Is the World Going Extinct?

first_imgEminent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson says that fully half of the planet’s higher life forms could be gone within 100 years, joining the dodo bird, sketched here, which has been extinct since the 17th century and whose fate was directly attributable to human activity. Photo: ThinkstockDear EarthTalk: I heard that species of flora and fauna are dying at a growing rate globally. How is this calculated and which types of species are dwindling faster?–– Colin Gooder, Franklin, NCResearchers believe that the rate of species loss currently underway is 100-1,000 times faster than what was normal (the so-called “background rate” of extinction) prior to human overpopulation and its negative environmental effects. But thanks to overhunting, deforestation, pollution, the spread of non-native species and now climate change, we are likely in the midst of the sixth mass extinction in the geologic history of the world. The previous mass extinction, 65 million years ago, wiped out the dinosaurs and other species; the previous one, 250 million years ago, killed off 90 percent of all species on the planet.While the current mass extinction might in reality not be that bad—only time will tell—eminent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson predicts that the rate of species loss could top 10,000 times the background rate by 2030, and that fully half of the planet’s higher life forms could be gone within 100 years. This jibes with statistics from the non-profit International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)—keeper of the global “Red List” of endangered species—which currently considers 37.8 percent of the world’s already classified species to be threatened. Of course, this is far from the whole story, as biologists think that we have only classified 10 percent or less of the world’s total number of plant and animal species.Which types of species are being hit hardest? An analysis of IUCN statistics from 2008 found that of the world’s fauna (animals), invertebrates (animals without backbones, such as earthworms, shellfish and insects) were suffering the most, with 40.5 percent of those classified considered threatened. Next hardest hit were fish species, with 36.6 percent threatened, followed by reptiles at 30.5 percent and amphibians at 30.4 percent. Meanwhile, 20.8 percent of mammal species were threatened and 12.2 percent of birds.More shocking was the statistic that some 70.1 percent of plant species are at risk. However, a more recent (2010) study found that only 22 percent of the world’s classified plants are actually facing extinction. This finding has led analysts to question conservationists’ estimates in regard to animal species loss as well.In lieu of any direct way to measure the rate of species loss, conservationists have relied on reversing the so-called “species-area relationship,” whereby scientists tally the number of species in a given area and then estimate how quickly more show up or evolve as viable habitat increases (or decreases in the case of reversing the concept). But lately this method of tracking and predicting species losses has been criticized for generating overestimates. “The overestimates can be very substantial,” argues UCLA evolutionary biologist Stephen Hubbell, “…but we are not saying [extinction] does not exist.”However many species may be dying, it’s clear we are in the midst of another mass extinction, and if you believe 70 percent of biologists, unlike previous mass extinctions humanity is most likely the cause. Conservationists remain optimistic that we can marshal the resources to turn the tide—and we’ll need to if the planet is to remain habitable for our species, given our own dependencies on the world’s biodiversity.CONTACTS: E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, www.eowilson.org; IUCN, www.iucn.org; “Species-area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss,” www.nature.com/nature/journal/v473/n7347/full/nature09985.html.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe; Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Trail Mix – Corbin Hayslett & Orthophonic Joy

