Kelly Clarkson calls for action in response to school shootings at Billboard Awards

first_imgKevin Winter/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — Host Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night with an emotional speech about the recent mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed 10 people and injured over a dozen more.Struggling to get the words out, Clarkson began, “Before we start tonight’s show, there’s something I’d like to say — this is gonna be so hard — about the tragedy at Santa Fe High. I’m a Texas girl and my home state has had so much heartbreak over this past year. And once again, y’all, we’re grieving for more kids that have died for just no reason at all.”The tearful singer continued, “Tonight they wanted me to say … obviously we want to pray for all the victims and pray for their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence. And I’m so sick of moments of silence. It’s not working … obviously. So, why don’t we not do a moment of silence, why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change? Why don’t we change what’s happening, because it’s horrible. And mommies and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs. … You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear.“We need to do better … because we’re failing our children. We’re failing our communities,” Kelly continued. “We’re failing their families. I can’t imagine. I have four children — I cannot imagine getting that phone call or that knock on the door. So, instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect [the victims] and honor them. … Tonight, y’all, in your community, where you live — let’s have a moment of action! Let’s have a moment of change!”While the three-time Grammy winner didn’t specifically mention guns, or gun control, her calls to action were reminiscent of recent outcries from shooting survivors in Parkland, Florida. Students there complained of politicians offering prayers, but little action after 17 students and teachers were gunned down in February.In response, they held the March for Our Lives on March 24 to call attention to gun violence and start a national discussion about how to change gun laws.Performers Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined onstage by members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Show Choir during their performance at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.Clarkson is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, about four hours north of Santa Fe. Clarkson’s mother was a elementary school teacher. Clarkson’s childrenCopyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

IS IT TRUE NOVEMBER 1, 2016

first_imgIS IT TRUE it looks like the Evansville Thunderbolt marketing campaign designed to attract big crowds has seemly fallen short of its goal?  …we have been told that around seven 7 Corporate Sky boxes haven’t been sold so far? …if this information is correct it will deprives the Thunderbolts from much needed income because these boxes are big ticket items?IS IT TRUE  we hear that the “NO FIGHTING” policy among players announced by the Thunderbolt management is proving to be a negative for the fans?IS IT TRUE “it looks like it might be time for the Evansville Thunderbolt management to share some of his marketing responsibilities with the extremely talented and qualified staff at VENUWORKS”?IS IT TRUE that a member of the City County Observer staff has received insulting and threatening late night (between 2:00 and 2:30 AM} phone calls and anonymous letters?   …the CCO web site has also experienced some unexplainable problems caused from outside sources?  …the CCO management are planning to schedule a meeting with law enforcement officials in order that they can identify who are the individuals harassing their staff member and messing with their site so they can file formal charges against them?IS IT TRUE we are hearing that District #1 County Commission race is turning out to be an interesting race to watch?  … we are told if conservative Sean Selby supporters turned out on election day then he would pull the biggest political upset since John Hostettler congressional win years ago?  …if Mr. Shoulders can muster voter from both side of the political aisle then he should prevail?IS IT TRUE we are hearing that the winner of the race between Deputy County Coroner Steve Lockyear and Brian Claspell could be announced early on election night?  …we are told that the night belong to Mr. Lockyear’s?IS IT TRUE that the race between County Commissioner Steve Melcher and challenger Cheryl Musgrave is turning out to be a real knockdown and drag out political barn burner?  …both candidates have waged an aggressive campaign?IS IT TRUE the race between Johnny Kincaid and Ryan Hatfield is turning out to be an extremely positive campaign between two well qualified candidates?IS IT TRUE it looks like State Representative Holly Sullivan will be re-elected by a large margin?IS IT TRUE the race between Debbie Stucki and Shannon Edwards will be decided by Civic Center employees because they know them best?IS IT TRUE  we are hearing that the race between Carla Haydan and Zachary Heronemus for County Clerk is to close to call?  …both candidates conducted themselves is a positive manner?IS IT TRUE the race for the three slots on the Vanderburgh County Council will prove to be extremely interesting? …don’t be surprised if least one of the three incumbent members of the current County Council will be replaced by a challenger?FOOT NOTES: Todays READERS POLL question is: How are you going to vote in this election?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “BIRTHDAYS, HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] County Observer has been serving our community for 15 years.Copyright 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribute.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

The Marcus King Band Welcomes Eric Krasno, Snarky Puppy’s Chris Bullock At Sold-Out NYC Show [Photos/Videos]

