Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Inconvenient Gadget

On my iGoogle page is a gadget for the National Geographic photo of the day. It's very cool. But be warned - if you click on the photo you will learn more than you really wanted to. And we all know that learnin' only leads to trouble.

Because sometimes you see a cute photo of a bear cub and learn that this type of bear has a really long tongue so it can eat ants out of an anthill like an aardvark. And then you share this bit of information at a cocktail party when someone mentions something only slightly related to the subject of bears. And then you watch as people start fake-looking around for more artichoke dip.

Other times the lovely photo of the bear cub turns out to be a very sad photo of a bear cub who lost its mother because run-off from the condos being built upstream has filled her river with sediment and destroyed the salmon population so she can't build up enough fat for hibernation.... and then global warming has screwed up her hibernation schedule so she woke up too early and was too skinny anyway because of the no-fish situation... so then she wandered absent-mindedly - what with the lack of sleep and the low-blood sugar and all - into a road and was run down by a Hummer. Then the next time you eat salmon it tastes all kinds of depressing and guilty.

But hey, here's an encouraging photo:

When I saw it this morning I immediately thought "Oh great! 'Cute Penguin Poses in Front of Melting Ice Cap.' I'm guessing he died of heat stroke or was eaten by a ravenous polar bear seconds after the photo was taken." And of course I have to open it and find out for sure... But no! Turns out, THIS kind of penguin (a chinstrap penguin - how cute!) is one of the more warm-weathered penguins so it is actually thriving in the now-toasty Antarctic. Awesome.

If that guy I heard speak in Huntsville has this same gadget on his iGoogle page I bet he is soooo stoked right now.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

He looks happy, doesn't he? I love nature pics, but like you, the accompanying story usually leaves me bummed out.