Not approved by special snowflakes

A bear killed a deer, because it was hungry.  Normal behavior, of course;  that’s what bears do.  The difference, in this case, is that it did so in someone’s back yard – right in the middle of Colorado Springs suburbia. WARNING:  The video is VERY graphic, both visually and audibly.  Don’t play this near small kids or those who are squeamish. What’s astonished me about that video is not the fact that it happened so close to human habitation – it’s the response from the special snowflake brigade.  I’ve seen comments in some quarters about how cruel the bear was,

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An old weed becomes a modern problem

The so-called “Sargasso Sea” in the North Atlantic Ocean is a time-honored name, dating back to well before Christopher Columbus’ day.  It may have been known as early as the sixth century BC, according to one ancient navigator‘s oral history.  The map below is courtesy of Wikipedia. Its name was derived from the sargassum seaweed that proliferates there.  In more recent times, the Sargasso Sea has become the heart of the so-called North Atlantic Garbage Patch. Now it looks as if sargassum is spreading south, into equatorial regions, and posing a new and highly unwelcome threat to the tourist industry in South America, the Caribbean,

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Day 9 on the road: North Carolina to the Mississippi River

Miss D. and I left Brevard, NC on Monday morning, on our way home to Texas.  We made a brief stop at the Bear Tracks Travel Center, which we’d visited on Day 6 of our tour.  The owner (an older lady) had three large amethyst geodes for sale in her shop, which we’d noted on Friday.  They were all tall half-cylinders of various heights.  We were struck by their exceptionally reasonable prices.  We’re used to seeing good-quality, large-size geodes priced at thousands of dollars apiece in retail stores.  These were all listed in the hundreds of dollars, far below what we’d normally have expected (and

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Days 7 and 8 on the road: Brevard, NC and the Pisgah National Forest

Over the weekend, Miss D. and I indulged ourselves in doing touristy things, visiting some very lovely places, and relaxing and unwinding with “us time” – something that’s been hard to schedule at home, with all the demands on our time. On Saturday morning, after a leisurely and very tasty breakfast at our B&B, we walked the streets of Brevard for a few hours.  Our first stop was the local farmers market, which didn’t yield anything we really wanted.  From there we visited several art galleries, looking at what was on display.  I must admit, I was disappointed.  It seemed to me

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We need a season to dry out from summer!

It’s been far wetter and stormier than usual in northern Texas during spring, and that looks set to continue into early summer.  Miss D. and I have only lived here for three and a half years, but people who’ve been here all their lives are also complaining.  The ground is sodden – it has almost no capacity to absorb new moisture, so any fresh rain that falls simply runs off into creeks and rivers.  This is the result (clickit to biggit): That’s the Red River, on the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma, where it’s crossed by Interstate 44.  It’s been about ten

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That’s a hell of a wakeup call

It’s coming up 2 a.m. in a few moments, and Mother Nature has clearly decided I don’t need to get any more sleep for a while.  Our house is right underneath the brightest, wettest and noisiest part of the big yellow band right now, just about in the center of this image. One cat is hiding under the bed in the guest room, and flatly refusing to move.  The other is alternately making love to my ankles in the hope that I’ll provide milk or cream at this ungodly hour, or trying to climb into my lap every time there’s

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Weather safety prayers would be appreciated, please

It looks like this part of the country, as well as points north, are in for a torrid time of it this evening.  As the weather map below shows, the “dry line” blew up a couple of hours ago, and a line of severe storms is marching eastwards towards us.  We expect them to arrive by middle to late evening. Hurricane-force wind gusts, hail up to softball size, and flash flooding are in our forecast;  and we’re under a tornado watch as well.   It’s likely to be an “interesting” night, in the sense of the fabled Chinese curse!  Please

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Nature has some truly weird critters . . .

I was astonished to learn that octopus and squid are different from any other critters in the sea – or on land – as far as their genetics are concerned. In a surprising twist, in April 2017 scientists discovered that octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species, routinely edit their RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences to adapt to their environment. This is weird because that’s really not how adaptations usually happen in multicellular animals. When an organism changes in some fundamental way, it typically starts with a genetic mutation – a change to the DNA. Those genetic changes are then translated into

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Lobster armor? Talk about a throwback!

I’m amused to see that the humble lobster may be the inspiration for a new generation of personal armor protection. In a new paper … researchers reveal that the soft underbelly of the American lobster is so great at protecting the creature’s insides from the jagged ocean floor that a similar material could be useful for humans as full-body protection. The underside of the lobster’s tail is equipped with a membrane of incredible strength. Unlike the more rigid panels that cover the top side of the creature, the coating on its belly is very flexible. The team even compares it to industrial

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