Inadvertent Sabotage

Not long ago, a news story went around the world about a weasel that shut down CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, forcing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to go offline for a few days. As it turns out, it was actually a beech marten (Martes foina), a cousin of the weasel. The animal…

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Fish and Steel

The image of thousands of fish washing up on a shore is almost never a metaphor for lucky circumstance. It’s almost always a sign that something, somewhere, has gone very wrong. Back in April, fishermen in four central Vietnamese provinces, mostly outside the main tourist centers, started finding fish washed ashore. Fishing suddenly became easier…

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Fewer Footprints

When we were out on the Pacific Coast in California a couple of weeks ago, two things in particular caught my attention: One was the lack of shorebirds, the skittering types that chase waves and scurry in tight huddles. Maybe it was just the wrong season. There were signs posted indicating that snowy plovers were…

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Keeping a City at Bay

The Presidio in San Francisco was established as a fortified base by the Spanish in 1776 as El Presidio Real de San Francisco or The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis. It was the northernmost outpost of a Spanish empire in decline. We were there recently with a friend, in the Presidio’s current life as a…

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