The peer-reviewed evidence is compelling that CO2 emissions are net-beneficial, rather than harmful, and the social cost of carbon is negative. Here are some papers:
Dayaratna, K.D., McKitrick, R. & Michaels, P.J. Climate sensitivity, agricultural productivity and the social cost of carbon in FUND. Environ Econ Policy Stud 22, 433–448 (2020). doi:10.1007/s10018-020-00263-w
Uddin S, Löw M, Parvin S, Fitzgerald GJ, Tausz-Posch S, Armstrong R, O’Leary G, Tausz M. Elevated [CO2] mitigates the effect of surface drought by stimulating root growth to access sub-soil water. PLoS One. 2018 Jun 14;13(6):e0198928. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198928
Fitzgerald GJ, et al. Elevated atmospheric [CO2] can dramatically increase wheat yields in semi-arid environments and buffer against heat waves. Glob Chang Biol. 2016 Jun;22(6):2269-84. Glob Chang Biol. 2016 Jun;22(6):2269-84. doi:10.1111/gcb.13263.
Donohue, RJ, Roderick, ML, McVicar, TR, and Farquhar, GD (2013), Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 3031–3035, doi:10.1002/grl.50563.
O’Leary GJ, et al. Response of wheat growth, grain yield and water use to elevated CO2 under a Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment and modelling in a semi-arid environment. Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Jul;21(7):2670-2686. doi:10.1111/gcb.12830.
Loehle, C., Idso, C., & Bently Wigley, T. (2016). Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change. Forest Ecology and Management, 363, 179–189.doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.12.042
Zhu, Z Piao, S, Myneni, RB, et al (2016). Greening of the Earth and its drivers. Nature Climate Change, 6(8), 791–795. doi:10.1038/nclimate3004
Those are all recent papers, but studies measuring the benefits of elevated CO2 go back more than a century; for example: Gradenwitz A. Carbonic Acid Gas to Fertilize the Air. Scientific American, November 27, 1920. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican11271920-549
The ONLY justification for wind power – the massive subsidies upon which it entirely depends (see our post here); spiralling power prices (see our post here); and the suffering caused to neighbours by incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our post here) – is the claim that it reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.
Because wind power fails to deliver at all hundreds of times each year, 100% of its capacity has to be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel generation sources – which run constantly in the background to balance the grid and prevent blackouts when wind power output collapses – as it does on a routine, but unpredictable, basis (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). And for more recent woeful ‘efforts’:
The mountains of dismal hard data tends to cut against the wilder claims emanating from the wind-worship-cult compounds that wind power ‘displaces’ – and will eventually ‘replace’ – conventional generation sources, but the ‘threat’ to BIG COAL, BIG GAS & BIG OIL is more imagined than real:
Even before the blades start spinning – the average wind farm clocks up thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions: “embedded” in thousands of tonnes of steel and concrete. So, every wind farm starts with its CO2 abatement ledger in the negative.
Here’s Andy’s Rant with a breakdown of just how much CO2 goes to build one of these things.
So what’s the carbon foot print of a wind turbine with 45 tons of rebar & 481m3 of concrete? Andy’s Rant 4 August 2014
Its carbon footprint is massive – try 241.85 tons of CO2.
Here’s the breakdown of the CO2 numbers.
To create a 1,000 Kg of pig iron, you start with 1,800 Kg of iron ore, 900 Kg of coking coal 450 Kg of limestone. The blast furnace consumes 4,500 Kg of air. The temperature at the core of the blast furnace reaches nearly 1,600 degrees C (about 3,000 degrees F).
The pig iron is then transferred to the basic oxygen furnace to make steel.
1,350 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg pig iron produced.
A further 1,460 Kg CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Steel produced so all up 2,810 Kg CO2 is emitted.
45 tons of rebar (steel) are required so that equals 126.45 tons of CO2 are emitted.
To create a 1,000 Kg of Portland cement, calcium carbonate (60%), silicon (20%), aluminium (10%), iron (10%) and very small amounts of other ingredients are heated in a large kiln to over 1,500 degrees C to convert the raw materials into clinker. The clinker is then interground with other ingredients to produce the final cement product. When cement is mixed with water, sand and gravel forms the rock-like mass know as concrete.
An average of 927 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Portland cement. On average, concrete has 10% cement, with the balance being gravel (41%), sand (25%), water (18%) and air (6%). One cubic metre of concrete weighs approx. 2,400 Kg so approx. 240 Kg of CO2 is emitted for every cubic metre.
481m3 of concrete are required so that equals 115.4 tons of CO2 are emitted.
Now I have not included the emissions of the mining of the raw materials or the transportation of the fabricated materials to the turbine site so the emission calculation above would be on the low end at best.
Extra stats about wind turbines you may not know about:
The average towering wind turbine being installed around beautiful Australia right now is over 80 metres in height (nearly the same height as the pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge). The rotor assembly for one turbine – that’s the blades and hub – weighs over 22,000 Kg and the nacelle, which contains the generator components, weighs over 52,000 Kg.
All this stands on a concrete base constructed from 45,000 Kg of reinforcing rebar which also contains over 481 cubic metres of concrete (that’s over 481,000 litres of concrete – about 20% of the volume of an Olympic swimming pool).
Each turbine blade is made of glass fibre reinforced plastics, (GRP), i.e. glass fibre reinforced polyester or epoxy and on average each turbine blade weighs around 7,000 Kg each.
Each turbine has three blades so there’s 21,000 Kgs of GRP and each blade can be as long as 50 metres.
A typical wind farm of 20 turbines can extend over 101 hectares of land (1.01 Km2).
Each and every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2,500 Kg of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up around Australia.
The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty and toxic – involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product – that only one country does it – China. (See our posts here and here).
All this for an intermittent highly unreliable energy source.
And I haven’t even considered the manufacture of the thousands of pylons and tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission wire needed to get the power to the grid. And what about the land space needed to house thousands of these bird chomping death machines?
You see, renewables like wind turbines will incur far more carbon dioxide emissions in their manufacture and installation than what their operational life will ever save.
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t the “cure” of using wind turbines sound worse than the problem? A bit like amputating your leg to “cure” your in-growing toe nail?
If you're an educator, or parent, feel free to utilize our free dolphin study guides and activity sheets: https://t.co/BazuBCXl7E We believe that education is the key first step to increasing awareness, and we hope that you will help us spread the word in your community! pic.twitter.com/u3XYHol0Ac
Until higher education is accessible, equitable, and free, we will be here to support Black & Latinx Birders in STEM.
Are you a Black birder or Brown birder that lives in the contiguous United States and identifies as Black, African-American, and/or Latinx/e/a/o? Are you also an undergraduate student studying in STEM? Apply for the annual Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship, today!
