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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Daily Bread for 7.23.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

Wednesday will be sunny and mild, with a high of seventy-five.

In America, where do confiscated wildlife and plants go? They go to Denver:

The National Wildlife Property Repository, a government facility outside of Denver, stores more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to elephant ivory. These items are confiscated at points of entry around the United States, and sent to the Repository to be destroyed or used for educational purposes. The Wildlife Property Repository is a revealing window into the growing global industry of wildlife and plant trafficking, which has been estimated at up to $23 billion.

The facility also houses the National Eagle Repository, which receives and distributes deceased bald and golden eagles to Native Americans around the United States, who use them for religious purposes.

Via The Remote Warehouse Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up @ The Atlantic.

Google-a-Day asks a science and business question:

Who founded the company named for the man who invented vulcanized rubber?

Daily Bread for 7.22.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

Tuesday brings a high of ninety to Whitewater, with a thirty precent chance of late afternoon thunderstorms. Sunrise today is 5:36 AM and sunset is 8:26 PM. The moon is a waning crescent with sixteen percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets today at 4:30 PM, and the Alcohol Licensing & Review Committee is scheduled to meet at 6 PM.

Striped_Skunk
INEXORABLE

Whitewater’s heard inflated concerns about snakes and foxes, but it’s probably only a matter of time before someone sounds the alarm over skunks:

From the suburbs to the cities skunks seem to be everywhere, Outside magazine reports. They’re on the rise in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, they’ve been spotted along the Jersey Shore, and they’re even infiltrating Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Molecular biologist Christopher Kemp has striped skunks living beneath his shed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a city where skunk stink abounds in “a thick, immovable cloud.” He explains the problem in Outside:

Many of my neighbors have begun talking about a plan to organize against the skunks…[W]e set up an e-mail address for residents to report skunk sightings. The messages arrive slowly at first, then in a flood: skunks in yards every night, skunks spraying dogs, skunks sitting proudly atop trash cans.

See, for more about the foul-smelling, city-wrecking invaders that await, Suburban Skunks are on the Rise: Grand Rapids, Michigan, is basically enveloped in a cloud of stink.

On this day in 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police officers spot Tracy Edwards running down the street in handcuffs, and upon investigation, they find one of the grisliest scenes in modern history-Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment.

Edwards told the police that Dahmer had held him at his apartment and threatened to kill him. Although they initially thought the story was dubious, the officers took Edwards back to Dahmer’s apartment. Dahmer calmly explained that the whole matter was simply a misunderstanding and the officers almost believed him. However, they spotted a few Polaroid photos of dismembered bodies, and Dahmer was arrested.

When Dahmer’s apartment was fully searched, a house of horrors was revealed. In addition to photo albums full of pictures of body parts, the apartment was littered with human remains: Several heads were in the refrigerator and freezer; two skulls were on top of the computer; and a 57-gallon drum containing several bodies decomposing in chemicals was found in a corner of the bedroom. There was also evidence to suggest that Dahmer had been eating some of his victims.

Neighbors told both detectives and the press that they had noticed an awful smell emanating from the apartment but that Dahmer had explained it away as expired meat. However, the most shocking revelation about how Dahmer had managed to conceal his awful crimes in the middle of a city apartment building would come a few days later.

Apparently, police had been called two months earlier about a naked and bleeding 14-year-old boy being chased down an alley by Dahmer. The responding officers actually returned the boy, who had been drugged, to Dahmer’s apartment–where he was promptly killed. The officers, who said that they believed it to be a domestic dispute, were later fired.

A forensic examination of the apartment turned up 11 victims–the first of whom disappeared in March 1989, just two months before Dahmer successfully escaped a prison sentence for child molestation by telling the judge that he was desperately seeking to change his conduct. Dahmer later confessed to 17 murders in all, dating back to his first victim in 1978.

The jury rejected Dahmer’s insanity defense, and he was sentenced to 15 life terms. He survived one attempt on his life in July 1994, but was killed by another inmate on November 28, 1994.

Google-a-Day poses a question of art and literature:

Who, while working as an apprentice compositor, wrote articles under the pseudonym “Aristides”?

Daily Bread for 7.21.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

Monday in town will be sunny with a high of eighty-six. Sunrise is 7:35 AM and sunset 8:27 PM. The moon is a waning crescent with twenty-four percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1925, the Scopes trial concludes:

The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a famous American legal case in 1925 in which a substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.[1] The trial was deliberately staged in order to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held. Scopes was unsure whether he had ever actually taught evolution, but he purposely incriminated himself so that the case could have a defendant.

Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. The trial served its purpose of drawing intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to Dayton to cover the big-name lawyers who had agreed to represent each side. William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes. The trial publicized the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy, which set Modernists, who said evolution was not inconsistent with religion,[2] against Fundamentalists, who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. The case was thus seen as both a theological contest and a trial on whether modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy should be taught in schools.

