18.08.2005 - 1:25 PM

delli colli, the italian director of my favourite movie, "life is beautiful", died today. he was 81.

in the news:

Virtual crime spree hits Lineage
Which is, apparently, a role-playing game.

A Chinese student has been arrested in Japan for using software to steal from people playing the massive multiplayer online role-playing game, Lineage II.
The Mainichi Daily News said the exchange student was arrested by police in Kagawa prefecture in southern Japan.

The student is alleged to have used software bots to beat up other characters in the game and robbed of valuable virtual objects.

The goods were then sold via a Japanese auction website.
As a person who used to watch her boyfriend get obsessed over the World of Warcraft, I don't even need to write comments about this one. Just know I am shaking my head.

Big game 'could roam US plains'
Not just elk here, people.

If a group of US researchers have their way, lions, cheetahs, elephants and camels could soon roam parts of North America, Nature magazine reports.
I would be surprised if there were enough left to transport. Poachers will indeed have a heyday.

The plan, which is called Pleistocene re-wilding, is intended to be a proactive approach to conservation.

The initiative would help endangered African animals while creating jobs, the Cornell University scientists say.
What, it's not good enough to work at McDonald's anymore? WHO EVER SAID CREATING JOBS AND ENVIRONMENTALISM CAN COEXIST PEACEFULLY? My entire equilibrium of destruction is being thrown out of whack here!

Evidence also suggests, they claim, that "megafauna" can help maintain ecosystems and boost biodiversity.

"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," said Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, US.

"But if people hear the one-hour version, they realise they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now we are investing all our megafauna hopes on one continent - Africa."
A poacher's paradise as well. I can only imagine what will happen if we mix the U.S.'s ability to destroy everything that comes into existence with our current technological level and smash that together with really big wild African animals. It may be a little like Marxism in that it looks great on paper but in practice is a disaster. According to this article, "During the Pleistocene era - between 1.8 million to about 10,000 years ago - North America was home to a myriad of mega fauna." May I point out 'mega fauna' sounds like an anime term?

Once, American cheetah (Acinonyx trumani) prowled the plains hunting pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) - an antelope-like animal found throughout the deserts of the American Southwest - and Camelops, an extinct camelid, browsed on arid land.

But man's arrival on the continent - about 13,000 ago, according to one prevalent theory - pushed many of these impressive creatures to extinction.
Well, that's what we're best at.

Their disappearance left glaring gaps in the complex web of interactions, upon which a healthy ecosystem depends. The pronghorn, for example, has lost its natural predator and only its startling speed - of up to about 60mph - hints at its now forgotten foe.

By introducing living counterparts to the extinct animals, the researchers say, these voids could be filled. So, by introducing free-ranging African cheetahs to the Southwest, strong interactions with pronghorns could be restored, while providing cheetahs with a new habitat.
And hopefully breed them up a bit. Studies show that cheetahs are unable to reproduce in some parts of Africa because their sperm count is very low, a result of inbreeding.

Other living species that could "stand in" for Pleistocene-era animals in North America include feral horses (Equus caballus), wild asses (E. asinus), Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants and lions (Panthera leo).

"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators," said lead author Josh Donlan, of Cornell University. "There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realising predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."
Yes. But we Americans kind of have a problem with coexisting with nature, which can be seen in our constant desire to pave over it.

However Americans might do more than put up with their new compatriots - they might actually welcome them.

According to Dr Donlan and his colleagues, the re-wilding plan would offer ecotourism and land-management jobs to help the struggling economies of the Great Plains and Southwest.
"We'll give you a job if you please do not shoot the lions."

Dr Donlan said that large tracts of private land are probably the most promising place to start, with each step carefully guided by the fossil record and the involvement of experts and research.

"We are not advocating backing up a van and letting elephants and cheetah out into the landscape," he said. "All of this would be science driven."
All in all, I think this is a fabulous idea. But as an Arizonan who is constantly getting emails from the Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA) concerning the decline in mountain lion population (which occurs because we build houses up against mountains or even ON mountains where the lions live, and when they enter onto the property, get shot by fish and game employees) I can't imagine it happening. It'd be like electing a female president or legalising marijuana. This society just would not stand for it.

on and on, on and on. such is life.

previous - next