Wednesday, September 16, 2015

News Briefs 9.16.15


A couple of weeks ago Burger King proposed a day of peace, or rather “a ceasefire on [the] so-called ‘burger wars’” with McDonald’s. Sounds ridiculous. I know. But in late August, Burger King put up full page ads in both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune with an open letter treaty.

What is that? The McWhopper? What’s happening?

If you decide to partake on the adventure that is the McWhopper website, I advise that you go onto on a computer because you’re missing out on a nicely designed website if you’re viewing it on mobile. For those of you who can’t or just don’t want to bother with the website, (spoiler alert!) the main attraction is watching the Big Mac and the Whopper dropping down the page as you scroll through the website, falling apart, and eventually coming down together into one burger. I find it really funny. I find this whole idea really funny.

Burger King, seeing that McDonald’s and themselves are in a place of power, wanted to merge their burger, the Whopper, with the Big Mac in order to promote an event called Peace Day.

Peace Day, or International Day of Peace is a proposed day for international ceasefire and altogether non-violence. In an attempt to institutionalize this “holiday” the non-profit organization, Peace One Day has been asking people, “who will you make peace with?” Burger King answered the question with, “McDonald’s.”

Part of Burger King’s proposal included possible uniforms, packaging, and of course, the recipe of the burger, but what I found to be the best part of the proposal was that in order to emphasize the one day of peace they decided to create a single pop-up restaurant that would only open for a day in the halfway point between their headquarters, Atlanta.

And also to continue with the theme of Peace Day, instead of paying, customers would instead sign their own truce before getting their burger. #settlethebeef

McDonald’s responded with a, “no.”

Can we note that last statement? Not the phone call one.

“let's acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

I find this whole stunt to be really funny and the way McDonald's decided to deal with it ties the whole thing together for me.

- Christian

* * *

Oh Deer

Ah, nature. Who doesn't love a good walk in the woods? A pleasant hike? Time to share only with the beauty of nature and all living things? (Well, me, for starters, but I digress.) Living on Staten Island, the declared "Borough of Parks" because that's a more pleasant moniker than "the Borough of Tolls" or "the Borough of that one park that used to be a landfill," has its perks. There's a ton of green space, both public and private - I grew up in New York City with a backyard. I didn't even realize how lucky I was til I got lost in the urban jungle of every other borough. One of the anti-perks, though, are rampant populations of wild animals who are attracted to green space. Such as the deer. Oh god, the deer.

I know we all got very upset when we were children watching Bambi and I know people are reluctant to chase off precious woodland creatures, but the fact of the matter is, deer are a problem on Staten Island, especially when they cause traffic accidents. With rutting season coming up, Staten Island residents are understandably wary of the recent uptick in deer sightings. To make matters worse, upper-level city management departments seem, at best, blasé toward the issue. Considering we Staten Islanders already self-identify their borough as "forgotten," this inaction doesn't improve relations between us and our elected officials. I mean, seriously, the Department of Transportation doesn't even feel the need to put up deer warning signs, because apparently those have been deemed ineffective.

Beyond traffic accidents, the overwhelming deer population will, eventually, have adverse effects on growing forests, which will in turn lead to herds starving to death once they've eaten away at the ecosystems. But the deer present a unique challenge, because clearly the simplest thing to do is allow for hunting and a gradual culling of the deer population (birth control strategies would do little at this stage of the game, considering how large the population already is). However, within the political climate of the city, a loosening of gun statutes seems wildly unlikely - even under special circumstances within its most conservative borough.

At the same time, though, when the best the city can come up with is a promise to brainstorm talking points, a little frustration is definitely warranted. Somebody somewhere has to do better. Staten Islanders are afraid nobody will do anything until a motorist is killed in a deer-related accident, and while I'd like to have a little more faith in the city, I have a nagging feeling that'll be the case.



                                                               Lightning Claw

I’ve wondered before whether scientists will eventually run out of names to give their new discoveries. But as we are discovering new species, the rate at which we are discovering them is also, surprisingly, increasing— and it is in direct correlation to the rate of extinction, as reported by this feature in environment 350.

“16,969 new species of plants and animals have been described in 2006 alone,” reports the article. That amounts to a good 1 percent of the earth’s 1.8 million known species. It seems that even our knowledge of mammals is increasing, 10 percent since 1993.  

Will we ever run out of new things to discover? Not in Australia—

This raptor-looking fellow is a new dinosaur discovered in Australia’s NSW, estimated at 23 feet in length and the largest carnivore to be discovered in Australia. As if Australia did not have enough carnivorous creatures, the discovery of this dinosaur serves as a stark reminder that not much has changed there since the early cretaceaous period.


                                                     “Dinosaur Invades Australia School”

Alright, maybe that is an exaggeration— but Lightning Claw was dated to have been living 110 million years ago, when Australia was still a part of Gondwana, a supercontinent combining South America, Antarctica, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India. In fact, this genus of dinosaurs was known to fare mostly from Argentina.


But what about its name? It is a compliation of the place it was discovered—Lightning Ridge, Australia—and the ginormous claws that this monster possesses, which over time have become tinted with a lovely dull blue opal tinge. They have been fossilized and opalized, due to the pressure of the earth on these bones for so many millions of years.

It was in about 1990 that this specimen was discovered, just before the the rate of discovery began to skyrocket due to technological advancements all over the world. But it was left unidentified, until a team of researchers from Italy and Australia decided to reexamine them.


Not to criticize the discovery for the sake of discovery, but perhaps we can also afford to spend some time preserving the species which are still alive today, such as this monkey:


Its the Tanzanian Kipunji! A part of a new genus, and the first of its kind since the early 20th century.

Happy Exploring!

-- Anna


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