first_imgContest winner Corbin Hayslett appears with Keb’Mo, Dolly Parton, and more on Orthophonic Joy.I once heard that there was a fine line between playing old time and not being able to play at all.I won’t tell that to Corbin Hayslett, though.Last summer, the now 21 year old Hayslett, a Virginia native and recent graduate of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, was chosen from a myriad of entries to record a song on Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, which released on May 12th.After winning the contest with a rendition of “Darlin Cora,” which was (no lie!!) recorded in the living room of my grandmother’s house, Hayslett headed to Nashville to record the tune with famed producer Carl Jackson. He now appears with such luminaries as Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Keb ‘Mo, and Brad Paisley on the two disc set that commemorates the original Ralph Peer recording sessions that took place in Bristol in 1927, sessions that many people consider to be the big bang of country music.Hayslett’s inclusion in the project is no fluke. Hand him an instrument with strings and, most likely, he can play it. Hayslett also has a mastery of the banjo that far exceeds what one would expect from someone in his early twenties.And now, the full disclosure – Corbin Hayslett is a friend of mine. He lives in my grandmother’s house and has played music in a band with my son. I consider him a friend. I am also a fan. Of all the blog posts I have written, there have been few that have brought me as much joy to write. Considering the title of project in which Corbin is now featured, that is only appropriate.I recently chatted with Corbin about banjos, old time music, and getting involved with Orthophonic Joy.BRO – Describe the moment you found out you had won the Orthophonic Joy contest.CH – I was sitting at Mountain Empire Community College eating lunch on the next to last day of Mountain Music School, where I was teaching banjo. I had no idea that I would win the contest, but folks at Mountain Music School knew that I had and set up a bit of a hoodwink on me. When Leah Ross, director of the Birthplace of Country Music, took the stage and announced that I was the winner, I was in utter shock. I was dumbfounded and just kind of sat in my chair in a stupor as the crowd cheered before I headed up to the stage.BRO – What does it mean for a young musician like yourself to be involved in this project?CH – For me to be involved in such a project is an honor that I have difficulty comprehending. With this project, my name has been placed among the ranks of musicians, artists, and producers who combined have centuries of experience and thousands of hits. It is an honor I am still trying to put into perspective. Being on this project also opens up new worlds of of people with whom I can share this music.BRO – Of the four songs from which you could choose, why “Darlin’ Cora”?CH – I heard “Darlin’ Cora” for the first time on a Mike Seeger album called Southern Banjo Sounds. The song, with its constant drone and locomotive drive, immediately captured me and made me want to learn it. I had played the song in shows for years in different styles – sometimes solo like Seeger, sometimes in a fiddle and banjo duet with Jumpin’ Jim Robertson in The Hogwallow Mudstompers, and as a mash up with “I Know You Rider” with Mis’ry Creek. The song is adaptable, and for the competition I wanted to mimic the style that B.F. Shelton used in 1927, but also give it a wee kick in the pants.BRO – Considering you are just 21 years old, you have been playing banjo for a long time. How does a young guy get into music that is so old?CH – I grew up with music a constant part of my life. My mother is a wonderful singer, pianist, and organist, and has led music in churches since I was a child. I was always listening to music and singing with her. She also taught piano lessons out of our home. My father is a great singer, and he and I would sing together often, mostly old time and vintage bluegrass. I would spend hours reading, playing, and drawing, all the while listening to old time and bluegrass that my dad had bootlegged off the radio back in the eighties. The music was always part of my life. I suppose I just grew up with it in my blood.BRO – Know any good banjo jokes?CH – Sure. Want to hear some good banjo music?Corbin Hayslett will be heading to East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, this fall to continue his academic career with a graduate degree in Appalachian studies. He’ll also be out on the road with his banjo, keeping alive the musical heritage of the Appalachians.For a taste of Corbin’s banjo wizardry, take a listen to this recent performance of “Darlin’ Cora.”Also, many thanks to AJ at Music City Roots for letting me use the great pic of Corbin up above!last_img read more

Westbury Home Invasion Gunmen Shoot, Wound Man

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police are investigating an armed home invasion in which a pair of masked gunmen shot and wounded a 33-year-old man in his Westbury bedroom over the weekend.The two assailants, armed with handguns, broke into the victim’s Albany Avenue home through a kitchen window, walked into the bedroom and fired several gunshots at the man, hitting him in the abdomen at 4:05 a.m. Saturday, police said.The attackers then fled through the side door. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he is listed in critical condition. Two female victims who were also home at the time were not hurt.Third Squad detectives ask anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.  All callers will remain anonymous.last_img read more

Transacting vs. conversing: Open the door to opportunities your credit union is missing

first_imgHow often do we spend time with a customer and only complete their requested transaction? Have you considered that you could be missing out on offering additional financial solutions?Having a conversation may lead to additional financial success for your customer; however, I’m not suggesting that you just “talk” without truly having a two-way conversation. If you end each transaction with, “is there anything else Ican assist you with today?” or “have I been able to help you with what you needed today?” that may be a service-friendly way to end the transaction; however, what if your customer doesn’t know that they need anything else?It’s our responsibility as financial service providers to “have a conversation” and determine what other financial needs our customers have. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

5 reasons it hurts to save money

first_imgA robust savings is key to financial health and resilience; it’s an indicator of a person’s ability to weather financial hardships without falling into debt or poverty. Yet saving money is something the majority of Americans aren’t in the habit of doing.Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, found a GOBankingRates survey. That includes the 21 percent of Americans who don’t have a savings account at all.So, why is it hard to save money? Here’s a look at some of the reasons — and what you can do to overcome those psychological barriers to build a healthy savings habit.1. Saving Is ScaryNancy Molitor, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, said that a lack of education can make money seem scarier than it is. “For many people, money is this mysterious topic that they’ve never learned a lot about,” she said. “We fear what we don’t know and what we don’t feel comfortable with.” continue reading » 32SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Cash is the wallet dinosaur. What does this mean for cards?

