species of the day

Lil’ rainbow-themed monarch butterfly sticker I created for iMessage sticker app Made With Care. This pack is designed to raise awareness of endangered species living on our planet - monarch butterfly being one of them. Sticker.Place collaboration for Earth Day.

All proceeds will be donated to WWF.

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Bug of the Day

OMG, look at this adorable hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)! How is this squee-worthy beastie not a Pokemon??? I had it in the fridge yesterday so I could get a few good photographs, including the ones above. Today it was finally sunny out so I let it go outside. It sat on my fingers for a long time and then suddenly took off up into the sky like a little fighter jet.

@biomechabird It was only in the fridge for a few hours, til I could photograph it. I think it would last a few days in the fridge, depends on the species. Seems kind of cruel to keep them there that long though…

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Daily activities for our African penguin colony: Swim, eat, bray—and inspire guests to help protect this endangered species on Endangered Species Day! So take a moment to watch the penguins play—and remember that we have the ability to tell extinction “Nay!”

Mauritius ornate day gecko (Phelsuma ornata)

Mauritius ornate day gecko is a diurnal species of geckos. It occurs on the island Mauritius and some surrounding islands and typically inhabits different trees and bushes. The Mauritius ornate day gecko feeds on insects and nectar. This Gecko is one of the smallest day geckos. It can reach a total length of about 12 cm. The body colour is quite variable. It can be bluish green, green with a blue area on the front back, or completely blue.

photo credits: S Molteno

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A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

One day in Juneau, Alaska, a black wolf appeared out in the open of a snowy field while Nick Jans (photographer and author) was outside his back porch with his pet Labrador. Usually, wolves do not encounter humans, so when he first saw the wolf, he was in shock and in fear. His dog, however, went out to greet the black wolf. It turned out that the wolf was being friendly. The Labrador and wolf started to play together as Nick captured the exciting moment on his camera. The black wolf earned the name “Romeo” because of his playfulness toward the humans and other dogs. Everyone was skeptical of the wolf at first. Soon they realized that the wolf was no harm to the townspeople and the other dogs. The black wolf had an understanding that creating a friendship and bond with the humans and dogs would bring harmony to the species. The wolf visited the townspeople for six years until one day, he was shot by a couple of poachers visiting from outside the state. It was a very tragic event. After the event, the townspeople held a memorial to remember Romeo. Nick eventually wrote a book about the friendship between Romeo and him.

“Romeo and Nick shared a bond that was probably what the first humans who domesticated dogs felt about their dogs. More than about building trust, it was about understanding need for friendship that even the wildest animal feels.”

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Submitted by @ lord-of-the-dark-realms 

Siblings

So, I had this thought after reading several stories about humans giving birth and not having eggs.  What if aliens do not have ‘family units’ the same way humans do, but instead raise children in more of a group setting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Captain H'roll'ah was excited to have hired on not just 1 but 3 humans, all of whom were extremely qualified for space travel.  Even better, they were all from the same clan and so there would be no rivalry or refusal to work together because of old scores to settle.

“Captain! Three humans just came in a have taken over the dining area! WHAT SHOULD WE DO?!?” Ensign Khralhen was out of breath and panicked, but his species was notoriously afraid of humans after it became public knowledge how dangerous they were.  Not that his own was much better, but H'roll'ah knew that these humans should be here and it was probably near a meal time for them.  How could such an evolutionary advanced and apated species not figure out a way to avoid needing 3 or meals a day was beyond H'roll'ah.

“It is fine, Ensign Khralhen.  These are likely the Humans that I just signed on to the crew.  They are from the same clan, so they should work at peak efficiency,” the Captain answered, trying to put as much calm and soothing into his voice as possible, “Let us go introduce ourselves and welcome them so that the ‘pack-bonding’ can begin.”

~~

“Greetings, I am Captain H'roll'ah and this is Ensign Khralhen, our cook.”

“Nice ta meetcha! Cook, huh? Guess we best buddy up to you right quick then!” said the male.  He was average height for a human and perhaps a little on the heavy side, but H'roll'ah knew that it was likely muscle not fat.  After all, this human and one of his female companions were security personnel.

“Always thinking with you stomach, Thomas.  How about you buddy up to the Captain, so that we do not get kicked off this boat? Hmm?” said the smaller female, later identified as Samantha or “Sam” for ease.  "Small" being used only in comparison because she did not have the bulk of her clanmates.  She must be the medical officer.  H'roll'ah was worried that she would be distant from her clanmates but her body language suggested extreme comfort and trust, above what H'roll'ah felt for his own clanmates of different castes.  The third human, Laura if the captain remembered correctly, remained silent but was constantly looking around, as if expecting an attack at any moment, not that strange considering all that H'roll'ah had hear about Earth.

