Male Magellanic penguins pine for pairings: Wikinews interviews biologist Natasha Gownaris
Male Magellanic penguins pine for pairings: Wikinews interviews biologist Natasha Gownaris

Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.

Know and Value the importance of Signage

Signage is a visual representation giving information about a business, a store or any office to the customers. Signage helps customers in reaching easily to their desired location or destination even by simply following the displayed instructions on the signage.

For more information specifically about signage companies click the link

Role of signage

The role of signage is not hidden as it helps customers in identifying with the assistance of a signage. Customers can easily understand about the products available at the store and this helps in shopping effortlessly. The visual displays in the retail stores are also a form of signage that helps buyers in locating their choice of merchandise with ease. The signage attracts and pulls customers into the store. The signage is important for any retailer and he cannot afford to lose customers.  Bear few points before getting the signage ready:

  • The signage board must not be very small. This is because customers may miss the small signage and the thought of bringing customers will get lost.
  • The signage board gives identity to your business or store and promotes brand image.
  • The signage board influences the purchasing decision of customers. This is because the signage boards are the main keys to communication.

Highlighting points to bear in mind while installing signage board

  • The signage board should be informative, but simple.
  • The signage board should not confuse or mislead customers.
  • Bear in mind to not put all the information on the signage board such as the store name, logo and other essential information.
  • Install signage board such that it is viewed by people even from a good distance.
  • The material used in making the signage board should be of good quality so that it is in good condition for a longer duration. The signage board should retain the luster.
  • The signage board should be positioned such that it does not hide the interiors or block the store entrance.
  • Put essential information on the signage board and keep some in suspense, so that your customers enter and find what you offer.
  • Write the name of the store in different font or in bold to have a real impact.
  • Choose proper paint color and also ensure the information is visible clearly. Keep the background color light and the text color dark so that the visibility is clear. The signage board should be easily readable and so you can also highlight the main information. Regardless of the color you chose the signage board should not look dull.
  • ‘Discount’ is the one word that works wonders. Place this board outside the store door and inquisitiveness of customers will bring them entering your store to know about the discount. There is no need to know about the discount, percentage and so on.
  • Design the signage board in the most innovative and unique way so that customers find this attractive and are compelled into the store.
  • The signage board should be in understandable language to receive quick, more and proper response.

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Tips on teaching yoga

There are many yoga teachers, each one having their different style of teaching. Some teach the same sequence every class, some practice themselves during their classes, others walk around, some coordinate their class following the chakras or choosing a certain theme like backbends. It is also possible to sequence the class around an emotional theme like letting go of emotions, releasing stress, etc. There are countless ways to structure and teach a yoga class. This article doesn’t aim to judge any teaching style but simply to share personal experiences and to give some tips for teaching.

More information about yoga teacher training here

It is possible that you have difficulties keeping your students. They all say they like your teaching but for some reason they don’t come back after a few classes. The tips below might give you a few ideas to change some things in your class and to keep your students motivated and loyal to you and your classes.

First of all it is important to give your students personal attention. Make sure you know their names, their goals in their yoga practice, etc. When you call students by their name they feel much more attached to you and your classes. They feel like they get personal benefit by coming to your classes, like they are not just a number. By knowing why they practice yoga and what they want to achieve, you are able to help them better and give them personal guidance and feedback according to their needs. Personal attention is really of primordial importance. A way to get to know the goal of their yoga practice is by giving them a form after their first or second class. In the form you can ask general questions like their personal data, but you can also ask if they have any injuries, why they practice yoga, how long, which styles, etc. In this form you can ask any question that you think might be helpful to know your students better. They won’t mind, because they know it is personal and if they notice in your class that you use the information that was given to you to give personal attention and guidance to the student, they will really appreciate and trust you. Make it a rule to talk to at least 4 students after class. Ask them how they are doing, give them some feedback on the class, ask about their development,… Show them that you are interested in them as a person, not only as a student who pays for your classes.

During the class, it is recommended not to practice while you are teaching. When you practice yourself you cannot see the students and correct their mistakes. The main focus should always be on the students, not on your personal practice. However many teachers do this. They think that it is better for the students if they see what you are doing, they like to show how good their practice is, they like to use the time for their own practice because they don’t know when else to do it. There are many reasons why teachers think it is better to practice themselves. Therefore you can really distinguish your classes from others by walking around during the class and correcting your students. Of course you can show new poses if the students don’t know them. You can show things to make it more clear or to show the correct alignment. You can also show poses on students. This keeps them motivated: if another student can do it, so can they. Show poses if required, but try to walk around as much as possible. By giving quick and effective corrections you give the students the feeling that they are learning something and positive feedback keeps them motivated because they are being pushed and they are making progress. This being said you should be careful however to not over correct your students. Minimum 2, maximum 4 corrections per student per class is recommended. If you do this, your students will really appreciate your classes, they will see the benefits for them and they will definitely keep coming back.

