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[personal profile] vvalkyri
I learned earlier today that the accessory store Claire's has non-corrective glasses. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, most of us do try to choose our glasses based on how they look on us; on the other hand, they're still adaptive devices, and I keep thinking there'd be something Off about buying fake hearing aids for the look. Except hearing aids are often chosen to be not visible...
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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On July 6, a 12-year-old Snow Leopard named Helen gave birth to a female cub at Woodland Park Zoo.

The new cub is the first offspring for mom and her 12-year-old mate, Dhirin (pronounced as dir-in). Helen has given birth to two previous litters, with a different mate.

The mom and cub are currently in an off-view maternity den, to allow bonding and proper nursing, in a quieter setting. Zoo staff has been monitoring the mother and cub through a closed-circuit system to watch for normal behaviors.

The Zoo anticipates putting the cub and mom in the outdoor exhibit in late September. Woodland Park Zoo will be providing updates about the cub and will host a public naming via their blog and Facebook page.

As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the Zoo’s thousand-plus animals, animal health staff performed a neonatal exam on July 20, the first time the newborn cub was handled. At that time, the cub weighed 2.6 pounds.

“Our overall assessment is the cub appears to be healthy. Her eyelids are beginning to open—one eye is already open and one remains closed—the eyelids normally open around two weeks. Her belly was full of milk, which means the cub is nursing and being nourished,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health.

Veterinarians will perform health check-ups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

“Helen’s track record of providing excellent maternal skills to her past cubs continues with this cub. She’s nurturing her cub very well, they’re bonding and the cub appears to be progressing normally,” said Deanna DeBo, an animal collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo.

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3_2017_07_20 snow leopard kitten-1wm

4_2017_07_20 snow leopard kitten-5wmPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The cub’s parents, Helen and Dhirin, were paired under the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Snow Leopards. Helen has lived at Woodland Park Zoo since 2008, and Dhirin arrived from Oklahoma City Zoo in 2014.

Cubs are born helpless, with their eyes closed; for several weeks they rely on their mothers for nutrition. To minimize disturbance, staff have minimal physical contact with the new family. Since Snow Leopards are solitary animals in the wild, the father lives separately from the cub; guests can see Dhirin in the Snow Leopard Exhibit.

Snow Leopards are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The species is a moderately large cat native to the high mountain ranges of Central Asia and Russia, including in Afghanistan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal and Pakistan. According to the Seattle-based Snow Leopard Trust, the population of these endangered big cats in the wild is estimated to be between 3,920 and 6,390.

Woodland Park Zoo has long been a conservation partner with the Snow Leopard Trust; the two organizations are partnering with Kyrgyzstan's State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry to protect the Snow Leopards of the Tian Shan Mountains. Research cameras set up in the Sarychat Ertash reserve allow researchers to monitor the area's Snow Leopard population, which they estimate to be around 18 cats.

Woodland Park Zoo has been caring for Snow Leopards since the zoo’s first Snow Leopards arrived in 1972 from the USSR. Under the Snow Leopard SSP, 35 cubs have been born at the Zoo and have helped diversify the genetic pool of the managed population.

“This is a significant birth for Snow Leopards in zoos in North America and around the world. These majestic cats are important conservation ambassadors for their species in the wild. By experiencing these cats here, zoo guests and the community can become emotionally connected and become inspired to learn more about how to save this endangered cat that is struggling to survive in its range countries,” said Dr. Jennifer Pramuk, a curator at Woodland Park Zoo.

To help ensure the future of Snow Leopards in their native range, the zoo asks the community to support the zoo and the Snow Leopard Trust, and pledge never to buy or sell illegal animal products on the black market.

The Snow Leopard Trust was created in 1981 by late Woodland Park Zoo staff member, Helen Freeman. She is also the namesake of Helen, the mother of the newborn cub. Through innovative programs, effective partnerships, and the latest science, the SLT is saving these endangered cats and improving the lives of people who live in the snow leopard countries of Central Asia.

