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Binoculars

Arctic terns arrive late on breeding grounds in Iceland

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© Jamumiwa/ Wikimedia Commons.
Arctic tern
The Arctic tern has arrived in Iceland a week later than usual, according to ornithologist Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson in the South Iceland town of Stokkseyri, mbl.is reports.

The birds, which make a roundtrip of around 90,000 kms (56,000 miles) from Iceland or Greenland to their wintering grounds in Antarctica, take part in by far the longest known migration in the animal kingdom.

Arctic tern nesting has gone badly in parts of Iceland in recent years due to a lack of sandeel for the young birds.

Comment: See also: Migrating birds still delayed by cooler than normal weather in Canada

Winter bird migrants from Himalayas stay south in Tamil Nadu, India


Attention

Unusual fisher attack on dog in Ledyard, Connecticut

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Buca the dog attacked by fisher
When Buca the dog arrived at the back door covered in blood, his family had no idea what happened.

"Large pools of blood were all over the rear steps," Edward H. Wenke, III told Patch.

This was around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6.

"We heard no disturbances prior to this occurring," he said. "The next morning we found his blood trail leading out of the woods in our rear yard."

The Wenke family lives on Colonel Ledyard Highway, near Wolf Ridge Gap in Ledyard. Buca weighs 18 lbs.

"We originally thought it may have been a coyote," Wenke said. "However, the following night, I heard a series of bizarre 'crying/screeching' from the same wooded area. After research on the web, I found several audio files of fisher cats that were exactly what I had heard."


Comment: See also: Boy bitten by a fisher in Rehoboth backyard, Massachusetts


Attention

Woman buried alive by bear following attack in Russian woods

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Saved for dinner: Having left her with serious injuries, the bear mistakenly believed Natalya Pasternak to be dead and partially buried her beneath a pile of leaves - apparently planning to return later and eat her
A Russian woman has been buried alive by a bear which was apparently saving her for its next meal after attacking and seriously injuring her.

Mother-of-two Natalya Pasternak, 55, had a miracle escape after her friend managed to flee the forest near Tynda in the Amur region and raise the alarm.

Having left her with serious injuries, the bear mistakenly believed the postal worker to be dead and partially buried her beneath a pile of leaves - apparently planning to return later and eat her.

But having been rescued alive, the woman is now fighting for her life in nearby Tynda Hospital.

Fish

Just for fun! Dolphins caught going on whale rides in Hawaii


Dolphins and whales have shown play behavior
We know dolphins are playful. We know dolphins are smart. We know dolphins have sex for pleasure. We get it - dolphins just wanna have fun. But did you know dolphins like to go on whale rides?

Well, they do. A lot.

The following clip shows how, around the islands of Hawaii, dolphins and humpback whales have been engaging in some form of sea wrestling, with the whales lifting the dolphins out of the water and letting them slide down their backs.

There are a number of pictures across a number of locations, meaning that this behaviour is more widespread than first thought.

The observers noted that the behaviour was unlike other animal symbiotic relationships in that it was not for a beneficial purpose (such as parasitism), but almost certainly for play.

Comment: What we can learn from Nature!


Bizarro Earth

Plane records flight through mysterious antimatter thundercloud

© NASA
Screenshot NASA YouTube video thunderclouds.
In what sounds like a tale from the Bermuda Triangle, an atmospheric physicist, called Joseph Dwyer, was flying through a massive thunderstorm, when he suddenly found himself in the middle of a huge cloud of antimatter. The physicist was piloting a modified Gulfstream V plane on a scientific mission and came across the strange phenomenon by accident.

Dwyer and his co-pilot mistook a line of thunderstorms for the Georgia coast on their radar, but by the time they realized this, they had no way out.

As they entered the heart of the storm, the scientific instruments on board suddenly began to register something totally unexpected.

The plane was being surrounded by positron-electron explosions causing peaks of high-energy, photon gamma rays - a clear sign of antimatter.

The plane plunged downward and began to shake violently. "I really thought I was going to die," Dwyer said.

So what is antimatter?

ExtremeTech explains that;
"Antimatter is the name we give to particles with the same mass, but opposite charge, as the particles of which we are composed. When an antiparticle comes in contact with its corresponding "normal" particle, they annihilate each other and release gamma rays. In this case, the team detected a large number of positrons (the antiparticle of an electron) in that storm."
But the positrons in the storm seemed to somehow steer themselves towards the plane, and what force did that remains a mystery.
© CERN
Image of an actual matter-antimatter annihilation due to an atom of antihydrogen captured during a CERN experiment.
It is possible the plane itself was interacting with the antimatter. Nature says that the positrons could have been annihilated in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft, or even on the plane itself.

Aleksandr Gurevich, an atmospheric physicist at the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, suggests that the plane's wings could have become charged, producing extremely intense electric fields around them, causing the creation of positrons.

