Peter Cottontail the rabbit faces extinction


Credit: Lou Perrotti / Roger Williams Park Zoo

A cottontail, not Peter.

By Sofia Perpetua, Writer

The grass is not that green for the New England cottontail rabbit anymore, as its habitat is disappearing — and if there is no intervention the Massachusetts famous rabbit could become extinct, experts warn.

This rabbit species was once so popular that it inspired Peter Cottontail, Thornton Burgess children’s story character, a century ago, as well as songs, comic strips, movies and television specials.

The song “Here comes Peter Cottontail” was composed in 1950 by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, and a Gene Autry recording later rose to the top of the U.S. Billboards charts and has become one of the most popular Easter songs of all time.

But over the last 50 years, the New England cottontail lost more than 80 percent of its habitat, according to the Wildlife Management Institute, a non-profit conservationist organization. The rabbit is restricted to parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern New York.

Land that was once used for agriculture has become mature forest causing the rabbit’s population to thin.

This rabbit needs densely growing young trees, shrubs and brush — what is described as young forest. And as an added bonus, restoring some of this habitat would also benefit the American woodcock, the golden-winged warbler, the brown thrasher, the indigo bunting, the black racer and the wood turtle, among other native species, conservationists note.

But the New England cottontail rabbit is not yet listed as an endangered species, and conservationists are trying to prevent that from happening. State agencies and private organizations have partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to restore this rabbit’s natural habitat and shrub lands across the Northeast.

“We’re making headway, putting habitat on the ground in some really key places,” said Anthony Tur, an endangered species specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Associated Press. “It’s encouraging.”

In Rhode Island, the Roger Williams Park Zoo began breeding the New England cottontail in captivity two years ago and they have already released 38 rabbits into restored habitats. They expect to release 100 more rabbits this year.

There are some farmers in the region, like Tom McAvoy, that are trying to help this rabbit by restoring its habitat and creating Cottontail Farms.

“My brother and sons have been involved in the project,” McAvoy said to the Associated Press. “It’s important for me to teach my grandchildren as well, and keeping them active and involved in the stewardship of the land.”

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Treasure Chest Packed with Gold Buried North of Santa Fe


Forrest Fenn sits in his home in Santa Fe, N.M. on Friday, March 22, 2013. For more than a decade, the 82-year-old claims he has packed and repacked a treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets and other artifacts, and buried it in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)
‘I love mysteries,’ says man claiming hidden gold

Treasure » Man says bounty awaits lucky treasure hunter north of Santa Fe.

By JERI CLAUSING

Santa Fe, N.M. » For more than a decade, he packed and repacked his treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre-Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.

Forrest Fenn was creating a bounty, and the art and antiquities dealer says his goal was to make sure it was “valuable enough to entice searchers and desirable enough visibly to strike awe.”

Occasionally, he would test that premise, pulling out the chest and asking his friends to open the lid.

“Mostly, when they took the first look,” he says, “they started laughing,” hardly able the grasp his amazing plan.

Was Fenn really going to give this glistening treasure trove away?

Three years ago, he lay two of his most beloved pieces of jewelry in the chest: a turquoise bracelet and a Tairona and Sinu Indian necklace adorned with exotic jewels. At the bottom of the chest, in an olive jar, he placed a detailed autobiography, printed so small a reader will need a magnifying glass. After that, he says, he carted the chest of loot, now weighing more than 40 pounds, into the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe and left it there.

Next, Fenn self-published a memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, distilling the autobiography and, intriguingly, including a poem that he says offers clues to lead some clever — or lucky — treasure hunter to the bounty.

It wasn’t long before word of the hidden trove got out, and the publicity has caused a mini-gold rush in northern New Mexico.

But it has also set off a debate: Has Fenn truly hidden the treasure chest or was this, for the idiosyncratic, publicity-loving 82-year-old who loves to tell tales, just another way to have fun, a great caper to bolster his legacy?