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6_2017_07_20 snow leopard kitten-4wm

Field camera shots of Snow Leopards in Tian Shan Mountains/Kyrgyzstan :

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vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
[crossposted]
I think I just experienced the platonic ideal of busking where one is not supposed to be. I went down the stairs to the orange line at Metro Center and there were three guys singing close harmony oldies like My Girl or Lion Sleeps Tonight . They had a great sound and were nowhere near as loud as they likely could have been. They could be ignored if one wanted but for me and many they added a smile to the somewhat longer than usual wait.
I've been losing an inordinate amount of time to FB arguments in the last couple days. I think there's been a little bit of good done, but mostly I'm just dismayed.

I feel like there's factions of the left who consider nuance anathema, and there's factions on the right that have their own Truth regardless of any evidence presented, and even seem to considering providing any support to an assertion to be a sign of weakness. It's maddening.

I bowed out of one of the 'conversations' with the Right after a recounting of recent history re how no, a goodly part of the Left would have liked something far less conservative than the ACA was met with "that's the most ridiculous thing i've seen all day' and my linking to Leiberman's threat to filibuster any public option was derided for, well, specifically why wasn't particularly explained. I bowed out with a reference to The DR Who quote about people who change the facts to match their views and posted a We Are Doomed rant* on my own page.

One comment there was incredibly apt, and dovetailed with some of what [personal profile] somewanker has said about Authoritarian Thinking:
Fundamentally, I think it's trust-based truth vs senses/reasoning-based truth. Those of us in the senses camp can't really fathom how much the trust-based folks (some of them; some of them are ON OUR SIDE, and we don't run up against it until they buy a load of crap from somewhere else) fashion their sense of reality based on trust of sources rather than evidence until we hit a giant wall of nope.


And on the other side, I've got a thread going about Virtue Signaling, which I find an incredibly useful concept, and am surprised at how few people were familiar with it. A number of people were only familiar with it as being dismissive of folks on the Left. Thing is, there's certainly an aspect of People Being Publicly Upset About Whichever Injustice, and in some circles the more distraught one is about injustice the more one Belongs and Is A Good Person in that circle. And that can get toxic real fast, both by getting in the way of real action (I learned last night that in some activist circles SJW refers to white people who post about injustice and don't volunteer time or money to address anything) and inhibiting communication because there's social points in being angry at the other person in the conversation rather than looking for common ground.

But everything is virtue signaling. The concept initially came from public religiosity. There's driving a Prius. There's the company putting "we get our power from wind!" on their entry door. There's a goodly portion of what we all post on social media. There's my pictures at Honor Flight. Hell, for the people who think it's great, there's the weird "let's make the truck belch black smoke." But it doesn't have to be cynical, and it doesn't have to be conscious.

I think the kind where reactions are ramped up in order to belong, though, that's not a good thing.

Anyway. That's one thing that took up a lot of my time yesterday and also some today.

I intended to acro and didn't leave in time, but that meant that I eventually made it to a dance in VA that I haven't been to in ages, with geeky swing and jazz music from a traveling band. I'll have to look up the name. I didn't get to the dance anywhere near when intended either, but it went long, and I'm really only at an hour of swing/lindy for my ankle.

Fringe extension is on.



*
"We're so effing doomed. We have segments of society who are completely impervious to outside information and delight in it. And have rewritten for themselves even recent history. And they vote.
(I just had a conversation about some of the background of the ACA. Except I didn't. I had someone assert a prior post of mine was that ACA was foisted upon the country by Republicans (that is not at all what I'd said), flat out dismiss anything I or another person said about Romneycare or Lieberman as fantasy, and refuse to back up any assertion of his own. Everybody in his post seems to be coming from the same frame of reference. When I referenced the below quote, he decided it applied to me. He can't see this post because the whole thing is so depressing and upsetting. If you really want to know the rest send me a message, but I need to fold laundry and leave for acro now.)"

QotD

Jul. 27th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"You can't claim to love MLK and hate BLM.

"I mean you can...but you're a liar if you do."

-- Emma Evans, 2017-01-16

sparowe: (Fell)
[personal profile] sparowe

God is the Perfect Judge

 
Today's MP3

God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven. He wears the robe and refuses to share the gavel. Paul wrote in Romans 12:19, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’”

Vigilantes displace and replace God. I’m not sure you can handle this one, Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I’ll take this into my hands, thank you. Is this what you want to say? Jesus didn’t. No one had a clearer sense of right and wrong than the perfect Son of God. In 1 Peter 2:23 we’re reminded, “When He suffered, He didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly.” Only God assesses accurate judgments. Perfect justice. Vengeance is His job. Leave your enemies in God’s hands!

