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Park Rangers: Taking A “Bear Selfie” Is Dangerous And You Should Stop It Right Now

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No matter how many times you’ve watched The Jungle Book and thought about how great it would be to be friends with Baloo, it’s a movie and forcing a bear to be your friend is not a good idea. Neither is chasing one down in the wild so you can score the perfect selfie. Because, yes, that is now a thing; a very, very dangerous phenomena that rangers have had to warn people to stop doing.

KHOU-TV reports that officials in charge of maintaining the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe are threatening to shut down the area if people don’t heed their warning to stop taking selfies with wild bears.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say the area is a popular spot for people to watch the annual run of kokanee salmon and that bears are often seen lurking nearby.

While that didn’t used to be much of an issue for the service, lately people have begun approaching the bears in order to take photos with the animals.

“We’ve had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a ‘selfie’ photo,” Lisa Herron, a spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, tells KHOU.

Herron says the new photo sensation poses a threat not only to the photo taker but also surrounding visitors.

While bear attacks on humans are extremely rare, those hassling the animals in their natural habitat face an increased likelihood of being harmed.

Recently visitors have been charging off trails, through the forest and over the rushing creek to get closer to the bears.

So far, Herron says she’s heard of one incident where a bear charged a group of people, no one injuries were reported from the incident.

This isn’t the first wild animal selfie game that’s been stopped in its tracks. Earlier this year New York banned tiger selfies – better known as the practice of paying to have your photo taken with a large cat.

Forest Rangers Warn Visitors: “Stop Taking ‘Selfies’ With Bears” [KHOU-TV]

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Prof. Alan Dershowitz: "Harvard's policy was written by people who think sexual assault is so heinous a crime that even innocence is not a defense."

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It's a great quote, and it appears in this week's Time Magazine in a story about the letter published last week in the Boston Globe signed by 28 Harvard law professors voicing strong objections to the school's one-sided, feminist-inspired sexual misconduct policies. quote.

But when Dershowitz continued and said that people someone accused of rape should have a full and fair opportunity to defend themselves, Time pooh-poohed it: "It's a noble idea, but . . . ."

The "but" included Time's observation the comment that "a student disciplinary hearing is a civil matter, not a criminal one." This a frequent refrain from people who are willing to tolerate the academy's hostility to due process as the price of battling the sexual assault "epidemic."  It doesn't hold up to scrutiny, and Time ought to know better. has the ring of reasonableness, except it doesn't hold up.

What Time and others who chant that line don't seem to understand is that in civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that collegesroutinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. In civil cases, defendants are allowed to be fully represented by counsel at every stage of the proceeding. They are permitted to vigorously depose prior to trial, trial -- and vigorously cross-examine during trial, trial -- the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. Aside from depositions, they are also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. And in civil cases, if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, she is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of her case and requiring her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. Hearsay evidence is excluded, as is evidence whose probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect to a party. Trial and appellate judges are lawyers bound by centuries of common law precedent. And the defendant has a hand in picking the jury in order to insure fairness in the adjudication.

None of that is present available in kangaroo campus sex proceedings. If we're going to take solace in the fact that college disciplinary hearings are just "civil matters," lets insist that they start resembling civil proceedings -- as opposed to Kafkaesque Soviet show trials.

Time also trivialized the harm to young men expelled from school for sex offenses they didn't commit. Colleges can't jail men found responsible for sex offenses, Time noted, they can "only" banish them from campus. In fact, expulsion can be a life-altering punishment. Cornell's Prof. Cynthia Bowman said this: “The consequences for someone expelled for sexual assault are enormous and will follow him throughout his life, leading to rejection by other schools, inability to qualify for the bar and a great deal of stigma. To impose those consequences on someone requires a rigorous standard of proof and many due process protections to ensure fairness.” Brett Sokolow, probably the most prominent victim's advocate on American campuses, has expressed concern that "a lot of colleges now are expelling and suspending people they shouldn’t, for fear they’ll get nailed on Title IX.” He, too, points out that the stakes are high for students expelled for sexual assault: expelled students no longer automatically have the option of just registering at another school. Nowadays, schools share information, which makes that problematic, so students who are expelled have a lot more at stake.

Time also trots out the seriously disputed "one-in-five" as if it were a fact. Not even the Washington Postbuys that one.


Time's conclusion? Any unfairness to our sons who happen to be accused of sex offenses is just a natural "growing pain" after so many years when schools neglected our daughters when they were raped. of neglecting our daughters. In 20 years, maybe the schools will they'll get it right.

In other words, nothing to see here, nothing to be concerned about. here. Move along.

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Houston

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'Oh, hey Mom. No, nothing important, just at work.'
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Michdevilish
7 days ago
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Yep
Canada
mxm23
8 days ago
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"Oh, hey mom. No, nothing important. Just at work."
San Rafael, CA

Rack Unit

3 Comments and 11 Shares
There's also nothing in the TOSes that says you can't let a dog play baseball in the server room!
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Jose1960
11 hours ago
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👍
💋
42.494705,-5.413062
rorypatt
3 days ago
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For my beekeeper friends.
DrGaellon
5 days ago
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Alt text: "There's also nothing in the TOSes that says you can't let a dog play baseball in the server room!"
Yonkers, NY

Distant Death

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Distant Death

What is the farthest from Earth that any Earth thing has died?

