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Original Poster1 point · 14 hours ago

Last Thursday, as the summer temperature reportedly shot into the 90s, Daniels’s electricity was cut off by the local power company, PSE&G. Daniels, whose condition required her to use an electric oxygen machine to breathe, was suddenly without the technology keeping her alive. As NJ.com reported, Daniels died seven hours after her home’s power was cut.

“She was trying to catch her breath — she was gasping for air,” Daniels’s granddaughter told NJ.com. “She suffered and she passed right in front of us. She was gasping until the time she died." PSE&G has confirmed service was shut off at Daniels’s residence because of a lack of payment.

Her son Sam told News 12 that the company had told him payments of at least $300 a month were required to keep the power flowing. He showed the television statements indicating a $500 payment went to the company at the beginning of July toward Daniels’s delinquent account. “They still cut off the utilities,” he told News 12. Daniels’s son claimed the family had no prior notice the power would be cut off. According to Daniels’s daughter Desiree Washington, on Thursday various members of the family tried to alert the power company about Daniels’s precarious situation.

“We made numerous calls,” Washington told NJ.com. “We have a large family, and everyone in our family was calling.” She added: “We panicked. They cut the power off on what had to be the hottest day of the summer.”

According to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, consumers must be notified in writing of a discontinuation of service 10 days before the cancellation. A utility also “may not shut-off residential service” if a “valid medical emergency exists” in the household.

1.2k points · 18 hours ago · edited 15 hours ago

Tom, who didn't give his last name out of fear of being targeted by "crazy, violent liberals,"

What he doesn't want, he said, is confrontations over politics.

Any "crazy liberals" who come after him will be in for a surprise, he warned.

“A Second Amendment surprise."

The hypocrisy from these ass clowns is astounding. They don’t even recognize it within themselves in their 5 minute conversation with this reporter

Schrödinger's Liberals - safe-space needing limp wristed pussies while also being crazy, violent sociopaths

I am ashamed to be countrymen with every single person in this article

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66 points · 15 hours ago

This is a standard tactic of fascist leaders. From Umberto Eco's Ur-Fascism:

"The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies... ...However, the followers must be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak."

808 points · 1 day ago

Think about it, these people wouldn't do this to a dog. They wouldn't even do this to a rat. But a living person who was probably screaming and praying to God that they stop? Nope, let's do this!

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12 points · 1 day ago

Think about it, these people wouldn't do this to a dog. They wouldn't even do this to a rat. But a living person who was probably screaming and praying to God that they stop? Nope, let's do this!

From the point of view of the killers, they weren't torturing a person, or even an animal, but killing a subhuman criminal and protecting their white society. Many people feared that blacks were sexual predators and justified lynchings by claiming that it would protect the women. They were proud of lynchings and even sent postcards of charred, mutilated corpses to friends and family as if it were a pretty view or a vacation.

The above link also has some chilling first person accounts and photos from the "event," reproduced below (warning, they're very graphic):

"A big fellow in the back of the court room yelled, ‘Get the Nigger!’ Barney Goldberg, one of the deputy sheriffs, told me that he did not know that Fleming had dropped orders to let them get the Negro, and pulled his revolver. Afterwards he got his friends to swear to an affidavit that he was not present. Fleming said he had sworn in fifty deputies. I asked him where they were. He asked, ‘Would you want to protect the nigger?’ The judge made no effort to stop the mob, although he had firearms in his desk.”

“They dragged the boy down the stairs, put a chain around his body and hitched it to an automobile. The chain broke. The big fellow took the chain off the Negro under the cover of the crowd and wound it around his own wrist, so that the crowd jerking at the chain was jerking at the man’s wrist and he was holding the boy. The boy shrieked and struggled. The mob ripped the boy’s clothes off, cut them in bits and even cut the boy. Someone cut his ear off; someone else unsexed him. A little working for the firm of Goldstein and Mingle told me that she saw this done.”

“On the way to the scene of the burning people on every hand took a hand in showing their feelings in the matter by striking the Negro with anything obtainable, some struck him with shovels, bricks, clubs, and others stabbed him and cut him until when he was strung up his body was a solid color of red, the blood of the many wounds inflicted covered him from head to foot.”

“Dry goods boxes and all kinds of inflammable material were gathered, and it required but an instant to convert this into seething flames. When the Negro was first hoisted into the air his tongue protruded from his mouth and his face was besmeared with blood.”

