April 28th, 2017

15 astounding facts about trees – Mother Nature Network (blog)

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It’s hard to overstate the importance of trees. Their debut more than 300 million years ago was a turning point for Earth, helping transform its surface into a bustling utopia for land animals. Trees have fed, housed and otherwise nurtured countless creatures over time including our own arboreal ancestors.

Modern humans rarely live in trees, but that doesn’t mean we can live without them. About 3 trillion trees currently exist, enriching habitats from old-growth forests to city streets. Yet despite our deep-rooted reliance on trees, we tend to take them for granted. People clear millions of forested acres every year, often for short-term rewards despite long-term risks like desertification, wildlife declines and climate change. Science is helping us learn to use trees’ resources more sustainably, and to protect vulnerable forests more effectively, but we still have a long way to go.

Earth now has 46 percent fewer trees than it did 12,000 years ago, when agriculture was in its infancy. Yet despite all the deforestation since then, humans still can’t shake an instinctive fondness for trees. Their mere presence has been shown to make us calmer, happier and more creative, and often boosts our appraisal of property value. Trees hold deep symbolism in many religions, and cultures around the planet have long appreciated what a walk in the woods can do.

In honor of U.S. National Arbor Day April 28 this year we’re highlighting the wonder of trees with a few lesser-known facts about these gentle giants:

Brazil’s many native trees include jabuticaba, whose fruits grow directly on its trunk. (Photo: Adriano Makoto Suzuki/Flickr)

Until recently, there was no thorough global census of tree species. But in April 2017, the results of a “huge scientific effort” were published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry, along with a searchable online archive called GlobalTreeSearch.

The scientists behind this effort compiled data from museums, botanical gardens, agricultural centers and other sources, and concluded there are 60,065 tree species currently known to science. These range from from Abarema abbottii, a vulnerable limestone-bound tree found only in the Dominican Republic, to Zygophyllum kaschgaricum, a rare and poorly understood tree native to China and Kyrgyzstan.

Next up for this area of research is the Global Tree Assessment, which aims to assess the conservation status of all of the world’s tree species by 2020.

The dragon’s blood tree is a vulnerable species endemic to Yemen’s Socotra archipelago. (Photo: sunsinger/Shutterstock)

Aside from quantifying the biodiversity of trees, the 2017 census also highlights the need for details about where and how those 60,065 different species live. Nearly 58 percent of all tree species are single-country endemics, the study found, meaning each one naturally occurs only within the borders of a single nation.

Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia have the highest totals for endemic tree species, which makes sense given the overall biodiversity found in their native forests. “The countries with the most country-endemic tree species reflect broader plant diversity trends (Brazil, Australia, China) or islands where isolation has resulted in speciation (Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia),” the study’s authors write.

Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and plants may have colonized land as recently as 470 million years ago, most likely mosses and liverworts without deep roots. Vascular plants followed about 420 million years ago, but even for tens of millions of years after that, no plants grew more than about 3 feet (1 meter) off the ground.

A rendering of Prototaxites as it may have looked 400 million years ago. (Image: Mary Parrish/NMNH/University of Chicago)

From about 420 million to 370 million years ago, a mysterious genus of creatures named Prototaxites grew large trunks up to 3 feet (1 meter) wide and 26 feet (8 meters) in height. Scientists have long debated whether these were some kind of weird ancient trees, but a 2007 study concluded they were fungi, not plants.

“A 6-meter fungus would be odd enough in the modern world, but at least we are used to trees quite a bit bigger,” study author and paleobotanist C. Kevin Boyce told New Scientist in 2007. “Plants at that time were a few feet tall, invertebrate animals were small, and there were no terrestrial vertebrates. This fossil would have been all the more striking in such a diminutive landscape.”

Several kinds of plants have evolved a tree form, or “arborescence,” in the past 300 million years or so. It’s a tricky step in plant evolution, requiring innovations like sturdy trunks to stay upright and strong vascular systems to pump up water and nutrients from the soil. The extra sunlight is worth it, though, prompting trees to evolve multiple times in history, a phenomenon called convergent evolution.

The earliest known tree is Wattieza, identified from 385 million-year-old fossils found in what’s now New York. Part of a prehistoric plant family thought to be ancestors of ferns, it stood 26 feet (8 meters) tall and formed the first known forests. It may have lacked leaves, instead growing frond-like branches with “branchlets” resembling a bottlebrush (see illustration). It wasn’t closely related to tree ferns, but did share their method of reproducing by spores, not seeds.

Wollemia nobilis still exists in a few rainforest hideouts, but it’s critically endangered. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

During the Jurassic Period, a genus of cone-bearing evergreen trees now named Wollemia lived on the supercontinent Gondwana. These ancient trees were long known only from the fossil record, and were thought to have been extinct for 150 million years until 1994, when a few survivors of one species were found living in a temperate rainforest at Australia’s Wollemia National Park.

That species, Wollemia nobilis, is often described as a living fossil. Only about 80 mature trees are left, plus some 300 seedlings and juveniles, and the species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

While Wollemia nobilis is the last of its genus, there are also still other middle Mesozoic trees alive today. Ginkgo biloba, aka the ginkgo tree, dates back about 200 million years and has been called “the most ancient living tree.”

Songbirds provide valuable pest control for many trees. (Photo: Sander Meertins Photography/Shutterstock)

Trees may look passive and helpless, but they’re savvier than they seem. Not only can they produce chemicals to combat leaf-eating insects, for instance, but some also send airborne chemical signals to each other, apparently warning nearby trees to prepare for an insect attack. Research has shown that a wide range of trees and other plants become more resistant to insects after receiving these signals.

Trees’ airborne signals can even convey information outside the plant kingdom. Some have been shown to attract predators and parasites that kill the insects, essentially letting an embattled tree call for backup. Research has mainly focused on chemicals that attract other arthropods, but as a 2013 study found, apple trees under attack by caterpillars release chemicals that attract caterpillar-eating birds.

Redwood trees rise toward the night sky at Lake Tahoe, California. (Photo: Asif Islam/Shutterstock)

Like most plants, trees have symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi that live on their roots. The fungi help trees absorb more water and nutrients from the soil, and trees repay the favor by sharing sugars from photosynthesis. But as a growing field of research shows, this mycorrhizal network also works on a much larger scale sort of like an underground internet that connects entire forests.

The fungi link each tree to others nearby, forming a huge, forest-scale platform for communication and resource sharing. As University of British Columbia ecologist Suzanne Simard has found, these networks include older, larger hub trees (or “mother trees”) that may be connected to hundreds of younger trees around them. “We have found that mother trees will send their excess carbon through the mycorrhizal network to the understory seedlings,” Simard explained in a 2016 TED Talk, “and we’ve associated this with increased seedling survival by four times.”

And, as Simard recently told CNN, mother trees may even help forests adapt to human-induced climate change, thanks to their “memory” of slower natural changes in past decades or centuries. “They’ve lived for a long time and they’ve lived through many fluctuations in climate. They curate that memory in the DNA,” she said. “The DNA is encoded and has adapted through mutations to this environment. So that genetic code carries the code for variable climates coming up.”

Many mangrove trees have stilt roots to help with breathing and stability. (Photo: Sayam Trirattanapaiboon/Shutterstock)

Holding up a tree is a tall order, but it’s often achieved by surprisingly shallow roots. Most trees don’t have a taproot, and most tree roots lie in the top 18 inches of soil, where growing conditions tend to be best. More than half of a tree’s roots usually grow in the top 6 inches of soil, but that lack of depth is offset by lateral growth: The root system of a mature oak, for example, can be hundreds of miles in length.

Still, tree roots vary widely based on species, soil and climate. Bald cypress grows along rivers and swamps, and some of its roots form exposed “knees” that supply air to underwater roots like a snorkel. Similar breathing tubes, called pneumatophores, are also found in the stilt roots of some mangrove trees, along with other adaptations like the ability to filter up to 90 percent of salt out of seawater.

On the other hand, some trees do extend remarkably deep underground. Certain types are more prone to grow a taproot including hickory, oak, pine and walnut especially in sandy, well-drained soils. Trees have been known to go more than 20 feet (6 meters) below the surface under ideal conditions, and a wild fig at South Africa’s Echo Caves has reportedly reached a record root depth of 400 feet.

