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Wed, 20 Oct 2021
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Bomb

Indian tiger numbers far lower than thought-experts

Disappearing tigers:

©Signs of the Times
Disappearing tigers

Early results from a tiger census in India indicate the population of the endangered big cats is drastically lower than previously assumed, wildlife experts and conservationists said on Wednesday.

Better Earth

Australia: Murray-Darling Rivers plan 'dead in the water'

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks says the proposed $10 billion federal takeover of the Murray-Darling basin is back to square one.

Mr Bracks has written to Prime Minister John Howard rejecting the second draft of the legislation.

He says the Federal Government had indicated it would no longer seek total control of the basin, but the new legislation still demands the states refer all their powers to the Commonwealth.

Comment: Could Australia be used as a "test lab" for USA water policy?


Attention

Sex-Changing Chemicals Can Wipe Out Fish, Study Shows

Tiny amounts of the estrogen used in birth control pills can cause wild fish populations to collapse, according to a new study.

The finding raises concern about even low levels of estrogen in municipal wastewater, said study leader Karen Kidd, a biologist with the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick.

"Women excrete estrogen naturally, and women on birth control pills also secrete the synthetic estrogen in those pills," she explained.

"And these estrogens, depending on the level of wastewater treatment, may not be completely broken down during sewage treatment, so they get discharged into rivers and streams."

Male fish exposed to the hormone become feminized - they produce the same proteins that female fish do to develop eggs. Some males even develop eggs in their testes.

"It doesn't take a lot of estrogen to feminize male fish and, based on the results of our experiment, to impact fish populations," Kidd said. (Learn more about freshwater pollution.)

Cloud Lightning

US Government Forecast: Busy Hurricane Season

Government forecasters called for a busier than normal hurricane season Tuesday.

National Weather Service forecasters said they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.

The forecast follows that of two other leading storm experts in anticipating a busy season.

The likelihood of above normal hurricane activity is 75 percent, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

"With expectations for an active season, it is critically important that people who live in East and Gulf coastal areas as well as the Caribbean be prepared,'' said Bill Proenza director of the national hurricane center in Miami.

Light Sabers

Scientists concerned about effects of global warming on infectious diseases. Perfect opportunity for PTB to make some population reduction.

As the Earth's temperatures continue to rise, we can expect a signficant change in infectious disease patterns around the globe. Just exactly what those changes will be remains unclear, but scientists agree they will not be for the good.

"Environmental changes have always been associated with the appearance of new diseases or the arrival of old diseases in new places. With more changes, we can expect more surprises," says Stephen Morse of Columbia University, speaking May 22, 2007, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.

In its April 2007 report on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising temperatures may result in "the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors," and will have "mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa."

"Diseases carried by insects and ticks are likely to be affected by environmental changes because these creatures are themselves very sensitive to vegetation type, temperature, humidity etc. However, the direction of change - whether the diseases will increase or decrease - is much more difficult to predict, because disease transmission involves many factors, some of which will increase and some decrease with environmental change. A combination of historical disease records and present-day ground-based surveillance, remotely sensed (satellite) and other data, and good predictive models is needed to describe the past, explain the present and predict the future of vector-borne infectious diseases," says David Rogers of Oxford University, also speaking at the meeting.

Wolf

US Administration use polar bears to spread global warming propaganda

Time may be running out for polar bears as global warming melts the ice beneath their paws.

Restrictions or bans on hunting in recent decades have helped protect many populations of the iconic Arctic carnivore, but many experts say the long-term outlook is bleak.

An estimated 20,000-25,000 bears live around the Arctic -- in Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Norway -- and countries are struggling to work out ways to protect them amid forecasts of an accelerating thaw.

Wolf

Quake experts all shook up by zoo animals

A Chinese zoo is monitoring its animals extra carefully to study how their behaviour predicts earthquakes, the China Daily said on Tuesday.

Guangzhou Zoo, in the southern province of Guangdong, had set up observation points near peacocks, frogs, snakes, turtles, deer and squirrels to monitor and record their behaviour for the city's seismology office.

"We have found many animals behave oddly before an earthquake," the newspaper quoted experts as saying. "Hibernating animals, for example, will wake up and flee from their caves, while the aquatic ones will leap from the water's surface."

The report did not say how long before a quake the animals react, or whether the aim of the exercise was to provide timely warnings.

Bizarro Earth

Three-thousand bees force evacuation of fundraiser

LIGONIER, Indiana (AP) -- A swarm of honeybees temporarily disrupted a charity fundraising event, but no one reported being stung.


Bizarro Earth

N. Florida Tupelo Bees Surviving Drought

WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. - The bees in this Florida Panhandle community renowned for its tupelo honey have so far escaped a mysterious killer that has wiped out a quarter of the nation's bee colonies.

Honeybees in the Apalachicola River swamps around Wewahitchka have been busy making the premium, floral-flavored honey since early May, hindered only by a persistent drought, beekeepers said.

Life Preserver

Study shows Greece has drought pattern

As preparations to tackle a possible water shortage this summer gather pace, a new study seen by Sunday's Kathimerini suggested that Greece has suffered one- or two-year droughts at regular intervals over the last 147 years.

The research shows that there has been a mild one-year drought roughly every five years, a serious one-year drought every 10 years and an extensive two-year drought about every 25 years.