90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Fantastic Creatures And Their Future

The mother of all diversity: nature. Her most fantastic creatures and how they’re faring now.

An octopus (octopus vulgaris) lifts one of its tentacles in his bassin at the zoo in Basel, Switzerland Wednesday Aug. 12, 2009. (AP)

An octopus (octopus vulgaris) lifts one of its tentacles in his bassin at the zoo in Basel, Switzerland Wednesday Aug. 12, 2009. (AP)

The absolute wonders of nature can be painful to describe sometimes lately, when we have to consider them alongside our headlines of mass extinction and climate change.  And yet, if we don’t stare in wonder at nature’s fantastic creations, we may start to discount the importance of saving them.  Even start to disbelieve they’ve ever existed.

A new 21st century “bestiary’ takes us again to some of the most incredible creatures on the planet.  And meditates on their meaning.

This hour, On Point:  the book of barely imagined beings, from goblin shark to yeti crab to water bear.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Caspar Henderson, writer and environmental journalist. His new book is “The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary.” (@casparhenderson)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Review of Books: The Footed Void — “The closer you look at an octopus, the more you see. Consider its anatomy: the “head,” a sack resembling a human scrotum that can shift through the entire color spectrum; the three hearts pumping blood that contains copper rather than iron; the eyes so very like human ones and yet radically more elegant in design. In a celebrated poem Ogden Nash begs the octopus to tell him if its limbs are arms or legs.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Imagining the World — “The Anthropocene, as we are learning to call our present epoch, is a time of rapid transformation. Perhaps the only thing that can be said with any confidence is that the rate of change is faster than at any time in human history and perhaps the history of life itself. Atmospheric and ocean chemistry is changing, and species are being driven to extinction faster than at any time in millions of years.”

Excerpt: ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings’ by Caspar Henderson

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 30, 2015
A stele and flowers laid in memory of the victims are placed in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in the French Alps, in Le Vernet, France, Friday, March 27, 2015. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountain, which killed all 150 people aboard, has raised questions about the mental state of the co-pilot. (AP)

The pilot who crashed his plane in the Alps. What we know now. And what to do about pilots’ psychological health.

Mar 30, 2015
Sweet Briar College, an all-women's liberal arts college in Virginia, announced in early 2015 that it would unexpectedly close its doors at the end of the school year. (Courtesy Sweet Brian College)

Fareed Zakaria weighs the value of a liberal arts education in our technology-driven time.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 27, 2015
Members of  a November Project 'tribe' pause during a November 2014 workout. (Brogan Graham / Instagram)

Spring training. From easy-access yoga to outdoor exercise meet-ups, exercise plans you’ll want to do.

 
Mar 27, 2015
Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

The co-pilot and the plane in the Alps? Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid. Heinz buys Kraft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
Comment
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment