Corgi secretly rides pony at night

The original local news story seems to have vanished, so maybe all was not as it seems, but I prefer to believe that this corgi was caught secretly riding the neighbor's pony at night. Read the rest

Trump "doesn't have time" to love a dog

Donald Trump is the first president since the Victorian era not to own a dog. Despite rest dominating his schedule, he "doesn't have time," he says.

On Monday night, during his rally in El Paso, he finally explained that he doesn’t have a dog because the idea of getting one seems “phony” to him, and his base likes him just fine regardless. Plus, he said, he doesn’t have time.

The explanation came amid an extended riff about the superior abilities of German shepherds to sniff out drugs being smuggled across the border. “You do love your dogs, don’t you?” Trump said, as the crowd whistled and cheered. “I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?”

Dirty, narsty dogses. Read the rest

Bug bombs useless for killing roaches: study

They don't kill roaches, but they do cover everything in your house with a film of poison. In a study, bug bombs did nothing useful, at least when it comes to roaches.

Scientists set off four kinds of bombs and placed two kinds of baits in 30 infested homes in Raleigh. Twenty homes got one of the four bombs and 10 got one of the two baits. The scientists counted the number of cockroaches before treatment and after, once at 2 weeks and once 1 month later. In every home that had been bombed, cockroach numbers stayed the same, the researchers report this week in BMC Public Health. With one bait, populations dropped by more than half after 2 weeks; with the other, they plummeted by more than 75%. Numbers went down even more after the full month.

Here's what worked, according to the study published in BMC Public Health.

Only the two bait treatments resulted in significant declines in trap counts relative to baseline (Combat: F2,8 = 12.40, p = 0.0035; Maxforce: F2,8 = 21.37, p = 0.0006) at both two- and four-weeks after the intervention

Amazon has them both, as luck would have it. Combat Roach Killer Gel is cheap and comes in straightforward single-use packs. Maxforce is a pro-grade gel bait that comes in tubes or bait stations Read the rest

Duck enjoys being gently vacuumed

I was surprised to learn today that I've never posted the video of a duck being gently vacuumed. Read the rest

Moth looks like a dead leaf

Why Evolution Is True introduced me to a profoundly awesome example of mimicry in nature: Uropyia meticulodina, a moth from eastern Asia that looks like a dead leaf.

Real Monstrosities: "It’s not just brown like a dead leaf, it’s brown like a curled up, dead leaf. And it’s not just brown like a curled up, dead leaf, it depicts a leaf catching the light, with shadows in all the right places and you can even see the veins casting tiny shadows along the curled underside. It’s like one of those optical illusions that still work even when you know it’s a trick."

Here's what it looks like "normally", or at least when pinned to a board. (Hsu Hong Lin, CC)

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Why is the octopus so smart?

Cephalopod intelligence is widely known, but scientists struggle to understand why it evolved. The New York Times' Carl Zimmer reports on one of zoology's most fascinating questions.

About 275 million years ago, the ancestor of today’s cephalopods lost the external shell. It’s not clear why, but it must have been liberating. Now the animals could start exploring places that had been off-limits to their shelled ancestors. Octopuses could slip into rocky crevices, for example, to hunt for prey. On the other hand, losing their shells left cephalopods quite vulnerable to hungry predators. This threat may have driven cephalopods to become masters of disguise and escape. They did so by evolving big brains, the ability to solve new problems, and perhaps look into the future — knowing that coconut or clam shells may come in handy, for example.

Yet intelligence is not the perfect solution for cephalopods, Mr. Amodio suggested. Sooner or later, they get eaten. Natural selection has turned them into a paradox: a short-lived, intelligent animal.

They also like MDMA. Read the rest

Large steer towers over puny wagyu cattle

Say hello to Knickers, a 6'4" 3000-pound steer too big for the slaughterhouse to slaughter. Knickers will get to live out its natural life.

