Posts

November 14, 2014

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4:46 PM | Fun Science FRIEDay – The Origin of HIV
Happy Fun Science FRIEDay   After a hiatus, I hope to get back to regularly writing these pieces. This week I was particular inspired to focus on an article I read about the discovery of the origins of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and subsequently the origins of AIDS. AIDS burst onto the scene like a […]
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3:37 PM | Photo of the Week – November 14, 2014
The praying mantis is an impressive predator, especially when it’s a Chinese mantis the length of a ball point pen.  The ones who live around here seem to have a particular affinity for sphinx moths.  I haven’t yet watched the … Continue reading →
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3:35 PM | Phone completely failed to capture the immensity of...
Phone completely failed to capture the immensity of tonight’s sunset #nofilter #malapascualove
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1:00 PM | Conserving the smallest mammals on the tallest peaks
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of Africa's best-known geological features, but it is also home to some of its least-known animals
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1:27 AM | Surprising reasons to be optimistic about saving forests
In the 1990s, the world watched with alarm as vast tracts of tropical rainforest were torn down for timber and croplands, dug up for minerals and energy, and flooded for hydroelectric projects. Conservation groups, governments, philanthropists, and institutions like the World Bank collectively spent billions of dollars on programs to stop the carnage. But as viewed from satellites high above Earth's surface, those efforts barely dented deforestation rates.

November 13, 2014

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9:15 PM | New tapir? Scientists dispute biological discovery of the century
Nearly a year ago, scientists announced an incredible discovery: a new tapir species from the western Amazon in Brazil and Colombia. The announcement was remarkable for a number of reasons: this was the biggest new land mammal discovered in more than 20 years and was only the fifth tapir known to the world. But within months other researchers expressed doubt over the veracity of the new species.
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2:00 PM | How should citizen scientists be trained?
The potential power of citizen science is huge: Scientists can enlist smartphone-equipped nature enthusiasts to identify species, monitor ecological trends, and submit photos and other observations on a shoestring budget. But researchers who want to conduct studies over large or remote areas face a problem. If they need to train volunteers in person, their cheap
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1:30 PM | Rejuvenating Centuries' Old Botany with Phytogeography
Here's a word of the day for you: Phytogeography.Phytogeography is a branch of biogeography that investigates the geographic distribution of plants and the effect that the earth's surface has on that distribution. To go further down the rabbit hole, biogeography studies the distribution of species and organisms now and throughout time. This research reveals important interdependencies between geology, climate, dispersal and evolution.Wallace's map, showing the zoogeographical regions of the […]
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4:14 AM | I’m Afraid This Changes Nothing
When Naomi Klein says things like "Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of world views. Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war," I am sympathetic. So I expected and wanted to like her magnum opus on climate, "This Changes Everything". But I don't. In fact I'm sorely disappointed. I find the book naively optimistic, agonizingly politically correct, and technically uninsightful. Not only is […]

November 12, 2014

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10:45 PM | Prelude to Paris: China and U.S. surprise world with joint climate deal
In what will likely have major ramifications for a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015, China and the U.S. surprised everyone today by announcing a joint climate deal. At a press conference in Beijing, China President, Xi Jingping, and U.S. President, Barack Obama, outlined climate actions for both juggernauts up to 2030.
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5:58 PM | Local people are not the enemy: real conservation from the frontlines
Saving one of the world's most endangered primates means re-thinking conservation. When Noga Shanee and her colleagues first arrived in Northeastern Peru on a research trip to study the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda), she was shocked by what she observed.
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5:34 PM | 50 Cruelty-Free Companies
Originally posted on The Friendly Fig:Thousands and thousands of brands test their products on innocent animals. Yes, this is a reality, and we are all aware. But have you ever really stopped and thought about it? I do… all…
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4:50 PM | 'Guns kill trees too': overhunting raises extinction threat for trees
A new paper confirms what ecologists have long feared: hunting birds and mammals drastically raises the risk of extinction for tropical trees. Following the long-lifespan of a single canopy tree, Miliusa horsfieldii, researchers discovered that overhunting of animals could increase the chances of extinction for the species fourteen times over a century, from 0.5 percent to seven percent.
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2:35 PM | US Wet Areas to Get Wetter And Dry Areas To Get Drier
These results confirm earlier predictions. The projected changes are milder if we cut greenhouse gas emissions now, but they still occur. Interesting that while drought continues in the Southwest, the Arizona monsoon will intensify. Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | Marine Ecology via Remote Observation: an update from #ROV2PNG
Note: we’re home after an exceptional 3 weeks of work in Papua New Guinea. Sadly, the course was so intense that we weren’t able to produce updates during the program. Instead, please accept these time-shifted updates from #ROV2PNG. After more than a week of building robots, developing research proposals, presenting and defending their proposals to […]
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11:27 AM | Beautiful thresher shark art.
Beautiful thresher shark art.
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1:53 AM | Economic growth and climate change
Climate change isn't the only problem with our addiction to growth. Growth is causing a Great Death of species and ecosystems. Continue reading →
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12:30 AM | LA Planners Do Not Want City Council to Ban Fracking
Planners are always on the side of growth and development. Society's "progress" syndrome prepares young people for their final brainwashing in college. Imaginations constrained by courses, teachers, and fellow students, planners can't conceive of a world without growth. Quality planning becomes full utilization of space for human benefit. Continue reading →

