Monday, April 30, 2012

Overweight Pets. Tigers. Poachers. Jaguars. Possum. Fire Goats. Guar. First Pres. Louisiana Purchase. Women's Prison. Cancer Benefit.

For "Mammal Monday":

If Your Pet is Overweight, Please Stay Away from These "Fixes"
like if I was a dog/cat.

Story at-a-glance:  "Pet food manufactrers continue to try convince consumers their too-heavy dogs and cats can lose weight by being stuffed full of grains and fiber-filled pet food.   The goal of many pet weight management formulas is to create a temporary feeling of fullness in dogs and cats so they won't beg for food. This takes the heat off owners who don't want to say no to a begging pet.

One company has even gone so far as to invent a bizarre ingredient that when added to pet food impedes digestion so the animal feels full longer.   And the gimmicks being employed! There's a 'meal replacement' drink for cats that contains not a scrap of animal protein. And then there's the 'weight management' dog food loaded with seven different kinds of grains and a special 'fat-burning' ingredient.   Parents of overweight pets would be wise to steer clear of the ever-evolving gimmicky 'weight loss' products appearing on store shelves. Almost without exception, these formulas contain as much if not more of exactly the type of food that is making pets fat in the first place."

By Dr. Becker: "As pets keep getting fatter, pet food companies get ever more creative developing 'weight management' formulas to peddle to uninformed consumers.  It's a discouraging trend, since most of these special formulas consist of the same inappropriate, low quality ingredients that contribute to pet obesity in the first place.   And in fact, these foods actually contain more of exactly the wrong type of nutrition for overweight pets ... or any pet.

The Goal: Fool Pets into Thinking They're Full

According to, one of the goals of pet food companies is to develop formulas for overweight dogs and cats that create a feeling of fullness or satisfaction.  Per the article, inducing satiety is important because, "... as long as the pet doesn't act hungry we will be less likely to give in and overindulge begging behavior."  And according to one pet food manufacturer, studies show overweight dogs fed 'fiber-enhanced' foods consume fewer calories and appear less hungry.

So if I understand this correctly, the goal is to stuff carnivorous dogs and cats full of species-inappropriate fiber rich food so they won't act hungry, and in turn, their owners won't overindulge them.  This thinking is so wrong on so many levels I'm not sure where to begin.

Let's just say I'm adamantly opposed to intentionally feeding companion animals biologically inappropriate nutrition, so their owners don't have to deal with begging behavior or the temptation to overfeed their pets.

Certainly if we have an overweight pet we can find the energy and ambition to feed our dog or cat the nutrition she was designed to eat, in reasonable portions?   And certainly we can muster the patience to ignore begging behavior (which is typically temporary when ignored) for the sake of our pet's health?
Read more at:

Sumatra's Last Tigers
The Sumatran tigers are the  "A National Geographic production broadcast on ABC Nightline looked at a spate of tiger attacks on humans in 2009, and asked why such attacks might be happening. According to conservationists like Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs, hungry tigers will occasionally turn to people out of desperation, as their forest homes and prey dwindle. The pressures on Sumatran tigers have become so severe, only 400 of these top predators remain in the wild."
View Here:

Jail Time for Thailand's Tiger Poachers
Cellphone poachers
The sentencing of two tiger poachers marks a major turning point in Asia’s war against wildlife crime. WCS helped apprehend the pair last summer after authorities discovered a cell phone with images of a dead tiger.

"The evidence for their crime was grim: Two poachers posed proudly over the corpse of a tiger, shotguns in hand. Thai park guards found the photos on one of the poachers' cell phones last summer. After examining the images more closely, WCS conservationists confirmed the cat was one they had been tracking in the Western Forest Complex.

Authorities arrested the poachers, using the photos to help prove their guilt. Now, Thailand is hoping to send a new warning to the criminal gangs that continue to pursue the world's last wild tigers. The two men will serve up to five years in prison, the most severe sentences for poaching ever handed down in that country."

Kaaiyana and Her Cubs "Kaaiyana," a female jaguar, and her two cubs plod through Kaa Iya National Park, Bolivia, just a short distance from the Isoso Station of the Santa Cruz-Puerto Suarez Gas Pipeline. Kaaiyana has lived in the area for at least 6 years, according to WCS conservationists who work in the region.   At more than 13,200 square miles, Kaa Iya is the largest protected area in Bolivia and safeguards the most expansive dry forest in the world. Park guards work with Gas TransBoliviano personnel to ensure the protection of wildlife, including jaguar prey, in the area.

Wildlife Conservation Society

"WCS is starting 2012 off on the right paw; a team of our conservationists was delighted to take this recent image from a craggy peak in Afghanistan’s Sarkund Valley. Although this is first image of a mother and cub taken in the region, WCS has been conserving wildlife and improving local livelihoods in Afghanistan since 2006 with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)."

Possum eating strawberries:


Goats Grazing Fire Breaks.

"California's Lake Siskiyou Campground hosts more than RVers. Hundreds of goats are browsing to maintain a 40-acre fire fuel break. The 450 caprines are efficient, inexpensive and environmentally friendly. It helps they have big appetites, too."

Goats have proven to a great tool in preventing forest fires:

Caught in the Crossroads, Trying to save a Gaur Stuck In Mud.

"Hear about the life-and-death struggles that took place one morning this spring in Northern Cambodia, where a group of shy forest denizens have found their world changed by a single, muddy road.
"The northern plains of Cambodia are home to rare wild cattle, deer, wild pigs, and elephants. These shy forest denizens travel from pond to pond and between mineral deposits, foraging as they go. With the development of new roads and settlements throughout the region, this unique landscape, often called the "Serengeti of Southeast Asia," has become increasingly fragmented. As a result, its wildlife residents face increasing risks to survival as they search for resources. And sometimes, as this photo essay shows, a single road can change everything."  More at:

On This Day:

The first presidential inauguration, Apr 30, 1789:

"In New York City, George Washington, the great military leader of the American Revolution, is inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

In February 1789, all 69 presidential electors unanimously chose Washington to be the first U.S. president. In March, the new U.S. constitution officially took effect, and in April Congress formally sent word to Washington that he had won the presidency. He borrowed money to pay off his debts in Virginia and traveled to New York. On April 30, he came across the Hudson River in a specially built and decorated barge. The inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street, and a large crowd cheered after he took the oath of office. The president then retired indoors to read Congress his inaugural address, a quiet speech in which he spoke of "the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." The evening celebration was opened and closed by 13 skyrockets and 13 cannons.

As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent." He successfully implemented executive authority, made good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously re-elected but four years later refused a third term. In 1797, he finally began a long-awaited retirement at his estate in Virginia. He died two years later. His friend Henry Lee provided a famous eulogy for the father of the United States: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Louisiana Purchase concluded, Apr 30, 1803:

"On April 30, 1803, representatives of the United States and Napoleonic France conclude negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, a massive land sale that doubles the size of the young American republic. What was known as Louisiana Territory comprised most of modern-day United States between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, with the exceptions of Texas, parts of New Mexico, and other pockets of land already controlled by the United States. A formal treaty for the Louisiana Purchase, antedated to April 30, was signed two days later."