Bizarro Earth

Giant squid washes up on New Zealand beach

© Facebook, Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium
The giant squid washed up at South Bay in Kaikoura yesterday.
A monster from the deep has washed up on a beach in Kaikoura.

The giant squid, spotted at South Bay, is around 7 metres in length from top to tentacle.
Posted by Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium on Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Photos of the creature were posted to Facebook by Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium, who said they moved the find "before the birds got to it."

"We got help to move it to the aquarium where it is safe inside a freezer," they added.

The Marine Centre says the giant squid has a body over 2 metres long, with eyes that are 19 centimetres in diameter.

They have the squid in a freezer with glass windows so it can be viewed by the public.

Arrow Down

Beekeepers report losing 42.1 percent of the total number of colonies managed over the last year

© Associated Press/Haraz Ghanbari
A colony of honeybees
Today the Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the United States Department of Agriculture, released its annual report on honey bee losses in the United States based on a national survey of beekeepers. Most significantly, beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of the total number of colonies managed over the last year (total annual loss, between April 2014 and April 2015). This represents the second highest annual loss recorded to date.

Preliminary results indicate that during the winter of 2014-2015 U.S. beekeepers lost 23.1 percent of their hives on average, which is lower than average losses in recent years, but considered too high to be sustainable. U.S. beekeepers lost an average of 27.4 percent of their hives in the summer of 2014 (April-October), which is higher than 2013 summer losses.

A large and growing body of science has attributed alarming bee declines in recent years to several key factors, including exposure to the world's most widely used class of insecticides, neonicotinoids. In 2013, the European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids based on the weight of scientific evidence indicating that these pesticides can kill bees outright and make them more vulnerable to pests, pathogens and other stressors. However, these pesticides are still widely used in the U.S. despite massive bee losses that threaten vital food crops, from almonds in California to apples in Washington.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said "These dire honey bee numbers add to the consistent pattern of unsustainable bee losses in recent years that threatens our food system. The science is clear -- we must take action now to protect these essential pollinators from bee-toxic pesticides."

Comment: Joachim Hagopian remarked in the article The death and global extinction of honeybees:
Perhaps the biggest foreboding danger of all facing humans is the loss of the global honeybee population. The consequence of a dying bee population impacts man at the highest levels on our food chain, posing an enormously grave threat to human survival. Since no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the fruits and vegetables that we humans commonly take for granted yet require near daily to stay alive, the greatest modern scientist Albert Einstein once prophetically remarked, "Mankind will not survive the honeybees' disappearance for more than five years."



Water

The greatest water crisis in the history of the United States

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What are we going to do once all the water is gone? Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen. Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas. But this is just the beginning. Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat "normal" levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace. Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin. If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the "megadrought" that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live.

Simply put, this is not a normal drought. What the western half of the nation is experiencing right now is highly unusual. In fact, scientists tell us that California has not seen anything quite like this in at least 1,200 years...

Comment: It is interesting to note that the last time the U.S. experienced a major draught was in the 1930's. It was called the 'dust bowl' then and the ignorance-abetted phenomena devastated agricultural production in the midwest. The U.S. was also, then, undergoing a severe economic depression and, also, covertly fomenting war in Europe via large banks and businesses that sought to do business with the Nazis. Could there a connection?


Wolf

Large dog attacks owner in Falls Township, Pennsylvania

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A cane corso or Italian mastiff.
A Falls man was seriously injured Tuesday when his own dog bit him in the face, township police said.

Police were called to the 300 block of Trenton Road at 4:55 p.m. and found a female 2-year-old Italian mastiff, also known as a cane corso, had bitten its owner in the face, said Lt. Hank Ward.

The man suffered severe face trauma and was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown.

It is unknown if the dog was provoked or what circumstances led to the attack, which occurred inside the house. There were no children present.

Ward said family members called 911. He said the township's animal control officer is investigating; the dog remains with the family.

An Italian mastiff can grow to 110 pounds, according to an animal website.

No further information was released because the injured man suffered facial trauma leaving him unable to talk to police, Ward said.

Attention

Mystery surrounds dead fin whale found on beach in Cullera, Spain

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© Guardia Civil
Guardia Civil agents spotted the whale in shallow waters on Monday morning.
Zoologists in Valencia are investigating the death of a six-tonne whale that washed up near the shore this week.

Guardia Civil agents patrolling the area spotted the whale in shallow waters on Monday morning. They said it was floating lifelessly towards the shore and deployed a boat to protect the animal from oncoming vessels.

Five hours later, the whale washed up on a beach in Cullera, a town about 30 miles south of Valencia. Police at the scene confirmed it was dead.

Zoologists from the University of Valencia have been investigating the animal's death. They confirmed it was a fin whale, one of the most common species in the Mediterranean.