“While a fire was being prepared of boxes, the naked boy was stabbed and the chain put over the tree. He tried to get away, but could not. He reached up to grab the chain and they cut off his fingers. The big man struck the boy on the back of the neck with a knife just as they were pulling him up on the tree. Mr. Lester thought that was practically the death blow. He was lowered into the fire several times by means of the chain around his neck. Someone said they would estimate the boy had about twenty-five stab wounds, none of them death-dealing.”

“Life was not extinct within the Negro’s body, although nearly so, when another chain was placed around his neck and thrown over the limb of a tree on the lawn, everybody trying to get to the Negro and have some part in his death. The infuriated mob then leaned the Negro, who was half alive and half dead, against the tree, he having just strength enough within his limbs to support him. As rapidly as possible the Negro was then jerked into the air at which a shout from thousands of throats went up on the morning air and dry goods boxes, excelsior, wood and every other article that would burn was then in evidence, appearing as if by magic. A huge dry goods box was then produced and filled to the top with all of the material that had been secured. The Negro’s body was swaying in the air, and all of the time a noise as of thousands was heard and the Negro’s body was lowered into the box.”

“No sooner had his body touched the box than people pressed forward, each eager to be the first to light the fire, matches were touched to the inflammable material and as smoke rapidly rose in the air, such a demonstration as of people gone mad was never heard before. Everybody pressed closer to get souvenirs of the affair. When they had finished with the Negro his body was mutilated. Fingers, ears, pieces of clothing, toes and other parts of the Negro’s body were cut off by members of the mob that had crowded to the scene as if by magic when the word that the Negro had been taken in charge by the mob was heralded over the city.

“The tree where the lynching occurred was right under the Mayor’s window. Mayor Dollins was standing in the window, not concerned about what they were doing to the boy, but that the tree would be destroyed."

“Women and children saw the lynching. One man held up his little boy above the heads of the crowd so that he could see, and a little boy was in the very tree to which the colored boy was hung, where he stayed until the fire became too hot.”

“Onlookers were hanging from the windows of the City Hall and every other building that commanded a sight of the burning, and as the Negro’s body commenced to burn, shouts of delight went up from the thousands of throats and apparently everybody demonstrated in some way their satisfaction at the retribution that was being visited upon the perpetrator of such a horrible crime, the worst in the annals of McLennan county’s history.”

“The body of the Negro was burned to a crisp, and was left for some time in the smoldering remains of the fire. Women and children who desired to view the scene were allowed to do so, the crowds parting to let them look on the scene: After some time the body of the Negro was jerked into the air where everybody could view the remains, and a mighty shout rose on the air. Photographer Gildersleeve made several pictures of the body as well as the large crowd which surrounded the scene as spectators.”

“While the torso of the boy was being dragged through the streets behind the horse, the limbs dropped off and the head was put on the stoop of a disreputable woman in the reservation district. Some little boys pulled out the teeth and sold them to some men for five dollars apiece. The chain was sold for twenty-five cents a link.”

Pandas are an incredibly shitty species, they fail at the most basic level of being a species.

However, they're cute, and by now, they're entire existence is entirely explained by the fact that they're cute.

Well done, Pandas

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10 points · 1 day ago · edited 1 day ago

Pandas are an incredibly shitty species, they fail at the most basic level of being a species.

They aren't "incredibly shitty," they're an ancient species that's incredibly specialized. Pandas have been around, unchanged, for at least 2 million years and have outlasted competitor species like giant apes by developing adaptations which allow them to take advantage of bamboo as a food source. "Failures" don't do that. In fact, giant panda populations were doing fine until humans came along and started destroying their habitat. The idea that pandas are a "failed species" or "deserve to go extinct" is a fallacy. Just because an animal's life history seems unusual or even stupid to us doesn't mean that there's something "wrong" with the species -- everything has an evolutionary purpose. The panda's precarious situation isn't the panda's fault -- it's ours.

Original Poster14 points · 2 days ago

The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities.

The policy change, heralded by conservatives as an advance for free speech, maintains donor disclosure requirements for traditional charity groups organized to receive tax-exempt donations under a section of the Internal Revenue code known as 501(c)(3), the Treasury said. But the move frees labor unions, issue advocacy organizations, veterans groups and other nonprofits that do not receive tax-exempt money from meeting confidential disclosure requirements set in place decades ago.

