The Kids Are All Right!

❝ …when a fire alarm went off inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and teachers began screaming “Code red!” as confused students ran in and out of classrooms, Delaney Tarr, 17, knew what to do. Run to the safest place in the classroom — in this case, a closet packed with 19 students and their teacher.

❝ “I’ve been told these protocols for years,” she said. “My sister is in middle school — she’s 12 — and in elementary school, she had to do code red drills.”

This is life for the children of the mass shooting generation. They were born into a world reshaped by the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns. They talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers. With friends, they wondered darkly whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.

❝ Now, this generation is almost grown up. And when a gunman killed 17 people this week at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., the first response of many of their classmates was not to grieve in silence, but to speak out. Their urgent voices — in television interviews, on social media, even from inside a locked school office as they hid from the gunman — are now rising in the national debate over gun violence in the aftermath of yet another school shooting.

Most of our politicians – both sides of the mythical aisle – are taking their guidance from pimps for the gun industry. Not the people who specialize in sporting firearms; but, the greedy bastards who’ve grown fat over decades of taxpayer money poured into the military-industrial complex. They found a whole new market in fear-bound gun buyers. People so afraid of someone taking away their assault rifles they buy another half-dozen every time the NRA says “BOO!”

Let’s see if the kids can do it! Can they shake up the lame-ass political creeps who feel their shorts expand into safe re-election mode when that annual check rolls in the door from the NRA?

Paleoindians in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico

El Fin del Mundo
El Fin del MundoHenry Wallace

Paleoindian research encompasses a number of broad questions of far-reaching significance. Who were the first peoples to reach the Americas? When did they arrive? What was the relationship between the makers of Clovis spear points and the extinction of megafauna, such as the horse, mammoth, dire wolf, and other animals? Although these issues have long been debated, no consensus has been achieved. Big questions can persist because of in- sufficient evidence or because re- searchers have not adequately or fully interpreted the available infor- mation. A few researchers have pro- posed dramatically new ideas— such as the possibility of a comet col- liding with the earth (page 18)— and others, like Joe Cramer, have decided that these questions will be resolved only by supporting many more researchers who will generate new data. Both approaches are ex- amined in this issue of Archaeology Southwest…

“The end of the last Ice Age in North America was a time of enormous change: mile-thick glaciers were retreating rapidly, the sea level was rising, and large mammals, such as mammoths, ground sloths, camels and dire wolves would soon disappear.” Although a convergence of climate change and Paleo-Indian hunters may be a cause of the great extinction, “researchers still do not know exactly what happened.”

My own vulgate opinion is not much better informed than the average American science buff – excepting the portion of that opinion formed during the comparatively brief time I lived in the Navajo Nation plus day-to-day experience working construction trades in northern New Mexico, sometimes within one or another Rio Grande or Northern Pueblo.

I agree with that school of thought that presumes Paleoindian hunters to be the primary cause of the great extinction of large mammals from North America. Not unusual when and where human beings are part of the equation. Regardless – RTFA. It is a lovely, in-depth examination of many of the questions of the Paleoindian period in North American history.

Feds sued over copout policy on killing endangered wildlife

Mexican Gray Wolf

Environmental groups are taking the Justice Department to court over a policy that prohibits prosecuting individuals who kill endangered wildlife unless it can be proved that they knew they were targeting a protected animal.

Critics charge that the 15-year-old McKittrick policy provides a loophole that has prevented criminal prosecution of dozens of individuals who killed grizzly bears, highly endangered California condors and whooping cranes as well as 48 federally protected Mexican wolves.

The policy stems from a Montana case in which Chad McKittrick was convicted under the Endangered Species Act for killing a wolf near Yellowstone National Park in 1995. He argued that he was not guilty because he thought he was shooting a wild dog.

McKittrick appealed the conviction and lost, but the Justice Department nonetheless adopted a policy that became the threshold for taking on similar cases: prosecutors must prove that the individual knowingly killed a protected species.

