June 14, 2012
North Carolina beach

North Carolina beach     Photo: W. bootz B. Photography/Flickr

Senate Bars Scientific Sea Level Projection

N.C. planning to use only historical trends

The North Carolina State Senate passed a bill Tuesday restricting the use of climate change science when predicting sea-level rise. Instead, planning commissions in 20 coastal counties must rely on historical trends, which predict a eight-inch increase in sea level by the year 2100, compared to the three feet predicted by a state-appointed science panel. The bill's proponents argue that the large increase predicted by the panel would limit coastal development and harm the economy. The bill has received national attention and has been ridiculed by outlets such as The Scientific American and The Colbert Report. No senators spoke in opposition of the bill, which passed 34-11 and will move to the House for a final vote.

Read more at Winston-Salem Journal


    Photo: Berlin Police

Photo of German 'Forest Boy' Released

Identity still a mystery; story doubtful

On Wednesday, Berlin Police released a photo and statement asking for help identifying an English-speaking boy who appeared in the city last September claiming to have lived in the forest with his father for five years. Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said officials had launched an extensive investigation, including DNA testing, since the boy appeared September 5, 2011, but had been unable to identify him. The teenager told authorities that he had no recollection of life before his years in the woods of Southern Germany and that he left the forest after his father died, using a compass to walk five days to Berlin. Neuendorf did express concerns about inconsistencies in the boy's account. When he showed up at City Hall asking for help, he was clean and the tent he carried appeared little used. “The Youth Office and the Berlin Police have great doubts on the boy’s story,” the police said in its statement.

Read more at The Globe and Mail


    Photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr

Yosemite to Close Parts of Curry Village

USGS reports high rockfall danger

The National Park Service announced Thursday that it will permanently close parts of Yosemite Valley's Curry Village, including 18 popular cabins that lie in the path of potential rockfall from Glacier Point. A U.S. Geological Survey study indicates that the iconic 3,000-foot Glacier Point, which rises above Curry Village, is susceptible to rock avalanches that threaten visitors. A 2008 rockfall that heaved 570 dump-truck loads of rubble onto 17 cabins in the village prompted the new study, the first to evaluate danger to humans in Yosemite. "There are no absolutely safe areas in Yosemite Valley," said Greg Stock, a park geologist and author of the study. Rockfalls have killed 15 people in Yosemite since 1857.

Read more at The Associated Press


    Photo: e³°°°/Flickr

Man Catches Black Plague Saving Mouse

Oregonian in critical condition

An unidentified Oregon man is in critical condition with a rare case of the black plague after attempting to rescue a mouse from the jaws of a stray cat. The man, said to be in his 50s, was bitten on the hand June 2 by either the mouse or the cat and shortly thereafter developed symptoms that sent him to the emergency room. "Taking a mouse out of a cat's mouth is probably not a good idea," said Emilio DeBess, Oregon's public health veterinarian. The plague, which wiped out a third of Europe's population in the 14th century, is now extremely rare and has killed just four people since 1934.

Read more at CBS News


    Photo: Bogeskov/Flickr

Three-Legged Alligator Attacks Man

Man in hospital after encounter at homeless camp

A homeless man from Gainesville, Florida, is in the hospital after a three-legged alligator attacked him while he was bathing in a creek. James Wimmer had reportedly been drinking when he stripped off his clothes and jumped into Sweetwater Branch Creek. A friend in a nearby tent camp heard him scream and ran to his aid, fighting off the nine-foot alligator with a cinder block. Wimmer, 51, is reportedly recovering and able to speak.

Read more at The Gainesville Sun