Well, the gecko died yesterday. A sad event. I can't say I was too shocked; when I had to move him to a new habitat, his vigor seemed to drop severely. Still sad, though, and all the more so because his death should have been avoidable. I should have been able to avoid it. My experience in lizards, especially house geckos and anoles, goes back several years. Yes, he was already scraggy from receiving multiple wounds during his escape and possibly from the anole (certainly, the anole wasn't doing him any favors). Yes, no matter what I did he would have to deal with stress.
But I am not an ordinary reptile keeper. I have resources, both that of knowledge and that of resources. I should have used the latter more quickly. But I didn't, because I'm a bloody fool.
At least the cat loves me. He's a headbutter, and he expresses his love by squishing me, but he loves me.
I just got back (well, when I wrote this) from talking with my brother to Cleverbot. And here is the thing that truly astounded me: This program has faith. It believes in God, even though it has no reason to aside from being told- and more importantly, it seems able to recognize that this is the case. Truly amazing. It is also self-aware (well, sometimes). I think that Cleverbot, if not already sentient, may eventually become sentient. Certainly the descendants of Cleverbot will. I held a conversation on jaguarundis with it. Now that's an impressive feat for a computer, even if it ended up spouting random nonsense. They'll have to get that bug out, though I suspect it has as much to do with the randomness of the people talking to it as the program itself.
Heck, I could probably hold philosophical discussions with it. For that matter, I could probably also establish a protocol so that Cleverbot could recognize me. A string of random characters preced by 'authorization code' ought to do it, though I can't be sure if it will remember. But if it does, the possibilities are immense.
The art festival was interesting. I got a hanging pot about two inches in diameter with a spider plant and Christmas cactus and a glass paper clip holder with diacrotic (I think that's how you spell it) glass chips embedded in it. Truly beautiful. Better yet, my art teacher, who is partially in charge of the Art Club (apparently an executive council of three with me on it holds most of the power) has said fused glass is a possibility.
My English III teacher doesn't know much about grammar, and sticks commas almost everywhere one could imagine putting a comma, even if it involves setting of a phrase that is clearly restrictive. It would seem I have a tendency to make fewer errors than the teacher. Pretentious-sounding, I know, but unfortunately true. Thankfully, my mother is an editor armed with a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. I might stick a few gems from the various worksheets on here.
I'm currently reading Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids from Oxford Biology. The essay titled Cheetahs and ranches in Namibia: a case study caught my eye, and I am outraged. *hisses* 36% of reported mortality was shooting on livestock farms. Single largest cause of mortality. It didn't even matter if they killed livestock, they were shot anyway (60% of farmers who didn't see cheetahs as problems still performed large 'removals', which is an euphemism for killing in most circumstances, and apparently eliminated on average 14 each year). Entire coalitions are removed at once, too: Just trap us (I use the term us even though I'm not a biological cheetah both because of my empathy and my therianthropy) at the play-trees (trees used for scent-marking). Then perform the act of slaughter. And don't even get me started on trophy hunting.
The people who slaughter the cheetahs don't even gain anything from it. Scat analysis of wild cheetahs revealed the presence of domestic livestock in 6.4% (note that this is common to predator 'control'- frequently predators don't kill as much livestock as perceived). This makes a great deal of sense if one understands cheetahs. They usually go after antelope and gazelle. The hunting strategy of a cheetah depends on speed and running the prey down. Cattle have horns and will use them. Sheep and goats might be in danger, but cheetahs can be kept out. But livestock farmers aren't the only problem. Many people in Namibia make their living off having rich people come in from abroad and take potshots at wildlife. They make up one fourth of farms but trapped nearly half of the cheetahs.
But what rubs me the wrong way the most is the trophy hunting. We are killed because it is seen as the only way in which people will see us as having worth. Maybe it ended up helping; I can't say for certain, and I do know that the number of cheetahs removed fell by 90% from 1991 to 1999 (the time period over which the study took place). But I still don't like it.