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Owls Aren’t Wise & Bats Aren’t Blind – Warner Shedd

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Owls Aren’t Wise & Bats Aren’t Blind

A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife

Warner Shedd

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: June 27, 2000

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


In this fascinating book, wildlife expert and enthusiast Warner Shedd refutes popular animal myths like squirrels remembering where they bury nuts, wolves howling at the moon, and oppossums "playing dead." Have you ever seen a flying squirrel flapping through the air, watched a beaver carrying a load of mud on its tail, or ducked when a porcupine started throwing its quills? Probably not, says Shedd, former regional executive for the National Wildlife Federation. Offering scientific evidence that refutes many of the most tenacious and persevering folklore about wild animals,  Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind  will captivate you with fascinating facts and humorous anecdotes about more than thirty North American species– some as familiar as the common toad, and others as elusive as the lynx.  Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind  is an entertaining dose of scientific reality for any nature enthusiast or armchair adventurer.

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Owls Aren’t Wise & Bats Aren’t Blind – Warner Shedd

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Trump wants to to keep the largest coal plant in the West, built on Navajo land, open.

You’d think that, in an era of increasingly extreme weather and disasters that render whole regions of the country nearly uninhabitable for months, maintaining a weather service in tip-top shape would be a priority.

Turns out, under President Donald Trump, that hasn’t been the case. Shifting priorities and uncertainty over funding at the National Weather Service have led to as many as 700 current staff vacancies, according to a report in the Washington Post. That’s about 15 percent of its mandated positions.

“Given our staffing, our ability to fill our mission of protecting life and property would be nearly impossible if we had a big storm,” Brooke Taber, a weather service forecaster in Vermont, told her local paper.

Some offices, like the one in Washington, D.C., are missing a third of their workforce as hurricane season winds down ahead of winter, traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for storms. Although a weather service spokesperson denied the problem was hurting the quality of its forecasts, the service’s employees union said in a statement that the organization is “for the first time in its history teetering on the brink of failure.”

The report follows a Grist cover story this week that looked at how Trump’s proposed cuts to the National Weather Service are already making the country less safe.

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Trump wants to to keep the largest coal plant in the West, built on Navajo land, open.

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Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Has Little in Common With Most Americans

Mother Jones

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One of the main jobs of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee this week has been to deflect attacks on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch by Democrats, who are trying to paint him as a tool of corporations and a foe of the little guy. To that end, Republicans have tried both to humanize the federal judge and to highlight the parts of his background that might make him more relatable to the average American. They’ve got him talking about the Denver rodeo and mutton bustin’ and quoting David Foster Wallace.

But those humanizing efforts are falling a bit flat. That’s largely because when it comes to demonstrating all that he has in common with the regular folks who might come before the court, Gorsuch is his own worst enemy. A graduate of Georgetown Prep, Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford, Gorsuch is the son of Ronald Reagan’s Environmental Protection Agency chief and spent most of his formative years inside the Beltway, including a stint as a clerk on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination to the 10th Circuit Court was championed by the secretive billionaire Phillip Anschutz, his former client, and Gorsuch co-owns a Colorado mountain cabin with two of Anschutz’s top deputies.

On Tuesday night, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) asked Gorsuch about how he “liked to get his hands dirty.” If Flake was hoping to reveal a nominee who subscribes to Family Handyman and loves power tools, he was disappointed. The judge responded by reminding the committee how much he loves to ski. (Gorsuch was on the slopes when he learned about the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat he’s been nominated to fill.) “I always say the family that skis together stays together,” Gorsuch had said earlier in the hearing. Gorsuch told Flake that his daughters were “ferocious double-black-diamond skiers,” and at that very moment, one of them was doing some backcountry skiing near Telluride.

The exchange was unlikely to help most Americans relate to the judge. Today, skiing is largely a sport of the wealthy. A one-day lift ticket at Winter Park, the Colorado resort where Gorsuch said he liked to go, costs $144. A single day of skiing for a family of four could cost nearly $600, not including all the gear and lunch at the lodge. And teaching kids to ski so they can become “ferocious double-black-diamond skiers” is an enormous investment. A single day in the Winter Park ski school will set you back $189 for one child, not including equipment rentals. For most of the country, even with discounts for locals, those costs put skiing largely out of reach.

Earlier in the hearing, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had asked Gorsuch about his experience in politics. “Are you a lawmaker?” Lee asked. “Have you ever held a position as a state legislator? Have you ever held a position as a member of Congress?” Gorsuch responded with a chuckle, “I’ve served on my kid’s school board.”

