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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 08:58 PM
Number of posts: 5,083

Journal Archives

National Park Service urges visitors not to lick toxic psychedelic toads

NBC News
Nov. 7, 2022, 1:11 PM EST
By Doha Madani

While some may be tempted to offer the Sonoran Desert Toad a kiss, the National Park Service urged visitors to leave the potentially deadly amphibians alone.

In a Facebook post last week, the government agency warned visitors against licking the toads if they stumble across them. It's unclear whether there was a specific instance to prompt the advisory, but "here we are," the National Park Service wrote.

"These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin," the post said. "It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth."

It might appear strange that anyone would be tempted to lick an amphibian outside of a fairytale, but this particular toad has been in high demand, according to a New York Times report earlier this year.


NJ requires all schools to teach climate change in all grades

In one state, every class teaches climate change — even P.E.

Washington Post
By Caroline Preston
November 5, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT


Two years ago, New Jersey became the first state in the country to adopt learning standards obligating teachers to instruct kids about climate change across grade levels and subjects. The standards, which went into effect this fall, introduce students as young as kindergartners to the subject, not just in science class but in the arts, world languages, social studies and physical education. Supporters say the instruction is necessary to prepare younger generations for a world — and labor market — increasingly reshaped by climate change.

“There’s no way we can expect our children to have the solutions and the innovations to these challenges if we’re not giving them the tools and resources needed here and now,” said Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and a founding member of former vice president Al Gore’s Climate Reality Action Fund, who pushed to get the standards into schools. Just as students must be able to add and subtract before learning calculus, she said, kids need to understand the basics of climate change — the vocabulary, the logic behind it — before they can tackle the climate crisis.

Historically, climate change has not been comprehensively taught in U.S. schools, largely because of the partisanship surrounding climate change and many teachers’ limited grasp of the science. That started to change in 2013, with the release of new national science standards, which instructed science teachers to introduce students to climate change and its human causes starting in middle school. Still, only 20 states have adopted the standards. Other states may not mention the human causes of the crisis, and a few even promote falsehoods about it, according to a 2020 report from the National Center for Science Education and Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

Even in New Jersey, many teachers said they lacked confidence in their knowledge of the subject in a 2021 survey. The state has set aside $5 million for lesson plans and professional development, and it is enlisting teachers like Horsley, who holds a master’s degree in outdoor education and has a passion for the environment, to develop model lessons.


This is what we need in every state - WB

EDIT: Reading about NJ's environmental education program gives me such joy!

More than 30 years ago I prodded my daughter's elementary school in NJ to do something for Earth Day, since there was no effort to include environmental education in the curriculum.. I was active in PTA and we worked it out with the principal that each class in the K-3 school would do a modest project on some aspect of the environment. I donated money for prizes to be awarded by the principal, but asked that the source be anonymous.

The school music teacher and I composed something we called the "Earth Day Song" and she taught everyone to sing it.

The projects were put on display and there was an awards assembly at which the winning class in each grade won prize money. Everyone sang the Earth Day song, and the projects were wonderful, though I can't remember them in detail now. The winning kids, projects and teachers got their pictures in two local newspapers. I'd like to hope that some of the participants learned something from it.

And the fun begins ...

Samhain blessing!

Voter Protection Hotlines by State

NYT reporter confirms rumors that Trump's eyeing Marjorie Taylor Greene as running mate



Russian Booby Trap Installed in Ukrainian Beehive Was Defused By Bees

Bee News
Thomas Hochwarter
October 17, 2022​

A Ukrainian beekeeper was saved by his bees after they defused grenades that had been left in his hives by withdrawing Russian troops.

The explosive devices had, according to images obtained by Bee News, been hidden in the hive at an apiary in a forest in the Bucha region northeast of Kyiv by Russian troops who fled when Ukrainian forces regained ground.

But the booby trap failed to explode when the beekeeper checked the hives because the bees had covered their pins with honey and propolis.

Russian Armed Forces were accused of abusing and killing more than 400 Ukrainian civilians during the occupation of Buch where the hives were located in March.



How an urban myth about litter boxes in schools became a GOP talking point

NBC News
Oct. 14, 2022, 8:30 AM EDT
By Tyler Kingkade, Ben Goggin, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny

At a luncheon for Republican women in Mesa County, Colorado, last week, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., warned that educators “are putting litter boxes in schools for people who identify as cats.”

To a person not steeped in the culture war battles over gender identity that have engulfed school districts nationwide, it’s the kind of claim that would sound bizarre and confusing — and, from high-profile GOP members, authoritative.

The week before, on Sept. 29, Minnesota GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen asked during a campaign stop, “Why do we have litter boxes in some of the school districts so kids can pee in them, because they identify as a furry?”


At least 20 conservative candidates and elected officials have claimed this year that K-12 schools are placing litter boxes on campus or making other accommodations for students who identify as cats, according to an NBC News review of public statements.


Apparently they have now gone catshit crazy

Cancer-causing pesticide polluted local rivers for decades, D.C. alleges

Washington Post
By Kyle Swenson
Updated October 13, 2022 at 6:29 p.m. EDT|Published October 13, 2022 at 2:20 p.m. EDT

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced a lawsuit against a chemical manufacturer on Thursday, alleging that its pesticide contaminated the Potomac and the Anacostia rivers for decades with chemicals it knew were linked to cancer.

Flanked by environmentalists and representatives of the local NAACP, Racine (D) said at a news conference that the effects of Velsicol Chemical’s alleged contamination particularly hit “low-income Black and Brown” residents, in a case that bridges environmental and racial justice.

“The history of our country is such that whenever there is trash that needs to be disposed of or there are things that could hurt people, it always went to where people had less power,” Racine said. “And, yes, that means Black and Brown communities.”

Beginning in 1945, Illinois-based Velsicol was the sole maker of chlordane as a pesticide for killing insects, Racine said. Although the company was aware the product could cause cancer by 1959, he alleged, Velsicol opted for a campaign of “misinformation and deception” and continued to sell the product until 1988.


Chlordane was banned by the federal government in 1988, but persists in the environment

'Rare' Roman mosaic found in Rastan, Syria


BBC News
Oct. 13, 2022

A 1,600-year-old virtually intact Roman mosaic has been discovered in central Syria.

The mosaic, measuring 20 x 6m (65.5 x 20ft), was found under a building in Rastan near Homs, which was held by rebels in the civil war until 2018.

Showing mythical scenes including the Trojan and Amazon wars, it is said to be the rarest of its kind.


But the latest find is being described as the most important archaeological discovery since the start of the conflict in 2011.


I'm not sure what language the words on the mosaic are. They don't look like Latin. Greek, maybe?
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