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Mon, 14 Jun 2021
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Black Cat

UK: On the track of region's big cats

Dozens of big cats have been spotted prowling around Denbighshire and the surrounding counties.

In the last seven years, people have reported panther and lynx like creatures across the region.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 45 big cat sightings have been recorded by North Wales Police.

Seven separate incidents were logged from people claiming to have seen a panther.

Fish

'Middle Class' Coral Reef Fish Feel The Economic Squeeze

Image
© Tim McClanahan
According to a recent study by WCS and other organizations, coral reefs next to "middle class" communities in Eastern Africa have the lowest fish levels. In contrast, reefs next to villages of low and high socio-economic levels had higher fish levels.

The economy isn't just squeezing the middle class on land, it's also affecting fish. Wealthy areas and least developed regions have healthiest fish populations, while those in the middle are suffering.

According to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations, researchers discovered a surprising correlation between "middle class" communities in Eastern Africa and low fish levels. Curiously, areas with both low and high socio-economic levels had comparatively higher fish levels.

Appearing in the latest edition of Current Biology, the study examined reef systems, human population densities, and socio-economics among villages in 30 fished and unfished study sites in five countries along Africa's Indian Ocean coast.

Heart

Cat alerts owner to lung cancer

Calgary, Alberta - A Canadian house cat not known for being affectionate is being credited with alerting its owner in Calgary, Alberta, about a cancerous tumor in his lung.

Lionel Adams, 59, told the Calgary Sun his 8-year-old orange tabby called Tiger began some unusual behavior late last summer.

"He would climb into bed and take his paw and drag it down my left side -- he was adamant there was something there," Adams told the Sun. "And it was right where the cancer was."

Info

Cancer-causing Toxins Linked To Unexploded Munitions In Oceans

Image
© University of Georgia
Unexploded munitions.

During a research trip to Puerto Rico, ecologist James Porter took samples from underwater nuclear bomb target USS Killen, expecting to find evidence of radioactive matter - instead he found a link to cancer. Data revealed that the closer corals and marine life were to unexploded bombs from the World War II vessel and the surrounding target range, the higher the rates of carcinogenic materials.

"Unexploded bombs are in the ocean for a variety of reasons - some were duds that did not explode, others were dumped in the ocean as a means of disposal," said Porter. "And we now know that these munitions are leaking cancer-causing materials and endangering sea life."

These findings will be presented at the Second International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions on February 25-27 in Honolulu. Data has been gathered since 1999 on the eastern end of the Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico - a land and sea area that was used as a naval gunnery and bombing range from 1943-2003. Research revealed that marine life including reef-building corals, feather duster worms and sea urchins closest to the bomb and bomb fragments had the highest levels of toxicity. In fact, carcinogenic materials were found in concentrations up to 100,000 times over established safe limits. This danger zone covered a span of up to two meters from the bomb and its fragments.

Einstein

A Lesson On Global Warming From My Favorite Denier

There is a candid, honest, and informative article by Josh Willis that appeared in the newsletter U.S. Clivar Variations. It is

Is It Me, or Did the Oceans Cool? A Lesson on Global Warming from my Favorite Denier (Link) by Josh K. Willis of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology.

It is worth reading. The article chronicles his experience with correcting the error in his original analysis, but also in presenting us with an effective summary of the current science and engineering of diagnosing ocean heat content. He presents two informative figures in the article, which are reproduced below.

Document

UN Infects Science with Cancer of Global Warming

Temperature Records All Time Highs
© unknown

United Nations politicians, while admitting their lack of evidence, gave birth and nurtured the fraud of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Their Malthusian purpose is to frighten people into accepting the UN as the "centerpiece of democratic global governance" and let the UN, ration our fossil fuel. World temperature records show no evidence of AGW.

Che Guevara

The Political Philosophy of James Hansen

James Hansen of NASA has written an op-ed for the Guardian that, more than any other piece of his that I've seen, expresses his political philosophy. In a phrase, that philosophy can be characterized as "scientific authoritarianism." Scientific authoritarianism, as I am using it here, holds that political decisions should be compelled by the political preferences of scientists. It is a very strong form of the "linear model" of science and decision making that I discuss in The Honest Broker.

