The agency that oversees the city’s airports has added the majestic snowy owl to the list of birds it kills to protect airplanes from bird strikes. The Port Authority’s “wildlife specialists” started exterminating the owls Saturday, killing three at JFK Airport with a shotgun, a Port Authority source said.
The snowy owl — widely familiar to children as Hedwig, the beloved pet of boy wizard Harry Potter — was added to the kill list after one of them, nesting on top of a taxiway sign on an airport runway and got sucked into an airplane turbine.
“These are beautiful birds that I or anyone else I know who has worked at JFK have never heard pose a problem,” the source said. “Even a wildlife specialist didn’t understand why they were being killed because they are not part of a large population and they are easy to catch and relocate, unlike seagulls.”
The Port Authority has fewer than five of the specialists, who are armed with shotguns filled with birdshot, the source said. The agency didn’t return calls seeking comment on the snowy owls slayings….
Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute in Montana, said a snowy owl showed up at an airport in Hawaii during the owls’ last big showing south of their home about two years ago. The powers that be at the airport also took aim at the raptor that appeared to be too tired to take flight. “There’s good arguments on both sides,” Holt said. “But if I made the choices I’d say let’s go out there and capture and release them.”
That’s exactly what Norman Smith of the Massachusetts Audubon Society does at Logan International Airport in Boston. Smith has been catching and releasing the animals since 1981 and has caught 20 so far since about November. That’s more than most other years at the same point. “The airport has been very supportive about trying to trap these birds humanely and relocate them rather than shoot them,” Smith said. “It’s a challenging experience because one thing you don’t want to do is jeopardize safety.”
(via NY Daily News)
This is totally unnecessary when owls can be trapped and relocated.
Spanish Moth (Xanthopastis timais)
…a species of owlet moth (Noctuidae) that ranges from the eastern/ central United states (although they are rare everywhere other than Florida), through Mexico into Central America and South America. X. timais larvae generally feed on spider lilies (Liliaceae) and members of Amaryllidaceae. They also have been seen on Figs (Ficus sp.) and even iceberg lettuce! Adults tend to fly from November-May and their food source remains unknown.
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the time, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit—and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
He wrote those words more than 70 years ago, yet the conditions he describes still ring true for 50 million Americans living in food insecure households today… . Hungry families do not have enough food… [but] not because of scarcity. Every year 40% of food produced goes uneaten. That’s 20 pounds of food per person per day. And that is the twisted irony of hunger in America today. What Steinbeck called that crime that goes beyond denunciation, landfills brimming with rotting food while 15% of households don’t have enough to eat.
Constructing Memories of the Future on Flickr.
1/1000, f/4, HP5, Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 on A-1. HC-110, 1:150, 55min @ 18C semi stand.
Branch Brook Park, home to the Lady in White
In a battle that pits the East Coast against the Midwest over the winds that carry dirty air from coal plants, the governors of eight Northeastern states plan to petition the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to force tighter air pollution regulations on nine Rust Belt and Appalachian states.
The East Coast states, including New York and Connecticut, have for more than 15 years been subject to stricter air pollution requirements than many other parts of the country. Their governors have long criticized the Appalachian and Rust Belt states, including Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, for their more lenient rules on pollution from coal-fired power plants, factories and tailpipes — allowing those economies to profit from cheap energy while their belched soot and smog are carried on the prevailing winds that blow across the United States.
All the governors on the petition are Democrats. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, has not signed it.
The petition comes the day before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments to determine the fate of a related E.P.A. regulation known as the “good neighbor” rule. The regulation, officially called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, would force states with coal pollution that wafts across state lines to rein in soot and smog, either by installing costly pollution control technology or by shutting the power plants.
President Vladimir V. Putin dissolved one of Russia’s official news agencies, RIA Novosti, along with its international radio broadcaster on Monday, signaling a significant reorganization in state media at a time when Russia’s international reputation has faced criticism over political and human rights and Russian influence in neighboring countries like Ukraine.
The two agencies will be absorbed into a new state organization known as Rossiya Sevodnya, or Russia Today, to be led by a television executive and host, Dmitry K. Kiselyov, who has provoked controversy with starkly homophobic remarks and virulent commentary about foreign conspiracies against Russia.
Mr. Putin’s presidential chief of staff, Sergei B. Ivanov, said the decision was part of an effort to reduce costs and make the country’s state media more efficient, but RIA Novosti’s report on its own demise said the changes “appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.”
Mr. Putin’s decision appeared to catch the agencies’ employees, even their executives, by surprise. Mr. Putin made the changes by decree without prior notice or public debate, as is often the case here. The decree said that the new agency would focus on providing news about Russia to an international audience; the agency’s directors will be directly appointed by the president’s office.
The reasons behind the timing were also unclear and, to many, puzzling. RIA Novosti is one of the official sponsors of the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi in February, and its employees have been deeply involved in organizing preparations for media coverage there. Russia’s policies, including a new law prohibiting advocacy of nontraditional sexual relationships, have prompted harsh criticism from rights organizations and even some calls for a boycott of the Olympics.
“Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests,” Mr. Ivanov, a close ally of Mr. Putin, said in remarks to reporters, according to RIA Novosti. “It’s difficult to explain this to the world, but we can do this and we must do this.”
He suggested that Russia had had some difficulties with the effort to successfully explain its views abroad. “We must tell the truth, make it accessible to the most people possible and use modern language and the best available technologies in doing so,” he added.
you never left any impression on me. (and that is a lie)
A piece I created for December in Taproot Magazine’s 2014 wall calendar.
Watercolor, collage & colored pencil. Phoebe Wahl 2013.
NGC7822 by Didier CHAPLAIN & Laurent BOURGON
NGC 7822 is a young star forming complex in the constellation of Cepheus. The complex encompasses the emission region designated Sharpless 171, and the young cluster of stars named Berkeley 59. [**]