Beetle byte (29 November 2013 edition)

The regular half-dozen links for your Black Fly Day reading pleasure.

What should conservationists conserve?

In answering these questions, conservation cannot promise a return to pristine, prehuman landscapes. Humankind has already profoundly transformed the planet and will continue to do so. What conservation could promise instead is a new vision of a planet in which nature — forests, wetlands, diverse species, and other ancient ecosystems — exists amid a wide variety of modern, human landscapes. For this to happen, conservationists will have to jettison their idealized notions of nature, parks, and wilderness — ideas that have never been supported by good conservation science — and forge a more optimistic, human-friendly vision.


Who has caused the most global warming (interactive infographic)

All but seven of the 90 companies found to have caused the climate crisis deal in oil, gas and coal – and half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years. Some of the top companies are also funding climate change denial campaigns.


Canada’s Fisheries Act gets gutted like a fish

As a result, 80% of Canada’s 71 freshwater fish species currently at risk of extinction will lose the protection previously afforded to them under the Fisheries Act, according to an analysis published this month in the journal Fisheries1. Affected species include the Channel darter (Percina copelandi), Coastrange sculpin (Cottus aleuticus), Plains minnow (Hybognathus placitus) and Salish sucker (Catostomus catostomus). “It’s pretty clear that, overall, our aquatic habitat protection has taken a big hit, and is now less protected than it would be in the US or Europe,” says John Post, a fisheries biologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada and an author of the study.


Gutted whales

It is a job no man would envy. An unlucky biologist has been filmed trying to cut open a whale carcass – which exploded all over him.


In case you need a metaphor for exploding whales


Only Californians can really imitate Canadians

As I and others have pointed out, in fact, “Standard” Canadian English (such that it exists) is closer to marked California English, both sharing a distinctive counter-clockwise vowel shift. Keanu Reeves didn’t much alter his accent for Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, yet Americans readily bought him as a California layabout (that’s not to say his accent was terribly accurate, just that many Americans assume Californians talk like Jeff Spicoli).