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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,666

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

'Chameleon' Vine Discovered in Chile


Move over, Sherlock Holmes. There is a new master of disguise—and it’s a plant. Camouflage and mimicry are usually reserved for the animal realm. The hawk moth caterpillar scares away predators by resembling a snake. Myrmarachne jumping spiders imitate ants as they creep up on unsuspecting insects—fangs ready. Fewer examples of mimicry—or crypsis—are known for plants. But as in some mistletoe species in Australia, all of these imposters copy only one other species. That’s not the case with the woody vine Boquila trifoliolata, which transforms its leaves to copy a variety of host trees. Native to Chile and Argentina, B. trifoliolata is the first plant shown to imitate several hosts. It is a rare quality—known as a mimetic polymorphism—that was previously observed only in butterflies, according to this study, published today in Current Biology. When the vine climbs onto a tree’s branches, its versatile leaves (inset) can change their size, shape, color, orientation, and even the vein patterns to match the surrounding foliage (middle panel; the red arrow points to the vine, while the blue arrow indicates the host plant). If the vine crosses over to a second tree, it changes, even if the new host leaves are 10 times bigger with a contrasting shape (right panel). The deceit serves as a defense against plant-eating herbivores like weevils and leaf beetles, according the researchers. They compared the charlatan leaves hanging on branches with the leaves on vines still crawling on the forest floor in search of a tree or scaling leafless trunks. Herbivory was 33% and 100% worse for the vines on the ground and on tree trunks, respectively. It is unclear how B. trifoliolata vines discern the identity of individual trees and shape-shift accordingly. The vines could read cues hidden in odors, or chemicals secreted by trees or microbes may transport gene-activating signals between the fraud and the host, the researchers say.

more

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/04/scienceshot-chameleon-vine-discovered-chile

25 dead cats in bags found hanging from tree branches in N.Y. woods

What a grisly scene.

About 25 dead cats were found in plastic bags hanging from tree branches in the woods in Yonkers, N.Y., the Journal News reports. The bags were neatly tied around the branches.

City sanitation workers performing their annual cleanup of the woods discovered the bags. Police responded on Thursday.

"It's something very odd," Ernest Lungaro, director of the SPCA of Westchester's Humane Law Enforcement Division, told the Journal News. "It's a lot of cats to be disposed of in a year."

Each bag appeared to have one cat inside, which varied in age and stage of decomposition. Wildlife appeared to have ripped open five or so bags, spilling the dead cats out, Lungaro said.

more
http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/8141177

Verizon Wireless sells out customers with creepy new tactic

As far as corporate notices go, they don't get much creepier than this recent alert from Verizon Wireless.

The company says it's "enhancing" its Relevant Mobile Advertising program, which it uses to collect data on customers' online habits so that marketers can pitch stuff at them with greater precision.

"In addition to the customer information that's currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites," Verizon Wireless is telling customers.

"This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network," it says.

That means exactly what it looks like: Verizon will monitor not just your wireless activities but also what you do on your wired or Wi-Fi-connected laptop or desktop computer — even if your computer doesn't have a Verizon connection.

The company will then share that additional data with marketers.


http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20140425,0,2539606.column

Paul Krugman Blog- Piketty and Pareto

Well, it’s Piketty day at the Times, with David Brooks and yours truly even having more or less matching headlines. And David’s take reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to do: explain one important point in Piketty that even economist readers have, it seems, tended to miss.

In his critique David says of Piketty,

He predicts that family fortunes will concentrate, though big ones in the past have tended to dissipate and families like the Gateses give a lot away.


So, two points. Piketty doesn’t just assert that fortunes will concentrate, he shows that they have in fact concentrated in the past. That’s the whole point of his extended analysis of Belle Epoque France, with its dominance by inherited wealth. And for every Bill Gates, there are many families that do all they can to perpetuate dynastic wealth. Remember, the 10 wealthiest Americans include 4 Waltons and two Kochs.

Second, Piketty predicts a high concentration of wealth, but not concentration without limit. He alludes to his modeling here rather than presenting it explicitly, but maybe he should have said more.

more

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/piketty-and-pareto/?_php=true&_type=blogs&smid=re-share&_r=0

Minneapolis mayor to wed S.D. couple challenging same-sex marriage ban

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will officiate at the weekend marriage of a lesbian couple from South Dakota as the women prepare to take part in a groundbreaking lawsuit to force their home state to recognize their union.

The couple, Nancy Robrahn, 68, and Jennie Rosenkranz, 72, say that along with two other gay South Dakota couples, they plan on filing a federal class-action lawsuit against state officials.

Robrahn and Rosenkranz will argue that South Dakota should recognize same-sex marriages when performed outside of the state. In addition, the suit will seek to overturn South Dakota's statewide same-sex marriage ban enacted by a constitutional amendment in 2006.

A spokesman for Hodges said she does not know Robrahn and Rosenkranz personally, but responded positively after those working with them reached out to her office.

more

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25632257/minneapolis-mayor-wed-s-d-couple-challenging-same

Boehner concedes ACA repeal ‘isn’t the answer’

Source: MSNBC

Three weeks ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded with a simple message to the news that Affordable Care Act enrollment had exceeded expectations: “House Republicans will continue to work to repeal this law.”

