Animals

Factory Farms

Food mega-wholesaler Sysco pledges to liberate pigs from crates

The last year has seen a wave of companies reject one of the worst factory farm practices out there. But Sysco's pledge might have the most impact yet.

Climate Change

Nature, revised: In a brave new world, we write the rules

Eco-critic Ursula Heise talks about the tired stories we tell about the planet, and suggests that we find some new ones.

Animals

Wolverines refrigerate their food

Wolverines are loners, and they don’t like to share. They try not to hang out anywhere near other wolverines or other mammals, a social preference that some of us can relate to. And like other grumpy, anti-social creatures, wolverines do not like to share their food. You’d think that they’d be safe by living in the coldest reaches of the planet, in the middle of snowy wastelands. But they cannot escape the pesky insects and microbes that find a way to live anywhere and that would be happy to feast on the food that wolverines have scared up. To defeat …

Animals

Here’s a mama polar bear helping her baby to safety

It’s sort of unfortunate that polar bears have become such a symbol of the need to protect our natural world, because while I support them being alive and all, they are also cold-eyed killers that if given a chance would eat you and everyone you care about (adorable sled-dog stories notwithstanding.) But still, this is a nice family moment where a mama polar bear helps her baby out of the water.

Are more colorful lobsters a bad sign?

More and more unusually colored lobsters are being reported, as stocks in Maine spike and those in Connecticut plummet.

Animals

This weird artificial jellyfish is made from the cells of a rat

Watch the video below, and consider this: “Genetically, this thing is a rat,” Harvard biophysicist Kit Parker told Nature News. But, we hear you saying, that is not a rat! It’s a jellyfish! Sorta — but it’s made from silicone and the muscle cells of a rat’s heart. When the resulting “medusoid” (“jellyfishy”) creature is put into an electric field, the muscles cells contract, the silicone pulls the structure back into its original shape, and the artificial jellyfish swims.

Animals

Baby gorillas have figured out how to dismantle hunting snares

In the forests of Rwanda, mountain gorillas sometimes get caught in snares that were intended for game like antelopes. Adult gorillas can often escape; younger ones aren’t always so lucky. But staff at the Karisoke Research Center recently observed young gorillas finding and dismantling the traps before anyone could get caught, reports National Geographic News: On Tuesday tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away, Vecellio said. Suddenly two juveniles — Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a …

Animals

Here is a very, very gross picture of mayflies

My first thought when looking at this photo (posted by Reddit user ILikeWhereThisIsGoin, who probably doesn’t) was “oh, a lawnmower must have exploded! Look at all those grass clippings. All those perfectly innocuous, not-alive grass clippings.” But no, that’s just thousands and thousands of mayflies. Still perfectly innocuous, in the sense that they won’t hurt you, but WOW a lot more gross.

Sustainable Farming

Farmer spends $100,000 on waterbeds for cows

Even on a small, family-owned dairy farm, life as a milk cow looks not so great. I mean, you do spend a lot of time standing around in a stall with devices attached to your nipples. That’s cool if it’s your thing, and if there are enough of you who feel that way, I should maybe try to market my manuscript 50 Shades of Hay. But most of us look at that scenario and think “jeez, you could at least get them some fancy furniture, maybe a massage now and then.” Which may be why the Van Loon Dairy just …

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