Monday, March 20, 2017

Amazon Tree Frog Glows in Dark

Scientists have located the first known fluorescent frog in the Amazon.  Poka-dot tree frogs are an unremarkable brown-green with reddish spots in daylight, but glow a bright blue-green under ultraviolet light. [photo credit: New Scientist]  Researchers at the Natural Science Museum in Buenos Aires discovered the fluorescence while studying the frog's pigmentation. Their discovery is reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences10.1073/pnas.1701053114,  Fluorescence increases the frog's visibility at dusk by 30% and is thought to play a role in communication since the fluorescent compounds in the frog's skin emit light frequencies the frogs can detect visually.  This particular characteristic is known in other species  (corals, scorpions and parrots), but no one has thought to look for it before in the world's 5000 frog species.  It's unlikely that the poka-dot is the only one that shines.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Creature Feature: Buffalo Return to Wind River

Watch this sensitive video about the return of buffalo to the Shoshone Wind River Reservation after 131 year absence. Each buffalo returned to rightful place in Nature is a victory for all of us.

'Toontime: Make America Blighted Again

credit: RJ Matson
Wackydoodle sez:  Ol' Watt jis swapped ends!

Remember the Love Canal? It contained so much toxicity it actually turned the nearby plants and grass black, and caused human birth defects and miscarriages among those living in its proximity  It became a symbol of industrial poisoning, and fostered the environmental justice movement. If Trump has his way, America's declining beauty and public health will be degraded once more after several decades of environmental progress under administrations from both parties. Trump's man at the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a self-confessed polluter and climate change denier.  He wants to role back tailpipe emission standards, and his right-wing constituency wants him to revoke California's authority to set its own, more strict, regulations. Fortunately, the chances of revoking the waiver authority under the Clean Air Act surviving a Democratic filibuster are low. This is just the beginning a renewed onslaught on America's natural heritage and the planet in the name of profit.

Meanwhile, the corporate mass media's attention is being expertly diverted by "The Wacky Trump Horror Show" going on in Washington. The latest: Trump cites a Fox News commentator for the proposition that British intelligence (GCHQ) was responsible for the electronic surveillance allegedly ordered by Obama. The man is a superfund site of trash talk.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Second Malheur Trial Over

The second trial of defendants involved in the Malheur Refuge take over ended in a mixed and confusing group of verdicts [see verdict sheet].  The trials of the Bundy brothers and their co-conspirators has been wrapped in the controversial right-wing movement known as the "Sagebrush Rebellion", a loose mob of western state-rightists and white supremacists. The verdicts in the two trials are logically inconsistent, evidence of the politics involved in their prosecution.  Ammon Bundy, a visible leader of the take-over was found not guilty of felony conspiracy by a federal jury in October yet his side-kicks, Darryl Thorn and Jason Patrick, were found guilty of the same charge based on the same evidence. {14.02.17} The certain development from these prosecutions is that the "Rebellion" has found both heroes and martyrs to motivate their continued armed opposition to federal supremacy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

COTW: Oceans Warming Faster Than Expected

This chart shows the alarming rate at which the Earth's oceans are warming.  The researchers said that it is 13% more than estimated by the UN's climate panel and has doubled since 1992.  Thermal expansion accounts for 50% of the rise in sea levels.  The study is published in a peer reviewed journal by NOAA, the Chinese Academy of Science, and St. Thomas University.  Data was obtained from a network of 3,000 floating robotic floats that measure temperature and salinity down to a depth of 2000 meters.  In some areas the increased temperature is causing a dense layer of oxygen-poor surface that affects plankton, which is at the base of the aquatic food chain.  Also, some of the oceans most-consumed human seafood such as tuna inhabits lower depths wear the water was cooler than it is now.  Some species have been detected moving their habitat range an average of fifty miles north since 1960.

Canada's Supreme Court Says Trump Lied

Its becoming increasingly obvious to still sane 'Mericans that their Current Occupant is challenged by the truth.  When the Supreme Court of Canada rules the same conclusion in a case filed by investors against Trump, we should knoq we have a problem.  The high court refused to review a decision by Ontario's Court of Appeal last year that Trump and a real estate development sold two small investors units of Trump International Hotel under false pretenses.  They were promised returns ranging from 7.7% to 20.9%.  They lost a combined C$1.2.  The sixty-five story tower is in the heart of Toronto's financial district and is managed by the Trump Organization.

The review justices found that the cornerstone of the fraud was a document given the investors labeled "estimated return on investment" upon which they relied in making their decision to invest their money, some of which was borrowed from family members.  The justices found that the document was "repleat with misrepresentations of commission, omission, and of half-truth."  

Friday, March 10, 2017

'Toontime: Making Sausage of Healthcare

credit: Rick McKee, Augusta Chronicle
BC Idonwanna sez:  Better to kill patient!
Obamacare, as the Affordable Health Care Act is derisively known was intended by the insurance lobby to head off efforts to finally pass socialized healthcare. It was doomed not to work from the start. Now, the Repugnants, who basically adhere to a modified form of Darwinism, have got their hands on what is admittedly a broken system. Their solution is: more of the same, but not so much. AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) has done some math on what is being proposed to replace Obamacare.  For older and less affluent persons, the cost of health insurance will rise dramatically.  A 55 year old making $25,000 a year would pay $3600 more for coverage.  A 64 living near the poverty level would spend $8400 more  of his meager annual income on health insurance.  The added expense will motivate poor 'Mericans to forego insurance all together since the penalties for not having insurance are reduced.  This situation will increase health costs and risks which will in turn prompt insurance companies to raise insurance premiums. The death spiral resumes.  Watching Washington make mincemeat out of health care is enough to put a person off pay for play government permanently.*

*Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf resort increased member dues from $100,000 to $200,000 per year after Trump ascended to office.  Members are encouraged to give suggestions and comments to the President.