—Amy from NZ

With Halloween approaching, I guess it's the season for death-related questions.

The farthest from Earth that any human has died is about 167 kilometers,[1]Plus or minus a kilometer. when three cosmonauts on Soyuz 11—Vladislav Volkov, Viktor Patsayev, and Georgi Dobrovolsky—suffered a depressurization accident while returning from Earth. They were moving at about 7,755 meters per second at the time, which is also the highest forward speed at which any human has ever died.

Volkov, Patsayev, and Dobrovolsky are the only humans who have died in space. Every other fatal space accident—and, for that matter, every other human death of any kind—happened within 70 kilometers of the surface.[2]Morbid list from my notes: The crew of Columbia died at just over 60 km, Pyotr Dolgov died at roughly 24 km, James Zwayer died at 23 km, Michael J. Adams died at 20 km, Ying Chin Wang died at 20 km, and Rudolf Anderson died at between 18 and 23 km. Jack Weeks presumably died somewhere between 20 and 0 km the ocean surface.

But humans don't hold this record.

For starters, there are plenty of test animals which have died in space. But, to be honest, I can't bring myself to collect statistics about them. I mean, at least the human pilots who died had all volunteered and understood what was happening to them. So instead, I'm going to skip straight to the organisms that are the real answer to Amy's question: Microbes.

Spacecraft carry bacteria, although we do our best to sterilize them before and during launch. This sterilization is important, because we don't want to contaminate another planet or Moon with Earth bacteria. There are two big reasons for this—one ethical and one practical. The ethical one is that we don't want to accidentally introduce Earth life that disrupts and/or destroys a native ecosystem. The practical one is that if we find life on some other planet, we don't want to have to struggle to figure out whether it was contamination from one of our probes.

But sterilizing spacecraft is hard. NASA has an employee specifically assigned to this task, and she has possibly the best job title of all time: Planetary Protection Officer.[3]Another competitor for this title is Philip M. Breedlove, who has the job title Supreme Allied Commander.

The Planetary Protection Officer is responsible for avoiding spacecraft contamination, although there are occasionally problems.

A 2008 study of lunar missions estimated that spacecraft carried 1.98x1011 viable microorganisms per vehicle. Spacecraft such as the Voyagers and Pioneers, which were ultimately headed for deep space, were also not fully sterilized—the official planetary protection strategy was "try not to hit any planets."

Voyager certainly carries lots of bacterial spores. If we take the number from the 2008 paper as a (very rough) estimate of the number of microbes Voyager might carry, we can try to figure out how many might still be alive.

Some microorganisms can survive for a long time in a vacuum. One study found that the majority of bacteria that spent six years in space survived—though only if a shade protected them from the Sun's UV light. Other studies have agreed that radiation is the main thing to worry about, and the radiation environment inside a spacecraft is complex. The bottom line is that we just don't know for sure how long bacteria can survive in deep space.

But we can still give part of an answer Amy's question. If we assume that 1 in 1,000 bacterial spores on Voyager were of a space-tolerant variety, and 1 in 10 of those is somewhere on the craft where UV light doesn't reach it, then that still leaves on the order of 10 million viable bacterial spores traveling on Voyager.

If they suffer a death rate of 30% per six years, as in one of the studies, then there would still be a million of them alive after 50 years, dying at a rate of 1 every 10 minutes. On the other hand, the author of the 2008 study speculated that microbes could avoid hits from cosmic radiation for extremely long time periods, and other sources have speculated about survival for thousands or even millions of years. But no one really knows.

For our Voyager bacteria, there's a higher death rate at first, for spores in more exposed positions, and a much lower one for the more protected ones. Today, it's quite possible there are thousands of bacterial spores still alive on Voyager 1 and 2, lurking quietly in the dead of space. Every few hours, days, or months, one of them degrades enough to no longer be viable.

And each one sets a new record for the most distant Earth thing to die.

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jth
7 days ago
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My new goal in life is to hold a job that Randall not only mentions, but draws in a comic.
Saint Paul, MN, USA
rclatterbuck
7 days ago
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It is pretty hard to come up with a scenario where you outlive both your skin and gut bacteria...
rjcantrell
7 days ago
Protip: If your question involves the phrase "most distant," Voyager will somehow be the answer.

Detergent Companies Are Unhappy With Our Efficient Washing Machines

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High-efficiency washing machines, which use less water to clean your clothes, are an advance that most customers seem to like. Do you know who doesn’t like them, though? Detergent manufacturers. With traditional machines, consumers can dump any old amount of detergent in with our clothes, and it doesn’t matter. With a high efficiency machine, using too much detergent causes problems, so consumers are finally using the correct amount of detergent.

In a standard machine, excess detergent just rinses off, and you could use too much soap for decades without even realizing it. Apparently, many of us were.

We can’t have been over-pouring by that much, right? Apparently, we have. A market researcher tells Bloomberg Businessweek that detergent sales are down by 6.4% since 2009. That period also coincides with sales of machines with larger capacities than in the past, which means fewer loads overall and less soap used per load. High-efficiency machines started to catch on about a decade ago, and it took a little while for consumers to figure out how much soap to use. whole

What is Big Detergent’s solution to the problem? Better prices. All of the major brands, from Tide to Purex, are offering coupons, deals, and price cuts to coax customers back to their brands.

Laundry Detergent Makers Want More Suds [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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