Open to undergraduate students 18 and older, in any year of their college studies (full-time undergraduate). Through this scholarship, we seek to increase the number of Black birders and Latinx birders studying in STEM*. Scholarship awards range from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $5,000, depending on funding for the current year. Two students will receive a one-time annual award.
1. Live in and attend college in the contiguous United States. 2. We want to hear from you!
Tell us about your birding** experience! Please answer these questions:
How did you become a birder?
How are you involved in the birding community?
Why are you pursuing a degree in STEM?
How do you plan to bring back your knowledge and skills to your community?
How to tell us:
Essay: no longer than two pages double spaced. Get creative! Maybe your essay is a Twitter thread that you started? Perhaps an extended IG post? Or maybe you prefer a standard essay format? Either way, tell us about you and answer the four questions above.
YouTube Video: Instead of an essay, send us a video link (two minutes maximum) sharing why you are pursuing your degree and how you plan to share your knowledge with the community.
3. One letter of recommendation to serve as a reference from a current or recent teacher. This can be forwarded to us by you, or sent directly to us. 4. Proof of enrollment at a 2 or 4 year college or university and proof of a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA (high school or college, as appropriate). A letter from the admissions office and a copy of your transcripts are needed. 5. Must be 18 years or older. 6. Interview with the committee via Zoom.
*Note: STEM (Science Technology Engineer Math) includes Science Communications.
**Note: we use the term “birder” in a broad context. Perhaps you’re a lister, volunteer at a nature center and engage your community with live birds, lead bird walks, have worked on or are working on a bird-related conservation project at your school. A birder in this context is someone who is actively engaged in lifestyle, with projects, etc. that are centered around birds, bird advocacy, and/or bird conservation.Apply Today! The application period for the Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship ends June 18, 2021.
Please forward this email to your colleagues, students, and networks. Our scholarship offering has increased this year due to American Bird Conservancy matching donations up to $10K! We need your help to share this scholarship with your networks. Thank you!
Scientists Can Now Watch Whales Feed Underwater (Photo credit: Mike Baird)
NGOs, animal welfare charities and a host of other stakeholders have urged Mattilsynet, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, to reverse its approval of an experiment on captured minke whales that they claim amounts to nothing more than torture.
The experiment is designed to see how whales’ brains respond to ocean noise. During the experiment, juvenile migrating minke whales will be trapped using a net and herded into a small enclosure. Once inside, they will be subjected to a host of noises, from naval sonar to the sounds emanating from oil and gas exploration. The experiment will last for up to four days, and up to 12 whales will be subjected to this.
According to Dr. Siri Martinsen, a veterinarian with NOAH, Norway’s largest NGO for animals:
“This research project is alarming for several reasons. We are very concerned for the welfare of the involved whales, as these circumstances are very likely to cause them stress and may even impact their health. There is a significant risk that the whales will panic once they are trapped, causing them to thrash or flail about, which could lead to serious injuries as they attempt to flee.”
You can help the whales by contacting the Norwegian government with your objection here.
Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.comSam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life!
The Biden administration issued a final rule protecting 116,098 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat for three populations of endangered humpback whales. The new regulation aims to help protect migrating whales from ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, and oil spills.
“Pacific humpbacks finally got the habitat protections they’ve needed for so long. Now we need to better protect humpbacks from ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear, their leading causes of death,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center, in a statement. “To recover West Coast populations of these playful, majestic whales, we need mandatory ship speed limits and conversion of California’s deadly trap fisheries to ropeless gear.”
The biggest threats in humpback habitat are ships and fishing gear. The Center sued the federal government in January for failing to protect endangered whales from speeding ships that are using California ports. The organization is also co-sponsoring the California Whale Entanglement Prevention Act, which would require the state’s commercial Dungeness crab and other trap fisheries to convert to ropeless gear, also known as “on-demand” or “pop-up buoy” gear, by the end of 2025.
One population of endangered humpback whales that feeds off California’s coast contains fewer than 800 individuals, leaving them vulnerable to threats from humans. The new rule designates a total of 224,030 square nautical miles for two endangered populations, including one that is threatened. Overlapping habitat means that 116,098 square nautical miles of ocean will be protected.
The rule designates 48,521 square nautical miles of critical habitat off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington for the humpback population that winters in Central America. The population of humpbacks in Mexico received protection of 116,098 square nautical miles in the North Pacific Ocean, including the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska — regions that also made up the 59,411 square nautical miles listed for the Western North Pacific humpback population.
“Today is a good day for humpback whales and the ocean that all living things depend on,” said Todd Steiner, Executive Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Designating 116,000 square miles of critical habitat in the ocean is something to celebrate, but whales, turtles, and dolphins still need additional protection from industrial fishing and ship strikes to recover and thrive, so we won’t be resting on our laurels.”
Critical habitat protection will help safeguard ocean areas essential for migrating and feeding. The designation will ensure that federally permitted activities do not destroy or harm important whale habitat. Evidence shows that endangered or threatened species that have protected critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without it.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
Its not a good week for whales. 🐳 🇳🇴 NORWAY have hunted and killed 32 minke whales. FAROE ISLANDS have hunted and killed 10 or 12 pilot whales (dolphins) NORWAY 🇳🇴 have decided to conduct scientific tests on live juvenile whales to see the effect of Seismic blasting #OpWhalespic.twitter.com/GhnjpPGgoP
Targeting chemicals of concern in our food, products and environment and offering cleaner, better solutions. Chemical-Free Life… utilizing scientific research, public education and science-based wellness programs to help consumers live cleaner, healthier lives.
A training/consulting, research and education organization focusing on the link between synthetic and industrialized chemicals of concern and adverse health outcomes and offering cleaner, better solutions.
Our modern times leave us inundated with potentially health damaging synthetic and industrialized chemicals in our food, personal care products, pet products and home environment. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that exposure can trigger a myriad of adverse symptoms and even serious, chronic illness. With the thousands of synthetic and industrialized chemicals in use today–many of them unlisted–learning which chemicals to avoid can be overwhelming.
Food preservatives, dyes, additives like emulsifiers, texturizing agents, and flavor enhancers, pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics and other animal drugs, are all a pervasive part of the typical diet in the U.S. (there are currently more than 10,000 synthetic and industrialized chemicals in the U.S. food supply) and many have been linked to serious health-related problems.
In fact, there have been several decades of scholarly scientific and medical studies, anecdotal reports and clinical trials that have produced evidence linking a number of synthetic and industrialized food chemicals to a myriad of adverse health conditions including heart disease, insulin resistance/impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes, weight gain/obesity, depression, anxiety, behavioral, mood and psychiatric disorders, insomnia/sleep disturbances, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, memory and concentration difficulties, nausea, fatigue, ear infections, swollen lymph nodes, urticaria, edema, intestinal disturbances and digestive disorders, respiratory problems and asthma-related difficulties, fibroid tumors, cancer, endocrine dysfunction, infertility, nasal polyps, rhinitis, autoimmune disorders, migraines/headaches, allergic reactions, liver and kidney disease, bladder infections, and more.
