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Sat, 10 Apr 2021
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Bug

Hungry spiders spin deadlier webs

Black widow spiders vary their webs to suit their purpose. A hungry spider spins a deadlier web, while a full one builds a fortress.

Spiders that were fed daily with crickets spun tangled masses of non-sticky silk, Jacquelyn Zevenbergen and Todd Blackledge at the University of Akron, Ohio, found. But similar-size spiders that had been starved for a week tended to spin sheets of silk connected to the ground by taut, sticky strands. When an insect blunders into these strands, they detach from the ground and spring upwards, suspending the prey in mid-air.

Image
©Unknown

Cloud Lightning

US: Plains storms kill 2, disrupt Olympic hopefuls

OMAHA, Nebraska - Severe storms with strong winds swept through the Plains on Friday, forcing swimmers practicing for U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha to flee pools and run for cover, killing two people in Iowa, and knocking out power to thousands.

Bizarro Earth

No ice at the North Pole

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

Polar Ice
©The Independent

Comment: Why is it that, with the temperature falling across the globe for the third year in a row, is Arctic ice melting? Scientists are even predicting that global temperatures will fall over the next decade. Perhaps it has nothing to do with global warming at all, or at least not the kind most climate scientists believe. Perhaps it has something to do with gigantic volcanic eruptions under the ice:
An international team of researchers was able to provide evidence of explosive volcanism in the deeps of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean for the first time.
...
So far, researchers have assumed that explosive volcanism cannot happen in water depths exceeding 3 kilometres because of high ambient pressure. "These are the first pyroclastic deposits we've ever found in such deep water, at oppressive pressures that inhibit the formation of steam, and many people thought this was not possible," says Robert Reves-Sohn, staff member of the WHOI and lead scientist of the expedition carried out on the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 2007.
Volcanic activity may help explain why Pluto is heating up even as it moves further from the sun. And it's not just Pluto, it's Mars and Jupiter as well. The next question is, if it's volcanism, what is causing the increase in volcanism around the solar system?


Info

Foreigners threaten Afghan snow leopards

KABUL - Afghanistan's snow leopards have barely survived three decades of war. But now the few remaining mountain leopards left in Afghanistan face another threat -- foreigners involved in rebuilding the war-torn country.

Despite a complete hunting ban across Afghanistan since 2002, snow leopard furs regularly end up for sale on international military bases and at tourist bazaars in the capital. Foreigners have ready cash to buy the pelts as souvenirs and impoverished Afghans break poaching laws to supply them.

snow leopards
©REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
A female snow leopard with its cub is seen inside its enclosure at a zoological park in Darjeeling, about 80 km (50 miles) north from the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri June 21, 2007.

Tucked between souvenir stores on Chicken Street, Kabul's main tourist trap, several shops sell fur coats and pelts taken from many of Afghanistan's threatened and endangered animals.

"This one is only $300," one shopkeeper told Reuters, producing a snow leopard pelt from the back of his shop.

"It was shot several times," he said pointing to the patches of fur sewn together. "The better ones are only shot once. The skin remains intact," he says as his assistant brings out a larger pelt, this time with no patches. "This one is $900."


Info

US: Levee breaks, threatening eastern Missouri homes

WINFIELD. - A corner of an earthen levee broke Friday, releasing Mississippi River waters that officials predicted would "ultimately inundate" part of a Lincoln County town.

Image
©AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Rick Yeomans walks atop a massive wall of sandbags holding back floodwaters from the Mississippi River as he checks pumps along the wall Thursday, June 26, 2008, in Clarksville, Mo.

The National Weather Service said in a flash flood warning issued at 5:55 a.m. that it was unknown how fast the water was moving. It was also uncertain about the condition of the rest of the Pin Oak Levee at Winfield, about 45 miles northwest of St. Louis.

The surrounding rural area is also expected to flood.

Andy Binder, spokesman for Lincoln County emergency management operations, had said Thursday that the Pin Oak levee was holding but showing signs of strain. It was protecting about 100 homes in Winfield, numerous businesses and thousands of farm acres.

Target

Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake - Tonga

Magnitude 6.1 [link]

Target

Two Magnitude 6+ Earthquakes Off the Coast of India

Magnitude 6.7 [link]

Magnitude 6.1 [link]

Bizarro Earth

Bee disappearances could get worse, House panel told

Washington - A record 36 percent of U.S. commercial bee colonies have been lost to mysterious causes so far this year and worse may be yet to come, experts told a congressional panel Thursday.

The year's bee colony losses are about twice the usual seen following a typical winter, scientists warn. Despite ambitious new research efforts, the causes remain a mystery.

"We need results," pleaded California beekeeper Steve Godlin. "We need a unified effort by all."

The escalating campaign against what's generically called colony collapse disorder includes more state, federal and private funding for research. Publicity efforts are getting louder -- a costumed Mr. Bee was seen wandering around Capitol Hill this week -- and lawmakers are becoming mobilized.

Comment: A flippant tone is used in the article that masks just how serious this issue is. See: To Bee or not to Be


Better Earth

US: Increase in wild bee swarms in New Jersey

Seth Belson remembers getting a phone call last month asking him to remove a bee swarm the size of a Volkswagen from a man's front yard in Merchantville, New Jersey.

The beekeeper found a mass of bees towering 50 feet (15 meters) above the ground. There was nothing he could do but wait for them to move on, he said.

Butterfly

Video posted by federal agency captures wolf-bear interaction in Montana park

HELENA - A video posted on the Web site of the U.S. Geological Survey captures remarkable interaction between a wolf and a family of 3 grizzly bears in Montana's Glacier National Park.

The wolf draws close to the cubs, only to be chased away by the youngsters and, more seriously, by their mother. But the wolf is not deterred, returning repeatedly for another run at the cubs in what looks like a tease.