Thursday, February 07, 2013

Python Challenge update and other unusual but interesting maybe not so thought-provoking pieces

Chances are people reading this blog have already read about this undertaking but it bears further scrutiny. For whatever reason, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission decided to host a first-ever, “Python Challenge” in the Florida Everglades. Over the years and due to human stupidity, the python population in the Everglades has grown to enormous proportions. Former pet python owners most likely dumped their pythons in perfect reproductive conditions and the rest, as they say, is history.

The hunt was open to anybody who felt the urge or need to hunt pythons using any methods that hit their fancy including guns, machetes…whatever. To date more than 1,500 “hunters” or wanna-be python slayers have registered and made their way in a section of the Everglades set out by the Commission and to date – count 'em – a mere fifty  pythons have fallen victim to the slayers. Let’s be realistic: pythons will not/do not come out of their python dwellings to become a python belt or boots/fashion accessory. The purpose of the event, according to the FWC, was to raise awareness about the Burmese python. Like, Floridians didn’t know about the situation given the publicity in the media! Pythons will be used for study purposes.

As an incentive to hunt down the slither-ers, $1500 will be awarded to the person who brings in the most pythons and $1000 for the longest snake caught, plus $750 for runners-up. Given the low number of pythons captured so far, one questions the logic and rationale of the hunt and the end result.

Here's the latest python update:,0,1282073.story

Speaking or writing of pythons - not your ordinary baby sitter

 Is it just my imagination or are inhabitants of planet earth losing their marbles. This story really takes the proverbial cake.

There are babysitters and then there are babysitters with a difference, accent on the latter. A Chinese family uses - can't believe I'm writing this - a pet snake to babysit their 13-year old son. Not just any old specie like your common garden snake but a 15 foot Burmese python. Really!

According to the article, the snake was introduced to the family as an egg that hatched into the python. The son took to the 220 lb. snake in a big way and a friendship was established. Over time, the snake acquired the role of pseudo-nanny.

According to the boy, she - presumably the snake is a female...not that it makes any difference - is very gentle when the pair are together and doesn't squeeze too hard. Key words here: too hard.

So I'm thinking here, is this not a disaster in the making? I mean, true it's very surprising that the snake hasn't made its move, yet, but then again and most likely, he's being fed well to stave off the pangs of hunger.

According to National Geographic: "Burmese pythons are carnivores, surviving primarily on small mammals and birds. They have poor eyesight, and stalk prey using chemical receptors in their tongues and heat-sensors along the jaws. They kill by constriction, grasping a victim with their sharp teeth, coiling their bodies around the animal, and squeezing until it suffocates. They have stretchy ligaments in their jaws that allow them to swallow all their food whole."

Need one say or write more? Here is a photo of the young boy and his "baby-sitter":

The women in France can now wear pants

Unbelievable as it may seem and read, for the last 200 years there had been a old ban on women wearing pants. Having visited France a few times, can’t say that I noticed whether or not French females wore the pants in the family (weak attempt at humor…very weak). Moving on …
In any case, for whatever reason the French government has decided to overturn the ban and now French women can legally wear pants. Why it took them so long is puzzling. Thinking further, there is no mention of the definition of “pants.” Would it include capris that reach below the knee or shorts?
According to Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Women’s Rights, the ban which came into being on November 17, 1800, was incompatible with modern French values and laws. To say the least! The law stated that females required the permission of local police should they want to “dress like a man” and wear pants.  The original law according to Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, had been intended to prevent females doing certain jobs. Modified in 1892 and 1909, it allowed women to wear pants if they were “holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse.”

Actually, thinking further, I wore pants during my visits and wasn’t arrested or anything. Had I ended up in jail, think of the media headlines: "Une touriste de France who wore de pants ends up in de prison." No mention in the story about the fine for this brazen act.
Seems that during the French Revolution, Parisian women had requested the right to wear pants and working-class revolutionaries became known as "sans-culottes" for wearing trousers instead of the silk-knee breeches preferred by the bourgeoisie. Given the reality that some French beaches allow topless bathing makes the change sensible.

There's no bones about it - parking lot reveals more than wheels

Not a regal end for a king but then nobody ever conceived the creation of parking lots centuries ago. Maybe it’s my warped sense of humor but it did cause a chuckle upon reading that the skeleton of King Richard III was found buried beneath a council parking lot in Leicester, England. Also, go figure that there had been a search by archeologists to discover his bones. In any case, now that it has been confirmed that this is indeed King Richard and for whatever reason –curiosity springs to mind – scientists have gone one step further and revealed a 3D reconstruction of his face. I mean, according to the image, he was a good look king but do we really care? Obviously, some people and according to Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society (they even have a society dedicated to him?) who led a 4-year hunt to find the king’s remains, “I hope you can see this face what I see in this face and that’s a man who is three-dimensional in every sense.” Different strokes for different folks…

So how is your world?

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