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March 2, 2015

Scaring off seagulls with drones in Haarlem

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 11:29 am

After the world found out about an owl terrorising the city of Pumerend and sending people to hospital, the city of Haarlem has decided to attack its annual seagull problem with drones, based on an American idea. Haarlem is a few kilometres from the North Sea, while Amsterdam is further away and seems more overrun by pigeons.

Forget hanging devices that make falcon noises to scare seagulls off. With a drone you can replace the camera part with the noisy device and scare the seagulls out of their nests, as long as it’s not too windy for the drones. Seagulls are a protected bird type, so scaring them away is the city’s best bet for now.

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Drone by Karen Axelrad, some rights reserved)

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February 18, 2015

Bacteria that ring each other in the sea

Filed under: Animals,Science by Orangemaster @ 11:23 am

A joint Dutch-Belgian study of the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has shown that there are bacteria in the North Sea that send signals to each other, much like using a telephone, over long distances. The bacteria are able to do so by using electrical signals with alternating current. Earlier researchers discovered that micro-oganisms could talk to each other, but their calls were usually local.

“We already knew that long-winding cable bacteria were living in the seafloor of the North Sea, which are capable of establishing an electrical current across centimeter distances,” explains team leader Professor Filip Meysman. “The really exciting discovery is that these bacteria are capable of adapting their electrical current generation, which enables signal transmission in the seafloor. This way the electricity-generating cable bacteria are essentially functioning as telephone cables.”

The discovery could mean all kinds of useful future applications. “Maybe within some years, solar panels or smartphones will harbor minuscule conducting wires of bacterial origin,” adds Meysman.

(Links: nieuws.nl, www.nioz.nl, Photo by Macinate, some rights reserved)

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February 12, 2015

Birdwatchers spot Flamingos in Amsterdam

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 10:57 am

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Birdwatchers are thrilled to have spotted a flock of five flamingos in Amsterdam, which is a rare sight. They’re not from a zoo, as they’ve not been tagged. They’ve probably come from southern Europe and are staying as they can find food easily. The birds should stay about three years. German flamingos are often seen in the Netherlands, but are tagged and usually go back home.

Cue Miami Vice opening sequence (video).

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl, Photo of Flamingos in a French zoo by Tambako the Jaguar, some rights reserved)

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February 6, 2015

Utrecht researchers study why cats love boxes

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 10:11 am

catinbox

Researchers Claudia Vinke and Ruth van der Leij of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University have studied why cats like to get into boxes. It appears that hiding in a box significantly reduces the stress level of a cat, although many cats just like to play in them, as proven by the multitude of Internet videos.

Studies were carried out in an animal shelter to monitor cats’ behaviour in quarantine for two weeks. Half of the cats were given a box to hide in and the other half was not. The stress level of the cats in the room with a box was significantly lower than the ones without a box. Cats with a lower stress level get used to their new environment more quickly, and a more relaxed cat also does not get sick as quickly. Boxes are good for cats.

On a related note, one of Amsterdam’s cat related attractions is the ‘Poezenboot’ (‘Cat boat’), a cat shelter on a houseboat in one of Amsterdam’s main canals founded back in the late 1960s.

(Link: www.duic.nl, Photo of Cat in a box by Hehaden, some rights reserved.

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February 3, 2015

Naked men with kitty calendar trending

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 10:59 am

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Sure, it’s been done before (I recommend ‘Metal musicians with their cats’), but once Dutch television shows started plugging Sliedrecht’s animal rescue shelter’s calendar featuring naked Dutch men with cats, the money started rolling in to the tune of 6000 euro so far. Keep up with them in Dutch on their Facebook page.

The men range from 19 to 54 and the shelter actually chose them for their looks as well as their love of animals. The money raised will go to taking care of unwanted cats, which, like in all Western countries, are still being dumped and abandoned.

(Link: www.welingelichtekringen.nl)

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January 7, 2015

Annoying Dutch adverts: pretty pans and superfluous sloths

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:42 am

‘Mooi’, the word repeated in the video below means ‘nice’ or ‘pretty’ — you get the idea. The problem with this advert is near the end when the man says, ‘they’re all really nice pans, but where can I find (buy) them?’ His tone is irritating, as if he’s imitating a stereotyped middle-aged Dutch woman or possibly a gay-ish man. The woman, who sounds more like a Dutch man, answers ‘fonq’, a brand name pronounced a bit like ‘funk’. ‘Are you going to cook, then?’, she says in an insulting manner, implying the man doesn’t do any cooking. ‘No, I’m going to bash your brains in with them,’ a retort that is meant to be funny, but falls flat like a pancake on the floor.