Hansen believes that the advice of experts, and specifically his advice alone, should compel certain political outcomes. He opens his op-ed in the Guardian with this statement:
A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders.
Collectively, Brown, Merkel, Obama and Rudd lead about 500 million people. The idea that one person's policy views should carry so much weight in democratic societies is an indication that Hansen believes that expertise should carry decisive weight in decisions. Hansen is not even a citizen of Germany, Britain, or the United Kingdom, so the mere fact that he is asking the leaders of these countries to act based on his say-so is an expression of scientific authoritarianism. Rather than making the case for his preferred policy, Hansen's argument includes his complaint that policy makers have not followed his advice, which apparently, Hansen believes should take precedent over all other views.

Bizarro Earth

Climate scientists blow hot and cold

Just about every major outlet has jumped on the news: Antarctica is warming up.

Most previous science had indicated that, despite a warming of global temperatures, readings from Antarctica were either staying the same or even going down.

The problem with Antarctic temperature measurement is that all but three longstanding weather stations are on or very near the coast. Antarctica is a big place, about one-and-a-half times the size of the US. Imagine trying to infer our national temperature only with stations along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, plus three others in the interior.

Eric Steig, from University of Washington, filled in the huge blanks by correlating satellite-measured temperatures with the largely coastal Antarctic network and then creating inland temperatures based upon the relationship between the satellite and the sparse observations. The result was a slight warming trend, but mainly at the beginning of the record in the 1950s and 1960s. One would expect greenhouse effect warming from carbon dioxide to be more pronounced in recent years, which it is not.

Igloo

Edinburgh shivers during one of the coldest-ever Februarys

It's official - Edinburgh is in the midst of one of the coldest Februarys on record, and the icy conditions are set to stay with us for up to a month.

Weather experts say that with temperatures as low as -7C, and daily averages fluctuating between 2C and -3C, the city is in line to record its first sub-zero average February in more than a decade.

Yet while forecasters predict the mercury will struggle to climb above freezing for weeks to come, it is nowhere near Edinburgh's worst winter.

Records show that back in 1947, the average temperature for the area over February was a frosty -3C.

The closest the Capital has come to a February that severe since then was back in 1986, when the temperatures dropped to an average -1.9C for the month.

In recent years the trend has been for milder winters, making the current cold snap all the more unexpected.

Pills

US: Animal experts are baffled by Xanax drugged chimp attack

Travis
© AP Photo/The Stamford Advocate, Kathleen O'Rourke
In this Oct. 20, 2003 photo, Travis, a 10-year-old chimpanzee, sits in the corner of his playroom at the home of Sandy and Jerome Herold in Stamford, Conn. The 175-pound (80-kilogram) chimpanzee kept as a pet was shot and killed by a police officer Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 after it attacked a woman visiting its owners' home, leaving her with serious facial injuries, authorities said.
Stamford, Connecticut - Travis the chimpanzee, a veteran of TV commercials, was the constant companion of a lonely Connecticut widow who fed him steak, lobster and ice cream. He could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet, and dress and bathe himself.

He brushed his teeth with a Water Pik, logged on to a computer to look at photos and channel-surfed television with the remote control.

But on Monday, the wild animal in him came out with a vengeance.

The 200-pound animal viciously mauled a friend of his owner before being shot to death by police.

Investigators are trying to figure out why - whether it was a bout of Lyme disease, a reaction to drugs, or a case of instinct taking over.

"It's hard to say what exactly precipitated this behavior," said Colleen McCann, a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo. "At the end of the day, they are not human and you can't always predict their behavior and how they or any other wild animal will respond when they feel threatened."

Travis attacked 55-year-old Charla Nash as Sandra Herold frantically stabbed her beloved pet with a butcher knife and pounded him with a shovel. Nash was in critical condition Tuesday with "life-changing, if not life-threatening," injuries to her face and hands, Mayor Dannel Malloy said.