We Know What You Are Doing

I Know What You Did 5 Minutes Ago is a comedy routine by a man named Tom Scott based on the privacy settings people have (or lack thereof to be more exact) on their social networking sites.  You would be amazed at the information people make public: phone numbers, check-ins at their own home, whether they are currently home or not, mother’s maiden name, how much they hate their boss, etc.

This video was the inspiration for 18 year old Callum Haywood to start a website called We Know What You Are Doing, that queries Facebook’s Graph API and outputs the results.  The raw JSON output can be found here.

Image

The lesson to be learned is simply know your own privacy settings.  Make sure everything is set to what you want.  Don’t make everything public.

A Women’s Fight For VBAC

I read this article while surfing through my Facebook page, which is what I find myself doing a lot because of my battle with Chronic Pain.  I am at home a lot, mostly stuck in bed on a heating pad after 10 years of trying to get a proper diagnosis and proper treatment and battling with doctors and discrimination and mistreatment.

The subject of this story is not related to Chronic Pain but I find the struggle the same: doctors do not always have YOUR best interest at heart.

I also related to the story of Gina Crosley-Corcoran and the birth of her son Jules because I am a new mother with a 3 month old baby and I made a decision to let my doctor induce labor for the ridiculous reasoning that the baby was getting too big.

The idea is the same.  Knowledge is power when it comes to your own medical care, whether that be the desire to experience a vaginal birth after having a C-Section or advocating for the best care for chronic pain in spite of being a recovering addict.

Here is the story of Gina and her husband John and what they had to go through to fight for the most natural thing a woman’s body can do on its own if you allow it to happen.

Jules Micheal Birth Story on The Feminist Breeder

The following is a video narrated by John (the husband) about his side of the story.

Related Articles:

Fighting For A VBAC 

Julie Deardorff at the Chicago Tribune

Women Struggle to Avoid Serial C-Sections

Chelsea R. Robbins and Allison Stevens of Medill News Service

 

High-Resolution Image Of Earth From Electro-L Satellite

Model of Russian Meteorological satellite Elec...

Model of Russian Meteorological satellite Electro-L at CeBIT 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The site offers a zoomable and rotatable photo of the planet Earth taken by a Russian weather satellite called Electro-L.  The photo and video are made up of the highest resolution images ever taken of Earth.

The satellite is in orbit 36, 000 km above Earth’s equator.  It snaps a picture every 30 minutes at resolutions up to 121 megapixels.  60 miles of the Earth’s surface is packed into every pixel.

What is different about this interactive photo is that NASA usually makes an image from an amalgam of several photos.  These images taken by Electro-L show different things than NASA photos have  been able to show.  The images are a combination of visible and near-infrared wavelengths, depicting the Earth in a way not visible to the human eye.  For example, the orange in the picture shows vegetation.

Earth Photo: High-Resolution Image of Earth From Electro-L Satellite on Huffington Post.

Below are some videos:

Northern Hemisphere

Southern Hemisphere

A Day in the Life of a Lioness: Lots of Nuzzling

One of the newer devices used to peer into the lives of animals is the “Crittercam.” Crittercams are affixed, for a time, to individual animals, as close to eye level as possible so you gain the animal’s point of view. In the National Geographic video that follows, you’ll get to know — for a few moments, anyway — what it’s like to be a lioness in Kenya, as you see what she sees in a normal day.

Use Your Outside Voice | The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy: Protecting nature. Pre...

Image via Wikipedia

Use Your Outside Voice | The Nature Conservancy.

More information at the above link.

The spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives disproportionately cuts conservation programs by 90-100%. While conservation and environmental programs should shoulder a fair portion of the burden of the budget reductions needed to reduce our national debt, disproportionate cuts run counter to America’s long bi-partisan tradition of protecting land and water for people and nature.

These are programs that protect the health and safety of the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and habitat for America’s plants and animals. These are the programs that protect our national parks and landmarks, our national wildlife areas, our coasts and waterways.

There is another link on the page that will give you information on how you can take action by calling and mailing your Representative.  There is a sample letter in case you are not used to having to write letters about saving things in this world you are passionate about.  Now is as good a time as any!!

Defenders of Wildlife: Compromised the Battle but the War is Not Over

Northern Rockies Wolf Settlement

Message from the President of Defenders

Dear fellow Defenders of Wildlife,

Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife
Rodger Schlickeisen
President
Defenders of Wildlife

Since last fall, it has become increasingly likely that Congress would pass legislation that would be disastrous for wolves and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although Defenders has steadfastly opposed that legislation, we became convinced that the only real hope of stopping it was to reach a settlement of the litigation we brought in 2009 successfully challenging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s illegal decision to remove federal protection from wolves in the Northern Rockies.

Accordingly, on March 18, 2011, we joined with nine other conservation organizations in filing with the U.S. District Court in Montana a settlement agreement we negotiated with the Interior Department. Like any settlement agreement, this one is a compromise, but one that we are convinced was necessary to help avert what could easily be the most disastrous assault on the ESA since that monumental law took effect nearly four decades ago. We are also convinced that, if the agreement is approved by the court and all parties live up to their responsibilities, it will provide a path in which wolves will continue to recover in the Northern Rockies and science, not politics, will prevail.