first_imgLoad remaining images The Marcus King Band rolled into New York City on Friday night, where the rock band from South Carolina delivered an electrifying performance in front of a sold-out crowd at Irving Plaza. The band’s young frontman and lead guitarist, Marcus King,  appeared to be more than ready to take the stage for another loud night of southern rock as part of their ongoing North American tour in promotion of their 2018 studio album, Carolina Confessions.The night began with a quieter performance from the tour’s support act, Ida Mae. The duo comprised of singer Stephanie Jean and guitarist/singer Chris Turpin provided early attendees with their more romantic styles of British folk-rock, an impressive feat considering that most in the audience were there to turn up the volume and let loose after a cold and snowy work week. Marcus King and his band took the stage shortly after 9:15 pm, and would go on to provide the sold-out Manhattan venue with a fun and soulful performance over the next two hours.King was quick to begin playing around with that distortion-driven guitar of his, as he began furiously adventuring his way up and down the fretboard from the moment the lights went out. The band started the show with a quick jam and some swirling swells courtesy of King before grooving right into “Virginia”, “Where I’m Headed”, and “Ain’t Nothing Wrong”. The majority of the night’s performance was framed around the new material off of Carolina Confessions, as the band made sure to include new tracks including “8 a.m.”, “Side Door” and “Homesick” in the first half of the set. The middle of the performance was also anchored down with a rocking medley of “Always” and The Meters‘ “He Bite Me” before a thunderous drum solo courtesy of Jack Ryan sent the entire two-floor room into a frenzy of excitement.Like most New York City concerts within the jam/rock scene, Friday night’s performance included its fair share of special guests. On this night it was Snarky Puppy saxophonist Chris Bullock who joined the band’s horn section on stage for a few songs towards the latter half of the set. The show was also highlighted by the surprise appearance from frequent MKB collaborator Eric Krasno, who came out to join in for during the show’s encore.Below, you can check out a selection of video clips from the performance in addition to a gallery of beautiful photos from the show courtesy of photographer Kevin Cole.The Marcus King Band – Encore ft. Eric Krasno[Video: The Marcus King Band] The Carolina Confessions Tour continues with a scheduled performance at the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, Massachusetts on Saturday evening, November 17th. For a full list of The Marcus King Band’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band website here.The Marcus King Band | Irving Plaza | New York, NY | 11/16/18 | Photos: Kevin Colelast_img read more