“Americans shouldn’t be required to send the IRS information that it doesn’t need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The change protects the privacy of wealthy donors of “dark money” donations to politically active groups. Conservatives have complained that the disclosures to the IRS, though not public, were susceptible to media leaks.

5.0k points · 2 days agoGilded1

Real question: How can someone who works a normal 8-5 office job contribute to ending this? I've heard of organizations that exist to fight against this atrocity, but I can't help but feel like no progress is being made. Photo's like this make me want to quit my job, move to the middle east and go Rambo on mother fuckers. Obviously myself and others like me would never do that, but what can we do?

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2 points · 2 days ago

This comprehensive article includes 7 actions anyone can do, including putting pressure on national/international leaders, donating to organizations that help refugees (like the United Nations Refugee Agency) and making sure that the products you buy aren't produced with slave labor.

There are also several reputable nonprofit groups working to eradicate modern slavery. I've listed & summarized a few of the best below:

International Organization for Migration: The UN's migration agency, working to protect Libyan migrants from exploitation and slavery. The Brookings Institution notes that "The IOM is a key partner in (Libya). They are present on the ground, understand the situation better than most, and play an active role, including by repatriating stranded migrants, many of them victims of slavery. IOM staff can access certain government-run migrant detention centers and are trying to improve conditions when feasible."

Free The Slaves: Focuses on a long-term, strategic plan to address the root causes of slavery to prevent people from being victimized in the first place. Their six "key pillars" include strengthening local organizations that protect vulnerable communities; educating vulnerable communities so they know and can assert their rights; organizing local anti-slavery committees that serve as a protective "neighborhood watch" against human traffickers; increasing access to essential services (schools, basic health care, etc.); strengthening laws and law enforcement; and ensuring that slavery survivors receive appropriate services and care so they are not re-enslaved. They currently operate in India, Nepal, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and Senegal.

The Freedom Fund: An international nonprofit which invests in the most effective programs to end slavery. They partner with local human rights/anti-trafficking organizations located in "hotspots" with a high concentration of slavery. Currently, these hotspots are located in communities in Nepal, Ethiopia, Thailand, and India. The Freedom Fund also engages with local governments, the private sector, media, social movements, etc. to help develop new initiatives to end forced labor in industry. The Freedom Fund's northern India hotspot has been in place since 2014, and as of December 2017, claims to have liberated over 11,000 people from modern slavery.

Comment deleted2 days ago

let's cage some animals for our entertainment

This is the single biggest misconception about zoos, IMO. While it may have been true in the past (and still is true for some substandard zoos), modern, accredited zoos don't exist just to lock up animals for people to gawk at. Today, the goals are conservation, education, and research, and zoos are pretty good at it. On average, AZA zoos contribute $160 million to fund 2,500 conservation projects in 100 countries every single year in order to preserve wildlife habitat.

Biologists sponsored by zoos do a lot of important wildlife research. And the breeding and release of endangered animals by zoos has already brought multiple species back from the brink of extinction. A 2010 study by IUCN found that conservation breeding in zoos and aquariums played a role in the recovery of 28% of the species listed as threatened in the wild.

Zoos generally don't take animals from the wild anymore, either -- the vast majority of zoo animals today are born in captivity, although zoos will occasionally provide homes for rescued wildlife that can't return to the wild for whatever reason.

It's also a myth that all zoo animals suffer or "go insane." While there are some species that are difficult or impossible to keep happy in captivity. and some zoos are run poorly, research has shown that levels of stress hormones in animals at a good zoo can match those of their wild counterparts, suggesting that the zoo animals are at least as "happy" as their wild counterparts.

Don't get me wrong, zoos are not perfect. There are still plenty of bad ones, and even the good ones always have room for improvement. But zoos as a whole aren't the evil, unnecessary "animal prisons" that a lot of redditors think they are, and if we "shut down all zoos" like some people suggest, we'd be dealing a massive blow to wildlife conservation.

19 points · 2 days ago

There's a great live camera stream of the wild grizzlies at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park right now. This is peak salmon migration season, so there's plenty of action.

11 points · 3 days ago

I remember reading an article, where most photos like this occur in wildlife farms and shit. Completely not natural, they actually have farms in China where they literally farm tigers and it's sad. I don't know if this photo is legit or not. Sorry to be a negative Nancy.

