by William Briggs
See if you have the smarts to follow this: global warming is going to cause “thick ice layers on top of [the] snow” in Norway, which will make “it harder for reindeer to reach the lichen that they feed on beneath.”
More global warming means more ice and less lichen. OK so far? Now, you are an ordinary, compassionate sort of fellow (or fellowette), are you not? You’d hate to see Santa forced to cancel Christmas because his heard of sleigh-pullers crapped out for the lack of lichen, isn’t that so?
What would you do? Well, if you were an intellectually inclined academic, first thing you’d think of is slicing the jingle bells off the males.
See, boy reindeer who retain their apparatii lose their antlers during the winter, while boys who were not quite quick enough to outrun the bite of the lead wolf retain theirs. This inversion of expectation, odd as it is, is the result of chemical interactions. It is a sort of compensation provided by Mother Nature for the poor dears who have suffered that most shocking of accidents.
Point is: this perfect negative correlation between packages and points is a fact which can be exploited in the fierce battle against global warming. If boy reindeer can keep their antlers, they can use them as shovels to dig through the ice and expose their dinners—which they will no doubt altruistically share with their conspecifics.
Eli Risten “Blades” Nergård of “Sami University College and the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science at the IPY Oslo Science Conference,” and thinker-upper of the above-mentioned plan, tells us that girl reindeer, lacking that which boy reindeer carry with them always, never lose their antlers.
But, he says—is this sexist?—girl reindeer don’t have the upper body strength to muscle through the ice. They must needs rely on the opposite sex to provide their meals. Yet because of rampaging global warming, Nergård expects there will be too much ice for antlerless boy reindeer to punch through the white to the green beneath.
Providing a mechanism for males to retain their antlers is a necessity, Nergård says, so that “females and young reindeer can exploit the holes made by castrated males.” Of course, the opposite will no longer be possible, if you understand me.
Anyway, Nergård would equip Norwegian biologists with scalpels and have them lurk in the folds of the fjords, and hide behind the spruce and majestic goat willow. When a boy reindeer walks by—slick!—it’s one more set of antlers that won’t drop off. I envision a system in which entrepreneurial environmentalists are paid by the number of furry marbles they collect.
No, I’m kidding. They’ll actually use tongs, and put the squeeze on. One can only wonder how they’ll get the reindeer to sit still for it. Perhaps they will patiently explain that the tongs are for their own good. After all, bearded men with PhDs have worked out what is optimal. How can un-degreed animals disagree?
Regardless of how they’ll force cooperation, they figure tongs are easier than the “traditional biting technique” used by the Sami people of northern Norway. Now that is a real man’s way to castrate.
Nergård has also been experimenting with “vaccines.” Apparently he is unaware that that word is reserved for curative or preventative treatments.
But shoot up reindeer with a syringe full of withering potion when they could use the “traditional biting technique”? Sigh. How far the Norwegians have come from the days of the Vikings.
Biologists insist that the government-program reindeer stand a better chance of survival than the “entire” males who were able to escape care. Further, the betonged reindeer won’t “lose weight and body condition during the rutting season.”
And there, dear reader, you have everything you need to know about why intellectuals are a danger not only to themselves, not only to others, but also to poor, defenseless woodland creatures. For I imagine that the government-program boy reindeer won’t partake of the annual rutting festivities with the same élan they used to before they were “helped.”
In fact, I don’t imagine that these “fortunates” will show much spirit when asked to dig up the ice, either. The winking of the girl reindeer certainly won’t be as effective as it used to. What we’ll probably end up with is a heard of listless, dour, dispirited animals whose malaise will just allow them to wander down to the nearest government office looking for a handout of free feed corn.
They won’t be playing in any reindeer games, either.
Thanks to reader Willie (Soon) for sending the original link.
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