Three weeks later, it appears even Boehner doesn’t believe Boehner’s bluster.

Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act make it impossible to just repeal the health care law unless Congress has a replacement ready as well.

Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting in his Ohio district … Boehner said simply repealing the Affordable Care Act “isn’t the answer” and it would take time to transition to a new system.


Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/boehner-concedes-aca-repeal-isnt-the

Life Inside the New Minimum Wage Economy

Taxpayers are basically moneylenders to a government that is far more interested in subsidizing business than in caring for their workers.

Peter Van Buren

There are many sides to whistleblowing. The one that most people don't know about is the very personal cost, prison aside, including the high cost of lawyers and the strain on family relations, that follows the decision to risk it all in an act of conscience. Here's a part of my own story I've not talked about much before.

At age 53, everything changed. Following my whistleblowing first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, I was run out of the good job I had held for more than twenty years with the US Department of State. As one of its threats, State also took aim at the pension and benefits I'd earned, even as it forced me into retirement. Would my family and I lose everything I'd worked for as part of the retaliation campaign State was waging? I was worried. That pension was the thing I’d counted on to provide for us and it remained in jeopardy for many months. I was scared.

My skill set was pretty specific to my old job. The market was tough in the Washington, DC area for someone with a suspended security clearance. Nobody with a salaried job to offer seemed interested in an old guy, and I needed some money. All the signs pointed one way—toward the retail economy and a minimum wage job.

And soon enough, I did indeed find myself working in exactly that economy and, worse yet, trying to live on the money I made. But it wasn’t just the money. There’s this American thing in which jobs define us, and those definitions tell us what our individual futures and the future of our society is likely to be. And believe me, rock bottom is a miserable base for any future.

more

http://www.thenation.com/article/179516/life-inside-new-minimum-wage-economy

Al Gore Is Not Giving Up

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN

Al Gore is richer and skinnier than ever, 14 years out of the White House, a tech titan with elder statesman clout, whose disdain for politics in the capital where he lived most of his life has only grown with each year he’s lived away from it. Sure, this new Gore has a great life, what with a net worth well over the $200 million mark following the sale of his Current TV network to Al Jazeera last year, that seat on the Apple board and his starring roles with two investment companies that tout their environmentally friendly business styles: London-based Generation Investment Management and Silicon Valley’s Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He lives well too, between his 20-room, $4 million home in Nashville’s tony Belle Meade neighborhood and a separate apartment in San Francisco’s St. Regis luxury hotel residences.

But even in his fabulously wealthy, I’m-not-a-Washingtonian-anymore phase, Gore is still a policy wonk, of course. He may be a trendy, 50-pound-lighter vegan these days, and wear the all-black uniform of the Silicon Valley gurus who have become his peers. But the former vice president still geeks out when talking about the “cost-down curve for photovoltaic electricity,” his solar-powered houseboat and the infuriating refusal of the news media and the Republican Party to acknowledge the climate change gorilla in the room.
(Sign up for Politico Magazine's Friday Cover email)

And the new Al Gore is just as steamed as the old Al Gore about the lack of clear progress in combating global warming, a failure that clearly eats at him. When I ask Gore in a two-hour interview in his Nashville office—the longest he’s given since last summer—how he would describe his job, he says, “I want to catalyze the emergence of a solution to the climate crisis as quickly as possible. Period.”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/04/al-gore-is-not-giving-up-106003.html

Republicans Are Racists? No, It’s Just All a Big Coincidence

The revolting comments. The emails. The jokes. The posters. The T-shirts. The ghostwriters. It’s not like it’s a pattern or something.

Come on, fellow liberals. Calm down. I guess maybe it’s fair to call Cliven Bundy a racist. That “picking cotton” business put it over the top, and wondering whether they were better off under slavery. Even Sean Hannity, Bundy’s greatest media champion, threw in the towel last night: He wanted it to be “abundantly clear,” Hannity said at the top of his show, that he found the remarks “downright racist,” “repugnant,” “beyond disturbing,” and so on.

OK, so Bundy’s a racist. It’s fine to point that out. But point up the fact that he’s a registered Republican? That’s where I draw the line, friends. I mean, come on. That’s just a coincidence. Total cosmic coincidence.

Just like it’s a coincidence that that one black comic, a Barack Obama impersonator, was yanked offstage at an official Republican Party meeting in 2011 for telling a series of racially themed jokes. I mean, that could easily have happened at a Democratic—well, maybe not. But still. A coincidence. Just like it’s a coincidence that one federal judge who sent an email around to friends saying that Obama’s father was a dog happened to be a Republican. Complete and utter accident of fate, the puny matter of his voter enrollment.

Those rancidly racist T-shirts and posters one sometimes sees at Tea Party rallies? They’re just a coincidence, too. I mean, Tea Party people might not be Republican, strictly speaking, and it’s totally unfair to assume that! OK, Tea Party candidates run in Republican primaries, not Democratic ones, and the Tea Party caucus in the House doesn’t include one Democrat. But still. Guilt by association!

more

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/25/republicans-are-racists-no-it-s-just-all-a-big-coincidence.html

Friday TOON Roundup 3 -The Rest


Georgia






FCC






Economy




CNN


CIA


Anti-Vaxxers


Everest


Net

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