One friend, Michael McGarrity, an author and former Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy, acknowledges it could be “a private joke,” though he believes “Forrest has certainly buried something.” If it was the treasure he saw, well, “it really is quite an astonishing sight to see.”

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Green meteorite is from the Red planet


Green meteorite may be from Mercury, a first

By Miriam Kramer

  • nwa7325-mercury-meteorite

    This green meteorite that landed in Morocco in 2012 could be from Mercury. (Stefan Ralew/sr-meteorites.de)

Scientists may have discovered the first meteorite from Mercury.

The green rock found in Morocco last year may be the first known visitor from the solar system’s innermost planet, according to meteorite scientist Anthony Irving, who unveiled the new findings this month at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas. The study suggests that a space rock called NWA 7325 came from Mercury, and not an asteroid or Mars.

NWA 7325 is actually a group of 35 meteorite samples discovered in 2012 in Morocco. They are ancient, with Irving and his team dating the rocks to an age of about 4.56 billion years.

“It might be a sample from Mercury, or it might be a sample from a body smaller than Mercury but [which] is like Mercury,” Irving said during his talk. A large impact could have shot NWA 7325 out from Mercury to Earth, he added. [10 Most Enduring Mercury Mysteries]

Irving is an Earth and Space Sciences professor at the University of Washington and has been studying meteorites for years. But the NWA 7325 meteorite is unlike anything found on Earth before,  he told SPACE.com.

Meteorites from Mars are imbued with some Martian atmosphere, making them somewhat simple to tell apart from other rocks. Space rocks from Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in the solar system, are also chemically distinct, but NWA 7325 does not resemble any space rock documented by scientists today.

Irving thinks that the meteoritewas created and eventually ejected from a planet or other body that had flowing magma on its surface at some point in its history. Evidence suggests that the rock could have been formed as “scum” on the top of the magma, Irving said.

NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic intensity — the magnetism passed from a cosmic body’s magnetic field into a rock — than any other rock yet found, Irving said. Data sent back from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft currently in orbit around Mercury shows that the planet’s low magnetism closely resembles that found in NWA 7325, Irving said.

Messenger’s observations also provided Irving with further evidence that could support his hypothesis. Scientists familiar with Mercury’s geological and chemical composition think that the planet’s surface is very low in iron. The meteorite is also low in iron, suggesting that wherever the rock came from, its parent body resembles Mercury.

While Messenger’s first extended mission just finished, the team has put in a request to continue researching the planet with the orbiter for the next two years. If the mission is extended until 2015, the science returned by the spacecraft could help further validate or invalidate Irving’s ideas about the origin of the meteorite.Although finding meteorites on Earth that came from Mercury is less likely than finding Martian meteorites, it could be possible, Irving said.

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2 million slaughtered by Hackers in “World of Warcraft” game.


Hackers slaughter thousands in ‘World of Warcraft’

WoW corpses

Blizzard/YouTube

What you’re looking at there are piles of corpses in the game “World of Warcraft.”

“World of Warcraft” has suffered a cataclysm. And we’re not talking about “Cataclysm,” the expansion to the hugely popular online fantasy game. We’re talking about a massive epidemic of virtual deaths brought on by a plague … of hackers.

On Sunday, thousands of players of the game suddenly found their characters dropping dead for what seemed to be no reason. Virtual corpses piled up in the cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar as well as Tarren Mill, Ragnaros and others.

According to Blizzard, the game’s publisher, it was hackers that caused the mass die off. Hackers discovered an exploit in the game and went to work spreading instant-deaths across the land, Blizzard community manager Nethaera explained in the forums:

Earlier today, certain realms were affected by an in-game exploit, resulting in the deaths of player characters and non-player characters in some of the major cities. This exploit has already been hotfixed, so it should not be repeatable. It’s safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth.

As with any exploit, we are taking this disruptive action very seriously and conducting a thorough investigation. If you have information relating to this incident, please email hacks@blizzard.com. We apologize for the inconvenience some of you experienced as a result of this and appreciate your understanding.

