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Incredible cat portraits by Eldar Zakirov
06:39 am


Eldar Zakirov

I prefer dogs, but I’m sure I could find some room on the wall to hang one of these magnificent portraits of cats in regal attire by Uzbek artist Eldar Zakirov. I’d probably put it next to favorite dogs playing poker picture, but I’d be worried they might fight when I’m not looking.
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Earthworm lemon tart and squirrel crostini: Gourmet dishes made from ‘invasive species’
07:28 am


invasive species

Grey Squirrel: squirrel crostini, white mulberry, goat cheese, hazelnut & purslane
What constitutes luxury is most certainly subjective, but it’s usually connected to rarity or scarcity, or at least the perception thereof. For example, beautiful pearls can be created through farming technology, but people pay way more for natural, rather than cultured. Diamonds aren’t particularly rare either, but De Beers controls output, manufacturing scarcity to control prices. Sell the common as fancy is the real challenge, but photographer Christopher Testani, food stylist Michelle Gatton and art director Mason Adams believe it can be done.

Invasive Species is a photo series of just that—non-indigenous animals upsetting the balance of their new habitats—prepared and plated to gourmet presentation. Some of it doesn’t look half bad, but I’m a little skeptical of its wider appeal. Gatton hopes that we might “reclaim our role as predators and not consumers to restore balance in nature.” It’s a noble goal, Louisianans have been trying to make Nutria meat happen for years. It’s lean, delicious and comparable to rabbit, but the meat of a giant swamp rat is a hard sell for most folks. Maybe all they need is an artsier presentation?

Nutria: nutria sausage gumbo, tiger shrimp, bell pepper & black rice

Canadian Goose: goose leg confit, autumnberry sauce, sweet potato mash

Jellyfish: peanut butter jellyfish, wakame & salted cucumber salad

Wild Boar: wild boar ribs, celery root & watercress

Periwinkles: steamed periwinkles in calvados cream broth

Lionfish: lionfish ceviche, wild fennel & red onion

Earthworm: lemon curd tart in chocolate & earthworm crust, crispy earthworm topping
Via feature shoot

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Heroic cat saves little boy from vicious dog attack
10:22 am



YouTuber Roger Triantafilo uploaded this incredible video today of what appears to be a pit bull mix mixed-breed dog attacking his young son who was on his tricycle. What you don’t expect to happen is a cat. Yes, a cat happens. Just watch.

My cat defends my son during a vicious dog attack and runs the dog off before he can do additional damage. Thankfully, my son is fine!

Glad the little boy is doing well.

h/t reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘No wire hangers EVER!’: Sneaky crows create nests from stolen coat hangers
10:09 am


wire hangers

As we all know by now, or should know, crows are extremely intelligent creatures. In fact, these little high IQ sneaks are extremely resourceful when it comes to building their nests when natural materials like tree branches and twigs aren’t available to them.

In heavily populated and developed areas of Japan—where trees are scarce—crows’ nests have been spotted around town made almost entirely out of stolen wire hangers from nearby apartments. Apparently there are even “crow patrols” (sent by The Kyushu Electric) who destroy and dismantle the wire hanger nests sitting on their power lines.

More than anything, the intricacies and craftsmanship of these nests are impressive, like deliberate works of art. Just look at them!




Via Beautiful Decay

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Poor kid: Eight-legged hermaphrodite goat born in Croatia
11:43 am



A goat has been born with eight legs, and both male and female reproductive organs on a farm in northeast Croatia.

Farmer Zoran Paparic’s goat Sarka gave birth to the kid at his farm in Kutjevo, along with two healthy goats. This maybe the kind of mutant birth one would expect to read about in a gory devil-worshiping horror novel, or the pages of some religious tome, the kind predicting the “End of Days” and all that, but according to local veterinarians, this poor little kid is the product of underdeveloped twin siblings.

