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Wild & Queer Ecologies

21 May

by Russ McSpadden / from the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Earth First! Journal, Vol. I, 2010

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Wilderness, the biodiversity of life that exists where sexual creativity and adventure flourish, is pan-sexual, poly-gendered, orgiastic and playful. The sun engages the soil with titillating light, radiation, chemical explosion and the magnetism of its flaring body in a queer ecology that spreads across the Earth.

Flora cast their seed through the embracing bodies of wind and water. Bees enter their petals. Male hummingbirds, moist from floral nectar, thrust frantically to forest canopies to copulate together — not for reproduction, but joy. Groups of female bottle nose dolphins use tails and fins to massage each others genitals, entering the folds of their sexual openings. Female hedgehogs perform cunnilingus. Male African elephants, female grizzly bears, white-tailed deer and flamingos form homosexual bonding trios. Canadian gees and black swans form bisexual trios. West Indian manatees cavort in polyamorous bisexual orgies. Lesbian bird pairs, which engage with males for reproduction only, often exhibit larger nests with more eggs than heterosexual pairings. Transgendered animals thrive. Bighorn sheep, which live in sex-segregated herds for most of the year, nevertheless exhibit male-sexed individuals that adopt female-sexed behavior patterns and remain year-round in the female-sexed herds. Numerous species of fish and bear undergo the their sexual and reproductive system to other sexualities. Testes transition to ovaries. Ovaries transition to include testes. Gender playfulness and genderlessness teem.

To date, scientists have recorded the queer lives of gray wolves, red fox, elk, bison, kestrels, barn owls, ravens, monarch butterflies, walrus, bats, giraffes, lions, penguins, hyenas, dragonflies, humans and so on, to a total of 1,500 species and counting. Continue reading

Disney Attempts to Own Title of Indigenous Mexican Tradition

20 May

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

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Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday with roots in indigenous Aztec traditions that honors the dead with elaborate processions, vigils, and the decoration of alters and the graves of deceased ancestors. 

On May 1, the Walt Disney company filed 10 applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the term “Dia de los Muertos” in anticipation of a yet untitled Disney-Pixar movie about the holiday.

The filing is a clear attack on the spiritual traditions of indigenous people as well as another telling example of the drive of corporate ownership over an ever expanding purse of traditional cultural resources, from plant knowledge in India to racist depictions of indigenous faces as mascots of major sports teams in the U.S.

Fortunately, following public outrage Disney has since dropped the bid — for now. 

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How Grandma’s Pregnancy Test Spawned an Extintion Crisis: the Story of the African Clawed Frog

16 May

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by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

Back in the 1950s African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) were imported to California by the pharmaceutical industry for pregnancy tests. The frogs, according to scientists, have a hormone system quite similar to humans. They ovulate in response to urine from a pregnant women. If one wanted to know if they were pregnant, the test went like this: a lab tech would inject a live female frog with serum or urine from a potentially pregnant woman. If the injection caused the frog to produce eggs within 24 hours, the results for pregnancy were positive. One frog might be injected over and over with the serum of hundreds of clients.

But as researchers developed more sophisticated blood tests, the clawed frogs were deemed unnecessary and many hospitals released them into ponds and canals throughout California where they have thrived for decades.

Now a research team from Standford University and San Francisco State University have linked them with the deadly Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis fungus which is responsible for the mass-death of vast numbers of amphibian species worldwide, contributing to the loss of entire species, and according to the LA Times, “one of the greatest-disease-caused losses of biodiversity in recorded history.”

“Until this report, there had been no conclusive evidence that [African clawed frogs] had been carrying the disease,” said a Stanford veterinarian who helped author the new report.

The amphibian extinction crisis–which already threatens nearly one half of all amphibian species with extinction and has driven more than 120 species to extinction in recent years–is something that probably doesn’t keep you up at night, but it should. Amphibians are vital to functioning ecosystems and their disappearance will reverberate up the food-chain.

But seriously, its not all grandma’s fault. Toxins, climate change, nonnative predators, over-collection, habitat destruction and other diseases also extract their countless pounds of amphibian flesh from the planet every year.

The Early History of the Robot Wars, Part IV

9 May

In which we discuss the possibility of autonomous AI class warfare, mullets as resistance, Big Brother iPhones, the Kaczynski-bot  and other shit of great and creepy importance.nuR4V

by Russ McSpadden / Carbon-based humanoid correspondent for the King Ludd & John Connor Institute of Anti-Technology

Roboter Proletarier Aller Länder Vereinigt Euch!

Etymologists trace the word robot back to robota  from old Church Slavonic, a language standardized by Byzantine Greeks in the 9th Century to Christianize the Slavic peoples. It translates variously as “servitude,” “forced labor” and “drudgery.” With cognates in German, Polish, Russian and Czech, it is a word rooted in the European system of serfdom whereby bonded tenants paid rent through forced labor, maintaining the crops, roads, mines and forests of a lordly class. So, if you are slinging double fudge yuppie lattes against your will to pay for the right to have water, food, and shelter, then you are, according to its classic usage, a fucking robot. You know the feeling right? Continue reading

Radical Media and Earth First! without You?

