is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


One way bloggage

The reports in the blogging world about the Monarch butterfly slaughter in Mexico started two weeks ago with a post on Metafilter. Eleven days later, Jimwich picked it up, and from there Follow Me Here had blogged it as well. The issue? Homero Aridjis, an important Mexican environmentalist, poet, and activist (eminently cardable, too: I cut much evidence from him in college), claimed that Mexican loggers had sprayed pesticide to kill 22 million Monarch butterflies to gain access to the protected woods in which they spend their winters. This would be incredibly tragic and senseless, except it's probably not true. The deaths weren't caused by spraying, and the number has been exaggerated by a factor of ten.

But Missrie told New Scientist that the mass deaths were probably caused by cold, not pesticides. Recent heavy snowfalls in the area would have been particularly devastating to butterflies trying to winter in the heavily logged forest, she says. A similar cold snap in 1996 also killed millions of Monarchs. "It can look like they were sprayed," says Missrie, because the butterflies' fat comes to the surface of their wings when they die, giving them an oily feel. The WWF has sent biologists into the field to collect samples and they expect to confirm the cause of death within a few weeks.

Obviously it would take a real set of monsters to kill a bunch of Monarchs. They're among the most impressive insects out there, and when they swarm they can make whole trees turn fiery red. I'll be interested to see which of these blogs run followups. Oh, and one other interesting thing about this story; this CNN writeup of the story has 2.2 million in the title, but 22 million in the body. What a difference a decimal makes…

Say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too, yeah

As a 26-year-old, I'm now getting old. One of my dreams is to make it to 80 so I can sit on my front porch, take up chewing tobacco so I can spit a lot, and yell at the whippersnappers. For those who haven't gotten me anything, for the amazingly low price of $5.95 a month you can sponsor Hobbsblog II to make it advertisement free. Think about it. The gift that keeps on giving.

Quiz: if you walk into a store and ask the cashier for ca$h money, is it robbery? Apparently not, if you don't use any threats. At least in Iowa. Mad props to that lawyer…

And then there's the neverending cascade of levels of perception. Before President Dubya took office, many people were mad because he was predicting a recession. The claim was that he was both lowering expectations and attempting to inoculate himself from the commonly known Republican Recession effect. Well, the new administration's media manipulations don't stop there. Critics note that Dubya is talking down the economy to get a tax cut, overstating the energy crisis to justify breaking his campaign promise to regulate CO2 emissions, and maybe even antagonizing North Korea to justify ballistic missile defense.

Lastly, an online Monster Manual. This isn't perfect; it needs more pictures, and some listed Hit Dice would be nice (a joke, a joke. sheesh), but pretty cool nonetheless. From one of my all time favorites, Blue Ruin. Please note that Catherine is threatening to buy more shoes. (Inside joke. Click here to be clued in.)


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