A wok shown in the middle was the Boomerang Wok, designed by Dutch designer Nicolai Carels.

The pan advert was recently nominated for Most Annoying Dutch Advert 2014, the ‘Loden Leeuw’ (Lead Lion) 2014 by television consumer program Radar, but
lost to a health insurance company that features animated sloths who save so much money on their health insurance they get unnecessary cosmetic surgery, as would Dutch celebs with too much time and money on their hands.

(Photo of a cooking class kitchen by Jana Gumprecht)

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January 3, 2015

Dutch activist demands less cowbell in Switzerland

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 7:36 pm

Dutch vegan activist Nancy Holten living in Switzerland has apparently upset the Swiss by claiming that cows wearing cowbells was akin to animal cruelty. The Swiss media was straight up in their answer and told to move back to where she came from if she didn’t like their culture. Holten has been widely labelled as a complainer since just before Christmas, she complained about church bells being rung at 6 am – too early in her opinion – in her village.

According to Wikipedia, cowbells have been around since the Iron age and have been used on cattle around the world. However, in September 2014 Swiss researchers did conclude that cowbells are often too loud and too heavy. The problem is that having foreigners complain about your traditions is not always the best way to go, something the Dutch deal with six months out of the year before Sinterklaas.

(Link: frontpage.fok.nl, Photo: Dutch cows sans cowbell)

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December 20, 2014

Netherlands taxes barnacle geese’s immune system

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 12:19 pm

Barnacle-Goose

Dutch scientists have suggested an explanation for why Dutch barnacle geese have a less active immune system once they’ve migrated to Spitsbergen, Norway than when they winter in the Netherlands. “The birds on Spitsbergen appear to invest much less energy in their immune systems, particularly general resistance to disease. Researchers suspect that this might be because there are far fewer pathogens [like bird flu] in the North than here in the Netherlands.”

With their immune systems taxed less, the geese have more energy available to reproduce and change feathers, which the Dutch birds don’t. This means that the geese appear able to adjust their immune systems according to the risk of catching a disease.

(Links: www.kijkmagazine.nl, phys.org, Photo of barnacle goose by Andreas Trepte, some rights reserved)

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December 9, 2014

Police ‘arrest’ sheep on the run

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:40 am

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In Drachten, Friesland the police stopped a wandering sheep that was causing problems on a local motorway. After a few calls, the police came and grabbed the animal and put it in the back of their vehicle.

The cops thought it a good idea to tweet a picture of the sheep, “as many people had requested them to do”. I’m sure cops don’t ‘arrest’ sheep every day.

The sheep was returned to its owner.

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl)

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November 28, 2014

Edible insects now available at the supermarket

Filed under: Animals,Dutch first,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 10:28 am

Grasshopers

As of today Jumbo supermarkets in the cities of Groningen and Haren will start selling edible insects products. ‘Buggy balls’, ‘buggy burgers’ and even ‘buggy crisps’ (great, more junk food) will be available. Many parts of the world apparently eat insects either as a delicacy or because they’re poor. The Western world hasn’t joined in yet except for special events.

I can’t listen to the health arguments for selling these protein-rich products because supermarkets sell us tons of junk food and have forfeited their say in people’s health ages ago. I can’t listen to the lame argument of eating bugs as an alternative to eating meat because there are vegetarians and vegans out there doing just fine without it.

Eating bugs is expensive (one portion of ‘buggy balls’ costs between 5,95 and 6,79 euro), which doesn’t make them an alternative to anything. The price won’t go down if more people buy because if that were true, the price of veggie burgers would have gone down. And if you eat peanut coated chocolates that contain red E120 colouring, you’re already eating bugs.

Bonus argument: Belgium is one of Europe’s top suppliers of insects, but its production is illegal yet tolerated. Sound familiar?

(Links: www.z24.nl, nos.nl, Photo of Grasshoppers by ad454, some rights reserved)

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