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30th July 2012

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'This is an emergency': Florida bird may soon be extinct →

I hate hearing about species that are crashing, particularly when the cause is not understood. I hope that they can get a population in a captive breeding program before it is too late. I have heard objections to captive breeding, but I think having a reserve in captivity is much better than losing a species even if it can never be fully wild again. I hope they can figure out what is going on and change the environment to give these little guys a chance. Every species is precious- even a little sparrow.

Tagged: endangered speciesconservationbirdsFlorida

Source: articles.orlandosentinel.com

24th February 2012

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Pythons Eating Through Everglades Mammals at "Astonishing" Rate? →

Growing up in the US and then moving to Australia, I generally think of America as a place where introduced pests have done most of the ecological harm possible and reached some kind of balance with the native fauna and flora while Australia’s native ecosystem is still being decimated by many introduced species. However, articles like this remind me that that is not really a true impression at all. Any ecosystem can be threatened and damaged by the right introduced pest no matter how many previous pests have already wreaked havoc.

Snakes are a particularly worrying pest because they are extremely challenging to control. It is hard to trap them because they eat infrequently and only eat live food. I looked into the complete destruction of the bird population on Guam by the Australian Brown Tree Snake and even on a small island the tree snake population has not been successfully controlled.

Tagged: snakesintroduced speciesconservationecological threatFloridanational geographic

19th October 2011

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Rick Scott Takes the Piss Out of Florida Taxpayers →

This article is a few months old, but I just ran across it when I saw the more current article on Rick Scott’s view of liberal arts majors. I have to say that I don’t completely object to the premise of this experiment though intuitively I wouldn’t put the majority of drug users on welfare anyway because drugs are expensive and welfare does not pay that well. Giving welfare recipients an incentive to not be on drugs seems like a reasonable idea though the practical implication raises some red flags in how are these impoverished people going to travel to a drug testing clinic, pay for the test, ect. Also welfare is supposed to be a safety net to assure that no Americans go without food, shelter, and warmth regardless of their addictions or perhaps that is merely my opinion. 

Anyway, while it doesn’t seem a completely horrible experiment in theory, and the point that it is costing more money that it is saving in these horrible economic times, I think it is time to acknowledge that the goal of saving money was not achieved and stop the experiment thus stopping the testing.

Tagged: drugswelfareRick ScottFloridaUS dissentmother jones

16th October 2011

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Rick Scott to Liberal Arts Majors: Drop Dead →

While I think STEM degrees offer a lot of advantages to students because you graduate with better defined skills than a lot of liberal arts majors and STEM careers in recent years have been more reliable at getting graduates higher paying jobs, I think that liberal arts majors are still important and should definitely not be eliminated. I do think that liberal arts degrees should probably include some technology and math components because it is almost impossible to get by in the modern world without computer proficiency and an understanding of math at least as it relates to finance. However, not all students are not interested in most STEM topics, and that is okay. There are a lot of places in the world for liberal arts majors and not an infinite number of jobs in the STEM fields. Cutting university funding because of bad economic times isn’t a bad thing, but attacking all liberal arts as a waste of time is pure stupidity.

I do think that students should do a basic economic analysis before they enroll in any program to make sure that it is financially viable for their situation. Having 200k of debt when you are aspiring to a 30k a year social worker position is not good math. Though it is not in the universities best interest, I think schools should track graduates and post statistics about their earnings by subject majored in to prospective students so they can do a fair economic analysis. This would show the universities strengths and weaknesses a little too clearly for their preference, I fear.

Tagged: Education BubbleFloridaRick ScottUS dissenteducationliberal artsstupidityus politicsmother jones

12th August 2011

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Orphan birds find a nurturing home at Miami nature center →

This heartwarming rehabilitation story discusses how important a good foster adult bird can be to the successful wild raising of orphaned baby birds. I am having a similar experience this year with raising noisy miner babies with an adult foster bird. Though the season is just starting my babies are much less friendly to me since they are interacting mostly with an adult of their own species instead of my having to hand feed them every few hours.

Tagged: Wildlife CaringbirdsraptorsheartwarmingmiamiFloridawildlifeMiami Herald

6th July 2011

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"Exceptional" Giant Squid Found Dying off Florida →

Giant Squid are AWESOME! I hope they can learn some useful stuff from this one.

Tagged: giant squidanimalsFloridasea lifenational geographic

31st March 2011

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Rick Scott's Medicaid Overhaul to Benefit…Rick Scott? →

Major conflict of interest between a Medicaid overhaul in Florida and the governor who sounds like a known crook.

Tagged: US dissentFloridahealthcarehealthcare reformconflict of interestsUS politicsUSMother Jones