Tonight marks the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. The opening ceremony is one of my favorite events of the games. I love the pageantry and sense of camaraderie among athletes and countries. As the games progress, I get swept up in the passion of competition, the athletes’ varied back stories, and the unexpected dramas that unfold throughout the event.

An event like the Olympics always brings to my mind the astounding differences between humans and animals. Although we share some similar biological characteristics, the animals are the physical gold-medalists for sure. Imagine Michael Phelps racing a bluefin tuna or a gymnastic team competing against high-flying monkeys. (more…)

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For introverts, alone time is vital.

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”  —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Like Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen fame, I am an introvert. (more…)

Me and my husband with a trio of feathered friends.

In early elementary school I developed distaste for reading. To remedy the situation, my parents bought books suited to my interests—principally, animals. I willingly devoured Zoobooks magazines, curled up with girl-and-her-horse novels, and thumbed through a well-loved copy of a mammal encyclopedia. Although my literary tastes expanded over the years, even today few things will catch my attention faster than an animal.

And it seems the animal kingdom has been garnering some attention in popular science news as well. (more…)

This Monday, Halloween ushered in the holidays. That means that, along with department store sale ads and turkey-themed cooking magazines, our mailbox is stuffed with appeals from charitable organizations. Each holiday season, World Vision (my personal favorite—other than RTB, of course) sends out a gift catalog featuring various farm animals that supporters can help provide for families in need. (more…)

Just when you thought nothing could be more care-free than a day at the beach, Shark Week arrives. Beginning this Sunday, the Discovery Channel’s annual summer special will terrify and enthrall viewers with close, sometimes fatal, shark encounters.

But despite sharks’ fearsome reputation, we humans actually pose a greater threat to them than they do to us. (more…)

There are many high-quality nature shows on television these days, but none as spectacular as Planet Earth. Co-produced by the BBC and the Discovery Channel, the series took five years to complete as crew members took their cameras quite literally to the ends of the earth. The final result transports audiences to never-before-seen locations and introduces them to a wild array of animals, some almost alien. (more…)

It’s a warm summer night on a small east coast island. A young woman goes for a swim in the bay, relishing the coolness of the water. Just as she reaches a buoy something jerks her down, once, twice. Then, in an instant she’s trapped in the nightmare of a violent shark attack. Her final screams are silenced as the beast pulls her under. (more…)