The following day, Flake asked Gorsuch about his civic involvement outside of the court, mentioning his school board service. “Boy, that I found taxing, and loved every minute of it,” Gorsuch said. Flake nodded appreciatively, telling Gorsuch, “That typifies the West. People get along. They have to. On a school board there’s no passing the buck there. You’ve gotta make decisions. Local government is like that.”

What Flake seemed to have missed, though, is that Gorsuch never served on a public school board. He was on the board of the Boulder Country Day School, a small private school with tuition that runs from $15,000 to $20,000 a year. That’s a big difference from serving on a public, elected school board just about anywhere in the country.

In fact, Gorsuch is among the most privileged individuals to be nominated to the Supreme Court in recent memory. Justice Clarence Thomas grew up poor in Pinpoint, Georgia, speaking Gullah. His idea of a good time is camping in a Walmart parking lot in his RV en route to a NASCAR race. Sonia Sotomayor hails from a Puerto Rican family and grew up with a single mom in a South Bronx tenement. Samuel Alito is a Jersey boy, the son of Italian immigrant teachers, who graduated from a public high school. At first glance, Gorsuch’s background somewhat resembles that of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who likewise comes from a tony private-school background—except that Roberts worked summers in a steel mill to pay his way through Harvard.

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Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Has Little in Common With Most Americans

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Emailgate Takes Yet Another Dismal Turn

Mother Jones

I slept badly last night and feel kind of crappy this morning. I was hoping I could just stare at the ceiling for a while and then put up some catblogging and call it a week. But no. Email mania is back. Here’s the letter FBI Director Jim Comey sent to a rogue’s gallery of committee chairmen this morning regarding its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server:

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as assess their importance to our investigation.

Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

Translation: We have some emails we got from somewhere. That’s all I can tell you. NBC’s Pete Williams adds this:

Paul Krugman is PISSED:

Donald Trump is CHUFFED:

“We must not let her take her criminal scheme to the Oval Office,” Trump said, adding, “I have great respect that the FBI and Department of Justice have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made. Perhaps finally, justice will be done.”

Wasn’t Trump saying just a few weeks ago that the FBI was hopelessly corrupt and couldn’t be trusted? I’m pretty sure he did.

Bottom line: There are some emails. They aren’t from Hillary Clinton. They weren’t withheld from the investigation. The case isn’t being “reopened.” That is all.

Speaking for myself, I’m willing to back any bet that anyone wants to make that this whole thing is a complete nothing. Republicans will be lathering away for the next 11 days, but there’s no there there.

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Emailgate Takes Yet Another Dismal Turn

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The Olympics Should Be Permanently Hosted In….Los Angeles

Mother Jones

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Grecophile Paul Glastris thinks we should stop moving the Olympics around and hold them permanently in Athens:

Part the reason for Greece’s debt crisis—and the continuing Depression-level economic hardships Greece is suffering under the jackboot of its European lenders, especially Germany—is the billions it borrowed to host the 2004 Olympics….Shifting the games every four years is also a colossal waste of human capital, as Christina Larson noted in the Washington Monthly back in 2004.

….In her article, Larson argued for going back to the original idea: pick a permanent place to host the Olympics. Greece, she said, was the obvious choice. (The first modern Olympics, in 1896, were in fact held in Athens, but in 1900, the founder of the modern games, Pierre de Coubertin, moved them in his native Paris, inaugurating the tradition of travelling games.)

Larson is right: there is an obvious choice. But it’s not Athens, which, as Paul concedes, couldn’t truly afford the games in 2004 and didn’t exactly electrify the world with its hosting. The truly obvious choice is the city that has twice demonstrated it can host the Olympics both competently and on a reasonable budget: Los Angeles. It’s a multicultural kind of place. It’s midway between Asia and Europe. It has great weather. It’s both a sports mecca and a show biz mecca. It has lots of great venues already available. And Angelenos are proud of their ability to put on a great Olympics spectacle without breaking the bank.

So LA it is. Now then: what city should permanently host the Winter Olympics?

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The Olympics Should Be Permanently Hosted In….Los Angeles

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Time for Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Love Them

In late spring, the crabs return to shallow bays in and around New York to mate after a winter in deeper water. Birds that feast on their eggs wait hungrily. Source article:  Time for Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Love Them ; ; ;

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Time for Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Love Them

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Oil-rich Alaska has surprising solar power potential

Oil-rich Alaska has surprising solar power potential

By on May 10, 2016Share

In oil-rich Alaska, where there’s little sunlight in the winter, solar power isn’t an obvious option.

But it is a promising one. A recent study from the U.S. Department of Energy looked at the potential of solar in 11 remote Alaskan villages and found that in many areas, it’s cost-competitive with diesel.

