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Saturday Link Roundup

Syrian scientists save seeds amid war.

But they couldn’t save all of them. Luckily they had reserves stashed at Svalbard.

Purebred dogs are still in trouble.

Sitting in the gallery of the federal courthouse in Albany, Georgia, I bore witness to the sentencing of three Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives convicted for their roles of knowingly selling Salmonella Typhimurium-tainted peanuts to food processing manufacturers, which then made their deadly way to consumers in 46 states during 2008 and 2009.

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Saturday Link Round Up

In our education systems, we have come to think that soil simply means dirt and that dirt means dirty. But dirt is not dirty; it is the source of life. Without it there is no life.

“It was hard not to apply fertilizer. It was hard,” Fender said. “But it has convinced me that with a good cover crop, you can get a good yield.”

As [the widespread modernization and industrialization of farming in the U.S.] made produce cheaper, more uniform and in some cases, less flavorful, “authentic” and “heritage” foods offer consumers an alternative.

The Soay Sheep Project has been running in its current form since 1985, with continuous collection of information about individuals including genetic parentage, morphological data and life-histories. This has enabled ground-breaking research into topics including population dynamics, evolution and genetics, ageing and parasite infection in a natural setting.

…due to humans enticing the goats to come close by offering food, the goats are becoming habituated to humans and behaving aggressively in an attempt to obtain human foods according to USFS official[sic].

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Saturday Link Roundup

Maria Moreira is helping immigrants be involved with agriculture at Flats Mentor Farm.

Sea levels are rising due to global climate change. If we’re really going to see a meter rise over the next century I suspect your grandkids can kiss New York City goodbye.

An explanation of why, despite the name, global warming doesn’t necessarily mean warmer winters. If I never again hear “so much for global warming!” in the middle of a polar vortex it will still be way too soon.

A study suggests that tree canopies may reduce the effects of climate change on the forest understory. Yet another reason to get out there and plant more trees! We already know trees can help with the urban heat island effect.

Designer Katharina Unger wants to make it easy for people to turn plastic into food. Fungi that feed on organic waste are already the quiet heroes of soil building efforts. This could help even more.

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Saturday Link Roundup

My friend Revanche wrote an excellent piece about living with chronic pain and the perils of doing too much. Pretty much everything she says here is true for me, too. That’s a big reason I’m so careful about budgeting my energy.

Via the Livestock Conservancy, an article on how gene banks are helping to ensure the survival of endangered breeds of livestock.

Mother Jones endorses irradiating food to kill bacteria, just in time for Consumer Reports to reveal they recently tested 458lbs of ground beef and all of it was contaminated with fecal bacteria.

And on that cheery note, I hope you enjoy your weekend! What are you up to? I’ll be building housing for rabbits so we can rehabilitate the colony and burning more dead trees to make ash for the garden.

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Lend a helping hand?

So I realize the news cycle got nearly entirely co-opted by the royal wedding in England, with CNN and other sources apparently totally forgetting the devastation that tornadoes wrought across the south last week. So it goes.

But my friends who are more in the know than I am offer these organizations that are actually on the ground and working in the areas devastated by the tornadoes, in case you’re wondering where you can throw a couple bucks at the problem:
Saving Furry Friends works out of Glade Springs, Virginia.
Greater Birmingham Humane Society is in North Birmingham, Alabama.
Have a Heart Animal Rescue is working in Alabama.
Global Animal Foundation is working to get supplies and cash to rescues working in the areas hit by the storms.

Thanks so much to those of you who supplied me with these links, and if my gentle readers are aware of any other organizations on the ground where the tornadoes went through, please share in the comments.

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I get by with a little help from my friends…

School is into the final rush to completion and you have NO IDEA how much I want this to be over with. Due in the next two weeks: one 5-7 page paper for bio, two labs for bio, one chapter quiz for bio, two math lab thingies, two final exams, and a short paper for Civil War history plus 4 shorter assignments for same. I may keel over and die. Except there’s a good chance I can get bio at least knocked out tomorrow and be DONE WITH IT FOREVER AND EVER. Exciting.

Meanwhile, my friends keep me entertained.

Via my friend F, a link to a pic of Viggo Mortenson playing a version of Manor Rules Footsoccerball.[1] F says, “I think Daniel’s got a harder time of it than Viggo.” It’s true in SO MANY ways, F.

katie at Save the Pit Bull, Save the World posts asking What’s a person in search of a nice family pet puppy supposed to do? and gets some interesting discussion going in the comments.

In another case of interesting discussion in the post and comments, Marji at For the Pit Bulls asks Where are all these fake service dogs?”

Here at the Manor, my beloved husband has fully recovered from his last game of Manor Rules Footsoccerball and has built an 8′ x 4′ raised garden bed and filled it with really good dirt. It’s the kind of dirt I remember from growing up in Illinois: black and rich and smelling all organic and, well, dirtish. Which means that we bought the dirt, because here in Virginia the dirt is red clay and I’m sure it’s very fine dirt and all, and things do seem to grow in it, but I still get wistful about that good black dirt in Illinois.

[1] Since the alt text on that pic is not illuminating, I will tell you that Viggo is playing Manor Rules Footsoccerball in a movie costume, with a chihuahua. He appears to be in no danger of being bitten on the groin.

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Lazy blogging — have some links!

From Marji at For the Pit Bulls: The foundations of empathy are found in the chicken

The study is the first to demonstrate that birds possess one of the important attributes that underpins empathy, and the first study to use both behavioural and physiological methods to measure these traits in birds.

From s. e. smith at this ain’t livin: Sally, Yes, Rover, No

Back in January, the New York Times ran a column by a physician describing how she almost killed the family dog. The column strikes a sort of rueful tone, but also with an overtone of ‘this is an amusing anecdote,’ something I suspect might not be the case had the dog died because of the doctor’s ineptness. It was a cautionary tale and a reminder that accidental ingestion of human medications is one of the leading reasons for calls to animal poison control hotlines.

From L^2 at Dog’s Eye View: Now In Effect

As of yesterday, March 15, 2011, the new revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act are now in effect.

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Chickens: most excellent soothers.

I am not the only person to recognize this in the world, gentle readers. Today, let me link you to a piece my good friend S. E. Smith wrote over at This Ain’t Livin: Today We’re Going to Talk About Chickens.

A brief sample that will help you understand why I absolutely adore S. E.:

Try spending some time with chickens. It’s immensely cheering and soothing, as long as you aren’t the type of get all self conscious about the fact that you’re hanging out with chickens. Some people are, you know. . .

Seriously, after the news yesterday I was not feeling a happy camper. Attempts at assassination tend to harsh my mellow in a pretty serious way, along with all the rampant speculation about which/how many mental illness(es) the shooter had, I was in fact very disgruntled. And then I went out and I sat with the chickens, and there were two eggs, and the chickens did chickeny things and said “bweeek?” at me and Bebelina shyly sidled up and pecked my shoe, and I felt much better.

In other Antidotes To A Sucky World: Musket is hilarious. I spent 30 minutes yesterday throwing a ball at his face. He thinks this is the Best House Game Ever[1] and spent the entire rest of the day bringing me his ball and trying to put it in my hand. Finally I gave in and started throwing it for him. In the house. He thought that was great, too. Also, he turned a year old on…Friday, I think. To celebrate, he is lifting a leg to pee, something he didn’t do last time he stayed here. But he hasn’t quite grasped the concept that you lift the leg to pee ON something, so he’s just standing there, in the middle of the yard, with one back paw lifted about 3″ off the ground. Makes me giggle, every time.