How A Fungus Is Pushing Frogs Extinct

Costa Rican Red-eyed Treefrog (Agalychins callidryas)
Biologists in Australia have solved one of the great mysteries of modern ecology — how a simple fungus is pushing the world’s frog populations closer to extinction. The answer surprised them: It’s as if millions of humans were keeling over with heart attacks from athlete’s foot.
Frogs are an important part of the food chain and are crucial to a healthy ecosystem. “They are the food supply for snakes and birds and everything else that eats those animals,” Voyles says. “So losing them is quite devastating.”

The realization that frogs across the globe were dying came in 1989. It wasn’t until 1998 that the deaths were linked to a fungus named batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Still, no one knew how this superficial skin infection was killing frogs by the thousands — until now. Continue reading “How A Fungus Is Pushing Frogs Extinct”

Gang crackdown, lurid mob trials transfix China

Over the past 30 years, the economic boom caused by free-market reforms forced the Communist Party to withdraw from many areas it formerly controlled, clearing the way for new gangs to emerge and conspire with officials who held bureaucratic power but were poorly paid.

Gangs started out in traditional rackets — drug trafficking, smuggling luxury cars and extortion — in the 1980s. As China’s economy evolved, they moved on to loan-sharking and evicting tenants from land for real estate development. Tax reform in the mid-1990s sent revenue to Beijing at the expense of local governments, making local officials and police eager to cash in on the money-making opportunities offered by gangs.

The leadership now sees the link between endemic corruption and organized crime — or “black societies” in Chinese — as a threat to its very existence, diminishing the party’s already-low popularity.

via The Associated Press: Gang crackdown, lurid mob trials transfix China.

Protect Yourself On Facebook -5 Easy Steps

Unbeknownst to most mainstream Facebook users, the social network actually offers a slew of privacy controls and security features which can help you batten down the hatches, so to speak. If used properly, you’ll never have to worry about whether you should friend the boss and your mom. You can friend anyone you want while comfortable in the knowledge that not everyone gets to see everything you post.

The problem in implementing these privacy options is that they’re just too confusing for most non-tech savvy people to handle. And often, folks don’t want to bother to take the time to learn. To simplify the process, we’re offering five easy steps you can take today to help make your Facebook experience safer, more secure, and more private.

via 5 Easy Steps to Stay Safe (and Private!) on Facebook – Continue reading “Protect Yourself On Facebook -5 Easy Steps”

5 Nuns In A Bar…

Sisters Mary Catherine, Maria Theresa, Katherine Marie, Rose Frances, & Mary Kathleen left the Convent on a trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and were sight-seeing on a Tuesday in July.  It was hot and humid in town and their traditional garb was making them so uncomfortable, they decided to stop in at Patty McGuire’s Pub for a cold soft drink.

Patty had recently added special legs to her bar stools, which were the talk of the fashionable east-side neighborhood. All 5 Nuns sat up at the bar and were enjoying their Cokes when Monsignor Riley and Father McGinty entered the bar through the front door.

They, too, came for a cold drink when they were shocked and almost fainted at what they saw Continue reading “5 Nuns In A Bar…”