Daily Archives: March 12, 2008

Wolves, Coyotes, Pronghorns.


The big, bad wolf could use a few friends. If western states remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act–a decision currently under debate–consequences could be grave. Wyoming and Idaho announced they would reduce their populations of approximately 300 and 700 wolves, respectively, by 50 percent and 80 percent.Amidst the debate, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) researcher Dr. Kim Berger is speaking out on behalf of an unsuspecting wolf ally: the pronghorn antelope, North America’s fastest land animal. In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Ecology, Berger says that healthy wolf packs keep coyote numbers in check. Since coyotes–but not wolves–can prey heavily on pronghorn fawns, the fawns have higher survival rates when wolves share their ecosystem.”People tend to think that more wolves always mean fewer prey,” says Berger. “But in this case, wolves are so much bigger than coyotes that it doesn’t make sense for them to waste time searching for pronghorn fawns. It would be like trying to feed an entire family on a single Big Mac.”Over a three-year period, researchers radio-collared more than 100 pronghorn fawns in areas with no wolves and areas with large wolf populations in Grand Teton National Park, part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. As they monitored the fawns’ survival throughout the summer, the researchers found that only 10 percent of the young antelope survived in areas that lacked wolves but had higher densities of coyotes. In areas where wolves were abundant, 34 percent of the fawns survived. Wolves reduce coyote numbers by killing them outright and by causing them to relocate out of the Park’s wolf territories.While pronghorn are not endangered, the population that summers in Grand Teton National Park had been reduced to fewer than 200 animals in recent years. Since wolves were reintroduced in 1995, the Grand Teton pronghorn have increased by approximately 50 percent. These pronghorn migrate more than 200 miles roundtrip, farther than any land mammal in the lower 48 states. WCS has called for permanent protection of their migration corridor, known as Path of the Pronghorn, to prevent the animals from going extinct in the Park. Representatives from the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service recently pledged support for protecting the corridor.”This study shows just how complex relationships between predators and their prey can be,” said Berger. “It’s an important reminder that we often don’t understand ecosystems nearly as well as we think we do, and that our efforts to manipulate them can have unexpected consequences.”

From Saving Wildlife

Yale Peabody Evolution Exhibit

Charles Darwin turns 200 next year–Happy birthday, dude!–and the Peabody Museum of Natural History is getting excited. You would think that a couple centuries would have kicked the last bit of dust over the grave of “intelligent design,” but sadly, it ain’t so. The people at the Peabody still have some convincing to do, and that’s where Travels in the Great Tree of Life, a multimedia exhibit curated by evolutionary biologist, Yale professor and Peabody Director Michael Donoghue, comes in. …[Read the rest here]

The Browser Acid Test

The Acid Test is a webs standards test to which browsers can be subjected to see which is best. Here are some of the current results for browsers that are released (the one you are likely to use if your software is reasonably well updated):Konqueror on Ubuntu 7.10: 62%Epiphany on Ubuntu 8.04: 59%Camino on a Mac and Firefox on Mac, Windows XP, or Windows Vista: 52%The list that I’m looking at then has fourteen combinations of different browsers, versions, and operating systems ranging from 39% to 52%Then, way down the list, we get:INternet Exporer 5.50 on Windows XP at 14%Then a bunch of combinations of IE and various windows versions ranging from 11 to 14%.So, we may conclude the following: Continue reading The Browser Acid Test

Faces of Shame

i-e0004d297f6e4e439de0345157078026-vitter.jpgThis is a picture of David Vitter, who was caught up in a prostitution ring in 2007. His face exhibits a certain look, one that may be referred to as an expression of shame.i-f8178fa1bd1baa09a9966b99ba2ba0df-spitzer.jpgHere we have New York Governor, or should I say the Former New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer, in a state of shame regarding … what was it again? (That was so long ago) … Right .. a thing with a prostitute. Again, we see the same expression on his face … Continue reading Faces of Shame

A Broken Pipeline: Unprecedented Funding NIH Stagnation Can Only Lead to Harm

There is a campaign to bring attention, of the public and of congress, to a five year long stagnation of NIH funding, which is being called a broken pipeline. NIH funding had been increased significantly prior to that, to address major shortfalls in funding for mostly medical research in key important issues. However, over the last five years, the dollar amount of funding has remained flat, not even keeping up with inflation, where it really should have increased further, even more than inflation. Continue reading A Broken Pipeline: Unprecedented Funding NIH Stagnation Can Only Lead to Harm

Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern: No society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades

Last week, a secret recording emerged of a disturbing speech by Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern stating that homosexuality is a bigger threat to our nation than “terrorism or Islam.” Rep. Kern has refused to apologize for her remarks.

She also said:“They’re going after two year olds….””Eureka Springs is now controlled by gays … and a lot of places in Florida”Hard to believe. But hearing is believing:The Human Rights campaign has a petition for you to sign. Hat tip: Emily

Spitzer Will Quit Just Now

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is going to resign any moment now.

Mr Spitzer, 48, made a public apology on Monday for what he called his unacceptable behaviour, but did not give details.He was allegedly identified by federal agents arranging to meet a prostitute in a Washington hotel.Mr Spitzer made his name as a fearless opponent of organised crime, including prostitution.


Polar Bears and Global Warming


The pending federal decision about whether to protect the polar bear as a threatened species is as much about climate science as it is about climate change.

The US Fish and Wildlife service is contemplating the listing of the obviusly endangered polar bear as a threatened species. Well, duh…The problem for them (the US Federal Government, which has been converted over the last 7 years into a right wing think tank) is that the main threat to the polar bear is global warming, and there are still plenty of individuals in charge of the US that want to deny global warming. Continue reading Polar Bears and Global Warming