Beetle byte (22 November 2013 edition)

On time this week! Zounds!!

Prince Edward Island National Park

I love that Google has “street viewed” a bunch of Canadian national parks. There are so many great places that I still need to visit, but PEI National Park is one place that I really love and hope to return to again and again.


This can end anytime. Because faddish.

You probably know it better, however, as explanation by way of Internet—explanation that maximizes efficiency and irony in equal measure. I’m late because YouTube. You’re reading this because procrastination. As the language writer Stan Carey delightfully sums it up: “‘Because’ has become a preposition, because grammar.”


Waste-of-time Canadian politics (that Americans love)

My dear American neighbours:

Judging from your delighted leers and the daily email links you’ve been kind enough to provide, I guess I’m supposed to be a bit sheepish about Toronto’s mayor, and what he’s doing to my country’s reputation for monotonous, self-effacing reserve.

Well, first of all, my country’s reputation is largely an American invention; most of you don’t realize it, but we had some pretty darned wacky politicians long before Rob Ford showed up.


More important Canadian politics

If the ruling Conservatives had presented a credible climate change plan of their own rather than be content to demonize that of their rivals back then they might have had to tone it down in the face of deteriorating economic circumstances.

But the green credentials of such a government would have continued to be a defining feature at home and abroad. Its first order of business would not have been the dismantling of the country’s environmental oversight infrastructure along the lines of that undertaken by the Conservatives since they have won a majority, or the waging of a counterintuitive war on the environmental movement.


Those politics are important because injustice

Six days after it was struck by one of the largest storms ever recorded, the Philippines is scrambling to get aid to hundreds of thousands of typhoon victims and may be looking at billions in damage repair. In the wake of the disaster, perhaps we should be asking whether it’s fair to have the country bear the brunt of the cost of this devastating storm.


On a happier note, a weird insect, because crazy “hair”

As for that spectacular fountain of Don King plumage, the scientists say it’s a waxy secretion many planthoppers excrete from their abdomen, which may protect the bugs against predators and parasites.