“Well then, please tell me what times that the three of you eat, and I will prepare food for you then.  Also, please tell me any dietary restrictions you have so that you do not have any medical incidents,” Khralhen said, realizing that the humans could be bribed with food as easily as a Con'valix could be bribed with fruits.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

(3 Months Later)

Captain H'roll'ah was surprised at how well the humans worked together.  He thought that they might exceed standard human operating efficiency by 10%, but regularly they were 20-25% better than the reported average.  They barely needed to vocalize to communicate, and they were able to remember each other’s needs and the needs of the crew extremely well.  Captain H'roll'ah decided to ask them how they did it, and if it was a clan trait, where he could hire more humans of clan “Walker.”

“Thomas clan Walker, do you have a few minutes to talk about personal matters?” The captain asked, assuming that Thomas would, since he was off shift and relaxing in the lounge.

“Sure thing, hoss.  What can I do for you?  And I hope this isn’t about my or Laura’s tattoo’s, because we had to settle a bet on that a few days ago,” Thomas answered easily.  He was a bit flippant for the captain’s taste, but his results were impeccable and the other humans followed his lead, which spoke volumes for the man.  

“I was hoping that you could explain how you and your clanmates have achieved such a high efficiency rate.  You perform well above average, even for clanmates who grew up together.”

“Clanmates? Oh, that’s right! Sam mentioned that your species, and most species on this ship raise their young in a group setting and the kids hatch from eggs, right?”

“That is correct, and please do not remind me that human females carry their young in their bodies like a parasite.  The last time Sam explained that, it was enough to make all of us wonder how humans have managed to reproduce at all.” H'roll'ah still shuddered when he thought of it, and Khralhen wasn’t able to cook for 3 days after Sam had explained human reproduction.

“Fair enough, I think we reproduce more by accident that anything else, but yeah.  Me, Laura, and Sam are not clanmates like you think,” Thomas chuckled and shook his head, “We are siblings.”

“I do not know this word,” H'roll'ah answered uneasily.  In his experience, an unknown term from a human meant that something painful, gross, horrifying, or all 3 was about to be revealed.

“Sam could explain it better, and having Laura here only seems fair…” Thomas trailed off as he reached for his comm.  "Hey, brats (again with the casual disrespect), can you both get up to the lounge? Captain wants to know about siblings.“ H'roll'ah was always surprised that Thomas clan Walker could be disrespectful when asking for others to do something.

“Sure, be right up,” Sam responded.  She was likely a floor up in the medical facilities and wanted to take a break.

“Grrhhrhhgg.” Laura clan Walker had been sleeping, then, and did not want to come.

