Photo of the day

I remember coming across this photo a while back.  Almost made it a photo of the day, but picked something else North Korea instead. Saw via FB today that this actually won best news photo for 2011.  I guess I should’ve posted it then:

North Korea picture: one of World Press Photo contest's best news pictures of the year, 2011

Photograph courtesy Damir Sagolj, Reuters/World Press Photo

A portrait of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung appears to be the only thing deemed worthy of electric light in a cluster of Pyongyang buildings pictured in October 2011.

Though Kim died almost two decades ago, North Korea‘s constitution recognizes him as the nation’s “eternal president.” His son, Kim Jong Il, ruled the country until his own death in December 2011—not long after Damir Sagolj of Bosnia and Herzegovina had taken this picture.

“We thought this was a very powerful image that made a strong statement on what things are like in North Korea. It’s a little slice of daily life, and it looks pretty stark,” Sartore said. “It really suggests that, when you have a dictatorship, this is where it leads you—and it’s not a good place.”

Maybe a Dingo ate your baby

Really interesting piece in Science Times earlier this week on the dingo.  It discusses the history of Australian attitudes towards the dingo and dingoes as a threat to humans, but what I found most interesting was the evolutionary history of the dingo:

Dingoes are generally classified as a subspecies of wolf, Canis lupus dingo, although in the past they have been classified as a subspecies of dog and as a separate species. Physically, they resemble a generic, medium-size dog, about 40 pounds, usually tan-colored, with pricked ears and a bushy tail.

They do not have some of the physical signs of domestication found in many dog breeds, like barking as adults. They breed once a year, like wolves, and when undisturbed they have a stable pack structure topped by one male-female pair, the only ones in the pack that reproduce.

Bradley Smith, a research associate in public health at Flinders University in Adelaide who has studied dingoes, said by e-mail that experimental tests put dingoes closer to wolves in the kind of intelligence they display. “Both dingoes and wolves, being highly effective predators, are great at problem solving, working well in groups, and independent problem solving,” he said.

But they also understand humans in a way that wolves do not. They get it when a person points at something, while wolves are clueless or supremely uninterested. Dingoes are not as good as dogs, however, at following a human’s gaze.

Dingoes, Dr. Smith wrote, “seem to be a prime example of one of the first types of ‘dogs’. Not domestic dogs as we know them now, but some form of early dog that made it easier for the human-canid relationship to develop. You could almost say dingoes are frozen in time — as they have made a very good home in Australia and have been isolated for many thousands of years.”

We’ll never know for sure if the dingoes at that famous baby, but it is confirmed that they killed a nine-year old boy.  Yikes!  Naturally, I leave you with this:

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