Whatever happens now, we will continue to lead the effort both for wolves and the ESA going forward. Below you will find more detailed answers to questions about the settlement and what our next steps will be to ensure the long-term future of wolves across the Northern Rockies.

All of us at Defenders of Wildlife are extremely grateful for your continued support in our ongoing efforts to save America’s wolves.

Sincerely,
Rodger Schlickeisen

Frequently Asked Questions About the Settlement

Why are you settling?

As we entered the current congressional session, the politics surrounding this issue could not have been worse. Since August 2010, when a Montana federal court restored ESA protections for wolves across the Northern Rockies, anti-wolf sentiment in the region has continued to grow. In particular, anti-wolf extremists have provoked political responses from state governors and the Idaho and Montana congressional delegations, including federal legislation to permanently remove Northern Rockies wolves from the protection of the ESA.

Though we were able to block bad wolf bills last session, pressure continues to mount in Congress to resolve the issue through legislation. Barring some alternative resolution of the controversy, wolf delisting language would almost certainly be included in any final bill to fund the federal government this year. In an effort to avert damaging legislation that would not only be very harmful to wolves but would establish a very dangerous precedent of political interference with species protection under the ESA, Defenders pursued a settlement agreement with the Interior Department that will allow for wolf recovery to continue and eliminate the rationale for legislation delisting wolves.

What would happen if Defenders didn’t settle?

At the very least, we would expect Congress to pass legislation that would reinstate the same 2009 wolf delisting rule that was struck down twice by the courts, allowing Idaho and Montana to resume killing wolves without any additional scientific safeguards to ensure the long-term survival of the species and without any legal recourse against it.  If that’s not bad enough, other bills have been introduced that seek to permanently delist wolves throughout the Northern Rockies, including Wyoming, and throughout the entire lower 48 states. This means wolves in Washington, Oregon and Utah would have no federal protection whatsoever, even though populations there have just started to recover. And wolf recovery in the Southwest, where there are currently only 50 Mexican gray wolves remaining in the wild, would effectively grind to a halt.

What does the settlement mean for wolves now?

If approved by the Montana federal court, this settlement will allow wolf recovery to continue across the Northern Rockies, especially in places like Wyoming, where an adequate state management plan has yet to be approved, and Oregon, Washington and Utah, where wolves have only started to recover. Idaho and Montana will be allowed to resume managing wolf populations within their states, but with critical scientific safeguards in place to make sure wolves are protected, including monitoring and independent scientific review. Now it’s up to Idaho and Montana to hold up their end of the bargain and demonstrate that they can manage wolves responsibly. If they fail to do so, wolves could once again be placed under the protection of the ESA.

What are the terms of the settlement?

The agreement reached will provide a critical scientific safety net that will allow wolves to be delisted in Idaho and Montana while retaining protections across the rest of the region. The Interior Department will help ensure that the states are adequately managing wolves by monitoring the status of wolves in Idaho and Montana on an annual basis. After three years, the Interior Department will also seek an independent scientific review of the status of wolves in the region to more clearly define what constitutes a viable and genetically connected wolf population in the Northern Rockies. Finally, when Wyoming develops a wolf management plan that meets the requirements of the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue a new delisting rule based upon the best available science.

What are the next legal steps?

If the court accepts the terms of the settlement, wolf management will be returned to state fish and wildlife agencies in Idaho and Montana. If the court does not accept the terms of the settlement, wolves will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act throughout the Northern Rockies as they are currently, but only so long as Congress does not adopt delisting legislation.  We would expect that, if the settlement agreement is not approved, anti-wolf sentiment would continue to grow, making it nearly inevitable that Congress would adopt damaging delisting legislation.

How will Defenders continue to protect wolves?

Regardless of what happens with this settlement, Defenders will continue fighting to ensure the successful long-term recovery of wolves across the Northern Rockies. We will continue to oppose efforts by anti-wolf extremists to strip vital protections for wolves where the long-term survival of the species is still in jeopardy. And we will also continue to work closely with ranchers to develop and implement the tools and techniques they need to coexist with wolves, including expanding our program into Oregon and Washington where wolves have only recently returned.

If the settlement is approved, we are prepared to work together with the states to make sure sustainable wolf populations are maintained. Idaho and Montana have made commitments in the past to manage wolves responsibly and we plan to hold them to their word. And if populations are ever threatened with serious decline in the future, we will petition the federal government to restore ESA protections once again.

If the settlement is not approved, we will continue to oppose federal delisting legislation and work toward a solution that protects the long-term recovery of the species and upholds the scientific principles of the Endangered Species Act.

What can you do to help wolves now?

We need your support now more than ever. This settlement provides a path forward that upholds the scientific principles of the ESA and ensures continued wolf recovery across the Northern Rockies. But we need to send a strong message to Congress that legislating away protections for wolves is the exact WRONG approach. For many years, the American people, and members of Defenders of Wildlife in particular, have shown support for wolf recovery and protecting imperiled wildlife. Please, continue to tell Congress that you support wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and the Southwest, and you oppose any efforts to place politics above science in the conservation of endangered species.