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The original photographers, Jeff and Michelle Cobble, state:

Shooting this Siberian Tiger was one of the best moments of our lives. We had two hours to photograph him while he was running free atop a snow covered mountain. To be 4 feet away, eye to eye level with this magnificent cat was exhilarating, dangerous and awesome!!

Based on that description, my guess is that this was shot at a "photography ranch." These are privately-owned menageries, usually in a scenic location like Montana or Utah, that cater to wildlife photographers by allowing them to "rent" the animal in a natural-looking environment for photography. The animals are usually imprinted on humans and are sometimes even trained to pose, allowing the photographers to get much closer/better shots than would normally be possible.

Unfortunately, since these ranches are privately owned, there is very little oversight regarding the treatment of the animals or the safety of the guests (it's never safe to be within 4 feet of a tiger.) It's not uncommon for photo animals to spend most of their lives in tiny cages or to be "trained" using cruel methods, and some photography ranches also sell canned hunts, making it easy to dispose of animals that can't be used for photography. From Audubon Magazine:

For many game-farm animals life is hard and brief. According to documents I obtained from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Animals of Montana—a game farm near Bozeman at least as popular as Triple D—euthanized eight wolves in 2007 because they were “dangerous.” In other words, their behavior was too wolflike. The spring 2009 issue of Currents, NANPA’s newsletter, quotes a photographer who requested anonymity as saying this about her first and last visit to Animals of Montana: “The owner took out a mountain lion, but the lion didn’t want to come. There was kicking and dragging and yelling.”

I definitely needed to see Animals of Montana’s famous grizzlies, which “love to perform [and] will amaze you by running towards the camera, standing on command, snarling viciously or posing cute.” But when I tried to book a session, Tracy Krueger, companion and business partner of owner Troy Hyde, said she was “excited” to report that the operation was “switching hands.” This, I learned from court documents, was because Hyde had filed false information with the feds and had been convicted of illegal wildlife trafficking in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act. On April 27, 2008, shortly after the USDA moved to terminate Hyde’s exhibitor’s license, Krueger applied for a license. The USDA saw it as a ruse—i.e., “an attempt to circumvent the impending termination”—and rejected the application. On June 6, 2008, Hyde’s lawyer, Bret Hicken, applied for a license. The USDA saw that as another ruse, noting that to obtain a license any new operator would have to purchase animals and property. Apparently that has happened, because on November 9, 2009, Hicken signed a consent agreement with the agency to reopen the game farm as Animal Industries, but this wouldn’t happen in time for my article. According to the Associated Press, animals from Hyde’s game farm “have appeared in a number of films, including some by National Geographic, Turner Original Productions, and the BBC.”

While in Montana I tried to visit Wild Eyes Photo Adventures in Columbia Falls, which had illegally trafficked in wildlife in violation of the Lacey Act and “willfully” violated the Animal Welfare Act. I had reliable information that Wild Eyes kept river otters in small cages, but I was unable to confirm this because Wild Eyes is out of business. I couldn’t visit the DeYoung Family Zoo, a game farm in Wallace, Michigan, still in business despite its owner, Harold DeYoung, being busted for Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act violations. “What do they do with all these babies?” inquires genuine wildlife photographer Don Jones about the industry’s “new baby” promos, which appear like crabgrass every spring. No one knows, but in 2004 a game farm in Sandstone, Minnesota—still in business as Minnesota Wildlife Connection—sold its tame black bear Cubby for $4,650 to country music star Troy Gentry, who then illegally “hunted” and killed him in his pen with a bow and arrow.

Well they live quite much better than tigers in the US Zoos. Let's not just point fingers to China for this.

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Well they live quite much better than tigers in the US Zoos.

I totally agree that China's not the only country with an animal abuse problem, but there's no way you can say that this animal at the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Park in Guilin city is "living better" than a tiger in a responsible zoo. This particular tiger was being deliberately starved to death because it's legal in China to sell hides and bones from captive tigers provided that they died of "natural causes." The farm can't shoot the tigers, so they starve them instead.

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25 points · 8 days ago

Its probably for a good reason. These guys are probably conservationists and know what they're doing. I doubt they just keep it around because it looks cool.

