Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14492 on: Mar 29th, 2016, 08:01am »
GOOD MORNING ALL
By Jason Daley March 28, 2016 2:05PM
Conservationist have done just about everything possible to save rhinos—they’ve fenced them in, sent out squadrons of anti-poaching rangers, and even cut off rhino horns to make them less appealing. The horns are prized for traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, and with the price of a single rhino horn clocking in at as much as 80,000 dollars per kilogram (2.2 pounds), poachers just keep coming. That’s why one Australian real estate agent is putting a radical plan into effect—he’s transporting rhinos to the land down under.
“There is no safe place in Africa for rhinos today,” Ray Dearlove, a South African transplant and founder of the Australian Rhino Project tells the Australian Broadcast Corporation. “They’ve become extinct pretty much from the top down to South Africa where probably 85 to 90 percent of the white and black southern rhinos that are left in the world.”
His plan is to transport 80 rhinos, 20 per year for the next four years, to Australia. In May, the first six white rhinos go into quarantine in Johannesburg, South Africa. Then, in August, they will fly to Oz and spend another two months in quarantine at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo before reaching their final destination, the Monarto Zoo safari park outside Adelaide.
While airlifting the two-ton creatures might seem like an over-reaction, recent poaching numbers show that urgent action is needed. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the kill rate of rhinos has exceeded the birth rate for the first time. In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in southern Africa. In 2013 that number rose to 1,004, 1,200 in 2014 and in 2015 high horn prices pushed the number of poached rhinos to around 1,500 animals.
At that rate, southern white rhinos face extinction within ten years. That’s why Dearlove decided to begin airlifting the rhinos at around $75,000 per animal to create a “biological insurance policy” against extinction in the Outback.
“The numbers are deteriorating fast," he tells the ABC. “I thought Australia is one of the safest places on the planet to start this breeding herd, with the eventual intention that they would be repatriated to Africa when those [poaching] issues are sorted out.”
This isn't the first rhino airlift attempted. Last year the project Rhinos Without Borders began flying the creatures from South Africa to the safer lands of Botswana, with a goal of moving 100 animals. And in 2013 the Wold Wildlife Fund moved rhinos in their Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. But the latest effort is even more ambitious, with the plan of shipping them out of the country altogether.
After three years of dealing fulltime with red tape and naysayers, the 67-year-old Dearlove now has the support of the South African and Australian governments and the project has gained the support of corporate donors and environmentalists like Jane Goodall.
“If you or I don't do anything about it, who’s going to do something about it?” Dearlove tells the ABC. “And when they’re gone, who will they blame?
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14494 on: Mar 29th, 2016, 6:54pm »
Giant remote-controlled cyborg beetles could replace drones
For the first time scientists have shown it is possible to control insects, making them walk and even fly on demand
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 12:00AM BST 30 Mar 2016
It might sound the stuff of nightmares, but giant cyborg beetles could soon be winging their way to a town near you, after scientists proved they can wire up insects and control them remotely.
Several labs across the world are trying to design robot insect swarms because the creatures are good at getting into nooks and crannies so could quickly locate earthquake survivors in piles of rubble, carry out surveillance or eavesdrop on criminals or terrorists.
But engineers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of California Berkley have gone one step further. Instead of creating robots that move like insects they have shown it is possible to control the actual insects themselves.
Using electrodes and tiny electronic backpacks the team have shown it is possible to develop a living machine whose flight and walking gait can be wirelessly controlled. The ‘biobots’ could even replace drones as they would be far more agile and need no engineering to keep them in the air.
Writing in the journal Royal Society Inferface the authors said: "Unlike man-made legged robots for which lots of tiny parts, sensors and actuators are manufactured, assembled and integrated, the insect–computer hybrid robots directly use living insects as nature’s ready-made robot platforms."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14500 on: Mar 30th, 2016, 11:24am »
GOOD MORNING LOVELY UFOCASEBOOKERS
Dog Owners Beware, DNA in Dog Poop Could Be Used to Track You Down
A Chicago apartment building is trying out a new scheme to catch four-legged offenders and their humans
By Danny Lewis 30 March 2016
There is always that elusive neighbor who lets their dog poop wherever the creature pleases and then leaves it to bake in the sun. And tracking the offender down is never easy. But now, one luxury apartment building in Chicago wants to take down delinquent dog owners with some of the latest in forensic technology: DNA scans.
Earlier this year, residents at 1222 W. Madison Street in Chicago received notice that they had until January 31 to send a sample of their dog’s DNA to the building’s managing company. Fed up with the persistent problem of people leaving their pet’s poop lying around, the South Carolina-based Greystar company is now using a DNA database to figure out which residents are slacking off in cleaning up after their dogs, Robert Channick reports for the Chicago Tribune.
"Although we have sent out prior communication addressing this issue, we still have received numerous complaints," Greystar said in a letter sent to tenants in December, Channick reports. "We try to manage this problem as best we can; however, as this issue has continued to affect our community, we are now forced to implement the Pet DNA program."
Under the PetDNA program, the building’s dog owners are required to submit a cheek swab from their pooch for a DNA scan. As Chicagoist’s Sophie Lucido Johnson explains, when offending poops are found, they are packed up and mailed to PooPrints, a Tennessee company that will ID the poop’s maker. When a stool sample is matched with the right dog, the owner gets a fine: $250 for first offenders, and $350 for each streetside poo thereafter.
Chicago isn’t the first place to pick up the poop-shaming system: as PooPrints spokesman Ernie Jones tells Channick, the company is contracted to provide forensic data on dog doo from about 2,000 properties throughout the United States, Canada, and England. And while managing companies might appreciate the program as a deterrent against leaving dog poop on the sidewalk, the reaction is more mixed among residents.
“I don’t think it needs to be that extreme,” Caitlyn Brooks, a renter in a community in Riverview, Florida that also uses DNA records to identify delinquent dog owners, tells Jamel Lanee for WFLA News. “Like I don’t know if taking samples and testing DNA is really that serious." Others say, however, that they're thrilled by the prospect of fining people for not picking up their pet’s poop.
While it might seem somewhat ridiculous conduct forensic testing to enforce what should be a basic chore, Jones tells Channick that most of his company’s clients report a 95 to 99 percent drop in streetside poops. Considering that dog feces can contaminate clean water sources and transmit diseases to other dogs (and sometimes humans) if it is left to stew, maybe a little monetary incentive to clean up after pets isn’t such a bad thing after all.