Ticks Rising ~ Lyme, the first epidemic of climate change

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 7.53.15 AM.png

Mary Beth Pfeiffer, an investigative journalist for three decades, began reporting on Lyme disease in 2012 for the Poughkeepsie Journal. Her latest book is Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate

Evolution has endowed the big-footed snowshoe hare with a particularly nifty skill. Over a period of about 10 weeks, as autumn days shorten in the high peaks and boreal forests, the nimble nocturnal hare transforms itself. Where it was once a tawny brown to match the pine needles and twigs amid which it forages, the hare turns silvery white, just in time for the falling of winter snow. This transformation is no inconsequential feat. Lepus americanus, as it is formally known, is able to jump 10 feet and run at a speed of 27 miles per hour, propelled by powerful hind legs and a fierce instinct to live. But it nonetheless ends up, 86 per cent of the time by one study, as a meal for a lynx, red fox, coyote, or even a goshawk or great horned owl. The change of coat is a way to remain invisible, to hide in the brush or fly over the snow unseen, long enough at least to keep the species going.

Snowshoe hares are widely spread throughout the colder, higher reaches of North America – in the wilderness of western Montana, on the coniferous slopes of Alaska, and in the forbidding reaches of the Canadian Yukon. The Yukon is part of the Beringia, an ancient swathe of territory that linked Siberia and North America by a land bridge that, with the passing of the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago, gave way to the Bering Strait. All manner of mammals, plants and insects ferried east and west across that bridge, creating, over thousands of years, the rich boreal forest. But in this place, north of the 60-degree latitude, the axiom of life coloured by stinging cold, early snow and concrete ribbons of ice has been upended in the cosmic blink of an eye. The average temperature has increased by 2 degrees Celsius in the past half century, and by 4 degrees Celsius in the winter. Glaciers are rapidly receding, releasing ancient torrents of water into Kluane Lake, a 150-square-mile reflecting pool that has been called a crown jewel of the Yukon. Lightning storms, ice jams, forest fires, rain – these things are suddenly more common. Permafrost is disappearing.

Such rapid-fire changes across a broad swathe of northern latitudes are testing the adaptive abilities of the snowshoe hare, however swift and nimble it might be. Snow arrives later. Snow melts earlier. But the hare changes its coat according to a long-set schedule, which is to say that the snowshoe is sometimes snowy white when its element is still robustly brown. And that makes it an easier target for prey. In 2016, wildlife biologists who tracked the hares in a rugged wilderness in Montana gave this phenomenon a name: ‘climate change-induced camouflage mismatch’. The hares moulted as they always had. It’s just that the snow didn’t come. Survival rates dropped by 7 per cent as predation increased.

In order to outwit its newest enemy – warmer winters – snowshoe hares would need something in the order of a natural miracle, what the biologists, writing in the journal Ecology Letters, called an ‘evolutionary rescue’. Like the Yukon, this pristine corner of Montana was projected to lose yet more snow cover; there would be perhaps an additional month of bare forest floor by the middle of this century, on which snowshoe hares would stand out like bright white balloons.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

In Cuba, the Castro era ends this week as Raúl steps down as ruler ~ An end of an era for many of us … The Washington Post

Unknown-1Unknown

Through the Space Age, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Internet era, Cubans held one constant: A Castro ruled the nation.

That is about to change.

Raúl Castro, 86, is expected to step aside as Cuba’s president this week, ending the epochal run of two brothers who sent shock waves through 20th-century politics. Nearly two decades into this century, and less than two years after Fidel Castro’s death, his brother’s exit from Cuba’s top job leaves this insular island at a crossroads, weighing how fast, if at all, to embrace change.

“This is an important moment for Cuba, but the truth is, nobody knows what to expect,” said Camilo Condis, general manager of Artecorte, a community project in Havana. “I mean, other than Fidel and Raúl, who is there? You didn’t really know anyone else.”

