This morning, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something moving on my couch. But this was no ordinary New York City bug-in-the-apartment nightmare. It was a baby lizard, sitting next to me, enjoying the soft cushion of the couch I spent two months debating whether or not to buy, and frankly, I’m not sure what to do about it.
The Guardian today, picking up on a paper in Nature, reports that scientists have calculated that there are more than “3tn” trees on Earth. The “3tn” means three trillion. What does “trillion” mean in British English? Did they give up on that “billion”-means-“trillion”/“trillion”-means-“quintillion” nonsense yet? Whew, yes. There are more than 3,000,000,000,000 trees.
A video file by the name of "2 guys 1 fish" is making its way around Twitter today. The video depicts a man receiving oral sex from a large fish. If you want to watch the video—which, let's be clear, depicts what is almost certainly an illegal act of animal abuse—it is located here. If you don't want to watch, but want to be familiar with the events contained therein, here's a description of the act.
The layout of Lafayette Street where it meets Prince Street was reconstructed recently, so that it now includes a short median. For human purposes, the median is engineered to separate the bicycle lane from the main flow of traffic, and to mark the beginning of the off-curb parking spaces. For the purposes of other living things, it also happens to offer a concrete-bounded patch of open dirt.
Emergency officials reported on Saturday that a wildfire that continues to rage through Washington state east of the Cascade Mountains has destroyed over 100 homes and has left thousands in the area without electricity. The fire has been burning for six days, officials say, and hundreds have been evacuated.
Today, the Maryland Transportation Authority added a platform to its Bay Bridge traffic-camera gantry, so ospreys may nest there without blocking the cameras. At noon four days a week, a camera will pivot to show the ospreys for 15 minutes. The ospreys appear to find the MDTA's terms of surrender acceptable.
The osprey, Pandion haliaetus, is a bird of character. The ancient poets knew this, and the Maryland Transportation Authority is discovering it the hard way. Last week, a pair of ospreys decided to build their nest on a platform overlooking the approach to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, where the MDTA keeps a traffic camera.
There's a lunar eclipse tonight, with totality lasting from 3:06 a.m. till 4:24 a.m. on the East Coast. Unfortunately, that's when cloud cover will be approaching totality in the East, too. So snap a picture at 12:06 a.m., California, and let us know what it looked like. We'll try again on October 8.
When the huge invasion of snowy owls began this winter, was it wrong for us to feel delight? These beautiful raptors from the arctic tundra do not often show up on the American East Coast, after all. But the sheer number of snowy owls should have been a warning, both to the owls themselves and to our sense of wonder.
In normal times, the arctic bird of prey known as the Snowy Owl stays up north, feasting upon the flesh of lemmings. But these are not normal times, so the owls have come south with the terrible arctic weather. "They are just absolutely everywhere and there's a lot more coming," says an expert who knows about the owls.