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25 points · 8 days ago

Yep, they're not "chains," they're called jesses. Most captive birds of prey wear them as a means to safely tether the bird to the handler's glove or a perch. The anklets are typically made of soft, supple leather and have holes in them where a cord can be passed through if the bird will be leaving its enclosure. The cord is held by the trainer to prevent the bird from flying away or falling off the glove and potentially hurting itself. When used properly, jesses shouldn't irritate a bird or restrict its movement -- it's just a safety measure akin to putting a leash on a dog.

Source -- I work with captive owls, hawks, and eagles at a nature center. Most of our birds wear jesses but don't seem to notice them, which is what we want. We work very hard to keep the jesses comfortable and always check to make sure they're not causing any skin irritation.

Do these captive birds get to fly free on their own. If so they obviously come back to their handlers?

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3 points · 7 days ago · edited 7 days ago

It depends on the situation and the bird. Falconry birds and some zoo birds are trained to fly freely and then return to the handler. In these cases, jesses would only be used to keep the bird safe in cases where it's not good for it to fly freely, like if it's indoors, around lots of people, or in a new/unfamiliar situation where it may become spooked. Birds that are still in training or otherwise can't be trusted to return can still fly and exercise outdoors by clipping the jesses to a longer cord called a creance. We have a system where the bird's creance can be attached to a cord strung between two perches. That way, trainers can cue the bird back and forth to the perches or to the trainer's glove, but the bird can't get lost.

There are some situations where birds are physically unable to fly, and in these cases, jesses are a vital safety measure for the bird. All of the birds at my nature center are nonreleaseable, and many have wing amputations or other permanent wing damage. With one wing missing, there's a big risk of the bird falling off the handler's glove and seriously injuring itself, so we're careful to hold the jesses on these birds when we have them out. The bird can still walk around on the glove and move his feet, but if he tries to jump off the glove or loses his balance, he'll just harmlessly hang from the jesses (their legs are strong!) instead of hitting the ground.

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I don't have any clue as to what country this is but possibly it may be a mostly Muslim country? I thought some Muslim cultures view dogs as dirty. I would assume stray dogs don't have it easy in those areas.

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11 points · 8 days ago

It's not just a Muslim thing; in many countries with large amounts of feral dogs (India, Thailand, Iraq, etc.) street dogs are generally treated like vermin and are regularly poisoned, shot, beaten, have rocks thrown at them, etc. It's sad, but understandable since feral dogs often attack people and are significant vectors of rabies and other diseases.

Downer time!

Sloths are not meant for human contact. This sloth is likely captive in a petting zoo where tourists are allowed to handle the animals without regard for their safety. This sloth was likely placed onto the girl for a photo, stressing the sloth out a lot. The baby sloth should be with its mother, not with a human child.

Photo opportunity petting zoos are a HUGE problem for many "cute" wild animals such as otters, lion and tiger babies, sloths, owls, and more. The animals are mistreated and put under great stress for the sake of a novelty vacation photo. Being handled and prodded by people is not good in any way for these wild animals.

Please show your love for wild animals by not handling them or giving your money to places like these.

For more information you can Google "no sloth selfies".

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2 points · 8 days ago · edited 8 days ago

Also, it's very likely that this sloth's mother was killed in order to get the baby. According to World Animal Protection:

Our investigators found baby sloths that had been snatched from their mothers to be kept as a tourist lure and photo prop. The mothers are often killed in the process and when the tourists have gone home, the baby sloths are kept in small, barren cages. Many of these animals won't be released back into the wild and their chances of survival are slim if they are. Sloths won't likely survive more than six months when used for selfie tourism. Their low metabolism, slow movement and restricted diet make them particularly difficult to keep humanely in captivity and rehabilitate for release back into the wild.

Comment deleted8 days ago
3 points · 8 days ago

Why? He didn't do anything wrong, it's actually a popular tourist cave. It was just bad luck that the rains came earlier than expected.

This is beyond my comprehension. Why everyone is exaggerating this 4th of july celebration. Is it really that noisy? If it is, I don't know what to say. Still, is it?

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2 points · 10 days ago · edited 10 days ago

It depends on where you live and how crazy your neighbors are. Most animals treat fireworks noise like a thunderstorm.

I doubt any of this matters anyway. Mexico is so corrupt and totoabas so valuable that it's not like the poaching is going to stop before they're all killed anyway. Another species lost due to China's "traditional medicine" nonsense.

