Nancy linked to a story on how those idiotic eHow articles get written, and it got me thinking about bad information. Specifically, stuff I’ve heard all my life and never felt I had any reason to doubt, until I found out it wasn’t merely factually wrong, but ludicrous. I feel fortunate to have been disabused of these ideas, but I’m certain there are a hell of a lot more of them waiting to be replaced by some slightly more sophisticated misconception.

This is one of the rare ones that turned out to be correct , upon a review of available video evidence, i.e.” Don’t disturb the beaver in its lair. Imagine a sack of shelled corn with powerful rear legs and a carpet knife, and the mind of, well, a rat.”

A beaver family has taken up at our pond, and for a while they kept trying to dam the overflow pipe to bring the pond up to the crest of the spillway. Most people kill or capture and relocate them at this point. My wife came up with a novel strategy: she let them partially block the overflow, but removed each subsequent evening’s stack of chewed saplings and clay mortar. The beaver would swim out and watch its handiwork being undone, smack the water with its tail and go off and stew in its den. The next morning we’d dismantle a sometimes more frenetically built heap, forming an increasingly large ” mole of Alexander” into the pond.

This went on for a couple of weeks, at which point a sort of status quo ante was reached, and the beavers, having got the babies up and running, began to neglect their vocation. Every now and then they’ll shove a branch up into the pipe, or place a leafy twig across the entrance  just to let us know they haven’t forgotten, but otherwise, it’s peace out.

During this time, I never considered taking a camera and getting all up in the beaver’s grille (This gets good at  1:56 but the long set up provides a semblance of dramatic tension):

Why random involuntary castration is not the worst idea out there:

And if you can watch through to the end of this video, you’ll learn about the  links between Judaism and beaver assault: