I saw two cousins today, which is good. As of this morning, I didn't hope to see any. But that's not what this blog post is about. This, as you might guess, is a gratuitous blog post to see if I got some stuff working correctly in my home-brewed blogging system. Like filling in some more data in my atom feed... Yeah, I bet you don't really care about the details there. Instead, how about a book report that has elephants in it?
It's Katy Payne's autobiography. Katy Payne listens to elephants. Years ago, folks would notice a rumble around elephants and wonder "Is there some kind of infrasound going on?" Payne recorded elephants and confirmed that, yes, there was. Then she went to Africa to record yet more elephants.
Researching elephants is rough. The work itself is rough—out in the field with predators, stampeding elephants... And you come to care about the elephants. That's rough, because elephants can wipe out all the food in an area, and then their human neighbors don't want them to spread. To avoid a population boom/bust, some parks slaughter elephants. Arguably better than letting them die of starvation, but... who could stand to watch such a thing? And there are poachers and... and... caring about elephants is rough.
There's more to this book than infrasound rumbles and sorrow, though. There's research in the field, interesting characters, prophetic dreams, dirty deals behind closed doors. I'm glad I read it.