The Angel Oak, a roughly 400-year-old southern live oak on Johns Island, South Carolina, produces an impressive 17,200 square feet of shade (1,600 square meters) under its iconic gnarled branches. (Photo: Mike Ver Sprill/Shutterstock)

Many mature trees require a huge amount of water, which may be bad for drought-stricken orchards but is often good for people in general. Thirsty trees can limit flooding from heavy rain, especially in low-lying areas like river plains. By helping the ground absorb more water, and by holding soil together with their roots, trees can reduce the risk of erosion and property damage from flash floods.

A single mature oak, for example, is able to transpire more than 40,000 gallons of water in a year meaning that’s how much flows from its roots to its leaves, which release water as vapor back into the air. The rate of transpiration varies during the year, but 40,000 gallons averages out to 109 gallons per day. Larger trees move even more water: A giant sequoia, whose trunk may be 300 tall, can transpire 500 gallons a day. And since trees emit water vapor, large forests also help make it rain.

As a bonus, trees have a knack for soaking up soil pollutants, too. One sugar maple can remove 60 milligrams of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium and 5,200 mg of lead from the soil per year, and studies have shown farm runoff contains up to 88 percent less nitrate and 76 percent less phosphorus after flowing through a forest.

The Amazon rainforest spans about 40 percent of South America and holds 16,000 tree species. (Photo: Shutterstock)

About half of all oxygen in the air comes from phytoplankton, but trees are a major source, too. Still, their relevance for humans’ oxygen intake is a bit hazy. Various sources suggest a mature, leafy tree produces enough oxygen for two to 10 people per year, but others have countered with significantly lower estimates.

Yet even without the oxygen, trees clearly offer plenty of other benefits, from food, medicine and raw materials to shade, windbreaks and flood control. And, as MNN’s Matt Hickman reported in 2016, city trees are “one of the most cost-effective methods of curbing urban air pollution levels and combating the urban heat island effect.” That’s a big deal, since more than 3 million people die worldwide each year from illnesses linked to air pollution. In the U.S. alone, pollution removal by urban trees is estimated to save 850 lives per year and $6.8 billion in total health care costs.

There’s also another notable way trees can indirectly save lives by breathing. They take in carbon dioxide, a natural part of the atmosphere that’s now at dangerously high levels due to the burning of fossil fuels. Excess CO2 drives life-threatening climate change by trapping heat on Earth, but trees especially old-growth forests provide a valuable check on our CO2 emissions.

Trees provide food, housing and other benefits for a wide range of songbirds, like this family of black-naped blue flycatchers nesting in a fork between two branches. (Photo: Super Prin/Shutterstock)

Native trees create vital habitat for a variety of wildlife, from ubiquitous urban squirrels and songbirds to less obvious animals like bats, bees, owls, woodpeckers, flying squirrels and fireflies. Some of these guests offer direct perks for people such as by pollinating our plants, or eating pests like mosquitoes and mice while others bring subtler benefits just by adding to local biodiversity.

To help quantify this effect, researchers from Stanford University recently developed a way to estimate biodiversity based on tree cover. They recorded 67,737 observations of 908 plant and animal species over a 10-year period, then plotted those data against Google Earth images of tree cover. As they reported in a 2016 study, four of the six species groups understory plants, non-flying mammals, bats and birds saw a significant biodiversity boost in areas with more tree cover.

They found that adding a single tree to a pasture, for example, could raise the number of bird species from near zero to 80. After this initial spike, adding trees continued to correlate with more species, but less quickly. As a stand of trees approached 100 percent coverage within a certain area, endangered and at-risk species like wildcats and deep-forest birds began to appear, the researchers report.

Urban trees, like these at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen, offer more than just ambience. (Photo: Wayne0216/Shutterstock)

It’s human nature to like trees. Just looking at them can make us feel happier, less stressed and more creative. This may be partly due to biophilia, or our innate affinity for nature, but there are also other forces at work. When humans are exposed to chemicals released by trees known as phytoncides, for example, research has shown results such as reduced blood pressure, reduced anxiety, increased pain threshold and even increased expression of anti-cancer proteins.

Considering that, maybe it’s little wonder trees have been shown to raise our evaluations of real estate. According to the U.S. Forest Service, landscaping with healthy, mature trees adds an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. Research also shows urban trees are correlated with lower crime rates, including things from graffiti, vandalism and littering to domestic violence.

Methuselah, a bristlecone pine, has been living in this spot for 4,848 years. (Photo: Rick Goldwasser/Flickr)

One of the most fascinating things about trees is how long some can live. Clonal colonies are known to endure for tens of thousands of years Utah’s Pando aspen grove dates back 80,000 years but many individual trees also stand their ground for centuries or millennia at a time. North America’s bristlecone pines are especially long-lived, and one in California that’s 4,848 years old (pictured above) was considered the planet’s oldest individual tree until 2013, when researchers announced they’d found a another bristlecone that sprouted 5,062 years ago. (The last woolly mammoths, for comparison, died about 4,000 years ago.)

To intelligent primates who are lucky to have 100 birthdays, the idea of a brainless plant living for 60 human lifetimes evokes a unique kind of respect. Yet even when a tree does finally die, it still plays a key role in its ecosystem. Dead wood has huge value for a forest, creating a slow, steady source of nitrogen as well as microhabitats for all kinds of animals. As much as 40 percent of woodland wildlife depends on dead trees, from fungi, lichens and mosses to insects, amphibians and birds.

The nuts of oak trees are hugely popular with wildlife. In the U.S., acorns represent a major food source for more than 100 vertebrate species, and all that attention means most acorns never get to germinate. But oak trees have boom and bust cycles, possibly as an adaptation to help them outfox the acorn-eating animals.

During an acorn boom, known as a mast year, a single large oak can drop as many as 10,000 nuts. And while most of those may end up as a meal for birds and mammals, every so often a lucky acorn gets started on a journey that will carry it hundreds of feet into the sky and a century into the future. For a sense of what that’s like, here’s a time-lapse video of an acorn becoming a young tree:

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15 astounding facts about trees – Mother Nature Network (blog)

April 25th, 2017

Satellite Photos and Radar Scans Could Protect Ancient …

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April 25th, 2017

What is Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger? | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

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Freeform hasdebuted thevery first trailer for Marvels Cloak and Dagger, which is set to air on the channel in 2018. Starring Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as the titular superheroes, the series is aimed more toward the Young Adult market, though undoubtedly it will appeal to all; whether fans of the superhero genre or not. But whats it all about?

Cloak and Dagger made their debut in Marvel ComicsPeter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, in 1982. After a number of Spider-Man appearances, the duo were given their own limited series, and its success prompted Marvel to produce an ongoing bi-monthly Cloak and Dagger comic series, debuting in 1985.

The Cloak and Dagger comic series centers on Tyrone Ty Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger), who meet as runaways in New York City. Ty has a debilitating stutter, which prevented him from stopping the police from shooting his friend, while Tandy has run away to escape her overbearing mother. The pair form a friendship, and when Tandy accepts the offer of accommodation from a group of strangers, Ty goes with her. The pair are delivered to a criminal chemist, who is developing a new brand of synthetic heroin. He tests it on Ty and Tandy, who manage to flee, but the drug somehow imbues both with superhero powers that work in conjunction with one another.

Ty finds himself engulfed in a darkness, which only eases when Tandy is present with her dagger of light. Calling themselves Cloak and Dagger, the pair set about trapping drug dealers Tandy strikes them down with her light dagger before Ty engulfs them in his (physical and metaphorical) cloak of darkness. The duo become vigilantes, hunting down and killing the man (Simon Marshall) who injected them with the synthetic heroin, before embarking on a war against all drug dealers.

Throughout their comic book appearances, Cloak and Dagger encounter a wide range of other Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Kingpin, and Doctor Strange. They also become members of Captain Americas faction during the Civil War era.