From Facing Your Giants

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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Zoo Wroclaw is excited to announce the birth of a Northern White-cheeked Gibbon. The baby arrived on June 28th, and the sex is not yet known.

Zoo Wrocław is now home to a total of three Northern White-cheeked Gibbons. The infant’s parents both arrived in October 2013. The first one to make their home at the Zoo was 9-year-old dad, Xian. He was born in Apeldorn, NL, and was sent to Wrocław via the zoo in Pilsen, Czech Republic. A week later, Xian was joined by female, Carusa. She was born in 2006 at the Osnabrück Zoo, Germany. The pair’s first offspring, a male called Dao, was born on October 17, 2014.

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4_2017-06-29 (81)Photo Credits: Zoo Wroclaw 

The Northern White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) is a species native to South East Asia. It is closely related to the Southern White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus siki), with which it was previously considered conspecific. The females of the two species are virtually indistinguishable in appearance.

The species is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population, in its natural habitat, is decreasing at a dramatic rate. It has shrunk by nearly a half over only three generations. According to the IUCN: “Nomascus leucogenys has suffered from deforestation through agricultural encroachment into mountainous areas and fuel-wood and timber extraction from remaining forests, especially in China and Viet Nam. Hunting for food, traditional "medicines", and their cultural value is a major threat across the range, and is likely to have been the primary cause for the decline of the species in all three countries, including the presumed extinction of this species in China (Duckworth et al. 1999; Geissmann et al. 2000).”

Northern White-cheeked Gibbons are sexually dimorphic, with males and females having different colorations. Males have black hair over their entire bodies, except for distinct white patches on their cheeks, as well as a prominent tuft of hair on the crown of head. Females are tan in color, lack a cranial tuft, and have a crest of black or dark brown fur running from the crown to the nape of the neck.

The Northern White-cheeked Gibbon is arboreal in habits, and primarily herbivorous, feeding mainly on fruits, with some leaves, buds, and flowers. However, up to 10% of their diet may be composed of insects and other small animals. They are generally sociable, living in groups of up to six individuals.

The species is monogamous, with long-lasting pair bonds. Gestation lasts 200 to 212 days. At birth, both sexes are covered in yellow-buff fur, and weigh an average of 480 g (17 oz). At around one year of age, the fur in both sexes changes to a black color, with pale cheek patches, with the sexually dimorphic adult coats only growing when they reach four or five years.

Northern White-cheeked Gibbons reach sexual maturity at seven or eight years, and are reported to have lived for at least 28 years in the wild.

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The Fundamental Limits of AI

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:11 am
dmilewski: (Default)
[personal profile] dmilewski
AI has fundamental limits. The first limit is that humans have to see value in the AI to design the AI to do a job. If there's no value to some human, they won't design and implement an AI.

Rule #1: The AI must promise enough value so that someone develops it.

Developing an AI isn't cheap. That sort of software takes time and expertise to set up, test, and iterate until the AI works as intended. This process isn't necessarily a straight line. When an AI is going into a new area, it requires development, which almost always requires working with unknowns.

One could design an AI washing machine, but as current washing machines work well enough, and the washing machine market is competitive enough, such innovation will likely result in little to no return. 

Rule #2: The AI must provide more value than it loses.

We could, for instance, create an AI that assembles Legos for children. For those who love Legos, this would would provide no value. However, I can see some entrepreneur using this to speed up assembly for his pre-assembled kit business. (It's a real thing.)

You can see from the example that one group would see value out of such an AI while a second group would lose value from an AI.

The same is true of cars. Some people would gain, such as those who want to own their own taxi, especially if they aren't otherwise independent. Taxi companies would gain value by cutting payroll. However, car enthusiast would lose value because they want the driving experience. People on a low income would lose value because the cars would cost more to purchase and more to maintain. 

