Study gives new meaning to the term ‘bird brain’
The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain – the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior – than the macaque. That is one of the surprising results of the first study to systematically measure the number of neurons in the brains of more than two dozen species of birds ranging in size from the tiny zebra finch to the six-foot-tall emu, which found that they consistently have more neurons packed into their small brains than are stuffed into mammalian or even primate brains of the same mass. The study results were published online in a paper titled “Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences early edition on the week of June 13. David Salisbury reports. (Vanderbilt News)
West Vancouver flooding could be sign of worse to come
Without changes both big and small, floods on the North Shore, like the one that hit West Vancouver Tuesday night, will only get worse, says University of British Columbia professor Hans Schreier. Schreier says development, deforestation and climate change are largely to blame for the recurrent floods…. Schreier calls the North Shore a "worst case scenario." The area gets about 2,500 mm of precipitation every year — the airport gets about 1,400 — and heavy urbanization means water can't drain. He says the region is going to need "innovative" storm management solutions going forward. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)
Additional beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting
Beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting now extend to Port Ludlow and Mats Mats Bay. Shellfish samples from Port Ludlow were found to contain elevated levels of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), Michael Dawson of Jefferson County Environmental Health said Wednesday…. Earlier closures in Jefferson County include Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches from the Clallam County line east to Port Townsend, including Discovery Bay, which are closed to all species. Kilisut Harbor, including Mystery Bay, is closed to harvesting butter and varnish clams, according to a state Department of health bulletin. All Clallam County beaches along the Strait are closed to recreational shellfish harvests due to the presence of marine biotoxins. Sequim Bay, which was previously under a limited shellfish closure, was closed Friday to the recreational harvest of all species due to diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, according to the state Department of Health. Other Clallam County beaches have been closed to all species for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes PSP. Pacific Ocean beaches are under seasonal closure for all species. (Peninsula Daily News)
Scientists oppose offshore drilling in Arctic
Nearly 400 scientists have signed a letter urging President Obama to eliminate the possibility of Arctic offshore drilling in the near future by taking the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan. The scientists include Jane Lubchenco, Obama's former administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, now a researcher and teacher at Oregon State University…. The 388 signees include scientists from 13 countries and 25 current or emeritus professors at the University of Alaska. Their opinion runs counter to Alaska elected officials, who strongly support opening Alaska waters to drilling as a new source of oil for the trans-Alaska pipeline. (Associated Press)
Oil Train Tank Cars Are Getting Safer But What About The Tracks?
Just after noon on June 3, the two-man Union Pacific crew hauling 96 cars of Tacoma-bound crude oil felt a tug on the train as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge. The train’s emergency brakes triggered unexpectedly, according to railroad union leaders, indicating bad track or equipment failure could be to blame. The crew looked back and saw smoke — the beginnings of a fire that would burn for much of the night. Union Pacific’s investigation later determined track was in fact the cause— multiple fasteners connecting the rail line to the ties had failed, allowing the track’s gauge to widen and derail the train. It spilled 42,000 gallons in Mosier, Oregon, prompting an evacuation order. Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix)
Northwest garden pioneers’ legacy endures in Shoreline
Just over the south Snohomish County line is a four-acre garden treasure, established more than 50 years ago by the late Arthur and Mareen Kruckeberg. The garden features 2,000 species of Northwest native trees, shrubs and flowers, along with unusual plants from Asia and other places, all situated in a natural wooded setting. Art Kruckeberg, who died May 25 at age 96, had a long career as a popular University of Washington botany professor. “Dr. K” also was a co-founder of the Washington Native Plant Society. Kruckeberg was instrumental in establishing the regional garden movement that preaches the use of native plants. Gale Fiege reports. (Everett Herald)
B.C. ministry change gives public online access to mine inspections and dam safety information
The B.C. government has launched a new online platform where the public now has access to mine inspection reports, permits and their amendments, as well as dam safety reports. Eventually, the online database will include orders, penalties and sanctions levied against mining companies. The province had posted dam safety reports online as a first step last year, but this is the first time the other documents are being made available to the public at mines.empr.gov.bc.ca. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 259 AM PDT THU JUN 16 2016
TODAY SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.
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