German beekeeping laws are weird: an excerpt from "The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance"

Earlier today, I reviewed a new book by Kevin "Lowering the Bar" Underhill called "The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced." Kevin kindly provided us with an excerpt from the book, a series of weird-but-true German beekeeping laws:


My swarm of bees has fled! What shall I do?

If you own a bunch of bees (known to bee experts as a “swarm”), and it flies away one day and ends up on somebody else’s property, who owns it?

It’s too bad they don’t teach bee law in school anymore, because this would be a great bar-exam question. Turns out that the German Civil Code has a set of rules about bee ownership in this situation that seems to cover the gamut of possible outcomes. Most importantly, the first rule of fleeing-bee procedure is that you must pursue the bees immediately. Otherwise any claim to swarm ownership will be waived:

Loss of ownership of bee swarms:
Where a swarm of bees takes flight, it becomes ownerless if the owner fails to pursue it without undue delay or if he gives up the pursuit.

Bees are not really considered “domesticated” in the full sense of the word, given that they have a habit of picking up and moving when­ever they want to and there isn’t much you can do about it, unless you thought ahead and took the time to make a shitload of bee leashes. As is the general rule with captured wild animals, if they get away they are considered to revert back to the wild and to unowned status. As long as you’re still pursuing them, though, there is hope.

German Civil Code § 960–61.

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Poultry shaming: Cultural Revolution confessions for chickens and roosters


You've likely seen pet shaming -- pictures of dogs with signs round their necks bearing Cultural Revolution-style admissions like "I eat my own poop." But you haven't lived until you've seen poultry shaming. Textile artist Amy L Rawson's got you covered.

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Sculptor collaborates with honeybees to cover statues with comb


Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck carefully coaxes bees into enmeshing tatty porcelain statuary with honeycomb, for a result that is both otherworldly and beautiful, like the remains of a long-fallen civilization on whose bones has arisen an insectoid hive-colony. She calls the bees her "guest workers." Her work will be on display at the Ottawa School of Art from March 3, 2014 in a show called Honeybee Alterations.

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Goldfish drives a car

Studio Diip made a car for a goldfish. When the fish goes on an outing, it is transferred to a separate tank that is mounted on wheels. An overhead camera observes the fish's movements, and when it swims towards one of the tank's edges, the car drives in that direction. In this way, the fish can drive its tank-car all over the house and really have a good old explore.

Fish on Wheels (via JWZ)

Cuddly giant isopod toy!


There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.

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Cats bred to look like wolves

Wolf cats!

We all are currently working very hard to establish this one-of-a-kind breed – the Lykoi Cats. In 2013/2014 we hope to include other satellite breeders to help us in our effort to preserve this unique gene! We are in strong agreement as to how we want these cats to develop and where we want to see them in 5, 10, and even 20 years. Our hope is to work with other breeders with the same ethics and love for the Lykoi.

Lykoi Cats....The Wolf Cat (Via Geekologie)

Squid, cuttlefish, trilobite and Cthulhu jewelry


Etsy seller Noadi sells some beautiful, deep-sea-themed polymer clay jewelry. Above, her Deep Space Squid Necklace; below the jump, a trilobite and a gilded steampunk cuttlefish.

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Kittens scramble for cover

You only need to watch the last five seconds (I set it to begin playing five seconds before the action starts).

Mechanisms: steampunk armored bestiary


Vladimir Gvozdeff's illustration series Mechanisms depicts a wonderful bestiary of armored, mechanical creatures in steampunk style, surrounded by the detritus of contrafactual Victorian inventorship. Some of my favorites after the jump:

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Frog vocalization considered awesome

(via Seanan McGuire)

"Mice Device" trap in action

The $13 Mice Device is a reusable trap that captures mice without harming them. After the trap catches a mouse, simply carry the trap to your neighbor's garage and release the rodent. (Via Dooby Brain)

Sponges sneeze

In Evolutionary origins of sensation in metazoans: functional evidence for a new sensory organ in sponges, Danielle A Ludeman and her team at the University of Alberta document the heretofore unsuspected phenomenon of sneezing in freshwater sponges. When these sponges are stimulated with damaging sediment, they close their chimneys and inflate themselves to bursting, then abruptly "sneeze" out the irritants -- a process that unfolds very slowly (documented above in timelapse). I found out about this thanks to a fascinating interview (MP3) with the researcher on CBC Radio's As It Happens.

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Planetary-scale chicken


There is a chicken lurking in the geography of our continents.

A giant chicken.

The world’s countries can be arranged to form a giant chicken. (via Making Light)

Assassin bug covers itself with a meat-shield of its victims


Singaporean macrofocus photographer Nicky Bay produces wonderful portraits of insects in their natural setting. Particularly fascinating are the photos of bugs eating each other, particularly the shot above of an assassin bug (Acanthaspis sp.) which "decorate themselves with the corpses of their consumed prey," forming a protective "meat-shield" as well as offering olfactory and visual camouflage to help it infiltrate ant-nests.

Engrossingly Gross Photos of Spiders and Insects Eating Each Other [Wired]

(via WTBW)

Dogs poop in line with Earth's magnetic field

A paper in Frontiers in Zoology claims that dogs can sense the Earth's magnetic field, and preferentially align to it when pooping. (via Sean Bonner) Cory 25