Brief links and notes relating to subjects covered on this blog
Environment: Invasive species
Pythons Apparently Wiping out Everglades Mammals
ABC News: Pythons Apparently Wiping out Everglades Mammals
A burgeoning population of huge pythons — many of them pets that were turned loose by their owners when they got too big — appears to be wiping out large numbers of raccoons, opossums, bobcats and other mammals in the Everglades, a study says.
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that sightings of medium-size mammals are down dramatically — as much as 99 percent, in some cases — in areas where pythons and other large, non-native constrictor snakes are known to be lurking.
Scientists fear the pythons could disrupt the food chain and upset the Everglades’ environmental balance in ways difficult to predict.
“The effects of declining mammal populations on the overall Everglades ecosystem, which extends well beyond the national park boundaries, are likely profound,” said John Willson, a research scientist at Virginia Tech University and co-author of the study.
Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons, which are native to Southeast Asia, are believed to be living in the Everglades, where they thrive in the warm, humid climate. While many were apparently released by their owners, others may have escaped from pet shops during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and have been reproducing ever since.
Burmese pythons can grow to be 26 feet long and more than 200 pounds, and they have been known to swallow animals as large as alligators. They and other constrictor snakes kill their prey by coiling around it and suffocating it.
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Environment: Effects of warming climate
Arctic owls in rare migration pattern
Arctic snowy owls soar south in rare mass move – MSNBC – Excerpt: Bird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called “unbelievable.”
Thousands of the snow-white birds, which stand 2 feet tall with 5-foot wingspans, have been spotted from coast to coast, feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts.
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Science of virtues
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I came across the term virtue science for the first time today as I conducted research for some new content about the virtue and spiritual principle of patience for the new Greenism blog. It turns out that this fairly new science of virtues is extremely interesting. Virtue science is another way to emphasize and encourage living spiritually principled lives without the mess and baggage of religion. Excellent!
Resources: The new science of virtues
- Virtue Science
- A New Science of Virtues Grant Competition – University of Chicago – Excerpt: How can we, as a society, strive towards the collective good? In many ways, we have inherited outdated moral, political, and religious systems that continue to inform our ethics and laws. Today’s world however, requires both theoretical and practical structures that enable an increasingly multi-cultural society to live together peacefully while simultaneously recognizing and valuing moral and ethnic diversity. The Science of Virtues Request for Proposals (RFP) grew out of a consultation in May 2007 sponsored by the Templeton Foundation called “A New Science of Virtue,” designed to confront and propose solutions for just such issues. Organized and chaired by Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago, the consultation brought together an interdisciplinary group of the world-class scholars and scientists to think through the possibilities of a new “science of virtues.”
- Why We Need a ‘Stuck with Virtue’ Science – The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society – Excerpt: Our approach insists that a genuine science of virtue cannot be formulated abstractly. That means that such a science must be able to account for what we can see with our eyes and know with our minds. It must comport both with the kind of excellence that we often see and rightfully praise in human life and with the kind of excellence that we rarely see but nonetheless revere and aspire toward as human beings. Virtue, of course, is not simply identifiable with any form of excellence. One can be brilliant or exceptionally proficient and not be virtuous. To be virtuous does mean, however, that one displays the kind of actions reflective of a truly admirable human being. Such actions can take different forms. They can be seen in the quiet, self-sacrificing work of a loving mother. They can be seen in the grand, courageous acts of the soldier who gives his life for his country. And they can be seen in the lives devoted to charitable service practiced by the Sisters of Mercy.
- Welcome to the Science of Virtues Research Network – New Science of Virtues: A Project of the University of Chicago – Excerpt: The Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago began a $3 million research program on A New Science of Virtues in 2010. This multidisciplinary research initiative sought contributions from individuals and teams of investigators working within the humanities and the sciences. This project supports original, scholarly projects that contribute to Virtues research and have the potential to begin a new field of interdisciplinary study. This website serves as a hub for Virtues research, and provides updates on the ongoing research program.
- Beijing makes rare concession on pollution measure – Washington Post with Foreign Policy – In a rare bow to public pressure, the Beijing local government has begun using a more stringent measure for air quality, and the first publicly announced readings Thursday showed the air was “hazardous” in at least two areas of the polluted capital city.