Rule #3: Value must be verifiable

It's not enough to claim value, value must be demonstrable. A claim that an AI manages money better, predicts weather better, or find patterns better must be measurable or you don't know whether it actually does something better. Better may mean more accurate, or it may mean shifting through more data than a human can in only a fraction of the time. Better is a metric used by the customer.

Facebook has had AIs that failed to regulate news feeds. They failed this task because the AIs could analyze the new feeds, but they had no practical way of measuring the results. Especially where humans are concerned, analyzing what we want and giving more of that to us can be too accurate of a mirror on ourselves, or lead to provably false notions running amok. The problem here is measuring truth, which nobody has ever successfully accomplished.

Many AIs fail, not because the of the technology, but because the project doesn't have well defined goals. "Do it better" is not a well defined goal.

Rule #4: There must be no cheaper or more effective alternative

Just because an AI is possible doesn't mean that there isn't a cheaper or better alternative. Humans are clever beasts, and while moving the goalposts is bad in a logical debate, doing exactly that can be extremely lucrative if you're the one who moves the goalposts.

Galaxy Zoo was famous for having no budget, but when they asked people to help them identify galaxies, the public gave them so many hours worth of work that they accomplished their huge tasks in two weeks at a fraction of the computational power.

QotD

Jul. 26th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"'HOW WILL WE EXPLAIN GAY MARRIAGE TO THE CHILDREN?'
Parent: 'Well, you know mommy and daddy love each other, right? Well, Murphy and Sven love each other just the same way, so they got married.'
Child: 'Oh. Okay. LOOK! Swings! Can you push me on the swings?'

"Why don't we ask how we will explain war to children? *That* would be difficult - and it might be good to meditate on why it would be so hard."

-- [info] - personal johnpalmer , 2017-06-01

sparowe: (Casting Crowns)
[personal profile] sparowe

God is Not Finished Yet

 
Today's MP3

Some years ago a Rottweiler attacked our golden retriever puppy at a kennel. The animal climbed out of its run and into Molly’s and nearly killed her. I wrote a letter to the dog’s owner, urging him to put the dog to sleep. But when I showed the letter to the kennel owner, she begged me to reconsider. “What the dog did was horrible, but I’m still training him. I’m not finished with him yet.”

God would say the same about the Rottweiler who attacked you. What he did was unacceptable, inexcusable, but I’m not finished yet. Your enemies still figure into God’s plan. Their pulse is proof. God hasn’t given up on them. They may be out of His will, but not out of His reach. You honor God when you see them, not as His failures, but as His projects!

From Facing Your Giants

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_sidewinder_young_2017_ZA_0953

Six Sidewinders were born on May 24 at Zoo Atlanta. The young Sidewinders currently live in the Zoo’s Conservation Breeding Center, a behind-the-scenes complex adjacent to Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience.

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4_sidewinder_young_2017_ZA_0948Photo Credits: Zoo Atlanta

The Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), also known as the horned rattlesnake and sidewinder rattlesnake, is a venomous pit viper species belonging to the genus Crotalus (rattlesnakes). It is a North American native found in the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States. Known for its unique form of locomotion, it is the fastest moving of all rattlesnakes.

They are venomous, but possess less potent venom than many other rattlesnakes. Their venom glands are also a smaller size, which makes them less dangerous than their larger relatives. However, any rattlesnake bite can be fatal and should be taken seriously with medical attention sought immediately.

Females produce an average of about ten per litter. The young are born enveloped in thin embryonic membranes, from which they emerge shortly after being expelled from the mother. The young stay with their mother in a burrow for seven to 10 days, shed for the first time, then leave their natal burrow. During this time with their mother, she will guard and protect them from predators.

Sidewinders mature at two to three years of age, are capable of reproducing annually.

Sidewinders have an accelerated lifecycle, with natural life expectancies of females to be about five years. Males have a maximum known natural lifespan of about 13 years. However, Sidewinders can live more than 20 years, when well fed, in captivity (including the females).

Sidewinders are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. In the wild, females often die of exhaustion after giving birth, but the lives of sidewinders are also cut short by predation, diseases, and vehicle encounters.

