Fox with a foot fetish


Christian Meyer via Twitter

For Christian Meyer, it wasn’t so much about what the fox said but what the fox may have stolen. A resident of the Berlin neighborhood of Zehlendorf, in late July, Meyer made the shocking discovery of 100 pairs of stolen footwear after he had followed a thieving fox to its hideout…

Meyer caught the furry fiend in the midst of stealing a pair of blue flip-flops but was unable to see the investigation through. Then, days later, he spotted the thieving fox again. Meyer followed the animal into the woods, presumably headed toward its hideout.

Dedicated to solving the mystery of the locals’ missing shoes, Meyer followed the fox through the woods where he spent about an hour crawling around the brush in pursuit of the four-legged bandit. Luckily, Meyer’s perseverance paid off: the fox led him to a stash of more than 100 pairs of shoes.

All reasonably clever critters have their own tweaks, I guess. Shoes ain’t one of mine, though.

A Derecho roared across the Midwest, Monday


NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

On August 10, 2020, NOAA’s GOES-East satellite tracked severe thunderstorms as they raced across much of the Midwest and caused a widespread, fast-moving windstorm called a derecho. According to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, the derecho traveled from far southeastern South Dakota into Ohio—a distance of about 770 miles—in a span of 14 hours.

The high winds were reportedly so strong that they flipped or blew some tractor-trailers off roadways, downed trees, flattened crops, and caused widespread property damage. Across the Upper Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, more than 1 million homes and businesses lost power. In Iowa, where gusts reportedly topped 100 mph, the damage was even more severe; the highest wind speed recorded there 112 mph near Midway.

When I still was on the road out here in the Southwest, I saw one of these suckers coming just as I was leaving Amarillo, Texas, heading back home. Turned around in a New York minute and made it back to the last motel west of town and got into the office to register for the night…just in time.

“Love your bus”

Tear in my eye, Sister Rosa.

Really regret the number of years I’ve wasted voting for Democrats hoping that when they get someone halfway decent elected – they’ll keep on progressing.

Still, I may get to vote for a Black woman for president before I’m 90 from the 2 major parties we’re more-or-less “allowed” to vote for.

Feds get ruling from 1948 overturned – you may end up with ONLY DisneyPlex theaters


A choice of one

If you went to the movies in 2019, you probably saw a Disney movie. Seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films released in the United States last year were distributed by the House of Mouse, and hundreds of millions of people went to see them on thousands of screens. Some weeks it felt like the entire film industry was Disney: Captain Marvel and the rest of the Avengers (Endgame) competed for your attention for a while, as Aladdin, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4 kept up a steady drumbeat of animation until Elsa dropped back onto hapless households in Frozen II. In amongst that morass, though, there were still other movies shown, many of them popular with audiences and critics alike.

But now, the rule that prevented a studio from buying up a major theater chain is gone—opening up the possibility that your local cinema could go whole hog and become a true Disneyplex before you know it.

In isolation, the decision could raise some concerns. In a world where theaters are decimated thanks to a pandemic and consolidation among media firms is already rampant, the future for independent theaters looks grim.

But, hey…if Disney suits your comfort level of sophistication, daring and intellectual challenge, you’ll have a few more choices. Maybe 10 out of 10.

Big win for bunkers!

Yeah, I know the video says menhaden. That’s the correct name. But, my sister and I grew up subsistence fishing with our father on the southern New England coast. We saw bunkers cram into our harbors and inlets, every now and then, trying to get away from the big guys who wanted them for a meal in a mouthful.

I will remember to my dying day the one time a killer whale followed a school of bunkers into our favorite harborside spot, early morning on a pier jutting out a quarter-mile from shore. Woo-hoo! Biggest fin I ever saw sticking up through little harbor waves. And when he left after his snack, we just packed up and went home. Even if there were stragglers of any species left, they were too scared to come out and try to eat anything.

Death in Beirut


Click to run

This is 4K video. Open it up to full screen. It repeats twice…each time slower motion.

Annually, the world produces and stores enormous amounts of ammonium nitrate—more than 20 million tons in 2017. But for the compound to figure in an explosion of this magnitude, chemists and explosives experts say a lot has to go wrong.

The most interesting thing to me – technically – is noting the shock wave travels through the earth, through solids…faster than it does through the air. You can see near(er) objects judder frame-by-frame in the last slo-mo before the airborne blast arrives in the vicinity of the videographer.

No surprise there. Just didn’t think of it till I saw it.

NPR Special: “Save The Whales. Save The Tigers. Save The Tapeworms?”

They’re wiggly and slimy and live inside the flesh of other animals. Now, scientists are making a new case for why they should be saved.

Parasites play crucial roles in ecosystems around the world, making up around 40% of animal species. As wildlife faces the growing threats of climate change and habitat loss, scientists warn that parasites are equally vulnerable.

That’s why a team of scientists has released a “global parasite conservation plan.”

“Parasites have a major public relations problem,” says Chelsea Wood, assistant professor at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “Most people don’t really like thinking about them, but the fact is they’re really important in ecosystems.”

And that’s the good news!