A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The 'camouflageon' - or a 'Red List' for mythical monsters? Yeti'nother sign of green madness?.....

The bureaucratic mind knows no limits to its PC daftness, especially when linked to green theology. The Scotsman (May 4) has it all: 'Swedes left with a monster problem':

"The placing of a mythical monster on Sweden’s endangered species list, in an apparent fit of bureaucratic zeal, has caused an administrative problem for the country’s authorities."

"'During a routine inspection of the environment court in Jaemtland recently, we came across a decision that attracted our interest,'" said Nils-Olof Berggren, a Swedish parliamentary ombudsman."

Mr Berggren found there was a decision from 1986 placing the monster under protection.

The 'Legend' has it that this is a giant serpent, similar to our own dear 'Nessie', and that it has lived for centuries in Sweden’s fifth-largest lake, Lake Storsjo(e)n. 500 people claim to have seen the 'phantom', describing it as a snake-like animal, with a dog’s head [clearly barking] and fins on its neck. Sadly, however, there aren't even any dodgy, faded photographs I can show you - not a patch on 'Nessie'.

Nevertheless, the local museum is not to be put off, as is so excitedly reported by that ever-essential web site, Monster Tracker: "A remarkable find can be seen at Jamtli, the Museum of Jämtland. In a glass jar there is a dead animal, which is said to be an embryo of Storsjöodjuret. It was said to be found on the shore of lake Storsjön on 18th June 1984." And there's the jar to prove it.....

You can also learn more about the beast at the - "Wait for it!" - 'Metareligion' Web Site: 'Storsjoodjuret' [which means "The Monster of Lake Storsjon"]:

"In the 19th century, nearly all the witnesses described a 'waterhorse', its head surrounded by a long white mane floating in the water. Contemporary witnesses don't seem to notice its horse-like head and mane. My Swedish correspondent dryly describes the beast as a 'camouflageon' - a hitherto unknown species of highly developed amphibian chameleon."

What a perfect word - a 'camouflageon'; it could describe everything - never mind mythical beasties - from jumping genes to 'global warming'!

So here's my next campaign for the Web: "Save Shelob!"; "No Spiderism!; "Spare the last-remaining Big Beleriand Spider"; "Hobbits should be tried for killing last Big Spider"; "Save Mirkwood for the Spiders"; "Spiders-R-Us"; "Outlaw Arachnophobia"; "Spiders are in Harmony with Nature"; "Spiders wouldn't hurt a fly!"

Philip, spinning against nonsense! Mind you, I've always wanted to be Professor Challenger with that pterodactyl! Flights of fancy, of course. Coffee time!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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