In April 2016, Marvel Television announced its plans for a Cloak and Dagger TV series. The show will air on Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family. In 2017, it was announced thatCloak and Dagger will consist of ten episodes. The show looks set to be an angsty-teen drama heavily focused on romance, all wrapped up in the superhero genre, of course.

Cloak and Dagger has Joe Pokaski (Heroes) as showrunner, with Jeph Loeb (Head of Marvel Television), and Jim Chory (The Defenders) as executive producers. The series is set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, and differs somewhat in its setup to the comic book origins: instead of meeting as runaways, Tandy and Ty are connected by a mysterious childhood incident, which is hinted at in the first trailer released. The pair then reconnect later on in life, and Cloak and Dagger follows them as they deal with their own everyday lives, as well as the burden of their superpowers. The connection they share is further complicated by the fact that they find themselves falling in love, and given that the role of Liam, Tandys boyfriend, hasalso been cast, its safe to assume that wont be plain sailing.

Given the subject material, Cloak and Dagger should be right at home on Freeform, and its good to see the YA audience being catered for, since Marvel have already carved out a strong niche in adult superhero TV shows with their Netflix offerings. Freeform also have another Marvel show in the works, New Warriors, starring Squirrel Girl and a band of misfit superheroes, which will be Marvels first half-hour comedy series.

Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen (Dagger): Holt is a Disney channel stalwart, even though she is only 19. She made her debut in Disney XDs martial arts show, Kickin It, which she landed owing to her gymnastics skills. Those skills will also stand her in good stead for the action scenes in Cloak and Dagger. From there, Holt moved to the Disney Channels I Didnt Do It,before landing the role of Tandy. Holt is also a singer, and her EP was released on Hollywood Records in 2016. Basically, shes a very key memberof the Disney family, hence her taking lead in a Marvel show to be shown on a Disney subsidiary.

Aubrey Joseph as Ty Johnson (Cloak): Joseph has had small roles in TV shows such as Law and Order, and The Night Of. He also appeared in the 2015 movie, Run All Night, which starred Liam Neeson. Josephs part was only small, and Cloak and Dagger will be his first major role, and likely to propel him onto even greater things.

Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen, Tandys mother: Roth is best known for her role as Janet Gavin, in the TV series, Rescue Me.

Gloria Reuben as Adina Johnson, Tys mother: Reuben is best known as Jeanie Boulet in ER, and Dr. Krista Gordon on Mr. Robot.

Cloak and Daggerseries only started shooting in February, 2017, so its likely that most of the footage shown in the trailer comes from the pilot episode. Even if it all does, its still impressive, and the trailer sets the series up nicely. In fact, the trailer is a lot more impressive than many had expected showcasing a darker tone than might usually be expected on a family channel. That said, YA programming is making a name for itself with its no-holds barred approach. Shows such as 13 Reasons Why, Teen Wolf and New Girl have produced such compelling work that they haveheld a broad appeal to everyone, and Cloak and Dagger looks set to follow suit. Based on what weve seen in the trailer, Cloak and Dagger looks to be a worthy member of the Marvel Television Universe, easily rivaling the kind of quality programming weve come to expect from Marvels Netflix offerings.

Cloak and Dagger is expected to arrive in 2018 on Freeform.

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What is Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger? | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

April 24th, 2017

Marvel Legacy Takes Hold this Fall – Marvel (press release) (registration) (blog)

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Published Apr 22, 2017 By Josh Weiss

Get ready for an exciting new initiative kicking off this fall across the entire Marvel Universe, Marvel Legacy! Featuring the most popular characters in the world and blockbuster new storylines, the House of Ideas returns long running titles to their original series numbering with a renewed sense of hope, wonder, enjoyment and fun. We want fans to get fired up.Simple as that, says Marvels Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso. Marvel Legacy will decide once and for all if the Marvel Universe is big enough for Miles and Peter, Riri and Tony, Thor and Jane Foster, Laura and, dare I say, Logan? Spoiler alert: It is.

A new era of Marvel Comics kicks off in the fall with MARVEL LEGACY #1, a whopping 50-page one-shot stuffed with twists, surprises, mysteries and revelations, plus a special four-panel fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.

Superstar creators Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic reunite their THOR: GOD OF THUNDER pairing to set the stage for the next chapter of the Marvel Universe.

This one-shot honors Marvel Comics past and its a good window into the present day Marvel Universe and then also sets the stage for where were gonna go in the future, comments Aaron. The main goal was just to be able to give this to someone whos got no idea whats going on in the Marvel right now and have that be a good entry point for them and I think it does that.

As for the plot itself, We get a peak into the very distant past here so we go back to the prehistoric days of the Marvel Universe, he adds, offering up a few tantalizing teases. [We are] seeing versions of Marvels biggest legacy characters and different versions we havent seen before and [an adventure] of, I guess I could call the Prehistoric Avengers. That adventure will have major ramifications for the Marvel Universe going forward.

Not enough epic foreshadowing for you? Alonso also promises a last-page reveal that just might break the Internet while editor Tom Brevoort assures of the return of a central piece of the Marvel mythos that readers have been mourning in recent months.

Marvel Legacy initiative spreads out across the Marvel Universe, showcasing epic storylines hearkening back to the glory days of Marvel starring Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool, the Champions, Wolverine, Ironheart, Hulk, The Punisher, and so many more!

The biggest challenge was in fitting everything that we had into the story, while still actually having a story! expounds Brevoort. When we laid out our plans for this [story] at one of our editorial summits, our community of creators was energetic in offering up key elements of the stories they were planning, so much so that its an embarrassment of riches. Its everything that makes Marvel great, exciting, fun and special in a single high-quality package. This is the Marvel that you remember, and the Marvel that you long for.

But how do we define Marvels legacy?

Marvels legacy is its universe of amazing but always relatable characterseach and every one of them loved for their strengths and weaknesses, relates Alonso. MARVEL LEGACY will prove that yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and we love our iconic characters as much as you do.

Marvels legacy is exciting, dramatic heroic stories featuring human, relatable characters facing situations and struggles that find parallel in the lives of our readersthe world outside your window, adds Brevoort.

This one shot being called LEGACY is not a coincidence, contends Aaron. This book is very much about that legacy so we see how that legacy stretches back to the distant past and we follow those characters who carry on that legacy in the present and we set the stage for those characters and that legacy will go in the continuing stories to come.

Beginning this fall, long-running Marvel Universe titles will revert to their classic legacy numbering, honoring and restoring their long history, as new and epic storylines launch under the Marvel Legacy banner. Featuring clean entry points for every series, titles resuming their original numbering will be clearly marked with special trade dress and cover treatments. And thats just the beginning!

Were really setting out to knock you on your ass, vows Brevoort, To get you excited and nervous and eager for all sorts of incredible things weve got coming up across the Marvel Universe in the next year and beyond. Whether youre a fan of the core characters or all of the amazing faces weve introduced over the past couple of years, whether youve been there every Wednesday or you drifted away from Marvel at some point in the past, Marvel Legacy is your easy-access gateway to the future, a shot glass of the Power Cosmic!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Christine Dinh

Hello Marvelites! Channel your best Star-Lord and bust out your Walkmans because weve got a brand new episode ofThis Week in Marvel.

Alex joins Ben to take on this weeks comic releases including MONSTERS UNLEASHED, NICK FURY, and more! Plus news from the worlds of movies, TV, and games from Marc and Christine (49:38)! A chat with the SPIDER-MEN II editorial team (38:51)! A SECRET EMPIRE breakdown (1:03:00)! And last but not least, your questions and comments (1:33:34)!

Were officially two weeks out from Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! If youve already watched our Red Carpet World Premiere five times over, hit play on your Walkmans and join Ryan and Ben next week for the next #TWIMURC where they talk GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning! Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #TWIMURC!

Download episode #286 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check outMarvel Podcast Central,grab the TWiM RSS feedandsubscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel!

This Week in Marvel will focus on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releasesfrom comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan Agent M Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Marvel.com Editor Marc Strom, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to@AgentM,@BenJMorse, @chrissypediaor@Marvelwith the hashtag#ThisWeekinMarvel!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Tj Dietsch

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

He might share a name with one of the most infamous people in the Marvel Universe, but Nick Fury plans on making a reputation for himself with his self-titled series launched this week by writer James Robinson and artist ACO. The new book may have sent Fury to the French Riviera and put him in direct opposition to Frankie Noble, but his comic book roots go back to the 2012 series BATTLE SCARS.

