Monday, July 25, 2016

Coffee and Provocation

GMO to the Rescue? 
Scientists are considering boosting up black footed ferret genetic variability by injecting DNA from long-dead specimens stored in zoos and museums. How bad is the blackfooted ferret genetic bottleneck? It's almost as bad as it is for many pure bred dog breeds.

This is Your Police Department 
Fox News reports that kids watched as a Wynnewood, Oklahoma police officer used a high-powered rifle, retrieved from his vehicle, to kill a dog at a children's birthdays party after it "lunged at him" when he entered their gated, fenced property searching for someone who had not lived there in a decade.  The police chief then lied to try to justify the killing. As John W. Whitehead notes: "[W]when you’re trained to kill anything that poses the slightest threat (imagined or real), when you’ve been instructed to view yourself as a soldier and those you’re supposed to serve as enemy combatants on a battlefield, when you can kill and there are no legal consequences for your actions, and when you are deemed immune from lawsuits holding you accountable for the use of excessive force, then it won’t matter what gets in your way. Whether it’s a family pet, a child with a toy gun, or an old man with a cane—you’re going to shoot to kill."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Gyr Falcon
Mark Churchill has uncovered a minor Conan Doyle mystery about a Gyr falcon. Cool!

Israel Now Has a Surplus of Water 
From the Natural Building Blog: "Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants....Desalination used to be an expensive energy hog, but the kind of advanced technologies being employed at Sorek have been a game changer. Water produced by desalination costs just a third of what it did in the 1990s. Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents."

Sea Otter Populations Rebounding 
The sea otter population, which was 500,000 in the pre-fur trade era, and which dropped to fewer than 2,000 individuals in the early 1900s, is now back at over 100,000.

Indian Justice Plants a Forest
Drivers violating traffic rules in the Indian state of Telangana are now being ordered to plant a tree. Police said their goal is to plant a total of one million saplings, thereby increasing the state’s current 24 percent tree cover to 33 percent.

Victorian Sleep Patterns
We used to sleep differently, and perhaps we still should: "Around a third of the population have trouble sleeping, including difficulties maintaining sleep throughout the night. While night time awakenings are distressing for most sufferers, there is some evidence from our recent past that suggests this period of wakefulness occurring between two separate sleep periods was the norm."

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