Know your ESA: an online resource for Endangered Species Act docs and data

first_imgAnalysis, Conservation, data, Endangered, Endangered Species Act, Environmental Policy, Habitat, Law Enforcement, Technology, Wildlife, Wildtech The ever-increasing number of species needing protection, inadequate funding, and poor understanding of how and where the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been implemented have made it difficult to assess the law’s success.A free, online platform offers access to and analyses of troves of ESA-related documents and data—including otherwise unavailable materials—on species, agency consultations, decisions, and effectiveness.By making these data more accessible, the platform aims to help the conservation community better understand how the ESA is implemented and where it can improve. Do you know where your endangered species are?A new online tool offers access to and analyses of a wealth of documents and data related to the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), included species distributions, land use decisions, and plans for habitat conservation and species recovery.45 years of endangered species conservationThe US established the ESA in 1973 to conserve endangered and threatened species and their habitats. It’s the country’s premier species conservation law, but the ever-increasing number of species needing protection, inadequate funding, and poor understanding of how and where it has been implemented have made assessing its success problematic, even for agency staff.The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) administer the ESA for terrestrial and freshwater species, and marine wildlife, respectively. These implementing agencies prioritize imperiled species, develop habitat conservation and species recovery plans, carry out recovery actions, and assess progress toward species’ recovery. Over 2,300 species (including 680 foreign species) are currently listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.The black-footed ferret, found in six western US states, is threatened by loss of native grasslands and its main prey, prairie dogs, which are eliminated by ranchers in the American West. Photo credit: J. Michael Lockhart/USFWS CC.20The ESA protects imperiled species by prohibiting the “take” and the trade of listed animals and plants without a specific permit. “Take” applies to activities that harass, harm, pursue, trap, capture, or collect wildlife, including degradation of habitat sufficient to impair its breeding, feeding, or sheltering patterns.FWS offers extensive information about listed species on its website, but its data management systems make accessing data and documentation on the implementation of the law difficult for the conservation community, the public, and even other agencies.Expanding access to ESA recordsThe Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) at the US non-profit Defenders of Wildlife has launched a web platform that integrates a series of free, online tools, data, and publications on how the law is implemented. The tools complement FWS’s species-specific information by making the extensive ESA documentation and data more accessible to other agencies and the public.In an email interview with Mongabay-Wildtech, CCI Director Ya-Wei Li and data scientist Jacob Malcom explained the impetus to launch the CCI platform. “The ESA remains the most comprehensive law ever enacted to save endangered species, yet we often have very little information about how the law works in practice,” said Malcom and Li. “In the past, a lot of perceptions about the ESA were based on anecdotes and case studies. Using data and technology, we’re painting a far more accurate picture of how this law is implemented. And what we see is cause for real concern, because the conservation challenge is even greater than what many in the public believe.”The site’s home page lists (in unspecified order) the various apps, analyses, and papers, or you can select tools from the drop-down menus. Several tools are still in beta development, and new tools are in the works.A screenshot from CCI’s home page showing drop-down menus, brief instructions, and three of the available apps. Image credit: CCIHere’s a sampling of what’s currently available:1— ESAdocs Search app: The over-arching ESAdocs Search engine allows you to search roughly 15,000 ESA-related documents and data on the platform. You use this tool as you would use Google or Bing, by entering a search term—such as a species’ common or scientific name or a place—and the engine lists all the documents it has containing that term. A search for “pronghorn” produced 50 matches of PDF documents, most of which were consultations, communications regarding federal agency actions that could affect the pronghorn population.You can filter the search by the type of document, such as a report, recovery plan, five-year review, publication, map, or even an interagency letter. The tool makes the text of every document searchable (even the thousands of FWS’s image-format PDF documents).“Full-text search enables new insights that can’t be gained from FWS’s web resources,” said Malcom. “For example, the project that resulted in the first-ever map of recovery units (found here) was only feasible once we could search the recovery plans for >1,200 species that have completed plans.”You can also download a spreadsheet table of results of your search, many of which include links to the downloadable PDF documents. Nevertheless, CCI labels this tool as “beta” because some complex searches are still slow, and the team is still adding to it.Those unfamiliar with the ESA might begin with several “Intro” apps that provide brief overviews of the issue and lead the user to answers.2— ESA listings and occurrences apps: Several apps provide tabular, graphic, and map-based summaries of ESA species listings, including the occurrence of listed species by county or the listed species found only in a single state. You can also filter and download data on these “intrastate” species—Hawaii predictably has the highest percentage of these (99.2%), followed by California, Texas, and Florida.Map of states shaded by the number of intrastate (single-state) listed species, part of one of CCI’s “Intro” apps. Hawaii, not surprisingly, given its isolation, has the most intrastate listed species. Image credit: CCIThe information on the FWS ECOS website offers helpful reports on ESA-listed species—including five-year species review and single-state species data— on a species-by-species basis, said Malcom, but does not permit high-level views or big-picture inquiries, such as seeing where in the US all bird or amphibian species have been listed or how the number of endangered species changes through time.3— Analysis of ESA decisions app: Many imperiled species current wait years to be considered for listing, and producing a recovery plan that articulates actions needed to protect a given species can take several years. This app analyzes and presents data tables and graphs extracted from a PDF-formatted FWS workplan used to evaluate and prioritize the ESA listing of hundreds of species. The app enables users to search, filter and sort the information.“Deep-dive” apps, which present more detailed assessments or analysis, are designed for readers familiar with the ESA. Access to some of these requires permission.4— An ESA expenditure app displays data from 2008-2013 from FWS annual reports, with amounts spent on specific species. Currently, the lack of a system for prioritizing funding means that a few better-known species get most of the funding.5— The Section 7 Explorer app displays maps and graphs of data on the 100,000 consultations with FWS by federal and state agencies, as required under Section 7 of the ESA. Federal agencies must support the ESA and “consult” with FWS or NMFS to ensure the development activities they authorize or support (such as road building, drilling, or logging projects) are not likely to harm listed species or critical habitats.The Section 7 Explorer allows you to filter the data to explore consultations for particular species, places, years, agencies, or types of development project. The data include more than 4,000 consultation documents that FWS has not made publicly available, many of which contain up-to-date information on species status, as well as background and glossary of terms for users with limited ESA experience.A screenshot from the Section 7 Explorer app, with statistics on agency consultations with the ESA implementing agencies. Image credit: CCI6— Analyses: Besides the apps, the platform presents analyses of ESA-related data, generated through ESA consultations and other findings, cover specific topics and are presented as reports and figures. Several of these analyses use data from FWS’s otherwise unavailable Tracking and Integrated Logging System (TAILS) database. For example, CCI analyzed how well the FWS tracks the amount of “take”—harming of a listed species—it authorizes. It found that the current amount of “take” is not well known. Despite the obvious importance of knowing how much harm to an endangered species has been authorized previously before permitting future take, these data were insufficient to do so.They also learned that roughly half of the inter-agency consultations reported the geographic coordinates of a project, and that certain regional offices were more likely to include coordinates in their reports. As the platform grows, CCI expects to expand the currently limited mapping/spatial data analysis component.Clearing of forest habitat, such as here in Oregon, in areas critical to a listed species would be an example of “take”. Photo credit: Calibas CC 3.07— Papers: CCI has published expanded versions of some analyses as papers. These include an assessment of species recovery plans that found nearly 25% of listed species lack recovery plans, plans take more than five years to finalize, and half are at least 19 years old. Another paper analyzed data on over 88,000 consultations and found they did not hinder economic development and took less time than conventional wisdom suggested.8— Working Papers are unpublished works in progress that describe ongoing projects, upcoming features, new ideas, and case studies. For example, a working paper on dynamic recovery provides several models to address the need to modernize species recovery plans. The ESA requires recovery plans for each listed species, but many plans are out of date.“Current recovery plans are static Adobe PDF documents that are rarely updated, making them less useful for conservation,” explained Malcom and Li. “We are…creating the first-ever web-based recovery plan that can be very easily updated, like how people update a Wikipedia page in a snap.”The modernized, online format has piqued the interest of both FWS and NMFS, as well as the US Department of Defense, which follows species plans on land it manages, and some of these plans are more than 30 years old. As it progresses, the CCI is writing up a brief analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the various dynamic recovery plan types.The palila honeycreeper, like many Hawaiian birds, is highly endangered by loss of habitat and avian malaria, to which they lack resistance from thousands of years of isolation. Brought by human-carried mosquitoes in the 1820s, the disease has already caused the extinction of multiple bird species. Photo credit: HarmonyonPlanetEarth-Flickr CC 2.0A tool for practitionersMany of the CCI tools target ESA practitioners with some understanding of how the law works.“Part of the issue was that FWS’s internal software doesn’t allow them run simple queries of their data and visualize the results,” said Malcom and Li. “We have stepped in and filled that void. That’s why FWS, other federal agencies, Congressional staff, and the regulated community use the [Section 7] Explorer regularly. For example, the US Forest Service has used the Section 7 Explorer to help answer Congressional inquiries about how the agency fulfills its duty to consult on the effects of their timber harvest and other projects.”Advocates have used the tools to answer questions relevant to current issues in Congress, such as the status of the required ESA-listed species five-year status reviews. “There are proposals in Congress to stop federal funding for species that are behind schedule on the reviews,” said Malcom and Li, “which would be very bad for ~54% of species that meet the criterion.”Learn more about the ESA in this helpful FWS introduction video: Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Moth rediscovered in Malaysia mimics appearance and behavior of bees to escape predators