Chris Yost, Matt Fraction and Cullen Bunn collaborated to write the six-issue BATTLE SCARS with art by Scot Eaton. The series, set during the Fear Itself event, kicked off in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion Army Rangers trying to figure out why everyone seemed to be shooting everyone else. Here were introduced to Staff Sergeant Marcus Johnson who winds up in Atlanta, Georgia four days later after getting word that his mother, Nia Marie Johnson, passed away. Just as he began to realize that someone specifically wanted his mother dead, hes pinned down by sniper fire and attacked by a wetworks squad backed up by none other than Taskmaster. Luckily, Captain America and then-Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy Johnson stepped in to help Marcus.

S.H.I.E.L.D. tried keeping him safe in their rebuilt headquarters, but Marcus broke out, took down an entire group of their agents, and started his own investigation into Taskmaster along with his Ranger pal Cheese, otherwise known as Phil Coulson! The search not only lead to another fight with Taskmaster, but a team-up with Deadpool against the Serpent Society and the revelation that a masked man calling himself Orion stood as Johnsons true enemy.

Another masked man soon revealed himself not only as Nick Fury, but as Marcus father. The elder Fury met Nia Johnson when they both worked for the CIA 30 years prior. The two hit it off and nine months later Marcus entered the world. Nia quit that job and Fury worked his spy magic to keep her safe until recently when someone uncovered the information and sold it to Leviathan leader Orion. Fury messed Orion up pretty bad and the continually-dying villain wanted some of the Infinity Formula to fix his problem, but the only real source remained in Marcus blood.

Soon enough, both father and son wound up in Orions clutches. He had his goons cut out Marcus left eye to make a family resemblance. Orion then received a transfusion from Fury that restored his power and youth, but a presumed dead Marcus fought his way through Orions goons. Johnson stalled the villain long enough to get the Avengers there to back his play and save the day, seemingly killing Orion in the process. A few weeks later, Marcus shaved his head, joined his pal Coulson and became official Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also decided to take on his fathers name as a way to honor him and carry on a longstanding tradition with the organization.

Flash Forward

Nick Fury Jr. may have first appeared in the Marvel Universe as Marcus Johnson in BATTLE SCARS, but the idea for an African-American take on the character debuted back in 2002 when he showed up in THE ULTIMATES #1 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch looking an awful lot like Samuel L. Jackson. A noted comic fan, Jackson appreciated the nod and, by the time the Fury character made his big screen debut in 2008s Iron Man, Jackson filled in the eye patch and long coat!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Forrest C. Helvie

Ready to be astonished?!

This July, Charles Soule joins a series of the industrys best artists as they prepare to unleash ASTONISHING X-MEN! Last month, we spoke with the writer about his upcoming work on the series relaunch after its four-year hiatus, and now we return to try and pry some extra details from him about what he and his collaborators have in store for not only readers but also this brand new configuration of the X-Men.

Marvel.com: Charles, last month the news broke that youd be spearheading the re-launch of ASTONISHING X-MEN. From those early news releases, we learned youd be taking readers to all corners of the X-Men mythology according to Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso. Can you shed a little light on what this means for both new and long-time fans of mutantkind?

Charles Soule: I dont want to give away too much of the story yet, because ASTONISHING X-MEN is designed to work as a series of reveals. Every time you think you know whats happening, the script gets flipped a bit, usually around the last page of each issue. Its like a puzzle box: part of the fun is figuring it all out. That said the book does do a lot with what I think of as X-Men touchstonessignificant events in the lore, characters new and oldbut rarely the way you think. I call it weaponized nostalgia. Its all explained and laid out, though. Even if youve never read an X-Men comic before, itll just work as a fun adventure.

Marvel.com: I understand youre looking to make this book just as much of an entry-point title for newer readers as it will be a satisfying experience for long-time fans of these characters. How do you strike that balance between seemingly opposite readerships?

Charles Soule: Not easily! But really, its about making sure that (a) each characters powers are clearly noted or explained when they first appear, (b) writing them like real people who act towards each other the way they should based on their respective histories, and (c) having nostalgia or homage bits work in and of themselves. Like, if you see someone look at a photo of another character and get sad, that works for someone who knows exactly why theyre sad, but also someone who doesnt, if its written correctly. Im spending a lot of time on this specific aspect of the book. I dont think you should need a degree in X-Men-ology to enjoy X-Men comics, but I think having that degree should enhance your enjoyment.

Marvel.com: If we dont talk about the art, then were not talking comics! And this particular series will be taking a rather unique approach to the visuals. Can you walk us through the genesis behind the choice to introduce a new artist with each issue and why you and Marvel as a whole felt this was the strongest way to tell the story youll be sharing in ASTONISHING X-MEN?

Charles Soule: Well, again, theres a story conceit I dont really want to spoil yet, but I think it will work really well, in part because Marvel is staffing the series with an incredible batch of artists. We start off with Jim Cheung and just go from there, all amazingorastonishing, even. Im tailoring each script to each artists strengths, to the extent I can. Its pretty exciting for me, sort of a high-wire act, to make sure each artist gets what they need to draw a great issue but the overarching story gets served as well. Again, not easy, but fun.

Marvel.com: Although this is a series that youre structuring to appeal to both new and old readers, I understand youre dipping deep into the archives of the X-Mens rogues gallery in raising The Shadow King to the forefront as the initial Big Bad, and someone who fans could even credit as being the original inspiration for Xaviers creation of the team.

What made him the right choice for you when it came to launching this new series?

Charles Soule: The Shadow King was the first evil mutant Charles Xavier ever encountered, and as we saw way back in UNCANNY X-MEN #117 in 1979, hes essentially the reason Xavier decided to train up other mutants to fight emerging threats in the world. The nice thing about The Shadow King is that he resides in a place called the astral plane, which is sort of a dream dimension where anything anyone imagines can become real. So, battles there tend to be about willpower; the person who can impose their reality on their opponents, force them to believe in whatever situation theyre projecting onto them, tends to win. In ASTONISHING, well see some fantastic set pieces built around that idea, some of which will tie into signature past events from X-Men history. Its not all backwards-looking, though. This is a story that moves the X-Men forward in a huge way.

Marvel.com: Although youve certainly worked with your fair share of mutants in your time at Marvel, Charles, I believe your time with this particular group is more limited, no? What aspects of these characters made them the right ones to engage in this journey?

Charles Soule: Thats correct. Except for Mystique, Ive never really written any of this group to any real degree, unless you count Old Man Logan and Wolverine as the same character; theyre not, although of course there are similarities. I like this cast because it gives me an immense amount to work with as far as their interpersonal relationships. Rogue and Gambit have a long history together, romantic and otherwise. Mystique raised Rogue for a while. Fantomex and Angel have both been linked with Psylocke. Old Man Logan probably killed all of these folks back in his own universe. And on and on it goes. The power set is varied, theyre all super cool in different waysits a rich stew, and I feel like I can do a ton with it. I should also say that the eight characters on the cover of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 are not the only X-Men that will appear in the series, but theyre definitely the leads.

Marvel.com: Before we wrap up, I want to lob one fastball special your way. Theres always a concern among comic book fans about consequences. With a new series launch, we expect a certain amount of bombast, but what sort of consequences have you baked into the story youre preparing to launch? In what ways does this story not only matter, but why is it one thats going to be a must read for X-Men fans of all kinds and varieties?

Charles Soule: I think that will all be made clear on the last page of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1. I think Im known for writing a certain kind of X-book, after DEATH OF WOLVERINE, DEATH OF X and IVX. ASTONISHING X-MEN is no exception. If people want consequences, theyll get em.

Charles Soule and the top artistic talent in the comics industry bring you ASTONISHING X-MEN, beginning in July!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Tim Stevens

In U.S.AVENGERS #6available May 17Steve Rogers continues his campaign to remake the Marvel Universe in Hydras image by finally seizing control of A.I.M. One cannot help but wonder, however, whats motivating the Sentinel of Lies to pull this society of scientists under his wing.

