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Comment Re:duh (Score 1) 182

Thanks. I was just looking for a nice font of this general sort. Now if I could find it in monospace, which is what I really need for my application... (Liberation Mono is fairly good but not "strong" enough visually.)

As to TFA, some years ago I noticed that some new Interstate signs had crappy legibility because the font was more tall and narrow than the old font. Lo and behold, finally I know why!

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 1) 151

Actually, I don't especially like cats. I like *some* cats, the ones that behave more like domesticated animals and less like wild beasts. And I'm quite familiar with feral cats, and predator species of various sorts.

What I'm saying, that you don't seem to get and is roundly ignored by people who decry predation by cats, is that cats only partially (and inadequately) replaced other predators that no longer exist in these environments; cats didn't suddenly arrive in a predator-free situation (exceptions noted for isolated islands where medium and larger predators failed to arrive or evolve -- remember the species already there invaded too, if much longer ago).

Indeed, a great many birds and rodents take full advantage of the relative safety of man-and-cats vs every-other-predator. Yeah, cats kill shit. So did a dozen other predators that no longer live where man (and cats) do.... and which killed a lot more shit than all the cats civilization can muster, feral or domestic.

And cats generally don't survive away from human influence. Other predators think they're very tasty and all too easily caught. Cripes, in the desert I couldn't grow cats fast enough to keep the owl and coyote buffet stocked. Every cat that went outside the fence got eaten.

Further, if one looks at wild cat species and the fact that some freely interbreed with domestic cats, it's clear the line between 'em is at best fuzzy and possibly artificial, much like the line between dogs and wolves (functionally different breeds of the same species).

So it's basically the same argument as "people shouldn't be allowed to roam the woods and freely kill deer, because it's hard on the deer population", and meanwhile humans have run most of the other large predators out, and in some of the more-settled states there are now up to 10 times as many deer as in a wild environment with the more-usual array of large predators.

Funny how the same people who decry free-roaming cats usually support "wolf reintroduction" in the western U.S. (Canadian grey wolves were never native here in the first place, and have killed off the formerly-healthy population of native timber wolves), and scream bloody murder when we shoot the surplus (there are now about 4x as many wolves as the prey population can support).

Did you know coyotes are not native to most of North America? Evidence is that they followed man across the continent, and in fact some started as feral Indian dogs (there's a lot of domestic dog DNA, from about 2000 years ago, in the coyote population). Now what??

Balances change. Nature is not static, and humans and their associated creatures are part of the dynamic. And considering that in an urban or suburban setting you will have either free-roaming cats, or assloads of rats and mice, which do you choose?? Maybe you'd prefer to import weasels, foxes, and skunks. Rabies ahoy!!

Comment Re:Take back Slashdot (Score 1) 1305

Well, the first thing you can do is PUT THE DAILY EMAILER BACK HOW IT WAS!!

I don't know what you did to it, but today's was somewhere between useless and unusable. Mostly it showed as a blank message with a couple of irrelevant links way down the page and badly formatted. I'll bet it got blocked as spam by more-proactive servers, just for the horrible layout (even if anything had worked right).

I'm sure I'm not alone in that I haven't visited the front page in years, and rely entirely on the daily email for a list of topics in an easily-skimmed format.

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 1) 151

Both articles are a lot of vague handwringing. If Australian criteria for "endangered" is anything like what it is in the U.S., it's probably just as bogus. Examples that leap to mind: The spotted owl -- miscounted (it was WAG'd that the population density would be much greater than their natural density of about one pair per square mile, and they were only counted in a very small assumed range even tho they occur all along the west coast) and misconstrued (it's actually a color variant of the barred owl, not a separate species at all). The kangaroo rat (counted during daylight; it's nocturnal) which is actually common enough in the desert to be a pest. The timber wolf ("critically endangered" in the U.S.; funny how if you merely cross the border into Canada, it's a very common species despite intensive hunting pressure). The red wolf (not a species at all, but due to occasional crossbreeding of coyote and wolf in areas where coyotes have the tanpoint color gene).

It also forgets that species naturally go extinct all the time, regardless of what humans (or cats) do. Habitats change; another species arises (or arrives) and is more successful. Natural selection doesn't care if the process is due to humans (or felines); inability to adapt to a new pressure, whatever that may be, leads to decline and eventual extinction, and something else fills the same niche. Nature is not the static snapshot that some folks would like to believe. If it were, mammoths and sabertooths would roam the streets of Los Angeles.

I don't particularly object to keeping your cats home, but unless you've still got all your other predators, you will soon suffer the consequences as a plague of small vermin, whether "native" (which often merely means "arrived before we started counting") or introduced (check out the videos of mouse swarms in Australia). As to keeping cats confined, cats are not like dogs that generally adapt well to confinement; most don't tether well, and being kept exclusively indoors makes normal young cats stir-crazy; from a breeding standpoint, confinement tends to select for a neurotic, fearful temperament that wants to do nothing but hide in the nearest hole and attack anyone who comes near it. If you can manage to bird-net a large yard (don't forget to roof it) that would suffice. Yeah, that's gonna fly, especially where there are HOAs...

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 2) 151

Ya know, it's not fair to lay it on the cats when they're brought into a closed environment, like an island, that previously lacked efficient predators (and where lack of evolution to support predator pressure makes for an easily-killed prey population), as is often the cited case -- that's just not comparable to a larger environment, like, say, North America, with a broad spectrum of native predators and where the only real displacement has been in urban areas.

And cats are sure as hell not better at killing stuff than weasels, mink, and fox.

And having experienced both urban Los Angeles where there are lots of feral cats, and remote wilderness where there are NO cats -- the urban area has FAR more songbirds and small vermin, because there the ONLY significant predator is cats. But out in the wilderness, you get the whole range of predators.

So tell me ... how many creatures would be killed by other predators, vs how many are killed by cats? shall we do away with all the cats and bring back other predators, and find out?? cuz every time I see this "cats are the problem" thing, NEVER do we see comparisons against the wild predators that no longer exist in urban environments. Nor does it account for that feline populations are pretty much limited to where man has already changed the environment. Which is really responsible for previous species going away??

There have been studies that noted that if it weren't for feral cats keeping the rat population in check, rats would quickly exterminate urban birds, because rats climb into nests and feed on eggs and hatchlings. (This was also my observation in an area where the cats got eaten by owls and the rats got out of hand... pretty soon there were no birds left. Not even starlings.)

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 2) 151

Consider that wherever there are now domestic cats, there used to be a host of other predators -- weasels, mink, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, etc, etc. If anything, there is now less predation than before, because cats are not as efficient at arboreal predation, are rather more size-limited (unlike a mink or weasel, cats are not good at predating larger animals) and don't do underground predation at all.

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