Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hanging out in the Zoo Atlanta sloth cam chatroom

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Idle threats
  • Animal Planet
  • Idle threats to mankind
Creative Loafing last week gave you some spectacular people to watch. Susan Pavlin and her work at Global Growers is important and vital and makes Atlanta a richer place. The first time I ever ate at Allen Suh's Gato Arigato, he was experimenting with gold leaf. It was like eating a Trinidad James song. So please, watch them!

But then turn your eyes to 1s and 0s to Zoo Atlanta's Sloth Cam, a rich melange of one of nature's weirdest animals and the internet's weirdest people.

The 24/7 live feed launched last October in tandem with the Animal Planet show "Meet the Sloths," and the feed shows the exploits of male sloth Cocoa and his two female roommates Bonnie and Okra. It's like "Three's Company" if nobody did anything.

Even though sloths are legit weird and fascinating - They only poop once a week! It makes them lose a third of their body weight! - the optics of that weirdness aren't action-packed. Mostly they sleep and hang from things. "It's all the drama without the heart-stopping speed," a copywriter was paid to write about the Sloth Cam.

The camera is tightly framed on a corner of the sloth enclosure, which, like our hearts, sometimes features one or two sloths but is just as often empty. At night, they're backlit interrogation-room harshly and scored by an ambient hum. The only clue that you aren't watching a still image is the barely perceptible expansion of sloth ribcage.

So turn your gaze toward the Sloth Cam's chat functionality. At 10:38 p.m. on Nov. 13, 13 people were watching a wad of sloth pulsate in a cage in Grant Park. One of those people, username "Lipwhiskers," gushes:

lol the Sloth's could care less about the Monkeys and bugs and big flying insects.
Hello pretty sloth nice to see you awake

There are people in the world who love sloths, who want to watch them 24/7, who believe sloths can read messages in Animal Planet chat rooms. "Lipwhiskers" continues:

lol the Sloth's could care less about the Monkeys and bugs and big flying insects.
Hello pretty sloth nice to see you awake
Looks like a hard day at work. Beautiful sloth

"what kinda name is lipwhiskers," "mattypeachblossom" asks.

"Wdewdrop1" is disappointed in the Sloth Cam's camera angles. A lot of commenters seem concerned with whether or not the barely moving sloths are even alive. A chat user named "slothjunkie" has lots of great alternate sloth musical act names:

david lee sloth
david hasselsloth
milli vasloth

Watching the people who watch the sloth cam is arguably much weirder than watching the sloth cam itself, but it's just as fascinating, and just as much of a glimpse into a separate world. Take it away, "lipwhiskers!"

So cute sharing such a small place
They are so cute you just want to hug them like a little baby
Sweet dreams sweet Sloth

And sweet dreams, sweet sloth watchers.

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State Sen. Jason Carter prepares for fight against Deal during 2014 legislative session

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 12:04 PM

My biggest worry is that well go another year without a vision for education, and that well go another year without truly making it the budgeting priority that it needs to be.
  • Joeff Davis
  • "My biggest worry is that we'll go another year without a vision for education, and that we'll go another year without truly making it the budgeting priority that it needs to be."

Jason Carter faces an uphill battle in 2014. The Decatur state senator, who jumped into the governor's race last November, will spend much of the coming year trying to convince voters he deserves Gov. Nathan Deal's job. His candidacy has breathed life back into the state's Democratic party, who think he can overcome long odds to upset an incumbent Republican in Georgia.

It's widely expected that the gubernatorial race will head inside the Gold Dome once the upcoming legislative session begins on Monday. State lawmakers, who are banned from fundraising until after papers are tossed high into the air on Sine Die, will spend the next the few months pushing their agendas on the state House and Senate floors.

Deal may try to sway votes by giving teachers pay raises or introducing other election-year proposals to curry favor with the voting bloc. Although Carter's ability to push legislation will be limited - he's a Democrat in a Republican-dominated General Assembly - he'll likely use his position to convince Georgia voters to buy into his ability to lead the state.

Earlier this week, Carter shared thoughts about the upcoming legislative session including his take on education, Medicaid expansion, ethics, and DeKalb's cityhood debate.

One of the major themes of the 2014 legislative session will be how the election year impacts what actually gets accomplished under the Gold Dome. A major part of that is the gubernatorial race that's bound to play out. How are you approaching the upcoming session in that regard?

We're going to keep doing what we've always been doing - the things that are our most important priorities. That's education, access to education for everybody; an economy that works for the middle class; and an honest government that works for everybody. That's number one. Those will be themes of the campaign, but it's also been the themes of my legislative service.