Meanwhile, a person going by the name Jadd on YouTube and in the forums at “WoW” hack and exploit site Ownedcore has claimed responsibility for the virtual apocalypse.

“We didn’t do any permanent damage,” Jadd writes. “Some people liked it for a new topic of conversation and a funny stream to watch, and some people didn’t. The people who didn’t should be blaming Blizzard for not fixing it faster (4 hours of obvious use is sad).”

And the hacker adds, “It’s not like I added 20000000 gold to everyone’s inventory, and broke the economy; but look at the big Chinese gold seller companies, who are doing this every day. Now ask yourself who is really ruining the game. It’s not us. That’s my justification.”

“We hope you find it as funny as we do! ,” Jadd writes on this YouTube video showing off the instant-kill hack.

You can watch the slaughter in action via several YouTube videos. Check them out below:

Ultimately it’s not the end of the world as “World of Warcraft” players know it. After all, players can resurrect their dead characters. Still, many “WoW” players were not amused.

“They really should face legal action if Blizzard can track them down by home address. This amount of disruption really is beyond just a minor thing or 2,” wrote a player going by the name Dream Lifter in the “WoW” forums. “Doesn’t matter is it is a bunch of kids or not, breaking the law is breaking the law. Think it is funny now, but when the police come in it won’t be so funny anymore.”

But then again, not everyone was particularly upset about the experience either.

“Personally I like it when this stuff happens,” wrote a player going by the name Kitez in the game’s forums. “Everyone complaining now will be telling this story fondly in a few months.”

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Two Heads are better than one???


Amazing two faced cat Frank and Louie a gray feline with two mouths, two noses and three eyes, turned 12 years old and is the worlds oldest, living two-faced cat.

Amazing two faced cat

Amazing two headed calf was born like two headed people and animals which is rare have long been known to exist.

Amazing two headed calf

Amazing two headed bobtail lizard a type of skink is seen at new reptile park home at Henley Brook in Perth, Australia.

Amazing two headed bobtail lizard

Amazing two headed albino Honduran milk snake mostly two headed snakes like this have typical coloration. Albino snakes dont have dark pigmentation in their skin. Albino milk snakes appear in bright shades of red, orange and white. The biologist says two headed snakes have been documented to live as long as 20 years in captivity. But with two brains giving commands to a single body the snake would have a difficult time surviving in the wild.

Amazing two headed albino Honduran milk snake

Amazing two headed red slider turtle is displayed here.

Amazing two headed red slider turtle

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Camera Lost In Ocean for Six Years Returned


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In what might have simply been a gigantic publicity stunt, China Airlines and Hawaii News Now have teamed together to return a camera to a woman who lost it. The incredible part is that she lost it six years ago, in the ocean. The Canon Power Shot, sheathed in a plastic waterproof housing, survived, and the pictures were even salvaged from the memory card.The story can tell us a lot about the durability of plastic, but it’s also an interesting look at just how connected the corners of the globe can be. This isn’t the first camera lost in an exotic place and returned to its owner. In 2009, a couple hiking around Scotland spotted a digital camera lying on the ground and handed it over to the police. When it was returned to them with no sign of the owners, the couple who found the camera opened up the memory card and went searching for the couple in the pictures. Eventually, after posting the pictures on the Internet and recruiting a group of online sleuths, they found the owner.

The story is like the fairy tale of the internet—using the interconnectedness that it provides for good, for returning nostalgic images, for reuniting lost loves and wallets. This New York Times story tells of good samaritans returning laptops, cameras and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

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Underwater Internet Attack almost succeeds


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Three Crazy James Bond Villains Were Caught Trying to Cut Through The Internet’s Undersea Cables

Eric Limer

While the Internet at large was freaking out about an apocalyptic attack that wasn’t really happening yesterday, something nefarious was going down at the bottom of the sea. Egyptian authorites found a trio of divers down there attempting to sever a crucial submarine communications cable.