The first federal prison for women opens, Apr 30, 1927:

"The Federal Industrial Institution for Women, the first women's federal prison, opens in Alderson, West Virginia. All women serving federal sentences of more than a year were to be brought here.

Run by Dr. Mary B. Harris, the prison's buildings, each named after social reformers, sat atop 500 acres. One judge described the prison as a "fashionable boarding school." In some respects the judge was correct: The overriding purpose of the prison was to reform the inmates, not punish them. The prisoners farmed the land and performed office work in order to learn how to type and file. They also cooked and canned vegetables and fruits.

Other women's prisons had similar ideals. At Bedford Hills in New York, there were no fences, and the inmates lived in cottages equipped with their own kitchen and garden. The prisoners were even given singing lessons.

Reform efforts had a good chance for success since the women sent to these prisons were far from hardened criminals. At the Federal Industrial Institution, the vast majority of the women were imprisoned for drug and alcohol charges imposed during the Prohibition era."


Jay and I sorted out the grooming room.  A lot of boxes had got bunged in there on the way to my attic. The attic steps are in my grooming room.  Mindi's dogs were supposed to arrive for boarding for a few days.  But that was postponed until today.

Then Jay and I went to a benefit for my ex daughter-in-law, Becky.  She has been through chemo, but now they found more cancer, so she is having a double masectomy, and is going to need help paying her insurance premiums while she was on sick leave.  I didn't know that the benefit was being held in an Ice House, and Jay felt very uncomfortable there, as he would love to have stayed there and got sloshed.  I bought a plate of the delicious BBQ, to bring home. 

On the way home, we happened to see a sign for another branch of our church, Church of God, and went back to check it out.   It is a lovely looking building, but "beauty is, as beauty does", and we will check it out next Saturday. Their services are in the afternoon, which will be better for me on Adoption Days.

Later on in the afternoon, I went back there, without Jay, and made another donation to the fund.  But I couldn't stay, the band was playing so loud that you couldn't hear yourself think.  I don't think I would want to go to another Ice House, the big doors are open, so there was no air conditioning on.    Not my kind of enjoyment at all.  

I didn't buy a drink, as I was driving, and I don't like to be around a bunch of drunks. It just reminds me of the loss of  my other granddaughter to a drunk driver.  So I didn't stay long.

But I did see Michelle, Becky's daughter, my granddaughter, so that made my day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Earth Day. Becoming a Better HUSBAND. Dachau. Will and Kate. Revival.

For "Scripture Sunday":

Earth Day and Common Sense

"Common sense and practicality will outlive political movements and trendy packaging of any color, including "green."

"Green" articles pop up everywhere! Some are practical, while others are political.

They cover everything from how to conserve resources to how to be more "earth friendly." The launch of this latest flurry of environmental emphasis in the U.S. press seemed to coincide with the release of a major film documentary proclaiming the theory of global warming.

imageApril 22 was the annual Earth Day celebration in the United States. The holiday was created by 1960s American legislation. On Earth Day an insert in my local newspaper, produced by USA Weekend, outlined a collection of tips to make a home more eco-friendly. Articles suggested ideas for recycling materials, planting organically, saving water and replacing less energy efficient appliances.

Although the packaging is recent, the practical ideas behind conservation are not. In the era of American history known as the Great Depression, a massive stock market slide in the fall of 1929 precipitated nearly a decade of poverty and penny pinching for average citizens. My grandparents lived through this era, and the practicalities they learned as children stayed with them throughout their lives.

They grew a half-acre garden in their backyard to produce the bulk of their vegetable and fruit needs for the year—the epitome of eating locally. Grandma canned and froze her fruit and vegetables, raised chickens and used chicken manure to fertilize the next year's garden.

Grandpa didn't waste anything and would turn off the hose if one of the grandkids decided to play too long in the sprinkler. They built most of their home and outbuildings themselves and reused scraps of metal and wood whenever they served the purpose. My grandparents primarily used renewable resources such as trees, which grow back.

My grandparents were being "green," but they didn't call it that then. They called it "common sense." Living within your means, conserving your resources and taking advantage of nutritious whole foods God created to be eaten from the land was the sensible thing to do. Their generation faced hard times and needed to be self-sufficient.

God instructed humankind, through Adam and Eve, to tend and keep the earth and to have dominion over all the creation (see Genesis 2:15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it). But there is a definite line between common sense conservation and extreme environmentalism.

Extremism tends to venerate the creation above the Creator. This breaks the first of the Ten Commandments: Have no other gods before the true God (see Exodus 20:3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Ultimately the creation belongs to God, and He will use it or dispose of it as He wishes. To learn more about that, read "Superdisasters: Growing Weather Danger."

Quite amazingly, in the course of future events the earth itself will be recycled by incineration to make way for a new earth of far greater quality and splendor. Our task now is to tend and keep the earth and care for others in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ and the ultimate renewal of the planet."  From:

Becoming a Better HUSBAND

"Husbands and future husbands have a great responsibility. How can we do a better job in this essential biblical role?

Disclaimer time. I’m not claiming to be a great husband. As my wife and I celebrate the 27th anniversary of our engagement this week, I marvel at her patience and support and endurance through my mistakes and quirks and sins. I also know that I need to improve. Hence this Bible study.

As far as the hokey acrostic, well, the Bible used acrostics as memory aids, and maybe this one will help me remember these seven points.

So, what does the Bible say about husbands and becoming a better one?Wedding photo with advice for the husband.

Honor her

“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

Showing honor is important in all relationships (1 Peter 2:17) and should be learned in the home as we honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Honor is especially important—and difficult—in the marriage relationship. It’s easier to show honor to someone you rarely see. But when we see our mates at their worst state and when our little quirks and differences begin to grate on each other over time, it is more difficult to always show honor and respect.

God made us men crave and need honor. So by the principle of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), we should also give honor.

The same goes for help. God made women to help men (Genesis 2:18), and He would expect us to help our wives as well. Helping our wives is another way of showing them honor.

Understand her

Okay, that may sound like an impossible task. Physics genius Stephen Hawking has pondered the secrets of the universe, but says that women “are a complete mystery.”

But the apostle Peter instructs husbands to “dwell with them with understanding” (1 Peter 3:7).

The Nelson Study Bible explains it this way: “A Christian husband should be intimately aware of his wife’s needs, her strengths and weaknesses, and her goals and desires. He should know as much about her as possible in order to respond in the best way to her.”


God created sex to strengthen the marriage bond. It is part of making two people into “one flesh,” and it is intended to be a pure, honorable relationship with no shame (Genesis 2:24-25; Hebrews 13:4). But Satan and his society have done their worst to pervert and tarnish sex and marriage.

Our wives must know that we will do nothing to hurt them or cause them shame. Sex is not about self-fulfillment, but about tenderly and patiently caring for your mate.


I’m not talking about 007, but about a gluelike bond. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, He asked if they hadn’t read, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).