Research collaboration between Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University has examined the snakes’ distinctive sidewinding movements for biologically inspired design of prototypes for search-and-exploration robots. Learn more about this study at: www.zooatlanta.org/research . 5_sidewinder_young_2017_ZA_0960

Self-Driving Car Apocalypse

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:05 am
dmilewski: (Default)
[personal profile] dmilewski
I think that we are heading towards a self-driving car apocalypse.

Well, may not quite an apocalypse as a problem.

Once we get self-driving cars, the demand for them will spike upwards during rush hour, then dwindle downward at off-peak hours.

Where will we keep those massive car fleets parked when they aren't in use? Individuals will continue using their driveways, which means that the general number of cars on in service won't drop. That's great for the individual, but poses problems for the ever increasing number of cars on the road. Traffic will only increase. Presumably some hours will get so crowded as to become self-driving only times.

For rental services, where will they keep all their cars when they aren't busy? Because there will be such a spike during rush hour, they'll want to station their cars close to the action rather than remote lots. Will they rent driveways or parking garages? Will they build their own parking garages? Will they park on streets, taking up places that people want? (That's  most likely as it's the cheapest.) These self-driving cars can even move themselves every so often to escape parking issues, trading off spaces with each other, shutting humans out of parking.

Paying for street parking will mean new parking meter technology. Those cars will eventually need to pay electronically. 

What's obvious here is that the need for mass transit won't simply remain, it will grow.

Self-driving will get onto the mass-transit bandwagon. Cars will begin hauling multiple passengers on purpose, presumably giving you some sort of fare discount. Car pooling reinvented. Presumably AIs will begin making schedules, maximizing passenger movement between known destinations, in essence creating a second and competing system to the municipal bus system.

Then there's all the pulling over and stopping traffic that will happen, which is bound to get abusive or contentious, which means that laws will happen. When and where you can be picked up and dropped off will grown increasingly complex. 

I can see some places going the opposite way around. You'll go to Disney world, buy your tickets, and get picked up by Disney's own self-driving cars, never needing to park in the parking lot, getting dropped off in an efficient and pleasant way. This will help Disney smooth the masses coming into their parks, reduce their need for parking lots, and provide a better experience for their customers.

I can see malls taking this approach. "Make it an outing. We'll drive you here and you have fun." The economics for such places aren't as clear, though, and certainly all couldn't do this.

I can also see Disney using the self-driving car system to help casual moving around. Hop in and it takes you to the park that you want. This will still generate lines, so you'll pay more to move up quicker. The monorail won't go away because when it comes to moving lots of people economically, mass transit still rules.

In the end, while I think that self-driving cars will go great distances in changing how the world interacts with cars, they inherit all the problems and limitations of the automobile system. 

QotD

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"[I]n late 2015, I came across a set of pictures with no identifying text. They appeared to show a gigantic apartment in what looked, from the windows, very much like New York. But I know Manhattan and its sophisticated style pretty well, and at first glance, you would think the place didn't belong to an American but to a Russian oligarch, or possibly a Saudi prince with a second home in the United States. There were overscaled rooms, and obviously incorrect-looking historical detailing and proportions. The home had lots of gilded French furniture and the strange impersonal look of a hotel lobby, with chairs and sofas placed uncomfortably far from one another. There were masses of gold; there were the usual huge chandeliers, branded relics of famous sportsmen like Muhammad Ali, and mushroom-colored marble floors. There was relatively little in the way of paintings, but otherwise, the place reeked of dictator chic. As it turned out, this familiar yet unfamiliar apartment -- a familiar style to me by then, but in an unlikely location -- belonged to Donald Trump, who by then was running for president. This was the penthouse of the potential leader of the free world." -- Peter York, "Trump's Dictator Chic," Politico [thanks to [info] b>realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]

sparowe: (Shepherd)
[personal profile] sparowe

God, Our Refuge

 
Today's MP3

Refuge is a favorite word of David’s. You will count as many as forty-plus appearances in some versions of the Bible. But never did David use the word more poignantly than in Psalm 57. The introduction to the passage explains its background…“A song of David when he fled from Saul into the cave.” Lost in shadows and thought, he has nowhere to turn. To go home, he endangers his family. To go to the tabernacle, he imperils the priests. Saul will kill him. Here he sits, all alone. But then he remembers he is not. And from the recesses of the cave a sweet voice floats:

“Be merciful to me, O God! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I make my refuge.” (Psalm 57:1)

Make God your refuge. Let Him be the foundation on which you stand!