first_imgThe Oriental blue clearwing (Heterosphecia tawonoides) was rediscovered in Malaysia’s Taman Negara National Park by Marta Skowron Volponi, a Ph.D. student at Poland’s University of Gdansk and lead author of a paper about the moth recently published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science.The moths have legs like bees, bright blue bands on their abdomens (bees in Southeast Asia can be a variety of colors, including blue), and furry bodies that resemble those of bees — though the moths’ “fur” is actually elongated scales.While the conservation status of the moths is unknown, Skowron Volponi found that the Oriental blue clearwing’s preferred habitat seems to be the banks of clean watercourses flowing through the primary rainforests of Malaysia — a country with one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Polish researchers have rediscovered a moth in Malaysia that was previously known only from a 130-year-old museum specimen collected in Indonesia.The Oriental blue clearwing (Heterosphecia tawonoides) was rediscovered in Malaysia’s Taman Negara National Park by Marta Skowron Volponi, a Ph.D. student at Poland’s University of Gdansk and lead author of a paper about the moth recently published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science.When Skowron Volponi first encountered the Oriental blue clearwing and noticed the blue sheen of the moth’s wings as well as its reflective, metallic blue scales, she knew right away that the discovery was unique. She and co-author Paolo Volponi (Skowron Volponi’s husband) have now observed 12 Oriental blue clearwing individuals in the wild.Clearwing moths are known for their bee-mimicking appearances, and the Oriental blue clearwing is no exception. They have legs like bees, bright blue bands on their abdomens (bees in Southeast Asia can be a variety of colors, including blue), and furry bodies that resemble those of bees — though the moths’ “fur” is actually elongated scales. By assuming the appearance of and fraternizing with bees, Skowron Volponi theorized, clearwing moths are probably better able to evade predators who fear getting a stinger in the mouth when what they’re looking for is a good meal.“You think about moths and you envision a grey, hairy insect that is attracted to light,” Skowron Volponi said in a statement. “But this species is dramatically different — it is beautiful, shiny blue in sunlight and it comes out during the day; and it is a master of disguise, mimicking bees on multiple levels and even hanging out with them. The Oriental blue clearwing is just two centimeters in size, but there are so many fascinating things about them and so much more we hope to learn.”In fact, the Oriental blue clearwing not only looks and behaves like a bee, but may even buzz like a bee. In the Tropical Science Conservation paper, Skowron Volponi and her co-author detail a behavior known as “mud-puddling,” which they observed male clearwing moths engaging in: While flying amongst groups of bees and wasps from rock to rock on a riverbank, the moths suck up water and sodium with their proboscises (which they give as a “nuptial gift” to females as part of their mating rituals). Skowron Volponi says she also witnessed Oriental blue clearwings imitating a bee’s flight path by flying in zigzag patterns, and even heard them buzzing. This latter finding is still unconfirmed, but if additional research bears it out, it would be a first for clearwing moths.“This is one of those rediscoveries that reminds us of how incredibly fascinating our wild world is and gives us the unique opportunity to learn about a species that would otherwise have been doomed to obscurity in the basement of a museum,” Don Church, president of United States-based NGO Global Wildlife Conservation, said in a statement. “Now we get the chance to unlock this species’ mysteries and help look at opportunities to protect it.”Church was not involved in the research, but Global Wildlife Conservation was mentioned in the Tropical Science Conservation study because Heterosphecia tawonoides fits the organization’s description of a “lost species.” Though it was described to science in 2003, the basis for that description was a single specimen collected in Sumatra, Indonesia in 1887 that has since been housed at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.Global Wildlife Conservation, with the aid of experts from more than 100 IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialist Groups, launched a project called The Search for Lost Species that aims to rediscover and protect species that haven’t been seen by scientists in a decade or more.While the conservation status of the moths is unknown, Skowron Volponi found that the Oriental blue clearwing’s preferred habitat seems to be the banks of clean watercourses flowing through the primary rainforests of Malaysia — a country with one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. And while she found the moth primarily in Taman Negara National Park, she did come across some individuals of the species outside of the protected area, as well.“When they chop down the trees and the first monsoon rains come, there are mudslides and everything is flooded into the river, which brings mud and pollution into the national park,” Skowron Volponi said. “While people at first may not think that a sandy bank of a river is a diverse habitat, the reality is that this is precious real estate for clearwing moths, bees, and wonderful day-flying butterflies that are often endangered. Once those riverbanks vanish, so too will all of these species, including my favorites, the clearwing moths.”The rediscovered Oriental blue clearwing. Photo Credit: Marta Skowron Volponi.CITATION• Skowron Volponi, M. A., & Volponi, P. (2017). A 130-Year-Old Specimen Brought Back to Life: A Lost Species of Bee-Mimicking Clearwing Moth, Heterosphecia tawonoides (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae: Osminiini), Rediscovered in Peninsular Malaysia’s Primary Rainforest. Tropical Conservation Science, 10. doi:10.1177/1940082917739774 Animal Behavior, Animals, Biodiversity, Environment, Insects, Moths, Rainforest Animals, Rainforest Biodiversity, Rediscovered Species, Research, Wildlife Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Belize imposes offshore oil moratorium to protect reefs

