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
May 5, 2015
raqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen prepare to attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  (AP)

Fresh upheaval in Iraq. Millions now displaced. Warnings of crisis and worse to come.

May 5, 2015
One of the main characters in Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" spends part of her childhood in the Paris Museum of Natural History (WikiCommons)

Anthony Doerr just won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling book “All the Light We Cannot See.” He joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 4, 2015
In this March 26, 2015 photo, Yvonne DeCory, a suicide-prevention outreach worker, stands in her small office in the basement of the Post Office in Pine Ridge, S.D. Nearly 1,000 suicide attempts were recorded on the reservation between 2004 and 2013. DeCory said few weeks go by with a suicide. (AP)

After clusters of high school suicides in California, Virginia, and Massachusetts, we look at the pressure parents put on teenagers to succeed.

 
May 4, 2015
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state's attorney, speaks during a media availability, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Baltimore. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six officers suspended after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. (AP)

Second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault and more. We’ll look at the charges announced for six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: May 01, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015

What happens when we change show topics last minute, and also what happens when a New York Times headline seems to accuse Kristie Alley of being responsible for the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

More »
4 Comments
 
How To Help The Survivors Of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake
Friday, May 1, 2015

Where and how to contribute aid to the relief effort in Nepal.

More »
5 Comments
 
Your Favorite Musical Memories Of Rain
Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

When we say ‘rain,’ you say ‘…?’ (Here’s what you really said when we said ‘rain.’)

More »
6 Comments