This is ridiculous. I’m having the worst time ever getting to the online version of this issue. I’ve had to log in twice now. My browser used to keep me logged in and I used to be able to just get to it by searching Google for the issue number. Now all I can get while logged in is a photograph of the pages. When I try to get to the text version, it keeps telling me “This National Geographic content is only available to subscribing members” and gives me a link to a login screen. And I can see that I’m still logged in behind it. I’ve actually sworn at this thing. Twice.
Well, I guess I’ll have to make the best of this bullshit. I’m not happy, though. Having to zoom in to read the text is a pain in my left buttock.
In other news, I did make it to an average of 8,200 steps per day for May, finally. I couldn’t remember if the number I got on the final day of the month was the final count, or if it would drop at midnight, so I put in a couple thousand extra steps so that I had one day of wiggle room. I ended up with 8,467 steps on average for the month.
Bloody Good, by Elizabeth Royte, photographs by Charlie Hamilton Jones
I got a kick out of the title that the website gives this article, Vultures are Revolting. Here’s Why We Need to Save Them. The mental image of vulture revolutionaries amuses me.
Bloody Good focuses on the life and current plight of vultures in Africa and Asia. Some of the vultures in these areas are critically endangered. Vultures reduce the number of animal carcasses rotting in the sun, which means that they also reduce the chances that people and livestock will be made ill by the kinds of illnesses that develop from rotting meat. I know that vultures have a bad reputation, but there’s one photograph of cape vultures in South Africa that is truly beautiful.
We have traditionally had a lot of black and turkey vultures here in Texas. I made sure that Alex grew up appreciating the good they do for the environment. We once actually found the remains of a raccoon at Guadalupe River State Park and we had seen vultures in the park earlier that day. Now I didn’t get cozy enough with the bones and fur that remained to see if there were beak marks on them, but the corpse was just to the side of the walking path, so I suspect that if the poor thing had been left to rot, someone would have removed it, or alerted a park ranger so that it could be removed.
By the way, it looked like the poor thing had become tangled in fishing line, so please be careful when you go fishing to always account for all of your fishing line before you go home.
Into Thin Ice, by Andy Isaacson, photographs by Nick Cobbing
I’m somewhat nonplussed by the title here. I think that the usual saying is “on thin ice,” and the focus of this article (aside from — what else? — global warming) is on boats that examine the Arctic by attaching themselves to ice floes, so the word “on” would seem to apply there. But it’s the editors’ choice what to name the articles, even if it is somewhat cumbersome.
And, of course, the ice is melting more rapidly than is traditional and scientists are very concerned. The warming oceans are releasing carbon dioxide into the air, which will hasten global climate change.
Stay tuned for my next National Geographic recap in which the rubber plantations of Asia are about to precipitate an ecological catastrophe. Unless I can knock out the rest of July 1889 by then, in which case my next National Geographic writeup will be about the rivers and valleys of Pennsylvania in great detail.