The AP reports:

The black-and-white Holstein Friesian won social media fame and many proclamations of “Holy Cow!” after photos surfaced of the 194-centimeter (6-foot-4-inch) steer standing head and shoulders above a herd of brown cattle in Western Australia state. ... Instead of becoming steaks and burgers, 7-year-old Knickers will get to live out his life in Pearson’s fields in Lake Preston, southwest of Perth.

The Washington Post provides some context:

Knickers is big. But also that his bigness is relative to what he is being compared....For starters, she said, it’s important to note that Knickers is not a cow but a steer ... Male Holsteins tend to top out at just under 6 feet in height, while other breeds, like the wagyu cattle that surround Knickers in the now-famous photos of him, usually come in under 4.5 feet.

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Elephant vs. Goose

A suprisingly evenly-matched battle at the Hogle Zoo in Utah. At least one more confrontation is posted to YouTube featuring a young elephant there, named Zuri, who evidently has a geese problem.

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New York City man alarmed by presence of unusual cat (NSFW)

SPOILERS: Yes, it's obviously the back yard of a standard post-war British house. It's actor Michael Rapaport doing a voice-over on this video of Wilfred, a divinely-inbred Chinchilla Persian from England. Read the rest

Video: cuttlefish, owls, and tarsiers all have remarkable night vision

What animals have night vision and how the hell can they see in the dark anyway? (Nat Geo WILD via The Kid Should See This)

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Porch thief caught on camera

You'd think that so-called "porch pirates" would have realized by now that everyone has installed cameras to catch them in the act. But this brazen thief couldn't care less.

Bill Garner writes: "My phone alerted me that my doorbell had detected a visitor. When I pulled up the clip, I saw this pair of thieves! They obviously had it planned..." Read the rest

Reptile dances to Haddaway's "What is Love?"

His name is Tad Cooper, apparently, filmed here by Joseph Pannullo. I made a perfectly-looping GIF of the funky reptile for you:

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Dog lip-syncs to System of a Down

I suspect this video was edited before publication. Read the rest

Taylor Swift escapes her enclosure at Sacramento Zoo

Taylor Swift somehow managed to get out of her enclosure at Sacramento Zoo Sunday and led officials on a brief pursuit. Read the rest

Venus flytrap devours wasps

Lothar Lenz videotaped Dionaea muscipula making short work of Vespula germanica. Read the rest

Deer performs classic drum fill from Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight"

It meant to do that. The Wikipedia article for In The Air Tonight is good.

The Solid State Logic 4000 mixing board had a "reverse talk-back" circuit (labeled on the board as "Listen Mic"). Normal "talkback" is a button that the mixing engineer has to press in order to talk to the recording musicians (the recording and the mixing parts of a studio are, otherwise, completely sonically isolated). Reverse talkback is a circuit (also button-activated) for the engineer to listen to musicians in the studio. In order to compensate for sound level differences—people can be close to the reverse talkback microphone or far off—this circuit has a compressor on it, which minimizes the differences between loud and soft sounds. While recording "Intruder" for his ex-bandmate Peter Gabriel's third solo album, at some point Collins started playing the drums while the reverse talkback was activated. Engineer Hugh Padgham was amazed at the sound achieved. Overnight, they rewired the board so that the reverse talkback could be recorded in a more formal manner. Later models of the SSL 4000 allowed the listen mic to be recorded with the touch of a button.[9]

When recording engineer Padgham was brought in to help develop Collins' demos that would become Face Value they recreated the "Intruder" sound using the reverse talkback microphone as well as heavily compressed and gated ambient mics. Padgham continued working with Genesis for Abacab later in 1981 and the same technique (generally referred to as gated reverb) was used, and the powerful drum sound has become synonymous with later Genesis projects and Collins' solo career ever since.

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Woman frightened by VR experience snuggles wrong end of dog for comfort

"It's horrible!" declares mum, who nonetheless sticks with the virtual reality game, comforted by the warmth and affection of her animal companion.

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