Some 175 Alaskan communities rely almost exclusively on petroleum products like diesel for their energy needs — not exactly an optimal situation for energy security in these remote towns, where transporting fuel comes at a high cost. People in these communities pay more for power than anywhere else in the U.S. That’s one big reason these communities could stand to diversify the energy eggs they’re putting in their resilience baskets. Since solar energy isn’t practical during the winter, it’s important that these communities rely on a combination of energy sources (wind is an option some towns have explored).

Overall, thanks to Alaska’s sunny, radiant summers, the solarscape looks more promising than you might expect given those dreary winter months. The DOE study compares the state’s solar potential to that of Germany, the world’s current poster child for all things solar and wind, which isn’t particularly sunny, either. The image below compares how much solar radiation shines down on both regions in terms of kilowatt-hours per square meter per day.

Billy J. Roberts/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Looks like solar’s not just for sun-drenched California anymore.

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Oil-rich Alaska has surprising solar power potential

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California’s Snow is Finally Back—But the Drought Is Far From Over

Mother Jones

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Ninety miles east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada mountains, snow surveyors plunged aluminum rods into the snow on Wednesday morning and recorded quite a different number than they did the year before: 58.4 inches.

The March 30 measurement is welcome news for drought stricken Californians, and a stark contrast from 2015’s record low of zero inches, the lowest number the Sierra had seen since measuring began in the 1940’s. This year’s snow pack is just about equal to the annual average—but that still won’t provide enough melt water to say the drought is over.

Snowpack in March 2015, the lowest ever recorded LA Times

Snowpack in March 2016, recorded at nearly 60 inches. LA Times

“This was a dry, dusty field last year, so it’s a big improvement but not what we had hoped for,” Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, said just after taking the measurement. “This is going to improve conditions for both reservoir storage as well as stream flow, but there’s still going to be some ongoing effects from the past years of…way-below-average snow pack.”

Frank Gehrke, Gov. Brown, and DWR Director Mark Cowin address the media after 2015’s dire snow survey. Florence Low/Department of Water Resources

Throughout the winter months, snow surveys are taken at various points in the Sierra Nevada. The measurement near the first of April is the most significant historically and hydrologically, because it’s the time of year when snowfall typically begins to melt, providing 30 percent of the state’s water.

In addition to the traditional aluminum pole method, surveyors from the state’s Department of Water Resources conducted aerial surveys and analyzed data from snow pillows, flat sensors put on the ground that measure the weight of accumulated snow.

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California’s Snow is Finally Back—But the Drought Is Far From Over

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Arctic sea ice hits another record low

Arctic sea ice hits another record low

By on 29 Mar 2016commentsShare

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports that a record amount of the Arctic sea never froze this winter. Ice extent, which usually hits a wintertime maximum around mid-March, was at a record-low for the second year in a row, 5,000 square miles below 2015’s record-low maximum extent. This year’s maximum extent is 431,000 square miles below averages from 1981 to 2010.

It’s a pattern that will likely continue, according to NASA Arctic sea scientist Walter Meier. “It is likely that we’re going to keep seeing smaller wintertime maximums in the future because in addition to a warmer atmosphere, the ocean has also warmed up,” Meier said. The amount of sea ice can vary a lot from year to year, but we’re seeing “significant downward trend” from warming conditions, Meier added.

This new record comes after another year of record high temperatures across the globe: 2015 broke the record for high temperatures set by 2014, and February of this year was the hottest month on record. And the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. “I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “The heat was relentless.”

Arctic sea ice is vital to stabilizing Earth’s temperature, according to NASA; when it melts, the oceans absorb more sunlight and warm ever faster. Subsequently, this melts more sea ice, contributing to to global sea level rise. It’s a cycle. A very disturbing cycle. You can watch a visualization from NASA below.

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Arctic sea ice hits another record low

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Midwestern geothermal greenhouse provides local citrus year round for $1 a day

green4us

Codex: Space Marines – Gamers Edition – Games Workshop

The Space Marines are the Angels of Death, humanity’s finest warriors. Clad in the greatest armour and armed with awesomely destructive weapons, they defend the Imperium of Mankind from the alien, the traitor and the daemon. The Gamer's Edition of Codex: Space Marines contains all the rules and information to allow you to use your […]

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For ten millennia, the fate of the 13th Company has been a mystery. Now, as strange Warp storms roar into being across the Imperium, the truth of the Wulfenkind is about to be dramatically revealed. The Space Wolves race to the rescue of their lost brothers, doing battle with tides of Daemons and scribing bold […]

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Midwestern geothermal greenhouse provides local citrus year round for $1 a day

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