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Archive for November, 2011



I Quite Like This


How Cave Closures Can Backfire Badly

The Unintended Results of Blanket Cave Closures: A Story About Fern Cave

Jennifer Pinkley

I’ve spent a few months stewing over what to say publicly about how the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s White-Nose Syndrome cave closure policy has affected my very favorite cave in the whole world. In July, my husband (Steve Pitts) and I discovered that the cave closure policy is in fact accomplishing one thing: it’s allowing people with spray paint and no conservation ethics to freely explore and vandalize of one of the most spectacular caves in the southeast and one of the most important bat hibernation caves in the country. The same is likely happening to many other closed caves across the US. Of course, this is going on while responsible people like us stayed out.

This article is worth reading in light of the petition currently being submitted to the federal government to restrict cave access to “qualified individuals.”

Protect Bat Populations by Temporarily Restricting Cave Access to Qualified Individuals

Goal: For the time being, restrict the access of caves to only admit necessary individuals. This would better ensure that the deadly fungus, white-nose syndrome, will not be transmitted between bat populations in different caves.

This is absolute rot. It will ensure no such thing; this petition ignores data on how WNS is jumping around. There is no evidence to substantiate the belief that the primary mode of transmission is human. As can be seen from Jennifer’s article, what results when you outlaw entering caves is that only outlaws will enter caves.


James McMurtry

h/t to Bill Wiltrack


GMO Mosquitoes Secretly Released!

The Wipeout Gene

Scientific American, this month

To kill female mosquitoes—the ones that suck blood and spread disease—James needed to hijack a genetic region that only females make use of. In 2002 James and Alphey identified a naturally occurring switch that controls flight-muscle development in females. Turn it off, and flight muscles won’t develop. Female mosquitoes emerging from the pupal stage just squat on the water’s surface, flightless, unable to attract mates. It was the perfect target.

Long complicated article. Gist is these GMO animals have been released quite a bit. The female offspring can’t survive to breed but the males can keep on going to find new mates, and they pass on the gene that messes up the females.

tl;dr: Technology (not science) is currently working on eradicating mosquitoes of disease-vector-bearing sorts, and whether this might genetically spread to other mosquitoes is not known, and the potential effect on the food chain is not known.

What I haven’t yet worked out is who is going to get rich off of all of this.


Black Friday

I see people are now bringing pepper spray to Wal-mart on Black Friday, which might not be a bad idea, considering the events at a Wal-mart on Black Friday three years ago.

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death


Arlo Guthrie Thanksgiving

h/t to Kestrel9000


From Dancewater

I’m sure she won’t mind my crosspost.

I am thankful for all the people who have stood for justice, spoken out for justice, marched for justice, fasted for justice, written for justice, occupied for justice, rallied for justice or gone to jail for justice. And some of those folks are my family and friends! I am thankful they are in my life…. what a blessing!


No, This Is Not The Onion

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

The Telegraph, 18 Nov

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

This changes everything!


Oh, the Irony

NY foreclosure firm that threw Halloween party mocking homeless says it is closing

WaPo, today

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York law firm that specializes in foreclosures and was criticized for a Halloween party that mocked the homeless will close, a spokesman said Monday.

Steven J. Baum P.C., one of the largest-volume mortgage foreclosure firms in New York, filed notice of mass layoffs with the state Department of Labor and local officials, indicating at least a third of its employees would lose their jobs. On Monday, spokesman Earl Wells III confirmed the law firm would close altogether.

The company employs 67 full- and part-time employees in suburban Buffalo and 22 on Long Island. The closing may also affect hundreds of others employed at a document-processing firm that shares office space with Baum.