Archive for the Nature gone amok Category

MSNBC reports: Even the Maya are Getting Sick of 2012 Hype

Posted in Nature gone amok, Objects in Space, The Unexplained on July 2, 2010 by Eric S.

A Google search for 2012 yields 367 million results. For frame of reference, Jesus turns up 202 million, while The Beatles wrack up scant more than 35 million (intoallthat, interestingly enough, pulls up an impressive 914 results). Apparently, nobody learned their lesson last time we had a calendar-related fear fest in the final six months of 1999. Good times, good times. But much like summer blockbuster season or commercials for cellphone service providers, the hype may be more than the masses are willing to put up with.

Apolinario Chile Pixtun, courtesy of MSNBC

MSNBC tracked down Mayan elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun, who they report to be “tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly ‘running out’ on Dec. 21, 2012.” Says the article:

But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya Indians say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials — such as one on the History Channel that mixes predictions from Nostradamus and the Maya and asks: “Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?”

I have to confess that I’m a little behind on 2012 paranoia, but I’m trying to catch up as I type. On the one hand, there seems to be a general fear of the end of the Mayan long cycle calendar. I’m having trouble chalking the End of Times up to the Mayans planning a calendar without a next page to flip forward to, so let’s just agree that this hold about as much water as fears that the Y2K bug was going to cause elevators to start dropping people to their deaths at midnight on 12/31/99. Next, there’s some sort of hooha with the transverse of Venus and a solar eclipse happening at even ‘Mayan month’ intervals leading up to 12/21/12. Admittedly, that’s pretty nifty. But where does the End of Times aspect come into play? Seems it could just as easily indicate a good day for a White Sale at JC Penney. And lastly, it seems that on that exact day the solstice sun will align with the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, thusly reversing the planet’s magnetic field. Which would also be really nifty, if it weren’t for the fact that the alignment with the galactic center tactually took place back in 1998 when everyone was too worried about Y2K to give this Mayan calendar business a second glance.

Still, if we’ve learned one thing from the TSA, it’s that we’re better off scared than sorry. Just because there’s nothing logical to be afraid of, it never hurts to be a little scared just as an insurance policy, right? Says the MSNBC article:

At Cornell University, Ann Martin, who runs the “Ask an Astronomer” Web site, says people are scared.

“It’s too bad that we’re getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they’re too young to die,” Martin said. “We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn’t live to see them grow up.”

It’s a big scary world out there, so it’s probably a good thing these fourth graders are learning that lesson early. But long can you possibly be scared? Seems like it would wear off after a while. You know, like our collective fear of skin cancer, coronary artery disease and/or global warming.

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Oscar, the Bionic Cat

Posted in Embracing the Future, Nature gone amok with tags , , on June 25, 2010 by Eric S.

What, you may ask, does it take to dig a retired blogger out of retirement after almost two years? As much as I might have hoped for verifiable signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and/or sightings of a school of flying sharks, it turned out to be a peg-legged cat:

As reported by ksl.com (from whom I appropriated the above image), absent minded Oscar was lazing around the family farm one afternoon when he suddenly found his rear feet being lopped off by a harvesting combine. How a combine is less intimidating to a cat than a vacuum cleaner I’ll never know, but there you have it.

And while I imagine Oscar is bound to get a lots of heckling for his chicken legs, he’ll probably get less pummeling than this similarly disabled English bulldog:

No, Oscar’s legs are almost as cool as the pair track star and uber hottie Aimee Mullins wore in the 1996 Paralympics…

…though not as cool as the glass pair she sported in that Matthew Barney film:

Incidentally, if you’re interested in the oft-overlooked upside of prosthetic limbs, have a look at this lecture by a 6’1″ Ms. Mullins (who, as she says in the video, usually stands 5’8″), which WordPress is going to make you go elsewhere to see. Anyway, there you go: putting the art in artificial limbs.

Two Faced Cat Born in Perth

Posted in Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on November 21, 2008 by Eric S.

Courtesy of eagle-eyed Australian correspondent and scourge of diabetics, Joey Ledlie:


(photo appropriated from the Sydney Morning Herald)

Where to begin, where to begin? A joke about Siamese twins? Copy cats? Yeah, no: those weren’t funny the last time this happened. Maybe a ponderance on whether stripes clash with calico, or if the litter box flushes the other way around in the Southern Hemisphere? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Many may take the surprising increase in two-headed animal births as a sign of, if not the End of Times, at least something creepy and sinister. According to the Herald, even hardened firsthand eyewitness Louisa Burgess was taken aback:

Louisa Burgess, a veterinary nurse who helped deliver the kitten, told InMyCommunity.com.au that she had never seen such an unusual animal in her 12-year career.

“I have seen cats with two tails and extra legs, but not this,” she said.

I don’t know about the End of Times, but prudence might suggest checking the shelf life of the peanut butter in panic room and stocking up on Bat(tm) Two-Faced Adversary Repellent.

York, PA ice mystery begins to unfold

Posted in Evidence!, Fact Checking, Hysteria, Mysterious origins, Nature gone amok, The Unexplained with tags , , on October 22, 2008 by Eric S.