first_imgConsumers are carrying less cash today than ever. According to a recent Bankrate survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 40 percent of respondents reported that they carry less than $20 in cash in their wallets. Only 9 percent of those surveyed in 2014 by TSYS said they preferred cash over cards as a payment method. And a recent MasterCard survey reported on Consumercredit.com reveals that 80 percent of U.S. consumer spending is cashless.While these data points illustrate how consumers utilize cash today, they also beg the question: How long before payment cards follow suit, especially given new advancements in digital wallet technology?Globally, the mobile payment market reached $450 billion in 2015 and is projected to rise to $1 trillion by 2019, according to research published by Statista.com. Even so, this doesn’t mean that either cash or cards will disappear from the point of sale any time soon.Consumers carry cash, even if in small amounts, because it works every time, requires no authorization and never runs out of battery life. Card usage has a proven history with consumers as well and is rising – up 7.8 percent annually nationwide, according to Credit-Land.com. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Gov. Wolf Issues Green Phase Order, Guidance on Dining and Professional Sports

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter The Wolf Administration worked with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association to develop guidance on dining in both the yellow and green phases.Yellow Phase Outdoor DiningBeginning June 5, restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in the yellow phase are permitted to add dine-in service in outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:Indoor areas, including bar areas, of restaurants and retail food service businesses must be closed to customers except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.Customers being served must be seated at a table.Prohibitions are also included. The following are not permitted:Self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, condiments, and drink stations.Condiments on tables; these must be dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.Reusable menus.Refilling food and beverage containers or allowing implements brought in by customers.Green Phase DiningRetail food service businesses, including restaurants, and bars located in counties designated as being in the green phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:Bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guideline of at least 6 feet or physical barriers between customers. Standing in a bar area will not be permitted.A maximum of four customers that have a common relationship may sit together at the bar, while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines or barriers between other customers.No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.Dining guidance provides businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry with specific details on operations, including following the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, available here, and provisions specific to mask-wearing, table-spacing, occupancy limits, sanitization, and implementation of a COVID-19 prevention plan, among other provisions to ensure worker and customer safety.The dining guidance also notes that restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in the red phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales only and may not allow the service or consumption of food or beverages on the premises.Professional Sports GuidanceThe Wolf Administration has worked with Pennsylvania’s professional sports teams to develop guidance that allows for competition to resume.Professional sports, defined as any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse, are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green phases of reopening without on-site or venue spectators if the team (or league on behalf of the team) has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.Such a plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel. Also, no fans or spectators may be permitted on interior or exterior venue property. Professional sports organizations are encouraged to contact the Wolf Administration to share their reopening plans and get them approved by the Department of Health.Find the governor’s order here.Find the secretary of health’s order here.Find business FAQs here.Ver esta página en español. May 27, 2020 Gov. Wolf Issues Green Phase Order, Guidance on Dining and Professional Sports Press Release,  Public Health As more counties move to yellow and green, Governor Tom Wolf today issued an order to elaborate on the reopening process for green phase counties and guidance on outdoor dining in yellow counties, dining in green counties, and professional sports in yellow counties.Green Phase Updated OrderThe governor elaborated on green phase guidelines announced on May 22 by issuing an updated order for counties in the green phase of reopening.The orders from Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine include these provisions:Suspends all previous stay-at-home orders and replaces them with the new green phase order for these counties, effective at 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 29: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango, and Warren.The order includes provisions for businesses that were permitted to conduct in-person operations in the yellow phase, those permitted to operate with some restrictions on in-person operations and those that were not permitted any in-person operations under the yellow phase.The order also includes guidance on occupancy limits and health and safety orders that business must adhere to under the green phase.Specifics are included on those areas that have raised questions from business owners and residents, including:Personal care services, including hair salons and barber shops must operate by appointment only; appointments or reservations are also strongly encouraged for gyms or spas.Any gathering for a planned or spontaneous event of greater than 250 individuals is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance.Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by the order. These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other mitigation measures such as masking at their gatherings.Visitation to prisons and hospitals may resume subject to the discretion of the facility. Visitors who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene. Given the critical importance of limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, nursing home visitation restrictions will initially remain in place.last_img read more