Structure your classes in a balanced way. Some teachers try to over impress the students by giving them difficult asanas, others are afraid that the students will get bored with repetition so they keep giving new sequences every class. Though it might seem the most interesting way to give classes, it is not a problem to have a fixed sequence which is good balanced and covers all the important asanas. There should be a balance between forward bends, backbends, inverted poses and standing poses. You can still make variations but it helps to have a set structure and then change some poses or give variations for some poses. This will give your students maximum benefit of your classes.

Finish your class with a high quality relaxation. If you give a class of 1.5 hours, you can spend 15 to 20 minutes on relaxation. Speak with a soft and slow voice and make your students completely relaxed. (It helps to sing when you give relaxation). You might feel a little bit uncomfortable to sing in the beginning but when you hear the positive feedback from your students you will get more confident. Whether you sing or speak, make sure your students are completely relaxed after your relaxation. They should have let go of every tension in their body and every feeling of stress. It is not a problem if they fall asleep. When they feel relaxed and balanced after your classFree Reprint Articles, they will have energy to go through the following day. They will keep coming back to your classes to have that feeling again.

These are just some of the many tips there are to add something extra to your classes and to differentiate yourself from other yoga teachers. The author of this article is an experienced yoga teacher. He owns a yoga ashram in India and the Netherlands. Spiritual seekers are welcome to follow a 200 hour yoga teacher training course in India and the Netherlands and a 300 hour yoga teacher training in India.

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Container Shipping

Container shipping as the term suggest is the carriage of large or bulk containers from one place to the other. This may sound easy; but in fact container shipping is one of the most challenging parts in setting and running any industry. Container shipping is not carried by any ordinary ship but requires a burly ship having loads of space. These specified ships are termed as “cargos” and the process “containerization”.

Container shipping is mainly part of commercial transportation and logistics sector, better calling it lifeline of these sectors. Today no freight forwarding, logistics or supplying can be conceived without container shipping. You will be amazed to know that containershipping is one of the largest contributors to global economy. The finest thing about this sector is that here both ends are benefited in terms of revenues and financial asset. That means, place from container shipping is carried and to the end place; every one is benefited and that has been the prime factor for encouragement of containershipping all round the world.

Click the link for particulars about container sunshine coast

Not only this, there are several other factors as well that make containershipping one of the most attention grabbing sectors in the world. Containershipping has emerged as the largest recruiters of human recourse in the time. Finest thing is that it comprises people of all qualifications and profiles. However, with the incoming of modern methodologies, there has been professionalism in the sector. That is very much visible with loads ofcontainer shipping companies jumping in the business of containershipping. These companies are not only making loads of profit but have renovated the shapes of cliché face of containershipping.

Container shipping companies presently have most advanced technologies and scientific enhancements to tackle any task on given day. That is pretty unlike the previous ways when container shipping was considered unsafe and very much risky. Cases of malfunction and casualties have been reduced at drastic rate and that is good news for aspirant container shipping companies. The other aspects like container tracking are same fruiting like container shipping is doing. Very much related to the stream, container tracking has also been facilitated with wholesome exposure of modern technology and investors.

There has been lot talked about container shipping business over the years but present static show that this is one of the most blooming sectors. There are several centers identified all across the world where container shipping is a main source of income to the overall economy. Korea, Japan, Denmark, China, India and many other nations have been the prime players in the business of container shipping.

Looking at the prosperous future and potential, this sector promises loads of benefits to the global economy. Adding to it, frequent modern technologyScience Articles, patterns and other enhancements are always there to make the container shipping topnotch business than any other.

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How to Build Solar Panels for Power – Reducing Living Expenses

Turning solar energy into electrical power is easily achieved with solar panels. Start saving money and reducing living expenses. Learn how to build solar panels for power.

Reducing your living expenses is not the easiest thing to do. There are specific needs that must be met each and every day. In order to reduce these expenses, you must change either the need or the supply. Since the basic needs in your life cannot be changed, the option left to you is to change the supply for these needs.

For more information specifically about solar power batteries melbourne click the link

One sure way to reduce your basic expenses for the rest of your life is to generate your own electricity and free yourself from the power company. The real bonus is that any power that you generate in addition to what you require for your own use, you can sell “back” to the electric company, putting money into your pocket!

It sounds a little hard to believe, so check it out. Call your power company and talk to them about selling them the excess power from your solar panels. They are each a little different and they may make you feel like it’s a big deal for them to do it, but they won’t turn down the offer. An honest, easy way to make an additional income.

