Flying fish

In order to stock remote lakes in the Rocky Mountains, wildlife officials get in a plane, fly over the waterways and drop baby trout from the air.

Which, honestly, has to suck for baby trout. It just seems wrong to put water dependent creatures in the air. I’ve heard of flying fish, but trout don’t sound like sky pilots to me.

And even if they did have wings, playing paratrooper with them could go horribly wrong. Remember this?

Man on the moon: July 20, 1969

And here’s a Nova episode on the lunar mission:

I’ve probably said this before, but this was the greatest human achievement in history. So it’s frustrating to think that what I consider the most outstanding event of my lifetime happened 45 years ago.

C’mon, people. We’re now in the 21st century. We can do better. We already did.

Property damage costs in Godzilla (1998)

I haven’t had chance to see the new “Godzilla” with Bryan Cranston, but I did see the one with Matthew Broderick where the big lizard (is that what Godzilla is) wrecked New York City.

How much do you think it would cost to fix New York after that one?

A substantial figure. But I suspect the new “Godzilla” is going to top that number.

What the hail? A weather delay in Brussels.

You know, when the weather guy says there was hail the size of golf balls, I used to think it would be cool to see that. I’ve seen hail before, but it’s usually the size of BBs.

But there was a football (soccer) match in Brussels today at King Baudoin Stadium (which, as all of you Bruxellois out there know is near the Atomium and Bruparck) between Belgium and Tunisia, and this happened.

There you are. Hail the size of golf balls, and, according to photos, a few chunks the size of tennis balls. Any ideas what the broadcaster is saying. It isn’t French (which I understand) or Dutch or German (which I don’t), and those are the three official languages of Belgium. (Actually, it’s Portuguese.)

Now, for an attitude adjustment. I’ve decided it would not be cool to see that. And it would be horrific to be in it. But if you want a similar experience, go to a crowded golf driving range and stand in the middle of the open field as dozens of golfers all swing full force and take shots at you.

And note that is you were to do than, it would be less dangerous than what happened in Brussels. When the sky dumps chunks of ice on you, there’s no way you can avoid them in the open,

(Oh, the match was suspended until the storm ended. Belgium ended up winning 1-0.)

 

New York City: It’s alive!

If you watch the pattern of Manhattanites at work and at home during a normal day, this is what it looks like in a graphic representation, where people at work turn an area red and people at home turn an area blue (via Darkhorse Analytics):

nyBreathe

Looks like an alien life form, right.

(For all you folks out in the sticks, that rectangle toward the middle is Central Park. Technically, no one lives there, but there are a lot of homeless people who would probably disagree.

The world’s deadliest animal: the mosquito

Note to the Discovery Channel: You really should leave sharks alone.

BiggestKillers_final_v8_no-logo

Note to humans: We’re No. 2!

Bill Gates (yeah, the billionaire) says:

This week over at my blog, TheGatesNotes, we’re hosting Mosquito Week. It’s modeled on the Discovery Channel’s annual fear-fest, Shark Week. But compared to mosquitoes, sharks are wimps.

I hate mosquitoes. They drive me crazy. One sent me to the hospital. It was late one night and a mosquito buzzed in my ear when I was home in Staten Island. So I grabbed a newspaper and stalked it as it flew up a wall. It was too high to reach, so I climbed up on a table that broke under my weight and ran a screw into my toe. Since the toe wouldn’t stop bleeding, I drove myself to the hospital, where they proceeded to make me sit in an emergency room for three hours. By the time they got to me. The bleeding stopped and they gave me a bandage.

I never did get that mosquito. Did I say I hate the little bastards? If there’s one animal I’d put on the top of my list for extinction … you guessed it.

Welcome to the Anthropocene

Scientists are now examining the current epoch in geologic science as the Anthropocene. According to the site Welcome to the Anthropocene:

Our species’ whole recorded history has taken place in the geological period called the Holocene – the brief interval stretching back 10,000 years. But our collective actions have brought us into uncharted territory. A growing number of scientists think we’ve entered a new geological epoch that needs a new name – the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene period appears to encompass the past 250 years, prompted by the Industrial Revolution. The impact on the planet is noted in urbanization, global warming and diminishing water resources (the video above). Click here to learn more about how human activity has transformed the Earth’s geology.

More evidence of the mass extinction

There are a number of books out referring to how we’re in the midst of another mass extinction. I’ve recently finished reading “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,” and have just picked up “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”

As the promotional material for “The Sixth Extinction” explains:

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

(First of all, to the creationists: Yes, the Earth is billions of years old.)

That’s the theme of both books. We regularly see stories about disappearing bees, millions of dying bats and regular mysterious deaths of sea creatures.

But let’s look at what this really means. This is a chart of the total weight of land animals on Earth (via XKCD):

land_mammals

There aren’t that many wild animals left. Human behavior is killing everything. Mass extinctions take thousands of years. None of us will be around when the one we’re currently in is over, but more important, the way things are going, the human species may not exist when this mass extinction runs its course.