Fortunately, there is a solution. By simply learning what these problematic synthetic and industrialized chemicals are, where they are hiding, and the strategies for locating alternatives, not only can you avoid these unwanted additives, but you can eat healthier and better tasting food than you ever imagined.
. . .
Chemical-Free Life is dedicated to scientific research, public education and science-based wellness programs focusing on the link between synthetic chemicals and adverse health consequences, and offering safer, cleaner, BETTER SOLUTIONS.
Chemical-Free Consulting Programs, Research, Public Education
. . .
The Chemical-Free-Life.org Programs are scientifically-based care system developed to uncover which synthetic chemicals in your food, personal care, and household products hold the potential to be the most problematic for you personally. Based on decades of scientific research, our system analyzes your Lifestyle and Sensitivity Profile and then creates a personalized, user-friendly program of alternatives based on that analysis.
Programs include a personalized diagnostic assessment, weekly private, one-on-one telephone consultation sessions and access to “life line” calls, and a recovery kit that includes a condition-specific diet and lifestyle prescription for success.
Our science-based programs will walk you through each step in the process of discovering which specific additives are the most problematic for you personally, where they are hiding, and teach you easy, practical strategies for living a life with cleaner, better solutions.
Scientific Research: Including designing/conducting scientific studies examining public opinion and consumer perceptions and behavior examining sociological, political, health, environmental and economic antecedents and consequences of the increasing numbers of chemicals of concern in the food supply and home and personal care product industries.
The BOOK: A science-based, user-friendly comprehensive guide to all the food additives linked in scientific and medical studies to adverse health consequences, where they are hiding, and proven, practical strategies for how to avoid them!
What’s the longest you have ever gone without water?
This unique-looking antelope, called a gerenuk can survive its entire life without ever taking a drink of water.
Instead, the gerenuk derives water from the foliage that it eats. To better reach this foliage it has evolved a long, slender neck upon which is perched a disproportionately small head. Its eyes and ears, however, are proportional to the rest of its body giving it a comical, somewhat alien appearance.
The gerenuk’s large eyelashes and sensory hairs on its muzzle and ears allow it to carefully navigate through thorny bushes without getting scratched. In addition to having an extra long neck it is also able to stand on two legs and reach even further to the tops of shrubs and bushes. This is facilitated by stronger-than-normal lumbar vertebrae and powerful hind legs. This way they can reach tender shoots up to six and a half feet off the ground. The name Gerenuk is of Somali origin, meaning giraffe-necked. They are found in Somalia, but also in southern Djibouti and much of Kenya’s arid North as well as throughout Tsavo in the East. Aerial surveys have shown that their densities are higher in drier areas and especially in areas further from permanent water sources. This way they reduce competition with other browsers that are more water-dependant.
Gerenuks conserve water with uniquely adapted nasal passages, which prevent evaporative loss. They also have very highly concentrated urine, and aside from short, quick bursts to escape predators they are very sedentary animals, preferring to stand in place or browse.
They are somewhat social, but prefer to stay in small groups. In Tsavo, they are commonly seen alone, but will often form groups of up to five individuals. The largest herd of gerenuks reported in Tsavo is twelve, but it is very rare to see more than five together. In more arid areas and in Somalia, however, larger groups are more common, with 2-8 being frequently reported and as many as 25-30 individuals aggregating when foliage is flush.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued an orphaned gerenuk named Nuk last year who has since rejoined the wild. He still comes to visit from time to time and in the mornings and evenings he is often sighted on the airstrip with a herd of impalas that he has taken a liking to. The Trust is holding on to hope that he will one day catch the scent of a wild female nearby and start a family of his own. There are indeed wild gerenuk nearby and it should be a matter of time before he finds a mate.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, known as Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, is a charity in Kenya, a registered charity in England
and Wales number 1103836, and is supported by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust USA, Inc. a 501(c)3 in the United States (EIN 30-0224549)
It appears that Pepe Le Pew has officially been canceled, as the controversial cartoon skunk won’t be featured in any upcoming projects in the works at Warner Bros. TV. This week, it was reported that Pepe had been totally scrubbed from his planned scene in Space Jam: A New Legacy and wouldn’t even be making a cameo appearance in the sequel. Now, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that there are no plans for Pepe to return in any other animated movies or TV shows either.
In recent days, Pepe had come under fire in a New York Times opinion piece criticizing the skunk as a character who “normalized rape culture.” The op-ed was penned in the wake of another recent controversy with Dr. Seuss Enterprises pulling six books from publishing due to insensitive imagery. While the article put the spotlight back onto Pepe, word is the decision to “cancel” the skunk was made at Warner Bros. over a year ago.
Originally voiced by Mel Blanc, Pepe Le Pew first began appearing in cartoons back in 1945. His schtick typically involves trying to seduce Penelope Pussycat, a black feline who accidentally gives herself a white stripe, giving Pepe the impression she is also a skunk. In the classic cartoons, Pepe could be rather forceful with his advances, something that has faced heavy criticism in light of the #MeToo movement. Now, it seems that those in charge at Warner Bros. no longer want the controversial character representing the company in any capacity.
When new director Malcolm D. Lee replaced Nance on Space Jam 2, he saw it necessary to make some other changes beyond leaving Pepe Le Pew on the cutting room floor. Many fans have noticed that Lola Bunny has undergone a makeover to appear more family-friendly, which Lee says was necessary as a kids’ character doesn’t need to be “sexualized.” This decision also generated a lot of backlash online with fans.
While Pepe Le Pew won’t be anywhere to be seen, Space Jam 2 will bring back Lola Bunny, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Tweety Bird, Sylvester Cat, Foghorn Leghorn, and many other Looney Tunes fan favorites. On the live-action side of the cast, LeBron James stars alongside Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Cedric Joe. The movie follows LeBron teaming up with the Tunes to make his way back home after the NBA legend and his son wind up trapped in a virtual space. https://6262180dd76743eba1b5206a1a80e7f6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
Space Jam: A New Legacy will release in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.
Are the wolves of Yellowstone National Park the first line of defense against a terrible disease that preys on herds of wildlife?
That’s the question for a research project underway in the park, and preliminary results suggest that the answer is yes. Researchers are studying what is known as the predator cleansing effect, which occurs when a predator sustains the health of a prey population by killing the sickest animals. If the idea holds, it could mean that wolves have a role to play in limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease, which is infecting deer and similar animals across the country and around the world. Experts fear that it could one day jump to humans.
