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Friday Catblogging: Lions v. Ants

Embed from Getty Images Kyle Melnick reports In Kenya, the king of the jungle faces a new challenge — ants (‘Researchers said big-headed ants started an “ecological chain reaction” in a Kenya conservancy, impacting lions and other animals’): Lions have long stood atop the food chain, but now a new enemy has forced the dominant…

Friday Groundhog Blogging

Punxsutawney Phil has emerged from his burrow to forecast there will be an early spring. The spectacle that is Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania took place as usual. The prognosticator of prognosticators emerged at dawn on Friday. Members of his inner circle revealed he had not seen his shadow, which is rare,…

Daily Bread for 1.6.24: A Capybara Spa Day

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see flurries in the morning then cloudy skies with a high of 34. Sunrise is 7:25 and sunset 4:36 for 9h 11m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 27.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech in his State of the Union address.


Capybara Spa Day:

The largest rodent in the world is a Capybara—and they are VERY cute. Native to South America, these semi-aquatic gentle giants are known for their peaceful, sociable personalities. But there’s something special about the Capybaras in Japan’s Izu Shaboten Zoo – here they live a pampered life, drawing crowds of people to see them.

Spending winter days relaxing in their personal onsen (hot bath), eating fruit they relish their time in the warm waters—an activity that has become a tradition in about 20 zoos across Japan since its accidental discovery in 1982. The Izu Shaboten Zoo, where we find ourselves in today’s Great Big Story, is particularly famous for this practice – sit back, relax and get cosy with these cute Capybaras.


Stunning auroras seen during Hurtigruten Coastal Express astronomy voyage:

Daily Bread for 12.9.23: GoPro: Top 10 Animal Encounters

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 49. Sunrise is 7:14 and sunset 4:20 for 9h 06m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 12.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1775, British troops and Loyalists, misinformed about Patriot militia strength, lose the Battle of Great Bridge, ending British government rule in Virginia.


GoPro: Top 10 Animal Encounters:


Stranded goats rescued from ledge after nearly two weeks:

Daily Bread for 11.27.23: Car v. Deer

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 26. Sunrise is 7:02 and sunset 4:23 for 9h 21m 17s of daytime. The moon is full with 100% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 6 PM and the full board at 7 PM. Earlier, Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM.

  On this day in 1945, CARE (then the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) is founded to send CARE Packages of food relief to Europe after World War II.


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com

  John Davis reports Car-deer accidents in Wisconsin in 2023 are expected to be similar to recent years (‘In the last 15 years, the chances of hitting a deer have increased’): 

Wisconsin drivers are on pace to hit as many deer this year as they have in each of the past three years.

Car-deer accidents in the state have been declining recently according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. But according to data from an insurance company, there’s still a greater chance of hitting a deer now in Wisconsin than there was 15 years ago.

“Recently, it’s been holding pretty steady,” said David Pabst, director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “We’re still doing over 16,000 crashes over the last three years, and we’re on that same track right now for 2023.”

Pabst said there have been about 11,000 car-deer accidents as of mid-October of this year. Between 25 and 33 percent of all the state’s car-deer accidents happen in October and November each year. This is the mating season for deer, also known as the rut, and deer are on the move. Most deer accidents this time of year happen in the dark, especially around dawn and dusk.

….

“We’ve always thought of deer hunting as a northern thing and that was certainly the case in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” said DNR deer program specialist Jeff Pritzl. “There’s still deer up north, but at the turn of the century, the deer population in the southern half of Wisconsin blossomed and continues to.”


This libertarian blogger uses a Mac, not a PC, but millions of Americans use their PCs for work and gaming. Many gamers enjoy snacks when battling monsters or fighting enemy armies while communicating with other players via headset. Where there’s a will, there’s a way: Steve Mollman reports Doritos is offering gamers AI-powered software that cancels out annoying crunching sounds. Mollam reports: 

Consider eating Doritos while playing video games. For many, gaming and the popular PepsiCo snack go hand-in-hand, but there’s a problem for players communicating via headset mics: crunching sounds. Many complain the noises distract them and hurt their performance.

AI has come the rescue in the form of Doritos Silent, described in a PepsiCo promotional video as “the world’s first AI-augmented snack powered by crunch cancellation.” The idea is that players can munch away without fear of disturbing other players. In addition to the snack there is software available for free download (it only works with Windows PCs for now).

Developing the product took six months and involved artificial intelligence and machine learning analyzing more than 5,000 crunch sounds, according to the snacks-and-beverage giant.

….

Of course, many observers might dismiss Doritos Silent as a trivial development, or a mere marketing ploy. A PC Gamer review called it “profoundly stupid,” while admitting it worked well enough with Doritos, if not always with competing snacks.

Either way, Doritos Silent speaks to how drawn marketers are to the video game industry (including Heineken, which recently offered a gaming PC that doubles as a fridge). Globally this year, that industry is expected to generate $188 billion in revenue, up 2.6% from 2022, according to a report from Newzoo, an Amsterdam-based industry tracker.

Daily Bread for 11.20.23: Wisconsin Life | Amazing Grace

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 46. Sunrise is 6:53 and sunset 4:27 for 9h 33m 38s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 51.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM. 

  On this day in 1945, Nuremberg trials begin against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.


Wisconsin Life | Amazing Grace:


US Soybean Farmers Enjoy Export Windfall:

Daily Bread for 2.5.23: Million Dollar Koi Fish

Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 37. Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 5:13 PM for 10h 10m 02s of daytime. The moon is full with 100% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1907, Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world’s first…