On July 21st, 1921, Gen. Mitchell demonstrates the strength of air power:

1921 – General Billy Mitchell Proves Theory of Air Power

On this date Milwaukee’s General William “Billy” Mitchell proved to the world that development of military air power was not outlandish. He flew his De Havilland DH-4B fighter, leading a bombing demonstration that proved a naval ship could be sunk by air bombardment. Mitchell’s ideas for developing military air power were innovative but largely ignored by those who favored development of military sea power. Mitchell zealously advocated his views and was eventually court martialed for speaking out against the United States’ organization of its forces. [Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Division of Archives & Special Collections]

Google-a-Day has a question about a man, a country, and a drink:

Who is known as the “father” of the country whose national drink is a strong alcoholic beverage made from pomace?

Daily Bread for 7.20.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near eighty-one, and winds of five to ten mph from the south.

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On this day in 1969, man fist walked on the moon. The New York Times reported the extraordinary feat the next day:

Houston, Monday, July 21–Men have landed and walked on the moon.

Two Americans, astronauts of Apollo 11, steered their fragile four-legged lunar module safely and smoothly to the historic landing yesterday at 4:17:40 P.M., Eastern daylight time.

Neil A. Armstrong, the 38-year-old civilian commander, radioed to earth and the mission control room here:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

The first men to reach the moon–Mr. Armstrong and his co-pilot, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. of the Air Force–brought their ship to rest on a level, rock-strewn plain near the southwestern shore of the arid Sea of Tranquility.

About six and a half hours later, Mr. Armstrong opened the landing craft’s hatch, stepped slowly down the ladder and declared as he planted the first human footprint on the lunar crust:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

His first step on the moon came at 10:56:20 P.M., as a television camera outside the craft transmitted his every move to an awed and excited audience of hundreds of millions of people on earth.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Atlantic has published A Reading List of Stories About the Moon: For the 45th anniversary of the lunar landing, we dipped into the archives.

In Wisconsin on July 20, 1976, Hank Aaron hit his final home run:

1976 – Hank Aaron Hits Record Home Run

On this date Hank Aaron hit his 755th and last home run at Milwaukee County Stadium against the California Angels. [Source: Milwaukee Brewers]

Daily Bread for 7.19.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

We have a lovely Saturday ahead, with mostly sunny skies and a high of eighty.

The United States Geological Survey doesn’t just map and analyze American lands – they’ve now completed the most detailed map of Mars ever created.

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A full geologic map, with detailed annotations, is available at the USGS website.

On this day in 1832, soldiers pursue Black Hawk:

1832 – Dodge and Henry pursue the British Band

On this date General James Henry and Colonel Henry Dodge found the trail of the British Band and began pursuit of Black Hawk and the Sauk Indians. Before leaving camp, the troops were told to leave behind any items that would slow down the chase. The troops camped that evening at Rock River, 20 miles east of present day Madison. Some sources place this event on July 18, 1832. [Source: Along the Black Hawk Trailby William F. Stark, p. 119]

Friday Catblogging: High-Tech Cat Feeder

Bistro has designed and will market a cat feeder that uses facial recognition, among other technologies, to monitor a cat’s feeding habits:

Our four-legged friends have a habit of not eating when something ails them. However, if you’re at work all day, you may not pick up on the lack of appetite until it’s too late. Well, there’s a smart cat feeder with built-in facial recognition that’s looking to lend a hand. Bistro is a high-tech feline food and water hub with sensors that monitor consumption. There’s the requisite camera to distinguish between members of your in-home pack and the furry creatures stand on a scale that measures their weight while eating. All of the collected data is beamed to a smartphone app to keep you abreast of the activity while you’re away for your “quantified cat.” Heck, you can even watch your pets feast, should you choose to do so. If you’re looking to snag one, act quickly to nab a Bistro for $149 instead of the full $249 price it’ll carry when it launches in March.

Via High-tech cat feeder uses facial recognition to save all nine lives @ Engadget.

Daily Bread for 7.18.14

Good morning, Whitewater.

Friday in Whitewater looks to be mostly sunny, with a high of seventy-seven, and south winds of five to ten mph.

On this day in the year 64, Rome burns:

The Great Fire of Rome was an urban fire that started on the night between 18 and 19 July in the year 64 AD. It caused widespread devastation before being brought under control after six days. Differing accounts either blame Emperor Nero for initiating the fire or credit him with organizing measures to contain it and provide relief for refugees.[1]….

Tacitus describes the fire as beginning in shops where inflammable goods were stored, in the region of the Circus neighboring the Caelian and Palatine hills of Rome. The night was a windy one and the flames rapidly spread along the full length of the Circus. The fire expanded through an area of narrow, twisting streets and closely located apartment blocks. In this lower area of Rome there were no large buildings such as temples, or open areas of ground, to impede the conflagration. It then spread along the Palatine and Caelian slopes.

The population fled first to areas unaffected by the fire and then to the open fields and rural roads outside the city. Looters and arsonists were reported to have spread the flames by throwing torches or, acting in groups, to have hindered measures being made to halt or slow the progress of the flames. Tacitus surmises that some may have acted under orders or that they may simply have wanted to plunder unhindered.

Google-a-Day asks a science question:

The private papers of what scientist had to be decontaminated for two years in the 1990’s before being put on file at the National Library in Paris?