Global warming effects: More nasty bugs

May 1, 2007

This news can fit into curricula in several ways, in several courses: Insects have already evolved in response to climate shifts due to global warming.

The Boston Globe has a series on global warming, and a recent article detailed how mosquitoes on the Maine frontier have already changed their breeding seasons in response to warming weather.

A mosquito that can barely fly is one of only five known species that scientists say have already evolved because of global warming. The unobtrusive mosquito’s story illustrates a sobering consequence of climate change: The species best suited to adapting may not be the ones people want to survive.

Such news enhances biology studies of genetics and insects, geography studies of climate, animal dispersal patterns and disease and pest ranges (a subject more technically known as biogeography), and the articles lend urgency to studies of how governments react to natural crises, a topic suitable for government classes, economics, and U.S. and world history.

Global Warming illustration Click on the thumbnail to see four examples of genetic change credited to global warming. (Graphic by David Butler of the Boston Globe staff.) Read the rest of this entry »

Bluegrass good news: John Starling is back

May 1, 2007

Not only is John Starling back, he’s got his old colleagues from the original Seldom Scene with him, Mike Auldridge and Tom Gray (Ben Eldridge continues to hold down the fort with the new casts of players in the Scene).

John Starling and Carolina Star have a new CD out, “Slidin’ Home.John Starling and Carolina Star, Slidin' Home (cover)

The seeds for this reunion were planted in 2005 at a benefit concert for Eddie Adcock in Washington D.C. “I knew they (Auldridge and Gray) were going to be there, and I called Ben, and he came, and Larry Stephenson was there,” Starling recalls. “We just went up there, Larry sang tenor and the other four of us were original members of Seldom Scene, just went up and did a show. We worked it up backstage, and next thing you know, we had so much fun, we decided to do another couple of shows.”

With encouragement from Massenburg and an attentive audience base, Starling, Auldridge and Gray decided to go into the studio and record a few songs to see how things went. “We liked it and decided to come back to Washington and put together a group that would go out and play it and decided to take a couple of Beltway bandits, Jimmy Gaudreau and Richie Simpkins, who also live in the Washington area and went back and finished the album with that group,” he says.

Rebel Records has a setup to allow listening to the album, at Rebel Records’ site.

Quote of the moment: Education beats incarceration

May 1, 2007

From an editorial in the Ogden, Utah, Standard-Examiner:

Inmates who receive a degree while in prison have very low recidivism rates. Utah State University’s prison-degree program for inmates underscores that success. In the past 20 years, 91 inmates have received degrees from USU. … not one of the graduates has re-offended.

The editorial urges the Utah Legislature to continue the program.  Without legislative action, the program ends in the autumn.

Tip of the old scrub brush to LaVarr Webb’s Utah Policy Daily, May 1, 2007.

Carnival catch up, again

May 1, 2007

Founders Hall, Girard College, Philadelphia Founders Hall, Girard College, Philadelphia. This is the school for Philadelphia’s underprivileged children, established by the will of Stephen Girard, the man who bore the cost of the War of 1812 personally, when the U.S. Treasury was exhausted.

The Carnival of Education, coming regularly on Wednesdays, reminds us to pay attention to others. Notably, the Carnival of the Liberals, which comes monthly, is also available for our edification.

Compilations you should visit:

Soon enough, a new Fiesta de Tejas!

Typewriter of the moment: Ernie Pyle

May 1, 2007

This typewriter, a Corona (before the merger made Smith-Corona), belonged to Ernie Pyle, the columnist famous for traveling with the the foot soldiers of all services in World War II. Pyle won a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his columns in 1943, published collectively in the books Here is Your War and Brave Men. Pyle was killed covering the end of World War II in the Pacific, on an island named Ie Shima, on April 18, 1945.

The typewriter rests in the Albuquerque Museum. It comes with a story.

Ernie Pyle's typewriter, rescued from a foxhole in Italy in 1944; Albuquerque Museum From the Albuquerque Museum’s exhibit, “America’s Most Loved Reporter”:

[Quote] Ernie Pyle interviewed Sergeant Don Bell, a rodeo rider, in June or July 1944 outside of St. Lo, France. Bell recalled that the foxhole they shared caved in during German shelling. Pyle said, “I have my notes, but my little portable typewriter is buried in that hole.” They hurriedly abandoned the foxhole, leaving the typewriter behind.

Sgt. Bell later salvaged it, kept it through the war, and donated it to the Museum in 1990. A photograph of Pyle in Normandy, typing on an Underwood, may have been taken after this event.

Bell recalled the interview as comforting. He wrote, “…Ernie had taken my ma’s wisdom and turned it into a soldier’s lesson: to find strength in battle you take hold of strength you’ve known at home…and of the faith that underlies it.” [End quote]

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