Yesterday, Egypt’s Coast Guard stumbled upon a suspicious fishing boat off the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. There’s no word on what tipped them off, but upon investigation, they caught the team of divers up to no good and apparently mid-cut. The cable in question is owned by Egypt Telecom, the country’s monopoly landline provider, making it sort of an important link in the vast network of undersea Internet connections.

These guys were slicing away right here by node #5:

Three Crazy James Bond Villains Were Caught Trying to Cut Through The Internet's Undersea Cables

The Official Military Spokesman of the Armed Forces of Egypt put it this way in a statement on Facebook (translated):

[The] Navy today successfully foiled 3 divers, while they cut submarine cable for connection to the Internet, the company’s Telecom Egypt, near the coast of Shatby in Alexandria … [The] Navy chased Bnas fishing which was launched from three divers, and arrested all crew members and handed them over to the border guards to take the necessary legal action against them.

And whatever they were up to, it was a good first step to serious Internet destruction. If you were out to really cripple the beast like some cartoon mastermind, cutting the cables would be your go-to first step, second only to destroying more guarded land-based nodes. The ‘net’s web of undersea cables is a verifiable weakness, considering they’re both hard to effectively guard and necessarily act as chokepoints.

So far, there’s no explanation for what the divers’ nefarious plan was, but it’s possible they also had something to do with previously unexplained disruptions to undersea cables serving Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia over the past several days. And coordinated cable cutting—if that was the plan—could seriously cripple the Internet for quite a while.

So worry all you want about DDoS attacks, but there are physical targets for Internet attacks as well. You just have to be sort of a James Bond-style villian to get to them.

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Deadbeat Dad Wins Powerball


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Pedro Quezada, NJ’s Powerball winner, owes $29,000 in child support

Roomie Huh
Pedro Quezada, the winner of the Powerball jackpot, holds up a promotional check during at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters on March 26, 2013, in Lawrenceville, N.J.

/ AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(CBS/AP) PATERSON, N.J. – Authorities say a New Jersey man who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot on Monday is subject to potential arrest for owing about $29,000 in child support, CBS New York reports.

PICTURES: Luck Gone Bad: Lottery winners who lost it it all

Pedro Quezada, 44, claimed a lump a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes, the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history, according to the station. He said Tuesday that he hasn’t made up his mind on what to do with the money, but he could use a good car and give back to his community and “help those in need.”

But authorities said Quezada owed child support payments that go back to 2009. It’s not known which of Quezada’s five children, who range in age from 5 to 23-years-old, are covered under the payments.

A spokesman for Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik said the sheriff’s office’s warrant squad is attempting to find Quezada to resolve the matter.

Spokesman Bill Maer also said the state Lottery Division generally satisfies such judgments before winnings are released. He added that Quezada is subject to potential arrest like everyone else until the warrant is satisfied.

Quezada lived in the United States for 26 years since his family moved in the 1980s from the Dominican city of Jarabacoa, CBS New York reports. Neighbors said the Quezada family suffered bad luck in recent years. Thieves broke into their apartment in 2011 and a fire almost destroyed their bodega in 2009.

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Express flight to the Space Station!


Russian spaceship docks with orbiting International Space Station

Associated Press

  • Kazakhstan Russia 3.jpg

    The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with a Soyuz TMA-04M spaceship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off from the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, Tuesday, May 15, 2012. The Russian rocket is carrying U.S. astronaut Joseph Acaba along with Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel) (AP2012)

A Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts has successfully docked with the International Space Station, bringing the size of the crew at the orbiting lab to six.

Chris Cassidy of the United States and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin traveled six hours in the capsule before linking up with the space station’s Russian Rassvet research module. It was the first time a space crew has taken such a direct route.

The incoming crew will spend five months in space before returning to Earth.

Their mission began with a late-night launch from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

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US Nuclear Bombers Fly over South Korea


US nuclear-capable bombers complete training mission in South Korea

US military announces B-2 stealth bomber drills amid threats of nuclear strikes from North Korea

US B-2 stealth bomber

A B-2 stealth bomber, right, flies over a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Photograph: Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images

The US has taken the unprecedented step of publicly announcing that two of its nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have taken part in military exercises with South Korea, dropping dummy munitions on an island range, in what is taken to be a show of force following weeks of North Korean hostility.

