Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
An "extraordinary" desert creature has been caught on camera for what scientists believe is the first time.
The long-eared jerboa, a tiny nocturnal mammal that is dwarfed by its enormous ears, can be found in deserts in Mongolia and China.
Zoological Society of London (ZSL) scientist Jonathan Baillie said the footage was helping researchers to learn more about the mysterious animal.
The species is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red list.
The unusual animals were filmed in the Gobi desert during an expedition led by Dr Baillie.
Until now, the creatures had proven extremely difficult to study, thanks to their minuscule size, nocturnal nature and the harsh desert environment that they inhabit.
Dr Baillie told BBC News that he was "ecstatic" to have tracked down the jerboas.
"These creatures hop just like a kangaroo; it is amazing to watch. Little hairs on their feet, almost like snow shoes, allow them to jump along the sand," he explained.
"And in terms of mammals, they have one of the biggest ear-to-body ratios out there."
The footage revealed that the creatures spent daylight hours in underground tunnels beneath the sand, and that their diet was mostly made up of insects.
"The long-eared jerboa is a bit like the Mickey Mouse of the desert, cute and comic in equal measure," Dr Baillie said.
By setting pitfall traps, the researchers were also able to look at the rodents close-up and to begin to estimate their population.
Dr Baillie added that although there was still much to learn about the rare rodent, it was already believed to be under threat from habitat disturbance.
"We travelled to the Gobi to find out about the animal's status and learn more about it so we can develop a thorough long-term action plan."
The expedition formed part of ZSL's Edge programme, which focuses its efforts on conservation plans for animals that are both endangered and evolutionarily distinctive.
The long-eared jerboa is one of 10 species that the programme is looking at this year.
"These amazing, remarkable creatures are on the verge of extinction and we know almost nothing about them," warned Dr Baillie.
He added that it was important not to overlook desert habitats in conservation.
"Everyone thinks the desert is a totally desolate area, void of biodiversity, and often when conservation planning is done, deserts are overlooked.
"But there are some remarkable species in the desert, so we really need to start paying attention to this environment."
An Edge scientist has now been appointed to further study the species.
Trixie's Note: Okay, if this little bugger was just 'discovered', is it such a stretch of the believable to think that there might just be an ape-like humanoid creature in the deep forests of America? Hmmmmmmm?
Thursday, December 6, 2007
New York Comedian and former Rachael Ray fan Sara Jo Allocco had the opportunity to see Ray live and in person at a taping of her popular daytime talk show. It is during this taping that Sara discovered a truly awful secret: Rachael Ray is a huge, huge bitch. What follows is her report of the experience, where Ray ignored the crowd, acted like a c***, and caused a group of friendly travelers to miss their flight home. It reads as a warning to mid-Western housewives everywhere: Avoid this show at all costs!
This Tuesday, a friend and I headed over to a midtown Manhattan studio to attend a very special taping of The Rachael Ray Show. Now, I know a lot of people can’t stand Rachael Ray. In fact, I feel like MOST people can’t stand her, but I actually like watching her cook because her meals are very easy (i.e., a chimp like me can make them with little to no, make that no, effort). I will say that I was a bit worried when I read the e-mail and it said to be prepared to be there for “several hours”. I mean, how much of this woman’s “EVOO’s” and “I Know, RIGHT!?’s” can one person take?
We arrived and stood outside in the cold, at 1pm (check-in was at 2:15). After being selected off of the line by one of the many PA’s, we were happily whisked away to another holding area with a group of Pennsylvania housewives who made a big trip to NYC, complete with lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp. My friend and I pushed our way to the one small heater in the hallway, hogging up the vital toe-thawing area. Finally, after nearly melting my knee-high leather boot into my leg, I decided it was time for them to let us in. After all it was like 3pm at this point. So the line slowly starts making its way thru security (honestly they have better security at this show than at Laguardia), which then leads to an elevator, which then leads to… her set?! Not even close. Another holding cell. Fear not: They had Rachael Ray approved Dunkin Donuts coffee (that was already gone) and Sara Lee muffins that could thoughtfully also be used to fix any wall cracks that may pop up.
Eventually, we were seated on her set and the warm up comic comes out. He’s adorable and funny and he deserves an Emmy and a Dunkin Donut’s endorsement deal; hands down, he was the highlight of the show. In fact the crew was lovely and friendly.
My beef is with Ms. Ray herself. When Rachael came out for her first bit (they taped three different show segments so, she had three different wardrobe changes), she simply walked onto the set as if to say, “Yeah I’m here. Let’s f**king start people”. In fact, I could be wrong, but she may have actually come right out and said that.
Anywho, as I’m about to whisper “What a bitch” to my friend, she beats me to it. I nod in agreement. This continues on for the duration of time Rachael Ray is in front of us. She never warmed up to the crowd, and barely made eye contact. I couldn’t help feel disappointed. Almost like that time when I was 7 and I accidentally walked into the dressing room at Chuck E. Cheese’s and saw Mr. Munch (my favorite character) with his head off scratching his balls. Now, I’m not expecting Ray Ray to be the loud, bubbly, cookie monster sounding maniac she appears to be on television. Nor do I expect her to personally shake each and every one of our hands and exchange recipes. I also know how TV works, and that it must be stressful and tiring to shoot three different episode segments, cook all day, and keep up this bubbly “I’m the cutest” personality. But for the money she makes, she can punch it up a bit more. It almost seemed like she was annoyed that we were even there, that she was put in this position to make millions in order to please the always-hungry masses. Well Eff That Ess! Bone up, Ray, it’s Shobiz!
All in all, I can’t say I was totally surprised, because I’m never surprised when a “celebrity” turns out to be an a**hole. Hell they’re human. But I didn’t run into her in the pasta aisle of Whole Foods and demand a photo… I went to see her freaking show. But I can’t complain nearly as much as the row of women who missed their flight back home to Middle America. That’s gotta suck worse than Rachael’s “Rayisms” and self proclaimed “Awesomeness.”
Next time I’m on the verge of catching hypothermia, it will be for Martha Stewart, plain and simple.
Posted by Denise (aka Trixie) at Thursday, December 06, 2007