Deer, unexpected guest in Nebraska, USA hotel


This video from the USA says about itself:

A hotel in Nebraska got an unexpected guest recently when a deer ran across the parking lot, crashed through a window and tore through the hallways.

Surveillance cameras at the New Victorian Inns and Suites in York, Nebraska caught the commotion on video on August 26 [2015].

From KLTV.com in the USA:

Now You See It: Dazed deer crashes through hotel hallways

Posted: Sep 14, 2015 8:09 PM

YORK, Neb. (KETV/ABC Pathfire) – A hotel in Nebraska got an unexpected guest recently when a deer ran across the parking lot, crashed through a window and tore through the hallways.

Surveillance cameras at the New Victorian Inns and Suites in York, Nebraska caught the commotion on video on August 26.

You can see as the deer runs across the parking lot and leaps through a window, crashing into several tables.

Then it enters the lobby, looks around, and runs into the laundry room.

Part of the video shows the deer dashing down a hallway and into a laundry room as guests and law enforcement look on.

Owner Don Hoene says a guest eventually was able to close the laundry room door to trap the deer until authorities arrived to help release the animal.

The deer was uninjured — and left without paying damages, Hoene tells us.

In Nebraska, whitetail deer and mule deer live.

Dutch NOS TV wrote the deer in the hotel was a roe deer. However, roe deer are a European species.

Piping plovers, new research


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 September 2011

Piping Plovers at Plymouth Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts

From the Journal Star in the USA:

Color banding shows movement of piping plovers

January 25, 2015 9:15 am • By LAUREN R. DINAN / Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

It’s always around this time of year that I really start to miss summer. I miss those warm days, long walks, family picnics and looking for piping plovers. That might not be on everyone’s list of favorite summer activities, but it is the highlight of my summer.

Piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) are small, stocky, sand-colored shorebirds that spend the summer nesting here in Nebraska and the winter on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, southern Atlantic Coast and Caribbean. They nest on sandbars, reservoir shorelines and sandpit lakes along the Platte, Loup, Elkhorn, Niobrara and Missouri rivers in Nebraska.

The Nongame Bird Program at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have been color banding adult piping plovers and their chicks along the lower Platte River system in eastern Nebraska since 2008. So far, 431 plovers have been banded, 114 adults and 317 chicks, which is quite a few for a threatened species.

Color banding allows us to identify individual birds so we can better understand how the species is doing: are numbers up or down, are they successfully reproducing, and are they surviving the winter? All important issues for a species currently listed as threatened on the state and federal endangered species list.

Adult and chick survival varies from year to year and depends on a number of factors: weather conditions, the amount of available food and so on. Each summer, we construct individual encounter histories for all of the observed color-banded plovers, which allows us to estimate adult and chick survival.

Color banding also shows us how piping plovers move across the landscape. Plovers banded along the lower Platte system have been observed along the Missouri, Niobrara and the central Platte rivers. Plovers originally banded in these areas have also been found nesting along the lower Platte system. Adult plovers nesting along the lower Platte most often return to there the following year, but chicks hatched there are likely to nest elsewhere.

In 2014, three plovers originally banded along the lower Platte as adults and nine banded as chicks nested along the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska. Two plovers originally banded along the central Platte and nine originally banded along the Missouri nested along the lower Platte River system in 2014. The little guys do get around.

Color banding helps us understand where our plovers spend the winter. Our plovers spread out across their winter range from the southern tip of Texas to the Florida Keys and all the way up the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina. So far this fall and winter we have received reports of 23 lower Platte plovers along the Gulf Coast and two along the Atlantic Coast.

The plover pictured here, with its light blue flag and green-over-red, red-over-green bands, has been a fun bird to follow. This plover was color-banded as an adult in June 2014 at a sand and gravel mine in Saunders County. It hatched and raised four chicks and was last seen in Nebraska in late June. The next time the plover was seen, it was about 1,000 miles away enjoying the sun, sand and surf at Padre Island, Texas, in October 2014.

Which of our plovers will return to Nebraska to nest in the summer of 2015? We’ll find out soon, but gosh it’s hard to wait.

