May 13, 2016

"Unknown animals die unmourned all the time, so it shouldn’t matter. But storied wolverines… they are rare..."

"... and they hint to us of all the wild and unseen and amazing lives that go on beyond our awareness... That’s something worth thinking about."

A tribute to M56 written by Rebecca Watters of the Wolverine Blog, quoted in a HuffPo article titled: "North Dakota’s First Wolverine In 150 Years Is Immediately Shot And Killed By Rancher/It was reportedly shot for threatening livestock."

I wanted a good picture of a wolverine for this post. Do you have any idea how many photos of the movie character Wolverine you have to scroll past, if you do a Google image search for "wolverine," before you get to a picture of the animal? About 300.

34 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Yes, Google can be irritating that way, but if you just refine your search to "wolverine animal", you get the results you want.

Bob Ellison said...

There's probably a pug called Shakespeare out there somewhere. Maybe here.

Quaestor said...

About 300.

Not if you use the taxonomic Gulo gulf (Gulo is Latin for glutton.)

whswhs said...

I think you're making it hard for yourself. When I type "wolverine animal" into Google, and click "Images," every one of the first twenty images is Gulo gulo. You just have to anticipate the need for disambiguation.

Rob said...

Apart from the fevered imagination of the HuffPost headline writer, it's difficult to know what was "immediate" about the shooting. Was lack of due process the real villain here?

Big Mike said...

Wolverines belong in Michigan. Everybody knows that.

Quaestor said...

There's probably a pug called Shakespeare out there somewhere.

Pugs are one of those breeds that seem to appeal to persons prone to use grandiose pet names (paradigm case a Saint Bernard called "Beethoven"). I know a woman who bought two pugs, one of each sex, just to use the pre-selected names "Napoleon" and "Josephine".


She's an idiot.

David said...

They've retreated to the Arctic, and await the next ice age to return in numbers.

Henry said...

Immediately?

Quaestor said...

You just have to anticipate the need for disambiguation.

Folks need an app for that. Professor Frick should invent one. After the monsterometer and the frog exaggerator came the embiguator, which naturally calls for a disambigulator.

Ron said...

I Agree with Big Mike....there's plenty of spots! Isle Royale, for example, where we could stick a few wolverines....they should be in the state!

M Jordan said...

Use the minus sign to filter searches. As in "wolverine -movie."

Quaestor said...

Gulo gulf

Safari strikes again!

Fuck Apple. I'm turning off that autocorrect bullshit.

Gulo gulo

Even after I told it to LEARN Gulo, it tried to change it to "gulp". I think we needn't fear AI too much. Even after Judgement Day SkyNet is gonna need at least a few humans around just to disambiguate for it.

Expat(ish) said...

I met the friend of a friend who ranches in a state where wolves have been re-introduced.

He carries a shovel and quicklime in his truck.

Wink wink.

Time for a Big Jake clip.

-XC

Carter Wood said...

One factor in demise of the animal was the sick practice of University of Wisconsin hockey fans throwing wolverines on the ice after a win against the University of Michigan.

bagoh20 said...

Yea, that "immediately" is curious. Someone notices you after 150 years and "immediately"? It sounds like the thing either just arrived on a international flight, or the the shooter shot poor Gulo right off his horse as he road into town.

Ann Althouse said...

Come on, did anyone really think I didn't know how to refine a Google search to eliminate the unwanted result?

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

He carries a shovel and quicklime in his truck.

Futility.

The Mustelidae have been knock-knockin' on apex predatory door for some time now, usually at the expense of cats. Cats may be smart individually, but as a clade they're dumb. Cats have three survival strategies: 1) Be a small-bodied specialist, in which case a little climate change spells doom, 2) Be a gigantic generalist, such a lion or tiger, in which case one must eat megafauna or starve, or 3) Be a pussy, literally, in which case your survival mostly depends on sponging off empty-nester human females. The Mustelids have figured out that the solution to the big challenge of the Holocene — i.e. coexisting with Homo sapiens — is to be a small-bodied generalist. Eat anybody you can overcome, and do that by sheer cussedness instead of by expensive adaptations like size and strength. And you get to keep your dignity. In a world were the most abundant protein is in the form of placid, moronic domesticated ruminants and galliforms the economy-sized wolverine and its kin are in the catbird's seat along with foxes and coyotes.

