Sunday, March 18, 2012


Some smart atheists (and one brilliant one, John Gray, who really doesn't fit that or any easy definition) defend religion against "fundamentalist atheists". HT Vic Venters.

Local naturalist John Wilson, followed by many other friends, sent in a link about the ancient cultures of Central Asia. Makes me nostalgic.

Jonathan Hanson sends a link on little dinosaurs with shining feathers (NOT birds), and Neutrino Cannon one on bears using tools.

Karen Myers sends disturbing news on the Belyalov foxes. If I were rich I'd buy two.

Allen Jones sends in the news that Tom Russell's text for his art book Blue Horse, Red Desert is now available as an ebook.


BorderWars said...

When I first read about the Russian Foxes I had a thought that someone was going to make a fortune importing them and selling them as a novelty pet. The exotics market is huge and those things (birds, reptiles, wild canids, etc) are expensive and hard to keep. But a tame fox? Heck, that's like a dog x cat.

I imagine it didn't take off due to access to the stock and the regulations against foxes as pets in most states since laws are unlikely to keep up with the idea of a domesticated fox vs. the sort of people who want to keep wild animals.

I had some ancestors who farmed fur foxes and from what I hear they were nasty and smelly. The tame foxes sounded free from those concerns. Followup stories that included commentary from rich Russians who owned them didn't help to dispel my interest.

I think it'd be interesting to meet one, perhaps not as a pet. Nothing beats the reciprocal partnership of a smart and empathetic dog.

A. Lane Batot said...

I always assumed EVENTUALLY these semi-domesticated foxes would inevitably become more readily available, and after a brief phase of very expensive status pets, would wind up being discarded right and left(because, well, like EVERYTHING ELSE, foxes will require proper care, containment, and a certain amount of time devoted to them.....) and I would have ended up getting some one day very cheaply or for free! Like Pygmy Goats, Pot-Bellied Pigs, or Coatimundis(etc., etc., etc.) I DO hope some philanthropic research-or-otherwise group will rescue these guys, and bring them over to the U. S.--it would be a terrible shame and waste if this study gets nixed now. But I would also hope whomever takes it on will give the foxes better facilities than the tiny wire cages they had in Russia. I'd love to experience one or more of these guys eventually too, but I'll still have all my dogs FIRST! Anything else is supplemental to the dog pack. I did finally aquire some more ferrets at last (5), and I am plotting some more chickens and goats, eventually, raising my status from hunter-gatherer, to nomadic pastoralist again......L.B. (Note-to-self: I don't need to keep putting my initials down anymore....)

Moro Rogers said...

I've been hearing about the Russian fox experiment for years, it seems like it's been getting a lot of press (and I know several folks who would love a pet fox and would probably shell out a few grand for them.) So it seems weird that they're having trouble getting funding. It suggests that there is flakiness on the commerce end or the science end or both.
But, y'know...if we didn't have a cat...

neutrino_cannon said...

In addition to rocks covered in barnacles, brown bears have also been noted using other tools such as impact-fused high explosive artillery rounds.

Heaven only knows why brown bears haven't conquered the earth by now.

A. Lane Batot said...

So that slogan "Support the right to arm bears" isn't just a joke!