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0 points · 11 days ago

Another species lost due to China's "traditional medicine" nonsense.

While the Chinese demand for totoaba certainly doesn't help, it's actually the Western appetite for shrimp that's caused the vaquita's demise:

From 1990 to 2010, the Mexican shrimp industry was primarily responsible for the loss of over 70 percent of the vaquita population, as the number of vaquita dropped from 700 individuals to just 200. It wasn't until 2010 that fishermen began using gillnets to illegally catch totoaba, an endangered fish, for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

IMO, knee-jerk reactions blaming "the Chinese" for extinction can cause us to forget that the average US citizen indirectly "eats" a lot of endangered species for the sake of cheap food. For example, Burger King's suppliers have destroyed over 1.7 million acres of native forest in Brazil and Bolivia from 2011 to 2015 alone. Pepsico and a lot of other snack-food, candy, and cosmetics companies likely use "conflict palm oil", which is grown by destroying the last remaining habitat for rhinos, elephants, tigers, and orangutans in Sumatra. Wildlife extinction is not just an Asian problem -- it's up to everyone to vote with their wallets and demand that corporations become more sustainable.

Isn’t that because it’s a genetic mutation that makes them white? So they have to inbreed only with other white tigers that had the mutation.

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Yes. Legitimate zoos don't breed them anymore because they're just a color variation and not a separate species. Virtually all white tigers are hybrids of the Bengal and Siberian subspecies (which would never occur in the wild) so they have no conservation value.

Ah got it. Makes perfect sense. I haven't been deep enough to experience that particular phenomenon.

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This is what happens when you don't equalize your mask (NSFL).

Fortunately, "mask squeeze" rarely causes permanent damage. It looks nasty, but heals over time just like any other bruise.

Taxidermy is so grotesque and pointless.

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2 points · 11 days ago

If the animal died of natural causes, I see nothing wrong with preserving it for educational purposes.

I didn't say it was "wrong", I said it is grotesque and pointless.

There's nothing educational a stuffed corpse can offer that a computer program can't do better.

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Can a computer program provide genetic material to future scientists? I agree it can be a bit morbid, but preserved animal specimens have helped scientists learn how species change over time.

Original Poster12 points · 11 days ago

It's a move many in the immigrant community are calling racist, abusive and possibly even unlawful -- in a memo, the Trump administration has expanded the power of officers with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS department by allowing them to initiate deportations based on a new set of guidelines.

People who go to USCIS are trying to become legal permanent residents or citizens. Now officers are going from application reviewers to enforcers under the new directive.

"This updated policy equips USCIS officers with clear guidance they need to and deserve to support the enforcement priorities established by the president," USCIS' director said in a statement.

"Instead of welcoming people, it's putting up the wall. I think the message is, 'You're not welcome,'" said immigration attorney Amie Miller.

Miller worries about due process violations and immigrants being sent to deportation hearings for subjective infractions.

10 points · 12 days ago

I read that book! It was the first time I had heard of “anthropomorphism”. Seriously, I just can’t imagine that anyone who has ever had any contact with an animal would say they don’t have emotions. It’s beyond ridiculous.

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11 points · 12 days ago

Owl trainer/keeper here! In my college wildlife biology courses, I was often warned against anthropomorphism, and at the nature center I volunteer at now, we also try not to guess what an owl, eagle, etc. is "feeling" and instead focus on what they're doing. I was told that this isn't because animals don't have emotions or feelings -- they definitely do -- but because they may not express them or experience them in exactly the same way that humans do, and by assuming that an animal is "happy", "sad", etc. we're applying our own human labels which may not accurately reflect the animal's true experience. This can be problematic for several reasons:

First, by assuming that an animal interprets the world the way we do, we fail to appreciate and understand the animal for what it truly is.

"Anthropomorphizing leads us off the scent (and over a perceptual cliff) in understanding [animal] behaviors by imposing the assumption that they perceive the world as we do—that their sensory inputs are limited to the capacities of our dull, sight-oriented biology. Every species probably has its own misguided conceits, and this one robs us of a richer understanding of our animal brethren."

