Scam Alert ⚠️

Thinking outside the box

Crows Even Smarter than Thought Possible

firepaw.org

Researchers have found that crows may possess mental capabilities that some animal behavior experts did not think were possible.

In a 2018 paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of researchers showed evidence that New Caledonian crows, which have been observed making several types of tools out of sticks, may be able to build tools from memory — even if they have only seen the tool itself and haven’t ever seen the tool being constructed. This suggests that crows can form a “mental template” of tools based on other crows’ tools and their own past tools, which would explain why New Caledonian crows’ tools could have improved over time.

Study overview

Researchers trained New Caledonian crows to put pieces of paper into a slot to receive a food reward. But the catch was that only certain sized pieces of paper earned a reward. Once the crows were trained, they were then given a larger piece of paper, which they had to tear into either a large or small size in order to complete the task. The researchers explain that they had the crows use paper instead of sticks or leaves so they could observe the birds’ learning in action.

Results overview

Their results suggest that crows can produce the proper tool from their memory, even though the task was new to them. This indicates that crows can learn from each other, even improving upon others’ designs, which has big implications for our understanding of crow culture and animal intelligence overall and how these fascinating birds got so amazingly good at foraging for food with tools. It’s something to crow about all right.

https://firepaw.org/2020/07/08/crows-even-smarter-than-thought-possible/#like-7052#like-7052

10 fallacies about Arctic sea ice & polar bear survival refute misleading ‘facts’

polarbearscience

This updated blog post of mine from last year is as pertinent now as it was then: it’s a fully-referenced rebuttal to the misleading ‘facts’ so often presented this time of year to support the notion that polar bears are being harmed due to lack of summer sea ice. Polar Bears International developed ‘Arctic Sea Ice Day’ (15 July) to promote their skewed interpretation of polar bear science at the height of the Arctic melt season. This year I’ve add a ‘Polar Bears and the Arctic Food Chain‘ graphic, which readers are free to download and share. For further information, see “The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened“.

Polar bear top of Arctic food chain 7 July 2020
Summer sea ice loss is finally ramping up: first year is disappearing, as it has done every year since ice came to the Arctic millions of years ago. But critical misconceptions, fallacies, and disinformation abound regarding…

View original post 4,169 more words

Couple creates 4-acre field of flowers to honor late son who served in Afghanistan

Positive Outlooks Blog

Published by Ana L.

The flower fields at Fennville Cemetery in Michigan feature a beautiful sea of poppies. If you come across this place, you will think that it is an ordinary flower farm. However, there’s a heartwarming and interesting story behind this stunning poppy field.

Two years ago, couple Joan Donaldson and John Van Voorhees started planting the poppies in the four-acre field. This is to honor their son, Mateo Donaldson, who was previously deployed in Afghanistan. He was a beekeeper on this farm before he joined the military and went to Afghanistan. YouTube

“He came home with PTSD and took his own life,” Joan disclosed. Apparently, combat situations have negative effects on the soldiers’ minds and bodies. The families of soldiers who have PTSD are also greatly affected by their loved ones’ unfortunate situation.

“We decided to create the poppy field in memory of him, because all these flowers feed the bees and butterflies, which he loved caring for so much. He’s not buried very far from this field,” Joan added.

Just 200 feet away from the poppy field lies Mateo’s grave. The couple said that looking at the flower fields give them peace, knowing that their beloved son is watching over them. Though Mateo’s death was very sad and tragic, Joan and John still see their son as a hero who fought and died for their country. YouTube

The four-acre field of white, red and blue flowers is not just for the couple to enjoy. A lot of veterans also find solace in this breath-taking flower field when they visit the cemetery. The couple is glad when veterans who have PTSD talk to them and say how much peace they feel when they look at the colorful flowers.

They believe that Mateo is not only watching over them but also his fellow soldiers suffering from PTSD. Even people who are not veterans find interest in this beautiful farm. Whatever it is that they are struggling with in life, the amazing field of flowers seems to take all their worries away. YouTube

“I think, for the most part, we live in a world where people don’t provide enough beauty, or think about it, or how much it could mean to them. So, maybe when they encounter situations like this, they begin to realize how much they need it,” Joan said.

