Creatures hitting the news in the USA

I’m not just talking about the hero dog who helped to catch an austere religious scholar, whose austere religious scholarship inspired him also to become a rapist and a torturer.

I’m also talking about goats:

A hungry herd of 500 goats has helped save the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from the California wildfires.

In May, the library hired the goats to clear flammable scrub surrounding the complex as a preventative measure.

The goats ate the brush, creating a fire break that slowed the flames and gave firefighters extra time to react.

Okay, the goats didn’t exactly put the fire out. That was done by firefighters. But, the goats did help.

This next titbit is a bit stale, from two months ago, but I am still interested, because it concerns a bridge:

Engineers in southern California are hard at work designing the biggest wildlife corridor in the world, to extend over US Highway 101 to the north-west of Los Angeles.

The corridor will connect different parts of the Santa Monica Mountain chain, which is crucial to the future of mountain lions – but it will help other species as well. The $87m bridge has entered its final design phase and is on track to open in 2023.

Other Californian creature news involved voracious purple sea urchins:

Tens of millions of voracious purple sea urchins that have already chomped their way through towering underwater kelp forests in California are spreading north to Oregon, sending the delicate marine ecosystem off the shore into such disarray that other critical species are starving to death.

Meanwhile in Colorado, some 66-million-year-old fossils have been discovered. I’m guessing something threw their delicate ecosystem into disarray.

The delicate publication process for this posting was also thrown into disarray, by me pushing the “Publish” button last night, at a time when I should merely have been pressing “Save Draft”. Sorry about that.

The soul of this blog will be transmigrating this evening

Yes. Some new sort of payment system means that this blog needs to go to a different server, or something. This shouldn’t affect all of you, but it will mean that this evening I will at some point be advised not to try to add anything to it, until the transmigration has completed itself.

So, to keep me well out of the way of this, and following my something-however-insignificant-every-day rule (which I followed yesterday also, twice), here is a link to one of those optical illusions I like to mention here from time to time, basically whenever I see one I like. This optical illusion, by turning some blue to black next to some white, turns the white yellow. Yellow that is not there but which is plainly visible. Very strange.

It isn’t Friday, which is my usual day for Cats and/or Other Creatures postings, but optical illusions like this make me wonder how the world looks to other creatures. They all see things we don’t, and we presumably see things they don’t. Could a video be made of how some Other Creature sees things, which we could then see?

Creature stuff

First up: Otters chasing a butterfly.

Next, zebras:

One of these photos. Jordan Peterson would surely like this photo.

In case you didn’t realise, Cats bond with their people too. I’m already convinced. When GD2’s family’s cat Oscar got home after going awol, he slept for about a solid day. This says to me that he was stressed out when away from home, but not when home with his humans.

From Laughing Squid, a paper cameleon, a trampolining fox, and a raven who speaks German.

Lastly, and most depressingly: Animal painter known as ‘Galician Picasso’ found half eaten by own dogs.

Please do not explain this T-shirt to me

Speaking of cats, as I just was – well, of one cat – here is another cat-related photo, of one of the many photoers I photoed ten years ago to-the-day yesterday:

Photoed at the north end of Westminster Bridge, with the trees of Parliament Square in the background.

I kept that one back for today. That T-shirt looks like she might even have made it herself.

Once again we see in action one of those ultra-cheap and ultra-cheerful digital cameras, of the sort that has now been pretty much completely swallowed by the mobile phone.

Oscar on high

Incoming from GodDaughter2’s Dad:

It’s a cat called Oscar, on a roof. But photo any creature from that low angle and it acquires a dignity and even a spot of master-of-all-he-surveys grandeur that it would otherwise not exude.

I took a few photos of Oscar on that roof when I was there in the south of France last April, which I have yet to show here. And I photoed other Oscar photos in other places which I have shown here. Some were quite entertaining, and a few of them even proved to be rather important. But all the Oscar photos I just linked to were from above, and none were as imposing as that recent one by GD2D, to whom thanks.

Looking at that photo some more, I think it greatly helps that the roof, its true roofness masked by the dark, looks more like a rock formation than a regular roof.

Swiss cat ladders

An amusing book. Not a book I’d buy, but a book I am glad to learn about:

Switzerland-based graphic designer and writer Brigitte Schuster chronicles the unique phenomenon of outdoor cat ladders in her forthcoming book, Swiss Cat Ladders. Focusing on examples in the city of Bern, Switzerland, Schuster shows how humans facilitate the comings and goings of their feline friends with a wide variety of exterior climbing structures affixed to residential buildings. Ranging from a sleek helix-type structure that’s available readymade, to more homegrown configurations that enlist tree stumps and mailboxes, the presented cat ladders allow these innately independent animals to come and go as they please. Some ladders give freedom to cats who reside on the upper stories of multi-family buildings, whereas others appear to be more suited for indulging a cat’s desire to climb.