Thankfully, we do not need to wonder when we have writer Al Ewing on the speed dial. He gladly gave us some perspective on Rogers dark plan.

Marvel.com: To begin with, why is A.I.M. such a glittering prize for Steve Rogers in specific and Hydra in general?

Al Ewing: Well, theyre not a glittering prize as suchalthough if he can sway any to his side, thats finebut they are a potential complication, and one with the potential to mess up his intricate plans. So ideally, he needs to get them out of the way, both by making sure they dont interfere with his plan as it unfolds, and then after that, by making sure they dont interfere with Hydra business.

Marvel.com: What threat would an independently operating A.I.M. represent for Rogers?

Al Ewing: Well, for one thing, theyve been trained to resist hypnosis in a way S.H.I.E.L.D. hasntthanks to the teachings of the late, great Professor Xso Rogers cant just use his good friend Dr. Faustus to brainwash them. Which means hes probably going to have to lock them up in some secret facility somewhere and work on them for a while. He cant let a bunch of super-scientists run around free and unsupervised.

Marvel.com: How does he envision A.I.M. working after he fully seizes control of them? What is his ideal vision of them as an organization?

Al Ewing: I imagine if he can get the whole organization on board, hell put them to work somehow, most likely as an arm of Hydra.

To be honest, what Rogers probably wants from A.I.M. is for them to just get back in their safe little box and be evil scientists again so at least he can understand whats going on with them. Hes an old man at heart, he likes things a certain way and why does he have to change?

Marvel.com: As Roberto da Costa struggles against and, seemingly, falls to Rogers agenda, what are his fears for A.I.M.? Where does he worry it might go under someone elses direction that isnt his?

Al Ewing: Well, Robertos going to have a lot to worry about himself. As people might have guessed from the solicits, hes in some serious personal danger and he might not make it through this one alive. But assuming he does, Id imagine his biggest nightmare for A.I.M. would be them slipping backwards into their old, evil ways, or being lured there by a charismatic creep like Rogers.

Marvel.com: U.S.AVENGERS, particularly with this issue, is a great mix of intense action and political machinations. How does Paco Medinas art help to bring that to life on the page without either element eclipsing the other? Any particular sequence, without spoilers, you are really excited for fans to see him render?

Al Ewing: Pacos brilliant and he draws an amazing Red Hulk, too. Im going to particularly enjoy seeing him deal with the sequence set in Europe, since thats going to feature some exciting guest starsfor anyone who knows his work, were bringing back a selection of the contestants from the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS comic we did together. So fans of Guillotine, Outlaw, and Ares should hopefully be happy there. I know I will be.

See if Steve Rogers succeeds in U.S.AVENGERS #6, available May 17 courtesy of Al Ewing and Paco Medina!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Josh Weiss

We find ourselves at the end of an era, folks. Just as Stephen Strange once faced The Last Days of Magic, writer Jason Aaron finds himself fast approaching the final installment of his nearly two-year run on DOCTOR STRANGE with issue #20 coming May 17. No need to worry, though, because the MIGHTY THOR writer says he has more plans in store for the Sorcerer Supreme.

Jason worked some of his magic on us to deliver a few poignant thoughts on a comic that means a lot to him and the Marvel Universe. Prepare for things to get strangewell, stranger than usual anyway.

Marvel.com: Youve been writing DOCTOR STRANGE for nearly two years. What has been your favorite part about writing for Stephen Strange? Put another way: What was been the most magical part?

Jason Aaron: I think to me, the most important part coming in was just making the book fun. DOCTOR STRANGE as a series is one that didnt always catch on. We hadnt had a solo DOCTOR STRANGE ongoing in a quite a while so the character is sometimes hard for people to connect with or relate to and his world maybe seems so different compared to the rest of the Marvel Universe and maybe a little impenetrable. So I wanted it to be welcoming to people whod never read a STRANGE book before, but also at the same time, something that could be embraced by the longtime fans of the character and as part of that, I wanted to make it fun to hang out with Stephen Strange and embrace the fact that he is very different from the all the rest of the heroes of the Marvel Universe; I did want to give a weight to what Strange goes through and let you understand a little bit about what its like to be him and the price he has to pay to be the Sorcerer Supreme. Its not like Cap throwing a shield or Thor throwing a hammer. Theres a real price to be paid every time Doctor Strange uses magic. Sometimes thats a price thats paid by other people, by the world at large, but most often thats the price thats paid by him. So I think we demonstrated that in a lot of different ways and just how difficult it is to be the Sorcerer Supreme. I like kind of that dichotomy and the fact that Doctor Strange seems to be having a good time, the guy even embraces the weirdest little corner of the Marvel Universe, but at the same time, you dont really wanna be Doctor Strange. Its not a fun gig.

Marvel.com: Which character, hero or villain, have you most identified with and why?

Jason Aaron: I think it was nice to add a character like Zelma [the librarian] to the mix, someone who came into Stranges world with fresh eyes, someone who didnt really even believe in magic before that and certainly didnt embrace the weirdness in a way that Strange does so I liked seeing [the weirdness] through her eyes and seeing how that experience has changed her along the way, which we really drive that point home in the last issue, issue #20.

Marvel.com: Under your direction, Stephen went from the top of his game as a Sorcerer Supreme to seeing magic die off. Can you discuss the process of crafting this roller coaster-esque odyssey for such a unique character and the challenges therein?

Jason Aaron: I like the way of sort of establishing Strange and the beat he walks as Sorcerer Supreme and what its like to him. I like the idea of [villains] who really [burn] his world to the groundI think from there we start to kind of rebuild it. [We put] a few more limits on his powers; Strange has become kind of a deus ex machina for a while in the Marvel [Universe] where he could always just sort of show up and wave his fingers and save the day so I wanted to get away from that and show its a lot harder for him to be who he is and to do what he does, show him really have to fight and struggle for it, sometimes literally. We wanted him to be able to mix it up a little bit more and not just stand around and shoot magical energy blasts, but have to pick up a weapon and jump into the fray more than were used to seeing.

Doctor Strange #20 cover

Marvel.com: Another theme in the comic is the existence of supernatural horrors just beyond the veil of human comprehension, which was brought to vivid life by Chris Bachalos artwork. Was the cosmic horror and weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft an influence at all?

Jason Aaron: Sure. Ive read a lot of Lovecraft and love it. I think, again, that Doctor Strange is very different from all the other heroes in the Marvel Universe and that hes the guy who walks a very different sort of beat and has to deal with threats that most of the other heroes may not even know exist. We wanted to drive that home and Chris has been a huge part of that. Right out of the gate in issue #1 we did the bit where we kind of see the world through Doctor Stranges eyes; we call it Strange Vision where we see the normal world kind of go into black and white and we see all the things that only someone like Stephen Strange can see in pop and color. Chris is the perfect artist to do stuff like that. He really took it to another level on this. All along the way, once he was on board, hes been filled with all sorts of crazy ideas with stuff to put in this book, visually, and has taken it to some really wild, imaginative places.

Marvel.com: What was it like writing this comic in the midst of big releases like the Doctor Strange movie that helped propel Stephen to a status of fame that he may not have enjoyed before?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I think thats really cool. Certainly anything that helps get more eyes on the comics, Im always a fan of. I really enjoyed the movie, I really liked the tone of it and it felt like the movie and the comic were kind of pulling in the same direction in that regard. Im really excited to see Strange pop up again in the [Marvel] Cinematic Universe.

Marvel.com: What hints and/or spoilers can you offer up about issue #20 before it drops in May?

Jason Aaron: I think it kind of sums up my run-up to this point. Its the big issue; its drawn by the two artists whove handled most of it in the art so far: Chris Bachalo, the main artist, and then Kevin Nowlan whos drawn a few bits here and there. So the two of them together, I think theyre the perfect pairing for this series. Its a story that goes to a lot of different places, kind of focuses on Stephen and the core group of supporting characters around him and like I said, sums up my run so far and kind of sets things up for the new writer Dennis Hopeless to [take on] these same characters and take them forward into some new and different stories.

