Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.



Friday, August 25, 2006

The bodies of a Canadian soldier killed in a suicide bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan has been returned to Canada, Wednesday, the same day that the remains of a child killed by Canadian troops in the aftermath of the car bomb was returned to his family.

The soldier was killed in a suicide car bombing outside a military base two hours before the shooting took place. The 10-year old Afghan boy was riding on the back of a motorcycle when he and a teenaged driver sped to the scene of the attack, crossing a security perimeter that had been set up.

The boy’s death has angered Afghans in the area and military officials are concerned of a backlash from the incident.

The casket of Corporal David Braun, 27, was flown from Kandahar in a C-130 Hercules aircraft. He was the eighth Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan this August and the 27th Canadian killed in Afghanistan since troops were deployed there in early 2002. Three other soldiers were injured in the suicide attack on the NATO convoy but are reported to be in good condition.



Thursday, September 30, 2010

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday approved US$7.4 billion to pay for the medical bills of workers sickened or injured by the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11 attacks) on the World Trade Center in New York City, New York. The bill was passed by a vote of 268–160. Thirteen Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the bill, while three Democrats opposed the measure. Similar legislation is pending in the US Senate.

“Let’s not have any more people die because of the attacks of 9/11,” said Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York.

The bill, which will provide free health care to 9/11 workers, will be paid for by ending tax breaks for foreign corporations, was fiercely debated on the House floor, with Democratic backers of the bill proclaiming that they stood for 9/11 heroes and victims. Republicans against the bill argued that it was an entitlement program for New Yorkers and that it was another example of bloated government. “There is no excuse for this kind of legislation,” argued Texan Republican representative Lamar Smith.

The Republicans offered an alternative that would reduce funding for 9/11 workers and pay for the remainder by cutting parts of a major health care bill passed earlier this year. This measure failed 185–244.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

File:ACORN logo.png

The US community organizing group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) will end its operations due to dwindling funds. The group said in a statement that it would close most of its field offices by April 1.

The heads of the organization said in a joint statement that “ACORN’s members have a great deal to be proud of—from promoting homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation—ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.”

The group, founded in 1970, played a prominent role in the 2008 US presidential elections, as it conducted many voter registration drives and fundraising for then-Senator Barack Obama, among other Democratic candidates. The organization first became scrutinized during the 2006 mid-term elections, when some of its employees were accused of voter fraud. Matters got worse in 2009 after an undercover video revealed two of its employees giving advice on how to set up a prostitution ring and commit tax fraud.



Friday, March 25, 2005A Spotsylvania County woman, whose three dogs allegedly attacked and killed her elderly neighbor, was freed Wednesday by posting a $10,000 bond. Dianna Large, 36, received one felony charge of involuntary manslaughter and three misdemeanor charges in an indictment issued last week.

In her first appearance before a judge, she answered Circuit Court Judge William H. Ledbetter questions with simple “Yes sir.” and “No sir.” responses. The short hearing, held Thursday, formalized the charges against her. The involuntary manslaughter charge, a first in the severity of punishment being sought on a dog owner in the Virginan state of USA, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

State procecutor Wiliam Neely said that Large knowingly let her three Pit Bull dogs run free, and that an animal control agency person had warned her to keep them under better control. She also a violated a county ordinance requiring owners of dangerous dogs to post a warning sign to visitors. The prosecution also noted that none of the three male dogs were neutered.

The Animal Control Department of Virginia maintains a dangerous dog registry. It contains a list of owners whose dogs are deemed dangerous to society. The link to the registry was moved to a more prominent position on the county web page following the attack.



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byAlma Abell

How and where you dispose your waste is a matter of concern. Improper waste disposal causes massive damage to the environment and the people in general. People hire services from companies that deal in Trash Removal in Ithaca NY to take care of their trash and properly dispose it. Various companies may deal with different types of trash. Below are the types of waste managed by garbage removal companies.

Liquid waste

This type of waste comes in liquid form. Its method and place of disposal may differ from that of other types due to its nature. Liquid waste includes liquids from the drainage pipes, liquid wastes from industries and rain water. Waste water is recycled and treated and later used by people. At times, for easier disposal and other reasons, solid waste is transformed to liquid waste.

Solid waste

This refers to waste that is not liquid. It is the most commonly produced type of waste especially in homes. Examples of solid waste includes broken electronics, old carpets, waste food among others.

hazardous waste

Toxic wastes, cylinders that can easily explode, items that catch fire easily, corrosive waste among others are all referred to as hazardous waste. Generally, hazardous waste refers to that which poses a danger to the environment and its inhabitants. Each state should at least ensure that proper methods of hazardous waste disposal are observed.

Organic waste

This is waste that normally comes from plants and animals. Organic wastes are turned into manure by organisms that break it down. In places like hotels and groceries shops, organic waste is produced in large quantities.

Recyclable waste

Any waste product that can be processed and made into a new product is termed as recyclable. This may include aluminum, plastic, glass, and paper. Most garbage collectors provide their clients with separate bags or containers so that they can separate the recyclables from other waste. This makes work easier and ensures a clean environment.

By reducing, recycling and reusing waste, you will have made waste management easy to accomplish. Just keeping in mind that a clean environment starts with you will eventually change most people’s undesirable habits of improper waste disposal. For more on trash removal in Ithaca NY, click www.feherrubbish.com.