“There is no management tool that is effective” for controlling the disease, said Ellen Brandell, a doctoral student in wildlife ecology at Penn State University who is leading the project in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service. “There is no vaccine. Can predators potentially be the solution?”
Many biologists and conservationists say that more research would strengthen the case that reintroducing more wolves in certain parts of the United States could help manage wildlife diseases, although the idea is sure to face pushback from hunters, ranchers and others concerned about competition from wolves.
Chronic wasting disease, a contagious neurological disease, is so unusual that some experts call it a “disease from outer space.” First discovered among wild deer in 1981, it leads to deterioration of brain tissue in cervids, mostly deer but also elk, moose and caribou, with symptoms such as listlessness, drooling, staggering, emaciation and death.
It is caused by an abnormal version of a cell protein called a prion, which functions very differently than bacteria or viruses. The disease has spread across wild cervid populations and is now found in 26 states and several Canadian provinces, as well as South Korea and Scandinavia.
The disease is part of a group called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the most famous of which is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease. Mad cow in humans causes a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and there was an outbreak among people in the 1990s in Britain from eating tainted meat.
Cooking does not kill the prions, and experts fear that chronic wasting disease could spread to humans who hunt and consume deer or other animals that are infected with it.
The disease has infected many deer herds in Wyoming, and it spread to Montana in 2017. Both states are adjacent to Yellowstone, so experts are concerned that the deadly disease could soon make its way into the park’s vast herds of elk and deer.
Unless, perhaps, the park’s 10 packs of wolves, which altogether contain about 100 individuals, preyed on and consumed diseased animals that were easier to pick off because of their illness (the disease does not appear to infect wolves).Coronavirus Briefing: An informed guide to the global outbreak, with the latest developments and expert advice.
“Wolves have really been touted as the best type of animal to remove infected deer, because they are cursorial — they chase their prey and they look for the weak ones,” said Ms. Brandell. By this logic, diseased deer and other animals would be the most likely to be eliminated by wolves.
Preliminary results in Yellowstone have shown that wolves can delay outbreaks of chronic wasting disease in their prey species and can decrease outbreak size, Ms. Brandell said. There is little published research on “predator cleansing,” and this study aims to add support for the use of predators to manage disease.
A prime concern about the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Yellowstone region is the fact that Wyoming maintains 22 state-sponsored feeding grounds that concentrate large numbers of elk unnaturally in the Yellowstone region. And just south of Grand Teton National Park lies the National Elk Refuge, where thousands of animals, displaced by cattle ranches, are fed each winter to satisfy elk hunters and tourists. Many wildlife biologists say concentrating the animals in such small areas is a recipe for the rapid spread of chronic wasting disease.
When cases of the disease among deer ranged from 5 to 50 percent in Wisconsin and Colorado, those states were considered hot spots. But if the disease gets into game farms like the ones in Wyoming, “prevalence rates skyrocket to 90 or 100 percent,” said Mark Zabel, associate director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University.
Prions are especially deadly. Unlike bacteria and viruses, prions can persist in soil for 10 years or more and endure on vegetation. Even if a herd dies out or is culled, new animals moving in can become infected.
The origin of the disease is unknown. Andrew P. Dobson, a professor of ecology and epidemiology at Princeton who has studied predator cleansing, believes the illness is largely the result of ecosystems with too few predators and scavengers.
He speculates that the disease may have come from deer living in proximity to sheep in Colorado or Wyoming, where it was first identified. Sheep have carried scrapie — effectively mad cow disease for sheep — for centuries. Dr. Dobson has theorized that after a contaminated animal died, it may have lain on the ground for a while in the absence of predators and scavengers, which would usually clean up carcasses.
Elk and deer must have calcium, he said, and they may have eaten the bones of a contaminated animal and spread the disease.
The absence of wolves throughout much of the West may also have allowed the disease to take off. “Taking the sick and weak removes chronic wasting disease from the population, because any animal showing any signs of it will get killed and eaten by the wolves,” Dr. Dobson said. “The rest of the carcass gets cleaned up by the coyotes, the bald eagles, ravens and bears.”
“Without predators and scavengers on the landscape, animal components last much longer, and that can definitely have an impact on the spread of disease,” Ms. Brandell said.
Restoring the population of predators in national parks and wild lands would go a long way toward healthier ecosystems with less disease, Dr. Dobson said.
Ken McDonald, chief of the wildlife division of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, expressed doubts that wolves would prevent chronic wasting disease.
“Wolves help remove sick animals, but animals don’t get visibly ill for about 2 years,” he said. “So they are carriers and spreaders but don’t get the classic symptoms.”
Mr. McDonald said that maintaining a large enough wolf population outside of Yellowstone to control chronic wasting disease would require so many wolves that it would be socially unacceptable, especially to ranchers and hunters.
The state’s approach to controlling the disease, he said, is to increase the number of deer that can be killed in places where the disease is growing.
Ms. Brandell, however, said that wolves may detect the disease long before it becomes apparent to people, through smell or a slight change in the movement of prey, which could be beneficial.
Mink was found on Tuesday near the Mascoma River in Lebanon. Andrew Timmins, New Hampshire’s bear biologist, says he had noticed there wasn’t much movement on her tracking collar for several days.
Early on, he wasn’t too concerned. But when he checked back on Monday and there was still no movement from Mink, he called a colleague in Hanover to check on her.
“Something was going on. That collar was not moving,” he said. “That usually means one of two things: that means the animal has slipped [off] its collar, or it can mean the animal’s not moving because it’s dead.”
Timmins says based on her injuries and location he suspects Mink was hit by a car.
This year, Mink had a litter of three cubs. Timmins says this summer Mink and the cubs were spending a lot of time eating berries along a powerline corridor, and mostly staying away from residential areas.
Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate could mean the end to the affordable energy that makes modern American life possible.
In comparison to the Trump administration, which has prioritized deregulation and energy dominance, the former vice president and California senator have both committed themselves to heavily restrict fracking as they focus on climate change and renewable energy. If enacted, the Biden-Harris plan would reduce energy choices, increase prices and drive Americans back to international markets for essential energy supplies.
On issues of energy supply, Biden has been clear. For example, moderators at the Democratic Party debates asked him about his position on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the means by which American natural gas producers have helped to free us from many of the vagaries of international energy markets. He boldly replied, “No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. Ends!” Later, in the same debate, he added, “No new fracking.”
That broad and somewhat vague pronouncement likely raised blood pressure readings among supporters in Biden’s campaign. Promising to put as many as 1.7 million American workers out of a job by banning fracking would be a hard sell for any campaign, especially in gas-producing states such as Texas or Pennsylvania. So no one was surprised to see Biden staffers walk back the former VP’s ambiguous promises immediately after the debate. They quickly limited his anti-fracking rhetoric to targeting energy development on federal lands.