Chick mortality leads to male-biased sex ratios in endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers: here.

Michael Brown solidarity in Ireland


This 18 August 2014 video from the USA is called Rev. Osagyefo Sekou on the Lessons of Ferguson.

From the Derry Journal in Northern Ireland:

American civil rights campaigner to be main speaker at Bloody Sunday rally

by Greg Sharkey

The theme of this year’s annual Bloody Sunday march is ‘Resist’, to highlight what has been taking place in the U.S.A. Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, American civil rights campaigner, will be the main speaker after this year’s Bloody Sunday rally.

He will also be guest speaker at a number of events during this week, speaking about this upsurge in police violence against the black community, and why ‘Black Lives Matter’.

An impassioned gathering attended a vigil for Michael Brown‘s family and the people of Ferguson, Missouri at Free Derry Wall on Saturday November 30. Key speakers were Bloody Sunday family member, Kate Nash and veteran Civil Rights campaigner, Eamon Mc Cann.

Media images of several days protest on the streets of Ferguson were shown across the world, following the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict police officer, Darren Wilson, on any charges for shooting dead the American teenager on August 9.

There was much outrage throughout the world, with numerous demonstrations in solidarity with the Brown family, and on the wider issue of institutionalised racism.

Speaking to the Derry Journal before the Bloody Sunday March Committee held their vigil, Kate Nash said:

“As family members of the Bloody Sunday dead, we draw parallels with other unarmed and innocent victims killed by the forces of law and order.”

Regarding the judicial response, or lack of, in the Michael Brown case, Kate Nash drew similarities between their experiences and that of the Brown family, stating:

“You have a judicial system that’s meant to be independent and impartial, but in reality, is actually politically interfered with.”

Regarding similarities between Ferguson and what engulfed Derry, 42 years ago, Eamon Mc Cann said: “Distance and skin colour make no difference to the grief and anger that has erupted across the US since the decision not to prosecute the policeman who pumped six bullets into the teenager’s body.”

Eamon Mc Cann also warned of the dangers regarding the dramatic rise in the militarisation of policing in the US stating:

“We can recognise that scenario here too, and know that no good came of it for anyone involved.”

Over the course of the last two months, several killings by US police officers have occurred, along with countless instances of police brutality.

Twelve year old T[a]mir Rice was gunned down in Cleveland, Ohio, while playing with a pellet gun; and Jerame Reid was shot dead in New Jersey, as he got out of a car, with his hands up.

Shocking images of Eric Garner calling out, ‘I can’t breath’ as he was suffocated to death, while being violently restrained by several police officers; and, the failure to indict any police officer for this, has caused massive resentment.

Michael Brown’s family mulls lawsuit against Darren Wilson, Ferguson PD: here.

In Tamir Rice Case, Many Errors by Cleveland Police, Then a Fatal One: here.

From Watchdog.org in the USA:

Nebraska education board member’s blog has long been inflammatory

By Deena Winter / January 23, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. — State Education Board member Pat McPherson has been under fire for a week after his blog called President Obama a “half-breed,” but that merely continues a long line of inflammatory posts.

McPherson founded and co-edited the blog, Objective Conservative, that called Obama the racist name last week, but said he didn’t write or vet the offending post. He has rebuffed calls for his resignation from the governor, two U.S. senators, two congressmen, the NAACP, the state teachers union, the Omaha school board, Omaha’s mayor, Omaha city council members and his colleagues on the State Board of Education. Most are Republicans, as is McPherson.

After Nebraska first reported the blog’s racist half-breed posts, controversy erupted and McPherson shuttered the blog, but some editions can still be found on an archiving website called the Wayback Machine. A review of about a dozen of those old archived blogs found other offensive posts saying Democrats don’t have brains, accusing a Republican lawmaker of acting like an “emotional child,” referring to “snapping gals’ bras” and posting a meme suggesting tacos are good bait to catch illegal immigrants.

The blog posts were rarely attributed to a specific author, but usually simply posted by “Objective Conservative.”