Once you decide that you are going to change the supply, you need to look at the options that are available to you. For the do-it-yourselfer, the biggest markets are solar power or wind power. Wind power requires a large footprint in the yard to install. While solar power can be successfully mounted on the roof of your home, this option depends on the exposure to the sun throughout the year.

If both options are going to require giving up space in your yard, the next thing to look at is maintenance. Windmills have moving parts while solar panels do not. Moving parts always require more maintenance than stationary parts.

The battery bank is the same for either, as is the need for an electrician to connect the system for you. These are expenses that should be considered part of the job which means that you cannot get away without them.

Missing dog’s severed head found by 17-year old girl
Missing dog’s severed head found by 17-year old girl

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A $2,500 reward has been issued by the Humane Society of the United States for information on an “implied terroristic threat”, according to Sergeant Jim Gray of the St. Paul Police Department.

According to Crystal Brown, 17 year old owner of the dog, a gift-wrapped box with a note saying “Congratulations Crystal. This side up. Batteries included.”, was left on her doorstep along with the severed head of her dog, Chevy, and a Valentine’s Day candy.

The dog, an Australian shepherd mix called Chevy, went missing in February and Crystal, his owner, spent weeks searching for him, posting fliers, going door to door, and visiting the local animal shelter.

Dale Bartlett, Deputy Manager for the Humane Society said that “This case was extremely heinous. I deal with hundreds and hundreds of cruelty cases each year. When I read about this case, it just took my breath away.”

“This was so cruel,” Crystal said. “We’re dealing with one sick, twisted person.”

  • AP. Girl finds missing dog’s head in box on doorstep [archived version] — CNN, March 15, 2007
  • AP. “Girl horrified to find her dog’s head in box” — The Sydney Morning Herald,
Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds
Asbestos controversy aboard Scientology ship Freewinds

Friday, May 16, 2008

Controversy has arisen over the reported presence of blue asbestos on the MV Freewinds, a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology. According to the Saint Martin newspaper The Daily Herald and the shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, the Freewinds was sealed in April and local public health officials on the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the ship is docked began an investigation into the presence of asbestos dust on the ship. Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft supervised work on the ship in 1987, and attested to the presence of blue asbestos on the Freewinds in an affidavit posted to the Internet in 2001. Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, gave a statement to Wikinews and commented on the recent events.

According to The Daily Herald, the Freewinds was in the process of being renovated by the Curaçao Drydock Company. The article states that samples taken from paneling in the ship were sent to the Netherlands, where an analysis revealed that they “contained significant levels of blue asbestos”. An employee of the Curaçao Drydock Company told Radar Online in an April 30 article that the Freewinds has been docked and sealed, and confirmed that an article about asbestos ran in the local paper.

Lloyd’s List reported that work on the interior of the Freewinds was suspended on April 27 after health inspectors found traces of blue asbestos on the ship. According to Lloyd’s List, Frank Esser, Curaçao Drydock Company’s interim director, joined Curaçao’s head of the department of labor affairs Christiene van der Biezen along with the head of the local health department Tico Ras and two inspectors in an April 25 inspection of the ship. “We are sending someone so that they can tell us what happened, where it came from, since when it has been there,” said Panama Maritime Authority’s director of merchant marine Alfonso Castillero in a statement to Lloyd’s List.

The Church of Scientology purchased the ship, then known as the Bohème, in 1987, through an organization called Flag Ship Trust. After being renovated and refitted, it was put into service in June 1988. The ship is used by the Church of Scientology for advanced Scientology training in “Operating Thetan” levels, as well as for spiritual retreats for its members. Curaçao has been the ship’s homeport since it was purchased by the Church of Scientology.

According to his 2001 statement, Lawrence Woodcraft had been an architect in London, England since 1975, and joined Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” (Sea Org) in 1986. He wrote that he was asked by the Sea Org to work on the Freewinds in 1987, and during his work on the ship “noticed a powdery blue fibrous substance approximately 1 ½” thick between the paint and the steel wall,” which he believed to be asbestos. He also discovered what he thought was blue asbestos in other parts of the ship, and reported his findings to Church of Scientology executives. Woodcraft discussed his experiences in a 2001 interview published online by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a now-defunct organization which was critical of the Church of Scientology.

