Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rules Protecting Endangered Sharks Strengthened

Pretty much anytime people are "attacked" by sharks, the animals are simply exploring their environment, with their mouths (since they don't have arms or hands), as dogs do.

Unless you are already dead (carrion), likely sharks'll leave you alone (to bleed to death, but that's not their fault, is it?) after the first taste. I think people taste bad to 'em, given the amounts of shit we absorb daily. The WaPo reports:
Lawmakers have passed a landmark shark conservation bill, closing loopholes that had allowed the lucrative shark fin trade to continue thriving off the West Coast.

The measure - which the Senate passed Monday and the House passed Tuesday morning - requires any vessel to land sharks with their fins attached, and prevents non-fishing vessels from transporting fins without their carcasses. The practice of shark finning, which is now banned off the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico but not the Pacific, has expanded worldwide due to rising demand for shark's fin soup in Asia.

"Shark finning has fueled massive population declines and irreversible disruption of our oceans," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the bill's author, in a statement. "Finally we've come through with a tough approach to tackle this serious threat to our marine life."

Both Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam), who sponsored the House version, and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Fla.), spoke in favor of the bill Tuesday before it was adopted under suspension of the rules. It now awaits President Obama's signature.

"Some things are just worth waiting for," said Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist for the advocacy group Oceana. "Now we can all be a little less afraid for sharks."
Related stories:
Threatened species, but there's still hope

Atlantic Ocean sharks get new protections

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Pit Bull Blues" by John Shipe...

I love this song, but that's 99% because I love these dogs. They used to be Americas Nanny Dog. Don't get me started...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Annual Christmas Bird Count Begins Today

Unlimber those digits, pull the lens-caps off those birding glasses and get ready:
It’s finally here. The day you’ve been awaiting: The start to the 111th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Between now and January 5, 2011, birders across the country and North America will get out their binocs (if you need a pair, check out this handy guide we ran last year), open their guides books, and start tallying up the birds. It’s not as simple as writing down every bird that crosses your path during this two-week period. Here’s, how it works, from the National Audubon website:

Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBCs are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day.

Still have unanswered inquiries about the count? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page. Or, if you’re not sure how to find a count in your area, click here. Finally, want to read about some CBC extremes? Check out the Nov-Dec 2010 Audubon.
This is a worthy effort. I have known MANY 'birders' who basically live for thie yearly fortnight.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ten American Whiskeys that Made the World News in 2010 a Bit Less Unbearable

By Phil Gourevitch (The New Yorker:
What can you say about a year in which self-styled American patriots made tea their drink of choice—nay, worse, their drink of identity? Tea! Where does tea come from? China. India. Burundi. The best you can say about this tea-partying year is that it’s almost over. And while you say it, reach for a glass of something both righteous and indigenous, American whiskey—a great bourbon, or a great rye. We’re coming to the close of a decade of incessant chatter about American decline, but—even as our wars dragged on and our global reputation grew sketchier and our economy cratered and our legislators grew ever more insupportable—one thing that America has been getting better and better at is making world-class whiskey, single-barrel and small-batch stuff of the first order. And yet, as a foreign correspondent, I have always had to bring my own with me, because—American hegemony be damned—try finding a proper Kentucky bourbon or rye alongside Johnny Walker and J&B in the bars of Kampong Cham, Cambodia, or the cabarets of Kisangani, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or even in most caf├ęs in France.

You can read elsewhere about their hints of leather and clove, vanilla or citrus, and the hot and the sweet of their finish on the tongue. Sure, that’s all there, I suppose. But if the world is too much with you and you just want to know what to sip when masked gunmen take hostages, or what to turn to when those hostages are released, what bourbon is so balanced that it can serve as an antidote to watching a stolen election, and what rye is rye enough to bring you relief when you’re reminded of Kim Jong Il’s finger on the missile-launch buttons—I’m going to tell you my ten favorite, not-too-hard-to-find-in-America indigenous whiskeys, and let you match them to the occasion according to your tastes. None of them costs much more than a night of beers at most American bars. And all of them, one by one, or taken together, could immunize you forever against tea-partying.
1. Four Roses, Single Barrel
2. Noah’s Mill
3. Rowan’s Creek
4. Russell’s Reserve
5. Pappy Van Winkle, 15 year
6. Michter’s Rye
7. Blanton’s
8. Baker’s
9. Sazerac Rye
O.K.—so that’s nine, but it feels like ten…
On the less expensive side: Don't overlook Evan Williams Black Label: 86 proof, yet smooth, with body and a lovely back-flavor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All My Dogs Have Always Acted Like It Was Auto-Matic

But if, for example, you are with your first dog this year, nd s/he and you may be a bit nervous, these tips are jolly good. Here's the first FIVE (of 20; nobody said dog-travel was easy; just fun); go to the LINKEE for the remainder:
1: Remember safety first, if you don't have a large window boot in your car, your dog will have to travel on a seat. Purchase a dog safety seat and it will be safer and more comfortable for your dog if your turn or stop the car suddenly.

2: If you do have a large window boot, put up a wire grid to stop your dog jumping over the back of the seats, most cars have a wire grid already installed.

3: Line the boot with dog blankets or place his bed in the corner so he can nap comfortably on the journey. Most dogs find sleeping an easy way to cope with motion sickness.

4: Let a puppy or new pet become accustomed to riding in a car gradually. Begin by allowing your dog to wander around your car with the motor off. Then start with short trips until you and your dog become familiar with traveling by car together.

5: Do not feed your dog just before the trip. Feed him at least a few hours before. You don't want to make your dog car sick.