Archived editions of the blog show Obama to be a favorite topic. In addition to the half-dozen times the president was referred to as a half-breed, he’s often called an “empty suit,” and in December, the blog called Obama a “sexist, lecherous president” because he only asked women questions at a press conference.

After a Missouri grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the blog mocked the fires blazing in Ferguson, posting a meme that said, “Ferguson Fire Sale, everything must go.”

The blog also suggested the Brown case and chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York had nothing to do with race.

Nas: In the wake of Ferguson and Eric Garner deaths, rap is refocusing on law enforcement: here.

NYT COLUMNIST: MY SON HELD AT GUNPOINT, AT YALE ”This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete. I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious ‘club.’ When that moment came, I was exceedingly happy I had talked to him about how to conduct himself if a situation like this ever occurred. Yet I was brewing with sadness and anger that he had to use that advice.” [NYT]

Dozens of people gathered with candle lights and protest signs in Denver after local police shot dead a 16-year-old girl on Monday: here.

Police in Longview, Texas released footage Wednesday of officers killing a 17-year-old girl in the lobby of a police station on January 22. Officers Glenn Derr and Grace Bagley shot and killed 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard last Thursday, after officer Gene Duffie fired a taser at her. The three officers have been on paid leave since the shooting: here.

Nebraska, film on poor United States people


This video from the USA is called Nebraska Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Alexander Payne Movie HD.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

Alexander Payne’s Nebraska: How a great many people live today

6 December 2013

Directed by Alexander Payne; written by Bob Nelson

American filmmaker Alexander Payne’s new work Nebraska, which follows an elderly man in pursuit of an illusory prize, manages to take a sharp-eyed look at how a great many people in the US live at present.

The comedy-drama, shot in striking black-and-white, centers on Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) of Billings, Montana, who is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska, a distance of some 850 miles, to claim one million dollars in a sweepstakes prize.

Family members cannot convince Woody, a former mechanic and long-time alcoholic, that the supposed prize is nothing but a marketing ploy. Wife Kate (June Squibb) and son Ross (Bob Odenkirk) conclude that Woody is losing his mind and would put him in a nursing home if they had the financial means. (Kate: “I didn’t know that the son of a bitch wanted to be a millionaire. [To Woody] You should have thought about that ages ago and worked for it.”)

It’s not that the Grants couldn’t use some sort of miracle. Woody and Kate live in a cramped, rundown house in a dying neighborhood. Ross is a replacement anchorman for a small-town television station and the youngest Grant, David (Will Forte), having recently been dumped by his girlfriend, is going through the motions of selling retail electronics.

Unable to dissuade the ailing Woody, who feels he is “running out of time,” from attempting to walk from Billings to Lincoln, David agrees to drive Woody, who “just needs something to live for,” to the mail-order sweepstakes office. He hopes the journey will help his relationship with the irascible elderly man. Along the way, the few stops they make include Mount Rushmore (Woody: “Washington is the only one with clothes … Lincoln doesn’t even have an ear.”), a town where Woody loses his false teeth along some railroad tracks after a few beers, and a hospital after the older Grant becomes ill. There a doctor tells Woody pointedly that a million dollar bonanza would “just about pay for a day in the hospital.”

Another layover takes place over the course of a weekend in Hawthorne, Nebraska, where Woody grew up. Several of his brothers still remain in the town. Kate and Ross come in from Billings for the impromptu reunion, which takes place at the home of Woody’s brother Ray (Rance Howard—father of Ron Howard), sister-in-law Martha (Mary Louise Wilson) and their delinquent sons Bart (Tim Driscoll) and Cole (Devin Ratray). The focal point of the rambling house is the overstuffed living room sofa that faces a huge television set. Much time is spent in front of the television, because, as Martha complains, “this economy has just torn up Hawthorne.”

In the decaying town, David learns something about why a depressed Woody blankly answers most questions with “I can’t remember,” “I don’t know,” “It doesn’t matter.” According to an early flame (movingly played by Angela McEwan), his heavy drinking began after returning from a tour of duty in the Korean War.

