Beware of Mammoth Farts

MammothScience always turns out to be stranger than you might have dreamed.  Scientists are now claiming that our Clan of the Cave Bear ancestors may have hunted their way into the last ice age.

Methane is well known as a greenhouse gas, and ice cores show that atmospheric methane levels dropped significantly right about when the ice age started, and right about when the mammoths died out.  Herbivore “emissions” are known to be a major source of methane in the air, and the biggest vegans around would have been the mammoths.

Since Clovis hunters are generally believed to have hunted the Mammoth to extinction, this could mean that humans have been impacting global climate since before recorded history.  It’s just that last time, we knocked the thermostat down rather than up.

Granted, this is somewhat circumstantial, but if true, it leaves us with an interesting question.  Would we be willing to sacrifice herbivores if we could keep driving our cars and running our factories?  Consider that the two species responsible for most of the methane in today’s air are cows and termites.  Now it’s gonna be tough to get a Save the Termites campaign going in your neighborhood, and they are going to be all but impossible to eliminate.  However, we know how to find the cows.  But are we willing to give up ice cream and cheeseburgers?

Oh man… why couldn’t Lima beans and oysters be the cause.  Them I could live without.


HippoDo you have an eye for social injustice?  Will you be in the Aspen area anytime soon?  If so, you can sit on a hippo and be part of art.

No, I don’t get it either.  But some so-called artists have constructed a hippo from straw and mud.  They are looking for volunteers to sit atop the beast and read the newspaper.  Every time you spot something in the news that strikes you as a social injustice, you are to let loose with a short blast on your whistle.

You are free to sign up for an hour for for a full day, or for every Monday until the ephemeral Hope Hippo melts back into the Earth from which it was created.  They say they provide you a whistle, but no word on whether or not they provide newspapers.

It seems they borrowed this obviously inspired idea to call attention to your intolerance for injustice.  Italy sported the first hippo back in 2005, and the Aspen Art Museum, fresh out of any good ideas, said, “What the hell?”

I guess this means you should feel free to build your own Hope Hippo.  Personally, that seems like a lot of work.  But I may spring for a new whistle and take to blowing it randomly while I read the paper on the deck.

My Son’s Immortal

unmade bedI thought he was just a slob, but apparently my son Doug has exceptional instincts about his health.  A Kingston University study discovered that leaving your bed in a heap of sheets and blankets may actually lead to fewer bed bugs, and a healthier sleeper.

It seems the dust mites don’t fare well in dry environments, and leaving your bed open serves to let more of the moisture it accumulates off your body during the night into the room.  Drier mattresses mean fewer critters.  And fewer critters mean fewer allergies and other mite related health issues.

The study also notes that if there’s a lot of humidity in your home, that it won’t really matter.  Living in this area, I think that means that while junior may get a pass on bed making during the winter, there’s no reason the bunk shouldn’t be crisp and neat through the sultry summer months.

Yeah right… like that’s gonna happen.

Promoting the Good

Hot on the heels of Andrew Cuomo’s long anticipated announcement of his run for NY Governor comes news that Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy will sit on the bottom of the ticket.

I get that this is potentially a great personal opportunity for Duffy.  It puts him for the first time on a statewide stage.  And given Cuomo’s likely fall victory, it also gives him a shot at succeeding to the big chair when and if Cuomo’s big scandal hits, or failing that, an eventual run for Governor himself someday.  But I have trouble with all the local news claims that this will be good for Rochester or good for upstate for Duffy to have the governor’s ear.  Historically, the Lt. Governor is one of the most invisible people in the state.  Maybe they have a behind the scenes influence we never see, but at any given time, I’ll bet most citizens couldn’t even name their #2 guy.

Locally, Duffy has been a popular mayor.  And love him or hate him, he’s shown the courage to take on some big issues like proposing the takeover of the city school district.  I’m personally still on the fence over that one, but politically, it was a risk to propose it and fight for it, and I do respect that.  Although now that Duffy is focusing on his career, that issue will be pretty much dead in the water.

I can understand that Duffy has eventual ambitions to be Governor.  But it’s not clear to me that being Lt. Governor is a productive step in that direction.  He might better leave his mark by finishing his reforms in Rochester, and then heading to statewide office as a successful mayor.  It seems he might get as much if not more visibility that way than by lurking in the Capitol for four to eight years.  And Rochester might benefit more that way as well.

The only one who seems to be getting a clear advantage here is Cuomo who has an effective name and useful partner to run a campaign with.

Un-Convent-ional Nuns

Nun MassageThe opening line of the article says it all:

A group of nuns have set up a massage service as a new way of making ends meet after their chicken breeding business fell flat.

No wait!  I take that back.  I still have questions.  Why were Austrian nuns breeding chickens in the first place?  Isn’t that an odd business for a group of celibate hens to run?  And wasn’t it doomed to fail?

As a fall back position the women try a second pseudo sex related business?  Is this a theme?  Does the town already have a glut of bakeries or elder care facilities?

On the plus side, I’ve finally found a massage parlor I can frequent without arousing Kim’s suspicion.