From Facing Your Giants

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Canada lynx in exhibit1

The four female Canada Lynx kittens, at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, have been named and officially moved into their Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit on July 19.

The fuzzy headed litter was a ZooBorns feature back in mid-June: “Meet Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Canada Lynx Kittens”. They have been with their mother in an off-exhibit area since their birth on May 6, and now the kittens and ten-year-old mom, Migina, will join dad, Kajika (also ten-years-old) in the main exhibit.

Keepers reported that the litter “howdied” with dad Kajika multiple times prior to being moved on-exhibit. The Zoo defines “howdied” as: a process where they can see and smell each other with a mesh barrier in between them. The kittens and Kajika were said to be curious about each other and vocalized back and forth. They have also sniffed each other’s paws and rubbed up against the mesh. Zookeepers said these were all good signs that the Lynx family was ready to be together in their public exhibit.

Because Lynx are often called “ghost cats”, due to their nearly-noiseless nature (thanks to heavily-padded paws and light frames), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo employees recently voted to name the kittens based on famous Colorado ghost towns. The kittens have been named: Adelaide (Lake County), Norrie (Pitkin County), Frisco (Summit County), and Aspen (as in the famous tree).

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3_Canada lynx in exhibit4

4_Canada lynx in exhibit5Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 

The Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. It ranges across Canada and into Alaska as well as some parts of the northern United States and extending down the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, where they were reintroduced in the 1990s.

Gestation lasts around 64 days. Young are usually born in May or early June. Before birth, the female prepares a maternal den, usually in very thick brush, and typically inside thickets of shrubs or trees or woody debris.

Litters contain one to four kittens, and tend to be much larger when the food supply is abundant.

Canada Lynx kittens weigh from 175 to 235 g (6.2 to 8.3 oz) at birth, and initially have greyish fur with black markings. They are blind and helpless for the first fourteen days, and weaned at twelve weeks. When their eyes open, they are a bright blue color, but as they mature, the eyes become a brown-hazel color.

Kittens leave the den after about five weeks, and begin hunting between seven and nine months of age. They leave the mother at around ten months, as the next breeding season begins, but do not reach the full adult size until around two years old.

The Canada Lynx is often trapped for its fur, and has also declined in many areas due to habitat loss. However, the IUCN currently classifies them as “Least Concern”.

5_Canada lynx in exhibit3

Writing Update

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:42 am
dmilewski: (Default)
[personal profile] dmilewski
I've sent both Maid of Shadow and Maid of Memory off to my editor for a final round of cleanup editing. Meanwhile, she's hammering through her primary edit of Maid of Hope.

My new series after that is quite a change of pace. Inspired by the JRPG genre, such as Final Fantasy, Crystal Hope follows the exploits of five teenage girls determined to save the Great Crystals by gaining powers and abilities, fighting bosses, and learning to value each other.

Raining and Pouring

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:38 am
dmilewski: (Default)
[personal profile] dmilewski
If there was a theme this weekend, it's raining and pouring. By God, we got some deluges. On both Saturday and Sunday, we got multiple deluges where on a summer's day, you'll usually only get one. This is adding to the general tropical explosion in the yard, with lazy me not being able to halt the advancement of the grow stuff.

DesignGirl swum in divisionals, tying for last. Our team wound up losing by only 4.5 points. It was a close one. In general, we don't have the fastest kids, but we did have the best overall team. With mostly the best kids going to divisionals, we didn't dominate quite so much.

On Sunday, we had an award banquet. The thing went on and on, as usual, but there was lots of good food.

In misery, my Crohn's keeps being a bother. I'm hoping that it will soon begin settling down. We have vacation stuff planned, and I don't want to be miserable while traveling.

QotD

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"'Third World' is an obsolete term, (since the Second World no longer exists) but if you're going to use it in the sense of referring to the Global South, it's not horribly inaccurate to say the US is a First World nation geographically coextant with a Third World one, where the citizenship is determined by class (economic and social.)" -- [info] kadath, 2008-03-04

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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On June 25, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre admitted a tiny male Sea Otter pup as a patient. The fuzzy-faced otter pup, now estimated to be about two months old, was found swimming alone in open water off northern Vancouver Island and brought to the Rescue Centre by a concerned citizen.

