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GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Introduction to the Weeds

While I studied vegetation ecology at Arizona State University, my boys and I would sometimes walk the two miles from our apartment to campus to pick up mail and assignments. We lived just north of the Salt River, once a fine desert stream that modern dams and diversions turned into a dry riverbed. We would enter the river channel a few blocks from our apartment and amble along for a mile and a half until we neared the campus. That hike was one of our favorite times together. The channel held scattered and battered Cottonwood trees, Mesquite, Seepwillow, Acacia, clusters of Squawbush, Brittlebush, Ambrosia, thickets of Sunflowers, the mighty Mullein, patches of feathery Storksbill, curly Heliotrope, lots of bare ground, and a million stones rounded by their history tumbling down the river. I think it was during those hikes that my oldest boy (age nine) developed…

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India's Stories From Indian Perspectives

Courtesy:- Subhash Kak / Swarajya Magazine.

Ancient Indian temples are some of the greatest artistic achievements of mankind, celebrated the world over, but not enough has been done to understand their history.

Searching through the uncertainty and confusion of the present, knowledge of the past provides illumination, which is why history is important. We not only need the history of kings but also of education, and of art and architecture.

In recent years, textbooks have created a false picture of how education worked before the arrival of the British, and it was accepted that Indians had been largely illiterate. This changed when Dharampal (1922-2006) wrote The Beautiful Tree, which, using British documents from the early 1800s, showed that pre-British education was fairly universal, indeed more so than what Europe had in that period.

Dharampal explains that the temple and the mosque of each village had a school attached to…

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Exposing the Big Game

The NY DEC has released its revised draft state management plan for mute swans and claims to have made significant changes in response to public comments received over the past three years. But what hasn’t changed is its attitude toward mute swans-DEC will stop at nothing to blame mute swans for damage to the environment, and other species so they can be hammered to appeal to hunters, anglers and jet skiers, which the DEC treats as clients. Tell DEC you want mute swans protected from egg molestation, and you don’t want adult or baby swans removed, killed or otherwise harmed. They are neither overpopulated, nor in need of DEC’s control or hostility.

Friends of Animals will be at the Oct. 19th public hearing in New Paltz, so please join us there. We encourage you to attend one of three public hearings to oppose this new plan and to tell the…

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Bharata Bharati

Bakhshali Manuscript (ca. 3rd-4th century)

Pallava BaglaThe 3rd-4th-century Bakhshali Manuscript found near Taxila predates a 9th-century inscription of zero on the wall of a temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh – Pallava Bagla

A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century—approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

The research was performed on the Bakhshali Manuscript, a mathematical document written on birch bark which was found close to ancient Taxila now near Peshawar in 1881. It has been housed in the University of Oxford since 1902.

The findings mean that the manuscript predates a 9th century inscription of zero on the wall of a temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, which was previously considered to be the oldest recorded example of a zero used as a placeholder in India, a report by Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries said.

The findings…

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Bharata Bharati

Shashi TharoorContrary to popular opinion, the presence of British in India did more harm than good. The colonial empire incessantly looted and plundered one of the richest countries in the world for 200 years. – Shashi Tharoor

Author and politician Shashi Tharoor is known for his verbose tweets and quick-witted repartee. The former diplomat, who is currently serving as a full-time MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, is not known to mince words and this was proved yet again when he was asked if India has not benefited from the presence of British, especially while imbibing skills in the field of engineering, infrastructure and education.

Tharoor, who was attending the Melbourne Writers Festivals 2017 in Australia, did not hold back his words as he went on to ‘school’ the person asking the question and others in the crowd. He categorically explained how, contrary to popular opinion, the presence of British in India did more harm than…

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Owls All Around

Jet Eliot

Barred Owl, Texas

Everything about owls is remarkable. Large eyes with binocular vision, facial disks around the eyes that funnel sound more acutely, ears that are asymmetric for better sound coverage, feathers structured for silent flight, a neck that can rotate, and powerful talons for skull-crushing.

There are over 200 species of owls in the world, living on all continents except Antarctica.

They are classified into two different families, Strigidae and Tytonidae,  with about 19 owl species in North America, 42 in Africa, and 13 in Europe. South America, 55; India, 30; Australia, 11. Sources differ in numbers. (Range map below.)

Giant Eagle Owl, aka Verreaux’s Owl; Botswana, Africa

Great Horned Owlet, California

Pearl-spotted Owlet, Zambia, Africa

Wikipedia overview on Owls.

With hundreds of owl species there are many exceptions, but for the most part, they are nocturnal birds. Carnivorous, preying on rodents, small mammals, and insects, many species can…

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Saturn’s moons research

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video says about itself:

Exploring Saturn’s Moons | Mission Saturn

13 September 2017

On a flyby of Saturn‘s moon Enceladus, the Cassini spacecraft makes an unprecedented discovery that will push the mission to fly closer.

About Mission Saturn: NASA’s biggest spacecraft plunges into Saturn in the final act of a 20-year mission showcasing the planet like never before.

Final flyby puts Cassini on a collision course with Saturn, by Lisa Grossman. 4:00pm, September 11, 2017.

So long, Titan. Cassini snaps parting pics of Saturn’s largest moon, by Lisa Grossman, 4:05pm, September 13, 2017.

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Hooded vultures in Gambia

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video, recorded in Gambia, says about itself:

31 August 2017

Hooded Vulture is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN red list. It is the only member of the genus Necrosyrtes and is native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a scruffy-looking, small vulture with dark brown plumage, a long thin bill, bare crown, face and fore-neck, and a downy nape and hind-neck. It typically scavenges on carcasses. Although this is a common species, numbers of these birds are decreasing rapidly.

The video shows a cattle egret as well.

I was privileged to see both species while in Gambia.

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The Extinction Chronicles

 

Deforestation and use of forest lands for agriculture or pasture, particularly in tropical regions, contribute more to climate change than previously thought, research finds.

“When we think about climate change, we can’t stop at the end of the century.”

The study also shows just how significantly that impact has been underestimated. Even if all fossil fuel emissions are eliminated, if current tropical deforestation rates hold steady through 2100, there will still be a 1.5 degree increase in global warming.

“A lot of the emphasis of climate policy is on converting to sustainable energy from fossil fuels,” says Natalie M. Mahowald, the paper’s lead author and faculty director of environment for the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University.

“It’s an incredibly important step to take, but, ironically, particulates released from the burning of fossil fuels—which are severely detrimental to human health—have…

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Exposing the Big Game

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/09/07/life-existed-on-mars-shocking-discovery-suggests.html

the-sun.png

Scientists have found key evidence which suggests life may once have existed on Mars.

Nasa’s Curiosity rover has detected boron, a key ingredient for life, on the dusty surface of the Red Planet.

The discovery is a huge boost in the hunt for extraterrestrials and could back up a theory suggesting life on Mars may have been forced underground when disaster turned the planet into a “frigid desert”.

Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory said: “Because borates may play an important role in making RNA – one of the building blocks of life – finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet.

“Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you…

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