Seeing how the flower fields always become the “calm in the storm” for many visitors, the couple encourages more people to visit their field of poppies. They only have a few rules for visitors to follow: don’t walk in the fields and don’t pick flowers. Facebook

Of course, this field of flowers is very precious for the couple so they are only looking after it. If you would like to visit, simply follow their rules and find yourself in great solace, watching the spectacular view of beautiful and colourful flowers. You can find the farm at 5859 124th Avenue in Fennville, Michigan.

What a unique way to honor and remember a family member! Truly, losing a loved one is a hard battle but their memories and their love will stay in our hearts forever.

Watch this video and be amazed by this lovely field of poppies:

Spread positivity on:

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/couple-creates-the-flower-fields-to-honor-late-son/

SeaWorld’s slow recovery from ‘Blackfish’ may be doomed by COVID-19 effects

dailykos.com

David Neiwert for Daily Kos Daily Kos Staff

An orca performs for the audience at SeaWorld’s marine park in Orlando, Florida.

What the documentary Blackfish started—namely, the long, slow demise of the captive orca theme park industry, along with its abusive practices and dubious ethics—may be finally finished by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Orlando Weekly reports, SeaWorld’s increasingly grim bottom line is being sharply worsened by the closures of its three U.S. parks (in San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando) during their respective states’ stay-home orders. Now there are signs—such as an astonishing pile of over 150 liens on the parks, largely from construction firms, representing millions of dollars in unpaid bills—that the company’s board may be gearing up to file for bankruptcy.

Journalist Joe Kleiman, who has been tracking the company’s fortunes at his blog (which is currently under maintenance and unavailable), reported earlier this month that he had “confirmed more than 150 liens across all of the company’s parks filed in the four months between March and June 2020, and the number keeps climbing as additional data becomes available.”

Kleiman believes these and other recent moves by the park suggest a looming court filing: “I have a strong feeling the company is contemplating filing for bankruptcy.”

The company recently tried reopening its Orlando park with new protocols and soothing words from its CEO. The first day went badly, with lax enforcement of social distancing and mask requirements (even company employees were spotted going maskless), despite long lines for the popular theme park rides. The larger park itself, however, often had the look of a ghost town, and employees were hard to find.

The company’s long-term prospects appear even rockier. The company says it is able to remain afloat through 2021 without reopening, but that’s a costly outlook, since the company must continue to maintain its animals and their health even without the revenues from park attendance.

More important, perhaps, are the issues that linger from the 2013 Blackfish explosion, which sent the company’s stock spiraling down to Marianas Trench levels before more recent modest recoveries. It had to pay out $65 million to shareholders in February after losing a lawsuit over the company’s refusal to acknowledge the damage caused by the film and downplaying its negative effects.

SeaWorld reformed its shows—mainly because of federal worker protection rules that were imposed after trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by a killer whale named Tilikum in 2010, the central focus of Blackfish—and ended its notorious breeding programs for orcas as well. However, most of these measures have been half-hearted; state safety officials returned to the park in 2015 and imposed more fines for its ongoing failures to protect trainers adequately.

SeaWorld’s stock recovery—which it touted widely in 2018—vanished with the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the company’s stock hit its worst price since going public in 2013.

But the decisive problems could lie with the company’s ownership. Its primary shareholder, a company called Hill Path Capital led by chairman Scott Ross, has reportedly been shopping the company’s assets around, according to Kleiman and Orlando Weekly:

[M]ultiple companies have expressed interest in purchasing all or some of SeaWorld’s assets. In 2017, it looked like the investment in SeaWorld was going to pay off, thanks to a 21 percent stake by Zhonghong, a Chinese development company interested in bringing SeaWorld’s brand to mainland China. Later that year, Legoland parent company Merlin expressed interest in SeaWorld’s two Busch Gardens theme parks. With things looking up for SeaWorld, in the form of their new Chinese partner and with two thrill-focused parks leading their assets, the company rejected the idea of selling or breaking up its parks.

Ten months later, however, things took a dramatic turn, when Zhonghong was forced to sell the property upon which the first Chinese SeaWorld park was to be located. Things got so bad that Zhonghong’s CEO was at one point supposedly on the run, hiding from Chinese authorities. The year ended with rumors of Six Flags kicking the tires of SeaWorld.

SeaWorld’s last two CEOs have resigned amid disputes with Ross and the company board.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/4/1957310/-SeaWorld-s-slow-recovery-from-Blackfish-may-be-doomed-by-COVID-19-effects