Sunday, June 21, 2009

Coffee and Provocation

  • 95 Percent of Blogs Are Abandoned and Gathering Dust:
    The New York Times reports that 95 percent of all blogs are abandoned, some after the first post. Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, says that at any given time there are seven million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but "it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views." Hmmmm. I gues this blog counts as a success then, as its rank as of this morning is 80,959. In other news, Google announces that their free blog service (and our host), Blogger, is turning 10 years old in August and that "Every minute of every day, 270,000 words are written on Blogger."

  • Camera Trap Codger is Back!
    He's been out of commission for a while, but he's back in the saddle again. Check it out!

  • My Hummingbird Can Kick Your Peregrine Falcon's Ass:
    Not only can a humming bird fly faster than a Peregrine Falcon in full dive mode (base on on how many body-lengths a minute it travels), but it also pulls a lot more G's doing it.

  • Pictures Tell the Tale -- Tattood Girl Is Retarded :
    Did you see the story in the news about the girl who got 56 stars tattooed all over one side of her face? She claims she "fell asleep" and only intended to get two small ones put on, and she is suing the tatttoo parlor. Fell asleep? Look, I don't care how many beers, shots of whiskey, ruffies, downers, and eight balls of heroin you have inside you, you are NOT going to fall asleep with this guy holding a needle gun in front of you. Not. Going. To. Happen. Ever. Please go to the link and scroll down. Now imagine that face within a few feet of yours, a needle gun in his hand, and he is working just a few inches from your eye. Sleep? I don't think so. In fact, you may never sleep again after seeing his picture!

  • Krispy Kreme Donut Pollution in My Backyard:
    It turns out that Krispy Kreme donuts is not a good neighbor, and they're not a good neighbor right in my backyard. As The Fairfax Times notes, "The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has filed a $20 million lawsuit in Circuit Court against North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme, alleging that its Lorton plant has destroyed local wastewater pipes with 'doughnut grease and slime.' The suit alleges that 'excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants,' from the plant have caused millions in damages and even sparked environmental concerns. Court documents claim that the Lorton factory rolls out about 83 million doughnuts a year, producing as a byproduct somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 gallons of waste every day.... The county recently provided the prolific doughnut maker a bill for nearly two-million-dollars, saying that's how much it has cost to repair damage directly related to the manufacturer. The additional $18 million in fines addressed in the suit are punitive."

  • Save Us from Pointy Knives!
    Devout readers of this blog might remember that a few years ago I put up a short post about how "British Medical Experts Campaign for Long, Pointy Knife Control." Now certified morons geniuses in the U.K. have figured out how to make a knife that cannot stab. Read all about it here. And if you ever see anyone with such a knife, be sure to shoot them... or hit them on a head with a brick... or run them over with your car. They sure as hell cannot stab you back!

  • Montana Forester Named U.S. Forest Service Chief:
    Tom Vilsack, the Sectretary of Agriculture which, rather oddly, is in control of the our national forest system, has named Montana forester Tom Tidwell as the new head of the U.S. Forest Service. Tidwell is a 32-year Forest Service employee and now supervises national forests through northern Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. He began his career at the Boise National Forest, and has since worked in eight different national forests across three regions, and was a legislative specialist in the D.C. office as well. His appointment has been praised by Mike Francis at The Wilderness Society, as well as Chris Wood at Trout Unlimited, which is a good enough recommendation for me.

  • Obama's Choice for Fish and Wildlife Service is Veteran Biologist:
    President Barack Obama has tapped U.S. Fish and Wildlife service veteran Sam Hamiliton (see bio) to serve as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Said Ducks Unlimited: "Sam Hamilton is not only a strong wildlife professional, he is also an advocate for hunting and fishing and other wildlife-based recreation." Not everone was as pleased as Ducks Unlimited. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) blasted the choice based on the fact that he "green-light suburban sprawl in shrinking Florida panther habitat."

  • New BLM Head Has the Experience:
    President Barack Obama has tapped Bob Abbey, a former aide under Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Abbey was director of the Nevada office of the Bureau of Land Management for eight years, where he oversaw 48 million acres of public land managed by the bureau in the state, oversaw a staff of 700 employees in eight field offices and the state office, and managed an annual operating budget of $51 million. The BLM manages 256 million acres -- more than any other Federal agency -- and almost all of it is located in 12 western states.

  • Red-tail Hawks Nesting at Rayburn House Office Building:
    I have often seen red-tail hawks on the Capitol grounds, especially in the area right in front of the Supreme Court where the underground visitors center (i.e. the Congressional bomb shelter) is being built. This is the first time that I know of, however, that a red-tail has decided to build a nest on a Congressional building. Nice!

  • Obama Gives a Shout Out to the Number Two Religion:
    From a Whitehouse transcript of the June 19th, 2009 prayer breakfast: "We can begin by giving thanks for the legacy that allows us to come together. For it was the genius of America’s Founders to protect the freedom of all religion, and those who practice no religion at all. So as we join in prayer, we remember that this is a nation of Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and non-believers. It is this freedom that allows faith to flourish within our borders. It is this freedom that makes our nation stronger." For those who are wondering, the #2 religion in the U.S. is no religion at all, and it is the only "religion" that is growing rapidly. In the U.S., people with no religion at all far outnumber all the Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists and Jehovaha's Witnesses combined. There are more people without religion in the U.S. than there are Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, or Episcopalians.

  • Lear's Macaw Population Rebounding:
    Thanks to successful conservation efforts, the Lear's Macaw is now only Endangered, instead of Critically Endangered.

  • Curlew Population Tracking:
    In order to avoid the extinction fate that befell the Eskimo Curlew (its population once numbered in the millions), scientists are now using satellite telemetry to track the migration of Long-billed Curlew from their breeding grounds in Montana to their wintering grounds on the coast. The Long-billed curlew is the largest shorebird in North America

  • Tracking Penguin and Tiger Crap:
    Scientists are now using satellites to track penguin colony locations and size. Apparently jealous of all the attention the penguin-poop story has gotten, tiger researchers decided to announce some old news as new news: that DNA from tiger poop can help them estimate the cat's numbers in the wild.

  • Camera Traps Reveal Snow Leopards in Afghanistan:
    Despite 30 years of war, snow leopards seem to be doing OK in Aghanistan. Four of the five camera traps placed in a narrow strip of land that straddles Tajikistan to the north and Pakistan to the south, photographed different snow leopards on several occasions.

  • Caribou and Reindeer Populations are in Decline:
    How steep is the decline? How about 60% in the last 30 years?


Anonymous said...

RE: Krispy Kreme donuts you wrote: "its Lorton plant has destroyed local wastewater pipes with 'doughnut grease and slime.' "

Yikes - just *imagine* what that stuff does to your arteries!

FrogDogz said...

I can't remember where I saw this first, but speaking of hawk related news --

Waiter, there's a bird in my soup

PBurns said...

Excellent on the chicken hawk.

On the pipes, I once had the mayor of Monterrey, California complain to me about what Chinese restaurants did to the pipes in his city. Maybe he was right. At the time I just wrote him off as being slightly erratic and xenophobic.