“Leave means ‘to abandon’; joined to means ‘to be glued to’” (Nelson Study Bible). We must build a strong, unbreakable bond with our wives. This doesn’t mean we should be inflexible. In fact, this strong bond requires the utmost flexibility and gentleness.

Always be faithful

Marriage is a commitment and a covenant with our wife and with God. We must always be faithful in every way, even in our minds (Matthew 5:28).

Never fail to love

LOVE acrostic on photo of a husband carrying his wife.We must not give in to the marriage killers that suck love out of marriage: envy, pride, rudeness, self-seeking, being easily angered, thinking evil or being entertained by sin (including pornography).

It’s interesting that in his description of what love is, Paul listed all these things it is not (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).

Delight in her always

Express your devotion, admiration and desire; rekindle the romance (Song of Solomon 7:6; Proverbs 5:19). Life isn’t all about fun and entertainment, of course, but God encourages rejoicing and giving joy to others. A husband should bring happiness to his wife (Deuteronomy 24:5).

We must endure the trials of life, but we should also enjoy! Celebrate the blessing of marriage often!"

Posted by Mike Bennett on April 19, 2012.  Mike Bennett asked Becky to marry him April 19, 1985, and is extremely grateful she said yes! He wants to let the world know how wonderful life is with her in his life!

For more about marriage and being a husband, see:
Who Can Find a Faithful Man?”
 The Toughest Challenge:
and Miracles of Life!  


On This Day:

Dachau liberated, Apr 29, 1945:

"On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army's 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany's Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division.

Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was situated on the outskirts of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees.

Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and later for German armaments production. The camp served as the training center for SS concentration camp guards and was a model for other Nazi concentration camps. Dachau was also the first Nazi camp to use prisoners as human guinea pigs in medical experiments. At Dachau, Nazi scientists tested the effects of freezing and changes to atmospheric pressure on inmates, infected them with malaria and tuberculosis and treated them with experimental drugs, and forced them to test methods of making seawater potable and of halting excessive bleeding. Hundreds of prisoners died or were crippled as a result of these experiments.

With the advance of Allied forces against Germany in April 1945, the Germans transferred prisoners from concentration camps near the front to Dachau, leading to a general deterioration of conditions and typhus epidemics. On April 27, 1945, approximately 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to begin a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee, far to the south. The next day, many of the SS guards abandoned the camp. On April 29, the Dachau main camp was liberated by units of the 45th Infantry after a brief battle with the camp's remaining guards.

As they neared the camp, the Americans found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp."

Britain's Prince William weds Kate Middleton, Apr 29, 2011:

"On this day in 2011, Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. Some 1,900 guests attended the ceremony, while another 1 million spectators lined the streets of London and an estimated 2 billion people around the world watched on television.

The couple, who once married became the duke and duchess of Cambridge, honeymooned in the Seychelles, before returning to Wales, where William resumed his duties as a helicopter pilot."

This morning's program on WGN:
Genuine, God-centered revival involves vital changes in one's thinking and actions. Learn how you can experience true spiritual renewal.    Watch this program, read the transcript and request the free Bible Study aid booklet "Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion" at

Watch Beyond Today on WGN America on Sundays at 8:30 AM EST. (Find a station in your area - )


Usual slow start on a Saturday, drinking coffee, tending to emails, chatting with my daughter, but then some other phone calls delayed me, and it became a mad scramble to be ready for church on time.

Jay and I both enjoyed the service, and it was a lovely day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

News: African Water. Losing Internet. Hyper-Miler. Monk Killer. Bounty MutinyMussolini.

News, Some New , Some Old:
Africa Groundwater Maps Could Help Improve Access To Water (VIDEO)
 Africa Water Shortages  "Hissaeni Abdoulaye, 46, center, washes his face with water from an animal trough, after using a donkey to pull it up from a well which took twenty men a week to dig by hand, in a wadi near Tchyllah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, Thursday, April 19, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under 5 in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) Access to clean water remains a problem for millions in Africa, but new research suggests that there may be hope. Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London have mapped the quantity and potential yield of groundwater across the entire continent, explained PhysOrg."

"They estimate that Africa's groundwater totals about 0.66 million cubic kilometers, which means the continent has over 100 times more water underground than on the surface. The study's authors calculated the groundwater using a database they compiled of "existing national hydrogeological maps as well as 283 aquifer studies from 152 publications."

The vast quantity of water could mean the potential for relief for the estimated 300 million Africans lacking access to safe drinking water, but it may not be easy. Reuters notes that the groundwater reserves are "no panacea" for Africa, but they could help "to cope with an expected sharp increase in demand for water as the continent's population increases." More at:  and
Over 300,000 worldwide could lose Internet access by July
(AFP) - "The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned on Monday that more than 300,000 Internet users worldwide could lose their Web access starting in July following a multimillion-dollar scam.

But users can breathe a sigh of relief as a solution is just a few clicks away at, a website the FBI created so people could check whether they have been infected with malware and remove any malicious software.

Six Estonians were arrested on charges of fraud in November after a two-year FBI sting - Operation Ghost Click - into the group's practice of infecting computers around the world with their DNS Changer malware, which made the machines vulnerable to viruses. A Russian collaborator remains at large.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that up to 568,000 computers were infected with the malware, which redirected users to fraudulent websites.   Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, "we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system" without creating a bigger mess than before.   To check and clean computers:
From: and

These hyper-miler driving tips can substantially increase your fuel mileage.
ford_fusion_hybrid-300x157M"Maybe you’re not a believer that adopting conservative driving habits can actually increase your mileage in a meaningful way, consider this test that Ford recently conducted. They assembled a team consisting of a NASCAR driver, an engineer, and a hyper-mileage record breaker to see how many miles they could wring out of a tank of gas in a stock Ford Fusion Hybrid. Driving on open roads they got 1,445.7 miles out of one tank of gas. One tank! That works out to an astonishing 81.5 mpg.

You won’t get those kinds of extraordinary results driving your 40-foot diesel pusher or pulling your Excel Limited fiver with five slides, but they proved that you can stretch your mileage–no matter what you drive. And you can too, by taking a few tips from the team and applying some version of them to your driving habits.

Slow down and maintain even pressure on the throttle.

Accelerate gradually, both from a stop and when entering a freeway.

Brake smoothly, avoiding fast stops.

Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to.

Coast up to red lights and stop signs to avoid wasting fuel (using your kinetic energy) and wear on the brakes.

Minimize using heater and dash air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine.

Run roof air and close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills.

Use downhill momentum, rather than applying accelerator, to build speed back up.

More at:

Another Hawaiian Monk Seal is Found Dead on Kaua‘i
"The illegal, intentional killing of endangered Hawaiian monk seals unfortunately continues. Another monk seal has been found dead on a northeastern beach on Kaua‘i. Known to researchers as RA16 and nicknamed “Noho,” the seal was born and raised in the waters around Kaua‘i. Hawai‘i state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA Fisheries has classified it’s death as “suspicious” and are investigating the killing. For those of us trying to save these critically endangered marine mammals, this is distressing news.

