Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just written a very cool piece about Laika, Belka, Strelka, and the other canine cosmonauts who paved the way for Russian Yuri Gagarin's maiden orbit of the Earth in 1961. With interviews and images supplied by the author and publisher of Soviet Space Dogs, Lisa's story answers questions about how these animals were selected for training, how they relieved themselves in space, and what sort of welcome they could expect if they returned safely to Earth (not all did)."
Dogs had a history of scientific experimentation in the USSR. Petrovich Pavlov had used them to great effect in his studies of the reflex system. Despite this, apes were initially considered as they more closely resemble man in many ways. Dr. Oleg Gazenko, one of the leading scientists of the space program, even visited the circus to observe the famous monkey handler Capellini, who convinced him that monkeys were, in fact, problematic. They required intense training and numerous vaccines and were emotionally unstable. (Cats did not tolerate flight conditions; that was later proved by French missions in 1963.) The decision was made: Dogs would be the first cosmonauts.
Thousands of carp, iridescent sharks, catfish and tilapia have been netted from the flooded remains of the New World Mall in Bangkok, which has been collapsing in legal limbo since 1997, when judges ordered it demolished after finding that the 11-storey mall had been built on the basis of planning permission that only allowed for four storeys.
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I’m filled with wonder at the engineering and imagination needed to create the magical eye candy of pop-up books. Elaborate scenes come alive as I unfold each page. I’m always surprised the first time I open a pop-up book, but with Birdscapes more than my eyes were opened. There are bird songs and bird calls, tweets and warbles, sounds of nature from the Arctic Tundra to the Great Plains of North America – all in stereo from the back pages of this book!
Birdscapes presents seven intricate, delicate and very realistic pop-up bird habitats along with the sweet melodies of the birds that live there. Each soundscape is pared with text about ecosystems and bird species that’s easy to follow for the novice and specific enough for the expert. Spotted Owl, Western Meadowlark, Ruffed Grouse and even a Woodpecker are seen and heard. This is definitely one book filled with lots of oooh and aah moments.
Batteries are included in the book for long lasting listening pleasure. – Carole Rosner
See sample pages from this book at Wink.
The Austrian Times says Bao Yu was inebriated when he picked up a tortoise in a market stall so he could eat it alive. The tortoise bit him on the lip and did not let go until security guards put the tortoise "still attached to his lip in the water of a tank reserved for terrapins."
Tortoise Puts The Bite On Boozer That Tried To Bite Off Its head [via]
Letters of Note (whose book was spectacular) publishes this arch, sarcastic letter from EB "Charlotte's Web" White to the ASPCA about whether his dachshund, Minnie, is duly licensed.
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After Xeni posted a photo of one of my cats sleeping on a doll bed, I received an email from Katy Cone, who makes couches for cats. She offered to make a cat couch for me styled on some furniture we have in our house. I sent her this photo:
A couple of weeks later, the couch arrived. Here's Zelda, trying it out:
We've had it for about a week, and Zelda uses it several times a day. My kids want to sit in it, too, but I won't allow it. It's probably sturdy enough to support their weight, but I'm not taking a chance.
If you are interested in getting a cat couch of your own, visit Katy's site, Meowch.
Tess, a 40 year old African penguin who lives at the Pueblo Zoo in Colorado, has an aggressive skin cancer on her face. She was taken to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where she was zapped with radiation. She seems to be recovering nicely, and is back at the zoo, swimming with her friends.
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A compilation of cats destroying Christmas trees.
“Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and they have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon,” said Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
The name A. strummeri honors Joe Strummer, the lead singer and a guitarist of the British punk rock band The Clash.
Here's the video for "Keys to Your Heart," recorded by the 101ers, Strummer's pre-Clash band, in 1976:
Deemed punk rock, snail named after The Clash singer Joe Strummer
Image: Shannon Johnson -- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Zelda, a frequent guest on Boing Boing's Virgin America seatback channel, enjoys peering through a paper towel tube.
The cat is obviously of Orion origin, but delusional conspiracy theorists claim
it is green because it sleeps on "on the top of an abandoned pile of synthetic green paint in a garage." [via]
Grumpy Cat's earnings from books, a film, and other products bearing his likeness have topped $100 million in two years.
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