Until now, there have been no restrictions on eating bluegills. But the agency now suggests that people not eat more than one meal of bluegill a week.
Why the change? Tests on bluegill and smallmouth bass fillets revealed high levels of a perfluorochemical that used to be made by 3M in Cottage Grove and discharged into the river. The chemical doesn't break down in the environment and has caused liver damage in laboratory animals.
The state requires that any smallmouth bass be released after they're caught, so no consumption guidelines exist for that fish.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood statement for the Twin Cities area as of noon today.
Most of the snow still on the ground melted about a week ago, and the meltwater is just now entering streams and rivers as the ditches and culverts thaw. The ground is saturated and can't absorb much more moisture, so the runoff from the melting snow, combined with the the rain expected today and tomorrow, will cause rivers and streams to swell.
Flood stage on the Mississippi River at Saint Paul is at 14 feet. Today, we're at 5.6 feet, swelling to 7.1 feet on Monday.
The South Fork of the Crow River and the Cottonwood River will be close to flood stage by Monday.
The Long Prairie river is expected to crest on April 2 at 6.5 feet, half a foot past flood stage.
Well, why not? Everything else does.
But seriously, the author of the study – a highly respected scientist – proposes that cosmic rays from outer space influence cloud formation, which impacts temperatures on Earth. This is supported by research from NASA, the University of Kansas, and the Royal Society of Britain.
The study claims that warming and cooling periods in the Earth’s history are closely tied to fluctuations in our planet’s magnetic field, which protects us from most cosmic rays. The paper acknowledges that greenhouse gases from pollution may amplify these trends.
My sister is left-handed. And whenever we tease her about it, she insists being left-handed is an advantage, pointing out all the famous left-handed artists and athletes through history. Turns out she may be on to something:
The researchers studied about 1,800 snail fossils, looking for scarring evidence of a predator attack. Scarring was found more frequently on right-handed snails, the study said.
To which I can only respond:
Snails have hands?
Early this morning (4am Minnesota time) the moon moved directly between the sun and the earth, causing a total solar eclipse over a portion of the eastern hemisphere.
Like humans, the whales use a hierarchy of communication: they make sounds to build phrases that they can combine in different ways to create songs that last for hours.
The scientists wrote a computer program that breaks down the elements of the whales' songs (moans, cries, and chirps) and assigns a symbol to each one. Then they analyzed the structure of the songs.
"Information theory was the right choice because it allows one to study the structure of humpback songs without knowing what they mean."
Sight and smell are limited in marine environments, so sea mammals often use sound to communicate. During the humpback whale breeding season, all the males in a population sing the same song. And the song evolves over time.
"Humpback songs are not like human language, but elements of language are seen in their songs."
One of Earth's oldest known living creatures passed away on March 22. , a giant tortise believed to be around 250 years old, died at the Calcutta, India, zoo were it lived for more than half of its life.
Adwaita was one of four Aldabra tortises brought to India in the 18th Century by British sailors. Researchers were planning to do cardon-dating tests on the tortise's shell to determine its exact age. The next oldest tortise known to be in captivity is 176 years old in a Melbourne, Australia, zoo.
Here in Minnesota the days are finally getting longer and we’re getting more daylight each day. Residents in the Austrian town of Rattenberg are also grateful for the return of spring’s longer days. You see, Rattenberg gets no sunlight at all from late fall to mid-winter. The town was founded some 700 years ago and was uniquely situated between the Inn River and the Rat Mountains for protection from bandits. However, the same mountains that protected the town from bandits also leave it in shadows from November to mid-February as the sun never rises far enough on the horizon to shine directly onto it.
People in Minnesota sometimes get a little discomforted during the shorter days, some even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a mood disorder associated with depression episodes related to seasonal variations of light. I can’t imagine what it would like to live in a shadow for over three months of the year – knowing that there is sun, but that it is blocked by a nearby mountain. Residents of Rattenberg have been leaving the town for sunnier locations and the town’s population is declining.
To help its residents get some light during the winter the town is working with Bartenbach Light Laboratory to install 15 heliostats (giant mirrors that track the movement of the sun) about a quarter of a mile outside the town – and beyond the reach of the mountain’s shadow. The heliostats will reflect the sunlight to a giant mirror covered tower in the city, which in turn will reflect the light to small mirrors on buildings throughout the town, which then transfers the light to the streets. The heliostats and mirrors will be installed this August at a cost of around $2 million. The hope is that tourists, who frequent the town in the summer to purchase blown glass artwork the town is famous for, will now visit year-round, and that residents will no longer look to leave for sunnier locations to live.
Were early humans shy, gentle creatures, or savage brutes? You can find textbooks and scientific papers arguing both ways. Which is the correct view?
Both of them, according to Michael Bisson, professor of anthropology at McGill University in Montreal. Different ancestors had different behaviors at different times. You can’t just make a single, sweeping generalization.
For me, the most interesting part of the article is towards the end, where Bisson notes that anthropologists working between WW I and WW II tended to interpret artifacts as evidence that early humans were aggressive; while anthropologists working since the 1960s have tended to interpret the evidence as showing our ancestors were peaceful. Just shows that scientists can succumb to intellectual fashions if they aren’t careful.
Bisson also argues that human aggression emerged about one-and-a-half million years ago, as our ancestors shifted from gathering to hunting. This timeline contradicts the Neill hypothesis, now getting an airing in Australia.
Spirit just finished studying a bright feature called "Home Plate" on Mars. Martian winter is fast approaching so Spirit must now get to the side of a hill facing the sun where it can catch enough sunshine to continue operating during the Martian winter.
Spirit's solar panels have been generating about 350 watt-hours of electricity daily for the past week. That is down about 15 percent since February and less than one-half of their output during the Martian summer. Spirit gets only enough power for about one hour per day of driving on flat ground. And the supply is dropping fast. Driving backwards with the right-front wheel dragging, the rover needs to stop and check frequently that the problem wheel has not snagged on anything and caused other wheels to slip excessively. Expected progress is around 12 meters (40 feet) per day under current conditions. It has approximately 390 feet to go.
Spirit landed on Mars January 4, 2004 and has operated successfully for over one full Martian year and two Earth years. At 779 sols, the right front wheel ceased working after having covered 4.2 miles on Mars.
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