first_imgArticle published by John Cannon Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Coral Reefs, Ecology, Environment, Fish, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Crisis, Marine Ecosystems, Mining, Natural Gas, Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Oil, Oil Drilling, Oil Spills, Pollution, Rays, Sea Turtles, Sharks, Sharks And Rays, Water, Water Pollution, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Belize stopped the exploration for oil in its waters as of Dec. 29, 2017.Environmentalists and local businesses opposed a 2016 plan to begin wider oil exploration around Belize, halting those plans within weeks.Tourism directly contributed about 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2016, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, and 50 percent of Belize’s 360,000 people depend on tourism or fishing for their livelihoods.Conversely, WWF estimated that an oil spill would cost $280 million in cleanup costs. The government of Belize halted all exploration for oil in its territorial waters from Dec. 29, becoming one of the first developing countries to turn away from oil in favor of protecting the ocean environment.“This is truly ‘The People’s Law,’” Janelle Chanona, vice president of the NGO Oceana in Belize, said in a report by teleSUR. “Belizeans have remained steadfast in their opposition to offshore oil since they became aware that marine assets were at risk of irreversible damage from the offshore oil industry.”That opposition began in earnest when the government shared its plans for oil exploration near the Belize Barrier Reef. At that point, WWF started a campaign during which 450,000 people emailed the government about offshore drilling, according to an article at Quartz.“Belize is a small country making a mighty commitment to putting the environment first,” Nadia Bood, a WWF reef scientist, said in the Quartz article.A stingray in Belize. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.The Belize Barrier Reef System Reserve has been a UNESCO world heritage site for more than two decades. The 300-kilometer (186-mile) stretch of coral in the Caribbean Sea is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is home to turtles, crocodiles and manatees — among the roughly 1,400 species found in Belize’s reefs.Such wildlife is a huge draw for tourists, who contribute about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to Quartz. The Guardian reports that 50 percent of Belize’s people depend on tourism or fishing for their livelihoods. The population of Belize is 360,000, according to the CIA World Factbook.But environmental groups like WWF and Oceana were concerned that seismic technology used to probe for oil, which would have occurred less than 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) from the reef based on the 2016 proposal, could have tragic consequences for wildlife and fisheries.“We do know that for dolphins and whales, it can cause deafness, disturb communications, and disrupt migration patterns,” Chris Gee, the head of campaigns at WWF-UK, said in an interview with Mongabay in 2016. “Additionally, such surveys have been shown to impact negatively catch rates for fishers, especially during testing periods.”What’s more, WWF estimated that an oil spill would cost $280 million in cleanup costs.Lighthouse Reef in Belize seen from space. Photo by Jesse Allen (NASA Earth Observatory) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.“Ending oil activities will encourage other countries to follow suit and take the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet’s oceans,” Gee told Quartz. “Like the Belize Barrier Reef, nearly half of natural World Heritage sites worldwide are threatened by industrial pressures.”Belize’s shutdown of offshore oil activity preceded U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jan. 4 announcement that he wanted to open most of his country’s waters to oil and gas drilling.Several state governments bristled at the move. Florida Governor Rick Scott got the Trump administration to take his state out of the running for offshore projects. And Virginia’s incoming governor wrote a letter to Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of the Interior in which he argued that drilling could put his state’s tourism and fishing sectors in peril.Businesses that depend on Belize’s natural largesse — including the Great Blue Hole, which oceanographer Jacques Cousteau said was one of the top 10 dive sites on the planet — are in agreement.“Legislation to stop offshore oil drilling in Belize is an extremely wise decision,” Ralph Capeling, an owner of Splash Dive Center, said in the Guardian article. “The economic potential of the reef clearly exceeds the value of any potential discoveries.”Belize’s Great Blue Hole. By U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.And the potential for spills like the one in 2010 on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which blanketed parts of the Gulf in oil slicks and killed 11 people, has others questioning why the U.S. president would take such a risk.“I was stunned to learn that President Trump recently decided to make moves to open up previously protected areas off the coast of the US to oil exploration and drilling,” John Searle told the Guardian. Searle owns Sea Sports Belize in Belize City.“I guess he must have a very short memory,” he added. “Can someone please tweet #deepwaterhorizon?”Editor’s note: A previous version of this article misstated the population of Belize. It is 360,000, not 190,000. Also, the direct contribution of tourism to the Belizean economy was 14.1 percent in 2016, according the World Travel and Tourism Council. We regret the errors.Banner image of fish in Belize by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