Hawaiian monk seal in its native habitat. Vanderlip.

"Since November, three monk seals have died of intentionally inflicted head injuries on the islands of Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i. A fourth killing is still being investigated. The most recent killing brings the toll to five now, but locals suspect more are being killed off shore, never to be discovered. It is a federal crime to kill or harm a federally listed endangered species. Non-governmental organizations, including NWF’s Hawai‘i state affiliate, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, have offered rewards for information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible."  From:

On This Day:
Mutiny on the HMS Bounty, Apr 28, 1789:
"Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty is seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master's mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti.

In December 1787, the Bounty left England for Tahiti in the South Pacific, where it was to collect a cargo of breadfruit saplings to transport to the West Indies. There, the breadfruit would serve as food for slaves. After a 10-month journey, the Bounty arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 and remained there for more than five months. On Tahiti, the crew enjoyed an idyllic life, reveling in the comfortable climate, lush surroundings, and the famous hospitality of the Tahitians. Fletcher Christian fell in love with a Tahitian woman named Mauatua.

On April 4, 1789, the Bounty departed Tahiti with its store of breadfruit saplings. On April 28, near the island of Tonga, Christian and 25 petty officers and seamen seized the ship. Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him. By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had apparently handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles. Bligh returned to England and soon sailed again to Tahiti, from where he successfully transported breadfruit trees to the West Indies.

Meanwhile, Christian and his men attempted to establish themselves on the island of Tubuai. Unsuccessful in their colonizing effort, the Bounty sailed north to Tahiti, and 16 crewmen decided to stay there, despite the risk of capture by British authorities. Christian and eight others, together with six Tahitian men, a dozen Tahitian women, and a child, decided to search the South Pacific for a safe haven. In January 1790, the Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island, an isolated and uninhabited volcanic island more than 1,000 miles east of Tahiti. The mutineers who remained on Tahiti were captured and taken back to England where three were hanged. A British ship searched for Christian and the others but did not find them.

In 1808, an American whaling vessel was drawn to Pitcairn by smoke from a cooking fire. The Americans discovered a community of children and women led by John Adams, the sole survivor of the original nine mutineers. According to Adams, after settling on Pitcairn the colonists had stripped and burned the Bounty, and internal strife and sickness had led to the death of Fletcher and all the men but him. In 1825, a British ship arrived and formally granted Adams amnesty, and he served as patriarch of the Pitcairn community until his death in 1829.

In 1831, the Pitcairn islanders were resettled on Tahiti, but unsatisfied with life there they soon returned to their native island. In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands, which includes three nearby uninhabited islands, was incorporated into the British Empire. By 1855, Pitcairn's population had grown to nearly 200, and the two-square-mile island could not sustain its residents. In 1856, the islanders were removed to Norfolk Island, a former penal colony nearly 4,000 miles to the west. However, less than two years later, 17 of the islanders returned to Pitcairn, followed by more families in 1864. Today, around 40 people live on Pitcairn Island, and all but a handful are descendants of the Bounty mutineers. About a thousand residents of Norfolk Island (half its population) trace their lineage from Fletcher Christian and the eight other Englishmen."

Mussolini is executed, Apr 28, 1945:
"On this day in 1945, "Il Duce," Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.

The 61-year-old deposed former dictator of Italy was established by his German allies as the figurehead of a puppet government in northern Italy during the German occupation toward the close of the war. As the Allies fought their way up the Italian peninsula, defeat of the Axis powers all but certain, Mussolini considered his options. Not wanting to fall into the hands of either the British or the Americans, and knowing that the communist partisans, who had been fighting the remnants of roving Italian fascist soldiers and thugs in the north, would try him as a war criminal, he settled on escape to a neutral country.

He and his mistress made it to the Swiss border, only to discover that the guards had crossed over to the partisan side. Knowing they would not let him pass, he disguised himself in a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, hoping to slip into Austria with some German soldiers. His subterfuge proved incompetent, and he and Petacci were discovered by partisans and shot, their bodies then transported by truck to Milan, where they were hung upside down and displayed publicly for revilement by the masses."


Misty and I went to get Jay, and after we had walked the dogs, we did a few more jobs around my place.  

One thing we did, was to make some partitions for two PCs in the desk we are making.  

I don't know if I like having all this mess of a work station decorating my living room, but at least I can look through the screen porch, and watch the vehicles and walkers go by.  As long as the weather is nice, I can have the patio door open to the fresh air. That's Prime, my foster cat laying out there on the porch.

Jay washed my van, it needs to look spiffy, as it is going somewhere for the next three days.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do You Want Neotame or Aspartame With That? Dieting. Solvents in Baby Food. Discharged Union Soldiers Die.

For "Foodie Friday": “
"I finally figured out why I'm fat! The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my body says ‘for extra volume and body.’ I'm going to start using dish-washing detergent. It says ‘dissolves fat and grease that is otherwise difficult to remove.”


Aspartame and Neotame—a Dieters WORST Enemy?

"One of the most effective marketing and PR tactics for artificial sweeteners has been the claim that they help in the battle against obesity. Unfortunately, they don't. In fact, the research and the epidemiologic data suggest the opposite is true, and that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and neotame tend to lead to weight gain.

As I've often said, there's more to weight gain or weight loss than mere calorie intake.

One reason for aspartame and neotame's potential to cause weight gain is because phenylalanine and aspartic acid – the two amino acids that make up 90 percent of aspartame and are also present in neotame -- are known to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are intricately involved with satiety and fat storage. Insulin and leptin are also the primary hormones that regulate your metabolism. So although you're not ingesting calories in the form of sugar, aspartame and neotame can still raise your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels, in turn, are two of the driving forces behind obesity, diabetes, and a number of our current chronic disease epidemics.

Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it, just as your body can become resistant to insulin, and once that happens, your body can no longer "hear" the hormonal messages instructing your body to stop eating, burn fat, and maintain good sensitivity to sweet tastes in your taste buds. So, you remain hungry; you crave sweets, and your body stores more fat... Leptin-resistance also causes an increase in visceral fat, sending you on a vicious cycle of hunger, fat storage and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more.

Neotame Added to Cattle Feed to Fatten Livestock...

If you want more proof that artificial sweeteners like neotame are not a dieter’s best friend, consider this: neotame is actually used as a substitute for molasses in cattle feed. The product is marketed as “Sweetos” in India. The makers of Neotame, in partnership with an Indian health care company called EnSigns Health Care Pvt Ltd, introduced the neotame-laced cattle feed sweetener back in October 2010ix. According to the press release:

“Sweetos is an economical substitute for molasses. Sweetos guarantees the masking of unpleasant tastes and odor and improves the palatability of feed. This product will be economical for farmers and manufacturers of cattle feed. It can also be used in mineral mixture,” said Craig Petray, CEO, The NutraSweet Company, a division of Searle, which is a part of Monsanto.

