Sunday, May 08, 2016

Coffee and Provocation


California's Oaks are a Lost Cause
Sudden Oak Death is a disease caused by the fungus Phytophthora ramorum, which is an oomycetes related to the one that caused the Irish potato famine. It's already infected hundreds of thousands of trees in California, and will kill billions of trees before it is all over.  It is now so widespread, there is no stopping it.

The New Face of London
Sadiq Khan has been elected London's first Muslim mayor.. He's 45, a member of the Labour Party, and his father emigrated from Pakistan and drove a bus. Born in London, Khan has a law degree from the University of North London, and was a human rights lawyer before becoming a councilor for the London Borough of Wandsworth from 1994 to 2006.

Dead as a Door Nail, But Still Fishing
British anglers Paul Fairbrass and Cliff Dale mixed some of their late fishing buddy Ron Hopper's ashes into a carp bait mix, took it to Thailand, and used Ronnie's ashed to catch a world-record 180-pound Siamese carp.  Perfect!

Lions, Tiger, and Bears
A sanctuary in Colorado is home to nearly 400 animals, most of them large carnivores rescued from illegal captivity:

75,000 Snakes Wake Up
Near Narcisse, Manitoba, Canada, about 75,000 garter snakes are about to exit a single den.

Saving the Kestrel
Professor Carl Jones has won the 2016 Indianapolis Prize - the highest accolade in the field of animal conservation - for his 40 years of work in Mauritius, where he saved an endangered kestrel from becoming the next Dodo. How did he do it? He stole eggs from the 4 birds left in the wild, and hatched those eggs in incubators, while the mothers laid another set of eggs to replace those loss. This technique effectively doubled the number of progeny in any given year. Today, there are about 400 Mauritius Kestrels in the wild.

Flying Dragons
Dragonflies outmigrate butterflies.

Robot Archaeology and Retrieval
They've made a humanoid robot-mermaid for underwater archaeology and object retrieval. OceanOne is something right out of the movie Avatar.

400,000 Muslims fought for Britain in World War II.

1 comment:

jeffrey thurston said...

Not exactly sure if the demise of California oaks is really so inevitable- I remember when the disease came out in the early 2000s it was the end of the world- now nobody seems to be that concerned. I'm becoming quite zen with all natural disasters- especially living here in California. There's a thriving industry for every possible type of disaster- and I include invasive species and global warming with these. Every year everyone acts as if that particular year is the worst year ever for fires- if it's during a drought too dry conditions make it the worst- if it rains well then too much vegetation makes it the worst. The drought industry is also laughable- really they think saving a few paltry gallons in my toilet will make a difference to a natural phenomenon over which NO ONE has any control. Ditto the earthquake industry- everyone's busy retrofitting to standards which the Kobe quake in Japan showed are useless. Your tag line and the linked article suggest that someone's trying ton crank up the oak blight industry even though "it's too late". These industries create lots of jobs and excuses for fancy symposia and conferences. My poor Dad (a plant pathologist by trade jst like those David guys- they may know of him) got quite cynical about all of this by the time of his death. People like to talk things to death- the better to be paid for it...