And Biden staffers aren’t the only ones openly correcting policy stances for the former vice president. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who co-chairs the Sanders side of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, is getting in on the action, too. Jayapal has publicly bragged about her ability to “significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.” Biden is, in her estimation, “movable.”
That malleability is not terribly surprising given that, for some time now, Biden has been seen as increasingly confused and frail. Keying in on those concerns, a recent Rasmussen poll indicated that 59 percent of Americans believe that he will not finish a first term, were he to win the upcoming election. For that reason, American voters must recognize that, come November, they may well be considering Harris as the actual Democratic presidential candidate. So, her take on energy policy should be understood as well.
While The New York Times recently tried to sell Harris as a “pragmatic moderate,” on issues of energy, her policies align far more closely with the progressive wing of the party. For example, Harris recently introduced the Climate Equity Act with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). In the Democratic presidential debate, Harris bluntly stated that she “support[s] a Green New Deal,” the nearly $100 trillion climate change policy authored by Ocasio-Cortez. In that same appearance, Harris promised that, “on day one as president,” she would “reenter us into the Paris Agreement.”
In last year’s CNN climate town hall, Harris was asked about her views on fracking by a climate activist with the environmental group 350.org. Without pause, Harris confirmed, “There is no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.” She then gave a simple, one-word answer, “Yes!” to CNN host Erin Burnett’s follow-up question, “So, would you ban offshore drilling?”
The Biden-Harris position on fracking and natural gas production is abundantly clear, as reported by a recent string of tweets from Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” Epstein contends that fracking is the means by which the U.S. produces 60 percent of our oil and 75 percent of our natural gas. Banning it would put millions out of American workers back in unemployment lines already swollen by policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stifling the development of the fuels and technologies that power our economy with clean, affordable and reliable energy would be like killing the goose and then tossing the golden egg out the window. That’s an extremely bad way for the freshly minted progressive duo to start their campaign.
A criminal complaint has been unsealed today, charging Zhengdong Cheng, 53, of College Station, Texas, for conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud.
Texas A&M University (TAMU) Professor Zhengdong Cheng is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon today at 10 a.m. in Houston, Texas. Authorities took him into custody Sunday, Aug. 23.
Cheng allegedly led a team conducting research for NASA. According to the criminal complaint, for several years he willfully took steps to obscure his affiliations and collaboration with a Chinese University and at least one Chinese-owned company. The terms of Cheng’s grant prohibited participation, collaboration or coordination with China, any Chinese-owned company or any Chinese University, according to the charges.
“Once again, we have witnessed the criminal consequences that can arise from undisclosed participation in the Chinese government’s talent program,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Professor Cheng allegedly made false statements to his university and to NASA regarding his affiliations with the Chinese government. The Department of Justice will continue seeking to bring participation in these talent programs to light and to expose the exploitation of our nation and our prized research institutions.”
“China is building an economy and academic institutions with bricks stolen from others all around the world,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas. “While 1.4 million foreign researchers and academics are here in the U.S. for the right reasons, the Chinese Talents Program exploits our open and free universities. These conflicts must be disclosed, and we will hold those accountable when such conflict violates the law.”
“As alleged, Zhengdong Cheng knowingly deceived NASA officials about his association with Chinese owned companies and universities, willingly accepted U.S. government funding, and defrauded his university,” said Assistant Director Alan Kohler, Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing those individuals who try and undercut our U.S. research institutions and government agencies by concealing their participation in Chinese talent recruitment programs and to hold them accountable for their actions.”
“NASA’s funding restrictions are in place to protect taxpayer-financed research dollars and intellectual property,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Zielinski, NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) – Eastern Field Office. “We will continue pursue anyone who attempts to circumvent these guidelines and conceal affiliations with Chinese institutions and companies in order to obtain NASA grant money.”
“Dr. Cheng is accused of hiding his affiliation with the Guangdong University of Technology, along with other foreign universities, while disregarding the rules established under his NASA contract during his employment at TAMU,” said FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner. “These alleged actions came to light through the tireless work of the FBI-Bryan Resident Agency and NASA-OIG investigative teams. We are grateful to TAMU, TAMU System and TAMU Engineering Experiment Station for providing significant assistance through their partnership with us throughout this case.”
The charges allege Cheng and TAMU received funds based on Cheng knowingly providing false information to TAMU and consequently to NASA. In addition to the funds, Cheng personally benefited from his affiliation with TAMU and NASA with increased access to unique NASA resources, such as the International Space Station, according to the complaint. This access allegedly allowed Cheng to further his standing in China at Guangdong University of Technology and other universities. The charges further allege he held senior research positions there unknown to TAMU and NASA and was able to serve in the People’s Republic of China Talents program. China’s Talents Plans are allegedly designed to attract, recruit and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.
The FBI-Bryan Resident Agency and NASA-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with the assistance of TAMU. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and S. Mark McIntyre are prosecuting the case with the assistance of trial attorney Matthew McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The U.S. has agreed with Canada and Mexico to extend land border restrictions on non-essential travel into September amid continued fears about the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Friday. “Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21.”
The U.S. announced in March that it had agreed with its two neighbors to close its land borders to the north and south to all but essential travel as part of a broad range of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The agreement has been extended a number of times and was due to expire on Aug. 21.
“We already told the United States that we’re of the idea that it’s extended because of what we have along the strip on their side,” Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday, referring to a rise in cases near the U.S. border.
Essential cross-border workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still allowed to cross along the border. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.
Americans who are returning to the U.S. are exempted from the closure at the U.S.-Canada border.
It is one of a number of travel-related restrictions that countries have taken in order to curb the spread of the virus. In the U.S., President Trump barred nationals from China, Iran, Brazil, the European Union and the U.K. from coming into the U.S.
The administration has also taken further action on illegal immigration and asylum-seekers, taking measures to quickly return them back to their home countries with minimal, if any, time in detention.
“You were willing to coexist, but people were not,” wrote the North Shore Black Bear Society about the bear
A wild black bear was killed after becoming accustomed to humans in Canada.
Last Wednesday, the North Shore Black Bear Society reported on Facebook that a bear they’ve encountered on several occasions this summer — whom they affectionately named Huckleberry — was tranquilized and put down by local conservation officers for being too comfortable around humans.
The North Vancouver, British Columbia-based organization wrote that the bear had been lured and allowed to eat food left out by local residents, who wanted to capture the animal on camera.
“On July 31st you were eating berries at the edge of the forest. We headed out to make sure you were not being crowded or chased by dogs. By the time we reached you, you were being followed by residents who wanted a video of you eating organics from an unlocked cart,” read the post. “Due to the crowd of people, it wasn’t safe for us to move you on. When you finished eating, you calmly walked by and left our gaze. That was the last time we saw you.”
“Later that day you were tranquilized by the Conservation Officers and taken away to be killed,” they continued. “You were willing to coexist, but people were not.”
