Daily Archives: April 11, 2008

Bats and Shade Grown Coffee

i-d9d4464f7c37c31d53fe590c175e7e3d-bats_coffee.jpgBirds have always gotten a fair amount of the credit for ridding shade grown coffee plants of various insect pests. But a new study now shows that bats have a huge positive impact in this area as well. The study also shows something else interesting: These insect eating bats often use a “perch and wait” technique for grabbing flying insects, rather than flying around all the time hunting on the wing. Continue reading Bats and Shade Grown Coffee

Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisis

In Al Gore’s brand-new slideshow (premiering exclusively on TED.com), he presents evidence that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists were recently predicting, and challenges us to act with a sense of “generational mission” — the kind of feeling that brought forth the civil rights movement — to set it right. Gore’s stirring presentation is followed by a brief Q&A in which he is asked for his verdict on the current political candidates’ climate policies and on what role he himself might play in future.

Continue reading Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisis

Cambodia’s Water Birds

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Storks, pelicans, ibises, and other rare waterbirds from Cambodia’s famed Tonle Sap region are making a comeback, thanks to round-the-clock protection by a single team of park rangers. In a project established by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Ministry of Environment of the Royal Government of Cambodia, former hunters and egg collectors have found new employment in monitoring the breeding bird colonies. This novel approach guarantees an active role for local communities in the conservation of this important seasonally flooded wetland.A new report shows that some of the waterbird species have rebounded 20-fold since 2001, when the conservation project began. Before that time, rampant harvesting of eggs and chicks had driven the colonies to the brink of local extinction. “This is an amazing success story for the people and wildlife of Cambodia,” said Colin Poole, director for WCS-Asia. “It also shows how important local people are in the conservation of wildlife in their own backyards.”

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

Will the Earth be sucked into a tiny black hole in June?

i-a8fe891b99da6fe71ab24c2205b50d71-bomb_cloud.jpgIt is said that scientists involved in the Manhattan Project to engineer and implement the first nuclear bombs seriously considered the possibility that such a bomb could initiate a chain reaction that would destroy the Earth. Now it is being claimed that the production of miniature black holes by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland could do the same. The LHC is scheduled to go on line in June. Continue reading Will the Earth be sucked into a tiny black hole in June?

Ellison Endorses Madia

i-42463a742e85439b72c48a8d3e7dcc49-madia.jpgMinnesota Third Congressional District hopeful, Democratic candidate Ashwin Madia, was endorsed by Fifth District’s Keith Ellison.You will remember that Keith Ellison attained sudden national attention when he was first elected to congress last year because he is not a Christian, and many right wing fanatics thought maybe he’d swear his oath of office on the Koran, thus ruining everything….Indeed, many hard right wing groups continue to spew anti-Ellison propaganda. He is everything the right wing hates … non Christian, Muslim, and Black.Ellison is a very popular figure in Minnesota, and has proven to be an effective member of congress.i-c9c77e08af5ff527287f7d85824559d5-ellison.jpgMadia is trying to take an open seat in a traditionally Republican district, and the word is that he has a fair chance of doing so. This district was gerrymandered years ago to be a Republican district. The logic behind that (from the perspective of the Republicans) was to surround the generally liberal and Democratic Twin Cities with Republican member of congress. There are certain political processes having to do with funding and planning that strike fear in the hearts of suburbanites, such as spending money in the “inner city” and on poor people who are sometimes not white, etc. But the district has changed, and much of it is now working class and Democratic. The fact that the Republican congressman who has represented this district (he is now retiring) is very moderate (for a Republican) has minimized the chances for any strong anti-Republican backlash. But now that the seat is open, there is a good chance of a turnover.Ellison’s endorsement: Continue reading Ellison Endorses Madia

Stunning Politics (Adult Content)

It had been assumed that Hillary Clinton would do very well in Pennsylvania against Barack Obama, continuing the relative ambiguity of which candidate should be chosen at the Democratic National Convention. However, recent polls show that Obama is closing the lead, and is now probably well within 10 percentage points of Clinton, with about 10 percent of polled voters undecided. The Real Clear Politics average of seven recent pols shows the spread at 7.8 percent. Most important, though, is a huge shift from 20 percent difference prior to late March to a 10 percent difference today. It is not clear that the difference is narrowing, but it is clear that it has suddenly gotten narrow.The word is that the two candidates are slogging it out in ad space, each spending millions and coming up with region-specific multiple ads. Here are a couple of examples: Continue reading Stunning Politics (Adult Content)

France Invents New Kind of Cheese: It’s People!!!!

i-f77fa6fbcc8171ce0c10836609514e96-fromages.jpgLe Petit Singly, a French company, now produces cheese made from human breast milk. And it is not really new.Apparently they’ve been doing this for some time now.”Small Singly is the only cheese made from a woman’s breast milk, and has remained for a long time in the shadows of the more ordinary cheeses made of sheep, goat, or cow’s milk. … made with the expertise of master cheese maker Patrice Cosma … With a tint of hazel nut and a subtle caramelized colore, its softness and texture will undoubtedly allure you. This cheese was discovered in the 19th century, and follows grandmother’s traditional recipe. …” (very roughly translated)Order your cheese here.