Jun 062011

The recently published WWF report on Madagascar is a testament to the biodiversity of the island.

In a decade there have been more than 600 new species discovered (including no less than 41 mammals), but the island habitat is seriously threatened by development. The forests disappear at an alarming rate, probably dooming hundreds of other animals and plants to become extinct before they are described.

Thus, it is time for two resolutions – one easy, the other less so:

  • Madagascar needs to be visited, and visited properly, so that the jungles and critters get more than a tired once over in the Tananarive zoo.
  • I so need to pick up BBC Earth’s new series on the island on disc soonest.

(And yeah, the report itself is referred to in scores of pages, but is a bit hard to locate. The Norwegian instance of the organization provides the most easily accessed copy).

Mar 242011

Slow Loris have quietly evolved into youtube darlings, even I fell for the big-eyed prosimians back in 2009.

However, as the truth about the trade in these fascinating creatures emerges, they hopefully will be left to roam the jungle canopies rather than poached, cruelly doctored and basically left to die in the hands of wannabe ticklers.

[ via Boing Boing who have an awesome image to accompany the article. ]

Apr 052008

Today’s monthly supplement of Hesari contained a pleasant surprise, an interview with the finnish biodiversity researcher Ilkka Hanski.

Nice insight into collecting 30000 beetles from Madagascar, and fascinating glimpses into the extinct fauna of that island (gorilla-sized prosimians, gigantic birds).

Incidentally, the link into the magazine doesn’t take surfers to requests for payment. On account of its 25th birtday, the digital version of the April issue is free for all.

Dec 222007

A cloth voodoo doll for Internet ExplorerMore targets for the insatiably curious amongst the readers:

  • Internet Explorer’s not yet exactly reeling from the blows from superior browsers, so a few needles into a convenient voodoo doll would be appreciated.
  • A group blog by science fiction authors has tens of authors, but not much content yet. It features Charles Stross and Jeff VanderMeer, so it bears keeping an eye out for.
  • The Foja mountains in Papua yielded new discovered critters once again, this time a really big rat.
  • Yet another blog devoted on publicizing worthy advertisements cannot hurt.

  • According to the Forbes Fictional Fifteen, Scrooge McDuck is the richest individual. Too bad the image used of the bird in question is of very low quality. Simpsons’ Mr. Burns clocks in at #6, and Lucius Malfoy at #14. On the company side, it’s extremely pleasing to see Infocom’s Frobozz Magic Company featured – especially after a decades long dry spell of new games set in the Empire.
  • A long bet is settled, with blogs ranked higher than New York Times in search results in the top stories of the year.
  • Practice safe surfing: use two browsers.
Nov 192007

Everybody need some time, and with these links it’s easily spent.

  • The release of Amazon’s electronic book draws close, if Steven Levy’s Newsweek article is to be believed (and yeah, hopefully it’s the lead article of the international edition as well).
  • Jesper Juul has written a thorough history of matching tile games. Doesn’t sound too exciting, until the list is perused: Tetris, Bejeweled, Puzzle Bobble, and many others whose addictive qualities would be cause for banning in most european states.
  • History of digital tampering is much longer than expected – beginning with an overlaid image of Abraham Lincoln back in 1860s.
  • Somehow the feature wishlist for next Windows release (codenamed “7″) is more than a little bit underwhelming.
  • Not being allowed to die in the house of parliament has justifiably been voted to be the most ludicrous law in Britain.
  • Cost of the Iraq War? About 1.3 trillion dollars. So far.
  • Domo Arigato, Battleship Legoto.
  • An eponymous site lists the recognized biodiversity hotspots of the world.
  • freerice.com = charity and vocabulary enhancement. I so need to establish a firm presence above level 40.
Jul 052007

Välkelude by Teemu Rintala

PUTTE, the finnish biodiversity program has discovered 1400 new species in the finnish nature. Of whom 180 are new to science altogether.

So, the research is by no means constrained to amazonian highlands or remote islands – even though such hotbeds have more new species on a single square meter than uncovered here.

The depicted creature is välkelude one of the many new insects covered during the study. The program is far from over, and the researchers aim to publish a number of books on less-known groups during the next four years.

Mar 172007

Out of the blue there’s a brand new species of a cat. And the species is not the same caliber as the recent new mammals (maxing out at the size of a rat), but a predator that clocks in at more than 20 kilos.

The Bornean Clouded Leopard is even more secretive than its relative (whose subspecies it was till last week). Not much is known of these cats, and they are far from common in zoos. Saw a clouded leopard last fall in Sinpagore’s Night Safari, but the enclosure was dark enough to prevent any attempts at photography.

Feb 082006

Bought the Independent on the way out from London. Purely based on the lead article. Dozens of new species discovered in the Foja Mountains in the Indonesian side of the New Guinea island. As a change from the ubiquitous footballers and B-list celebrities this was a lighthouse-sized flash of inspiration at the shop counter.

And the article did not disappoint, as the discoveries are numerous. Reaching from plants and insects all the way to mammals via amphibians. And with a note that even the most advanced life forms have no aversion to humans, meaning that the valley where the critters were located had been remote indeed. As noted by the ever-reliable kasa, the best images seem to be available through abc.

The previous big batch of new animals that crossed over the news-threshold was discovered in caves below the Sierra Nevada in California. No funky-looking birds, no fluffy kangaroos that time around.

Apr 302005

A passing kayaker rediscovers
ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas. The bird was thought to be extinct since 1944, and it’s not exactly a small tweeter, so this is a major discovery.

And what’s really surprising is that the species has a finnish name, rämetulikärki, sometimes the tenacity
of finnish hobbyists/scientists is just overwhelming.

Next up… The return of the formidable Moas in New Zealand, couple of Dodo species and whatever the cats, rats and pigs extincted in the pacific islands. You’d wish.