Keeping The Competitive Edge

We're taking a bike tour through the Everglades, and the guide mentioned one of the airboat "captains," who did something seemingly irrational.

A Very Interesting Paragraph From …

... today's Wall Street Journal:

Once upon a time, Americans got dogs for their sheep. Now they get sheep for their dogs. "I never dreamed it would go this far," says Ms. Foster, 56 years old.

What Will San Francisco Ban Next?

I keep thinking the headlines are from The Onion but they are not. First we read that San Francisco has effectively banned the Happy Meal. Then we learn of a new law that bans people from sitting or lying on city sidewalks from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. (known, naturally, as the "sit/lie law"). Some months ago, the city's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare proposed banning the sale of any pets other than fish, but that measure has apparently been tabled.

Paying People to Fix Their Pets

A few years back, a Freakonomics reader named Stephanie Downs wrote in with an idea: bribing people (with cash, gift certificates etc.) to spay or neuter their pets. "I found your story about the [Israeli] daycares very interesting," she wrote. "I want to do the research upfront on what will motivate people instead of spending years finding the right formula."

The Biodiversity Card

Until 1985, the word "biodiversity" didn't exist. Today, it's fundamental to the grammar of environmentalism. Lamentations about "declining biodiversity," the "threat to biodiversity," or the "the biodiversity crisis" comprise the lingua franca of ecological discourse. But it's worth asking: what are we really talking about when we talk about biodiversity?

Dogs for Everyone?

New research shows that, in addition to being man's best friend, dogs improve productivity in the office.

Cats and Dogs, Donkeys and Elephants

BBC News reports that British cat owners are better educated than dog owners.

Fido or Felix?

Finally, a scientific approach to the eternal cats vs. dogs debate. NewScientist evaluated dogs and cats in 11 different categories: brains, shared history, bonding, popularity, understanding, problem solving, vocalization, tractability, supersenses, eco-friendliness, and utility. It was a close contest but Fido ultimately won six to five.

Can Gerbils Read Maps?

National borders may sometimes seem like arbitrary lines drawn on a map, but a new study from the University of Haifa reveals that those borders mean something to the resident animal populations.

FREAK Shots: Bird Critics

A new study by a research team from Tokyo's Keio University found that pigeons can distinguish between paintings the researchers consider good and bad.