Friday Faves December 27, 2013

The dangers of laughter

I enjoyed this NYT piece on a recent review paper on the possible dangers of laughter, including hernias, dislocated jaws and peeing your pants.

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Should Santa bring kittens and puppies down the chimney?

It's always interesting how we respond to science that goes against our intuition. My instinct is always to tear it apart, but also try to consider the evidence. A recent ASPCA survey found that pets received as gifts were at no greater risk of relinquishment than pets acquired in other ways (they also found that over 20% of all randomly phone people had received a pet as a gift - which just seems high to me!) - what do you think? Dog Spies is on the case, as always bringing us animal-based thoughtfulness.

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Our complicated past and present with elephants 

This is more of a book review than anything, but it made me go to the library and check out Behemoth, by Ronald B. Tobias, which details the history of the elephant in the United States. Unfortunately, for most elephants, the story does not end well. Perhaps what is most fascinating is that elephants were often held responsible for "moral transgressions" which sadly led to abuse, corporal punishment and even being sentenced to death. I'm looking forward to reading this book!

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