Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm struck by some news today

I've been struck by several items of news today, but before I get there, let me urge you to go to Locus online and vote for the Locus Awards. No purchase or subscription necessary, though you do have to complete a survey. You'll recognise a name or two--like, y'know, me, and Malinda Lo--in some of the categories. Even if you don't vote, I can recommend using the titles as a reading list. There's some very cool stuff.

So, now, on to the odd news of the day. First up, there's a macaque loose in Tampa, munching people's grapefruits, falling in their swimming pools, and getting high on the tranks constantly shot at it. This, in and of itself, isn't that surprising: lots of idiots keep exotic animals without permits then 'release them into the wild' when they get bored or the beastie is too much to handle. (And macaques are big and fast and fierce. I most certainly wouldn't want to meet one in a dark alley, or my backyard.) What really struck me was that there's a whole wild breeding troop of these primates about 150 miles from Tampa, 'leftover' from the making of Tarzan movies in the 1930s. Wow.

Then there's the island in the Bay of Bengal, the one being squabbled over by India and Bangladesh. Except that fight has been rendered moot: the island has sunk. Vanished. Climate-change diplomacy.

The most jaw-dropping thing this morning, though, is the article about the possibility of a new (new to us) species of hominin, discovered via DNA testing of a single finger found in a Siberian cave. This brings the number of people-like species walking the planet at the same time (40,000 years ago) to four. The hypothesis is, of course, disputed. If the notion of four us-like species at once doesn't make you blink, the article in the Seattle Times would--riddled with errors, such as 'hominid' instead of 'hominin' and 'floriensis' instead of 'floresiensis'. Tuh. So go read this article instead.

Then there's some good news: Robert Gates has announced new regulations for the enforcement of DADT. From now on, only a general or admiral can initiate an enquiry and the standards of evidence have been raised. So I'm guessing the dismissal rate will plummet. It's a good interim measure until they throw the whole ill-conceived law out.

Why did I spend so long reading news this morning? Well, it's raining, and I feel sleepy, and it just seemed like the thing to do.

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