Dire News


A Great Future In Plastics

by on Aug.18, 2014, under Animals, Environment, Food, Nature

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Benjamin: Yes, sir. Mr. McGuire: Are you listening? Benjamin: Yes, I am. Mr. McGuire: Plastics. Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean? Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it? plastic-recycling We've seen the future, and it's rubbish. plastic_ocean Plastic is our future because we can't get rid of it. Once in the environment, it's there to stay. It doesn't biodegrade like organic materials, and doesn't oxidize like metals. If it breaks down at all, it breaks down into smaller plastic pieces. A lot of it ends up in the oceans, and on the beaches. minke01 Even the large marine animals are affected. This minke whale washed up on a beach. minke02 When the contents of its stomach were examined, it was found to contain a lot of plastic grocery store bags. laysan_albatross1 Even though their diet is different than the whales' other creatures are affected too. The Laysan Albatross has especially suffered. Laysan Albatross Nesting by Rows of Plastic Litter There's hardly a place they can go that isn't surrounded by plastic trash. albatross12 The origins are both marine and land based. Plastic doesn't observe political boundaries. albatross_anatomy The stuff found inside the Laysan Albatross is usually familiar to most biologists. More frequently, however, what they find is recognizable to any modern person. Kure Laysan Carcass The organs of the dead birds have been displaced by colorful plastic trash. albatross09 These pictures illustrate how these albatrosses were found. albatross01 Even if we make an effort to use less plastic, and recycle more religiously, it already permeates the environment. albatross02 The birds consume everything from bottle caps to toothbrushes. albatross04 These birds contain more plastic than a Lego model. lego-bird The plastic is more colorful than the birds. albatross07 But we don't think it adds to their natural beauty. albatross10 We believe that these creatures should stick to an organic diet. croc_hand1 It's a lot healthier for them than plastic. croc_limbs
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Keeping Your Kids Safe

by on Jul.31, 2014, under Education, Family, Health, Kids, Nature, Parenting

Child mortality rates have plummeted in the last few decades as we've become more cognizant of the potential dangers, and technology has advanced and recognized that safety is just as important as function. The warnings from a previous era are no longer adequate. do_notIt's paramount that parents recognize the dangers in their homes and make sure their kids remain safe. To that end we present these child safety tips. teddy_defender Check the closet and under the bed to be sure that there are no monsters hiding there. kidonhook When mounting the child on a wall, make sure that you use hardware that is designed for the weight of the child. girl-upsidedown Furniture should be designed to be used around children. Fully extend your drawers to be sure that the furniture won't tip over on your kid. hangdrawers Decorative hardware and drawer pulls should not have any sharp edges or your child may be in danger of falling when he's hanging from the drawer. baby_wash When you're washing your baby, don't fill the tub all the way. Always use the gentle cycle. kids_washing Encourage the kids to help with the household chores to get the job done more quickly. tvhug Soft cuddly toys are preferable to large electronic devices for play time. hallofscience Some toys are dangerous if used improperly. Young children should always use them under the supervision of someone older, preferably not an older sibling. dartaccidentfm3 Encourage sibling relationships. When one child is playing, younger brothers or sisters should always be included. hoarder1 If you let your child eat in his room, make sure he properly disposes of the containers and leftovers. knife_electric Make sure that the electrical outlets in your house are child safe by testing conduction potential. childproof_outlet The "taste test" is the most accurate way to check for lethal current. powdergirl Keep your cocaine locked up in a childproof container. overhead-kid When traveling with your child, bring along a favorite toy, and make him feel as much at home as possible. kidsleeps Make sure that your child isn't past his recommended shelf life. toilet-reading Toilet training is important for both the child's and parents' well-being. Encourage them to use it regularly by letting them entertain themselves while in the bathroom. first_drunk Eventually they'll learn to use it like a grown-up. plunger_boy Teach them to flush often or the toilet might clog. plunger_boys2 Kids learn by doing, so let them try things out until they learn to do it properly. kidtrap Toys and games should be age and size appropriate. Don't let your kids play with something that's too big for them just because you have it on hand. hsflashers Your kids' friends will have a lot of influence on them, so get to know the people they hang out with. dickisgood Learn about what they like and dislike, and try not to be too judgmental. putana Breast feeding is recommended up to a certain age, but don't smear your breasts with poison until after the babies have been fed. child_stove Including the child in the cooking process can teach him about where food comes from, and to make healthy choices. nyquil-nap Keep sugary snacks hidden so your child doesn't eat too much at one time. brownie-sleep "Special" edible treats should only be eaten by children in moderation. spiderboy Well padded furniture will increase the chance of a soft landing. kids_swim When on vacation, be sure to arrange some activities for the kids' benefit. kids_karachi Follow our simple safety tips to keep your kids happy and healthy. kid_safe
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Outdoor Safety Tips: Mountain Lions

by on Jul.24, 2014, under Animals, Education, Environment, Health, Nature

The mountain lion, also known as the cougar, puma, and panther isn't especially large, but they can bound up to 40 feet and leap 15 feet up to a tree. Typically found in the West, mountain lions have been sighted in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and even Connecticut. cougar_young What should you do if you encounter one? Avoid it if at all possible. Otherwise, follow these handy safety tips. mlhabitat Frankly, we'd rather take our chances with the mountain lion rather than giving a cat a bath. cattack02 cattack01 If you have to fight, here's are some strategies you can try. mountain_lion_safety  
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Hard To Swallow

