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Archive - Apr 2012


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6th Annual Endangered Species Day: Friday, May 18, 2012; one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction

Endangered Species Day, May 2012

top: a red kite, one of several species of Scottish birds of prey to have been found dead from poisoning; bottom: endangered species California Least Tern

endangered species: arctic fox and polar bear

endangered species: sea otters and turtles

(quote)

Endangered Animal Photos For Earth Day - On Earth Day, it is important to not only recognize cute animals, but also those whose species may be in peril. For many species across the globe, extinction is a legitimate threat. A 2008 IUCN study found that one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction.

Several of the species seen at above link are what the World Wildlife Fund calls "flagship species." Protection of these species "influences and supports the survival of other species" and "offers opportunities to protect whole landscapes or marine areas," according to the organization.  read more »

Hubble celebrates 22nd anniversary in orbit with stunning mosaic space image of several million stars 650 light-years across

an image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows young stars in the heart of the Tarantula nebula, named so by early astronomers because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs

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Happy Birthday, Hubble! A Stunning New Picture for a Special Day
Things didn't look too bright for the Hubble Space Telescope when it first went into orbit back in 1989: the $1.5 billion eye on the universe had gone into space with its light-gathering mirror polished to perfection, which was very good, but the mirror was also the wrong shape — which was very bad. It wasn't until 1993 that the shuttle Endeavour went aloft with a set of corrective optics — essentially space telescope glasses — that sharpened Hubble's blurry vision and allowed it to begin conducting the stargazing work it was built to do. Since that exercise in orbital optometry, Hubble has been sending home one astonishing photo after another — and one scientific breakthrough after another too.

This week the telescope celebrates its 22nd birthday in orbit, and the folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are handing out party favors in the form of a dazzling new space image. Even by Hubble standards, it's pretty extraordinary.  read more »

Oceans of trash? >9 million volunteers remove 153 million lbs of trash from >312000 miles of coastline and waterways in 26 years

Ocean trash: enough food packaging to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years

top ten items of garbage found in the oceans

ocean trash killing wildlife: fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians, corals & sponges

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New Data Shows What Trash is in Your Ocean and Waterways
New data released by the Ocean Conservancy highlights the need for humans to clean up their acts. The numbers, generated during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup last September, are staggering.

With 598,076 volunteers around the world who picked up 9,184,428 pounds of trash from 20,776 miles of shorelines, rivers and lakes, it’s not surprising what is the most prolific item found – cigarette butts. If you are wondering how Ocean Conservancy knows down to the last one, how many butts there were, each volunteer is issued an inventory control sheet to keep tabs.

By now you are probably feeling a little ill, seeing just how much junk is floating around and landing on the world’s shores. But what about the damage being done to our wildlife? We know better — they don’t.

Stop Trash at the Source – You  read more »

"Waddle we look like when we grow up, Mum?" Mother hen hatches baby ducklings and adopts them as her own

Hilda the Bantam hen has hatched a clutch of ducklings after accidentally sitting on the wrong nest of eggs

Even when tiny Indian runner ducklings emerged instead of fluffy yellow chicks, Hilda wasn't put off and adopted the babies as her own

(quote)

Waddle we look like when we grow up, Mum? Hilda the hen hatches clutch of ducklings after sitting on wrong nest
They may not look like their mum - or sound like her - but that doesn't seem to bother these fluffy little birds. Hilda the hen nested over the five eggs for a month, apparently unaware that they had been laid by a duck. Farm owner Philip Palmer was also none the wiser as Hilda barely left the duck eggs alone until they hatched after 28 days. And even when tiny Indian runner ducklings emerged instead of fluffy yellow chicks, Hilda wasn't put off and adopted the babies as her own.

Phillip, 45, who runs the Farmer Palmer's children's activity farm near Poole, Dorset, said: 'Hilda doesn't seem bothered at all - the ducklings follow her around just as chicks would. 'It was so surprising but lovely and she has proved to be very capable at raising them. The ducklings aren't aware that their mother is a hen and Hilda is totally unaware that she's actually got a bunch of ducks waddling behind her.

'The ducklings don't leave her side and if they get scared they run for cover under their "mum". It is very sweet to see. The only way they will really notice the difference is when the ducks start swimming in the pond.'

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Photos courtesy of BNPS.co.uk / Mail Online

Extreme weather: 2012 kicks off with record heat, tornadoes & drought; 'strange spring' is 'climate change we're seeing'

A tornado touches down in Lancaster, Texas south of Dallas on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. Tornadoes tore through the Dallas area Tuesday, peeling roofs off homes, tossing big-rig trucks into the air and leaving flattened tractor trailers strewn along highways and parking lots

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Extreme Weather USA: 2012 Kicks Off With Record Heat, Tornadoes & Drought
Yesterday, a dozen tornadoes ripped through Dallas, spurring panic in a highly populated, 6 million-strong metropolitan area. The footage captured by news helicopters was dramatic—semi trucks and trees were hurled into the air like newspapers tossed from a malevolent paperboy.

But the fleet of Texan tornadoes only marks the latest in a year that has already been packed with extreme weather—we've had record-hot winter months, unusually early tornadoes in the midwest, and states wracked with drought. Here's a closer look.

Tornadoes

There was nothing tremendously out of the ordinary about the tornadoes that hit Dallas, but climatologists were concerned about the spate of twisters that swept through Kentucky, Indiana, and three other states in early March. Those tornadoes killed 39 people and exacted untold property damage to homes and buildings across the region.

And tornado season doesn't usually begin until April, leading climate scientists to link the warmer weather to earlier (and potentially longer) seasons. Here's Joe Romm:  read more »

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