Sunday, February 13, 2005

LONDON – The big-budget Hollywood movie The Aviator and the low-budget Brit flick Vera Drake have scooped the main prizes at the 2005 Orange BAFTA Film Awards. Four gongs went to The Aviator with the top ones being Best Film and Cate Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress. Vera Drake got three gongs with Best Director, Best Actress & Costume Design. Jamie Foxx got Best Actor with Ray and Clive Owen got Best Supporting Actor with Closer.



Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple Inc. today has introduced the much-anticipated iPhone at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco.

The iPhone is claimed to be “a revolutionary mobile phone” as stated on the Apple website. The device appears to be running a mobile version of the Apple operating system Mac OSX. It is approximately the same size as a 5th generation iPod, it has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display that is used to access all features of the phone including number dial, as well as making phone calls. The iPhone plays music, movies, displays pictures and is able to connect to a wireless network.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the device by walking onto the stage and taking the iPhone out of his jeans pocket. During his 2 hour speech he stated that “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, We are going to make history today”.

Today Apple also released their Media Center device – Apple TV. It will directly compete with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system. Apple has taken a different approach to the media center market; rather than storing content (such as movies, music and photos) on the device, Apple TV connects to a computer (Mac and Windows) over a wirless network connection and plays all content stored on that computer. This makes it substantially easier for users to organize their media content.



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Alloy Wheels: Beauty or Utility?

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Maria Gini

Aesthetic reasons are dictating the increased use of alloy wheels instead of the traditional steel wheels. Alloy wheels are usually made of aluminum or magnesium and, in some cases, a combination of the two. They allow for attractive bare metal finishes, including intricate designs, which make them a sightlier option to steel wheels, which can have nasty bumps that need to be covered with a hub cap. However, since alloy wheels are pricier, it is easier to take recourse to alloy wheels repairs than replace them.

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Simple dents and scuffs on the alloy wheels can be set to rights with mobile dent repairs. Remember alloy wheels are not corrosion proof. After being in use for three years and more, they will begin to corrode. This means that the tires can start leaking air from the galvanic corrosion of the rim.

There are many expert service providers of alloy wheels repairs. Some of them can even make a battered looking alloy wheel look like new after they have refurbished it. This can entail pulling out and then aligning the edges of the rim. The paintwork is then addressed. The wheels are then painted and lacquered back to make them look like new. However, you need to make sure that the shop you have contacted actually knows or deals with alloy wheel repairs. Otherwise at the end of the day, you might end up with a wheel that looks as though it is headed for retirement, rather than having just got a fresh lease of life.

Leaving your car at the body shop for an extended period can have implications for your work and even complicate personal life and the carrying out of routine household chores. So it would make sense to look at options for mobile dent repairs. This would reduce costs of repair.

Ace finish offers car bumper scuff repair, car body repairs and alloy wheels repair in cambridge, peterborough , huntingdon, st. Ives, st. Neots.

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ArticleRich.com



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a halt to an emergency demolition on a 19th century stable and livery on 428-430 Jersey Street in Buffalo, New York that partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11, initially causing at least 15 homes to be evacuated. At least two homes remain evacuated.

Burns orders that both the city and the group Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) have to come to an agreement on what to do with the building, and try to work out ways of saving at least some portions if it including the facade, side walls and a lift tower. Save The Livery is comprised of concerned area residents who have grown to love the building’s historic and unique character. On June 14, they won a temporary restraining order to stop demolition. The court ruled that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his ruling. Burns has given the sides until tomorrow (Friday June 20) to come to an agreement and has ordered both parties to return to court at 9:30 a.m. (eastern time) “sharp.” Activists of Save The Livery urge supporters of the stable to “fill the courtroom” to show “continued and ongoing support.” The hearing is scheduled to take place at 25 Delaware Avenue in the Supreme Court building, 3rd Floor, trial part 19.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because of the buildings poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions. Many are afraid that if the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished.

On June 17, developer and CEO of Savarino Companies, Sam Savarino was at the site of the stable, discussing the building with residents and preservationists. In 2006, Savarino proposed and planned The Elmwood Village Hotel, a ‘botique’ hotel on the Southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. The project was later withdrawn after residents filed a lawsuit against Savarino and the city. Wikinews extensively covered the story, and contacted Savarino for his professional opinion on the building.

“[I would] love to see it preserved. I was there to see if there was anything we could do to help, to see if anything can be salvaged. I just want to see the right thing happen, and so does the city,” stated Savarino to Wikinews who added that he was allowed inside the building for a brief period.

“The side walls are beyond repair. The roof has rotted and it could come down at any time,” added Savarino who also said that the building “below the second floor appears to be stable.” He also states that the back wall of the building, which borders several homes, appears to be intact.

“Eliminating the back wall could be a problem for the neighbors. It is not unreasonable to leave at least 12 feet” of the back wall standing, added Savarino.

Savarino did not say if he was interested in buying the property, but did state, “I am sure there are a couple of people interested” in buying the property. On Thursday, Buffalo News reported that a “businessman” might be interested in purchasing the property, though Wikinews is not able to independently confirm the report. Savarino says that with the property still slated for emergency demolition, a potential buyer could face tax fees of nearly US$300,000.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on Thursday June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years.

The building was first owned by a company called White Bros. and was used as a stable for a farm which once covered the land around the building for several blocks. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. Servants and workers of the farm were housed inside resident quarters situated at the rear of the building on what is now Summer Street, but are now cottages where area residents currently reside. Some date as far back as 1829.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.



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