The lawsuit charges that the policy sets a higher burden of proof than previously required, arguing, “The DOJ’s McKittrick policy is a policy that is so extreme that it amounts to a conscious and express abdication of DOJ’s statutory responsibility to prosecute criminal violations of the ESA as general intent crimes.”

Ignorance of the law excuses no one is a long-standing legal principle which means that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law. Otherwise, all a criminal would need to be excused from responsibility is to claim – “I didn’t know that”.

A crap excuse enshrined by politicians to cover for hunters and ranchers who hate the reintroduction of native species like wolves to rebalance wilderness ecology perpetually under threat.

Hunting season started in Italy – 46 people shot, 13 of them died!

Ready for duty

Italian hunting enthusiasts have killed 13 people and wounded 33 in shooting accidents since the season opened in September, increasing pressure to reform antiquated hunting laws.

The death toll swelled across the country this weekend when a 16-year old was killed by a friend while hunting, a pensioner was shot and wounded in his garden and a cyclist was hospitalized after being hit with grapeshot…

Hunting groups agree with environmentalists that the law – which allows hunters to roam on private land and discharge firearms within 150 meters of a house – should be changed. But the sides have become entrenched in a long-running stalemate over how.

Among those calling for an outright ban is Daniela Casprini, the head of the Association of Hunting Victims.

“The question is no longer about who is for and who is against hunting. This is to stop a true massacre,” Casprini said on Monday…

The number of hunters has declined steeply to about 700,000 from two million three decades ago, with most aged between 65 and 78 years, according to farming association Coldiretti.

The head of animal rights group Animalisti Italiani Onlus said the accidents proved that legislation to protect rare wildlife was ineffective…

“They shoot because something moves.”

Cripes – things are so bad they have an Association of Hunting Victims.

Groups that defend the lax laws say this is all about “thinning” the numbers of wild animals that procreate too much. It sounds more like they’re thinning out our own species.

Maryland 1st state to offer selective birth control for deer

Not today, deer

Maryland has become the first state to approve the use of Gonacon, a deer birth control product, but the state’s director of wildlife said Friday he can’t imagine it ever being used in what he termed the open landscape.

“This is the only immuno-contraceptive for deer that has federal approval,” said Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service. “It was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency…

Peditto said the manpower and expense of applying the birth control chemical will limit its use.

“It will cost up to $1,000 to apply it to a deer,” Peditto said. The deer must first be shot via dart gun to tranquilize it before Gonacon can be injected. EPA requires that the deer be tagged so that it can be identified as having been treated. Another tag will state that the meat of the animal should not be consumed by humans…

Peditto said authority to sedate, inject and tag deer won’t simply be turned over to a home owners association and its maintenance crew. Who btw are the only likely candidates for using this method.

Applicators must jump through several hoops, including registration, testing and association with a licensed veterinarian.

Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife scientist with the Humane Society of the United States, said…“There is a demand for nonlethal options and now that Maryland has stepped forward we believe the DNR will start hearing from those who want to use that option.”

Reading through Maryland newspaper, blogs, Letters to the Editor – locations often infested with religious nutballs and Kool Aid Party foot soldiers – have been hilarious. Some sensible comments here and there about the DNR continuing existing relationships with outfits like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Folks don’t seem to understand this alternative is only that – an alternative for a very limited number of occasions.

And the folks who oppose birth control for everything from animals to insects as being contrary to their God’s Will – should stick their noses somewhere will it will more easily relieve their itching.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Home of Ice Giants thaws – shows pre-Viking hunting methods

The shrinking Juvfonna ice field
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Climate change is exposing reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings’ ancestors faster than archaeologists can collect it from ice thawing in northern Europe’s highest mountains.

“It’s like a time machine…the ice has not been this small for many, many centuries,” said Lars Piloe, a Danish scientist heading a team of “snow patch archaeologists” on newly bare ground 1,850 meters above sea level in mid-Norway.

Specialized hunting sticks, bows and arrows and even a 3,400-year-old leather shoe have been among finds since 2006 from a melt in the Jotunheimen mountains, the home of the “Ice Giants” of Norse mythology.

