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December 2011

How much of Flayrah's content do you read?

I just scan headlines
8% (2 votes)
I read summaries
25% (6 votes)
I read the whole story
29% (7 votes)
I read every story and its comments
38% (9 votes)
Votes: 24

Corvids reveal highly-developed communication abilities

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

When people think of the most intelligent animals other than humans, the first contenders are the dolphins and great apes. A less-obvious one may be birds of the family Corvidae, containing both crows and ravens. This was suggested when researchers at Oxford found crows are able to make specific tools, a feat never before seen in other animals.

More recently, ravens have been shown to direct other individuals' attention through gestural communication; the first time this has been seen outside of the primates. In primates, such gestures are rarely seen in the wild. Why wild ravens show this behaviour more commonly is unknown, but it is thought by some to be the foundation of language.

Furry Writers' Guild plan juried fiction award

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Progress is being made on the Cóyotl Awards, a juried award for furry fiction to be run by the Furry Writers' Guild, with the first winners announced at Rainfurrest 2012 next September.

While some details remain private to guild members, preliminary rules have been published. The award is currently to be presented in General and Mature sections for the best Short Story, Novella (over 7500 words) and Novel (over 40,000 words).

Each member may submit five nominations to each category for works they are uninvolved with to a five-member council, rating them on plot, character, setting and literary merit; the four works with the highest weighted average will be voted on by guild members.

Update (18 Oct): The restriction on the number of nominations was removed before the ballot closed.

2011 Recommended Anthropomorphics Reading List: December update

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Ursa Major AwardsThe Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2011 Anthropomorphic Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through the beginning of December. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.

All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2011, if they are not already on the list.

Send in your recommendations and read the List to see what other fans have recommended this year. Have you read all sixteen comic strips, for example? What have you been missing?

This month is the “last chance” to recommend anything anthropomorphic first appearing in 2011.1 The List has been revised this year to include Furry websites. If you have any favorite websites that were not previously eligible, please recommend them now.

'Redline' comes to America

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

Is the new Japanese animated feature Redline Furry? No, but its trailer, just released in the U.S., does show a human racecar driver (with an impossible Pompadour) competing against background Furry bioengineered or alien opponents in the far future.

Redline, directed by Takeshi Koike, produced by Tokyo’s Madhouse animation studio over seven years, and introduced on the international film festival circuit in 2009, comes to the USA for a one-week theatrical run. It is playing in downtown Los Angeles this month and in NYC from January 6, and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 17.

November 2011 Newsbytes archive

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (2 votes)

Last month, some things happened. Here is an archive of them.

Minnesota hunter admitted shooting dogs, owner claims

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Makita and Devaki deadTwo young German Shepherds, year-and-a-half old Devaki and Makita, were shot and killed on November 12. Co-owners Shannon Hautala, Gary Kuoppala and Alexis Gunderson spoke with the press.

The owners were doing chores on their farm in Clinton Township, Iron Range, Minnesota.

The dogs ducked under a fence and ran into the woods. The owners started calling for the dogs as soon as they went out of sight. Hautala said she heard gunshots shortly afterwards.

The next morning, Hautala found the dogs dead near a hunting stand on the adjoining property. Hautala said the hunters admitted to her they had shot the dogs. Kuoppala said:

All they said is they can shoot anything that comes on their land and if the dogs come on their land, they can shoot them.

FURthest North Crew seeks new recruits for 20th anniversary

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

The FURthest North Crew (FNC), Canada’s oldest Furry amateur press association, celebrates its twentieth anniversary next July. That may seem far in the future, but the FNC has started a recruiting drive to fill its 18 membership openings by then.

If you can write – articles, fiction, Furry con reports, or just social chatter – or draw, and you can print your own fanzine of at least three pages every six months (with neighborhood photocopy shops today, anyone can), send 38 copies to the Official Editor, and pay a small membership fee to help cover expenses, you can join the FNC. Contact Jenora or see the FNC website for more information, and read on for a little history.

Archaeologists reappraise ancient Lion Man (or Woman)

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

Lion man, by GauraThe Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel is a 32,000-year-old sculpture which depicts a humanoid figure with the head of a lion. Fragments of it were first discovered in 1939 by archaeologist Otto Völzing, in a cave named Stadel-Höhle im Hohlenstein (Stadel cave in Hohlenstein Mountain), in the Lonetal (Lone valley) in the Swabian Alps, Germany.

The figure, pieced together over many years as fragments were found, stands around 30cm tall, and was carved from mammoth ivory using a flint knife. It may represent a mythical creature, or possibly a shaman hiding under an animal hide.

Debate has raged over whether the figure is male or female, and the discovery of approximately 1,000 new fragments may help resolve the issue. The sculpture will be disassembled and rebuilt to include the new fragments.

Review: ‘The Muppets’ is the best puppet movie of 2011

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (6 votes)

'The Muppets' movie posterRoger Ebert has written that the best way to enjoy a movie is in a crowded, reactive theater. I beg to differ.
The best way to enjoy a movie is in an empty theater, where you do not have to worry about your fellow moviegoer’s reactions coloring your own.

I learned this lesson from the Muppets; perhaps my fondest movie theater experience is having an entire theater alone with just my family watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's probably neither the studio’s nor the theater owner’s favorite way for you to watch a movie on the big screen, but if you find yourself laughing out loud alone in the dark, you know that it is really you laughing.

Sadly for the Muppets, but happily for me, I had the theater all to myself for The Muppets. I found myself laughing in the dark once more.

Review: 'Death Drop' (D-Evolution, vol. 1), by Sean Allen

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Death Drop (D-Evolution vol. 1); picturing Talfus ZandreHoo-hah! Roscoe, does this bring back memories! Memories of all the rip-roaring space operas that I devoured during my junior-high and high-school years. Among my favorites were the Chalice of Death stories by Calvin M. Knox, in Science Fiction Adventures magazine; the last of which was the wonderfully-titled “Vengeance of the Space Armadas” (collected into Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Ace in 1958).

A hundred thousand years ago, there had been a planet called Earth. It had been a proud world ruling a thousand vassal stars, but its stellar empire had turned upon and annihilated their conquerors, and wiped the name of Earth from the maps of space. ~~~~ But Earthmen still survived . . . a strange race of worldless men and women, by tradition advisers to rulers, but never themselves ruling. Wanderers through myriad planets, their origin was a half-forgotten legend. …

It was later revealed that “Calvin M. Knox” was a pseudonym of Robert Silverberg, who had hacked out the Knox stories in his spare time while a college student, for beer money. Silverberg said later that they made it hard for the critics to accept him as a “serious author”. [Ed Valigursky's 'racy' cover likely didn't help. Update: See Mr. Silverberg's comments.]

You know what? I’m damn glad that he wrote them, because uncritical teenagers need blood-&-thunder space opera just as much, if not more, as they need Serious Literature.

I suppose video games have assumed the popular-fiction role that pulp magazines such as Captain Future, Planet Stories, and Startling Stories used to fill. Kudos to Sean for bringing space opera back to print with his “D-Evolution” s-f novels, of which Death Drop is the first.

Pueblo, CO, Vintage Six Media, October 2011.
Trade paperback $19.95 (560 pages; Amazon), EPUB, Kindle, MOBI, PDF $9.95.

How much money do you need to be 'rich'?

Less than $100,000
18% (4 votes)
$100,000
5% (1 vote)
More than $100,000
23% (5 votes)
$300,000 or more
14% (3 votes)
$1,000,000
5% (1 vote)
More than $1,000,000
23% (5 votes)
$5,000,000 or more
14% (3 votes)
Votes: 22