May 17, 2013

    Photo: College of Natural Sciences via Flickr

“Crazy Ants” Invade Southeastern US

Apparently worse than fire ants

There’s a new kind of ant taking over the Southeast, and it's bad enough to make people miss the previously maligned fire ant.

Originally from South America, the Tawny crazy ant was first spotted around Houston, Texas, in 2002. Since then, they've fanned out across the Gulf Coast, taking over areas usually dominated by fire ants. And unlike fire ants, which tend to stick to the outdoors, crazy ants have no problem infiltrating homes.

“There are videos on YouTube of people sweeping out dustpans full of these ants from their bathroom,” researcher Ed LeBrun, who co-authored a study on the crazy ants said in a press release. “When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back.”

The ants appear to have no natural predators, and are impervious to the poisons used to control fire ant mounds. Unchecked, their colonies can easily reach 100 times the size of local ant colonies, which they directly attack.

One bit of good news: They don't sting like fire ants.

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This bear was treed as part of a public awareness campaign put on by the DFG and California Houndsmen for Conservation in the Lake Tahoe region concerning the importance of keeping trash away from bears.     Photo: Matt Elyash/California Department of Fish and Game

Woman Clubs Bear With Shotgun

Saves her husband and dog

A Wisconsin woman beat back an attacking black bear with a shotgun, saving her husband and dog Wednesday.

The encounter began when Gerre Ninnemann spotted a bear chasing after his dog and went outside his cabin to call after the yellow lab. But the bear suddenly changed course and tackled Ninnemann, biting and clawing at his back.

Ninnemann briefly escaped, making his way back into the cabin. But the bear persisted and came after him again. His wife then found a shotgun, and not knowing how to load it, struck the bear on its head, causing it to temporarily flee.

“Now the bear is right at the front door and at the windows,” Gerre Ninneman told Fox News. The bear continued to circle the cabin, and a responding deputy shot and killed the animal.

Both Ninneman and his dog are expected to make a full recovery.

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    Photo: H.C. Williams via Flickr

Tiny Lobster Boat Blocks Coal Tanker

Successfully delayed unloading of shipment

A 32-foot wooden lobster boat named Henry David T. pulled into the unloading dock of Brayton Point Power Station Wednesday morning and successfully forced a 690-foot freighter carrying 40,000 tons of coal to sit idle all day

The blockade was the doing of two climate activists, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, who run the website Coal Is Stupid. They wanted to bring attention to the fact that Brayton Point is New England’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and that the freighter was carrying coal mined using the controversial method of mountaintop removal.

When asked by the Coast Guard to move the boat, O’Hara and Ward found their anchor was stuck. The boat finally left around 6:30 p.m., and the men were not arrested. Though the activists left believing they had successfully blocked unloading for the day, the freighter unloaded its shipment that evening.

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    Photo: Scott E Read via Shutterstock

WATCH: Grizzly Tries to Eat GoPro

Tour leader captures video

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be eaten by a grizzly, a new video shot by a biologist in Alaska should help satisfy your curiosity. Brad Josephs was leading a group from Natural Habitat Adventures when he fixed a GoPro to a rock, hoping to capture images of wild bears.

When Josephs returned to review his footage, he found a three-year-old brown bear had decided to investigate the GoPro a little more closely, biting at it while its mother stood by. Remarkably, the camera survived. "The bear only gently mouthed the camera, and didn't even put a dent in it!" Josephs wrote on his site. Watch the clip below for a close-up look at the inside of a griz's gullet. The full video will appear in the BBC's The Great Bear Stakeout.

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Bradley Wiggins riding to Olympic gold.    

Wiggins Withdraws from Giro

Defending champ Hesjedal also drops

The Giro d'Italia lost two top contenders on Friday when reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and defending Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal both withdrew from the Italian stage race.

“We monitored Bradley overnight and this morning we’ve withdrawn him from the Giro after consulting the team doctor,” team principal David Brailsford said in a team statement. “Bradley will return to the U.K. today for treatment and to rest and we hope to have him back on the road as soon as possible."

After a strong start in the team time trial, Wiggins had struggled throughout the race, losing time on several hilly and wet stages. On Wednesday, he admitted that he was suffering from a respiratory infection and cold, but intended to fight for a spot on the podium.

His hopes for the overall disappeared Thursday when he dropped more than three minutes off the pace on the slippery descent into the finish. Team Sky will now turn to Rigoberto Uran, who sits in third place at 2:04 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali, to lead the team.

Meanwhile, Hesjedal withdrew from the race after losing more than 20 minutes Wednesday.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Hesjedal in a team press release. “I want to be here for my team and for all the people who have supported me to get me here to this point. I built my entire season around the Giro and I came here feeling great, but I have been suffering since the TT. We’re working on it, but we’re not sure what’s wrong."

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