NSBBS added that Huckleberry “showed us every time we met that you were a good-natured bear, we are deeply sorry that we couldn’t save you.” The team added, “We’ll always have a place in our hearts for you, sweet boy.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories
NSBBS representatives recalled on Facebook that they first encountered Huckleberry on July 2. During this initial meeting, Huckleberry was quick to get out of the way of humans. Their next interaction would lead to the story behind the bear’s name.
“The next time we met, you were at the roadside eating berries. As we walked you back to the forest, you stood and sniffed a garbage can,” NSBBS shared. “We used a firm tone and told you to leave — you listened. As you walked away, you left a bright pink scat full of huckleberries! We were so proud of you for eating natural foods, despite all the tempting treats residents had left available to you. From that moment, we named you Huckleberry!”
NSBBS remembered that Huckleberry would “roll” his tongue out at them to “smell the air as we walked together back to the forest” — a behavior NSBBS said showed that the bear recognized them.
RELATED VIDEO: Jeff Corwin Warns Sad Moments Are ‘Part of the Story Arc’ on Alaska Animal Rescue
NSBBS said nearby residents admitted to allowing the “easy-going, calm bear” to pick through their garbage so they could photograph him.
“Reports started coming in of you finding easy rewards from garbage and organics carts. People admitted they allowed you to do that for a video and they neglected to move you on … a death sentence,” they wrote. “If only people had used a firm voice with you, you would have listened. Or respected you enough to not have any garbage or food scraps accessible in the first place. We did you a disservice, Huckleberry.”
The United States filed two civil forfeiture complaints today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Louisville, Kentucky, and Dallas, Texas, both acquired using funds misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office made the announcement.
The complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. The two obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered, and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine. The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States. As alleged in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with more fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.
As alleged in the Complaints, in the United States, associates of Kolomoisky and Bogoliubov, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, operating out of offices in Miami, created a web of entities, usually under some variation of the name “Optima,” to further launder the misappropriated funds and invest them. They purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including the properties subject to forfeiture: the Louisville office tower known as PNC Plaza, and the Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom Headquarters. The buildings have a combined value of approximately $70 million.
A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
FBI’s Cleveland Division is investigating the case with support from FBI’s International Corruption Unit, IRS Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. International Unit Chief Mary K. Butler, Senior Trial Attorney Michael C. Olmsted, Trial Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Peter Steciuk, and Law Clerk Robert Blaney of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rosen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the cases. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs has provided substantial assistance in the investigation.
The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to email@example.com (link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.
The spacecraft may have found where the colorless gas has been hiding on the solar system’s biggest planetary inhabitant.
New results from NASA’s Juno mission at Jupiter suggest our solar system’s largest planet is home to what’s called “shallow lightning.” An unexpected form of electrical discharge, shallow lightning originates from clouds containing an ammonia-water solution, whereas lightning on Earth originates from water clouds.
Other new findings suggest the violent thunderstorms for which the gas giant is known may form slushy ammonia-rich hailstones Juno’s science team calls “mushballs”; they theorize that mushballs essentially kidnap ammonia and water in the upper atmosphere and carry them into the depths of Jupiter’s atmosphere.Get the Latest JPL News: Subscribe to the Newsletter »
The shallow-lightning findings will be published Thursday, Aug. 6, in the journal Nature, while the mushballs research is currently available online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
Since NASA’s Voyager mission first saw Jovian lightning flashes in 1979, it has been thought that the planet’s lightning is similar to Earth’s, occurring only in thunderstorms where water exists in all its phases – ice, liquid, and gas. At Jupiter this would place the storms around 28 to 40 miles (45 to 65 kilometers) below the visible clouds, with temperatures that hover around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius, the temperature at which water freezes). Voyager, and all other missions to the gas giant prior to Juno, saw lightning as bright spots on Jupiter’s cloud tops, suggesting that the flashes originated in deep water clouds. But lightning flashes observed on Jupiter’s dark side by Juno’s Stellar Reference Unit tell a different story.
“Juno’s close flybys of the cloud tops allowed us to see something surprising – smaller, shallower flashes – originating at much higher altitudes in Jupiter’s atmosphere than previously assumed possible,” said Heidi Becker, Juno’s Radiation Monitoring Investigation lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and the lead author of the Nature paper.
Becker and her team suggest that Jupiter’s powerful thunderstorms fling water-ice crystals high up into the planet’s atmosphere, over 16 miles (25 kilometers) above Jupiter’s water clouds, where they encounter atmospheric ammonia vapor that melts the ice, forming a new ammonia-water solution. At such lofty altitude, temperatures are below minus 126 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 88 degrees Celsius) – too cold for pure liquid water to exist. https://www.youtube.com/embed/tq_6DClZ0Ns
This animation takes the viewer on a simulated journey into Jupiter’s exotic high-altitude electrical storms. Get an up-close view of Mission Juno’s newly discovered “shallow lighting” flashes and dive into the violent atmospheric jet of the Nautilus cloud. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill
“At these altitudes, the ammonia acts like an antifreeze, lowering the melting point of water ice and allowing the formation of a cloud with ammonia-water liquid,” said Becker. “In this new state, falling droplets of ammonia-water liquid can collide with the upgoing water-ice crystals and electrify the clouds. This was a big surprise, as ammonia-water clouds do not exist on Earth.”
The shallow lightning factors into another puzzle about the inner workings of Jupiter’s atmosphere: Juno’s Microwave Radiometer instrument discovered that ammonia was depleted – which is to say, missing – from most of Jupiter’s atmosphere. Even more puzzling was that the amount of ammonia changes as one moves within Jupiter’s atmosphere.
“Previously, scientists realized there were small pockets of missing ammonia, but no one realized how deep these pockets went or that they covered most of Jupiter,”said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “We were struggling to explain the ammonia depletion with ammonia-water rain alone, but the rain couldn’t go deep enough to match the observations. I realized a solid, like a hailstone, might go deeper and take up more ammonia. When Heidi discovered shallow lightning, we realized we had evidence that ammonia mixes with water high in the atmosphere, and thus the lightning was a key piece of the puzzle.”
This graphic depicts the evolutionary process of “shallow lightning” and “mushballs” on Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/CNRS › Full image and caption
A second paper, released yesterday in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets,envisions the strange brew of 2/3 water and 1/3 ammonia gas that becomes the seed for Jovian hailstones, known as mushballs. Consisting of layers of water-ammonia slush and ice covered by a thicker water-ice crust, mushballs are generated in a similar manner as hail is on Earth – by growing larger as they move up and down through the atmosphere.