Hawthorne has taverns too, in one of which Woody runs into old friends like Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach), his former partner in an auto-repair shop. Unable to resist boasting about his sweepstakes win, despite David’s protestations, Woody soon finds himself the center of attention, both from well-wishers and those who feel they deserve a portion of the spoils. In the end, Woody receives something more precious than a pot of money.

Payne, born in Omaha, Nebraska to a Greek-American immigrant family, has a history of making films, such as Election (1999) and About Schmidt (2002), that demonstrate a certain acuity about social and psychological life in “Middle America.” It is hard to believe, in the case of the new film, that “Woody Grant” is not intended to remind us of Grant Wood (1891-1942), the regionalist painter who specialized in depictions of the rural Midwest, most famously in American Gothic (1930), the unflattering portrait of an elderly farmer with pitchfork in hand standing beside his unmarried daughter.

Payne’s Nebraska exhibits a genuine (and unusual) interest in real people and real places. It concerns itself with the bleak lives of decent people without prospects, who fill in the gaps with fantasies about striking it rich, stubbornly clinging to a belief in what remains of the tattered American Dream. Everyone in the film is waiting in quiet desperation for some external force or process to change his or her life.

Phedon Papamichael’s beautiful black and white cinematography starkly captures the decomposing social fabric of vast stretches of the American Midwest, conveying a Depression-era feel reminiscent of iconic photographs of that period. A sense of economic and cultural decline pervades Nebraska. It is worth noting that the vast majority of critics, both those who approve and those who disapprove of the film, make no comment about this aspect of the work. The miserable and ever-deteriorating conditions of life for millions and millions of Americans are taken almost entirely for granted and arouse no particular uneasiness within the upper-middle-class layers that pass currently for an “intelligentsia.”

Dern performs his role in a disturbing, bitter and effective semi-silence, like someone whose life has induced a sort of catatonia. We learn about the impact of decades of harsh existence on Woody’s inner (and outer) life from his wife and his former girlfriend. Forte offers up the melancholy of a man resigned for the most part, yet still retaining a semblance of hope. Squibb as Kate gives vent to her deep frustration by rants distinguished by an acerbic wit, at times very amusingly. (At one point Woody says to David: “You’d drink too much too if you were married to your mother.” One can sympathize.) In fact, there is a deliciously dark comic side to the movie.

A weakness in Nebraska is the presence of David’s Hawthorne cousins, so backward they lower the tone of the entire movie. In these misconceived characterizations Payne’s tendency toward condescension and impatience with regard to quite oppressed people, who have been given little or nothing by society, comes through. Even the central situation in the film, that of an individual unsophisticated and unaware enough to believe that a piece of junk mail entitles him to a fortune, might provide the opening for some, perhaps contrary to Payne’s intentions, to dismiss Woody and many like him as “losers” who “deserve what they get.”

What accounts for the director’s occasionally derisive attitude, and not only his? First of all, Payne (born 1961) and artists of his generation have lived their adult lives for the most part in an atmosphere of social quiescence in the US, marked even to this point by the lack of a mass response to the assault on the conditions of wide layers of the population. Living largely on the surface of events, the artists mistake popular shock at the dramatic changes in their lives and the widespread sense of betrayal for submissiveness and eternal passivity. Surprises lie in store.

Furthermore, historical knowledge provides a sense of what people are capable of. During the Great Depression Omaha was the scene of bitter protests by farmers in 1932, when they blockaded roads and fought with police for three nights in a row, and again in 1933, and a lengthy, bloody strike by transit workers in 1935, which resulted in 1,800 National Guard troops being called in.

Payne tends to concentrate on individual failings, rather than on a failed society and a failed culture, or at least treats the matter inconsistently. That being said, Nebraska is rare in its sensitivity to the plight of a neglected and suffering population.

Colorado flooding tragedy and neglected infrastructure


This video from the USA is called 9/12/2013 Colorado’s Big Thompson Canyon Extreme Flash Flooding.

First, our hearts should go out to the relatives and friends of the dead of the lethal floods in Colorado in the USA. To the still missing people; to the injured people; to their friends and relatives. To the people who lost so much, often everything, in this catastrophe.

A natural disaster? Partially. Not completely.

