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Natural History Wanderings

The NY Times reports on a deceptive piece of legislation whose main intent is not to created park land but to take away protections from the National Parks

Members of Utah’s congressional caucus, not content with eviscerating two national monuments in the state, have unleashed a new assault on public lands, proposing legislation that hides an agenda of deregulation behind the shield of the National Park Service and the beloved park system it oversees.

Read article at A Trojan Horse Threatens the Nation’s Parks – The New York Times

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robertscribbler

Drought.

Year after year after year for the past 15 years, it’s been the reality for Iran.

As with recent severe droughts in places like Syria, Nigeria, India and in other parts of the world, Iran’s drought impacts have forced farmers to abandon fields and move to the cities. It has enhanced economic and physical desperation — swelling the ranks of the poor and displaced. It has produced both food and water insecurity with many families now living from hand and cup to mouth. And it has served as a catalyst for political unrest, protest, and revolt.

(Iran’s Lake Urmia shrinks to ten percent of its former size following a 15 year long drought. Image source: U.S. Department of the Interior.)

Perhaps the most visible sign of this drought’s epic severity is the drying up of the 5,200 square mile expanse of Lake Urmia. The sixth…

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Natural History Wanderings

The NY Times has an op-ed by the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra “Florida Isn’t the Only State That Will Be Hurt by Offshore Drilling” that discusses the Trump Administration’s decision to open up off shore drilling for oil and the arbitrary  exemption given to Florida

Read Full editorial at Florida Isn’t the Only State That Will Be Hurt by Offshore Drilling

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Natural History Wanderings

Oregon State University News Release

Complex, old-growth forests may protect some bird species in a warming climate

Old forests that contain large trees and a diversity of tree sizes and species may offer refuge to some types of birds facing threats in a warming climate, scientists have found.

In a paper published today in Diversity and Distributions, a professional journal, researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University reported that the more sensitive a bird species is to rising temperatures during the breeding season, the more likely it is to be affected by being near old-growth forest.

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"OUR WORLD"

Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 4, 2018

Contact: Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405, laburd@biologicaldiversity.org

California Puts Freeze on New Uses of Bee-killing Pesticides

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation has announced it will no longer consider any applications by pesticide companies that would expand use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in the state.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began considering dramatically expanding use of the highly toxic neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on more than 165 million acres of farmland in the United States.

“California’s decision to halt further increases in harmful neonicotinoid pesticides is an important step toward reversing dangerous bee declines,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program. “As the Trump EPA works to weaken protections for pollinators, it’s reassuring that California continues to follow a course of reason and science.”

California’s freeze on…

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Bharata Bharati


Surya Deva

Dr Raj VedamWe now define Makar Sankranti as the date when from an Earth-bound observation point, the Sun enters the Makar Rashi, also called Capricorn. — Dr Raj Vedam

The widespread celebration of the Makar Sankranti festival and its many regional variations hint great antiquity. In this article, we will take a journey through time, weaving together history, astronomy, calendars, seasons, agriculture and common customs, to find connections and understand the antiquity of the festival, and as an outcome, we will examine three different synchronisms for Makar Sankranti.

We first discuss points of astronomical significance, to appreciate the antiquity of the festival.

1. As the Earth rotates on its 23.5 degree tilted axis from west to east, it would appear that celestial bodies that rise in the eastern horizon set in the western horizon, except for the stars closer to the celestial North (South) Pole that would appear to circle it.

2…

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The Secular Jurist

President Donald Trump’s administration will not allow drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Florida after urging from the state’s governor, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Tuesday.

“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a result of discussion with Governor (Rick) Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

[…]

On Twitter, several governors, attorneys general and lawmakers representing coastal states asked Zinke to extend the exemption for Florida to their coastal waters. The governors of New York and Oregon and the attorneys general of Maryland and California were among those who called on Zinke to ban offshore drilling.

Environmental groups Greenpeace and the League of Conservation Voters called the move to protect Florida a political ploy meant…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Chicago in the USA says about itself:

Moths vs Butterflies

9 October 2013

Wherein we explore the order Lepidoptera!

Huge thanks to Jim Boone, collection manager of insects for making this episode possible.

You can learn more about The Field Museum’s historical butterfly collection from J. Boone: here.

From Science Advances:

A Triassic-Jurassic window into the evolution of Lepidoptera

10 Jan 2018

Abstract

On the basis of an assemblage of fossilized wing scales recovered from latest Triassic and earliest Jurassic sediments from northern Germany, we provide the earliest evidence for Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).

The diverse scales confirm a (Late) Triassic radiation of lepidopteran lineages, including the divergence of the Glossata, the clade that comprises the vast multitude of extant moths and butterflies that have a sucking proboscis. The microfossils extend the minimum calibrated age of glossatan moths by ca. 70 million…

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"OUR WORLD"

The Trump Administration and the US fish and wildlife service were busy reinterpreting the federal law to remove vital protections from over a 1,000 species protected under the Migrating Bird Treaty Act. Under the changes, the administration will no longer prosecute companies who oil pits, power lines, and wind turbines incidentally kill birds protected under the Act.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/711/208/015/

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