November 11, 2014

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7:02 PM | LA Planners Do Not Want City Council to Ban Fracking
Planners are always on the side of growth and development. Society's "progress" syndrome prepares young people for their final brainwashing in college. Imaginations constrained by courses, teachers, and fellow students, planners can't conceive of a world without growth. Quality planning becomes full utilization of space for human benefit. Continue reading →
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5:27 PM | Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Yard With Native Plants
By Rebecca Deatsman     Between finishing my undergraduate degree back in 2009 (how has it already been five years) and moving to Walla Walla, Washington this past June, I was moving continuously from one temporary housing situation to the next - a year here, three months there. In those five years I lived in four different states plus a couple foreign countries. All that time, I was telling
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4:43 PM | What’s This Flower? (Advanced Edition) November 11, 2014
Ok, I knew it wouldn’t take long to get a correct answer on the first plant quiz this morning, but four correct answers within two minutes of posting?  Good grief. Apparently, that one was too easy for many of you, … Continue reading →
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4:07 PM | Chief Curiosity Correspondent tackles sexism, aids conservation
Have you ever been offered the job of your dreams without knowing you were being interviewed? Have you ever communicated with a 5-year-old about the wonders of Salmonella? Have you ever been disappointed not to have larvae hatching from your skin? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are either Emily Graslie herself or you should subscribe to her YouTube channel. Immediately.
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4:04 PM | What’s This Flower? November 11, 2014
The temperatures dove into the low teens last night, and I had to be cautious of numerous icy patches along the highway this morning.  I found myself feeling reminiscent of summer wildflowers, and thought maybe you would be too. So … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Endangered in the Anthropocene: Human impacts threaten species of least concern
By many accounts, we are now living in the “Anthropocene,” an epoch defined entirely by the impacts humans have on the world. Those impacts are outsized and ever growing—and yet we’re not always aware of just how important our own influence really is. A new study shows that in one realm—endangered species conservation—paying attention to

November 10, 2014

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9:43 PM | Peru has massive opportunity to avoid emissions from deforestation
Nearly a billion tons of carbon in Peru's rainforests is at risk from logging, infrastructure projects, and oil and gas extraction, yet opportunities remain to conserve massive amounts of forest in indigenous territories, parks, and unprotected areas, finds a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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3:15 PM | Newly-build robots face many sea trials: an update from #ROV2PNG
Note: we’re home after an exceptional 3 weeks of work in Papua New Guinea. Sadly, the course was so intense that we weren’t able to produce updates during the program. Instead, please accept these time-shifted updates from #ROV2PNG. With a week of robot building behind us, it’s time to put our robots, and our newly […]
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1:30 PM | Ninety Companies Produced Two-Thirds of Global Warming Emissions
Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Continue reading →
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1:16 PM | Watch Outbreak Wednesday at 8 and tweet along with public health experts!
Much of the public panic about the current ebola situation can be contact traced to the 1995 movie “Outbreak.” This fictional movie is based on the supposedly true story “the Hot Zone” by Richard Preston , though an important new analysis by infectious disease researcher Dr. Tara Smith shows that the Hot Zone has some major factual […]
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1:00 PM | Thank Ron Nirenberg for Conservation of Free-Tailed Bat Colony
The Mexican free-tailed bat is a precious treasure to Crescent Hills and it is vital that we continue to work to conserve this species. Thank you for your valuable efforts to secure the land and protect these bats. Continue reading →
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12:30 PM | More International Pressure On Wildlife Crime
What the public does not know is that crime is affecting many species, driving some to the brink of extinction and is depleting a wide range of economically important natural resources. Continue reading →
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