An experiment conducted by animal behavior expert Marc Bekoff of the University of Colorado, Boulder with his dog, Jethro:
While talking Jethro on his daily walk I conducted a study of his sniffing and urination patterns. To learn about the role of urine in eliciting sniffing and urinating, I moved urine-saturated snow ("yellow snow") from place-to-place during five winters to compare Jethro's responses to his own and other dog's urine. Immediately after Jethro or other known males or females urinated on snow, I scooped up a small clump of the yellow snow in gloves and moved it to different locations. For some reasons passers-by thought I was strange and generally left me alone. Moving yellow snow was a useful and novel method for discovering that Jethro spent less time sniffing his own urine than that of other males or females.
Edmund Gerstein claims to have invented a "Manatee Alerting Device" (aka MAD) that, when attached beneath a boat, will emit a beam of sound alerting manatees to get out of the way. But it's controversial. Other researchers insist the device will just add more noise to an already noisy underwater environment. It would be like "putting a siren on every car on a highway." And that manatees wouldn't be able to tell where the sound is coming from.
Complicating the controversy, it turns out Gerstein has a history of advancing unorthodox manatee theories. Back in the 1990s he claimed to have discovered that manatees can hear high-speed boats better than low-speed ones. His claim was promoted by boaters who wanted no speed regulations, but after paying tens of thousands of dollars on extra manatee research, the state of Florida decided Gerstein was wrong. He was also busted for faking a degree. Which is why researchers aren't exactly welcoming him with open arms now.
Crow experts over in Japan have figured out a way to stop crows from ripping old insulation material off of pipes (the birds use the insulation for their nests). The researchers simply hung signs that read (in Japanese), "Crows do not enter." The crows seem to be obeying the signs. At least, they abruptly stopped attacking the pipes. This has now been working for three years.
Professor Katsufumi Sato thinks the signs work because people see the signs then look up into the sky for the birds, and when the crows realize they're being observed they fly away. More info: asahi.com
Or maybe the birds can read. I happen to have had in my files an example from 1960 of seagulls in San Diego who obeyed signs ordering them to stop dropping clams on the pavement.
How the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came to publish a muskrat meat cookbook:
The Escanaba Daily Press - Mar 22, 1949
The recipes include Wine-fried Muskrat, Muskrat a la Terrapin, Maryland Shredded Muskrat, Muskrat Salad, Muskrat Pie, Pickled Muskrat, and Stewed Muskrat Liver. However, it doesn't include Cream of Muskrat Casserole, a delicacy that we posted about back in 2013.
You can read or download the full booklet at archive.org.
In 2012, the residents of Idyllwild, California elected Max as their mayor. He was a golden retriever. Tragically he died of cancer a year later, but the people of Idyllwild agreed that Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II, aka Mayor Max II, could complete his term of office. The new Max was subsequently granted a perpetual term as mayor. So he's still in charge there.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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