For Australia’s fire-starting falcons, pyromania serves up the prey

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Australia’s indigenous peoples have long spoken of birds of prey intentionally starting bushfires to flush out prey.In a new study, researchers have now compiled observations and anecdotes from scientific reports, firefighters and Aboriginal peoples to get a better understanding of how such bird-caused fires spread in Australia’s Northern Territory.Overall, most instances of fire-spreading by birds seem to be intentional, the authors say, but it is hard to say how common such fires are. Some birds in Australia use smoldering sticks to spread wildfires and flush out smaller birds, insects, frogs and other prey, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Ethnobiology.This fire-spreading behavior isn’t a new discovery, the authors of the study say. Australia’s indigenous peoples have long spoken of “firehawks” — a generic term for the black kite (Milvus migrans), whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcon (Falco berigora) — intentionally spreading fires in the country’s tropical savannas. But much of the examples remain fragmented.So the researchers compiled observations and anecdotes from scientific reports, firefighters and Aboriginal peoples to get a better understanding of how such bird-caused fires spread in Australia’s Northern Territory. Some compelling examples came from the co-authors of the study.Co-author and former firefighter Dick Eussen, for instance, was fighting a blaze at the Ranger uranium mine near Kakadu, Northern Territory, in the 1980s when he was alerted to a new blaze on the unburned side of the road.“He drove over and put it out, noting a whistling kite flying about 20 meters [66 feet] in front of him with a smoking stick in its talons,” the authors write in the study. “It dropped the stick and smoke began to curl from the dry grass, starting a spot fire that had to be immediately extinguished. In all, he put out seven fires, all caused by the kites.”Whistling kites are common birds of prey in Australia. Photo by Athena Ferreira via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0). Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Birds Of Prey, Conservation, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Green, Raptors, Research, Savannas, wildfires, Wildlife Hawks hunting in and around a controlled brushfire, Mount Etna Caves National Park, Central Queensland. The birds are a mixture of black kites and whistling kites. Photo by Mark Marathon via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).Citation:Bonta, M. et al. (2018). Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia. Journal of Ethnobiology. 37(4):700-718.center_img Nathan Ferguson, also a co-author and officer-in-charge of a fire station in the Barkly Tablelands, initially discounted reports of fire-spreading by birds. But after years of experience he “has learned to incorporate the possibility of avian fire-spreading as a variable in bushfire management,” the authors write. In 2016, for example, Ferguson observed a few kites “successfully seizing burning sticks in their beaks, sometimes switching them to their talons, transporting them over 50 meters [164 feet], dropping them, and, thus, igniting unburned grass.”The study also quotes experiences and observations of several indigenous peoples. In one such account, in Douglas Lockwood’s 1963 autobiography I, the Aboriginal, the indigenous Australian Waipuldanya says: “Not only the hawks used the ruse of deliberate grass fires as an aid to hunting. We often did so ourselves, especially towards the end of the long dry season when food was scarce and ten-feet [3-meter] tall speargrass, which burnt readily, was a natural haven for game. It is possible that our forefathers learnt this trick from the birds.”Overall, most instances of fire-spreading by birds seem to be deliberate, the authors write, and some other experts agree. By spreading fires to unburned areas, the birds force more prey to flee and become easy targets for their next meal.“There’s a purpose,” Robert Gosford, a co-author of the study, told the Washington Post. “There’s an intent to say, okay, there are several hundred of us there, we can all get a meal.”Although it is hard to say how common such bird-caused fires are, scientific acceptance of such fire-spreading would help in better planning of fire management and conservation efforts, the authors write.“Though Aboriginal rangers and others who deal with bushfires take into account the risks posed by raptors that cause controlled burns to jump across firebreaks, official skepticism about the reality of avian fire-spreading hampers effective planning for landscape management and restoration,” they add. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Another Rashford double helps Man U beat Arsenal