“Ice?” I hear old timers, raised in the days before global warming kicked into high gear, “Falling from the sky, you say? T’aint news. That’s what we old timers used to call snow.” Yeah, I threw in that “T’aint” bit because it sounded vaguely like the guy from the old Pepper Ridge Farms cookie commercials. Alas, it’s not the composition that makes this story a story in the news reporting sense of the word, so much as the girth of the invading particle and it’s mysterious origins:


(external video link)

Comet? Hailstone? So called ‘blue ice’? Sure, any of those *could* be the explanation. But come on, folks. How many comets, hailstones and hunks of frozen airline waste merit not only a full 2:10 news story, but demand the attention of a 4-person, multidisciplinary team of scientists including an earth scientist (e.g., code for ‘guy who knows how hunks of rock in outer space (not necessarily just Earth) are put together) and three (3!) biologists?? I’m not prone to alarmism, but this reeks of cover up. If the next thing you hear about this is reported by Tom Biscardi, I suggest you make sure all the supplies in your End of the World shelter are fresh.

Waterspout sighting, Key West

Posted in Nature gone amok, Sighting!, True Story with tags , , on September 30, 2008 by Eric S.

The bastard children of tornadoes and whirlpools, waterspouts provide all of the visual oohs and ahhs of more damage-heavy climatalogical events with (if the number of gawkers in this footage is any indication) the danger potential of a drugged circus cat. I saw footage of this particular event on the morning weather, and rushed to see if it had made YouTube yet. The news footage had not, but here’s a fine piece of work by resident/witness virgkw:

‘Werewolf boy’ taunted by bullies, yet left alone by bigfoot hunters

Posted in Nature gone amok, Randomalia with tags , , on August 19, 2008 by Eric S.

Okay, that headline is a little mean, and I apologize to young Mr. Patil for it. It was intended as a jab at the bigfoot hunters anyway.

As reported by a fair number of sources including telegraph.co.uk (from whom I borrowed these fine photos), 11-year-old Pruthviraj Patil has a condition known to the medical community as hypertrichosis and known to tabloid reporters as Werewolf Syndrome. Sources all seem to agree that 50 people worldwide have the condition; whether this is an estimate or an actual figure as catalogued by some unnamed census bureau isn’t mentioned.

Owing to the narrative similarity of different periodicals’ coverage of the story, I assume it was pulled off some wire service or another. What’s interesting is that, while they all make mention of the fact that people stare at him wherever he goes and he was bullied as a (younger) child, The Telegraph is the only source I found that includes this little snippet:

But despite his abnormal hair growth Pruthviraj, who is from the district of Sangli, near Bombay, is healthy, sporty and popular at school.

On the one hand, deals with bullies. On the other, sporty and popular. So, basically, a normal kid.

Two-headed turtle turns up in Brooklyn

Posted in Evidence!, Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature, True Story with tags , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Eric S.

Dear esteemed owners of Bigfoot Global LLC,

After the ribbing you’ve taken in the national and global media for your recent announcement that you are in posession of the corpse of what you believe to be a Bigfoot, I thought you could use some pointers on how to go about presenting a strange or unusual biological specimen to the public by way of the media. Just, you know, in case you ever find yourselves in this situation again. I cite as a case study this story about a two-headed turtle that has turned up at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, as reported today in the New York Daily News.

  1. Good photo = good story. See that one up there by News photographer(Mr.? Ms.?) Cairo)? It’s well cropped. Well lit. Hell, it’s even got a tricky little shallow plane of focus that not only directs your attention at the important bits (i.e., the two heads), it goes a long way toward ruling out forgery. Now, you don’t need to go all Annie Liebovitz like the Daily News, but at least look like you gave a damn.
  2. Good video = even better story. Anyone dubious of the unmessed around with origins of the above photo can, after sitting through a commercial for an Atlantic City casino, see a well shot (like the still photo, it’s well lit, in focus and by all indications undoctored), well edited video shot on location, featuring credible-albeit-uncredentialled witnesses. UFO documentarians following along, please note the use of a steadily held camera.
  3. A little self promotion is fine. Sean Casey, is clearly exploiting this situation for his own personal interests (in this case, drawing support for his nonprofit animal rescue in the Kensington neighborhood in Brooklyn, which invite you to learn more about and consider making a donation to, if that’s your charitable bent). Note the fact that he hasn’t had a special hat made for the interview.
  4. Draw people in to the story. Sure, you found Bigfoot, which is arguably big news already. But why should people care, beyond their own morbid curiosity about who would go to such pains to hide such an amazing discovery? There’s really nothing in it for them. But that Sean Casey (again, of Sean Casey’s Animal Rescue, a nonprofit rescuer of exotic pets in Brooklyn), really knows how to build buzz: with a contest. I’ll bet you guys didn’t even think of having a ‘Name the Bigfoot’ contest, did you? Watch and learn as Intie the Intoallthat Turtle launch themselves (and possibly an undisclosed blogger) into international stardom.

Gentlemen, I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. And best of luck with your future endeavors.

Regards,

Eric S.