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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 Amazon.com 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. =:)
I get the idea that most of those so called 'nature shows' are faked in many ways. It even turned out that BBC faked the baby polar bear birth scene in 'Frozen Planet' :P

Mmm, Sex Museum *stands in line*
Indeed - I suspect David Attenborough will think better of not fully disclosing that detail. I would, in his case, feel it's a misjudgement; he's long been an advocate of honesty in filmmaking. This sounds like a highly regrettably lapse, in that context, though I've not yet seen said clip - indeed, I've yet to start part 2 of Frozen Planet. ^_^;

I do hope there's some authoritative word from the producers on how that came to not be noted, though I suppose it ultimately doesn't affect what would have been seen in such a situation in the wild, nor the pressures being brought to bear on their kind - and ultimately, that's the most pressing concern.

(I sort of wish I were in some position to puff up and pronounce complete authenticity, but hey, leporidae.. I find my heroes in the supermarkets. *sigh* But, for what it's worth, I've only ever adjusted contrast and suchlike. Any buns I show are, unless clearly indicated, wild)

More broadly speaking, I'd be rather uncomfortable with the notion of posed wildlife, were I shooting, say, on the African savannah. David Lloyd, f'rex, over on Twitter, managed some quite exceptional work, and featured on this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year - it's "his" giraffe you see. I know if I'd shot that, I'd be exceedingly pleased with being able to capture that special moment - and perhaps a bit less so, knowing some other folks might pass off potentially comparable shots that were the result of a rental in a convenient location.

BTW, what's this "sex" thing anyway?
Didn't everyone know Disney made (lemming) snuff films?
I imagine it's one of the classic examples at this point, though that's probably not to say everyone's actually aware of it. It's quite remarkable, when you reflect on it, that that urban legend was only created fifty years ago, and yet for much of that time, it's been present in the public consciousness as fact, having been presented by what had, quite reasonably, been considered a reliable source.

Thankfully, it does seem matters have been cleaned up tremendously in the past decade or so, though it's not a little disappointing that it took so long, nor that people remain profiting from such outright lies.

Still, it might not be out of place to note that the great majority of wildlife photographers do practice entirely authentic work. Ask David Lloyd or William Burrard-Lucas, and they'll be able to tell you exactly where and how their shots were taken, exactly where you'd expect, no trace of trickery beyond matters along the lines of contrast enhancement and cropping. It's for masters of the art such as they that genuine disclosure (aka "honesty") is so important - even lapses in judgement have broader scope.

For all that, the wonder - and fragility - of the natural world remains unquestionable. One need only watch that superlative Wonderful World video to be reminded of just how amazing this world is. I may only be able to offer views of a relatively mundane nature, but I try to convey some of what actually makes up a rabbit's day, and the surprisingly complexity that's involved.

(.. I am reminded of why I find Twitter's restraints a little confining =:)
I see China has discovered Doug Winger and Karno...
You know, I probably shouldn't ask, but what??
edit: Nevermind, found out on my own. I must have skimmed over that part of the post.

Edited at 2011-12-18 12:20 pm (UTC)
HA! I'd use that TLA, but it's so overused as to be meaningless - but I did. ^_^
I remember watching the documentary. I think its one of those that I'm very glad was done while at the same time almost wishing that I didn't know what I'd just learned. I grew up with many of those shows, watching them many times.
It's rather shocking, to say the least, as well as deeply ironic that shows intended to inspire a sense of wonder and admiration for the natural world, should in fact have sometimes been produced with such cruelty. Fakery, at least, doesn't harm the subjects, so much as the audience's trust.
I've been middlin' quiet lately, but I'm still active. LJ remains both my primary "social network" and my main "blog"; I've got a lifetime account, and, so long as it remains popular in Russia, the infrastructure's not going anywhere.
Oh, indeed! I've been reading your posts. (Indeed, I read everyone's, even if sometimes I don't have the time to do more than simply read, rather than toss in a thought or two)

I do wish SUP would put a little more energy into tackling the spammers that have recently glommed onto LJ, though. It's hardly a huge problem, but it's rather clearly evident that the present captcha isn't offering much of an impediment, and they don't seem to do much by way of IP blackholing, given I've seen spam from the very same IP, a few weeks apart.

Similarly, LJ's where I feel most at home, and where I post anything of particular interest to me, and occasionally, even about me. =:) Twitter's a nice enough adjunct, but 140 characters is such a tiny box to squeeze into - here, one can conduct actual conversations, with the niceties of a large selection of icons per reply.
Hey, I'm still here too!
I'm long-winded by nature, but I at least strive to be concise, and LJ has sadly not embraced mobile culture as well as Twitter or FB or G+.
Yay! Mm, gotta see what we can do about squeezing more posts out of you. =:)

What ways are you thinking of? I recall LJ working quite well on the iPhone, back when that was my main mobile device, within the obvious constraints of a small display (compared to Dandelion's lovely 1920x1200 17" - goes so well with Aperture!) and modest RAM. On the iPad, of course, no problem. I did download LJ's iPhone client just before catching a flight, basically to post a photo or two from the airport, but other than that, I just used Safari.

Maybe someday I'll explore this rich text editor they speak of. ^_^ For now, my entries are just composed in TextEdit as plain HTML, edited around to flow reasonably well, and just copy/pasted into LJ - I suppose the rich editor would only really be useful for on the spot compositions, which is a fairly rare thing for me.

FB I don't touch - indeed, seeing those wretched "Facebook social plugins" spring up as fad of the month, I've just added a localhost entry for www.facebook.com in /etc/hosts. They can track their own users all they want, but they can leave me out of it. Same for G+.

Twitter I do use, but it just doesn't have the same resonance as LJ, for me - I love actually reading what people write, not merely catching the odd link or micro-update. Its strength lies in its immediacy - it's easy to pull people together for a meet, or let people know about some special offer ending in a matter of hours.
I had an LJ app for my Ipod, but don't remember being very impressed with it at the time, and no updates have been forthcoming since, so I struggle through the tiny buttons with mobile Safari well enough. I'm sure my complaint was the same issues I have with the full site; not being particularly HTML-savvy, the times when I'm inspired to leave as media-rich an entry as yours tend to be, I'll get stymied when something happens like when YouTube changes something in their format which makes embedding video with their rich-text editor impossible. Or something equally stupid.

And no, not a fan of FaceBook either, but it's the one corner of the Internet which seems to attract the users who can't be found anywhere else.

Well, 'anywhere else' that doesn't involve me going to somebody's anniversary party or class reunion, at least.
China's not the nation I'd most have expected to sport a sex museum

Mmm? Aren't there more people having sex in China than any other country on Earth? ^^
*grin* A very fair point. =:D Still, I'd love to've heard the proponents' pitch to whatever planning committee was involved.. >chuckle
Indeed! As an addendum: I'm not sure this is the same sex museum in China, but I'd happily pay the price of admission to see THIS statue:


Not work safe!
Ha! Wonder if their exhibits extend into video as well.. buns are somewhat amusing to witness, almost vibrating away. =:D

It does sound like it's the same place, as it mentions Shanghai, which is nearby, just a bit to the east of the museum.