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP):Teenage striker Marcus Rashford continued the dream start to his Manchester United career, scoring two goals and setting up another in a 3-2 win over title-chasing Arsenal in the Premier League yesterday.Only playing because of United’s chronic injury crisis, the 18-year-old Rashford marked his league debut by scoring in the 29th and 32nd minutes to put his team 2-0 ahead – three days after a double in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland on his senior United debut.After former United striker Danny Welbeck replied for Arsenal, Rashford set up Ander Herrera for a shot from the edge of the area that deflected in off Laurent Koscielny.Mesut Ozil made it 3-2 in the 69th, but fifth-place United held on comfortably to move three points off the top four. Arsenal, which put in an off-colour performance against a young and injury-hit United side, dropped five points behind leaders Leicester and haven’t won in the league at Old Trafford since 2006.United manager Louis van Gaal, under much pressure amid the team’s troubles this season, delivered some light relief when he fell to the ground theatrically while remonstrating with the fourth official in the technical area. The Old Trafford crowd roared with laughter and finished the match singing van Gaal’s name, adding to an atmosphere that was buoyant throughout the game as United’s youngsters proved too energetic for Arsenal.SCORING GOALSThat was particularly the case with Rashford, who must think professional soccer is easy. In his first two games as a pro – both of them high-profile ones – in the space of three days, the striker has scored as many goals as Radamel Falcao did in a whole year for United last season.”I could imagine the first game he did that because he is a striker coming in to score goals and the first match is always good,” Van Gaal said. “The second match he has to do what the manager is willing him to do, and he did it fantastically.”Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also impressed with Rashford, who hadn’t started a game above under-19 level before Thursday.”The timing and intelligence of his movement was great,” Wenger said. “He could be a very positive surprise for Man United.”Arsenal were flat, strangely, and their passing lacked the usual crispness. But the team managed to reduce the deficit before half-time when Welbeck got behind marker Morgan Schneiderlin at a free kick and headed in Ozil’s cross.Arsenal have 11 games to make up ground on Leicester and is also three points behind second-place Tottenham.”It is still possible,” Wenger said of Arsenal’s title chances, “but the answer will have to come quick and strong.”last_img read more

Proud Nerds at your service

first_imgTamara O’ReillyMeeting the CEO of a company unashamedly called Dial-a-Nerd for the first time one half expects to find the ultimate nerd – complete with braces, chequered pants, goofy smile and spectacles. Instead Collin Thornton is suave, good looking with fine social skills and a business mind to match. At 29, Thornton oversees a miniature empire with a turnover of R22 million and a network of 15 000 customers. The company’s core business deals with technicians that travel to private homes to solve computer problems – from users who need help with switching them on, downloading music onto their iPods or advice on entertainment gadgets to the more technical aspects like repairs and removing viruses.Thornton’s love for computers began at an early age and he often found himself spending hours dismantling and inspecting them. “My poor father, he probably lost about three or four machines because of my fiddling,” says Thornton.Getting started His entrepreneurial streak first began to show while still at primary school when he began making and selling candles and, while at the University of Witwatersrand studying towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, he began fixing computers for friends and family for a mere $7 per hour. His time at university was short-lived though as he found he already knew what was being taught.“I found the course too theoretical and I grew very bored very quickly. The defining moment for me came when my mathematics lecturer chastised me for getting a poor mark on a test, and suggested I just drop out instead. That was the best advice I got at university,” says Thornton. “So I did what he said and in between working as a packer at a supermarket I decided to take my passion for computers and use it to my advantage.”Dial-a-Nerd originated in his father’s garage in 1998 with just one other technician to help out. A year later, as his client base grew, he realised that to ensure further growth he needed to work out of a presentable and more work-like environment so he rented a tiny office. Today he has branches in Cape Town and Johannesburg and says that other cities like Pretoria and Durban are firmly on the agenda.Client profileThe home user seemed to be the obvious target for Thornton as he found that many companies that deal with mending computers find them an irritation. He was happy to take on these customers as he projected that with computers becoming popular in households, it would only be a matter of time before this service was needed on a larger scale.It seems that whether computer sales increase or decline, Dial-a-Nerd will be in for some good times. With the interest rate increasing and the cost of living getting higher, people want to prolong the life of their existing computers which means regular maintenance is required.But the company is also taking on larger business clients. Thornton says during the early days he would often turn away corporate clients as he didn’t have the capacity to deal with them properly.“Corporate customers require fast response times and specific guarantees,” he tells iWeek, “and if I couldn’t deliver perfectly, then I didn’t want to deliver at all. As our existing customers grew, however, they started to require this type of service, and instead of turning them away, I created a division called Network Nerds, which is staffed by highly trained technicians and was specifically structured to meet these needs.”About 200 small and medium-sized enterprises and a handful of large corporates now make up his client portfolio, but he says Dial-a-Nerd will remain loyal to home users.Despite the name and the misconceptions that come with it, all their technicians have great people skills. The rapid growth of Dial-a-Nerd has shown that there’s a demand for properly trained technicians who are able to simplify computer-speak and be friendly at the same time.As they believe computers are the way of the future, Dial-a-Nerd is also involved with social responsibility initiatives that see old computers being refurbished and donated to police stations, schools and orphanages around the country. These users are also trained by the nerds to use the equipment.Thornton says one of the secrets of the business’s success is the talent that he surrounds himself with. “There’s a joke in my office that I’m the worst technician in this company – and that’s true. All our technicians are IT experts – computers are their life. If a guy comes in here for a job and he says he doesn’t play computer games then that’s a concern for us.”Useful linksDial-a-nerd IT Weblast_img read more

