Animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams dies

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Gunther Gebel-Williams, renowned animal trainer for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, has died of cancer at age 66. "This is a great loss for everyone not just our family. Thankfully, he taught us many lessons about love and respect for all living things that we will carry with us forever," said his family in a statement.

Elfwood Down... and Up Again?

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The Elfwood archive has hosted a lot of furry and fantasy artists for a long time. I had no idea it had been down until I found this message on their front page.

This links to a long-running conversation (spiked back into life by S'A'Alis stepping down) about how few people who offer services for free are recognized and helped when they need it -- which is while they're doing it -- but rather when they've stopped doing whatever it is they're doing for people. Want to make sure your favorite stuff sticks around? Go find the administrators and send them a warm fuzzy email. Really. They won't know how much they're appreciated (emotionally; intellectually they can check hits, connections, whatever) until you tell them.

New Jersey Skunk Racing Team

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It makes sense... After all, the dear little critters already have a natural racing stripe. Read all about county fair skunk races at boston.com.

S'A'Alis Steps Down as FM Admin

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From the bulletin on FurryMuck:

The wizards of FurryMUCK SM regret to announce that S'A'Alis has chosen
to step down as wizard and administrator of FurryMUCK SM for personal
reasons. He has graciously offered to continue hosting the muck until
the transfer to a new site can be accomplished, and we are currently
finalizing plans for such a new site. We will have more details on the
move as they become available. --The Wizcore

More About Graphic Novels

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Sfsite ran a nice column on graphic novels and their current role in science fiction publishing. The point about Neil Gaiman's graphic novels not being listed on his previous publication credits was interesting. Usually if someone writes something radically different from what they're trying to sell, you won't see it listed on the inside of the book (a romance-sf/f author won't have both his/her romance and sf novels listed in the sf book)... but if The Sandman doesn't fall under the same audience preferences as American Gods, where does it belong?

Whales and Bears

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A couple of only mildly depressing articles about animals (it seems very difficult to find cheerful ones; I guess those don't make the news unless they're odd, like the falling cow). Climate change threatening the food supply for blue whales is the first. The second involves Canada lifting the moratorium on hunting grizzly bears. I'm trying to figure out why people would want to hunt bears. Kill them if they're a menace, eat them for food... but just spontaneously hunt them? What good is that?

Hugo balloting deadline extended

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Locus Online reports that the deadline for submitting Hugo ballots has been extended, in part due to a computer glitch which deleted a number of online ballots. Millennium Philcon will accept ballots, electronically or by mail, through July 25. Anyone who submitted votes online on or before July 12 should cast another ballot.

Milk from Cloned Cows

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This seems to be the month for weird animal stories. ABC News posted a story about a dairy in Wisconsin with 21 cloned cows. The headline and opening paragraphs make it sound as if the company is going to start shipping the dairy products out any day now. Scroll down and you'll see that all the company has done is commission some studies to determine whether there is a difference between the milk from the cloned cows and that from cows made the old-fashioned way.

Convergence 2001

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In the 'conventions I wanted to attend this year' catagory, there was Convergence, which takes place over the July 4th weekend in Bloomington, Minnesota. I didn't make it this year, but the minions at Cthulhu Coffee did. Here's their Convention Report. Also of interest to furry fans may be their Hastur's Guide to Hosting a Room Party. Furry fandom has a dearth of good convention room parties, and we should attempt to learn from the experts.

New Online Comic Strip

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On alt.fan.furry, Artie Roo writes: "This is to tell you all that my comic strip "Alice Otter" is on the
Web! Check it out at http://www.vision.nais.com/~artieroo/alice. (I know, it looks a little void right now, but that's because there's only a single strip... just give me some time!"
Description of the strip is below.

Fact Checking

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I was recently informed that a story I posted last week was wrong in nearly every respect. The article in question has been removed. I apologize for the misinformation. Due to time constraints and the inability to know everything and everyone that's in fandom, we at Flayrah.com cannot always completely fact check articles that are submitted to us, though we do make a serious effort. If you do notice any misinformation posted here, help us out and drop a note to the staff. Thank you.

The Healing Power of Purring

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No kidding! Apparently the frequency at which cats purr help strengthen their bones and possibly accelerate their healing. So grab a cat next time you're feeling pained. Or, well, pick one up gently.

Sea Creatures

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Some interesting stuff from Scientific American today... apparently great white sharks like their wives to stay home while they wander. And more disturbing, an article about the decline of the sea turtle because of poaching. This one contains a couple of disturbing and graphic pictures of turtles being cut up in restaurants, so don't read this one over lunch. There are prettier pictures, too, though.

Cow Falls Through Roof, Hurts One

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Go read about the man who had a cow fall on him in a coffee shop. No, I'm not kidding. This is almost as weird as the one about the cow falling out of the airplane, though I can't remember if that one was true or not.

Help for Blind Albino Wallaby

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Beanie, a nine-month old albino wallaby in a UK theme park, has undergone a cataract operation to restore his sight. It's the first time this surgery's been attempted on a wallaby.

From the Yerf Archive