Cats have long held us under their spell, and science has done a lot of important work trying to explain why. In recent years, researchers have linked a parasite from our feline friends to slowed reaction times and mental illness. And now none of that may actually be true.
According to researchers in the U.K., studies that have linked the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are flawed because they had a small sample size, or failed to account for other factors where exposure to the parasite was caused by having a cat in the house. Basically, they’re not saying cats do make you crazy via parasite, they just don’t have enough information to definitively say that having a cat increases your odds of exposure to T. gondii.
That sounds suspiciously like what a scientist whose brain is under the control of cats would conclude.
As if living in Texas wasn’t bad enough, residents now have to be worried about feral pigs overrunning society as they know it. That’s not hyperbole, that’s the state government’s position.
The feral pig situation in Texas is so bad that state Agriculture Secretary Sid Miller cited concerns about a coming “feral hog apocalypse” as a reason to take drastic measures to fight off the swine. Miller approved the use of a pesticide to combat the exploding wild hog population. The decision has drawn criticism from hunters, but that’s probably because they want to see society collapse so they can live out their survivalist wet dreams.
And for the record, secretary, a pig-related end-of-the-world scenario is called an “aporkalypse.”
For years, science has been threatening us with unleashing one of our long-vanquished foes, the woolly mammoth. And luckily for humanity, it hasn’t happened yet, but it’ll be a reality by 2019.
At a conference this week, the leader of a team of Harvard University researchers boasted that his people are just a couple years away from having a de-extinctified woolly mammoth. Much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, the mammoth wouldn’t be 100% original parts, some of the genes would have to come from a similar creature. That creature in this case is an Asian elephant. So the thing that they make will actually be a hybrid.
We killed all the woolly mammoths thousands of years ago, and we’re pretty close to finishing off the elephant population. We need to step it up to ensure this abomination is never made.
As many East Coast travelers know, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is an awful, awful place. It’s the busiest airport in North Carolina, so it’s fitting that it’s such a hole. But innocent travelers found their lives in danger when a deer attacked a plane during takeoff.
According to the FAA, a jet carrying 44 passengers headed to Mississippi was struck by a deer on the runway during takeoff yesterday. The plane made it into the air, but was damaged and leaking fuel. Fortunately, it was able to make an emergency landing a few minutes later, and no humans were harmed.
This is yet another reason why you should never fly to, from or through Charlotte. There are plenty of other airports you can gamble your life on.
Joining Vermont, South Carolina is a state reeling from reports of a new danger. People there are used to seeing alligators, but they are used to seeing them come in one color. Now there’s an orange gator on the loose.
Locals reported seeing an orange gator in a retention pond recently, and authorities are stumped. They know it’s not an albino, because it’s an adult gator and this is the first time anyone has reported it. After that, it’s just guesswork. The real problem is that the gator blends in with the color of the South Carolina clay, which means it’s even hard to see it before it strikes.
They’re calling it the Trumpagator. Be afraid.
Just before Thanksgiving last year, the animals tried to end the world. Perhaps you hadn’t heard about that.
On Nov. 20, 2016, the Large Hadron Collider was under attack. Authorities say that a weasel-like animal called a marten climbed over a fence protecting the enormous particle accelerator. It was a suicide mission, an attempt to sabotage the LHC and hopefully blow up the Earth. The marten touched a transformer and was instantly killed as 18,000 volts coursed through its body. Luckily, the LHC didn’t blow up.
Why is this news now? Because the marten’s charred remains are now on display in the Netherlands at the Museum of Natural History Rotterdam. Make sure to stop by if you’re in town.
The danger posed by animals is real, folks. It’s very, very real. We cannot caution you enough against trusting animals that you call pets, because no matter how much you love them, they want to destroy your life, including burning down your house.
In South Carolina, a sheriff’s deputy is now homeless because one of her animals torched her home when she was gone. The theory is that the deputy’s pig knocked over a heat lamp in an animal pen, setting a fire that spread to the house.
The pig survived the incident and has not been charged, but we believe it should go towards replenishing the nation’s pork belly supplies.
When it comes to going soft in the War on Animals, the Dutch want to be the softest. The one-time enemies of nature (they made their own sea) have decided that humans aren’t the only apes that need help hooking up.
Researchers at a wildlife reserve have developed what many call the Tinder for orangutans and bonobos. The app they created shows the apes pictures of other apes doing various activities. The apes then push a button on the screen that best gauges their reaction to it, kind of like those BuzzFeed surveys you keep filling out.
Researchers say they have found that orangutans and bonobos have shown they read others’ emotion through physical actions, and now want to see if the apes will show a preference for certain mates.
Traffic court is not a place you want to be. It’s a huge time commitment and usually it’s over an amount of money that’s not worth it in the end. Regardless of whether you are innocent, it’s generally to be avoided. But what if police have the wrong guy?
In Massachusetts, claimed just such a thing over a speeding ticket. He told a judge that not was he not speeding when police pulled him over, but that the real offender wasn’t even human. In fact, a speeding deer that was to blame. The man claimed the police officer’s radar gun had actually caught the speed of a nearby deer, rather than his car.
The judge upheld the speeding ticket fine, and the deer remains at large.
In the 1990s, we knew hamsters as things that danced in gifs. But today, things are much darker. Now the hamster populations of Europe are collapsing because the adults keep eating their young.
According to scientists, the reason for this isn’t that baby hamsters are so tasty, it’s because of corn, the devil’s grain. The theory is that many wild hamsters don’t get the diversity of food that they used to get. It’s less common for them to find roots, insects or different types of grains to snack on. Instead, all they eat is corn. Corn all day every day, thanks to modern farming practices. That means they don’t get many of the vitamins they need. Researchers found that hamster mothers with an all-corn diet ate 95% of their babies. The corn hamster moms would actually store their young with their corn supplies before eating them. So that’s sufficiently gruesome.
One other thing we learned, there are populations of wild hamsters in Europe, for now.