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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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The Conservation Alliance

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'Let's Move' program begins with individuals

By Conrad Anker Aunts, with the wisdom of age and the comfort afforded by family, are often the best source for practical advice. My Aunt Ann, a teacher by profession, would remonstrate the value of doing homework right the first time with the simple adage of "A stitch in time saves nine." If this didn't sink in, I was reminded, "If you don't have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to repeat the work?" These reminders are as applicable to children and homework ...
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The 'right' whale

In the early 19th century, the "right" whale was the one that didn't run from whaling boats and floated to the surface when harpooned. Records indicate 30,000 of these huge mammals once migrated from the Antarctic to calving grounds along New Zealand coastal coves annually. Hunting of right whales virtually eliminated the species from the southern oceans by the 1840s, as it did to the world's other two subspecies. [caption id="attachment_5064" align="aligncenter" width="640" ...
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'The Way of Natural History,' a perspective

In the 1950s when I was a kid in LA I had a buddy who would race his bike around terrorizing the neighborhood with me. With excess of energy and curiosity, we saved major attention for explorations of some vacant fields of weeds, wildflowers, and random junk with vistas of the Pacific Ocean. We grew up watching this undeveloped land convert into tidy suburbs and shopping centers. And, even then, I thought this seemed a poor substitute for the wild place he and I loved exploring together. My ...
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What's wrong with Heli-Yoga? Chopper in to a remote mountain paradise to find your inner peace. Commune with nature no one but the most dedicated mountaineers and most affluent people get to see. Realign your chakras so close to the sun there are no roads. That's the offer from a Canadian company. Why is it any different than heli-skiing or heli-hiking or a heli-tour of Hawaii? Is there anything wrong with using technology to have a supreme experience? Why shouldn't ...
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Fastest sea-level rise in 2000 years

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The purpose of the NAS is stated in its original charter: "The Academy shall, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art, the actual expense of such investigations, examinations, experiments, and reports to be paid from appropriations which may be made for the purpose, but the Academy shall receive no ...
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Climate of Denial

Rolling Stone Magazine has posted an online commentary-- Climate of Denial --on the status of climate change thinking, current weather events, and needed actions. The author stated: “the nightly newscast is starting to resemble a nature hike through the Book of Revelation”. Indeed! The Magazine's print version will appear next month but an early read is highly recommended. Here are two maps from the article that were developed by NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) that ...
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Tomatoes -- our national shame.

I'm too young to remember a time when tomatoes weren't the rock-hard hand grenades they are today. It's only every once in a while that I get to taste a garden-grown heirloom tomato. It's like a different fruit. In "Tomatoland," Barry Estabrook writes about tomatoes as our national shame. Here's an excerpt. ... most Florida tomatoes are bred for hardness, picked when still firm and green (the merest trace of pink is taboo), and artificially gassed with ethylene in warehouses until they ...
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Nature deficit disorder

Excited to learn that Richard Louv, who wrote the brilliant "Last Child in the Woods," has a new book called "The Nature Principle." His last book was all about nature-deficit disorder in kids. This new one takes the same look at adults. In Outside magazine, he gives a solid overview. - RC
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Frog found

A species of frog that everyone thought was extinct has been found. - RC
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The next mass extinction

A report on "the next mass extinction" was just released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and several other organizations. The State of the Oceans was submitted to the UN. A video commentary is worth viewing as most folks will still be living to see this event unlike the one that extinguished the dinosaurs: Ignorance, greed, pollution, and ineffective regulations are the prime culprits. The report concludes that beyond the national 200 mile territorial ...
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George Perkins March (1801-1882)

Like most people, I thought environmental concerns emerged from the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Rachel Carson. I guess I may have been wrong. In 1847, a US congressman, George Perkins March made speeches that spoke to our modern concerns about climate change and destruction of natural resources and their myriad ecosystem services. March may have even been the "spark" that convinced President Abraham Lincoln to set aside Yellowstone, the first national park in the ...
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Healthy hicks

Sometimes the news likes to make us Mountain Westerners out to be hicks. When the coasts remember that it exists, Wyoming is usually mentioned as either the home of a meth crisis or else made up of 95 percent closeted homosexuals. But if we're hicks, we're pretty healthy hicks. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="2506" caption="Grand Teton and Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton National Park. "][/caption] A study just out says Wyoming kids play outside twice as much as the average ...
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Smelly camels

Australia has a big problem with feral camels. The dromedaries were brought to the island in the mid-19th century for use in exploring the continent's interior. They didn't work out too well as exploration transport-- camels are known to be a bit cantankerous and they smell bad as well --and once abandoned, multiplied rapidly with nothing to control their numbers. The beasts now exceed 1 million feral camels wandering about the Australian Outback munching away at the arid vegetation. The ...
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Department of mad scientists

Along with the writers Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, Issac Asimov was one of the masters of 20th Century science fiction. Asimov's stories-- first published in magazine form --now include SciFi classics such as Nightfall and I-Robot. However, his masterpiece was a series called The Foundation Trilogy first published in book form in 1951. As a 15 year old guy who was interested in all things science, reading these books was like eating candy. I couldn't stop. [caption ...
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Visualizing climate data

An awesome visualization of climate papers over the past 180 years or so. Oddly, this shows that consensus is growing: man is causing climate change. Who knew? - RC
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Climate fighter rejects a plea bargain

Excellent lengthy interview with Tim DeChristopher, who faces sentencing in one week for disrupting an oil and gas lease auction in 2008. We've written about him a few times, since we think he's one of the most interesting figures in the climate movement today and one of its most original and heart-strong thinkers. ... the government really wanted me to take a plea bargain, because they felt like they needed me to come before the court with my head bowed and say, “I apologize for my ...
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Photo credit: Landsat

Infrared photography is often used to detect infestations in plants and vegetation caused by bugs and diseases. It can also see dramatic damage from other stresses such as fires. NASA's venerable LANDSAT satellite has now added a powerful image from the Wallow Fire in Arizona. [caption id="attachment_4664" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Wallow fire in infrared photo credit: NASA Landsat"][/caption] In the IR image, green represents the healthy conifers in Arizona's White ...
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Bear paw and elk lips stir-fry

Next to drugs, wildlife trafficking is the second largest source of illegal trade in the world. From Burmese orchids to painted box turtles from Madagascar to palm cockatoos chicks from Australia, the illicit trade in rare plants and animals is a huge and growing business. It is also sending many species towards extinction. The New York Times reported that a major haul of animal parts-- assorted bear paws, lynx furs, and 143lbs of elk lips --were seized from a truck ready to cross into ...
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A rant about rats and politicians

By Reilly Capps In times of crisis, why can't leaders recognize reality and do what is obviously necessary? Like: - Why didn't Major League Baseball notice that Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds had noggins the size of beach balls? -  Why didn't Europeans in 1348 notice a correlation between flea-infested rodents and the plague? - Why didn't Easter Island chiefs curtail logging? In 2011, among the things that are blatantly obvious and desperately need doing are: 1. A gasoline ...


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