by on Jul.24, 2014, under Animals, Environment, Food, Nature

- I -
Once, when I was six years old, I saw a magnificent picture in a book called "True Stories", about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor swallowing a wild beast. Here is a copy of the drawing.
In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion." I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My drawing number 1. It looked like this:
boa fermé
I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them. They answered me: "Why should any one be frightened by a hat?" My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Then, I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My drawing number 2 looked like this:
boa ouvert
The grown-ups' response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. The transitive property proves that a boa constrictor could really swallow an elephant. elecroc01 A crocodile can eat an elephant. snake_croc A snake can devour a crocodile. By the Transitive Property of Predation, a snake can eat an elephant. But they usually start with something smaller. snake_croc_dead Biting off more than you can chew can cause indigestion, or worse. Nonetheless, some snakes have a hearty appetite. snakefood It was still a considerable feat for the rock python that was spotted 25 miles outside the village of Billa in Gujarat, India. impala45 At the snake's home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play, a young impala is a delicacy too good to pass up. python05 A well-endowed snake can swallow something bigger than itself. It's jaw and stomach can stretch a considerable amount. python01 Snakes don't chew their food. They like to savor it as it goes down. python03 Snakes have an efficient straight-line digestive system, so like an assembly line it can take in raw materials at one end and turn out a finished product from the other, with all the intermediate processes running concurrently. python04 Although it was almost down to the end, a crowd had gathered to watch, so the python, frightened, regurgitated the antelope. It's a common defensive response so the snake can quickly shed weight and get away fast. Python_regurgitating1 Otherwise it could be there for a while. snake_digest2
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Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

by on Jul.08, 2014, under Environment, Family, Health, Kids, Nature, Parenting, Recreation

It's been more than 10 years since five year old Lelaina Hall died after being trapped in the mud at Berrow Beach, Somerset in 2002. mudflat_danger People, especially kids, ignore the posted warnings to play in the mud. mudflat_rescue Emergency crews had already been called out several times to rescue people stuck in the mud. But like the others, this young boy ran out to enjoy the mudflats exposed during low tide at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset to the consternation of his mother. mudboy3 All of the stuck children were located and rescued that day, although one seven year old boy had to be checked out by an ambulance crew. Roger Fry, who lives in the area, was attending Weston Air Day when he snapped these photos. mudboy2 He said, "I was on the beach watching the planes when I heard this great ruckus. I looked round and saw this mother screaming at a kid." "I told you not to go down there, you're filthy" and so on. "Everyone stopped and looked around before the mother stormed off with some other children towards the car park. The muddy kid just followed on a little later." mudboy1 The unidentified young boy was berated by his mother, and was seen bursting into tears as the furious woman wagged her finger in front of his face. "Everyone stopped and looked around before the mother stormed off with some other children towards the car park. The muddy kid just followed on a little later." reported Fry.

"I want to play cricket on the green,

Ride my bike across the street,

Cut myself and see my blood,

I want to come home all covered in mud."

"I'm a Boy" -- Pete Townsend

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Indian Folk Tail

by on Jul.07, 2014, under Culture, Family, Health, Kids, Nature, Religion

In our article Tales of Woe,  we discussed caudal appendages,  which look much like a tail. While they can usually be removed surgically, there are some sufferers, like Xiao Wei, who cannot have the surgery and must learn to live with it. xw_tail Not everyone considers a tail to be a detriment, even when it affects their ability to live a normal life. arshid01 Arshid Ali Khan, from the Indian state of Punjab, is unable to walk and has to use a wheelchair to get around. Locals consider him to be a reincarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman; they refer to him as बालाजी, or Balaji. hanuman01 Arshid said, "This tail has been given to me by god. I am worshipped because I pray to god and the wishes of people come true." arshid02 Arshid lives with his grandfather, Iqbal Qureshi, and two uncles since his father died when he was four. His mother has since remarried. arshid04 Arshid's home has become a temple where his devotees come to visit him to receive his blessings and touch his tail. arshid03 “A lot of people’s wishes have come true after they have visited,” claimed Mr Qureshi, a local music teacher. “Sometimes there are childless couples who come to Balaji for help. He blesses them, and often they are then able to conceive.” arshid06 Despite his status as a god, Arshid needs a wheelchair to get around, and his condition is yet undiagnosed. arshid07 He is due to see a doctor who may be able to successfully remove the tail, but his family says they would rather he keep the tail than risk an operation. arshid08 Mr. Qureshi says that it's Balaji's decision. Arshid does not believe that the amputation of his tail will keep the crowds from flocking to his house for his blessings. "Doctors can remove my tail," he said, "but people will continue to believe in me."
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Rat Pack

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Animals, Consumer, Culture, Food, Nature

The Red River delta and southern Mekong River delta in Viet Nam constitute half of the country's fish harvest, but there's an old regional favorite that isn't made from seafood. ratmeat16 The rats are captured in the wild ratmeat15 and sold in markets. ratmeat4 Compared to other types of meat, it's fairly cheap at about 50,000 dong, or $ 2.50 a pound. ratmeat5 If you're squeamish about the thought of eating a rat, just think of it as the analog of a cornish hen and chicken. A rat is nothing more than a tiny capybara. capybara_friends The rats are washed before they're prepared for cooking. ratmeat11 Then they're skinned ratmeat8 And gutted. ratmeat3   ratmeat9 If you want a night out, you can order your favorite entree at a rat restaurant. ratmeat1 They can be roasted over an open flame. ratmeat2 Or if your culinary delight is stuff on a stick Stuff_on_a_Stick You can get your rat to eat on the go. ratmeat6 The rats are roasted until they're charred. For that outdoor flavor, you can cook them right in the back yard using manure for fuel. ratmeat7 Eat up! bushrat owl-eating-rat
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