... “We are in talks with the animal husbandry department to reach out to farmers and are trying to tie up with extension services with co-operative societies as well. Cattle consume more fodder when mixed with Sweetos. This product has great export potential as well," said Mohan Nair, chairman, Ensigns Health Care.” [Emphasis mine.]

This brings up several disturbing facts... Not only are some countries now producing animal products that are potentially laced with neotame residues, but they’re clearly stating that the “diet” sweetener increases the amount of fodder consumed by the animals, so how exactly is it supposed to help you lose weight? Loss of appetite control is never a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight, and the statement made about Sweetos fodder speaks volumes about neotame’s impact on your appetite.

Why is Neotame Dangerous?

That said, my recommendation for neotame is similar to that for aspartame, which is: avoid it at all costs if you care about your health. Neotame is like aspartame on steroids, so while you want to avoid both, neotame appears to be more toxic. One way of avoiding all artificial sweeteners is to purchase foods bearing the USDA 100% Organic label. I don’t believe there’s any reason to suspect organic foods will contain neotame.

I’ve previously expounded on the many health dangers of aspartame, and all of those dangers apply equally to neotame. But as if aspartame wasn't bad enough, NutraSweet “improved" the aspartame formula by adding 3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde, which blocks enzymes that break the peptide bond between aspartic acid and phenylalanine, thereby reducing the availability of phenylalanine. This eliminates the need for a warning on labels directed at people who cannot properly metabolize phenylalanine.

Neotame is also more stable at higher temperatures than aspartame, so it’s approved for use in a wider array of food products, including baked goods.

However, one of the byproducts your body creates by breaking down aspartame is formaldehyde, which is extremely toxic to your health even in very small doses. Furthermore, in a search of, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which has over 11 million medical citations, neotame fails to include any double-blind scientific studies on toxicity in humans or animals. If neotame was indeed completely safe to ingest, you would think the NutraSweet Company would have published at least one double-blind safety study in the public domain?

Well, they haven't... Why not?

In and of itself, 3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde is categorized as both highly flammable and an irritant, and carries risk statements for handling including irritating to skin, eyes and respiratory system. Does this sound like something that belongs inside your body?"  Complete article at:

For more information about the toxicity and history of aspartame.  
"Health Foods" to Avoid:     Video:

The Sneaky Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

Shocked woman weighing herself - Royalty Free Stock Photo
"You've been dieting and dieting for what feels like forever. So why isn't the weight coming off faster? You may be getting tripped up by one of these all-too-common diet pitfalls. "Sometimes people think they're doing everything right, but they're actually doing something wrong," said Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show." Here, Dr. Oz explains how to avoid these common missteps and get the scale moving in the right direction again.

You rely on "healthy" foods that really aren't. You'll find all kinds of foods at the supermarket that seem great for dieting because they're labeled "fat-free" or "light." But these items are actually loaded with other ingredients, such as added sugars or sodium, that aren't particularly diet friendly. "Those head-fake foods really get me angry because they don't help you," said Dr. Oz. Beware of these foods in particular: More at:

Why is this Organic Baby Food Stuffed With Toxic Solvents?

"Biotech company Martek is under fire for nondisclosure of non-organic manufacturing processes of their infant formula additives, DHA and ARA, which have made their way into numerous infant formulas, including some bearing the USDA Organic Seal

Martek’s DHA and ARA products are synthetic attempts at omega-3 fats, chemically extracted from algae and fungi that have never before been part of the human diet

These infant formula additives, never USDA approved, have been heavily processed and chemically treated with solvents like hexane, and modified with the use of recombinant DNA techniques, all of which are supposed to be disallowed in organic products

There are hundreds of adverse reaction reports filed with the FDA about infants suffering severe gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and diarrhea after consuming formula with these additives

Political shenanigans and powerful corporate lobbyists threaten the quality and safety of your products, including a recent increase in the tolerated level of pesticides in American products" 
Article and video at:


On This Day:

Union soldiers die in steamship explosion, Apr 27, 1865:

The steamboat Sultana explodes on the Mississippi River near Memphis, killing 1,700 passengers including many discharged Union soldiers.  The Sultana was launched from Cincinnati in 1863. The boat was 260 feet long and had an authorized capacity of 376 passengers and crew. It was soon employed to carry troops and supplies along the lower Mississippi River.

On April 25, 1865, the Sultana left New Orleans with 100 passengers. It stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for repair of a leaky boiler. R. G. Taylor, the boilermaker on the ship, advised Captain J. Cass Mason that two sheets on the boiler had to be replaced, but Mason ordered Taylor to simply patch the plates until the ship reached St. Louis. Mason was part owner of the riverboat, and he and the other owners were anxious to pick up discharged Union prisoners at Vicksburg. The federal government promised to pay $5 for each enlisted man and $10 for each officer delivered to the North. Such a contract could pay huge dividends, and Mason convinced local military authorities to pick up the entire contingent despite the presence of two other steamboats at Vicksburg.

When the Sultana left Vicksburg, it carried 2,100 troops and 200 civilians, more than six times its capacity. On the evening of April 26, the ship stopped at Memphis before cruising across the river to pick up coal in Arkansas. As it steamed up the river above Memphis, a thunderous explosion tore through the boat. Metal and steam from the boilers killed hundreds, and hundreds more were thrown from the boat into the chilly waters of the river. The Mississippi was already at flood stage, and the Sultana had only one lifeboat and a few life preservers. Only 600 people survived the explosion. A board of inquiry later determined the cause to be insufficient water in the boiler--overcrowding was not listed as a cause. The Sultana accident is still the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history."


I am trying to remember what we did yesterday! This posting late has got to stop!  Oh! We installed the rest of the under cabinet lights, but one will just be temporary until I find a different kind.  Then we worked some more on the computer desk that we are custom making for me.

I spent more time trying to find out what is broken between Live Writer and my blog, it still won't publish from Live Writer, so I had to use Blogger again, today.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tight Campsites. Thermistor. Flip Flap. Runaway Trailer. RV Turning Point.Chernobyl

For "tRaVersing or RV Day":

Try these two easy tips for squeezing into tight campsites

You will find many of the most scenic, nature-focused, and nesty campgrounds in national and state forests and parks. They often are the least developed, with small pads (but with lots of space), crowded by trees, rocks, bushes, or other natural objects.

But that's why many of us choose these campgrounds, we would rather be crowded by trees and bushes than by too-close neighbors. But these campsites do at times test our space perception and back-and-fill abilities when squeezing into a tight campsite.

Before you begin the campsite entering phase, pace the site to verify that you have enough room to get in. Know your vehicle's length--from behind the stuff you hang off the back to the space you want or need in front (to clear the road plus some extra). Make sure that any overhang you have will clear posts or rocks at the rear of the campsite (placed there to prevent damage to the plants and trees behind the campsite--yes, campers have been known to back right over them).

Once you get in, but before you unhitch your trailer or fiver, or level your motorhome, measure the distance between the edge of your slide to the closest obstruction. Make sure you look up as well, trees do lean--and usually toward your rig. An easy and quick way to do this is to use a length of some stiff object, like a long-handled brush or squeegee, broom, or awning wand--which we all have.

Set up the wand (or whatever else you use) first by using it to measure the distance your slide extends and mark the place on the wand with electrical or duct tape. Measure and verify all your slides have room to extend before committing to the site. If you have different length slides, be sure to mark each one of them on the wand. You can check all the slides for clearance in less than a minute, which will save you much more time than having to re-position once you have already un-hitched and set up."  From:

RV Refrigerator Thermistor Positioning,   Posted by RV Doctor

"We have a Norcold N841 refrigerator. Please tell us where the thermistor should be on the fins." Roger G., (Florida City, FL)

"Roger, counting from right to left, the thermistor should be attached to the 10th fin. (I love these short and to the point questions! But now what do I do with all this white space?)

Probably a good place to remind everyone to check the outside vent(s) for the refrigerator. Clean in and around the burner area and make sure nothing is blocking the vents through the side wall of the RV (as pictured), or the roof vent if so equipped.   The rear of the refrigerator requires good air circulation!"
Keep the sun out of your eyes with the Flip Flap 2-Way Jumbo Extension Sun Visor

Driving directly into the setting sun is an uncomfortable--and hazardous--experience, for which many motorhome sun visors are not up to the job. Enter the Flip-Flap.

No this is not the flip flop that political candidates accuse each other of, but a unique visor design that allows for easy adjustments with one hand--as long as you are not texting with the other hand.

The Flip-Flap is perfect for large motorhome windshields. It clips onto your existing sun visor to give you added protection from the sun´s rays by flipping down to put a shaded acrylic visor--the equivalent of sunglasses for your motorhome--in front of your squinting eyes.

The acrylic visor extension also swings to the side when those annoying rays are burning in over your left shoulder.    Dyers RV and Accessories offers the Flip-Flap for $33.98.

Joke of the week

Q. Did you hear about the new "divorced" Barbie doll that they're selling in stores now?

A. It comes with all of Ken's stuff.     
Bumper Sticker of the week:

Hitch up tips to prevent runaway trailers

For a "heart sinking into your stomach" experience, there's nothing like looking in the rear view mirror and finding your travel trailer isn't there. Friends of ours recall one such occasion when theirs "got loose" and rolled off the road and into the brush. There's was a"good" experience of a runaway trailer--nobody got hurt and the damage was minimal. But every year innocent folks are killed by runway trailers. How can you ensure your travel trailer trip comes off "without a hitch"? Start with safety at the hitch.

The correct equipment is at the heart of the matter. The hitch ball on the two unit must not only be the correct physical size to match the trailer hitch, but needs to be able to tote the weight of the trailer. There are three different sizes of hitch balls, 1 7/8", 2", and 2 5/16".

The smallest might be found on a lightweight pop-up trailer; the 2" are typically used on mid-sized trailers, and the largest--well, sure enough, on large trailers. The large size hitch balls have different weight capacities, and you need to be sure the capacity of the ball is greater than the total weight of your loaded trailer. You MUST match the size of the hitch ball on your tow rig to the size required by the coupler. Go with too small a hitch ball is to invite a disaster.

Hitch balls attach to the tow vehicle with a nut and lock washer. The larger the ball, the greater the torque required for a safe attachment. The hitch ball mounts through a drawbar and the thickness of the drawbar determines how long the shank, or threaded portion of the hitchball, needs to be. Rule of thumb: At least one thread should be visible beneath the lockwasher and nut when the ball in installed in the drawbar.

When installing a hitchball the philosophy of "just throw a wrench on it and tug" isn't a safe one. If in doubt, have a hitch shop attach your tow ball. Trailer couplers need to be kept lubricated with grease. We prefer lithium grease, and we keep our hitch ball greased and we cover it with a ball cover when not in use.

When hooking up, you'll need to spot the ball directly under the trailer coupler. Set the coupler in the open or loose position and make sure the clamp inside the coupler is open. If you haven't hitched up in a while, or the coupler isn't well lubricated, the coupler clamp may not open properly. Lower the coupler onto the hitch ball. Some couplers have lever that slides shut to indicate the clamp has closed down over the ball. Don't take it for granted, a physical inspection--looking or feeling to make sure the coupler clamp is securely clamped around the bottom of the hitch ball essential. If it isn't, the only thing holding your trailer and tow rig together is gravity, and a bump in the road will break you loose in a hurry.

Next, connect the safety chains securely to the trailer hitch or tow rig by crossing them underneath the coupler in a X formation. That is, the trailer's left chain should attach to the tow rig to the right of the hitch and vice versa. Safety chains should only be long enough to allow for tight turns; if they're longer they may not work if there is a breakaway. Don't allow the safety chains to drag the ground.

Hooking up the breakaway switch lanyard is critical. If the trailer does break loose and the safety chains fail, the breakaway switch system should activate the trailer brakes, stopping the trailer. Make sure the lanyard is long enough for tight turns--we've watched one RVer lockup their trailer brakes pulling a tight corner after an improperly routed lanyard pulled the safety switch open.

The breakaway system only works if the trailer battery is charged and the brakes are adjusted properly. You can test this in an empty section of a parking lot. With your rig hitched up, pull the breakaway switch open and drive forward with a spotter walking beside the rig. The trailer brakes should literally lock up if adjusted properly. From:

How to avoid the number one cause of RV insurance claims

Mark Polk with RV Education 101 shows you how to avoid damaging your RV while driving. MBA RV Insurance reports that its leading claims result from driving mishaps at gas stations. In this short video, Mark shows you how to avoid making the mistakes that lead to these needless and often costly mishaps.      Showing the turning point of RVs.
On This Day:

Nuclear explosion at Chernobyl, Apr 26, 1986:

On this day in 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident to date occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in Ukraine. The full toll from this disaster is still being tallied, but experts believe that thousands of people died and as many as 70,000 suffered severe poisoning. In addition, a large area of land may not be livable for as much as 150 years. The 18-mile radius around Chernobyl was home to almost 150,000 people who had to be permanently relocated.

The Soviet Union built the Chernobyl plant, which had four 1,000-megawatt reactors, in the town of Pripyat. At the time of the explosion, it was one of the largest and oldest nuclear power plants in the world. The explosion and subsequent meltdown of one reactor was a catastrophic event that directly affected hundreds of thousands of people. Still, the Soviet government kept its own people and the rest of the world in the dark about the accident until days later.

At first, the Soviet government only asked for advice on how to fight graphite fires and acknowledged the death of two people. It soon became apparent, however, that the Soviets were covering up a major accident and had ignored their responsibility to warn both their own people and surrounding nations. Two days after the explosion, Swedish authorities began measuring dangerously high levels of radioactivity in their atmosphere.

Years later, the full story was finally released. Workers at the plant were performing tests on the system. They shut off the emergency safety systems and the cooling system, against established regulations, in preparation for the tests. Even when warning signs of dangerous overheating began to appear, the workers failed to stop the test. Xenon gases built up and at 1:23 a.m. the first explosion rocked the reactor. A total of three explosions eventually blew the 1,000-ton steel top right off of the reactor.