The photo-forward book, which is bilingual in English and German, also includes diagrams and explorations of the broader cultural meaning of the ladders. …

That broader cultural meaning being – I could be wrong, I’m only guessing – that capitalism is bad and should be replaced by something that will cause everyone to starve and will cause all the cats to be eaten.

Don’t want to end on a grumpy note. I like the actual Swiss cat ladders very much.

Brian the Taunton cricket cat

To take my mind off England losing another game in the Cricket World Cup, this time to Sri Lanka, here is an altogether better cricket story:

I found that photo here, but since that the Somerset County Cricket Club website, they can’t mention their own cricket ground without vomit-inducingly attaching the name of their tedious sponsors to it, so no quotes from there, thank you.

Let’s switch to the Indian Express. Seemingly bored with wash-outs and mismatches, they try to spice up their World Cup coverage by adding Brian to their reportage:

While the match between New Zealand and Afghanistan saw the cricket fans getting to see Brian, the resident feline of the Somerset Cricket Ground, Taunton, for the first time in this year’s World Cup, cricket fans had to wait for some time to see the famous cat during the Australia-Pakistan match.

The whiskers, who has been given membership of the club, and also has a twitter handle, was seen walking on the advertising boards in the New Zealand-Afghanistan match and fans were seen cheering for the cat. The feline, who was first spotted at the stadium in 2013, was named after Brian Lee, one of the club’s employees who was on leave at that time and the club officials named the cat Brian on him having a same hairstyle like his human namesake. Brian the cat also spent some time watching Pakistan practice during one of their practice sessions on Tuesday. The cat has currently 1,737 followers on twitter. …

I lurk on Twitter, but count me out. Brian is not what you’d be following. It’s just some person. Brian himself is oblivious. He probably doesn’t even know that humans call him Brian, and he frequents the Taunton cricket ground for some feline reason like liking the smell of its grass. Also, cats quite like humans, provided they don’t make too many sudden movements or too much noise. So a cricket crowd would be just the thing. But Brian does not care whether Somerset win or lose. Or England, for that matter. Such things ought not to have to be explained.

On the other hand, during the BBC coverage of the England-SL game today, it was pointed out that this Cricket World Cup has at least spared the world the horror of Mascots, like the ghastly made-up creatures which afflicted the Olympic Games in 2012.

It didn’t work. I’m still in a bad mood about England losing today. When this World Cup was starting out, all the talk was of four teams automatically getting to the semis: England, Australia, New Zealand, India. That could still be what happens, but England have now lost to two of the Other Six, Pakistan and now Sri Lanka, and have yet to play any of the other Top Four. Are England now better than them? Doesn’t look that way.

Paris photographique

At the old blog, it was quota photos. Now it’s quota galleries, because they’re so easy to do (at least compared to how hard they used to be to do). And just as I didn’t expect you to expend any more time than you felt like expending on those quota photos, so I don’t expect you to even glance at all these photos, unless you want to. So, click click click:

All of the above photos were photoed in Paris, on May 5th of last year, when I was passing through on my way back from Brittany to London. The weather was stupendous. Not a cloud to be seen. I love how weather like that, when combined with light coloured buildings and the automatic setting on my camera, turns the sky blue-black.

There’s a bit of a bias towards roof clutter. Well, this is Paris. And Paris is famous, even among normal people who don’t usually care about roof clutter, for its roof clutter.

Good night. It has been tomorrow for quite some time.

Other creature news

In among all the vile bile, Twitter continues to serve up good Other Creatures news, especially in video form.

Here, for instance, is evidence that when it comes to shifting stuff around, while simultaneously showing a bit of common sense, robots would appear to have some way to go before they will be entirely replacing the working class.

Here is a delightful photo of two pigeons, who are checking out a photographer who is trying to photo a ceiling.

And, in otter news, here are otters doing something very strange, under a tree, in what turns out to be Singapore.

Meanwhile, via (the rest of) the blogosphere (David Thompson to be exact), an amplified cat and dogs who ate bees. The dogs look so happy, especially given how very unhappy they must feel.

On a more melancholy note, Mick Hartley tells of the Soviet whale “decimation” of the middle of the twentieth century. Decimation however, is surely the wrong word. It was far worse than that. The writer whom Hartley quotes seems to think that decimation means killing nine out of ten, because he talks of whale species being “driven to the edge of extintion”. But decimation wasn’t killing nine out of ten members of a Roman legion. It was killing one in every ten. It was to punish, not to extinguish, a legion. That verbal quibble aside, there can’t be too many reports of what an insanely destructive economic system the USSR imposed upon all its victims. And its victims were not only human.