“Eventually, the mushballs get so big, even the updrafts can’t hold them, and they fall deeper into the atmosphere, encountering even warmer temperatures, where they eventually evaporate completely,” said Tristan Guillot, a Juno co-investigator from the Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, and lead author of the second paper. “Their action drags ammonia and water down to deep levels in the planet’s atmosphere. That explains why we don’t see much of it in these places with Juno’s Microwave Radiometer.”
“Combining these two results was critical to solving the mystery of Jupiter’s missing ammonia,” said Bolton. “As it turned out, the ammonia isn’t actually missing; it is just transported down while in disguise, having cloaked itself by mixing with water. The solution is very simple and elegant with this theory: When the water and ammonia are in a liquid state, they are invisible to us until they reach a depth where they evaporate – and that is quite deep.”
Understanding the meteorology of Jupiter enables us to develop theories of atmospheric dynamics for all the planets in our solar system as well as for the exoplanets being discovered outside our solar system. Comparing how violent storms and atmospheric physics work across the solar system allows planetary scientists to test theories under different conditions.
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operates the spacecraft.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – August 4, 2020 – A criminal complaint unsealed today charged Shelby Ligons, 22, of Nashville Tennessee, with malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
Wesley Somers, 25, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, was previously charged on June 3, 2020, and his case is pending in U.S. District Court.
The criminal complaint alleges that on the afternoon of May 30, 2020, protesters gathered in downtown Nashville following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later in the evening, a number of persons gathered in front of the Nashville City Hall, also known as the Metro Courthouse. Using various tools, including crowbars and other objects, they began smashing the windows of the premises and spraying graffiti on the Courthouse facade. One or more fires were also set inside of the Courthouse at this time.
Numerous video clips and photographs of the destruction at City Hall were posted on social media websites, on the websites for news outlets, and on other Internet sites. Ligons is depicted in video clips and photographs from that afternoon and evening wearing blue jeans, a black-colored shirt, a medical mask, and a white-colored bandana on her head. In those video clips and photographs, Ligons is depicted holding a white-colored poster board with the words “F–k The Police” and “We Will Not Be Silent” written on it. In several video clips, Ligons is depicted setting fire to the poster and placing it inside a window located on the exterior structure of City Hall.
Ligons was arrested this morning by FBI agents and will make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge later this afternoon.
If convicted, Ligons faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the FBI; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; and the Nashville Fire Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Earth’s oceans, covering two-thirds of the planet, are so vast and so deep that it’s easy to take their importance for granted.
They provide us with oxygen and regulate our climate by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — important functions for both humans and wildlife. Unfortunately, the world’s oceans — home to whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions, dolphins, manatees, seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, fish, corals, and countless other species of marine life — are in a sea of trouble. The oceans are overworked; they cannot remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere quickly enough to keep up with how much we create, leading to ever-increasing ocean acidification.
The Arctic Sea is now warming at twice the rate than in past years, reducing sea ice — a growing threat to threatened marine mammals such as polar bears and ice seals. Over a third of the Great Barrier Reef is dead, harming commercial and recreational fish stocks and impoverishing Australia’s iconic biodiversity. We are killing off marine mammals, sharks and rays, and fish stocks faster than they can replenish themselves. The health of the Earth’s oceans are indicators of our planet’s overall health; when they’re in trouble, so are we. It’s important to keep our oceans healthy not just for marine life, but also for the future health of the entire planet.
Myriad threats face our oceans and marine wildlife. Climate change causes ocean acidification, warming temperatures, changing ocean currents, sea level rise, and stronger storms. A warming planet makes it more likely for temperature-dependent species like sea turtles and manatees to face cold stress or venture past their usual habitats. Increased shipping traffic and offshore seismic blasting and drilling also increase noise pollution, threatening marine mammals and species at every level of the food chain. Shark finning, bycatch, overfishing and fisheries entanglements endanger sharks and rays, marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, and many other species. Contamination from pollution and plastics and the toxic effects of red tide and other harmful algal blooms caused by fertilizer runoff sicken and kill vulnerable marine species. To top it off, habitat loss and the loss of protected areas reduce the spaces already-vulnerable marine species need to forage and reproduce.
Defenders is fighting for ocean habitats and ocean protection off all our national shores and around the globe. We defend marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries from administrative attacks. We are opposing seismic blasting and offshore drilling in the courts and in Congress.
We are working to develop best management practices for responsible wildlife-friendly offshore wind siting, construction and development. We defend the Marine Mammal Protection Act from legislative and regulatory rollbacks and work to protect individual marine species through the MMPA and the Endangered Species Act. We worked to gain international protections for sharks and rays and have worked to translate those protections into protections at the domestic level through the ESA.
In Washington State, we are actively engaged in the governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, working to protect the dwindling southern resident orca population and restore the Salish Sea.
In 2017, Defenders joined forces with the National Marine Fisheries Service, state agencies, local and national organizations and hundreds of local residents to redirect community science efforts into a new program called ‘Belugas Count!’ to help monitor Cook Inlet beluga whales in Alaska.
We advocate for North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales as a conservation member of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, a stakeholder group under the Marine Mammal Protection Act that advises NMFS on how to implement fishery management measures to minimize or avoid the risk of deadly entanglements.
People love to live by the water. For centuries, cities like New York, Miami, Honolulu and San Francisco have attracted residents and tourists from around the world. In fact, almost half of the U.S. population lives in counties on the coast, and that percentage is growing in footprint, density, number and population, reshaping and hardening coastlines in the process.
Coasts also provide habitat for great numbers of plants and animals and are typically biodiversity hotspots. But all this coastal development is reducing the amazing biodiversity along our shorelines.
Development has also reduced our coasts’ natural ability to resist and recover from natural disasters and has removed habitat that provides shelter for wildlife and ecosystem services for humans. Traditional coastal defenses like sea walls and levees are widely used to protect communities, but these artificial coastal barriers can lead to significant erosion or unwanted sediment deposition and negatively impact water quality. They are also time-consuming to build and cost billions to construct, maintain and repair.
Increasingly, engineers and planners are starting to pay more attention to the potential of “Nature and Nature-Based Features” (NNBFs) as environmentally friendly solutions—like mangrove forests, beach dunes, coral reefs and wetlands—that fulfill the same roles as an important weapon in the fight against coastal storms and flooding.
D. Rex Miller
NNBFs include natural defenses and human-built features that mimic them. Using NNBFs in coastal development decisions can therefore mean constructing new ones or protecting existing natural ones. NNBFs are often cheaper and require less maintenance and management. They can also make communities more resilient to climate change by adapting to changes in the environment. They are part of the larger concept of “green infrastructure,” or attempting to harness nature’s resilience to solve human problems. And its not all-or-nothing – NNBFs can complement artificial coastal infrastructure.