Mr. Papric told InSerbia:

“I counted his legs and I thought I was seeing things. Then I called my neighbour to make sure that I am not crazy”

Vets believe the “octogoat” is unlikely to live long, however, if it survives its first few weeks, it may live up to three years. The goat is trying to stand on its feet but lacks strength. Mr Paparic has said he would like to keep the goat as a pet if it does survive. He also added that a few years ago in a neighboring village, a friend’s goat gave birth to a kid with two heads.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Bunny in a g-string promotes ‘bestiality’ animal campaigners claim
07:39 am



An advertisement for a Swiss shopping mall has been condemned by an animal rights’ group for promoting bestiality. The Easter poster campaign for the St. Jakob Park shopping mall has a red g-string superimposed on a rabbit. Critics claim the poster sexualizes the animal, which links to bestiality and animal abuse.

Daniel Bader from the Swiss animal protection group told Tages Anzeiger:

“From our point of view, the respect of the rabbit has been badly damaged.

“This is a clear sexualisation of an animal. As far as I’m concerned, it heads in the direction of bestiality and it stinks of promoting animal sex and the sexual abuse of animals.”

I wonder what Herr Bader would make of Brian Griffin, Disneyland, Jessica Rabbit, or those annoying dogs that always hump your leg? Clearly, Fritz the Cat would give him a heart attack,

The manager of the shopping mall told Central European News that the images of attractive women “in bunny ears and fluffy tails were clichéd,” and he wanted to create something more humorous with a real rabbit.

However, according to The Independent, Swiss PR guru Klaus J. Stoehlker said the image was far more damaging to the lingerie company.

“If I was the boss of that Italian lingerie company I would take action over this advertising,” he said.

“I mean, who wants to see their sexy underwear stuck on such a fat rabbit backside?”

No comment…
Via The Independent

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Battle Royale: Incredible aerial photos of a clash of hippos and crocodiles
01:29 pm



In 2011, photographer Marc Mol captured these intense aerial shots of hippos and crocodiles battling it out over Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Large herds of two different species going at it, is a pretty incredible thing to witness, IMO.

I’m not entirely sure if the crocs took down a single hippo—hippos are known as one of the most aggressive and vicious animals on the planet—or if the crocs were feeding on a dead one and then other hippos came in to protect their territory? Either way, it’s like a The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers epic battle scene, but in nature.

If you are going to be lucky enough to be around at exactly the right moment to photograph such a thing, hope that your luck holds out and that you’re airborne when it happens, like Marc Mol was!


Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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These images of meat stuffed into plastic bottles are kinda gross
11:21 am



This isn’t going to be one of those preachy posts where I tell you meat is gross and this is why you should become vegetarian—I do a enjoy a nicely grilled steak from time to time m’self—but you have to admit that these images by photographer Per Johansen are more than a tad unsettling.

Johansen’s new series titled Mæt (Danish for “full”) is a take on human consumption, gluttony and ethics in the meat industry. The plastic recycled bottles represent the human stomach gorging itself with raw, bloody meat.

Are you full yet?



More meat-stuffed bottles after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The researchers who discovered that bee stings on the penis are painful—by testing on themselves

Schmidt pain index
It’s remarkable the things people will go through in the name of science. In the case of Justin O. Schmidt, the man who developed the “Schmidt pain index,” our gratitude is even more difficult to measure. Schmidt, who published his landmark paper “Hemolytic Activities of Stinging Insect Venoms” in 1983, wanted to know which insect stings are the most painful, and in order to do so, he subjected himself to the pricks of countless creepy crawlies—including on his prick.

Reading his descriptions of the varying severity of insect stings, which are rated on a scale from 0 to 4, is quite a bit like reading the most ghastly wine reviews ever. Check it out:

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine WC Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.x Honey bee and European hornet.
3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath (if you get stung by one you might as well lie down and scream).
4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel.