You first met the pup on ZooBorns when he was just a few weeks old. Since his arrival at the Rescue Centre, the tiny otter has received 24-hour care from staff and volunteers who feed, bathe and groom him, just as his mother would in the wild. Baby Sea Otters cannot survive on their own, and depend on their mothers for the first six months of life.

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20140134_10154575725655800_4031873439886710919_nPhoto Credits: Vancouver Aquarium (1,3,4,5); Meighan Makarchuk (2)

Care and rehabilitation of rescued marine mammals is very labor-intensive, and it takes a whole team of dedicated staff and volunteers to care for this tiny pup.




The little Otter continues to gain weight steadily and has been growing stronger and more active. He now weighs nearly nine pounds and is growing quickly. He is still nursing from the bottle, and drinks 25 percent of his body weight per day in a special Otter pup formula made by the animal care team.  This week, the baby Otter was offered his first solid food – five grams of clams, which he gobbled up enthusiastically.  He eats every three hours, 24 hours a day.

The care team says the pup is curious and enjoys exploring. He pup is now grooming himself a little bit, but still needs help from the care team to remain clean and fluffy.  They also report that the pup is learning to dive and can dive to the bottom of his swim tub to retrieve toys.

Sea Otters are and Endangered species. They were hunted for their fur until the early 20th century, when their population fell to just a few thousand individuals in a tiny portion of their former range. Bans on hunting and other conservation measures have helped, but Sea Otters are still threatened by fishing net entanglement and oil spills.

 

sparowe: (Bible)
[personal profile] sparowe

Need Some Help?

by Joyce Meyer - posted July 23, 2017

Behold, God is my helper and ally; the Lord is my upholder and is with them who uphold my life.
—Psalm 54:4

There are many people who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord who will live their Christian lives and go to heaven without ever drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit available to them, never experiencing the true success God intends for them. People can be on their way to heaven, yet not enjoying the trip.

We often look at people who have wealth, position, power, fame, and consider them to be totally successful. But many people who are viewed as successful still lack good relationships, peace, joy, contentment, and other true blessings that are available only in the context of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Self-sufficient people often think it is a sign of weakness to depend on God. But by drawing on the ability of the Holy Spirit, they could accomplish more in their lives than they could by working in their own strength.

There are countless things we struggle with when we could be receiving help from the Holy Spirit. Many people never find the right answers to their problems because they seek out the wrong sources for advice and counsel instead of asking the Divine Counselor who lives within them for guidance.

I encourage you to lean on God for everything, and that means little things as well as big things.

Love God Today: The only way to experience the success God intends for you is to become totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.



From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

QotD

Jul. 23rd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"For it's not enough to walk the moon, send robots off to Mars
 Nor send a lucky handful out to catch a glimpse of stars
 We're gonna live and work and space. We're gonna go to stay
 And the ones who'll make it happen,
  the ones who make it happen,
   yes the ones who'll make it happen
 are the ones who make it pay"

  -- Jordin Kare (b. 1956-10-24, d. 2017-07-19), "Bloody Bastards"

sparowe: (Jesus)
[personal profile] sparowe

Jesus, a Friend for Life

 
Today's MP3

I spent too much of a high school summer working in the oil field. We donned gas masks, waded into ankle deep, contaminated mire. My mom burned my work clothes. The stink stunk! Yours can do the same. Linger too long in the stench of your hurt, and you’ll smell like the toxin you despise.

The better option? Join with David as he announces, “The Lord lives. Blessed be my Rock. It is God who avenges me. He delivers me from my enemies. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O God!” (Psalm 18:46-49). Wander daily through the gallery of God’s goodness. Catalog His kindnesses. Look at what you have. Let Jesus be the friend you need. Talk to Him. Spare no details. Disclose your fear and describe your dread. You just found a friend for life in Jesus Christ. What could be better than that?

From Facing Your Giants

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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A record 51 Tasmanian Devil joeys were born this season at Devil Ark, a free-range breeding facility aimed at saving this iconic Australian marsupial from extinction.

This brings the total number of joeys born at Devil Ark to more than 250 since it was founded in 2010 to establish an insurance population for the now-endangered Tasmanian Devil.

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19424508_1720756647953859_9021157066506608210_nPhoto Credit: Devil Ark



More than 90% of the wild Tasmanian Devil population has disappeared in the past 20 years due to an aggressive, transmissible cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD).  The Australian island state of Tasmania is the only wild home of these unique creatures.

Tasmanian Devils are marsupials, so like all marsupials, the jellybean-sized babies are born in a very underdeveloped state.  About 30-50 are born, and they must crawl from the birth canal into their mother’s pouch immediately - a distance of about three inches. But female Devils have only four teats, so only the first four to attach to a teat will survive. The babies remain attached to a teat constantly for about three months. When they emerge from the pouch, they will ride on mom’s back.  

The Devils at Devil Ark are one of dozens insurance populations in Australia and at zoos around the world. DFTD is a fatal condition and has spread rapidly across Tasmania, driving the need for disease-free, genetically diverse populations as possibly the only way to save Devils from extinction.

DFTD is one of only four known naturally occurring transmissible cancers. It is transmitted like a contagious disease through biting and close contact, which occurs when wild Tasmanian Devils feed in groups, battling for access to a carcass. Devils develop large facial tumors which make eating difficult. Affected animals die from starvation.

Tasmania Devils play a vital role in Tasmania’s ecosystems by scavenging on dead animals. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Researchers are working to better understand DFTD, which was only identified in 1996.    

QotD

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From "Oh this has not gone well" (part 14) by Redditor "ThisHasNotGoneWell":

"Well," I started, how do I explain statistics, and not sound like the boringest boring person in the world, "In the world I come from people have enough free time on their hands, and they take games seriously enough, that people will study a game like a Mage might study magic. I had plenty of time when I was waiting for the pass south to clear, so I spent some time pulling the rules apart, figuring out the probability of any given hand. The other players might have a gut feeling as to how probable a given hand is, but I know the figures exactly. I'll also try to keep track of what cards I've seen played already. Between that, and having worked out the probabilities of each, I usually have at least an idea of how good my hand is compared to the others."

"Wait," she said, trying to wrap her head around what I'd just said, "So, you know what cards they have in their hand?"

"Not quite, I know what cards they probably have. And even if I don't know specifics, I'll at least have an idea of whether their hand is better or worse than mine, and that's really all I need."

"Don't humans have anything better to do?"

I thought of the many hundreds of hours spent playing videogames and watching Netflix.

"Nope."

Quick crosspost: fringe

Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:50 am
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
I wrote the below over on FB:
I just saw the Changeling Child and it was, bar none, my favorite show this Fringe. A sequel to Midsummer Night's Dream, a generation along, and really sweet. One last performance tomorrow (Saturday) at 145p at Atlas. I'll be seeing something nearby so might even be able to meet up first to loan a button. Srsly, try to see it :). Fringe goes thru Sunday plus a few shows extended but sadly not this one.
There was a bit of screaming and gnashing of teeth involved: I dictated something like it into safari facebook on my phone a few minutes after wandering off from chatting with Tommx and Erica, and then it offered tagging someone and I hit 'back' and it took me back to my notifications. Then I went through typing it in again, since at the fringe bar it was too loud for dictation, and just before I was to hit post, the phone turned itself off, out of power. I finally posted from [personal profile] exsmof's phone.

Anyway, it was delightful. I wasn't laughing as much as I did in One in Four, but it's also a whole play, and sweet, and extremely well done.

Less than 10 hours before I'm ticketed to Exit pursued by bear. 2pm, Atlas.

I somehow doubt I'll get to Trey Parker's Cannibal The Musical at 11:15.


Might try to get to something more tomorrow or Sunday. Been thinking to get to Heroes' Tale.

Debating Exit Carolyn. If I go to the 7p I can't go to an acro thing in Rockville, though it does put me pretty close to a party...

Oh! Yeah, Clara Bow: Becoming It was worthwhile, and is at 3:45.

and ugh. I really have to go to sleep. Oh hell, I think I may have said I'd meet [personal profile] badmagic ahead of Exit for lunch. eep.

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