Marvel.com: And going off that, can you say anything on where Doctor Strange will go from here? Is he gonna be making any cameo appearances in MIGHTY THOR?

Jason Aaron: Maybe. You never know. I really enjoyed writing that team-up issue of STRANGE where we saw Doctor Strange and Thor teaming up so yeah, I dont think Im done writing Doctor Strange in some capacity.

Marvel.com: Is there anything in particular that you hope readers have taken away from your run on the title?

Jason Aaron: Just, you know, dont ever touch Doctor Stranges refrigerator

Join Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, and Kevin Nowlan for DOCTOR STRANGE #20 on May 17!

Published Apr 21, 2017 By Tj Dietsch

It seems like a great time to be Luke Cage, so whys he getting involved in a mysterious battle in New Orleans? The man who continues to mature as a leader, hero, parent, and husband, will find trouble in his past as seen in his self-titled May 17-debuting series.

Written by David F. Walker with Nelson Blake II on art, the one-time Power Man will head down to the Big Easy to find out what happened to Dr. Noah Burstein, the deceased doctor whose experiments turned Luke from a wrongly incarcerated inmate into a man with impenetrable skin. We talked with Blake about Lukes past, his trip down South, and what makes him such an appealing character to draw.

Marvel.com: Luke Cage is in a great place right now between his new status as a media star and his various comic appearances. How does it feel to be drawing the character at this time?

Nelson Blake II: While I am a huge fan of the show, my excitement for the character really started with [writer Brian Michael Bendis] take on him over the years.I read a ton of that stuff in DAREDEVIL, NEW AVENGERS, etc. He wrote Luke as a great leader, but also as a powerful hero and overall interesting guy.That kind of thing really gets my imagination going for a character, which is what really made me happy when [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel [Alonso] and the crew offered me Cage.

Marvel.com: This is a character who had a very signature look back in the day, but has gone more modern as the years have gone on. How do you balance the classic with the new in that sense?

Nelson Blake II: From the classic era, I think there is a tone that is always present in Cage, but hes definitely older and I enjoy that.Some characters get modernized, not because they actually grow, but because times have changed.Luke has actually matured as a man and his current look reflects that.Its not often that a character can look at their own original incarnation and get that same feeling that we all get when we look at old pictures of ourselves, for the good and the embarrassing parts of all of it.

Marvel.com: In addition to his choice in clothes, Luke has also grown up a lot since his first appearance. Hes a father and husband now. Does that change how he carries himself in your mind?

Nelson Blake II: Absolutely.One of the most important parts of adulthood is learning that your actions affect others and youre responsible for that.As much as any character in comics, this resonates with Luke.Even down to the nature of his powers, being bulletproof.While he is quite strong, his signature ability is defensive and protective and that becomes a metaphor for his personality.

Marvel.com: It sounds like Luke will be looking into his own past as well as that of Dr. Burstein. How is it peering back into that world?

Nelson Blake II: Luke revisiting his own past is very personal and challenging for the character.I cant reveal too much, as Lukes interactions with his origin and Bursteins role in it are all key moments in the story.Its a great take by David and the editorial crew that makes the events matter to Luke, as opposed to a villain-of-the-week approach.

Marvel.com: What can you say about the tone youre working with in the series? Will this be a street level book mixed with some super hero elements or something else altogether?

Nelson Blake II: Its got a crossover with crime, noir, sci-fi, and straight-up comics stuff.Im a big fan of dynamic contrast, so I like going from a scene thats totally still and could be shot with an ABC camera setup, then pushing things to a level thats comics only, in your face and over the top.Thats reflective of my influences from novels and Michael Mann movies all the way to animation and manga. Thats the fun of comics, being able to bring all those things into one place and hold them together with an art style and pace that doesnt sacrifice drama for action, or vice versa.

Marvel.com: This first arc takes place in New Orleans. Do you enjoy diving into that kind of real world setting while also mixing in some of the more Marvel Universe elements?

Nelson Blake II: Im a New Yorker, so the New Orleans research has been a really fun departure from my own experience.The architecture, weather, and culture dictate a feel and tell of history thats another world compared to Lukes more common NYC/Harlem roots.It also serves well to isolate him from the comfort of his fellow heroes, which is a great place to start in a solo title.

Marvel.com: David guided Lukes adventures in the previous series with Iron Fist. How is it working with him on this character hes become even more familiar with?

Nelson Blake II: The first thing that struck me is how much David cares.He infuses Luke with a dignity and personal approach without skimping on the fun comic book elements.Dave is also somewhat of a comics historian and that comes through in a lot of his staging and sequencing.His vision is rooted in comics tradition without being trapped by it, and his experience with other great artists makes telling his stories really easy.Talking to him about the scripts and the characters gives me a lot to work with, because he has thought through the drama and characterization, and you can just tell that each issue is a film in his head.This makes sense, as David has a history as a filmmaker.Its been a joy so far and I hope hes having as much fun as I am.The whole team is great to work with, from editorial to colors.

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Marvel Legacy Takes Hold this Fall – Marvel (press release) (registration) (blog)

April 16th, 2017

Increasing presence of ticks requires change in behavior | TribLIVE – Tribune-Review

Comments Off on Increasing presence of ticks requires change in behavior | TribLIVE – Tribune-Review, NYC Squirrel Pest Control, by admin.

Tick prevention and care

How to avoid ticks and what to do if you’re bitten: Advice from the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Walk in the center of trails.

Use repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.

Shower within two hours of coming indoors to more easily find and wash off ticks.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Pay special attention to armpits, ears, the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in hair.

Examine gear and pets for ticks that might attach to you later.

Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.

If you find a tick, remove it using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands.

The PA Lyme Resource Network offers additional information on Lyme diagnosis, support groups, videos, and more at palyme.org.

For information on getting ticks tested, visit the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory site atesu.edu/dna.

Updated 7 hours ago

It is, unfortunately, the new reality.

Once upon a time, going into the woods to hunt, fish a stream, hike a trail, camp and coming out again was something that could be accomplished without worry. No more.

Now, each outing should start with precautions and end with a full-body check.


Black-legged ticks, the pests that carry Lyme disease, have spread throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest and slowly but surely are filling in the gaps between.

No one knows what’s behind their appearance.

We don’t have a good answer to that question. And it’s a great question, said Rick Ostfeld, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., who has been studying ticks for 25 years

One theory holds that ticks were common across the Northeast until European settlers cleared standing forests, Ostfeld said. The thinking, he added, is they now simply are reclaiming old habitats.

What seems certain is ticks aren’t going away.

They’re here. That’s just the way it is now and probably forever, said Tom Simmons, a professor of environmental health at IUP. So at the end of the day, it really comes down to taking preventative measures. It’s a behavioral thing.

People have been slow to adapt.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, there were 38,069 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease in America in 2015, the latest year for which numbers are available. That ranked it the fifth-most-common notifiable disease nationally.

That doesn’t tell the story, though.

Keep in mind that the number of reported cases does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year, said Kate Fowlie, spokeswoman with the CDC.

Studies suggest that roughly 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States.

This might be an especially bad season for new cases.

Ostfeld said his research shows the abundance of ticks is predicated not on white-tailed deer populations, as many believe, but on acorns and white-footed mice.

When oak forests produce a banner crop of acorns, wildlife simply can’t consume them all, Ostfeld said. Mice store the surplus and get a jump start on reproduction.

Their population booms the following summer, he said.

The mice are in turn the perfect host, he added. Unlike raccoons, opossums, squirrels and other mammals, they’re not very good at grooming away larval ticks.

So the year after a mouse boom, tick numbers explode, Ostfeld said.

That’s a concern now.

Large areas of the Northeast had lots of acorns in 2015. They’ll see lots of ticks this year, Ostfeld said.

Outdoorsmen and women are on their own for dealing with that.

While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved clinical trials for a human Lyme disease vaccine, there isn’t one yet available, Fowlie said.

A vaccine for mice might be closer.

A Nashville company called US Biologic is seeking federal approval for an oral one. Much like the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops fish cakes containing rabies vaccine from airplanes to inoculate raccoons, US Biologic would like to distribute Lyme vaccine by hand or using a timed-release system, said chief executive officer Mason Kauffman.

