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Monday, May 20th, 2013
Gay Dolphins; Tick Explosion; Kennedy speech canceled; Whale Watching threatened
Is Flipper bisexual or gay?
UMass research claims dolphins are
by Walter Brooks
It's bad enough that we are now told that our dolphins are bisexual, but it's even worse for us to discover:
- The report is in a British tabloid, and
- The research was done at the UMass campus just down the road a piece.
The Daily Male Mail in the report reminds readers that humans have always been aware of how very smart dolphins were, haven't we all seen them at aquatic shows over the years.
Now scientists at the nearby University of Massachusetts in South Dartmouth (that's West New Bedford for the geography-challenged) report that some of the dolphins are having bisexual and homosexual relationships.
Now admittedly the creatures researched at UMass/South Dartmouth were 120 bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, so we can't be sure that this applies to "our" dolphins who have not been researched, but how come our dolphins are always getting in trouble on the Outer Cape suspiciously near the gay mecca of Provincetown?
The results of the study will be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, but in the meantime you can check it out by reading the Daily Mail UK story here.
Tick explosion due to weather and mice
No Acorns means fewer mice and more ticks
The Falmouth Enterprise has a very thorough piece this week which could easily be entitled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Deer Ticks bur were Afraid to ask."
The weekly newspaper warns that we are in for a year of the ticks, and the reason is both climate and rodent.
Larry Dapsis, entomologist and deer tick project coordinator with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, tells the newspaper that our local Deer Tick population has a two-year cycle with odd-numbered years having fewer ticks than even numbered years.
But while 2012 should usually mean fewer ticks, the unusually wet Spring last year meant almost no acorns last Fall, and thus far fewer mice had enough food to survive the winter. Mice normally devour huge numbers of deer tick nymphs which emerge as soon as there is no more freezing conditions.
So fewer mice means more ticks, and check your pets because they probably already have a few.For more information about deer ticks and Lyme disease, visit the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s website or the official website of the nonprofit Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod website.
Read the Enterprise story here.
Bishop cancels Vickie Kennedy's Anna Maria College speech
No, this is NOT an April Fool's Day joke but the church hierarchy in the 21st century
By Walter Brooks
In yet another setback to the public's feelings about freedom of speech in America, a Worcester Catholic Bishop has used his personal, financial power over a small, independent college to force it to cancel a scheduled speech by one of Catholicism's staunchest supporters, Vickie Kennedy, the widow of the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy of Hyannisport.
The Worcester Telegram reports that Anna Maria College in Paxton, west of Worcester, released a statement Friday placing the decision at the feet of Bishop Robert J. McManus and saying it still believes Kennedy is an appropriate choice.
But shortly after the first story appeared in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, the bishop approached Anna Maria arguing that on certain issues – particularly abortion and gay rights – Kennedy’s apparent beliefs made her an inappropriate choice. One of the sources said McManus pointed to a 2010 YouTube video of a gala at which Kennedy gave a warm introduction for David Mixner, a gay-rights advocate.
Guilt by association
Steven D. Krueger, the national director of Catholic Democrats, said, “The bishop has smeared all the good work that she has done, and, by raising all these unsubstantiated concerns, he has impugned her good name. This is the way many bishops squander their influence and authority among the faithful.” VOTE in our POLL.
Was bishop right or wrong?
Catholic Democrats responded to news that a Massachusetts bishop pressured a Catholic college to withdraw its invitation to Victoria Kennedy to serve as their commencement speaker.
She has been a Catholic champion, fighting for devastated Catholic schools after Katrina and against gun violence all her professional life.
Read the Telegram story here.
Global Cooling ends here
This might mean the end of the area's Whale Watching industry
Yes, we know there are still a few Luddites out there who will tell you that this week's cool spell proves that the 10,000 scientists who say the earth is getting warmer are all into a giant hoax to fool you into buying a hybrid car or vote for Obama, but try explaining that to the local lobsters.
They are molting too early due to the rise in the saltwater temperatures measured by stuff even a Luddite will believe called thermometers.
The Concord Monitor reports this week that the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Observing Systems monitors a series of buoys throughout the Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia.
The association collects data on water and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, wave height, and salinity levels. Water temperatures have been increasing in recent years at all buoys and at all water depths.
That means the winter's warm air temperatures have helped drive up water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, in line with a continuing trend, and the warm waters could result in lobsters molting their shells earlier than usual and ocean algae blooming ahead of schedule.
No plankton means no whales
The Monitor report goes on to say that shrimp could hatch their eggs earlier in the winter. In time, cod and other fish could migrate to the eastern part of the gulf - or out of the gulf altogether - in search of colder waters.
If the waters keep heating up, some scientists speculate that a plankton species, Calanus finmarchicus, that is a key prey for herring, mackerel, right whales and other forage species, could diminish or even disappear from the Gulf of Maine.
When that happens, Cape Cod can say goodbye to the entire Whale Watching industry which is a mainstay of our tourism which fuels the Cape economy.
Read the Concord Monitor story here.
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