The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw responded to Radar Online about the asbestos reports, in an email published in an article in Radar on May 1. “The Freewinds regularly inspects the air quality on board and always meets or exceeds US standards,” said Pouw. She stated that two inspections performed in April “confirmed that the air quality is safe,” and asserted that the inspections revealed the Freewinds satisfies standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Pouw told Radar that “The Freewinds will be completing its refit on schedule.” The Church of Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) had been planning a cruise aboard the Freewinds scheduled for May 8, but according to Radar an individual who called the booking number for the cruise received a message that the cruise had been delayed due to ongoing work on the ship. Citing an article in the Netherlands Antilles newspaper Amigoe, Radar reported on May 6 that a team from the United States and supervised by an independent bureau from the Netherlands traveled to Curaçao in order to remove asbestos from the Freewinds.

…if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff.

“I stand by everything I wrote in my 2001 affidavit,” said Lawrence Woodcraft in an exclusive statement given to Wikinews. Woodcraft went on to state: “I would also comment that if the Church of Scientology claims to have removed the blue asbestos, I just don’t see how, it’s everywhere. You would first have to remove all the pipes, plumbing, a/c ducts, electrical wiring etc. etc. just a maze of stuff. Also panelling as well, basically strip the ship back to a steel hull. Also blue asbestos is sprayed onto the outer walls and then covered in paint. It’s in every nook and cranny.”

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. Now magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has “absolutely no knowledge” of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds.

There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.

In a May 15 statement to the United Kingdom daily newspaper Metro, a representative for the Church of Scientology said that “There is not now and never has been a situation of asbestos exposure on the Freewinds.” The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center notes that agencies have recommended anyone who has spent time on the Freewinds consult with their physician to determine if possible asbestos exposure may have affected their health.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

“This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily,” said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in OK! Magazine. Dr. Coggins went on to note that “Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies.”

Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root
Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Wayne Allyn Root, one of the candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Root is the founder and chairman of Winning Edge International Inc., a sports handicapping company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, he is an author and a television producer, as well as an on-screen personality both as host and guest on several talk shows.

Root, a long-time Republican, declared his candidacy for the Libertarian Party on May 4, 2007.

He says he is concerned about the qualities of many who run for president, and fears that they do not know the needs of American citizens. He also says that they cater to big businesses instead of small ones.

He has goals of limiting the federal government and believes that the US went into Iraq for wrong reasons. A strong supporter of the War on Terror, he feels that it was mishandled. He has conservative values and came from a blue collar family in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with fellow presidential hopeful Barack Obama in 1983.

Root believes that America is in trouble and hopes to change that if elected.

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7 Reasons To Move To Idaho

By Jason Kay

If you were to tell your friends that you were planning to move to Idaho you would undoubtedly raise an eyebrow or two. Tell your friends the reasons you are making the move to Idaho though and you may just persuade one or two of them to come with you.

Idaho is a state that offers much more than potatoes. Idaho is a state littered with small towns. In fact its largest city, which is Boise, has a population of just 200,000, while its second largest city, Nampa has around 64,000. Besides the tranquility that comes with small-town living, a move to Idaho can be a very rewarding one.

While there are a number of reasons to move to Idaho, there are seven reasons that just jump off the page:

1. Crime Rate: Idaho has some of the lowest crime in the west according to the FBI. The serious crime rate in Idaho is 21.3 percent less than the national average.

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2. Cost of Living: Idaho’s cost of living is the second lowest of the 11 western states when factoring in things such as housing costs, health care, groceries, and other factors.

3. Housing: Idaho has a diverse and affordable number of dwellings to choose from. In Idaho you can find anything from a cozy cottage all the way up to an elaborate estate. Median home values in Idaho are among the lowest in the nation.

4. Education: Education is a top priority in Idaho with 64 percent of the state’s general fund dedicated to education. For college bound individuals, Idaho boasts a college or university in almost every city that has over 20,000 residents and has several top-rated vocation schools as well. Idaho also ranks third among the 50 states with most adults over age 25 that have graduated from high school.

5. Jobs and Employment: Idaho has a strong economy with manufacturing and agriculture as its top two draws. Also strong in the Idaho jobs market are high-tech, retail, tourism, and health care.

6. Taxes: When comparing the largest city in every state, Idaho is lower in taxes than 30 other states for a family that earns $50,000 per year.

7. The great outdoors: This is perhaps the biggest reason to move to Idaho. Because Idaho is filled with mountains, there are many different activates for the outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, skiing in the winter, and even mountain climbing, if outdoor thrills are your thing, then Idaho is for you.

The reasons to move to the beautiful state of Idaho are truly limitless. While Idaho may not be a flashy name when it comes to the different states it does offer its own flare. It seems Idaho, like many things in this world, is a hidden gem. Idaho offers much of a big city lifestyle but you can still enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of a small-town. Based on the population figures there are not many people that are considering a move to Idaho, but if they knew the facts you better believe they would.

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Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book
Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources
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