Field trials in New York showed a significant drop in infected ticks, he said. Results of a more recent three-year study in Connecticut are pending.

Similarly, researchers with the Tick-borne Diseases Program in New Jersey learned bait boxes that treat visiting hungry mice with insecticides led to 97 percent fewer ticks in study areas. But it takes two years to see that change, they wrote.

In the meantime, people shouldn’t be afraid to go outside, said Jeff Covelli of New Castle, who is affiliated with the PA Lyme Resource Network.

They do need to use caution, though, he said. He knows. His wife and son contracted Lyme disease.

With his son especially, there have been serious health implications, he said.

Once you get it, it’s an absolute mess, Covelli said. It’s like trying to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time.

Covelli is adamant that outdoors-oriented people need to be proactive in avoiding similar troubles. That includes doing regular tick checks after each outing.

The key, the absolute key going forward, is prevention, he said. It’s something people have to be mindful of.

Look closely when doing checks, Simmons said.

Adult ticks about the size of a sesame seed are relatively easy to spot, he said. Nymph-stage ticks about the size of a poppy seed are not. They’re also more worrisome, he said, as they account for most cases of Lyme.

They’ll become more common going forward, he added, with their numbers peaking in mid-July.

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but anyone finding one should see a doctor immediately, said Nicole Chinnici, a forensic scientist at the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory at East Stroudsburg. Save the tick, too, she suggested, so doctors know what they’re dealing with.

Right now, the very best way to know if you’ve been infected is to get your tick tested, Chinnici said.

If that’s inconvenient, it’s just the way things are, Simmons said.

If you go outside, you’re at risk. People have to understand that and take precautions, he said.

Bob Frye is the Tribune-Review outdoors editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or bfrye@tribweb.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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Increasing presence of ticks requires change in behavior | TribLIVE – Tribune-Review

April 14th, 2017

The Art of Paying Attention: Round-tailed Ground … – Arizona Public Media

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Their diet is primarily vegetationcactus, mesquite pods, seeds–and insects, but I had witnessed a round-tail squirrel eating road kill of its own kind, which did lower the cuteness quotient.

I had questions and I love talking to people who devote much of their time to particular species. So I put out a call to the [National Phenology Network}(https://www.usanpn.org/) , asking for a squirrel expert. That led me to John Koprowski, Professor and Associate Director of the School of Natural Resources & the Environment at the University of Arizona. He studies squirrels around the world.

Turns out these common squirrels have yet to be focused on as much as the other two Arizona speciesantelope squirrels and rock squirrels. Even though Professor Koprowski described round-tailed ground squirrels as the neighbor we know so little about, he knows a lot.

When I asked about cannibalism, he said, They do not pass up a protein opportunity. We dont know if round-tailed squirrels kill each othersome other kinds of male squirrels will kill the youngbut they do cannibalize their dead.

Round-tailed ground squirrels are themselves a source of a large amount of food to raptors, mammals, and snakes. Squirrels also move soil and disperse seeds. When you add up these benefits, the pest moniker doesnt really apply.

That doesnt mean I want them in the house. Last year, in the spring, I found a baby round-tailed ground squirrel lying on its side on my kitchen floor. It looked stiff, eyes closed, unmoving. I thought it was dead, but when I picked it up in a paper towel, the squirrel was breathing. No marks, no blood, so I took it outside and sat with it in my lap, just watching.

It flailed and I realized that one leg was broken at the hippoor little leg just flopped. The squirrel squinted, reached up, and touched my finger, barely grazing his claws on my skin. Then it collapsed. No hope for this precious one.

You know that feeling when you sense someones watching you? The next day, I looked down from my work table to see another baby squirrel looking up at me. The screen doors were closed, but theres a small gap between the wood door jamb and the metal doors. Its barely as wide as my little finger, but these acrobatic creatures are not only flexible, they can also stretch their skins. Perhaps this route is how the first one broke its hip, but the one sitting on her haunches was perfect.

She stared at me with eyes black and shiny as obsidian, her ears like cropped rosettes. Her fur was the muted color of desert earth and clouds Before we started the chase that could only end with the cat, or my setting out fruit and nuts in a humane trap, I dropped a container upside-down over her, slid a piece of stiff paper under her and took her outside. Baby scampered away.

Cutest cannibal ever.

NOTES: In the book Our Desert Neighbors, written in 1950 by Edmund Jaeger, the author referred to these squirrels as Citellus territicaudus neglectus. It seems an appropriate tag for these busy little bodies that haven’t been studied much, but I noticed a different designation in current descriptions. According to Professor Koprowski, the name of the round-tailed ground squirrel was recently revised by scientists to Xerospermophilus tereticaudus neglectus the neglectus portion is the subspecies and is often left off.

“Round-tailed” refers to the circumference and “ground” refers to their burrows.

Visual storyteller Beth Surdut invites you to observe, with unbounded curiosity, the wild life that flies, crawls, and skitters along with us in our changing environment. From exotic orchids and poison dart frogs to local hawks and javelinas, Surdut illustrates her experiences with wild and cultivated nature by creating color-saturated silk paintings and detailed drawings accompanied by true stories.

You can find Surdut’s drawings – and true stories about spirited critters – at listeningtoraven.com and surdutblogspot.com.

Beth Surdut’s illustrated work Listening to Raven won the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Elements of her raven clan have appeared in Orion Magazine, flown across the digitally looped Art Billboard Project in Albany, New York and roosted at the New York State Museum in an exhibition of international scientific illustrators.

The solo exhibition of the drawings and stories of The Art of Paying Attention will be at The Ranch House Gallery at Agua Caliente Park from April 15 to May 10. It presents a unique opportunity for AZ Spotlight listeners to see her illustrations of the animals she talks about.

During that time, other than the scheduled reception and workshops listed below, Beth will be there often during gallery hours, working on drawings and new critter stories. In April, hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm and in May, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 – 2. The Reception is Sunday April 30, 10 am – noon.

Under the aegis of the National Phenology Network, Beth Surdut is hosting two Paying Attention workshops at Agua Caliente Park Sunday, April 23, 9 am – noon and Wednesday, May 10, 8 am – 11 am. Advanced registration required.

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The Art of Paying Attention: Round-tailed Ground … – Arizona Public Media

April 12th, 2017

Spring brings high water, ticks, bears, coyotes – Press & Sun-Bulletin

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Dave Henderson, Correspondent 9:39 p.m. ET April 11, 2017

Know what to do if you encounter a coyote this spring.(Photo: Getty Images)

According to poets, spring means new growth, warming weather and expectation.

Hereabouts, however, it also means high, cold, fast streams that make local trout fishing more foolhardy than fun and an explosion of ticks that promises to accelerate the Lyme Disease threat to unprescedented levels.

Oh yeah, and the neighbors have seen bears and/or coyotes scampering about. Maybe 20 years ago this was unheard of, but today these two are legitimate spring scoundrels throughout the Southern Tier and northern Pennsylvania.

Well, the creeks will go down and ticks and squirrels can be avoided with a few simple precautions. But what about bears and coyotes?

Consider that nearly all negative bear encounters hereabouts are the result of animals being attracted to human food sources. So, it says here, the simplest way to avoid a nuisance encounter is to remove potential food sources.

Put away bird feeders (birds do not need supplemental food in the spring and summer), store garbage cans, barbecue grills and pet food indoors, and dont take the garbage out until the night before collection.

Bears will get plenty to eat without your help.

Coyotes? They are well-adapted to suburban and even urban environments but will avoid contact with people for the most part.

But they can, and will, feed on pets, garbage, pet food, etc. To minimize the chance of conflicts, it is important to maintain coyotes’ natural fear of people.

So dont feed your pets outside and dont allow them to run free; fence off compost piles and, like you did with bears, make garbage inaccessible and clean up the bird feeder. Coyotes dont eat bird feed, but they feed on the things that do.

Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level and taller than four feet.

The state suggests that if you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior. Stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, make loud noises, wave your arms or throw sticks and stones.