 

~~~  MORE  ~~~

“It’s about Raúl Castro saying, ‘I am president, but I have a term, and then someone else is going to lead . . . . If you are someone who really wants the regime to endure, it’s what Raúl needs to do.”

The transition is happening at a time when a decade-long opening under Castro has already begun to alter the fabric of Cuban life. Access to the Internet is still subpar, but hotspots are more widely available than ever before. There are now more than 5 million cellphones in this nation of 11.5 million people. More than 550,000 Cubans work in the private sector. After years in which Cubans were forced to obtain permission to leave the country, Cubans these days can travel freely. It is now possible to buy and sell real estate.

Yet in a country where streets are still swimming in 1950s Chevys and Fords, Cuban life can feel stuck in time, and plagued with problems that never really went away. Locals talk of periodic shortages — eggs, potatoes, toilet paper. In a potential sign of discontent, turnout in recent municipal elections stood at 82.5 percent — the lowest in four decades, and a stunningly low number in a country where citizens face high pressure to vote.

Who Was That Masked Man? A Wrestling Priest

09wrestling1-superJumbo.jpg

Fray Tormenta was a heroin addict when he was young. After getting clean, he enrolled at the seminary to became a priest and started wrestling to make money for the orphanage he founded. Credit Seila Montes

When it comes to professional wrestling, there are the famous American federations with slick promotion, well-paid stars and merchandise-mad, free-spending fans.

This story is not about that.

In Mexico, generations have grown up admiring the masked luchadoreswho, for a $50 prize, will flip and body slam opponents in epic fights in modest arenas packed to the rafters with screaming fans. Theirs is a world where nothing comes easily, and the struggle to support their families is often a never-ending battle. There must be an easier way to survive beyond the world of lucha libre, but don’t tell them that.

“What I saw was a love for the lucha,” said Seila Montes, a Spanish photographer based in Mexico who spent more than two years photographing the masked men (and women) outside the ring. “They’re not doing it for the money. The ones I photographed were not famous, and they only earned a little. But they transformed when they put on their mask and costume. That’s when the actor and showman comes out.”

India Sioux is married to Hombre Bala. She is now retired and works at home. Credit Seila Montes
Ray Mendoza Jr., formerly Villano V, is part of the Mendoza dynasty. Four of his brothers were fighters and he is the son of the famous Ray Mendoza. He is a dentist and also does acupuncture consultation. Credit Seila Montes

Those of us who grew up in New York still recall when these masked matches were a staple of Spanish television, as we gathered around the crate-sized Sears television and futzed with the circular UHF antenna to pull in a grainy broadcast of Mil Mascaras taking on all comers. And then there was El Santo — The Saint — who crossed over from the ring to movie stardom, becoming a pop culture phenomenon. With their colorful costumes and personalities, luchadores have long sparked the interest of photographers, too. None has been as prolific as Lourdes Grobet, who has spent decades chronicling these masked athletes who have become cultural avatars.

~~~ CONTINUE THE OFFBEAT STORY  ~~~

Snow Researcher-Ward Church-by Dick Dorworth

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

getimage.exe

Dr. James Edward ChurchJr., with goggles and snowshoesstanding on a snowy hillside (ca. 1920)

Dick Dorworth saw my posting of SNOTEL information the last few days and sent me his piece below for a more detailed story of James ‘Ward’ Church who’s photo was in the SNOTEL piece.  Enjoy and thanks so much Dick for sending your fine story of Ward Church and his love of snow.  J.R.

By DICK DORWORTH

Express Staff Writer

“Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes—one for peace and one for science.”

John F. Kennedy

For many different reasons, all people who live in snow country and many who do not pay close attention to details of each winter’s snowpack. The most important reason in the short term, of course, is to know how skiing will…

View original post 786 more words

CEREBRATING TRUMP (Updated version) Thank you Dick Dorworth

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

Posted on February 23, 2018

screen-shot-2015-10-30-at-9-58-40-amIn preparation of setting the World Speed Skiing record in Portillo Chile in 1963, seventeen year old Dick Dorworth leaps over his 54 Chevy at Sky Tavern on the Mt. Rose Highway outside Reno (Mt. Rose in the background) in May 1956. 

~~~

There are events in every person’s life that remain in the mind (and, therefore, the heart and spirit) like sign posts on the (so far) endless road to which one can return when necessary for guidance ahead or to see how far one has traveled. Some, like the birth of a child, are filled with mystery, wonder and the joy of life; others are reminders of the inscrutable danger, misery and vile creatures, people and circumstances that each of us inescapably experiences and really hopes to avoid in the future.

In the latter category, two events from my life often come to…

View original post 765 more words

Reggie, famoso perro de avalancha de Portillo ~ Feb/March 2004 – March 2018 ~ What a Great Dog!

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

screenhunter_006Cover Boy for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Portillo Chile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReggie’s first winter in Silverton as a avalanche intern along with his saddle pal Mark Rawstoned

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reggie’s 1st CDOT explosive training March, 2004 with The Brit & Don rōbert 

DSCN0689Another season in the San Juan’s with Mark and friends 

IMG_2465.JPGOn a pisco tour in the Atacama

reggie 004Getting seasoned in Portillo during a big Andean storm with avalanche forecaster & handler/compay, Mark Rawstoned

DSCN0006DSCN0655killing time in Silverton with the master 

DSCN0005                     Taking a nap after a long day of avalanche mitigation

henry-and-regVisiting el jefe (Henry Purcell) office Portillo Chile

dsc_09081Enjoying his retirement in the Andes with best friend Winnie.

View original post

Profesor Tim Lane ~ Avalanchistia