Critters – Paul Csomo – The Occasional Show – Ep. 013

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Today, on The Occasional Show we get to visit with our guest, Paul Csomo.  Paul, a semi-typical resident of the Watery Planet, enjoys his position as a draftsman at a land surveying firm in Florida and a podcaster on Blazing Caribou Studios. He is the creator, producer and co-host of “Varmints!” a podcast all about animals and Critters. He is happy, like a happy little bunny rabbit, when he is doing either  gardening, playing guitar, video games, or creative writing.

Before we start hammering you with questions, let’s take a minute to find out some of the sporadic news of interest

Sporadic News of Interest

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Now That Bees Are Endangered, The Rest Is Up To Us

Last week brought big news in the conservation world: For the first time, a bee species — seven of them, actually — were declared endangered.

The seven types of these type of Critters (yellow-faced bee) native to Hawaii received the designation from the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The move offers the creatures some newfound protection, even if the agency failed to designate a critical habitat.    

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In this undated photo provided by John Kaia, a yellow-faced bee is shown in Hawaii. Federal authorities added seven yellow-faced bee species, Hawaii’s only native bees, for protection under the Endangered Species Act Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, a first for any bees in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing after years of study by the conservation group Xerces Society. (John Kaia via AP)

Of course, the plight of bees across the U.S., North America and the world has increasingly been on the radar of the environmentally minded in recent years.

U.S. beekeepers lost about 40 percent of their honeybee colonies last year, according to a survey commissioned in 2015. Some studies have linked bee die-offs to the overuse of pesticides. The agriculture industry contests that finding, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed that one of the world’s most widely used insecticides, imidacloprid, presents a threat to some pollinators.

So what makes last week’s news different from what we already knew? And what can be done to address the issue?

Hurricane Matthew Lashes Florida With 100 MPH Winds, 1 Dead as Nearly 1 Million Lose Power

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Hurricane Matthew battered the Florida coast this morning with powerful winds, potentially devastating storm surges and torrential rain, leaving nearly 1 million without power as officials made last-minute appeals for any remaining holdouts to get out of harm’s way.

Matthew also claimed its first U.S. victim after the St. Lucie County, Florida, sheriff confirmed a person died overnight when emergency officials could not get to the person after suspending operations because of the storm. The St. Lucie Fire Department said the victim, a woman in her late 50s, was suffering from cardiac arrest while wind gusts were at 68 mph. The fire department said crews could not safely respond and the woman died by the time crews arrived.

The hurricane had already claimed hundreds of lives as it tore through Haiti and other Caribbean nations.

 

 

Comcast’s 1TB data caps start to roll out nationwide

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Comcast’s data restrictions are going from testing to reality for most of its customers. Its ‘XFINITY Terabyte Internet Data Usage Plan’ is already in place in a number of places, and will roll out to 18 new markets (including California, Michigan, Florida and others listed on its FAQ) beginning November 1st. For its part, the ISP claims 99 percent of customers use less than 1TB of data per month, and that median use is just 75MB (correction: 75GB). Of course, with digitally delivered games and software, and streaming video that is increasingly coming in HD and 4K resolutions, that could change rapidly.  

So what happens if you go over 1TB per month? For the first two months in a 12 month period that it happens, nothing. Also, Comcast customers can adjust their settings for notifications via email, browser or text when they reach thresholds like 50, 70, 85 or 125 percent of the cap. The third time it’s exceeded within a 12 month period, however, the “courtesy months” go away and users will be charged $10 for an additional 50GB of data, which will continue happening to a limit of $200 per month. If you want unlimited data access, you can buy it up front, for an additional $50 per month over your current internet bill.

How Forensic Technology Can Help Fight the Ivory Trade

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA –  At the CITES (SIGH-teez) Conference, anyone can tell you that African elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of tens of thousands per year.

There are lots of approaches on how to solve the problem.  Starting by reducing demand for ivory.  Also, providing alternative livelihoods for would-be poachers, training anti-poaching units—and forensics.

Sam Wasser of the University of Washington uses DNA testing to identify where the ivory confiscated comes from. This makes it easier to know where law enforcement and anti-poaching efforts should be concentrated.

He started by creating a DNA reference map for elephant populations across Africa, genotyping 16 different genetic markers. Then when a law enforcement agency seizes a shipment of ivory, they send him the ivory to test. He compares the DNA from the seized ivory to the reference map to determine exactly where that ivory came from.

 

Paul Csomo discussed the book “When All Hell Breaks Loose” – by Cody Lundin

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes.  It is what every family needs to prepare and educate themselves about survival.  It gives you psychology and the skills necessary to negotiate a disaster whether you are at home, in the office, or in your car.

This is not your father’s scout manual or a sterile FEMA handout. It entertains as it informs, describing how to maximize a survival mind-set necessary for self-reliance. According to the book, living through an emergency scenario is 90 percent psychology, and 10 percent methodology and gear. Relevant quotes and tips are placed throughout the pages.  It helps readers remember important survival strategies while under stress and anxiety. Lundin also addresses basic first aid and hygiene skills. He also makes recommendations for survival kit items for the home, office, and car.

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