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March 16, 2019

We Need More Games That Let You Play As Animals

Over the last weekend, I finally played some Ape Out. That game has some style. Though as I played it I realized something. Sadly, we don’t seem to get a lot of games anymore that give you control over an animal. That’s a shame, I love these games.

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March 12, 2019

Stuffed documentary: Maybe taxidermy isn’t such a dead industry after all

The trailer for Stuffed, a taxidermy documentary.

AUSTIN, Texas—Growing up in a suburb of a suburb in Pennsylvania, my hometown’s main street looked like you might expect: funeral home, gas station/convenient mart, VFW pub… and a taxidermy office. (Back then, the state even gave public schools a day off at the start of deer-hunting season.) As someone more interested in playing text-based adventure games after-hours on my dad’s work computer, I never saw the inside of that last communal institution. But I had a pretty crude mental image based on context clues: antlers lining the walls, camouflage outerwear tossed [...]

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January 14, 2019

Rodents of Unusual Size—Meet the invasive, orange-toothed pests of coastal erosion

The trailer for the documentary Rodents of an Unusual Size

By now, anyone following environmental news recognizes Louisiana as one of the front lines for climate change in the United States. In recent years, writers from the state have famously wondered out loud about whether the boot shape we all learned in elementary school fits anymore, and residents of a small community in Isle de Jean Charles made headlines in 2015-2016 by becoming the first “climate refugees” in the country. Between flooding and the various forces pushing coastal erosion, the town quite literally lost 98 percent of its physical land in the 60 [...]

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November 24, 2018

Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy

Enlarge / A camera trap working properly. (credit: Flickr user: NationalZoo)

Over the past two decades automated wildlife cameras—known as camera traps—have proven invaluable in ecological research and conservation management. Their sensitive motion detectors have enabled scientific surveys of rare or shy animals in dense forest and as a consequence have seen broader use around the world.

But camera traps frequently take pictures of people as well as wildlife. This has important implications for privacy and human rights and may ultimately undermine conservation goals.

We conducted a survey of researchers who had [...]

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