Another big issue with unchecked anthropomorphism is that it can cause people to overlook welfare issues because we often misinterpret animal body language, which differs immensely by species. Expecting a wild animal to act the same way as us or our domestic pets rarely works well. For example, what looks like "smiling" to us often denotes fear in a chimpanzee. People who visit owl cafes in Japan to pet captive owls often describe the birds as "friendly", "calm", or "happy to be petted" because they will sit motionless and maybe even close their eyes when touched. But in reality, many owl species instinctively freeze up and wait for the threat to leave when frightened. The layperson anthropomorphizing the "friendly" owl doesn't believe he did anything inhumane, but he was unknowingly causing a great deal of stress to the animal.

Anthropomorphism can also be an issue for animal trainers. If an animal isn't behaving the way you expect it to, assuming that it's because the animal is "stupid" or "being a jerk" might cause you to overlook other variables -- maybe the animal isn't feeling well or is distracted by something new.

Finally, while anthropomorphism can be good for conserving some species (like pandas) it may harm conservation efforts for species that have been given a bad rap by cultural depictions (sharks, hyenas, etc.) or which don't look/act human enough for our brains to make comparisons. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature claims the persecution of hyenas based on anthropomorphic beliefs is a considerable threat to the species.

Now, anthropomorphism isn't always bad, and it might even be good in small doses, but it is important to be aware of our own cognitive biases.

206 points · 12 days ago

As one of maybe a half-dozen people working in the Avian IoT field, and with a background in robotics, I cannot wait to find out more about this.

Shameless plug, www.chirpa.co

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7 points · 12 days ago

As a parakeet owner, that's a really good idea! I wish I could keep better track of my bird's weight, but it's difficult to get him onto a scale. This would work for me because I only have one bird, but many owners have multiple birds living in the same cage. In that case, how will the system tell which bird is which?

Nearly every railroad train which leaves or arrives at Fort Hays on the Kansas Pacific Railroad has its race with these herds of buffalo. The train is “slowed” to a rate of speed about equal to that of the herd; the passengers get out fire-arms which are provided for the defense of the train against the Indians, and open from the windows and platforms of the cars a fire that resembles a brisk skirmish. Frequently a young bull will turn at bay for a moment. His exhibition of courage is generally his death-warrant, for the whole fire of the train is turned upon him, either killing him or some member of the herd in his immediate vicinity.

Men standing on a pile of bison skulls.

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The other disgusting part was that the bison being killed weren't even eaten -- the carcasses were just left there to rot. Sometimes the hide or tongue (which was a delicacy back then) was sold, but the meat wasn't used. This wasn't really "hunting," it was the attempted extermination of a species for the purposes of genocide.

In 1875, when the Texas legislature realized the extent of the slaughter and proposed a bill to outlaw bison poaching on tribal lands, General Philip Sheridan opposed it, instead "suggesting that the legislature should give each of the hunters a medal, engraved with a dead buffalo on one side and a discouraged-looking Indian on the other." He told the legislature:

”These men have done more in the last two years, and will do more in the next year, to settle the vexed Indian question, than the entire regular army has done in the last forty years. They are destroying the Indians’ commissary. And it is a well known fact that an army losing its base of supplies is placed at a great disadvantage. Send them powder and lead, if you will; but for a lasting peace, let them kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle.”

3 points · 13 days ago

“He will be potentially considerably more effective, both because you don’t have the daily drama that you’ve had for the last several months and because Andy knows how the system works,” said Stan Meiburg, a former acting deputy EPA administrator who spent 39 years at the agency. “He could be more effective for the administration in achieving its policy objectives.”

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Last year, Wheeler served as a lobbyist for Energy Fuels Resources, a uranium mining company with operations just outside Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Last July, Wheeler and a top executive from the firm met with top Interior Department officials to discuss Bears Ears the same week Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump dramatically shrink the monument, according to agency calendars.

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Wheeler evaded questions about his belief in the overwhelming scientific consensus that the planet is warming primarily because of emissions from burning fossil fuels, industrial farming and deforestation. He deployed the same sort of ambiguous rhetoric used by much of the Trump administration, many other Republicans and Charles and David Koch. “I believe that man has an impact on the climate, but what’s not completely understood is what the impact is,” Wheeler said at his confirmation hearing when aggressively questioned about the findings of the federal government’s latest climate report.

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“This is a guy who shares all the ideology of Pruitt, except his style is totally different,” O’Donnell said. “He’s not a flamboyant, backslapping politician with a taste for scandal. He’s a relatively quiet, behind-the-scenes guy who will try to permit the kinds of industries the agency regulates to reshape the rules.”

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