Scientists hunt for big fish.

Truly, It Was a Whopper, but Are There Bigger Fish?


HAT KHRAI, Thailand – The monster fish announced itself with four huge whacks of its tail, thrashing against the net that had trapped it in the pale brown water of the Mekong River.

It was a rare giant catfish the size of a grizzly bear, and it took five boatmen an hour to pull it in and 10 men to lift it when they reached the shore in this remote village in northern Thailand.

Only after their catch had been chopped into pieces and sold did they learn how special it was. At nine feet in length and weighing 646 pounds, it may be the biggest freshwater fish ever recorded.

But in one of the world’s more surprising mysteries, nobody really knows which is the biggest species of fish lurking under the waters of the Mekong or the Amazon or the Yangtze or the Congo or the Colorado or Lake Baikal.

When the giant catfish was caught in May, a biologist named Zeb S. Hogan rushed here to take a look. It was his first trophy in a project to identify and study the world’s largest freshwater fish in the hope of slowing their extinction.

Sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund, Mr. Hogan has embarked on an 18-month expedition that will take him to five continents and more than a dozen rivers.

“I guess it’s like looking for Bigfoot,” he said. Some species may already be too rare to study.

Plenty more in the article, check it out before it hits the times archives.

One of the greatest hours in radio history (and political satire)

One of the greatest hours in radio history

The Jounal of MultiMedia History has put on its website one of the best and most important dramas ever presented on radio, the 1954 Canadian play “The Investigator” by comedy writer Reuben Ship. It’s a laugh-out-loud parody of Joseph McCarthy and his hearings, where Joe goes to Heaven and takes over the committee that decides who stays and who goes “down there.” He replaces the original officials with Torquemada, Cotton Mather and The Hanging Judge, and they then proceed to “deport” people like Socrates and Thomas Jefferson.

The Realaudio is at the Jounal of MultiMedia History… I heard an audiotape recording of this radioplay as a kid (my mom probably still has it somewhere) and it is incredibly funny. And given the present political climate climate, it deserves a listen as well.

Here’s another interesting link on the subject.

“Harken, O ye wolf in sheep’s clothing, for you will be cast onto a steaming dung-heap!”

Go check out the Biblical Curse Generator, which bills itself as follows:

Lost for a smart remark to see off your enemies? Unable to deliver that killer insult? Put an end to “I was speechless!” misery with the amazing Biblical Curse Generator, which is pre-loaded with blistering put-downs as delivered by Elijah, Jeremiah and other monumentally angry saints. Simply click the button below, and get ready to smite your foes with a custom-made curse straight out of the Old Testament.

via a private mailing list I’m on.

Why isn’t real election reform a priority for either party?

From AMERICAblog: Bush Stole 2000 Election, 2004 Election and They’ll Do It Again

Paul Krugman talks about the obvious: that Bush lost Florida and lost the 2000 election, the Republicans suppressed the Democratic vote in Ohio in 2004 and given the chance they’ll steal it again in 2006 and 2008. What’s truly shocking is that real election reform isn’t a priority FOR EITHER PARTY.

[…snippage…go read the original… it’s good!]

Why is no one from either party pushing for very reasonable, common sense reforms like these and numerous others that have been bandied about in the press? Why don’t voters care?

The link above to the piece of Krugman’s is What They Did Last Fall (today’s/Aug 19th), which is worth reading:

By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida’s former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that’s a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn’t change the outcome. And the next election may be worse.

Optimist. We KNOW the next election will be worse. The only question is whether we’ll let them get away with it next time.

“No, Seriously. Save the Bananas.”

No, Seriously. Save the Bananas.

Published: August 13, 2005

A two-pronged frantic race is under way to save the banana.

It’s no joke, as Popular Science reports in a fascinating account this month. The Cavendish, the version of the banana that rests on top of American breakfast cereals, is “on a crash course toward extinction.”

The plight of the Cavendish Banana hasn’t really been new news for a while, but it’s a good article… and I loved the title.

“Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.” – Groucho?

Pattaya, “The People’s Paradise” in Time

Not a perfect article, but evocative of Pattaya and rather amusing… the author, as usual, overplays the seedy side. It’s a lot of fun for other reasons, and incredibly inexpensive by US standards. Brief clip after the break, or better still check out the full article at their site.

From Time Magazine: The People’s Paradise
Love it or loathe it, Pattaya is where Asia’s mass tourism started
Continue reading “Pattaya, “The People’s Paradise” in Time”

Man’s testicles snared in a padlock for two weeks

Via the Portsmouth Herald:

BRENTWOOD – The “family jewels” of one Brentwood man recently were locked up for two weeks – literally.
On Saturday, July 30, at about 3:40 a.m., Brentwood police assisted ambulance and rescue personnel with a 39-year-old man with a padlock on his testicles.

via DBA

Young men suffering from ‘early life crisis’

From the Times Online in the UK: Young men suffering from ‘early life crisis’

ONE in seven of Britain’s young men is anxiety ridden, according to a new report. Instead of enjoying their carefree twenties and thirties, men are racked with worry about employment issues, time pressures and financing their lifestyles.

While one in ten of men of all ages feels that the pressure of modern living is too much to handle, the anxiety peaks among those aged 25-44 who feel stressed and overworked.

Via AmericaBLOG

(I resembled those remarks quite a lot a few years ago… still a little bit now. Ah well.)

Fanfic I’d like to see

OK, there are a few fanfic stories I’d really like to read. Perhaps I’ll get to writing one someday; more likely not.

Two alternate versions of Harry Turtledove’s Lizards/Worldwar books:
1) “Fleetlord Atvar and the Cuban Missile Crisis”
2) Lizards arrive in 2021, as described/implied in John Birmingham’s Axis of Time Trilogy

Harry Potter:
1) Book 7 ends with Harry and Voldemort, the way Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards ended
2) An alternate universe where Harry joined Slytherin house

There are some others I’m forgetting now, perhaps I’ll update this later

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