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Mark Zuckerberg kills his meat with his bare hands

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Mark Zuckerberg is gunning to be the new Ted Nugent. The Facebook founder/Übernerd/kabillionaire is now only eating meat he slaughters himself. At least, that’s what he claims his status update reading “I just killed a pig and a goat” means, and issues or no, he doesn't really seem like the kind of guy who just goes around brutalizing livestock. Zuckerberg has given himself a “personal challenge” this year to eat no meat he didn’t kill. Last year’s personal challenge was to learn Chinese, and the previous year’s was to wear a …

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Feral camels are coming to eat your air conditioner

... if you live in Australia, that is. Perhaps as a punishment for making me think about giant snakes, Australia is suffering yet another attempted takeover by non-native species, which periodically come in and disrupt the continent's carefully balanced ecosystem of massively deadly freaks of nature. This time, it’s feral camels. And they eat air conditioners and plumbing. It’s probably a fair bet that the Australian Department of Tourism is wetting its pants right about now. Camels have actually been in the country since the late 19th century (the British imported them, just like they did with human Australians), but …

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Last seen in 1898, red-crested tree rat pokes its nose out

This is a very fuzzy, cute rodent, and no one has seen one like it since 1898. It's called a red-crested tree rat, or, more evocatively, a red-crested soft-furred spiny-rat. This one wandered up to two volunteers at Fundacións ProAves' El Dorado Nature Reserve in Colombia earlier this month and hung around for a couple of hours, just chilling like it wasn’t supposed to be extinct or anything. ProAves is launching what it calls a "major effort" to save the species, now that we know there are some.

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Species are going extinct, but how quickly?

Species are going extinct at an alarming rate, and shrinking habitats are an important factor. Everyone agrees on that. But scientists don't agree about exactly how quickly species are disappearing and how they can craft mathematical models to predict that rate. A new study in Nature claims that the mathematical formula that the scientific community depends on most heavily to predict extinction rates from habitat loss—it's called the species-area curve—always overestimates the pace of extinction. The study’s authors argue, basically, that scientists assume that extinction is the reverse of increased diversity. But, as they say in Jurassic Park, life will …

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Could climate disruptions lead to an increase in GIANT SNAKES?

Here's another reason to combat climate change: Severe weather events can flush out terrifying giant snakes. This photo -- which gives me ALL THE WILLIES. ALL OF THEM -- was taken in Louisiana near the Morganza spillway, a flood control structure that was just employed to relieve pressure on the levee system after recent floods. So basically, this snake is relocating due to flooding, like everyone else in the affected area. Man, as if the sharks in Brisbane weren't bad enough. I dearly want this photo to be fake -- snakes are creepy enough when they're not a hundred feet …

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More evidence cell phones kill bees

There's a new study fingering cell phones as the culprit behind mysteriously dwindling bee populations. That's been one of the theories floating around for years -- others include viruses, global warming, insecticide, and en masse return to the planet Melissa Majora -- but new research out of Switzerland provides solid evidence that cell phone signals confuse bees, making them abandon hives, fly erratically, and get lost and disoriented. Inhabitat points out that, while bees are crucial to the ecosystems where they live, it's unlikely that we can get the entire world economy to cut down on cell phone usage just …

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Critical List: Solar panels and toxin-filled boilers for all

The home improvement store Lowe's is partnering with Sungevity, a solar panel company, to offer instant, in-store estimates for home solar installation. The panels can be rented for a monthly fee. There goes your excuse: Get off the grid, already. The EPA caved to manufacturers’ push to delay emissions standards for toxins like mercury and lead from industrial boilers. Former Utah governor and GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman -- who is a Republican, in case “Utah” didn’t tip you off -- says he respects science and believes in climate change. All right, we might have someone in the 2012 race …

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Critical List: The Mississippi River, unleashed; ‘The Dirty Dozen’ list under attack

The mighty Mississippi just can't be held down. This weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers opened four gates to the Morganza Spillway, which hasn't been used since 1973. Corps officials told residents: "Prepare for the worst. It's coming." President Obama said Saturday the administration would begin auctioning oil and gas leases in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve. Point, Republicans. NOAA has sentenced up to 85 sea lions per year to death. Their crime: feasting on endangered salmon. The U.K. parliament has agreed to back a "carbon budget" that by 2027 will have cut carbon emissions to half of 1990 levels. …

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Protect the coral reefs — the life you save might be your own

Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service -- Pacific RegionCoral reefs are in big trouble worldwide -- and that's not just bad news for snorkelers. It could mean death instead of life for millions of people ... maybe even you. Here's why: Coral already provides the elemental compounds for a growing number of crucial medicines and health products -- ranging from antiviral drugs like Ara-A and AZT to anti-inflammatories, painkillers, and even sunblocks. But science is in a race against time: We've just started to plumb the depths of coral's potential to attack the world's health issues ... only to have …

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Digging deeper into that NYT Room for Debate on farm-animal cruelty

A horrific scene from a Humane Society undercover video.Photo: Humane Society of the United StatesI was privileged this week to participate in a New York Times Room for Debate discussion on the government's vs. consumer's role in "Preventing Cruelty on the Farm," inspired by the paper's coverage of the spate of ag-gag laws pending in several states (although it appears Florida's ag-gag bill is now dead). Our discussion featured an excellent lineup of experts including Nicolette Hahn Niman, Temple Grandin, Joel Salatin, law professor Joseph Vining, the Cato Institute's Walter Olson, economist Daniel Sumner, and Wayne Pacelle, president of the …