As water streams off the Juvfonna ice field, Piloe and two other archaeologists — working in a science opening up due to climate change — collect “scare sticks” they reckon were set up 1,500 years ago in rows to drive reindeer toward archers.

But time is short as the Ice Giants’ stronghold shrinks.

“Our main focus is the rescue part,” Piloe said on newly exposed rocks by the ice. “There are many ice patches. We can only cover a few…We know we are losing artifacts everywhere.”

Freed from an ancient freeze, wood rots in a few years. And rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather crumble to dust in days unless taken to a laboratory and stored in a freezer.

Interesting stuff. One more task I would love to take on were I a few decades younger [and more sprightly].

History uncovered from real sources rather than literary constructs to satisfy superstition. Artifacts uncovered which demonstrate how tools were made and used to accomplish real tasks native to our growth and evolution.

RTFA. Fascinating discoveries. Use your imagination to reflect upon what we’re beginning to learn.

Clovis Mammoth hunters: Gone with a whimper or a bang?

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona has revisited evidence pointing to a cataclysmic event thought by many scientists to have wiped out the North American megafauna — such as mammoths, saber tooth cats, giant ground sloths and Dire wolves — along with the Clovis hunter-gatherer culture some 13,000 years ago…

“The idea of an extraterrestrial impact driving the Pleistocene extinction event has recently caused a stir in the scientific community,” said C. Vance Haynes, a professor emeritus at UA’s School of Anthropology and the department of geosciences, who is the study’s lead author. “We systematically revisited the evidence for an impact scenario and discovered it just does not hold up…”

When the last ice age came to an end approximately 13,000 years ago and the glaciers covering a large portion of the North American continent began melting and retreating toward the north, a sudden cooling period known as the “Big Freeze” or, more scientifically, the Younger Dryas, reversed the warming process and caused glaciers to expand again. Even though this cooling period lasted only for 1,300 years, a blink of an eye in geologic timeframes, it witnessed the disappearance of an entire fauna of large mammals.

The big question, according to Haynes, is ‘Why did those animals go extinct in a very short geological timeframe?‘”

Scientists have suggested several scenarios to account for the rapid Pleistocene extinction event. Some ascribe it to the rapid shift toward a cooler and dryer climate during the “Big Freeze,” causing widespread droughts.

Haynes disagrees. “We find evidence of big changes in climate throughout the geologic record that were not associated with widespread extinctions.”

RTFA. Interesting step-by-step elimination of the points raised by one of the newer analyses also making it’s way around the TV documentary circuit.

Haynes is polite enough to consider his dissection an important review of cogent questions raised by a fellow researcher – and simply offers a reasonable conclusion to his research about the likelihood of a cosmic event being ruled out:

“No, it doesn’t,” Haynes said. “It just doesn’t make it very likely.”

Goose hunters provoke nuclear weapons plant lockdown

You can even get imitation goslings

A pair of goose hunters trigged a security alert at a nuclear weapons assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Officials locked the plant after getting reports of individuals in camouflage gear stalking across the road from the factory.

They turned out to be two plant employees who had decided to spend their day off hunting fowl. The plant was briefly shut as a “precautionary measure,” a plant official said.

The pair, who sparked the alert when spotted early in the morning carrying arms and dressed in camouflage gear, were later found in a nearby field setting up goose decoys.

No charges will be filed against the men who both had permission to hunt from the local landowner.

Sounds like Amarillo to me. 🙂

Conservationist hunters and anglers lobby for climate bill

An unlikely lobbying group is pressing the U.S. Senate to curb greenhouse gas emissions: American hunting and fishing groups who fear climate change will disrupt their sport.

Hunters and anglers are mainly a Republican Party constituency representing tens of millions of votes in the U.S. heartland and could help swing crucial votes as the Senate tries to pass legislation to cut carbon output.

Twenty national hunting and fishing groups urged senators in a letter last month to ensure “the climate legislation you consider in the Senate both reduces greenhouse gas emissions and safeguards natural resources…”

These groups will be going up against powerful Washington lobbies — the coal and oil industries, for example — that are pushing hard to soften any mandatory pollution controls…

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