NNBFs like wetlands are essential to protect coasts from storm surges because they can store and slow the release of floodwaters, reducing erosion and damage to buildings. One study found that salt marshes can reduce wave height by an average of 72%. Coral reefs can serve as a barrier and reduce wave height by an average of 70%. These reefs protect coastal cities near them such as Honolulu and Miami, saving lives and preventing monetary damage.
Megan Joyce/Defenders of Wildlife
When Superstorm Sandy slammed the Northeast in 2012, homes on beaches fairly near to sand dunes were protected by these natural buffers, which can blunt the force of waves and wind. In many cases, homes on beach areas where dunes had been removed (often to improve ocean views) were completely destroyed by Sandy. Removing many of the mangroves that lined Biscayne Bay in South Florida may have helped spur economic development. However, it also removed another natural barrier against storm surge. This increased vulnerability of homes and businesses to the hurricanes that frequently hit Miami. Coastal communities in Indonesia hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami that had removed their mangrove forests suffered more damage and more lost lives than areas where mangroves had been allowed to remain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on a number of projects that look at features like mangroves and their ability to protect coasts.
Image Image Credit David Bocanegra/USFWS
Image Image Credit Lia McLaughlin/USFWS
Image Image Credit Greg Thompson/USFWS Damage from Hurricane Sandy at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, homes on the Jersey Shore
Bringing Wildlife Back
People are not the only ones who can benefit from NNBF. Restoring or protecting habitat can bring back habitat for wildlife and provide space for wildlife to live alongside coastal human communities. This includes imperiled species.
For example, coastal dunes restoration can improve habitat for threatened species like the piping plover, red knot and seabeach amaranth. Restoring mangroves can help protect species like the wood stork and American alligator, and the endangered hawksbill turtle. Protecting coral reefs can help threatened elkhorn and boulder star corals, and ensure habitat remains for the hawksbill sea turtle. People and wildlife can both have space.
Image Image Credit FWS
Image Image Credit Steve Brooks
Image Image Credit Michele Hoffman
NNBFs can also improve water quality. Much of the rainwater and flood water that goes on vegetation or sand will sink into the ground where it is cleaned. Healthy coral reefs and healthy mangroves help improve marine waters. And by avoiding artificial coastal defenses, polluted runoff can be avoided. Improving water quality can help marine imperiled species. For example, manatees in Florida have been devastated by red tide in recent years. Similarly, water quality issues can stress or kill threatened corals that need clear water for photosynthesis. Even species far offshore, like orca, can be hurt by contaminated runoff from development. Creating habitat for wildlife can even have additional economic benefits beyond coastal protection. It can offer opportunities for economic activity like kayaking, fishing and birding.
Image Image Credit Andrew S. Wright/USFWS
Image Image Credit NPS
The Future of NNBF
In recent years, the U.S. Congress has become interested in the potential of NNBFs, instructing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to incorporate NNBFs into coastal defense projects where appropriate. The Corps’ research and development center has taken a leading role in researching NNBFs. Through its engineering with nature initiative, it has developed numerous projects exploring NNBFs’ potential. However, the regional offices have made less progress in taking advantage of NNBFs in their coastal defense projects. NNBFs should be a priority for the Corps and coastal communities around the country – and the world.
Advocating for NNBFs is part of Defenders of Wildlife’s mission to protect habitat and we believe they are a strong tool for addressing the overall biodiversity crisis faced by the planet.
Senior Conservation Policy Analyst Andrew works on wildlife conservation policy at the Center for Conservation Innovation, where he researches and analyzes conservation governance strategies and emerging policy issues, and works with other CCI members to develop innovative approaches to habitat and species protection.
23 JUL 2020 @12:15 PM EDT: Generally hail that falls in PA is mostly dime to quarter size – and rarely larger than a tennis ball. However, today is the 10th anniversary of the largest hailstone recorded in the USA. A 1.94 lb., 7.9 inch monster that fell in Vivian, South Dakota. pic.twitter.com/nIF0UrgQNR
Alyssa Blanchard was so traumatized after being carjacked at gunpoint last week outside her Calumet Heights home that she’s now scared to go outside.
Chicago police say a group of children, ages 10 to 17, carjacked Blanchard and at least 15 other people since late June — wreaking havoc on Blanchard’s generally peaceful South Side neighborhood.
Police said shots were fired by the suspects in two of the carjackings, but no one was hit.
“I’m scared to use my garage. I don’t feel safe in my neighborhood,” said Blanchard, an elementary school teacher at Chicago Public Schools.
What’s especially painful for Blanchard was seeing her stolen BMW used the next day to carjack a woman in the parking lot of Trinity Hospital, a few blocks from her home, she said.
“I don’t want to have to tell my kid about how some young woman was killed or shot with kids using my vehicle. It was traumatizing,” Blanchard, 44, said.
Blanchard was carjacked July 14 while returning home in the early evening. As she pulled into her alley garage on South Kingston Avenue, she noticed a vehicle and three or four children come toward her.
Two children armed with handguns pointed them to her head and ordered her out of her BMW, she said. One child looked as young as 11, she said.
“It was so instantaneous … I was just scared for my life. I thought, ‘this is it,’” she said.
They took her purse, which had about $300 inside, and jumped inside her BMW and rode off, she said.
Blanchard said the children used her BMW the next day to carjack a woman in the parking lot of Trinity Hospital. In that carjacking, a 21-year-old was seated in her Lexus when four or five teens exited a BMW, with two of them confronting her with guns, police said.
Two teens forced her to the ground outside the car, but she grabbed onto a door handle and held on until the teens drove off, police said. The woman was treated for a foot injury.
Blanchard said police recovered her BMW, which had been crashed a couple days after the carjacking.
Blanchard said she was dismayed to see such young children involved in this type of crime.
“I teach this age group and I can’t believe they would do this,” she said.
Police published a community alert Sunday evening warning of 14 other carjackings tied to the children. According to the alert, the children are committing the carjackings at a greater frequency, with six carjackings reported just last Saturday:
–June 23 in the 7200 block of South Champlain Avenue; –July 9 in the 8000 block of South Indiana Avenue; –July 15 in the 8700 block of South Stony Island Avenue; –July 15 in the 7500 block of South Wabash Avenue; –July 16 in the 9100 block of South Essex Avenue; –July 16 in the 7300 block of South Chappel Avenue; –July 17 in the 8800 block of South Luella Avenue; –July 17 in the 8900 block of South Euclid Avenue; –July 17 in the 9100 block of South Jeffrey Avenue; –July 18 in the 9100 block of South Euclid Avenue; –July 18 in the 8600 block of South Constance Avenue; –July 18 in the 9300 block of South Paxton Avenue; –July 18 in the 9300 block of South Essex Avenue; –July 18 in the 1600 Block of East 92nd Place; and –July 18 in the 8100 Block of South Indiana Avenue.
No arrest has been made, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call CPD’s vehicle highjacking task force at 312-745-4489.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard