31 Jul 18:20

thegreenwolf: Our Deadly Lack of Nature Literacy[Note: first...


Our Deadly Lack of Nature Literacy

[Note: first published on my Patheos blog, Paths Through the Forests.]

My apologies for the light posting as of late; summer is festival season, which means I’m busy with vending and other activities, and it’s tough to find time and energy to write. However, this particular topic has been rolling around in my head, and I finally found the right words for it.

It all started a few weeks ago when birds–particularly crows–started fledging here in Portland. I began getting questions from people about scrawny, sick-looking birds that had others “dive-bombing” them as they sat on the ground. After seeing a few photos, it was pretty clear that people were seeing fledgling crows which, while ungainly-looking and still unsure of that “flying” thing, were in generally good health. The “dive-bombing” was parent crows feeding them, encouraging them, and otherwise staying close by in case danger threatened. Crows, after all, are highly intelligent and social; they understand what’s at stake during this vulnerable part of a young bird’s life.

I assured these folks that the crows were just fine and, with a little time and practice, would be up and off the ground with the rest. Thankfully no one decided to pick them up and put them into boxes in their garages, unsure what to do next. That’s just one example of how well-meaning humans think they need to interfere with nature’s ways and in the process make things worse. The instances in which human ignorance can be dangerous to human and non-human animals like are numerous; these are the ones that have cropped up on Facebook and elsewhere just in the past week or so:

–Every spring and summer there’s a cavalcade of people who find baby birds on the ground or baby rabbits huddled in the grass. Baby birds do fall out of nests before they’re ready to fledge, and mother rabbits often leave their babies hidden (with varying degrees of success) for hours at a time. What people should be doing is putting the birds back in the nest if they can, or making a new nest by nailing an empty plastic tupper to a tree and putting grass and the bird in it (parent birds will often feed their young even in these unorthodox holdings.) For bunnies, they should leave well enough alone, unless they look obviously ill, injured or otherwise distressed. Putting a circle of flour around them shows whether the mother has come back to check on them (thereby disturbing the flour) or not. Instead, they take possession of these little critters and either try to raise them themselves, or take them to a veterinarian or rescue facility. Even with the best of care, the mortality rate for birds and rabbits is significant, and quite often well-meaning humans sentence these animals to death by not leaving them in the wild.

–While we’re on the subject of rabbits, there are enough domestic rabbit owners who don’t understand rabbit behavior and health that someone had to write an article on why rabbit bath videos aren’t actually cute. If you don’t understand how to properly care for an animal, maybe you shouldn’t own one–or should at least do a lot more research on that species’ behavior and unique needs.

This video of someone feeding wild deer potato chips. Besides the fact that chips aren’t especially good food for anyone, least of all deer, these people are just encouraging the deer to lose their fear of humans. Why is this bad? Let me count the ways! Deer that aren’t afraid of humans are more likely to go wandering into people’s gardens and munch on the vegetables and flowers. They’re also at greater risk of getting hit by cars (bad for everyone involved) and they’re easier targets for hunters (the easier population control doesn’t justify the means.) The more you feed deer, the more the deer are able to reproduce and survive through hard winters that would normally thin their numbers. That means overpopulation leading to greater rates of starvation, disease and other unpleasantries.

This misinformed person who thinks a picture of a long-dead, probably roadkilled, doe is proof hunters are routinely shooting does out of season. Fawns are born in spring and can be independent as early as two months of age, well before hunting season starts in fall (usually the second half of November). Guys, Bambi was fiction. Yes, there are poachers out there, but they’re the minority and other hunters would like to see them stopped as much as anyone else.

People laughing at this black bear that drank three dozen beers. Never mind that, again, beer isn’t good for a wild animal’s system. Like deer, bears are increasingly encouraged to see humans as a source of food. It’s not just a matter of campers not knowing how to bear-proof their food and drink, either. Many people deliberately feed bears and other wildlife, to include in mighty Yellowstone, because they want the animals to entertain them. They’re not content simply letting them be themselves. Eventually you end up with bears attacking people to get to their food, which all too often ends up with the bear being euthanized.

–Speaking of Yellowstone, there’s been a rash of idiots getting seriously injured whiletrying to take selfies with bison. (Dishonorable mention to the guy who almost died trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake. Seriously, I can’t make this shit up.) Despite the fact that it’s illegal to get close to the bison, and despite numerous warnings from park staff, people still somehow think bison are docile cattle, just a part of the scenery. (Cows are dangerous too, by the way.)

Apparently animal rights activists still think it’s a good idea to release farmed mink into the wild. What they think they’re doing is saving the mink from being skinned alive. (No, skinning animals alive is not a standard accepted practice in the fur industry.) Instead, they’re dooming most of those mink to slow, painful, cruel deaths by starvation or exposure because they come from generations of captive-bred animals. The ones that survive compete with native wildlife and cause many other animals to have slow, painful, cruel deaths by starvation because there’s not enough food to go around. Those mink can screw up ecosystems for decades as invasive species. So much for kindness to animals.

I could go on and on about our inability to treat other animals the way they need to be treated, and our own lack of skills for when we’re outside of a comfortably civilized setting. We learn in school how to determine the hypotenuse of a triangle, go over the Revolutionary War in excruciating detail every year in history class from fourth through twelfth grade, and our biology textbooks are distressingly generalized and sterile. With few exceptions, kids are kept corralled indoors except for recesses on blacktop playgrounds. We learn how to be good little worker ants in an industrial model, but we learn early how to ignore anything that isn’t human-centered. And we spend more time indoors than ever. We’re conditioned to see the outdoors largely as the place we have to traverse in order to get to the next indoor spot.

These people who ask about fledgling crows–if they spent a year studying their local wildlife in detail, watching from a window every day, do you suppose they’d get some sense of the rhythm of non-human nature? Maybe they’d get to watch a mated pair of crows build a nest, raise and feed their young, and then integrate those young into the greater corvid community. Perhaps they’d see a mother rabbit leave and return to her young in their hiding place, or watch deer grow up, lose their spots, and start their own lives well before November.

Our utter lack of nature literacy and our disgraceful self-centeredness is leading us to destroy the entire planet, ourselves included. We need to know these things–we knew them once, but as we stopped living close to the land, we forgot them, ignored them entirely. We need to understand how delicately balanced an ecosystem is, the webs of relationships and balances that formed over thousands of years of fine-tuning and evolution. We need to know how much our actions can screw the entire system up, whether through introducing an invasive species or destroying habitat for one more golf course. We need to have our hands in the soil, watching the creek for the flash of a salamander’s belly, our eyes to the trees for the first sign of autumn’s flush of color. We need a personal relationship with non-human nature that doesn’t end with a perfectly manicured, chemical-treated lawn.

But we don’t all have to know the particulars of climate science or marine biology or organic agriculture to be attuned to our local environment. It all starts with the little things, the individual animals, plants and fungi. What if the proper response to finding baby bunnies was as well-known as when the new season of Orange is the New Black starts? What if we looked forward to the fledging of baby birds as much as the arrival of Memorial Day? What if we knew how to watch the clouds, and be able to predict how long before rain showed up, so we could decide whether or not to water the garden?

We need to return to an ancestral way in which nature is not an Other, but an Us. If we truly love nature, if we consider ourselves friends to the animals, then we need to know nature itself, through books and observations, through science and questioning. We need to know the rest of nature as well as we know ourselves.

We can no longer afford nature ignorance; it is time to embrace nature literacy.

31 Jul 13:57

Stereospecific Intramolecular Reductive Cross-Electrophile Coupling Reactions for Cyclopropane Synthesis

by Emily J. Tollefson, Lucas W. Erickson and Elizabeth R. Jarvo

TOC Graphic

Journal of the American Chemical Society
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03870
31 Jul 12:43

misanthropicweirdo: more booze


more booze

31 Jul 12:10

Finely Tuned Polymer Interlayers Enhance Solar Cell Efficiency

by Yao Liu, Zachariah A. Page, Thomas P. Russell, Todd Emrick


Three conjugated polymer zwitterions (CPZs), containing thiophene-, diketopyrrolopyrrole- (DPP), and naphthalene diimide (NDI) backbones, were synthesized with pendant zwitterions, specifically sulfobetaine groups. Diboronate-ester-functionalized bithiophene and benzothiadiazole monomers were copolymerized with zwitterion-substituted dibromothiophene, DPP, and NDI monomers by A2+B2 Suzuki polymerization. The CPZs were incorporated into polymer solar cells (PSCs) as interlayers between the photoactive layer and Ag cathode. The thiophene-based CPZs gave power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of about 5 %, while the narrow-energy-gap DPP- and NDI-based CPZs performed exceptionally well, giving PCEs of 9.49 % and 10.19 %, respectively. The interlayer thickness had only a minor impact on the device performance for the DPP- and NDI-CPZs, a finding attributed to their electron-transport properties. Ultraviolet photoelectron and reflectance spectroscopies, combined with external quantum efficiency measurements, provided structure–property relationships that lend insight into the function of CPZ interlayers in PSCs. NDI-based CPZ interlayers provide some of the best performing organic solar cells reported to date, and prove useful in conjunction with high-performing polymer-active layers and stable, high-work-function, metal cathodes.

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Organic electronics: Three conjugated polymer zwitterions of variable bandgap were synthesized and incorporated as cathode modification layers in bulk heterojunction solar cells, boosting the power conversion efficiency (PCE) to over 10 %. Structure–property relationships identified key optical and electronic characteristics that lead to the observed high efficiencies.

31 Jul 10:00


by Justin Boyd


Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up and say… nothing. Forever.

bonus panel
31 Jul 09:00

Software security on proprietary hardware

by sharhalakis

by 7heo

31 Jul 07:20

Sodium Salts of Anionic Chiral Cobalt(III) Complexes as Catalysts of the Enantioselective Povarov Reaction

by Jie Yu, Hua-Jie Jiang, Ya Zhou, Shi-Wei Luo, Liu-Zhu Gong


The sodium salts of anionic chiral cobalt(III) complexes (CCCNa+) have been found to be efficient catalysts of the asymmetric Povarov reaction of easily accessible dienophiles, such as 2,3-dihydrofuran, ethyl vinyl ether, and an N-protected 2,3-dihydropyrrole, with 2-azadienes. Ring-fused tetrahydroquinolines with up to three contiguous stereogenic centers were thus obtained in high yields, excellent diastereoselectivities (endo/exo up to >20:1), and high enantioselectivities (up to 95:5 e.r.).

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A salty catalyst: The sodium salts of anionic chiral cobalt(III) complexes (CCCNa+) have been found to be efficient catalysts of the asymmetric Povarov reaction of easily accessible dienophiles with 2-azadienes. Ring-fused tetrahydroquinolines with up to three contiguous stereogenic centers were thus obtained in high yields, excellent diastereoselectivities, and high enantioselectivities (TIPS=triisopropylsilyl).

31 Jul 07:01

Summer in the City

by Doug
31 Jul 04:13

4gifs: Nailed it. [video]


Nailed it. [video]

31 Jul 02:37


31 Jul 02:34


31 Jul 01:34

NASA space telescope discovers Earth's closest rocky neighbor

by Andrew Tarantola
NASA researchers working with the Spitzer Space Telescope announced on Thursday that they had indeed found the closest rocky exoplanet to our own. It's a tiny burg called HD 219134b that's just 21 light years from Earth in the Cassiopeia constellatio...
30 Jul 22:00

Taste the rainbow.

Taste the rainbow.

30 Jul 20:28

An Umpolung Approach for the Chemoselective Arylation of Selenocysteine in Unprotected Peptides

by Daniel T. Cohen, Chi Zhang, Bradley L. Pentelute and Stephen L. Buchwald

TOC Graphic

Journal of the American Chemical Society
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b05447
30 Jul 20:05

Probing the Active Surface Sites for CO Reduction on Oxide-Derived Copper Electrocatalysts

by Arnau Verdaguer-Casadevall, Christina W. Li, Tobias P. Johansson, Soren B. Scott, Joseph T. McKeown, Mukul Kumar, Ifan E. L. Stephens, Matthew W. Kanan and Ib Chorkendorff

TOC Graphic

Journal of the American Chemical Society
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b06227
30 Jul 20:00

Retract The Tract

by BD
Restaurant | FL, USA

(No one at my restaurant likes working the Sunday lunch shift, because it’s full of people who have just come from the nearby church. Most of them are total cheapskates and sometimes they’ll even get in your face about it. This Sunday, I’ve just delivered the check to a young couple.)

Male Customer: “Instead of a tip, I’m just going to give you this tract.”

(He hands me a paper and they both have huge grins on their faces as I can feel my expression turning into an obvious scowl.)

Me: “Oh, uh… thanks.”1

Female Customer: “I think you’ll find everything worthwhile about religion written down there.”

(I open the paper they give me as they get up to leave, and I get two surprises. First is a $20 tip on a $30 check, even though they said they weren’t going to tip me. Second, the paper is completely blank.)

Me: “This, uh… this is a blank paper.”

Male Customer: “We’re atheists.”

30 Jul 19:13

[Perspective] A leap ahead for activating C-H bonds

by Shubhankar Kumar Bose
Although great strides have been taken in recent decades, the catalytic and selective functionalization of normally unreactive carbon-hydrogen bonds (1) as a route to high value-added compounds remains one of the major challenges in catalysis, and in chemistry in general. On page 513 of this issue, Légaré et al. (2) describe a metal-free process for the catalytic borylation of carbon-hydrogen bonds in heteroarenes. Their catalyst incorporates a “frustrated” pair comprising a Lewis acid and base, and this approach to the problem may have wider applications in other carbon-hydrogen bond functionalization reactions. Authors: Shubhankar Kumar Bose, Todd B. Marder
30 Jul 19:13

Hysterical Literature

by Jason Kottke

Photographer Clayton Cubitt started a project in 2012 called Hysterical Literature. In each of the project's resulting videos, a female participant is filmed from the waist up reading a story of her choosing while she is stimulated to orgasm with a vibrator by Cubitt's partner, Katie James. His first subject was adult film star Stoya; her thoughts on the experience are here.

Vanity Fair recently sent writer Tony Bentley to participate in an HL session. Her reading choice? The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.

With Katie now in position under the table, takeoff is imminent and the stakes are high: the sessions are a one-shot deal, no retakes, and no editing of the footage after the fact. It was not lost on me that a perfect triangulation between Clayton (auteur, cameraman), Katie (Hitachi artist), and me (the canvas) was in play, and it mirrored my internal mixture of curiosity, exhilaration, and stage fright. I couldn't help wondering if this adventure qualified as having a threesome with two strangers. But soon enough such intellectualizing sexualizing was rendered naught.

"Rolling," says Clayton, and everything instantly disappeared except the book in my hands and the words on the page. The world was out and I was on.

By the time I'd read two pages, I was struggling mightily to keep my countenance. "She spent half her time in thinking of beauty, bravery and mag-nan-nnn-im-im-ity..."

There's no nudity in the videos, but you might still find them NSFW.

Tags: art   Clayton Cubitt   Katie James   NSFW   Stoya   Tony Bentley   video
30 Jul 17:30

10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them)

by Charlie Jane Anders

Science fiction and fantasy offer a rich legacy of great books—but that abundant pile of reading material can also be daunting. So sometimes, it’s easier to fake it. We asked some of our favorite writers, and they told us the 10 books that everyone pretends to have read. And why you should actually read them.


30 Jul 17:23

Старый добрый розыгрыш с телефоном :)

30 Jul 16:19

gifak-net: Video:  Videobomb Scares Reporter

30 Jul 16:03

Because, You Know, That Republican Economic Recovery Plan Isn’t Working All That Well

by Juanita Jean

The 28 year old adult daughter of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin moved her “nice trailer” to the backyard of the Governor’s mansion and is living in it with her husband.




One of the adult children of Fallin’s husband lives in the Governor’s mansion and another lives in a garage apartment behind the Governor’s mansion.

UnknownFallin told Oklahoma television station KFOR that her 28-year-old daughter received no special benefit by parking the travel trailer outside the mansion near the state Capitol since April. Any electricity or water she would have used in the trailer would have also been used if she had been living inside the brick-and-mortar home.

“My Oklahoma values … is to take care of your family,” Fallin, a Republican, told the TV station in a live interview.

She meant to add, “And if the taxpayers will do it for me, I will let them,” but she forgot.

Hey, I checked to see and it costs about $250 a month, $360 with electricity, to lease a trailer space in Oklahoma.  I mean, it ain’t a fancy pants one like a mansion for a neighbor  but that does seem kinda a little bit like “a special benefit.”

Maybe Oklahoma values should include a “robust economy.”

Hey, lotsa people have had their kids move back home.  They just didn’t expect the taxpayers to feed and cool them.

By the way, if we’re gonna talk about “value values,” does that include your bodyguard?

In early December 1998, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol bodyguard for Fallin resigned after admitting to unprofessional conduct. The Fallins had filed for divorce the previous week, amid allegations by her estranged husband that she had an affair with a bodyguard.

Public Safety Commissioner Bob Ricks issued a statement saying that rumors had surfaced in early September about alleged unprofessional conduct between a member of the executive security detail and the lieutenant governor. According to Ricks, the trooper first denied the allegations, but, when questioned again in October, admitted to the improprieties. He was allowed to resign, but his admission did not say if any sexual activity was involved.

Whoa boy, that there is some family values.

Thanks to everybody for the heads up.

30 Jul 14:52

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Cleaning Algorithms

by admin@smbc-comics.com

Hovertext: Watch - I can make fun of every religion and get no hatemail, but when I write any amount of code...

New comic!
Today's News:
30 Jul 14:41

2015 U.S. Trans Survey Is Coming August 19th

by helenboyd

Here’s the always awesome Ignacio Rivera with a few reasons why it’s important, and I’ll add myself that having published some scholarship on trans issues, the last survey provided much needed data and continues to be cited in necessary ways.

30 Jul 13:25

New wind turbines that look like tress