By Charles Abelard in the USA:

Death toll at six in Colorado flooding

20 September 2013

State emergency officials, after reporting that at least eight people died in last week’s floods in Colorado, revised the death toll to six. The reports of the number of missing people have also been contradictory and confusing, with various state and local agencies giving out conflicting numbers. State officials listed 1,253 people missing on September 16, and later that same day revised it downward to 658.

The weather began to clear on the afternoon of September 16, allowing helicopters to airdrop supplies and airlift out people who need help. Door-to-door searches for missing persons began the same day. Most of the missing are in Larimer and Boulder counties. Many live in remote mountain villages that are difficult to reach in the best of conditions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dispatched two search-and-rescue teams to help with rescues in Larimer County and other nearby communities. The Denver Post reported that 110 people had been evacuated from Larimer County, and between 300 and 400 more were expected to be taken to Fort Collins.

Residents were asked to use white sheets, mirrors, flares or signal fires to help attract the attention of the aerial search crews. They were also advised to have their important medications, clothing, and other items ready to go when help arrived.

Boulder County assigned 10 police officers to search for missing people. Police and other agencies are being inundated with phone calls asking for help locating relatives, immediate family members and friends.

In Lyons, described in one news report as a “funky mountain town,” telephone landlines were knocked out by the flood and most people’s cell phone batteries had been dead for some time. One man and his young son were seen driving around Lyons looking for someone from FEMA so they could let their family know they were all right, but the only official they saw was a local emergency worker who was advising residents that it was their last chance to evacuate.

People living in mobile homes are always at high risk in severe weather events, and this one was no exception. Most of the trailer parks in Lyons were completely destroyed. In the town of Milliken, in Weld County, 150 people living in two trailer parks were displaced, and some 45 trailers were red-tagged by the city, meaning they were beyond repair. The owner of Evergreen Mobile homes, Tim Solomon, said he doesn’t have flood insurance because the park is outside the historic floodplain. He thinks 32 of the 35 trailer homes in the park were destroyed. This photograph makes plain the vulnerability of mobile homes to heavy flooding. This one shows how they can be swept along like matchsticks before an advancing wall of water.

In Evans, it was reported that about 260 homes and mobile homes near the South Platte River and 37th Street were covered with mud. People had to walk in to try to recover what personal belongings they could.

Once evacuations are finished, the search for the missing and dead will begin in earnest. With many impediments (major roads have been washed out or covered by boulders and mud, some hamlets like Glen Haven have been reduced to rubble, and gas pipelines and sewer systems have been destroyed), the search for the dead could take weeks or even months.

Frank Lancaster, the town administrator of Estes Park, next to Rocky Mountain National Park, said that the town could be unreachable and uninhabitable for up to a year.

As Colorado tries to cope with the aftermath of the flooding, high waters are rushing down the South Platte River toward Nebraska, causing worry among residents there about potential overflows.

The flooding has led to widespread concerns over environmental pollution. Sewer overflows have been widespread. Oil, natural gas condensates, or both have been spotted in the rivers and leaking from storage tanks, and there is worry over the possibility that drilling and fracking fluids might have escaped into the floodwaters. For a week, anti-fracking activists have been complaining that the media were ignoring this part of the story, but a major oil spill has now refocused attention to the risks of these operations.

The Denver Post reports that at least 5,250 gallons of crude oil escaped from a damaged storage tank owned by Anadarko Petroleum and flowed into the South Platte River. Oil industry crews have been putting absorbent oil booms in the river since Anadarko reported the spill to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday afternoon. The spill occurred south of Milliken where the St. Vrain River flows into the South Platte.

Fertilizers and pesticides washed off of vast agricultural lands of Eastern Colorado have been an ongoing threat to the environment. Concern is growing that the lands themselves may become contaminated with drilling and fracking fluids.

The South Platte River is fed by drainage from much of the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, much of the populated region known as the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains, and a part of southeastern Wyoming. All of these are active oil- and gas-producing regions. The South Platte joins the North Platte River, forming the Platte River in western Nebraska. It eventually flows into the Missouri River, the Mississippi River, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

While much of the entire Mississippi Basin is agricultural land, and the threat of fertilizer and pesticide contamination is not new, the possibility that drilling and fracking fluids, witches’ brews of toxic chemicals, might contaminate vast expanses of farmland is a more recent matter of concern.

