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Wed, 30 Nov 2022
The World for People who Think

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Question

Global Warming or Insanity?

Why do intelligent, well-meaning people throw themselves and their organizations money and energies behind causes without first doing their homework?

Back in February, a coalition of Fish and Game Clubs and conservation organizations from around the country petitioned our U.S. Congress to pass climate control legislation. New Hampshire, one of the many states involved, issued a press release that read in part:
Concord, NH (February 19) - More than a dozen of the leading hunting and fishing clubs and wildlife-related businesses in New Hampshire joined forces Tuesday to call on the state's elected leaders in Congress to support strong legislation to confront climate change.

Life Preserver

China quake boy pulled out after 80 hrs under school rubble

A school boy was rescued after 80 hours trapped in the rubble of a collapsed school building in southwest China's Sichuan province, hit by a powerful quake Monday, local media said on Friday.

The massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale led to the destruction of many school buildings with over 6,000 classrooms destroyed. In one school alone 300 children were killed when a three-storey building collapsed burying over 850 pupils in Qingchuan.

The death toll from the quake could soar to over 50,000, the country's State Council said on Thursday. The official death toll stands at 20,000 with thousands still trapped beneath the debris.

Bizarro Earth

Estonian bear caught trying to enter Russia

A brown bear was caught by an Estonian environmental inspector in the Narva River swimming toward the Russian border, the Eesti Paevaleht daily reported on Friday.

Light Sabers

US: Giant pythons invade southeastern Florida

Giant pythons capable of swallowing a dog and even an alligator are rapidly making south Florida their home, potentially threatening other southeastern states, a study said.

"Pythons are likely to colonize anywhere alligators live, including north Florida, Georgia and Louisiana," said Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor, in his two-year study.

The pythons thriving in Florida are mostly Burmese pythons from Myanmar that were brought over as pets and then turned loose in the wild.

From 2002-2005, 201 of the beasts were caught by state authorities, but in the last two years the number has more than doubled to 418, Mazzotti said in his study published on the university website.

Image
©Unknown

Bizarro Earth

China buries quake dead as new aftershock hits

BEICHUAN - China struggled to bury its dead and help tens of thousands of injured and homeless on Friday when a powerful aftershock brought new havoc four days after an earthquake thought to have killed more than 50,000.

President Hu Jintao flew to the battered province of Sichuan and Premier Wen Jiabao said the quake damage could exceed the devastating 1976 tremor in the northeastern city of Tangshan that killed up to 300,000 people.

Image
©REUTERS/Stringer
An elderly woman mourns as her grandson is buried under the debris of a collapsed building behind at Yingxiu primary school at the earthquake-hit Yingxiu town of Wenchuan, the epicenter, Sichuan province, May 16, 2008.

Wen called on officials to ensure social stability as frustration and exhaustion grew among survivors, many of whom lost everything and were living in tents or in the open air.

China put the death toll at just over 22,000 on Friday but has said it expects it to exceed 50,000. About 4.8 million people have lost their homes.

Cloud Lightning

Rain deepens Myanmar misery; death toll spikes

YANGON - Torrential rain lashed victims of Cyclone Nargis on Friday as Myanmar's junta admitted more than 130,000 people were dead or missing, putting the disaster on a par with a 1991 cyclone that killed 143,000 in neighboring Bangladesh.

In a shock update to a death toll that had consistently lagged behind international aid agency estimates, state television in the army-ruled former Burma said 77,738 people were dead and another 55,917 missing.

village hit by Cyclone Nargis
©REUTERS/Stringer
A boy watches as a man builds a shelter in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.

The May 2 storm has left another 2.5 million people clinging to survival in the delta, where thousands of destitute victims are lining roadsides, begging for help in the absence of large-scale government or foreign relief operations.

In the storm-struck town of Kunyangon, around 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Yangon, men, women and children stood in the mud and rain, their hands clasped together in supplication to the occasional passing aid vehicle.

Bizarro Earth

New rumbling from Chilean volcano worries experts

Santiago - Chile's Chaiten volcano groaned, rumbled and shuddered on Thursday, raising new concerns among authorities, as lightning bolts pierced the huge clouds of hot ash hovering ominously above its crater.

Chile's National Emergency Office, ONEMI, said heavy ash kept shooting from the volcano in southern Chile as it generated small tremors.

On the ground, heavy flooding hit the area around Chaiten as falling ash swelled rivers, overflowing their banks.

"There's been additional volcanic activity that we're really worried about," regional governor Sergio Galilea told reporters.

The Chaiten volcano, 760 miles south of the capital Santiago, started erupting on May 2 for the first time in thousands of years, spewing ash, gas and molten rock into the air.

Attention

Post-quake Beichuan: a vision of hell

Beichuan was a town of 160,000 nestling in one of the world's most beautiful valleys. When rescuers arrived yesterday, they found a scene of unimaginable devastation and despair

Reaching Beichuan is a long march into hell. When you finally emerge scrabbling through the dirt into the town, what lies before you is a breathtaking vision of horror. Official estimates say China's worst natural disaster in 30 years has claimed 50,000 lives so far, but looking at the devastation here, it is hard not to imagine the final toll will be much, much higher.

Beichuan county in Sichuan province used to be home to 160,000 people, and most of them lived in the now-forsaken town of the same name, nestling in one of the world's most beautiful valleys. But everyone is gone, either dead or having abandoned their flattened home.

Health

Recovery effort turned disaster for desert tortoises



tortoise
©Unknown

In an $8.7-million relocation effort, 760 California desert tortoises were moved out of an Army training center and onto safer ground. But even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. What federal biologists did not foresee was an unexpected predator: hungry coyotes. Times staff writer Louis Sahagun reports:

Ladybug

German Beehives Hit by Mass Die-Off

Beekeepers are pointing the finger at a Bayer CropScience pesticide marketed under the name Poncho, but government tests aren't conclusive

In Germany's bucolic Baden-Württemburg region, there is a curious silence this week. All up and down the Rhine river, farm fields usually buzzing with bees are quiet. Beginning late last week, helpless beekeepers could only watch as their hives were hit by an unprecedented die-off. Many say one of Germany's biggest chemical companies is to blame.