The pepsis wasp, which clocks in at a brain-shattering 4.0 above, is also called the tarantula hawk, for reasons you can best imagine. Here’s a picture of one: if you see it, run quickly in the opposite direction:
Pepsis wasp
The story of Schmidt is slightly more mundane than the initial impression. As The Straight Dope put it in 2012, “Having spent half an hour on the phone with entomologist Justin O. Schmidt of the Southwestern Biological Institute in Tucson, Arizona, I can confidently report he didn’t volunteer to be stung by every goddamn awful thing in existence. It just sorta happened.” As an entomologist who spends a great deal of time in the field in lush places like Costa Rica, it’s something that happens all too infrequently, whether he wants it to or not. According to Schmidt, the precise valuations listed above are not the product of exacting scientific inquiry and do not appear in his formal papers; rather, they were “wheedled out of him by an editor at Outside magazine, who was trying to goose up a story for that publication in 1996.” (Yeah, yeah, yeah. For fuck’s sake, that just sounds like good editing to me.)

The Straight Dope continues: “One also mustn’t take seriously the wine-review-style descriptions accompanying the sting ratings. For example, the sting of a southern paper wasp is said to be “caustic and burning, with a distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.” Such remarks lack empirical basis, Schmidt cheerfully concedes, although if there’s anyone equipped to expound on the fine points of pain, a guy who’s been stung by 150 different species in his lifetime is probably it.”

Still, while we’re at it, it might surprise you to learn that the penis is not the part of the body most sensitive to pain, according to the researches of a man named Michael L. Smith. In his paper “Honey Bee Sting Pain Index by Body Location,” published this year in PeerJ, it’s up there but not in the top slot.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index rates the painfulness of 78 Hymenoptera species, using the honey bee as a reference point. However, the question of how sting painfulness varies depending on body location remains unanswered. This study rated the painfulness of honey bee stings over 25 body locations in one subject (the author). Pain was rated on a 1–10 scale, relative to an internal standard, the forearm. In the single subject, pain ratings were consistent over three repetitions. Sting location was a significant predictor of the pain rating in a linear model. ... The three least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm (all scoring a 2.3). The three most painful locations were the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft (9.0, 8.7, and 7.3, respectively). This study provides an index of how the painfulness of a honey bee sting varies depending on body location.

Fellas, if you’re out in the jungle and you find yourself confronting a swarm of pepsis wasps, put on a hockey mask and expose your penis (or possibly your skull—that’s probably a better idea).
Here’s the pioneering Dr. Schmidt discussing instinct stings and pain management:

via Lost at E Minor

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Talking chicken causes mass panic
07:17 am


Talking chicken

A chicken is claimed to have caused mass panic amongst the residents of Makurdi, in Nigeria’s capital of Benue last Thursday when it suddenly started speaking.

The chicken was being taken to market, when it allegedly began speaking in fluent Arabic. The incident happened around twelve noon outside the Wadata central mosque.

As a large crowd gathered, the talking chicken was taken into custody at “A” Division police headquarters, near to the mosque. There was considerable panic as people, on foot and in cars, tried to get away from the scene, while others moved towards it.

One eye-witness, a women called Aishetu, told the Nigeria Daily News:

“I heard that police have taken it into custody and that is why the station is so crowded. Everybody wants to see it talk.”

As panic over the talking bird spread, tension grew between groups of herdsmen and farmers at the market, who have have been involved in a recent violent and bloody disputes. Last month, Muslim herdsmen killed hundreds of Christian farmers in Nigeria’s volatile “middle area,” which is a far more disturbing story than any communicative chanticleer.

Police attempted to disperse the crowds by firing shots and throwing tear gas canisters.

Police spokesman, SP. Daniel Ezeala dismissed the claims of a talking chicken by saying:

“How can a fowl talk’” he queried. “There is nothing like that because it is unnatural for animals to talk. It is the handiwork of mischief makers who wanted to displace traders and loot their wares in the market.”

This is not the first time a “talkin"g animal has caused panic, previously a talking fish terrified fishermen by announcing the end of the world. The talking chicken was allegedly slaughtered. It is not known if the poor bird had any final requests…ahem.

H/T Tommy Udo

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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