Protecting Livestock, Saving Wolves

The Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Coexistence Partnership is demonstrating ways that conservationists and ranchers can work together to protect livestock and save wolves by avoiding and minimizing conflicts.

The program helps prevent conflict between imperiled wolves and humans by supporting the use of nonlethal deterrents and best management practices, including:

  • Range riders or cowboys to protect livestock
  • Guard dogs to alert herders and range riders of nearby wolves
  • Portable fencing or fladry (brightly colored flags strung across a rope or electrified wire that scare wolves) to secure livestock overnight
  • Nonlethal hazing techniques, such as shining bright lights or firing a loud starter pistol, to drive off wolves
  • Good husbandry practices, such as removing carcasses, which attract wolves
  • Moving livestock to grazing pastures away from wolf dens

Check out our video above, Keeping Wolves out of Harm’s Way, to see some of these successful techniques in action.

The program works directly with landowners and communities to:

  1. reduce conflicts between wolves and humans;
  2. keep wolves from being unnecessarily killed by agencies in response to human conflicts; and
  3. increase general acceptance of wolves across the landscape.

What Defenders Is Doing

To date, Defenders has implemented wolf and livestock co-existence projects throughout wolf ranges in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta, and Oregon. These include four major range rider projects in key corridor wolf conservation areas: northwestern Montana (connecting the USA and Canadian northern Rockies); Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in southeastern Montana and northwestern Wyoming; and, most recently, the first ever rider project in northeastern Oregon.

Our project partners include ranchers, state and federal agencies, livestock associations, and other conservation organizations.

How Climate Change Became A “Liberal Hoax”: Big Business vs. Science

Photograph of Noam Chomsky

Image via Wikipedia

The sixth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions.

Linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky talks about the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and other business lobbies enthusiastically carrying out campaigns “to try and convince the population that global warming is a liberal hoax.

 

 

Wildlife Conservation Society: Tigers in Peril

A Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Wildlife Conservation Society: Tigers in Peril.

The link leads to an interactive map of 42 identified tiger-friendly habitats or “source sites” across 9 Asian countries.

Whereas tigers once roamed much of Asia, today they occupy just 6 percent of their available habitat.

Only 1,000 out of approximately 3,200 of the remaining population are breeding females.

Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Russia are the 9 out of 12 countries, where the tiger remains wild, that the Wildlife Conservation Society are working with.

Each source site is represented by a dot on the interactive map.  Each gives more detailed information on the conditions and circumstances in those areas.

Current threats to tigers can be put in two major categories:

Poaching and Retributive Killing

Illegal hunting and poaching are primarily to blame for the depleted population. Tigers are among the most sought-after victims of the wildlife trade. On the black market, a whole tiger is worth less than the sum of its parts. While its skin might sell for $10,000, its bones and body parts can fetch double or even triple that amount. Once sold, tiger parts often end up on pharmacy shelves as medicines and dining tables as delicacies across Asia.

“Once tigers are taken from the wild, they are smuggled across multiple borders through an elaborate illegal network en route to their final destination,” says Chantal Elkin, former director of the wildlife trade program at Conservation International. “There is a desperate need to strengthen political will to increase protection of tigers in their habitat and root out these trade networks.”

Tigers are prized for their distinctive striped skins and nearly every body part imaginable. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that consumption of tiger parts is good for a person’s health. For instance, joint pain and stiffness are treated with medicines containing tiger bones, and virility with tiger genitals. Tiger bone liquor is also available on the Chinese market, and tiger skin and fur are commonly used in decorative clothing and other luxury goods.

Habitat Loss and Fragmentation

Tigers that have been spared by the trade face yet another threat: loss of their home. In recent years, Asian countries have begun clearing entire forests to meet the needs of growing populations and economies. As a result, tigers now are forced to roam around landscapes that are too small and fragmented to support their prey.

What is especially worrisome about the decline of tigers is that it’s occurring despite the animal’s legal protection. In every country where tigers exist are laws that prohibit their hunting, poaching, and international trade. However, weak law enforcement and inadequate security at tiger sanctuaries is failing to safeguard the exquisite animal.

Domestic trade in tiger parts is banned in both India and China, yet tiger farms still operate in China, and some have expressed interest in seeing the ban lifted. CI is collaborating with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as TRAFFIC and Save the Tiger Fund, to protest lifting the ban. The joint NGO group aims to set the record straight about the pitfalls of reopening trade and its harmful impacts on farmed and wild tigers.

Trade bans have been extremely effective when properly enforced, as demonstrated by the recovery of Russia’s Siberian tiger population. An international effort by NGOs and Russian authorities to secure safe habitat for the tiger has succeeded in stabilizing its population for the last decade. Increased habitat and patrolling have also helped protect wild tigers in Indonesia through a program supported by the CI-administered Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.

These achievements show that education and targeted enforcement of laws and protected areas can save lives. And with so few tigers left in the wild, every animal counts.