Danish central bank blames pension funds for pressure on krone

first_imgThe Danish central bank, Danmarks Nationalbank, says it was Danish pension funds, life insurers and domestic investment funds that put the lion’s share of upward pressure on the krone in January and February rather than foreign speculators.Lars Rohde, director of the Danmarks Nationalbank, said: “A little more than one-third of the inflows can be attributed to foreign net purchases of Danish kroner.”Rohde was speaking at yesterday’s press conference presenting the bank’s quarterly report.He said the currency inflows from foreign parties in January and February were undoubtedly a reaction to the decision by the Swiss central bank to allow the Swiss franc to float against the euro. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) move to begin a wide-scale quantitative easing programme was also a factor behind the krone-buying, he said.Rohde said the Danish central bank did not share the speculators’ view that the Danish currency would follow the Swiss franc’s example and leave its peg, saying the bank would continue its current policy of defending the krone-euro peg.“But two-thirds of the inflows came from Danish investors of different types who bought kroner in the form of futures and hedged in that way different kinds of euro assets,” he said.Data from the central bank indicated that, in January, pension funds and life insurance companies had given rise to the bulk of krone inflows from domestic parties, while in February the domestic portion had come mainly from business and investment fund parties.Rohde said it was this combination of Danish pension funds and insurers and business and investment funds that had forced the central bank to intervene in the currency markets to defend the krone peg in the first two months of the year, to the tune of DKK295bn (€40bn).Meanwhile, individual Danish pension funds have had little to say officially on the subject of whether they have begun hedging their euro assets against kroner.There is arguably subtle pressure on the domestic institutions not to add to the central bank’s woes in having to keep the Danish currency unit tied to the euro.The Danish central bank recently confirmed it introduced a new requirement in February for pension funds to report their currency positions to the central bank on a weekly basis. Karsten Biltoft, director of administration at the central bank, said: “We have asked for the information to get better understanding of market developments.”However, the information is not being made public, he said.A source within the Danish pensions sector commented that the central bankers had been clever in managing the upwards pressure on the Danish currency and particularly so in introducing the new weekly reporting requirement. Most people would think twice before changing their currency positions, knowing this information would have to be disclosed to the central bank, the source said.He said the subject of whether Danish institutional investors were hedging their euro assets against a fall in the common currency against the Danish krone was a sensitive one.last_img read more

Entertain with the bright city lights as a backdrop

first_imgEven the bedrooms at 48/30 O’Connell Street, Kangaroo Point, have beautiful views.Sit in the outdoor spa and watch the city light up as the sun sets or entertain with the Brisbane city as a backdrop. The 424sq m property has high ceilings, open-plan living, a dedicated bar and an entertainer’s kitchen. The master suite has an ensuite with spa bath, a walk-in wardrobe and a private balcony. The three remaining bedrooms have balcony access. The property is on the market through Simon Caulfield and Courtney Maguire of Place Kangaroo Point. In Morningside, the three-bedroom townhouse at 1/73 Pashen St offers city views from the private main bedroom. The view from the deck at 1/73 Pashen Street, Morningside.Set in a complex of three, the property has a lounge room opening to the front courtyard and an open-plan kitchen and dining space flowing out to the rear courtyard through sliding door. The lights of the CBD can be seen from the back entertainment area. Upstairs, there is a family bathroom and three bedrooms, including the master suite with walk-in wardrobe, ensuite, private balcony and beautiful views.The balcony is big enough for an outdoor couch to relax on while soaking in the vista. The home is being sold by Tony O’Doherty and John Keating of Belle Property Bulimba. The view from the entertaining area at 35 Laidlaw Parade, East Brisbane.The property comes with a private 10m deep pontoon, wine cellar, cinema and guest quarters. The property will go to auction on Saturday, July 27, at 11am and is being marketed by George Trovas of Ray White Bulimba. Step into the two-storey penthouse at 48/30 O’Connell St, Kangaroo Point, to enjoy stunning 270-degree river and city views. More from newsNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market12 hours agoNoosa unit prices hit new record high as region booms: REIQ12 hours agocenter_img The stunning view from 48/30 O’Connell Street, Kangaroo Point.The bright city lights and stunning views from these Brisbane homes are sure to attract buyers like moths to a flame. In East Brisbane you can sit on your back deck at 35 Laidlaw Parade and watch the boats float by with the River City in the background. The five-bedroom home is spread across four levels with views from the master suite, living spaces, swimming pool and office. last_img read more

Nutritionist calls for drastic measures to prevent non-communicable diseases

first_img Share 14 Views   no discussions LocalNews Nutritionist calls for drastic measures to prevent non-communicable diseases by: – April 12, 2012 Tweet Sharecenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Public Health Nutritionist, Miss Paula Trotter Local nutritionist Paula Trotter had announced that if drastic measures are not taken to fight non-communicable diseases in Dominica, the country’s economy will suffer.Trotter delivered the feature address at the 11th Biennial Conference of the Dominica Association of Teachers at the Garraway Hotel on Wednesday, under the theme “Teacher confronting the scourge of non-communicable diseases”.She explained through a PowerPoint presentation, that there is an increase in non communicable diseases on the island which should not be viewed only as health problem.Trotter noted however that these diseases undermine the country’s capacity to achieve progress hence the need for action.“At the individual and family level, NCD’s lower productivity, and damage medium to long-term economic prospects. The impact of these diseases at a national level is of considerable concern”.According to a Trotter, new estimates indicate that management and treatment of these diseases place a great economic burden on countries.“This burden is already a serious drain on existing health budgets. Here in Dominica, almost a quarter of the ministry of health’s budget is spent on the treatment and management of the NCD’s” she explained.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more