A huge fireball erupted into the sky. Flames shot 1,000 feet into the air for two days, as the entire reactor began to melt down. Radioactive material was thrown into the air like fireworks. Although firefighting was futile, Pripyat's 40,000 people were not evacuated until 36 hours after the explosion. Potentially lethal rain fell as the fires continued for eight days. Dikes were built at the Pripyat River to contain damage from contaminated water run-off and the people of Kiev were warned to stay indoors as a radioactive cloud headed their way.

On May 9, workers began encasing the reactor in concrete. Later, Hans Blix of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that approximately 200 people were directly exposed and that 31 had died immediately at Chernobyl. The clean-up effort and the general radioactive exposure in the region, however, would prove to be even more deadly. Some reports estimate that as many as 4,000 clean-up workers died from radiation poisoning. Birth defects among people living in the area have increased dramatically. Thyroid cancer has increased tenfold in Ukraine since the accident.

The radiation that escaped into the atmosphere, which was several times that produced by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was spread by the wind over Northern and Eastern Europe, contaminating millions of acres of forest and farmland. An estimated 5,000 Soviet citizens eventually died from cancer and other radiation-induced illnesses caused by their exposure to the Chernobyl radiation, and millions more had their health adversely affected. In 2000, the last working reactors at Chernobyl were shut down and the plant was officially closed."

Some of my under cabinets lights in the kitchen were giving me trouble, so Jay and I took them out, and were replacing them with a different type.  We were doing that when Jay had the bright idea that his ATV would fit in my van.   So we stopped what we were doing, loaded it, and took it 3 1/2 miles to the repair shop.
Still no positive results for trying to find out why Live Writer won't post to my Blogger, even after spending more time on that in the afternoon.
We left the rest of the light installation for another day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Masked Antpitta. Cranes Head North. New Fishing Technology. Suez Canal. Hubble.

For "Winged Wednesday":

Masked Antpitta

Masked Antpitta by Oswaldo Maillard

"A shy antpitta hops around in the dense understory of a riverside forest along the Beni River in the Amazon Basin of northern Bolivia. Perched on a vine on its long, pinkish legs, it sings out to advertise its presence. Although it behaves much like other antpittas, this bird, the Masked Antpitta, is found only in a tiny area, and is vulnerable to extinction.

Asociación Armonía, ABC’s partner in Bolivia, recently completed a study of this little-known species, conducting population surveys and documenting the first nests.

Although the full results of this work are not yet published, it suggests that current population estimates and threat status are a bit too optimistic. Instead of being classified as Vulnerable, with populations exceeding 2,500 individuals, Armonía estimates a smaller population between 500 and 1,000 individuals with a smaller range, and suggests that the Masked Antpitta be reclassified by IUCN as Endangered.

This study will help focus future efforts on creating a protected area for the Masked Antpitta, which currently lacks any habitat protection."

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Cranes head north; Operation Migration granted permission to continue flights

CHASSAHOWITZKA — The nine wayward whooping cranes that made up Operation Migration's Class of 2011 have begun their migration north, and, despite earlier concerns, they won't be the organization's last.

creatures to head north

Some of the birds were supposed to fly to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the Panhandle, and others to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, straddling Citrus and Hernando counties. It was the first time the migration was cut short in the 11 years that a coalition of organizations has worked to reintroduce migratory whooping cranes to the eastern United States.

The young birds spent the past two months at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, Ala., learning how to exist in the wild alongside other whooping cranes and sandhill cranes.

The other wild birds started their migration weeks ago. On Thursday morning, ultralight pilot Brooke Pennypacker reported to an Operation Migration staff member: "(The whooping cranes) are gone. I watched them thermal and climb higher and higher for the past hour and they're now out of sight. Be safe."

At last report, the cranes were already within 10 miles of one of their Kentucky migration stops." From:


New Fishing Technology Will Dramatically Reduce Seabird Bycatch in Ecuador's Hake Fishing Industry

Waved Albatrosses by Dan Lebbin(Washington, D.C., April 19, 2012) American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the leading U.S. bird conservation organization, and Ecuadorian Partner Equilibrio Azul have developed a new technology that will dramatically reduce seabird bycatch in the Ecuadorian hake fleet. The hake fishery and associated bycatch is one of the most significant threats to the Critically Endangered Waved Albatross.

The new technology, called the Medina System, represents a major breakthrough in seabird bycatch mitigation in small-vessel bottom-set longline fisheries. Bycatch occurs when the fishing lines are being set behind the fishing boats or being pulled in and albatrosses and other seabirds grab the bait and become impaled on the barbed hooks, either in their bills, bodies, or wings. Dragged under the surface, the birds are unable to free themselves and drown. Others are still alive as the line is hauled, but often injured or maimed when they are set free. With demand for ocean fish at an all-time high, hundreds of thousands of albatrosses and other seabirds are killed in this way each year.
Other seabirds that will likely experience reduced bycatch mortality from the new technology and outreach efforts could include Blue-footed Boobies, Shy Albatrosses, Buller’s Albatrosses, and the endangered Pink-footed Shearwaters and Parkinson’s Petrels.

Hake are bottom-dwelling fish that occur at the edge of the continental shelf waters. The fishery is dominated by small vessels in relatively concentrated fishing areas, where up to ten vessels may be in sight of each other, each setting weighted lines of roughly 400 hooks. The Ecuadorian fishermen usually fish through daylight hours, making 3-5 fishing sets per trip. Both the set and haul are attractive to albatrosses and other seabirds, which sometimes attack baited hooks as they enter the water, and sometimes attack the hake themselves as they are hauled in, or take used bait as it is discarded. The process of hauling hake gear is complicated by the fact that the swim bladders of bottom-dwelling fish swell as they are lifted through the water column, which in turn lifts the weighted gear and causes it to float on the surface at great distances from the boat. Incidences of bird bycatch are troubling to fishermen, because they are either losing bait—or their catch—to the birds.

Working with our partners, Australian seabird bycatch expert Nigel Brothers, and the fishermen, the team developed the “Medina” setting system, tailored specifically for the Ecuadorian hake fishery. Instead of tossing the hooks into the sea one-by-one, the Medina system allows hooks to slide off of small metal bars, using the speed of the boat to pull the hooks. This new system reduces the set time by 80% – from about

This new system reduces the set time by 80% – from about  20 minutes to less than four – and allows the captains to maintain the speed of the boat and therefore tension on the line, which further reduces the float time of the baited hooks. The system is embraced by local fishermen because it is inexpensive, saves bait, is easy to use, and is manufactured locally.   More and video at:

On This Day:
Ground broken for Suez Canal, Apr 25, 1859:

"At Port Said, Egypt, ground is broken for the Suez Canal, an artificial waterway intended to stretch 101 miles across the isthmus of Suez and connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French diplomat who organized the colossal undertaking, delivered the pickax blow that inaugurated construction.

