Can spiders ever be cute? The creator of this listicle at the website LOL Gallery Infatuation seems to think so. I generally—and rather vehemently—disagree, which is why this post does not reproduce any of the pictures displayed over there.
I have addressed the question of whether arthropods can ever meet the standard human definition of “cute” before, and I’ve even found some examples among the insects and the crustaceans. I do not feel that I am ready, however, to extend any amount of squee to the arachnids, especially the members of the order Araneae. Maybe I just need time…
Others clearly disagree with me, though: Continue reading
– That’s certainly a relief: The Basque people have probable been a bit hesitant to visit Westfjords in northwestern Iceland for a while now. It looks like an absolutely beautiful place, but the Basques—the indigenous ethnic group of northern Spain and southwestern France, have not been welcome there for some time. That’s because until recently, the law in that part of Iceland required killing any Basques in the area:
Basques wanting to visit the dramatic fjords of north-western Iceland need no longer hesitate after the district of Westfjords repealed a 400-year-old decree to kill any Basque caught in the area on sight.
“The decision to do away with the decree was more symbolic than anything else,” said Westfjords district commissioner Jonas Gudmundsson. “We have laws, of course, and killing anyone– including Basques – is forbidden thesedays.”
The edict was issued in 1615 after a storm destroyed three Basque whaling vessels on an expedition in Iceland. Eighty members of the crew survived, said Gudmundsson, and were left stranded in the area. “They had nothing to eat, and there were accounts of them robbing people and farmers,” he said.
The brewing conflict between locals and the whalers prompted then-sheriff Ari Magnússon to draw up a decree that allowed Basques to be killed with impunity in the district. In the weeks that followed, more than 30 Basques were killed in raids led by the sheriff and local farmers. “It’s one of the darkest chapters of our history,” said Gudmundsson, noting that the incident known as the Slaying of the Spaniards ranks among the country’s bloodiest massacres.
(h/t Doug Coulson) Obviously, the law would be unenforceable in the Iceland of 2015 (one hopes), but it’s still a welcome gesture to issue a formal repeal. If nothing else, it gives a little perspective on something like Mississippi ratifying the 13th Amendment (the one that abolished slavery) in 2013, 148 years after the end of slavery. Continue reading
The road ahead may be difficult, but with courage, determination, and a noble steed, you may accomplish great feats.
Just be careful your enthusiasm doesn’t keep your steed from also seeing the road ahead.
(h/t Sam Sykes for the picture)
Should we feel bad for Hitman Monkey?
The caption to this post says “C’mon guys!” but I think he’s saying “Follow me, lads!”
Gibraltar, the British territory on the southern tip of Spain at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, is the home of the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. About three hundred Barbary macaques live there, where they are somewhat erroneously known as the Barbary apes (they’re actually monkeys).
The above picture shows Sergeant Alfred Holmes (1931-1994) of the Gibraltar Regiment with two Barbary macaques, surveying the city from the Rock of Gibraltar. He held the position of “Officer-in-Charge of the Apes” for more than thirty-eight years, calling the macaques “Gibraltar’s greatest treasure.”
The consensus seems to be that the Moors brought the monkeys to Spain as pets between the Eighth and Fifteenth Centuries, but monkeys had probably been in Europe long before that. Continue reading
I’ve gotten behind on my regularly-scheduled posts, which I’m sure is upsetting to my reader(s).
The following pictures were all posted by Michaela M. on a thread at care2.com:
They’re like tiny adorable people!
Photo credits: Monkeys on the move (1 and 2) by e-Eva-a, Monkey family 2 by goejsen, on stock.xchng.
Dogs and monkeys don’t seem to get along very well.
Mean Monkey Kicks Dog Animated GIF | Pets And Animals GIFs – GIFSoup.com. (via YouTube.)
I’m going to assume this is a good-natured dispute, to the extent that we can understand how monkeys and dogs negotiate with one another.