The announcement on Thursday is likely to further enrage Pyongyang, which has already issued a flood of ominous statements to highlight its displeasure at the exercises and at UN sanctions over its nuclear test last month.

But there were signs on Thursday that it is willing to go only so far. A North Korean industrial plant operated with South Korean know-how was running normally, despite the north’s shutdown a day earlier of communication lines ordinarily used to coordinate the movement of workers and goods across the border.

US Forces Korea said that the B-2 stealth bombers had flown from Missouri. It is unclear whether America’s stealth bombers have taken part in past exercises with South Korea, but this is the first time the military has announced their use. The revelation follows an earlier US announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in the joint drills.

North Korea sees the exercises as part of a US plot to invade and becomes particularly upset about US nuclear activities in the region. Washington and Seoul say the drills are routine and defensive.

North Korea has already threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul in recent weeks. It said on Wednesday that there was no need for communication in a situation “where a war may break out at any moment”. Earlier this month, it announced that it considers the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 void.

But Pyongyang would have gone beyond words, possibly damaging its own weak finances, if it had blocked South Koreans from getting in and out of the Kaesong industrial plant, which produced $470m worth of goods last year. South Korean managers at the plant reported no indication of trouble on Thursday.

Analysts see a full-blown North Korean attack as extremely unlikely, though there are fears of a more localised conflict, such as a naval skirmish in disputed Yellow Sea. Such clashes have happened three times since 1999.

The Kaesong plant, just across the heavily fortified demilitarized zone that separates the two countries, normally relies on a military hotline by which the governments coordinate the movement of goods and South Korean workers.

Without the hotline, the countries, which do not have diplomatic relations with each other, used go-betweens. North Korea verbally approved the movement of hundreds of cross-border workers on Thursday by telling South Koreans at a management office at the Kaesong factory. Those South Koreans then called officials in their own country.

Both governments prohibit direct contact with citizens on the other side, but the Kaesong plant has separate telephone lines that allow South Korean managers there to communicate with people at home.

Factory managers at Kaesong reached by AP by telephone at the factory said the overall mood there was normal.

“Tension rises almost every year when it’s time for the US-South Korean drills to take place, but as soon as those drills end, things quickly return to normal,” Sung Hyun-sang said in Seoul, a day after returning from Kaesong. He is president of Mansun Corporation, a clothing manufacturer that employs 1,400 North Korean workers and regularly stations 12 South Koreans at Kaesong.

“I think and hope that this time won’t be different,” Sung said.

Technically, the divided Korean peninsula remains in a state of war. North Korea last shut down communications at Kaesong four years ago, and that time some workers were temporarily stranded.

This time, South Korea urged the north to quickly restore the hotline, and the US state department said the shutdown was unconstructive.

North Korea’s latest threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang. Its moves to order troops into “combat readiness” also are seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong-un, who took power after his father’s death in December 2011, strengthens his military credentials.

The Kaesong complex is the last major symbol of inter-Korean co-operation. Other projects set up during a previous era of detente have stopped as tension has risen in recent years.

At the border on Thursday, a trio of uniformed South Korean soldiers stood to one side of a gate as white trucks rumbled through, carrying large pipes and containers to Kaesong.

The suspended hotline, which consists of two telephone lines, two fax lines and two dual-purpose lines, is almost the last remaining direct link between the two countries.

North Korea in recent weeks has cut other phone and fax hotlines – with South Korea’s Red Cross and with the American-led UN command at the border. But three hotlines used only to exchange information about air traffic were still operating normally on Thursday, according to South Korea’s air traffic centre.

In 2010, relations between the countries reached one of their lowest points in decades followimng a North Korean artillery bombardment of a South Korean island and a South Korean warship sinking blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. A total of 50 South Koreans died.

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