Artificial canals have been built on the Suez region, which connects the continents of Asia and Africa, since ancient times. Under the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, a channel connected the Bitter Lakes to the Red Sea, and a canal reached northward from Lake Timsah as far as the Nile River. These canals fell into disrepair or were intentionally destroyed for military reasons. As early as the 15th century, Europeans speculated about building a canal across the Suez, which would allow traders to sail from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, rather than having to sail the great distance around Africa's Cape of Good Hope.

The first serious survey of the isthmus occurred during the French occupation of Egypt at the end of the 18th century, and General Napoleon Bonaparte personally inspected the remains of an ancient canal. France made further studies for a canal, and in 1854 Ferdinand de Lesseps, the former French consul to Cairo, secured an agreement with the Ottoman governor of Egypt to build a canal. An international team of engineers drew up a construction plan, and in 1856 the Suez Canal Company was formed and granted the right to operate the canal for 99 years after completion of the work.

Construction began in April 1859, and at first digging was done by hand with picks and shovels wielded by forced laborers. Later, European workers with dredgers and steam shovels arrived. Labor disputes and a cholera epidemic slowed construction, and the Suez Canal was not completed until 1869--four years behind schedule. On November 17, 1869, the Suez Canal was officially inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony attended by French Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Ferdinand de Lesseps would later attempt, unsuccessfully, to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. He died in 1894.

When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom, and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface. Consequently, fewer than 500 ships navigated it in its first full year of operation. Major improvements began in 1876, however, and the canal soon grew into the one of the world's most heavily traveled shipping lanes. In 1875, Great Britain became the largest shareholder in the Suez Canal Company when it bought up the stock of the new Ottoman governor of Egypt. Seven years later, in 1882, Britain invaded Egypt, beginning a long occupation of the country. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 made Egypt virtually independent, but Britain reserved rights for the protection of the canal.

After World War II, Egypt pressed for evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal Zone, and in July 1956 Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal, hoping to charge tolls that would pay for construction of a massive dam on the Nile River. In response, Israel invaded in late October, and British and French troops landed in early November, occupying the canal zone. Under pressure from the United Nations, Britain and France withdrew in December, and Israeli forces departed in March 1957. That month, Egypt took control of the canal and reopened it to commercial shipping.

Ten years later, Egypt shut down the canal again following the Six Day War and Israel's occupation of the Sinai peninsula. For the next eight years, the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai from the rest of Egypt, existed as the front line between the Egyptian and Israeli armies. In 1975, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat reopened the Suez Canal as a gesture of peace after talks with Israel. Today, an average of 50 ships navigate the canal daily, carrying more than 300 million tons of goods a year."

Space telescope Hubble in orbit, Apr 25, 1990:

"The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope, a long-term space-based observatory, into a low orbit around Earth.
The space telescope, conceived in the 1940s, designed in the 1970s, and built in the 1980s, was designed to give astronomers an unparalleled view of the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. Initially, Hubble's operators suffered a setback when a lens aberration was discovered, but a repair mission by space-walking astronauts in December 1993 successfully fixed the problem, and Hubble began sending back its first breathtaking images of the universe.

Free of atmospheric distortions, Hubble has a resolution 10 times that of ground-based observatories. About the size of a bus, the telescope is solar-powered and orbits Earth once every 97 minutes. Among its many astronomical achievements, Hubble has been used to record a comet's collision with Jupiter, provide a direct look at the surface of Pluto, view distant galaxies, gas clouds, and black holes, and see billions of years into the universe's past."


Another late post.   Still fussing and fuming with Live Writer most of the afternoon. In the morning, Jay and I went shopping to replace some items in the workshop, and as I was so disgusted at my new printer for not working that I popped in the back door of Walmart, and bought another one.   I couldn't make it work on wireless, so it has a cord going to my computer.  I was able to copy the papers that I needed, and print the others off my computer, so I got the forms in the mail today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area, Texas. 150 Mile Tornado. Hostages.

The Lone Star Coastal National

For "Travel Tueday":

A national recreation area,  APRIL 2012

Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area, Texas

"This proposed recreation area spans four counties along the Gulf Coast of Texas and offers visitors a little bit of everything—from world-class bird-watching, to recreational fishing, to Civil War history. The area's undeveloped coastal lands can serve as a natural sponge absorbing storm water during extreme weather, as researchers discovered after Hurricane Ike in 2008, which ultimately means a safer environment for those living along the coast. Plus, the park would only incorporate land from voluntary participants, putting private property proponents at ease. These many advantages have led to strong bipartisan support for conserving these beautiful beaches, marshes, plantations, and historical sites.

Learn More »    Watch the Slideshow »   "

On This Day:

Tornado flattens towns in Louisiana and Mississippi, Apr 24, 1908:

"A single tornado travels 150 miles through Louisiana and Mississippi, leaving 143 dead in its wake. In total, 311 people lost their lives to twisters during the deadly month of April 1908 in the southeastern United States. Another 1,600 were seriously injured.

Two of the locations worst hit by the single extraordinary tornado on this day were Amite, Louisiana, and Purvis, Mississippi. In Amite, the tornado was 2.5 miles wide as it touched the ground, killing 29 residents. In Purvis, 55 people were killed and 400 were injured.

Tornadoes on average travel four to eight miles along the ground at about 60 miles per hour. This one traveled more than 150 miles. Though large, it is not nearly the most impressive on record—a 200-mile-long tornado was recorded on one occasion.

In the United States, it is rare that a single tornado kills more than 50 people, although a series or grouping of related tornadoes sometimes causes such damage. The death rate from tornadoes has plunged since this 1908 disaster. Until the World War II era, public warnings were very rare. During the war, spotters were used to protect ammunition plants and, when the war ended, this system was adapted for use as a civilian-warning system.

It is estimated that 15,000 people in the United States lost their lives to tornadoes in the 20th century.
The most deadly twisters now take place in the densely populated nations of India and Bangladesh, the only other area in the world besides North America where the climate conditions regularly cause these dangerous storms."

Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster, Apr 24, 1980:

"On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation and agreed to release non-U.S. captives and female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the U.S. government. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and the April 1980 hostage attempt ended in disaster. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan, and soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the United States and Iran. On the day of Reagan's inauguration, January 20, 1981, the United States freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the 52 hostages were released after 444 days. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet the Americans on their way home."


Maddie, the little Yorkie that I was boarding, was picked up on Sunday, I was finally free to get the things I had wanted to pick up last Wednesday.   But  it was too late to go to the DG store and Petsmart then, so I went yesterday.

Still haven't been able to resolve the Live Writer and Blogger feud, and it takes so much longer to draft in Blogger.  If I try to copy and paste an article, the pictures don't copy with it, and I have to go hunting them. Then they won't stay where there are put, and it gets very frustrating.   So it just doesn't get done the way I like.  Videos won't embed, so I just have to put the link to let y'all click on them.  It has taken all the fun out of blogging. 

Then I had some important papers to copy, and print from my computer, but the new All-in-One w/fax quit working.  I spent so many hours on that, that there was no time to draft this blog.       That is why it is late today.