Hiker injured in mountain snow. Dog keeps him warm for hours till rescued

“North” climbed back on top of his person even on the stretcher

That’s devotion and caring. And this is about the biggest, furriest 8-month-old I’ve ever seen.

His owner, Grga Brkic, suffered a broken leg and broken ankle.

A dog saved a hiker injured in the Croatian mountains by lying on top of him for 13 hours until they were rescued, according to local media.

The dog, called North, kept Grga Brkic warm after he fell while out hiking and was unable to move. The other two hikers with him were unable to reach them, so they raised the alarm.

First responders credited the eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute with having helped keep Brkic safe…

“Friendship and love between man and dog have no boundaries,” Croatia’s mountain rescue service said in a Facebook post, which included a photo of the dog lying on top of Brkic as he lay in a stretcher.

The dog “curled around him and warmed him” during the high-altitude rescue mission, the post added.


“North” – when he’s at home

Climate Crisis Could Expose Half a Billion More People to Tropical Mosquito-Borne Diseases by 2050


Yellow Fever Mosquito gets a full mealJames Gathany/CDC

❝ Rising global temperatures could put half a billion more people at risk for tropical mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika by 2050, according to a new study.

❝ While a growing body of recent research warns the human-caused climate crisis will cause general worldwide “environmental breakdown,” a study published…in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses specifically on a related public health threat: how a hotter world will enable disease-carrying mosquitoes to reach more people…

❝ “Plain and simple, climate change is going to kill a lot of people,” coauthor Colin Carlson of Georgetown told Nexus Media News. “Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens, especially as they spread from the tropics to temperate countries.”

Lead author Ryan emphasized that public health experts should be preparing now for the outbreaks predicted to occur in new places over the next few decades.

Or we could leave responsibility in the hands of Trump-chumps, anti-vaxxers and the Republican Party. They’ll blame it all on weak walls, furriners and G_D’s WILL.

Beer and frites in honor of contradictions and political failure


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

What does it take to form a government?

Belgians are not sure, but a lighthearted mood prevailed Thursday as Belgium overtook Iraq’s record in trying to form a government: 249 days and counting.

To mark the occasion, 249 people planned to strip naked in Ghent (though apparently only about 50 people got down to their underwear), while students in Leuven tucked into free frites and downed beer — Belgian, of course.

After general elections last June 13…the political deadlock has increased fears that Belgium, made up of French speakers in the south and Dutch speakers in the north, may actually split apart.

Forming a government has proved so difficult because Flemish nationalists want a new constitutional settlement to give regions more power over issues like the economy. In Flanders, the more prosperous part of the country, many voters hope to limit transfers of cash to subsidize Wallonia.

Historically, French language and culture have dominated Belgium and Dutch speakers once suffered discrimination, a fact that overshadows relations between the country’s two main groups…

Analysts believe that new elections are coming and that the issue of dividing Belgium will move up the agenda.

Jean Faniel, a political scientist in Brussels, said that, despite the crisis, it was important to Belgians to keep their sense of humor. The stripping, beard-growing and beer-drinking protests bore a distinctive Belgian character, he said. “Here we have an acute sense of self-mockery.”

You might be a redneck…?

Too much sunlight – and suicide

Too much sunlight in places like Greenland where long summer days often cause insomnia appears more likely to drive a person to suicide, say Swedish researchers.

Despite a belief that suicides tend to rise in late autumn and early winter months because of darkness, the new findings suggest that places where constant sunlight in summer seasons is a fact of life may be just as dangerous. “During the long periods of constant light, it is crucial to keep some circadian rhythm to get enough sleep and sustain mental health,” Karin Sparring Bjorksten and colleagues just reported…

Scientists have previously linked sleep disturbances to increased suicidal risk in people with psychiatric disorders and in adolescents but it is unclear whether the association also exists in the general population.

The Swedish team studied the seasonal variation of suicides in all of Greenland from 1968 to 2002 and found a cluster of suicides in the summer months. This seasonal effect was especially pronounced in the north of the country — an area where the sun doesn’t set between the end of April and the end of August.

“We found that suicides were almost exclusively violent and increased during periods of constant day,” Bjorksten said in a statement.

“In the north of the country, 82 percent of the suicides occurred during the daylight months.”

Most of the suicides involved young men and were violent — such as shooting, hanging and jumping from high places. These kinds of deaths accounted for nearly all, about 95 percent, of the suicides.

Chemical imbalances derived from screwed-up circadian rhythms may be a contributing factor. I tried living and working in the dark for a couple years at a time – and that sucked. I can imagine the obverse.

Birds’ movements reveal climate change in action

The northward and inland movement of North American birds, confirmed by thousands of citizen-observations, has provided new and powerful evidence that climate change is having a serious impact on natural systems, according to a new report by Audubon (BirdLife in the USA). The findings signal the need for dramatic policy changes to combat pervasive ecological disruption.

Analyses of citizen-gathered data from the past 40 years of Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count reveal that 58% of the 305 widespread species that winter on the continent have shifted significantly north since 1968, some by hundreds of kilometres. Movement was detected among species of every type, including more than 70% of highly adaptable forest and feeder birds. Only 38% of grassland species mirrored the trend, reflecting the constraints of their severely-depleted habitat and suggesting that they now face a double threat from the combined stresses of habitat loss and climate adaptation.

Population shifts among individual species are common and can have many causes. However, Audubon scientists say the ongoing trend of movement by some 177 species—closely correlated to long-term winter temperature increases—reveals an undeniable link to the changing climate.

Birds are showing us how the heavy hand of humanity is tipping the balance of nature and causing ecological disruption in ways we are just beginning to predict and comprehend”, said report co-author Dr Greg Butcher. “Common sense dictates that we act now to curb the causes and impacts of global warming to the extent we can, and shape our policies to better cope with the disruptions we cannot avoid.”

I couldn’t agree more. Friends in northern California tell me of dramatic increases in purple finch arrivals and numbers – while here in northern New Mexico we’re seeing population of bluebirds that traditionally pass through – southbound in late autumn, northbound in spring – wintering over. We’ve picked up a new species or two of doves which I haven’t seen, yet – but, hear on my daily walks.

I joke about the last-noted. It sounds like a 10lb mourning dive with a sore throat!