29 Apr

Hey all, the Earth First! Journal and Newswire have been pumping out that fresh front-lines news you won’t find together anywhere else.  We are also, perhaps, the only editors and journalists that meet copy deadlines while also engaging in blockades, tree-sits and other forms of industrial sabotage. We dig up the dirt on unreported oil spills, spread the news about grassroots campaigns and dabble in all sorts of raucous trouble makin’.

But the time and materials spent on this kind of eco-ninja journalism is, sadly, quite costly, and without your support we can’t keep it up. So what do you say?

Click here to donate and give a few bucks… or a thousand.  You can also snail mail it to us at P.O. Box 964 / Lake Worth, FL / 33460

We thank you a million times over and will put that money to damned good use!

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National Guard Prepares for Radiation Wielding Eco-Terrorist Attacks on Commercial Fisheries

14 Apr

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! NewswireCrazy Environmentalist 1

The Alaska Army National Guard’s 103rd Civil Support Team underwent Exercise Orca earlier this week, preparing to handle a band of eco-terrorists equipped with a good deal of Earth lovin’ angst and, um,  unlicensed radioactive materials to spread through food in retaliation for the excesses of commercial fisheries.

Wow, so now they are prepared for that.

Read more at KTTU.com

The Octypus-like Monsters in the Guts of Termites

8 Apr
“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”
— H.P. Lovecraft from The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
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by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! Newswire

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Ok, microorganisms aren’t really monsters, at least no more than your average humanoid politician, but they sure do look creepy (also applicable to politicians).

A pair of newly discovered microbes that lurk the awkward black halls of termite intestines have been duly named by researchers after two fictional monsters from a rather twisted tale of horror by the legendary novelist H.P. Lovecraft.

The single-cell and octypus-like protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque aid the digestion of wood in termites.

Morphology of Cthulhu macrofasciculumque by differential interference contrast light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Morphology of Cthulhu macrofasciculumque by differential interference contrast light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

“When we first saw them under the microscope they had this unique motion, it looked almost like an octopus swimming,” says UBC researcher Erick James in his research published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Their images reminded James of Cthulhu and Cthylla, which are both depicted by Lovecraft as giant octopus-like monsters that can also fly. James then baptized the newly discovered critters in honor of the fictional entities of doom.

And while biotechnology companies are busy manipulating microbes for fantastically profitable and often dubious ends what can we do but hope that these two protists named after cosmic evil never find their way into the hands of mad scientists with corporate backing.

The Biocentric Kama Sutra: Oral Sex According to Indian Flying Foxes

4 Apr

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Outside of the village of Nallachampatti in southern India, a colony of Indian flying foxes roost in a fig tree, tasting of the delicate figs, lighting off over forests and swamps in the night to hunt mangoes, bananas and to sup on the nectar of flowers. They are sensual bats with a taste for the sweetness of life, which, as new research reveals, includes the flavors of sex, of vagina, especially in the morning.

In a study conducted over the course of a year, a team of scientists, wielding binoculars and a rather voyeuristic appetite, witnessed male bats perform oral sex on females over and over. The kinky Ph.D’s say these fruit eating bats do it to make the sex last longer, a hypothesis that seems to say Pteropus giganteus knows a little something about the artful ways of love.

“Apart from humans, bats also exhibit oral sex as a courtship behavior,” said Ganapathy Marimuthu, a bat researcher at Madurai Kamaraj University in India.

[Cue sultry mood music and Barry White voice-narration] Continue reading

FPL Nuclear Plant Trips Off-Line… Again!?

2 Apr
FPL St Lucie Nuke Plant on Hutchinson Island

FPL St Lucie Nuke Plant on Hutchinson Island

Unit 1 of FPL St. Lucie Nuke Plant experienced another “auto trip” earlier this month.

According to the TC Palm, everything is fine and dandy. How do they know? FPL said so. “Florida Power and Light Co. reported inspections results to the NRC Thursday at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Md.”

Supposedly the automatic response turned off electricity to non-nuclear equipment, which occurs when signals indicate equipment is not operating properly. But “the generators are operating safely.” Or so says FPL communications supervisor Doug Andrews.

The TC Palm article, entitled “FPL St. Lucie nuke plant inspections show steam generators safe” doesn’t quite read like news, more like an industry-generated PR piece in a County that you could easily pay off enough politicians and editors to ensure silence surrounding the potential devastation of a coastal reactor perched on the edge of a rising and warming ocean.  Continue reading

Hurricane Dana off the Gulf Coast Seen with Horns and Fangs

1 Apr

Cross Posted from Witching Houre

A new hurricane brewing off the coast of Florida was seen menacing residents with horns, fangs and claws. One scientist exclaimed, “This is unlike anything we at the Hurricane Watch Center have ever seen before!”

When asked for further comment, the hurricane became resistant, “There is no Dana,” proclaimed its horrifying visage. “There is only Zuul!”

There has been an increasing trend of hurricane intensity, due to climate change. Hurricane Sandy which recently touched down in New York City appeared to present “The perfect storm,” declared one climatologist, “But a demonic climate storm in Spring? This is rediculous!”

Update: Zuul was last seen hovering over a highrise in Miami, while a strange, oversized commodity spokesperson has been sighted making its way through the downtown area.

Continue reading