Boing Boing 

Watch: young dolphins learn to spin

Scientists have two hypotheses about why dolphins leap out of the water and spin. One is that they are getting rid of parasites. The other is that they making an emotional "exclamation point" about something that just happened.

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Profile of Hulk, a 175-pound pit bull

Hulk is an "amazing family dog," who belongs to a couple who raises pit bull guard dogs.

Beefalo are causing problems in the Grand Canyon

Zubron - hybrid of domestic cattle and european bison. Image: Shutterstock


Zubron - hybrid of domestic cattle and european bison. Image: Shutterstock

Herds of beefalo (a bison-cattle hybrid) are causing massive damage to vegetation, water supplies, other animal species, and American Indian cliff dwellings in the Grand Canyon.

Beefalo also are incredibly thirsty animals; one beefalo can drink 10 gallons of water during each trip to the watering hole, according to the BBC. With an estimated 600 beefalo, at least, wandering around the canyon’s North Rim, the herd can quickly drink scarce waterholes dry.

The beefalo’s selfishness is also costing other Grand Canyon dwellers. The BBC reports that animals, insects, and rare plants are getting pushed out of the picture, throwing the ecosystem out of balance.

Agitated cockatoo speaks out

Translation: "Stop recording me in portrait mode!"

Giant cat or hyper-detailed model cars?

Headquake claims this a scratch-built RC car. I'm not buying it. He's been breeding giant housecats.

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Uncertainty over why rabbit prefers to walk on its front legs

bunny

This bunny was one of many purchased by a Chinese zoo as live food for some of the animals it keeps.

No one at the zoo knows why the bunny walks like this, but I do: a little female spider taught the bunny how to walk on its front legs, making it a national sensation and sparing it from the jaws of a giant python. [via]

The Book of Beetles: A life-size guide to 600 of nature’s living gems

beetlesThe white fog-basking beetle dwells in the Namib desert. It climbs “to the top of a dune during the early-morning fog, orienting its body with the tip of the abdomen pointed upward and the head angled downward. Water vapor from the fog condenses on the abdomen and runs down the body and into the mouth.”

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The modern cat video was invented in 1994 by French multimedia artist Chris Marker

If you know the work of Chris Marker, you probably discovered it through La jetée, his 1962 short that tells a Vertigo-referencing, 12 Monkeys-inspiring tale of apocalypse, time-travel, inevitable love, and inevitable death — using mostly still photographs. Or maybe you know it through Sans soleil, his 1982 feature-length essay-film whose geographical reach — not to mention intellectual reach — extends from Iceland to Paris to San Francisco to Guinea-Bissau to Japan.

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Dachshund + Pitbull: greatest dog breed ever

pitshund"Rami is a one-year-old, Pit Bull / Dachshund mix shelter dog who is looking for a home where he can be loved by someone who is really into living, breathing optical illusions running around the house."

Nazis train giant ape to destroy Wonder Woman

TV shows were much more realistic in the 1970s

[via]

The Soviet space dogs who took giant leaps for mankind

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 fish rescued from Bangkok's rotting, derelict mega-mall


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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Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound

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.

Gentleman tries to bite tortoise, but tortoise bites first

turtleThe 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]

EB White explains his dachshund's license status


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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Katy makes couches for cats

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:

louie

A couple of weeks later, the couch arrived. Here's Zelda, trying it out:

zelda

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.

World’s oldest African penguin gets cancer surgery

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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