From The Last Of The Millenniums blog in the USA:

‘The torrential rains in Colorado this week have resulted in flooding which has killed several people so far. This flooding is made worse by multiple dams which have already failed due to overfill, with dozens more at risk’.

‘Why are they at risk? It turns out that state Republicans have blocked bills to deal with repair or maintenance on infrastructure throughout the state’.

From: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/09/14/gop-fought-to-cut-dam-maintenance-budget-in-colorado-now-the-dams-are-breaking/.

Cliff swallows evolve to avoid traffic


This video from says about itself:

May 31, 2011

A pair of Cliff Swallows building their mud nest under a bridge in Newbury, MA. With the mud being brought to the nest one mouthful at a time this truly is an enormous feat to stick this nest to the underside of a bridge.

From Science in the USA:

Evolution via Roadkill

by Sarah C. P. Williams on 18 March 2013, 12:30 PM

Cliff swallows that build nests that dangle precariously from highway overpasses have a lower chance of becoming roadkill than in years past thanks to a shorter wingspan that lets them dodge oncoming traffic. That’s the conclusion of a new study based on 3 decades of data collected on one population of the birds. The results suggest that shorter wingspan has been selected for over this time period because of the evolutionary pressure put on the population by cars.

“This is a clear example of how you can observe natural selection over short time periods,” says ecologist Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, who conducted the new study with wife Mary Bomberger Brown, an ornithologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. “Over 30 years, you can see these birds being selected for their ability to avoid cars.”

The Browns have studied cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) in southwestern Nebraska since 1982. They return to the same roads every nesting season to perform detailed surveys of the colonies of thousands of birds that build mud nests on bridges and overpasses in the area. Along with studies on living swallows—counting birds and eggs, netting and banding individuals, and observing behaviors—the Browns also picked up swallow carcasses they found on the roads, in the hopes of having additional specimens to measure and preserve. They hadn’t planned studies on roadkill numbers, but recently they began to get the sense that they were picking up fewer dead birds than in the past.

When the researchers looked back at the numbers of swallows collected as roadkill each year, they found that the count had steadily declined from 20 birds a season in 1984 and 1985 to less than five per season for each of the past 5 years. During that same time, the number of nests and birds had more than doubled, and the amount of traffic in the area had remained steady.

The birds that were being killed, further analysis revealed, weren’t representative of the rest of the population. On average, they had longer wings. In 2012, for example, the average cliff swallow in the population had a 106-millimeter wingspan, whereas the average swallow killed on the road had a 112-millimeter wingspan.

“Probably the most important effect of a shorter wing is that it allows the birds to turn more quickly,” says Charles Brown. Previous studies on the dynamics of flight have illustrated the benefits of short wings for birds that perform many pivots and rolls during flying and shown that shorter wings also may allow the birds to take off faster from the ground, he adds.

When the researchers analyzed the average wing length of the living birds in the population, they discovered that it had become shorter over time, from 111 millimeters in 1982 to the 106 millimeter average in 2012. The data suggested to the Browns that roadkill deaths were a major force driving this selection. Birds with longer wings would be more likely to be killed by vehicles and less likely to reproduce, the team reports online today in Current Biology.

The data illustrate a “beautiful trend that never could have been predicted,” says evolutionary biologist John Hoogland of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, who was not involved in the study. “We humans, because we’re changing the environment so much, are adding a new kind of natural selection to these animal populations.”

Few studies have looked at long-term changes in roadkill numbers, Charles Brown says, so more work is needed to determine whether similar trends hold for swallows in other areas, for other types of birds, or for mammals. “I would think that this would be a pattern that certainly might apply to other species,” he says. “But there’s almost nothing in the literature on historical trends in roadkills, because surveys typically last a season or two, not an extended period of years.”