Expat(ish) said...

@quaestor - "futility" - sort of the definition of farming/ranching, isn't it?

-XC

Bob Ellison said...

Ann Althouse said, "Come on, did anyone really think I didn't know how to refine a Google search to eliminate the unwanted result?"

That was what you implied. Maybe we're just naive, trusting souls. When I see someone complaining about a tech problem that I can help solve, I try to help.

Bob Boyd said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Come on, did anyone really think I didn't know how to refine a Google search to eliminate the unwanted result?"

Fansplaining.

Bob Ellison said...

It might be a man problem, or more generally a nerd problem. We nerds tend to take things literally. We tend not to suspect underlying motives.

That's been an issue these days. There's an assumption of malevolence out there, and an assumption of trickery. If you're watching a late-night comedy show, trickery is a good assumption, and it can be fun. But if you're just commenting on a blog, or holding a door open for someone, or talking about bathrooms, it can be terrible.

Quaestor said...

What I find depressing is the fact that Google too often weights its search toward pop culture crapola, which is perhaps the point Althouse was making. I wonder what proportion of millennials have no idea that "wolverine" isn't necessarily an X-Man? 50%? More? The mind boggles.

On top of that, just consider all the disc space taken up with data referring to one of the most ill-conceived comic book creations ever. What kind of super-power is rake tines that retract into one's arms? A dumb one, that kind. But Wolverine is sooo complex and conflicted, I hear someone bleat. To which I reply, a dead horse Marvel has been flogging for 60 years. Dead? More like fossilized.

Luckily for my brain I've never watched an X-Men movie, even for free.

Birches said...

Aren't wolverines supposed to be super elusive? I'm guessing their numbers are growing strong enough, they finally spit out one dumb enough for a Darwin award.

whswhs said...

Quaestor: Actually, Wolverine is only about forty years old. He showed up during the 1970s. Marvel really only established itself as a superhero publisher starting in 1961 with the Fantastic Four. So they haven't been continuously flogging any dead horse for more than 55 years—though they revived some 1940s characters early on, such as Captain America and the Sub-mariner.

I'll grant, though, that Wolverine is the Arthur Fonzarelli of the Marvel universe, and has been since quite early on.

Bob Ellison said...

Spat.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, we're just trying to be helpful. It's not really mansplaining.

Quaestor said...

Actually, Wolverine is only about forty years old. He showed up during the 1970s. Marvel really only established itself as a superhero publisher starting in 1961 with the Fantastic Four. So they haven't been continuously flogging any dead horse for more than 55 years—though they revived some 1940s characters early on, such as Captain America and the Sub-mariner.

Thanks for the valuable info. I'll be sure to file it right next to my similarly valuable collection of "Mondale for President" memorabilia.

CarlF said...

The black and white sketch does not do the wolverine justice. In the wild, they are colored yellow and blue.

Rusty said...

I wanted a good picture of a wolverine for this post. Do you have any idea how many photos of the movie character Wolverine you have to scroll past, if you do a Google image search for "wolverine," before you get to a picture of the animal? About 300.

First world problems.

mockturtle said...

Wolverines are very elusive. I saw one in the early 1990's on our property but the rarity of their sightings belies their actual numbers.

John Constantius said...

As the Wikipedia entry says: "The wolverine, a solitary animal, has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself."

Hugh Jackman is 6'3" but the character he plays in the X-men movies is supposed to be 5'3". In the earlier movies they filmed him at unusual angles to give the impression he was shorter, before giving up and just accepting the fact that he was, well, Hugh Jackman. The Wolverine character, like the animal he's modeled on, is supposed to be a spark plug who can open up a frosty can of whoop-ass on opponents who are much, much bigger than he is because of his innate furiosity.

As you read the Wikipedia article, it's actually quite impressive. Wolverines (which are really just big, strong weasels) have faced down wolves and bears (even polar bears!) to protect their turf and their kills. Pretty bad-ass little fuckers. The US military in the age of Obama could take some lessons from these guys (ignore the fact that your Commander in Chief despises you and try to be the best you can be...)

jr565 said...


Here's a good picture of Wolverines:
https://nypdecider.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/red-dawn.png

Wolverines!