Number two, a lot of my best friends in the legislature are Republicans and Republicans in leadership. It'll be interesting to see what my reception is like now [laughs]. I know I have good relationships with them and think we'll be able to do the right thing. We're going to continue to focus on those issues that we think are important.

There's talk that Deal will push for educator pay raises. That sounds like a good thing, but also something that can be seen as a push for votes. How do you approach that under the Gold Dome, especially if he's doing something notable that's a major theme of your campaign?

The way that I've always operated in the legislature is that I supported the ideas I felt were good no matter what side they came from. I'll continue to do that as state Senator. But you've got a governor who has no record to run on with respect to education. He's got the state school superintendent from his own party, the chief education official in our state elected by the people of Georgia to help run our education system, running against the governor in his own primary. That is an incredible indictment of the governor's mishandling of public education. [John Barge] knows. He's seen what we see: that the people of Georgia are horrified by what this administration has done for education and for educators. I assume, because it's an election year, there will be some attempt by the governor to salvage that record. I am positive that will come out. We'll have to wait and see whether it's a good idea or if it all makes sense.

It seems like nothing will happen with Medicaid expansion until Deal or yourself gets elected. That being said, a handful of Democratic lawmakers are planning to call attention to the issue during the legislative session. Do you plan to be joining them? If so, how?

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5 things to do: Fiction Contest Party

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. Creative Loafing's Fiction Contest Party with Write Club at the Highland Inn Ballroom

2. Jeff Dunham at Philips Arena

3. The Purkinje Shift, Night Idea, and more at Star Bar

4. Mark Klett lecture at the High Museum

5. Food Trucks at 12th & Midtown

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Georgia's long overlooked medical marijuana law deserves a new hearing, GOP state senator says

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 9:40 AM

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus
After decades of sitting dormant, Georgia's medical marijuana program might finally get another look by state lawmakers. And you can partly thank Sanjay Gupta.

Several months ago, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, was watching the CNN correspondent and Grady Hospital neurosurgeon's documentary on medical marijuana. In it, Gupta interviewed men and women suffering from medical conditions that could be treated with the plant. The topic intrigued McKoon.

"It hasn't come up while I've been here," McKoon, who was elected in 2010, told CL. "Then i started doing some more research found that Georgia passed [a medical marijuana law] in the early 1980s. Seems to me that we're long overdue, whether it's a series of hearings during the session or creating a study committee."

McKoon, an attorney who chairs the state Senate Judiciary Committee and is considered one of the state GOP's most talented youngsters, plans to call for hearings on the issue when the General Assembly starts its 40-day session next week.

"There are many many states that have adopted some form of allowance for medical marijuana application," says McKoon. "I felt it was past time to call for hearings to have that dialogue... [This is about] having a venue to separate fact from fiction on what the potential applications are out there. And see what other states' experiences have been."

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First Slice 1/9/14: Glavine and Maddux head to Cooperstown

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine went 7-17 in 1988, his second year in the major leagues.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are heading to Cooperstown. The two Braves pitchers were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both BIG fans of Bruce Banner and representatives of a dark time in baseball, were once again passed over. Which might make them angry. Don't make them angry. You wouldn't like them when they're angry.

Internal theft from Department of Watershed Management facilities has become so rampant that the personal vehicles of every employee are being searched by security at the end of the day. Along with a few pens and some printer paper, items such as giant industrial meters that weigh 700 pounds and are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have disappeared. Many employees are refusing to consent to the search and their names are duly noted as they drive off with their back bumpers scraping the ground, sparks flying, heading straight to their preferred giant industrial meter chop shop or fence.

A Gwinnett County man wanted for a probation violation decided to take a polar bear plunge into the Chattahoochee River while trying to escape a bail bondsman. It was a bad day for it. He was eventually rescued by the Gwinnett Fire Department after he was seen desperately clinging to a branch in the river. Nothing wrong with a bit of invigoration before incarceration, ya know? It's just like an early morning roll in the hay with your old lady before you have to go punch the clock at the shop, right?

Florida, you truly are the gift that keeps giving: Have a hankering for python pizza? No problem.

Hey, remember that war in Iraq? It's the one Bush started for no reason. You know, the same one that let Obama say, "I ended the war in Iraq." It's still happening. And it has been steadily ramping back up to Category 5 Apocalyptic Shitstorm status as of late. Mission Accomplished!

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