Western Cape to boost aquaculture

first_imgMusa Mkalipi Alan Winde announced that the Western Cape government is examining ways to establish special economic zones to grow its aquaculture industry.(Image: Whale Cottage Portfolio) The aquaculture sector in the Western Cape employs 2 300 people.(Image: Farmer’s Weekly)MEDIA CONTACTS• Dr Willem BurgerAbagold marketing manager+27 28 313 8574RELATED ARTICLES• State launches aquaculture incentive• Saving South Africa’s abalone• Teaching teens to fish• Pick n Pay greens seafood operationsThe Western Cape government is examining ways to establish special economic zones (SEZs) to grow its aquaculture industry, according to Alan Winde, the provincial minister of finance, economic development and tourism.Winde visited the province’s two largest abalone farms, Abagold and HIK Abalone Farm, both in Hermanus, on 12 June. Together they produce more than 400 tons of abalone each year. Abalone, known as perlemoen in South Africa, is a sea snail or marine gastropod mollusc. Its meat is widely considered to be a delicacy, and it is eaten either raw or in a variety of dishes, particularly in the Orient. The iridescent shells are used for jewellery and buttons, and the pearls have long been collectors’ items.Aquaculture in Western Cape employs 2 300 people, or 78% of the total number of workers employed in the industry country wide. Research by Stellenbosch University in 2010 determined that the province had 20 abalone farms and they were estimated to have sales of R355-million (US$37-million).Abagold is one of the largest farms in South Africa and employs 350 people. Earlier this year, it won the exporter award in the South African Premier Awards. HIK has 1 500 tanks and its own processing facility. Winde said aquaculture in the province was expected to show triple-digit growth over the next 10 to 15 years. To maintain the current level of fish consumption worldwide, he pointed out that it was estimated that global aquaculture production would have to grow from 45.5-million tons a year – as recorded in 2004 – to 80-million tons by 2050. These figures are from a study done by the Western Cape department of economic development and tourism.The provincial government would invest R50-million ($5-million) into the sector in this financial year. Winde said many of the farms were expanding and creating jobs, especially in rural and coastal areas in and around fishing towns. “This is why the Western Cape government, through the Western Cape Aquaculture Development Initiative, supports growth in the industry.” The government was also identifying companies for the investment project.Economic development and tourism, Western Cape Aquaculture Development Initiative and National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries wanted to declare the region from Hermanus to Gansbaai an SEZ. The final decision on the zones is taken by the Department of Trade and Industry.Improving aquacultureAccording to the provincial economic development and tourism department, worldwide production from capture fisheries has levelled off and many main fishing areas have reached their maximum potential. Winde said rising electricity costs in the past few years had affected abalone farmers in municipal areas as they could not negotiate special tariffs with power supplier Eskom. “The Western Cape government is investigating whether energy costs could be reduced by way of zoning arrangements such as the declaration of SEZs”.These zones would be entitled to incentives, he added.In 2010, Western Cape led the aquaculture sector with 20 farms; there are nine in Eastern Cape, three in Northern Cape and one in Kwazulu-Natal. Engineering News reported that South Africa produced less than 1% of Africa’s aquaculture production. In 2011, the country produced 7 686 tons of fish products, a far cry from the 900 000 tons produced by Egypt and 200 000 tons by Nigeria.Palesa Mokomole, the spokeswoman of Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson, said that abalone farms had created the majority of direct new jobs in the aquaculture sector, with a total of 1 219 jobs in 2012.Aquaculture, also known as aqua farming, is the farming of aquatic organisms and is divided into fresh water culture and mariculture. Species farmed in the latter include dusky kob, abalone, Pacific oyster, Mediterranean mussel and black mussel, among others. According to the National Aquaculture Strategic Framework, the sector is relatively small and the government wants to create a climate in which it can grow. Special attention will be paid to freshwater aquaculture as it has shown growth potential.The government will also push investments in research, development technology, transfer and extension, as well as education and training programmes in aquaculture.In March, the national government launched the R800-million ($82-million) Agriculture Development Enhancement Programme (ADEP), which offers cost sharing grants of R40-million ($4-million) per company. The aim is to create more jobs in the sector. The grants will be made available for machinery, equipment, infrastructure, commercial vehicles and work boats in pursuit of boosting competition in the industry.The Department of Trade and Industry says the objective of the ADEP is to stimulate investment by means of increasing production, sustaining and creating jobs, encouraging geographical spread as well as increasing participation of broad-based black economic empowerment companies. The ADEP will run until 31 March 2018 and will be available for fish hatcheries, fish farms and for the production, processing and preserving of aquaculture fish.Restricted fishingAccording to SouthAfrica.info, the country indefinitely suspended abalone fishing in its waters from February 2008, as marine authorities “take drastic measures to protect the rapidly depleting shellfish species from commercial extinction”. It said illegal fishing – poaching – and increased inward migration of West Coast rock lobster that destroys abalone habitat were being blamed for a decline in the shellfish’s numbers.“We are unfortunately at a point where the commercial harvesting of wild abalone can no longer be justified because the stock has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinction,” the government said when it made the announcement in October 2007.Abalone fishing is severely restricted in South African waters, but poaching is rife as it is a lucrative trade. A main cause for the decline in abalone numbers, SouthAfrica.info pointed out, was the rampant poaching over the years. The species is “highly coveted and fetches high prices, especially in the Far East”.last_img read more