Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Heaved a Sigh

The following sentence is the abstract from an article on MSN.com:

"Wildlife numbers have plunged by more than half in just 40 years as Earth's human population has nearly doubled, a survey revealed Tuesday."

Are you able to read that sentence and not feel the bottom drop out of your stomach? If so, we envy you.

This is the part where we would link to the MSN piece, but in digging around, we found the survey was done by the London Zoo, so here's the BBC piece on the findings, if for no other reason than the BBC is ostensibly closer to the source.

Is there hope? There is no hope. There is hope. Is there hope? Mm. We've already pulled all the petals off the daisy. Time to pick another one.

Let's take a breath and recalibrate our brains with a bold idea from evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson, who recently told Smithsonian Magazine that "people haven’t been thinking big enough -- even conservationists."

What then, does Mr. Wilson propose? Half of the world should be returned to wildlife. Oh you sweet, 85-year-old dreamer of golden dreams. If only, Mr. Wilson. It's a wonderful thought.

Read the interview here.

Now, here's your reward:

photo © Brian W. Schaller / License: CC BY-NA-SA 3.0
This frog lives in the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. She gives zero fucks about your social media presence.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Unified Joke Theory?

The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner attempts to do what many others have before: dissect jokes and thus explain how humor works. The main theory, provided by McGraw, who is the director of the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado, is called the benign-violation theory.

Jokes, once dissected, stop being funny. So without having read the book, it's impossible for us to weigh in with an opinion. Instead, we read Joel Epstein ruminations on the idea in his article for Commentary magazine, "Notes On What's So Damn Funny."

Epstein includes many jokes in his piece, so at the very least, you'll get some laughs. But seriously, read his article. And if you like it, try McGraw and Warner's book.

Thanks, you've been great! G'night!

[Thanks once more to Arts & Letters Daily]