December 17th, 2011

Bunny with plug

And in public, too

I'll admit, China's not the nation I'd most have expected to sport a sex museum, with some quite.. eye-catching statuary. =:D (It's in Tongli, something of a venue for filmmakers seeking historical shots, near Shanghai)

At 8-9mm, these newly discovered frogs from Papua New Guinea are - for now - the smallest in the world. Indeed, they're likely the smallest living tetrapods.

Due credit to Apple: I'd noticed last year that Dandelion didn't always start charging when the PSU was plugged in, and the then-local Apple Store replaced the PSU, on the hope the fault lay in the most easily replaced part. No such luck, unfortunately, so they ordered the daughterboard the power connector plugs into. But, with them mentioning having to leave it with them for the repair, and Dandelion being rather important in daily usage, I let that slide - and then I moved out of the area, only to get caught in an epic tangle of airline and agent disappointments. Cut to Friday, when I went in to see about Dandelion having caught a case of battery mumps. The guy noticed the charging issue on starting up the diagnostics, and brought up its service profile - and yes, as the issue was originally raised (just) within warranty, they can take care of that at no extra cost. (Might also avail myself of the Battery Replacement Program for the iPhone, too - more expensive than a DIY repair, but this way, I'll get an as-new refurb)

A rather downbeat article from Audubon Magazine takes a long look at the practice of faked wildlife photography, wherein the wolves, bears, and cougars you may have admired in prestigious publications are quite likely to have been rented for the shoot, from game farms, or even simply exotic pets.

Especially impressive were the innovations of Disney in the 1950s and ’60s. In apologizing for the early films, which he helped produce, Roy Disney accurately noted that they promoted “awareness” of nature—at least nature the way he and his colleagues depicted it. Since then the Disney Company has progressed light years in quality and honesty with films like Earth (2009), but the early work provides important historical perspective and explains some of our society’s lingering misperceptions about nature. For example, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2008 documentary Cruel Camera takes a behind-the-scenes look at White Wilderness (1958), revealing that the polar bear cub bouncing spectacularly down a snowy, rock-studded mountain was thrown over the side. Lemmings don’t commit mass suicide any more than hummingbirds hitch rides on southbound geese. But Disney paid kids in Churchill, Manitoba, to catch lemmings, then transported them to non-habitat in Alberta where a turntable flung them off a cliff and into “the sea” by the dozens. White Wilderness, which won an Oscar, is still sold on DVD as a “true-life adventure.”

Inspired by Disney were Marlin Perkins, host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (premiering in 1963), and Marty Stouffer, host of the Public Broadcasting Service’s Wild America (premiering in 1982). Like Disney they were pioneers working in a standards vacuum, but they set a new bar for nature fakery. Perkins was forever having his young assistants lasso and wrestle terrified tame animals to “rescue” them. “They were totally ruthless,” Wyoming cinematographer Wolfgang Bayer told the Denver Post. “They would throw a mountain lion into a river and film it going over a waterfall.” Wild Kingdom still airs on Animal Planet. Stouffer was no less brazen. In 1995—after he was fined $300,000 for cutting an illegal trail through the property of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies to his illegal hunting camp on Forest Service land—his staffers began opening up to the press, reporting, for example, that he staged fatal confrontations between predators and prey. In his film Dangerous Encounters, a cougar is shown “attacking” a cross-country skier. It’s a playful pet roughhousing with its owner. Stouffer is still cashing in on Wild America episodes and Dangerous Encounters through and other outlets.

I'm not much on rap/hip-hop, but there are the occasional exceptions - and Beyond Her Tomb is easily one such; despite the title, it's not a grim piece in the least. The track catches me anyway, plus some adept use of 3D typography - and hey, ponies! (No, no, don't run away!)

BTW, if I happen to remove you from my LJ Friends list, it's almost certainly because you've simply been silent a long while - I'd prefer to avoid keeping my list untouched, like some historical artifact. =:) Just meep, or local species equivalent, if that happens and you're interested in staying there (and if your LJ isn't just a Twitter repository). Not that it really makes much difference, I suppose - I don't tend to post much that isn't fully public; but I thought I ought to be clear that such a cut doesn't indicate a virtual And Never Darken My Hallways Again. =:)
Cute anime rabbit

Time to somewhat unwind

So, arrangements for getting back to (one of.. we're rather a spread out bunch) the familial lair for Christmas more or less sorted, and I've done my bit for the big dinner with placing a delivery order for much good cider, wine, vodka, and about 14lb of Gressingham duck. Now time to kick back at my new haunt, safe in the twin knowledge of some delicious food ahead, and ponies waiting back home. ^_^

As you probably know, I'm not a religious sort by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a time to enjoy good company and the spirit of the season regardless of exactly why. ^_^ For whatever reasons, I'm feeling happier about this Yule than in several years. I dare say the locale hardly hurts - wandering past Georgian architecture as a matter of routine, which may as well have sprung from a period drama of class vs circumstance, where you half-expect a big blue 1950s Police Box around the corner.. it does add sparkle to life.

Where will you be for the season? Travelling some distance, maybe?