Daily Digest: Hockey fights, nature pics, and more

by Mike Mullen

A daily rundown of news from Projects Editor Mike Mullen.

–Rick Rypien, Vancouver Canucks center/punk, has been suspended indefinitely for shoving a Minnesota Wild fan during a game in St. Paul on Friday night. Rypien had been in two fights already during the game, and didn’t really win either of those, so apparently he thought he’d go for round three. The fan, James Enquist, 28, told the Star Tribune that he simply said, “Way to be professional,” as Rypien passed by him. Enquist went on to say that he was “definitely” looking to hire a lawyer, and that he had been “assaulted.” (Really? Huh.) On the scale of player vs. fan fights, he should perhaps be happy he wasn’t beaten with his own footwear. As for Rypien, maybe, as a Canuck, he’s more used to seeing green fans.

— The Mexican town of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero has decided to make 20-year old Marisol Valles, however briefly, the most famous police chief in the world. Valles, described in the Guardian as “a petite 20-year-old college student who paints her nails pink,” has already been the subject of roughly 4,000 profiles and interviews, and I suspect the reasons are obvious: 1) she’s a criminology student (!) who’s now top cop in her town, 2) she has an baby boy, 3) Mexican police often seem wholly outgunned by drug cartels, and 4) she takes a pretty nice portrait. The town, which is near Mexico’s border with Texas, has 14 cops including Valles, and 10 of them are women. With one car, three rifles, and one pistol among them, they, too, seem grossly outmatched by cartels. But Valles is hopeful: “My motive for being here is that one can do a lot for the town … we are going to make changes and get rid of a little of the fear in every person.”

— A study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that women are, on average, considerably more charitable than their male counterparts. Among possible explanations offered are that more women are working, and at better pay, than in previous generations. Women gave more often, and more total dollars, and to a wider range of causes. One interesting side note: a spokesman for World Vision, a Washington-based charity, said that the organization has known for years”that its target donor is a 47-year-old, college-educated female.” Geez. Specific enough for you? What color is here hair? Shoe size? Left-handed? Okay, two points here: 1) come on guys, we’re getting beat by girls!, and 2) doesn’t it seem like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has shoveled billions of Bill’s and Warren Buffet’s money out the door, would be big enough to throw the curve here? Or, does it not count if it’s your own charity? Is Melinda Gates getting credit? Dammit Melinda.

— Finally, another photo winner, and it’s a great one. Hungarian photographer Bence Mate snapped these leafcutter ants in Costa Rica, and it’s won the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize, given out by BBC Wildlife Magazine. (Get that? A Hungarian, taking pictures in the Costa Rican rainforest, won a British prize. What’d you do today?) The photo is memorable because it gives a rare glimpse at these little things in action: shadows across the leaf show ants carrying away huge pieces of leaf, while ants in the center can be seen razoring off more pieces, the same way you’d cut out a circular hole in a glass case to get to the diamonds encased inside. (If you’re into that.) The way ants work, action like this passes by quickly. Moments after the shot was taken, the ants had finished this leaf, and began consuming Hungarian photographer Bence Mate.

-Mike Mullen