The new findings could also apply to birds killed by wind turbines, Hoogland adds, and they illustrate the payoff that can come with careful data collection and observation. “I think the most important lesson from this research is the paramount importance of collecting data even when you’re not sure what it means or how it could lead to findings in the future.”

‘Pro-life’ laws killing women, Ireland, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Danielle and Robb share their story of how a restrictive Nebraska law impacted their family.

From the blog of Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund in the USA:

Savita’s Death Was Not an Isolated Incident

Posted: 11/19/2012 5:19 pm

By now news of Savita Halappanavar’s senseless death has traveled around the world, drawing attention to Ireland‘s near-total ban on abortion and the horrific consequences of such policies. This is not a stand-alone case. Every 90 seconds a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, totaling more than 350,000 deaths worldwide each year. Nearly all of these deaths occur in developing countries, where access to modern medical care is scarce.

What makes Savita’s story so shocking is that she died in a modern hospital in a developed European country. We health advocates spend a lot of time and energy fighting for the kind of access Savita (almost) had. Hers was a planned pregnancy. She herself was a medical professional, a dentist, who recognized the warning signs of pregnancy complications. When she felt severe pains, she and her husband didn’t have to travel far to reach a clean, modern hospital where her health problems were quickly diagnosed. And when she learned that she was miscarrying and that her life was in danger, she asked her doctor about her options and requested that her pregnancy be ended before it killed her.

Lack of access to medical care did not kill Savita — politics did.

The slow and painful death Ireland’s abortion ban forced Savita to endure, and forced her husband to witness, brings to mind another tragic story. Earlier this year, doctors in the Dominican Republic refused chemotherapy to a 16-year-old cancer patient because she was pregnant.

Think this couldn’t happen in the United States? Think again.

In Nebraska, Danielle Deaver experienced complications in the 22nd week of her pregnancy. Her water broke and doctors informed her that there was not enough amniotic fluid for her daughter to survive. Devastated, Danielle wanted to end the pregnancy, but her state’s ban on safe and legal abortion after 20 weeks gestation prevented her from doing so. Instead, Danielle was forced to continue her pregnancy and deliver a baby that died moments after birth.

Danielle, the young woman in the Dominican Republic and Savita show us what happens when politicians get between women and their doctors. Right now in Ohio, legislators are considering a bill that would impose similar restrictions on women in Ohio as those currently faced by women in Ireland. It would ban safe and legal abortion very early in pregnancy — even before some women know they are pregnant.

Savita and Danielle represent some of the most extreme outcomes of harmful policies, but by no means the full extent. Women across the country and around the world suffer in myriad ways because of politics that deny women the ability to make their own health care decisions.

They face challenges ranging from mental anguish after becoming pregnant from a sexual assault, to the judgment and shame created by bad policies, to the health consequences of complicated pregnancies, both intended and unintended.

The best way to honor the life and courage of Savita and women like her is to make sure no woman dies again in these circumstances. We need to ensure that laws and policies give women the ability to make decisions about whether to end a pregnancy, choose adoption, or raise a child.

It’s time we let politicians know that we will no longer allow politics to interfere with women’s health. We have enough work ensuring that women and families can access quality medical care. Let’s leave the personal decisions up to them and their doctors.

Follow Cecile Richards on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilerichards

Before Savita, Irish anti-abortion rules already caused women’s deaths: here.

A pregnant, suicidal rape victim fought Ireland’s new abortion law. The law won. Anti-abortion activists claim that legal restrictions are in the best interests of women, but they never are. The Guardian view on Ireland’s abortion law: no choice at all: here.

An alliance of Irish trade unions is determined to end the island’s draconian ban on abortion, writes LAURA DUGGAN: here.

Abortion in Northern Ireland: here.

Vulture fossil discovery in Nebraska, USA


This video is called Vulture restaurant.

From PLOS ONE:

A Late Miocene Accipitrid (Aves: Accipitriformes) from Nebraska and Its Implications for the Divergence of Old World Vultures

Abstract

Background

Old World vultures are likely polyphyletic, representing two subfamilies, the Aegypiinae and Gypaetinae, and some genera of the latter may be of independent origin. Evidence concerning the origin, as well as the timing of the divergence of each subfamily and even genera of the Gypaetinae has been elusive.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Compared with the Old World, the New World has an unexpectedly diverse and rich fossil component of Old World vultures. Here we describe a new accipitriform bird, Anchigyps voorhiesi gen. et sp. nov., from the Ash Hollow Formation (Upper Clarendonian, Late Miocene) of Nebraska. It represents a form close in morphology to the Old World vultures. Characteristics of its wing bones suggest it was less specialized for soaring than modern vultures. It was likely an opportunistic predator or scavenger having a grasping foot and a mandible morphologically similar to modern carrion-feeding birds.

Conclusions/Significance

The new fossil reported here is intermediate in morphology between the bulk of accipitrids and the Old World gypaetine vultures, representing a basal lineage of Accipitridae trending towards the vulturine habit, and of its Late Miocene age suggests the divergence of true gypaetine vultures, may have occurred during or slightly before the Miocene.

Anti-pollution protest in the USA


This video from the USA is called Nebraskans Say NO to the TransCanada Pipeline.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

65 arrests at green demo

Sunday 21 August 2011

US police swooped on an environmental protest outside the White House on Saturday, arresting 65 people on the first day of two weeks of planned demonstrations against a proposed oil pipeline.

Protesters are demanding that President Barack Obama refuse to grant a permit for the planned 1,700-mile TransCanada pipeline from Canadian oilfields to refineries in Texas, running through six US states on the way.

Demonstrators hold that the project poses environmental risks and would further cement the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

See also here. And here.

What tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline mean for climate change: here.

Over 160 Arrested in Ongoing Civil Disobedience Against Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline: here.

Keystone XL Pipeline Safety Standards Not as Rigorous as They Seem: here.

State Department Tar Sands Pipeline Hearings Run by TransCanada Contractor. Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress: “In a stunning conflict of interest, public hearings on federal approval for a proposed tar sands pipeline are being run by a contractor for the pipeline company itself. The U.S. Department of State’s public hearings along the proposed route of the TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline this week are under the purview of Cardno Entrix, a ‘professional environmental consulting company’ that specializes in ‘permitting and compliance'”: here.

Keystone Hearing in Nebraska Sandhills Draws Mostly Critics, and Passions Flare. Lisa Song, InsideClimate News: “Local landowners spoke about the risk of putting an oil pipeline through the Nebraska sandhills, an ecologically sensitive area about 10 miles from Atkinson. A fifth-generation rancher said an oil spill would jeopardize her land and her children’s future. The current route is ‘just wrong,’ she said”: here.

Keystone Pipeline Lobbyist Had Cozy Relationship With State Department Staffers, New Emails Show: here.

Wolves fall prey to Canada’s rapacious tar sands business: here.

Sandhill cranes on webcam


This video from the USA is of several thousand Sandhill Cranes flying in at sunset from feeding in the nearby cornfields to roost on the Platte River for the night during their annual migration.

From BirdLife:

Crane Cam goes live!

18-03-2008

Audubon (BirdLife in US) and National Geographic have teamed-up to allow people online around the globe to witness the largest concentration of Sandhill Cranes Grus canadensis in the world from a unique ‘cranes-eye view’.

The Crane Cam is providing outstanding views of Sandhill Cranes in the shallow waters of the Platte River within Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary.

Each spring over a half-million Sandhill Cranes congregate on Nebraska’s Platte River in one of the world’s greatest migration spectacles.

The best time to watch the cranes on the Crane Cam is early morning [Nebraska North American time], starting from first light to well after sunrise, and late afternoon until dark. During the day, the cranes are feeding in local farm fields. Around dusk they return to the river to spend the night on submerged sandbars in the river, where they are secure from predators. The setting has been described as “the world’s largest singles bar for cranes.”

“The cranes just keep coming. It is an amazing sight to see and hear, and it’s available for everyone,” said Brad Mellema, Director of the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary.

The last day to view this year’s Crane Cam is 6th April 2008.

Record 40,499 Sandhill cranes counted in southern Arizona: here.

Environmentalists call on Kentucky Governor to halt sandhill crane hunt: here.