“Thanks, ladies, you can both explain family better than me.”  Now the captain was worried again because there was a second new word being bandied around.

~~~

“So, captain, a family unit for humans is very small compared to yours of Ensign Khralhen’s,” Sam explained, “A family is usually made up of the mother and/or father or a surrogate who has assumed that role and the children.  It usually numbers no more than 4-7 individuals.”

“But…But…how do you grow or develop? And to place all that burden on only one or two adults, how do they do anything else?” spluttered K'roll'ah.  He was shocked to find out that humans in the region called ‘America’ did not have an open community.

“Well, children who share 1 or both parents are called “siblings”, and they develop together.  The adults are called “parents”, and yeah, there is a definite loss of freedom involved.“

“So then, you three are…siblings?” H'roll'ah asked.

“Yes, Thomas is the oldest, and Laura is the youngest, with me in the middle,” answered Sam, “and our father bailed on us after Laura was 3 years old, so Tom became the ‘man of the house’ at 7 years old.”

THAT explained Thomas clan Walker’s attitude! Captain H'roll'ah realized that Thomas clan Walker had been in a command position and not had a commander from a young age!

“So that is why you both follow him? He is the new leader”

“Kind of, he is just the best at leading.  He knows what to do and does it well.” Laura answered, which was rare; she was the most quiet of the three.

“And the reason for your peak efficiency?” Captain H'roll'ah asked, determined to get an answer to his question.

“Well, we have known each other all our lives and spent most of those lives in close proximity to each other.  We just understand each other from the long familiarity and exposure.”

“Ah, the same way a pilot becomes better from being on the same ship, just with a person instead.”

“Exactly! And if you are interested in hiring others we are familiar with, we have some cousins, children of our parents’ siblings, who we know very well and want to get into space.”

“Then I will look them up, thank you for answering my questions." 

Humans were a strange species.  Instead of focusing on a large community, they developed close bonds with only a few people who share familial ties with them.  Captain H'roll'ah did hire the 'cousins’ and they worked out very well.  The human guidebook was updated to notify captains that humans sharing close blood ties have the potential to perform at higher than normal efficiency.  

~~

Now somebody write a story about a captain hiring siblings who hate/cannot stand each other!

Southern sea otters were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970’s.

Their population is returning to the California coast and with it, scientists are able to gain a better understanding of their important role in the kelp and seagrass ecosystems they inhabit. Turns out the cute sea otters help keep seagrass healthy even in an environment overloaded with excess nutrients from runoff.

As seen in the posts about space Australia, and one mentioning AILENS coming during a zombie epidemic (fuckin beautiful I need that to be a story) I had this idea. Group of teenagers. Zombie apocalypse + Aliens. That one post on how weird it is that when we get scared we SING.

Idea: Teenagers singing MCR’s “mama” in the middle of fending off a horde of zombies. Aliens in the sky just happen to listen in.
____
It had been weeks sense flight crew 158-a landed on the rocky planet, and days since they realized the main intelligent species had been overrun by a viral infection. 3 Terran days ago, they found the group. 10 fledgeling humans, ages seeming to range from before to after development, camping within one of the previous schooling establishments. This one, like a surprising amount of others, had been built with extreme procedure to cause people to be unable to enter or exit. Quite odd, indeed.

What was stranger, is how the humans held their ground during an attack. An estimate of over 60 of the infected, all making their way towards the camp. Instead of fleeing like any Zerca would, they stayed put loading their guns and making their way to high points. On top of the gates, through second-story windows, trees decorating the front and back of the building. And then they waited, and the strangest thing happened. A loud drumming sound came from within the school, coupled with other instruments, and it was resonating with one of the bottom floor rooms. And then their voices started, seemingly ritualistic, anger in the words as bullets started to fire.

“Mama, we all go to hell. Mama we all go to hell-”

Understanding the species Gentleman


You hear it everywhere these days: the term “gent” or “gentleman” has become ubiquitous in men’s magazines, blogs, and conversations. Videos welcome “gentlemen” and everybody seems to use the word for a wide range of men.
Some say that anything other than the traditional definition of a gentleman is a disappointment. Other claim that a gentleman must have staff and would never cook for himself.
Well I couldn’t disagree more – the definition of a gentleman has changed and for the better. Since the definition of a gentleman is so fundamental to what Gentleman’s Essentials stands for, I thought it was time to explain the way we understand what a gentleman is. For this excursion, I’d like to take you back…

The Origin
Hundreds of years ago, a gentleman was a man of high social position and wealth. Even dictionaries today point to this definition, as well as several others:
1. A chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man.
2. A polite or formal way of referring to a man.
3. A man of noble birth attached to a royal household
4. A man of good social position, especially one of wealth and leisure
5. A courteous title for a male fellow member of the House of Commons or the House of Representatives

So what does it really mean? There is much more to being a gentleman than mere courtesy; traditional acts of chivalry can come off as condescending, and “honor” is a highly relative concept.
These days, the title “gentleman” is no longer relevant as an indication of one’s refinement and character, as it was once assumed to be for men of wealth and title who didn’t have to work for a living.
In our opinion, the term is far more egalitarian, and these days, to say you are a gentleman means you have to earn it. Wealth and power are no longer enough, and in fact, they simply aren’t a relevant part of the modern definition. 

