Now that this is not actually happening, let us let our imaginations run wild as we ponder the ethics of the scenerio.
well of course it wasn’t actually happening, like, today!
there we go, that’s better
I don’t care much for cloning Neanderthals, but I’d not mind a pair of Bernese Mountain dog-sized miniaturised woolly mammoths lumbering around my house, doing elephant-like ballooooooohs at the door every time someone comes calling on me and stampeding into the kitchen whenever I open a bag of arugula.
Catherine Ulisky has painted the connections between the European starlings in these photographs to show the entire flock as one faceted geometric shape.
Ulisky on her work:
My work presents and explores aspects of our surroundings in ways that are new to me, yet faithful to what exists in nature. Carefully observing natural phenomena reminds me constantly of the limitless complexity and wonder of the world we inhabit. It is an exciting, reciprocal process that continually reinvigorates my own appreciation for what is around me.
Sometime between fifteen and thirty thousand years ago, probably in the Middle East, the long, protracted process of domestication began to alter the genetic code of the wolf, eventually leaving us with the animals we know and love as domestic dogs. While there are several different theories as to exactly how dog domestication began, what is clear is that there were some wolves who were less fearful of humans than others. Over time, those wolves were incorporated into early human settlements. Perhaps humans and early dogs learned to hunt cooperatively – both species hunt primarily by outrunning their prey – or perhaps early dogs instead learned that they could avoid hunting by scavenging on the leftovers of human hunting parties. Whatever the initial reason for the incorporation of wolves into human society, there their descendents still remain.
By sharing an environment with humans, dogs left behind their ancestral environment and found a place in a new one. No longer would they have to hunt to eat; humans would come to provide for their care and feeding. It is probably no accident that the relationship between dogs and their owners mirrors the attachment relationship between parents and their children, behaviorally and physiologically. Indeed, humans who have strong bonds with their dogs have higher levels of oxytocin in their urine than those with weaker bonds.
But it isn’t only the source of their food that changed as wolves became dogs; their entire social ecology changed. Instead of sharing social space primarily with other wolves, dogs came to treat humans as social partners. This is one of the critical differences between a domesticate and a wild animal that is simply habituated to the presence of humans. Domestication is a genetic process; habituation is an experiential one. Domestication alters nature, habituation is nurture.
Map Monsters by Susan Cirigliano
In Susan’s geography class, she assists her kids learning their countries of the world by encouraging them to find the monsters lurking within. It’s a very cool mnemonic device to help kids remember, sure, but when I did this in school they said I had ADD.
Crushed skull of a soldier with a copper helmet
This skull comes from the ‘King’s Grave’ in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The main tomb was in a rough stone chamber at the bottom of a large pit. The bodies of six soldiers wearing copper helmets and carrying spears lay at the foot of the ramp which descended to it, over eight metres below the modern surface. The helmets were broken and crushed flat by the weight of the soil which had been thrown back into the grave during the burial.
Cloudsplosions by Joschi Herczeg and Daniele Kaehr
Synchronizing a camera with a custom-built detonator, the duo of Herczeg and Kaehr were able to freeze the exact moment of mid-asplosion in every day, mundane settings, creating these solemn, peaceful looking clouds that seem to be gently rolling through an apartment.
In 1450, Venetian monk Fra Mauro created what cartography experts say may be the first known “modern” world map. Two hundred fifty years later, a copy was made that now resides in the cartographic collection of the British Library.
But this map is interesting for reasons beyond its age. As Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova notes, this global depiction was created during the golden age of display maps, “the period between 1450 and 1800, when maps were as much a practical tool for navigation as they were works of art and affirmations of cultural hegemony or social status.”
In other words, these ancient maps often served as forms of propaganda (some would argue that most maps still do); and in a collection entitled Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art, British Library cartography curators Peter Barber and Tom Harper explain the various ways that this and other ancient maps were used for reasons other than their sheer navigational utility:
[The Fra Mauro World Map (right)] points south because 15th-century compasses were south-pointing. It shows the Portuguese discoveries in Africa and questioned the authority of medieval and classical sources. Intended for display in Venice, it emphasizes the feats of Marco Polo. The British East India Company commissioned this copy, thus implying that Britain was heir to the Portuguese empire.
A hi-res version of the map can be found here, but those looking for an even more incisive look at the map and its history should check out this outstanding interactive applet, hosted by The British Library. [Spotted on Brain Pickings]