Chavez said to applause.
Chavez called the United States the "most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world."
The Venezuelan leader said "socialism is the only path," and told the students the collective goal is to "save a world threatened by the voracity of U.S. imperialism."
Seriously, Chavez (and all those crazy people who agree with these statements) have had some kind of psychotic break. These remarks do not even remotely correspond to the facts of reality.
1) We are not considering an invasion of Venezuela or Cuba. It wouldn't make the first bit of sense to do that. I can't think of a single short-term or long-term benefit to invading those places apart from shutting up a few crazies and that's not really worth it.
2) If we DID invade Venezuela, I'm sorry, dude, but you would get body slammed. That's all there is to it.
3) You have a weird idea of freedom, Mr. Chavez, socialist dictator guy.
4) If you think the US is the "most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world," you are obviously not very familiar with the history of the world or the history of other such socialist and communist attempts to create utopia.
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