Money and position can’t buy you class or respect.

The Definition of a Modern Gentleman
The term is far more complicated, and we think it’s important to shed some light on why and how we use it, and why the definition of the modern gentleman matters.
We firmly believe any man can be a gentleman if he wants to be, but it’s not a small undertaking. It’s a journey, something that a man continually strives to be, rather than a destination. A gentleman is/ has:

1 A Gentleman Has Good Manners: Here, we agree with the dictionary. A gentleman is courteous, polite, and respectful. He says please and thank you, waits his turn in line, and treats others as they wish to be treated. He is an equitable conversation partner.

2 A Gentleman Has High Standards. High standards push people to do the best they can, and gentlemen set them for themselves. A gentleman expects a high standard of quality, value, and functionality from the things he buys to the things he does. He expects as much of himself as he does of other people.

3 A Gentleman is Well Dressed: This one shouldn’t be a surprise. A well-dressed man is appropriately attired based on the season, the occasion, and his own style. Dressing well isn’t a matter of money for a gentleman, but rather of careful curation of clothing and accessories based on his means, the occasion, and his tastes. His dress demonstrates that he recognizes the power of clothes the impression they make, and the role they play in society. Clothes are used to convey a gentleman’s respect for his host, his office, or for the host of an event, but not to shock, evoke jealousy, or show off. Dressing well is a point of pride for a gentleman because it demonstrates his personality and taste.

4 A Gentleman is Imperfect. This may be the most important characteristic on the list. The term “gentleman” isn’t meant to be an unattainable ideal; it takes into account basic human nature, in which we all make mistakes, choices, and judgments every day. The difference lies in that a gentleman does not believe himself to be perfect, but instead takes ownership and responsibility for the things he can control: his actions, knowledge, and approach to the world.

5 A Gentleman is Open Minded: A gentleman does not believe that his opinions and knowledge are complete and unquestionable. He strives to learn, is open to new ideas, accepts constructive criticism, and welcomes failure as a path to growth and self-awareness. A gentleman does not argue purely for the pleasure of being right but focuses on is able to put himself in other people’s shoes for the purposes of understanding an alternate perspective from his own.
he person who cut you off on the highway may have received bad news; a friend may not respond to your call because they are behind at work – a gentleman tries not to jump to negative conclusions about other people.

6 A Gentleman is Interesting and Informed: These days it is easy to get lost in the cycle of sleep-work-netflix-repeat that deprives people of anything interesting to say. An interesting man can successfully carry a conversation about a number of subjects, is interested in the world around him and how it works, and actively seeks to grow his knowledge for his own character building and enjoyment. Hobbies and personal interests reveal his passions and his engagement with activities that are meaningful to him.

7 A Gentleman’s Actions Match His Words. Quite simply, a gentleman makes promises that he intends to keep.

8 A Gentleman Treats People with Respect: When we say people, we mean everyone – women, colleagues, superiors, waitstaff and customer service people. This reflects a gentleman’s belief that all people are created equal; he does not claim to have more or fewer rights than those around him. He is compassionate with those less fortunate than himself. He doesn’t believe that the world is a zero-sum game, nor does he believe that putting someone else down will lift him up.

9 A Gentleman Recognizes the Difference Between Arrogance and Confidence. If an arrogant man who believes himself to be of superior importance relies on his opinion of himself relative to others. A gentleman believes in himself and his abilities independently of other people. An arrogant man must always win to feel validated while a gentleman self-validates from within. 

10 A Gentleman Wields Power Purposefully. Though there are many potential sources for the statement “with great power comes great responsibility,” there is an inherent truth in it for a gentleman. If he is in a position of power, he combines all of the above traits to utilize that power purposefully and not selfishly. Not for revenge, not for his own personal gain, and not in a way that tramples the rights of others.

So why does this all matter? It matters because being a gentleman sets a high bar for men, us included, to actively work towards every day. Rather than being a destination, it’s an aspiration that comes from the lifetime pursuit of personal betterment, self-awareness, and motivation.
The highest achievement is to be recognized as a gentleman by those around you, since at it’s core it is an honor conferred only by other people. We use the term gentleman frequently, and we think it should mean something. It’s not just a way to address other men; it’s a statement about who we are and who we want to be.

The Challenges of Being a Gentleman in Everyday Life
While all of this sounds admirable, living up to those ideals day in and day out can become quite challenging at times. When a man is in a bad mood, stressed or tired, he may say or do things that are out of character. In those situations it is important to apologize to others and if it is sincere people will accept it. I know what I am talking about because I certainly have my fair share of ungentlemanly failures.

Mermaids: A Guide

Contents

  • O R I G I N S 
    Atargatis 
    Greek Gods

  • S P E C I E S
    General Capabilities
    - Nereides
    - Sirens 
    - Zagreus
    - Melusina
    - Briareos 
    - Galatos

  • L A N G U A G E
    Origins
    Basic Phrases
    Endearments

  • C U L T U R E 
    Magic
    Honor & Law
    Mating vs Bonding
    Courting
    Mating & Children
    Family Life

  • L I N K   T O  T H E  S T O R Y : C O R A L  &  B O N E
    This guide is based on the mermaids of Coral and Bone, who originate from the Assyrian goddess Atargatis and also, the Greek gods. This explores the theory of if the gods and their descendants fled to the sea in modern times.

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