If coyote behavior becomes threatening, report it to the local DEC office as this may indicate that some individual coyotes have lost their fear of people and there may be a greater risk that a problem could occur.

For more information about the Eastern Coyote and preventing conflicts with coyotes, visit the DECs websites for Eastern Coyotewww.dec.ny.gov/animals/9359.html and Coyote Conflicts http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6971.html

TU Youth Camp in Deposit

The New York State Trout Unlimited Council will conduct its annual Trout Waters Youth Camp from June 9-14 at Scotts Family Resort on Oquaga Lake in Deposit.

All applicants must be at least age 13 by May 15, which is the deadline for application. Registration costs $500 and covers room, board, instruction and fishing.

Applicants must submit an essay stating why they want to attend the camp and what they expect to get from the experience. They also need a recommendation from a student counselor or science teacher.

For information and application forms, call Ronald Urban at 845-339-5938 or email Ronsgonefishing@aol.com.

Homer dominates Portzline

K.C. Sims and Urb Wormer each broke 48 birds on the trapfield and teammate Curt Robbins broke 48 in the skeet competition Sunday at the Tompkins County Fish & Game Club to lead Homer to a sweep of the two categories and into first place after two weeks of the Portzline League.

Homer turned in a 237 in trap and a 234 in skeet for a 945 after two weeks, 10 birds ahead of host Tompkins County. Homer stands second to Tompkins County by three birds in the skeet standings but has a 13-bird lead in the trap competition.

The league does not shoot on Easter Sunday. It resumes its schedule April 23 at Homer.

Trout stocking continues

Six locations on Oquaga Creek in Sanford were scheduled to be stocked with brown trout early this week, as were two spots on Cayuta Creek in Barton.

Nanticoke Creek in Union and Maine, the East Branch of Nanticoke Creek in Maine and Catatonk Creek in Candor also were scheduled to receive fish.

Director to speak at TU meeting

Jeff Skelding, Executive Director of Friends of the Upper Delaware River, will be giving a presentation during the April 18 meeting of the Al Hazzard Chapter of Trout Unlimited at the Vestal Public Library.

The Friends of the Upper Delaware is a community based watershed protection organization in Hancock. Skeldings presentation will include a status update on the NYC reservoir management plan (Flexible Flow Management Plan), passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act in Congress and what that means for the Upper Delaware River, and development of a first of a Stream Corridor Management Plan for the tributaries and main stem of the East and West Branches and main stem of the Upper Delaware River below the NYC Delaware River basin reservoirs.

He also sees potential for new state fishing rules to improve protections for the wild trout of the Upper Delaware River.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. There is no admission charge.

Hendersons outdoors columns appear in the Press & Sun-Bulletin and Ithaca Journal on Thursdays. If you have a comment or data pertinent to the columns, send it directly to Henderson Outdoors, 202 Prospect Street, Endicott NY 13760 or email it to dddhender@aol.com.

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Spring brings high water, ticks, bears, coyotes – Press & Sun-Bulletin

April 7th, 2017

Notable deaths in the Washington area – Washington Post

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April 7 at 3:56 PM

Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.

James Montgomery III, D.C. Insurance Commissioner

James Montgomery III, 85, insurance commissioner for D.C. government from 1978 to 1983 who later operated a consulting business, died Feb.16 at his home in Ponce Inlet, Fla. The cause was cancer said a daughter, Jennifer Greenway.

Mr. Montgomery, a native of Camden, S.C., began his career with the D.C. Department of Insurance as an actuarial assistant in 1959. In 1994, he moved to Florida from Great Falls, Va., and continued to operate his consulting business until 2002.

George Bedford Jr., GWU purchasing officer

George Bedford Jr., 70, former chief of credit card purchasing for operating expenses of George Washington University, died Feb.4 at a hospice center in Washington. The cause was liver cancer, said a son, George Bedford III.

Mr. Bedford, a resident of Chevy Chase, Md., was born in Washington. He worked 28years as an accounting officer for GWU, retiring as purchasing card director in 2013. He was an amateur baseball player playing in the Ponce de Leon League for 30years. He also coached youth baseball in Rockville, Md.

Janet Rotariu, church financial administrator

Janet Rotariu, 92, who retired in the early 2000s as a financial administrator for the Episcopal All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, Md., died Jan.21 at a medical center in Salisbury, Md. The cause was a heart attack, said a son, Mark Rotariu.

Mrs. Rotariu was born Janet McAuley in Urbana, Ill., and moved to Bethesda in 1962 and Salisbury in 2003. She was a financial administrator at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda from 1968 to 1977. She also volunteered with altar guild committees and served as vestrywoman at multiple churches. In the 1980s and 1990s, she volunteered with Childrens National Medical Center in Washington.

Grover Bud Manderfield, bank president

Grover Bud Manderfield, 84, a Washington-area banker who began his career in 1958 as a loan officer of the bank of Occoquan in Virginia and retired in 1987 as president of Sovran Bank, died Feb.17 at a hospital in Alexandria, Va. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Iris Sam Manderfield.

Mr. Manderfield, an Alexandria resident, was born in Massillon, Ohio, and grew up in Woodbridge, Va. He was president of Suburban Bancorp. when it merged in 1985 with Sovran Financial Corp., and Mr. Manderfield became president of its subsidiary Sovran Bank. After several later mergers, Sovran became part of Bank of America.

On retiring from banking, Mr. Manderfield and a partner formed an asset management company. He was a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board and a president of the Maryland Bankers Association.

Richard Thorington Jr., Smithsonian curator

Richard Thorington Jr., 79, curator emeritus in the National Museum of Natural Historys mammals division, died Feb.24 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. The cause was complications from a bacterial blood infection, said his wife, Caroline Thorington.

Dr. Thorington, a Bethesda resident, was born in Philadelphia. He joined the Smithsonian Institution staff as curator of mammals in 1969 and took emeritus status in 2015. He was author of two books about squirrels and more than 50 scientific papers.

In the 1970s he was diagnosed as having Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a peripheral neuropathy disorder that by the 1990s had made him largely dependent on a wheelchair and an electric three-wheel scooter. He continued to work full-time and described being a quadriplegic as a nuisance, his wife said.

T. Robert Romero, lawyer, court auditor

T. Robert Romero, 92, a Montgomery County lawyer and longtime auditor for Montgomery County Circuit Court, died Feb.24 at an assisted-living center in Las Vegas. The cause was coronary artery disease, said a daughter, Elizabeth Lee Dance.

Mr. Romero was born in Washington. In 1949, he opened a law practice in Silver Spring, Md., and later moved his office to Rockville, Md., where he maintained a general law practice until retiring in 2016. He also served as court auditor in Montgomery County from 1962 until retiring. He moved to Las Vegas in 2016 from Silver Spring, Md.

G. Lindsay Mattison, nonprofit founder

G. Lindsay Mattison, 77, the founder of nonprofit organizations dedicated to examining alternatives to a variety of U.S. defense, nuclear and foreign relations policies, died Feb.25 at a care facility in Fort Washington, Md. The cause was complications from pneumonia, said a daughter, Jeanne Mattison.

Graham Lindsay Mattison, a resident of Fort Washington, Md., was born in Worcester, Mass. In the late 1960s, he helped compile and edit The Politics of Escalation in Vietnam, a paper that argued the invalidity of premises underlying the escalation of the Vietnam War.

Later, he founded the Center for Defense Information and the International Center for Development Policy, nonprofit organizations backed by foundation grants and other fundraising efforts. Under these auspices, Mr. Mattison warned of the perils of nuclear waste and nuclear power and investigated consequences of U.S. policies in places such as El Salvador and Nicaragua. He retired about five years ago.

Ann Smith-Marshall, dance and exercise instructor

Ann Smith-Marshall, 89, a dance and exercise instructor who for almost 60years taught classes in community centers, schools, nursing homes and private facilities, died Feb.21 at a care center in Annandale, Va. The cause was a stroke, said a son, Eric Smith.

Mrs. Smith-Marshall was born Anne Wheeler in Western Springs, Ill., and moved to the Washington area 45years ago, settling in Alexandria, Va. She wrote five books on exercise and stretching and numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and also produced a series of exercise videos. She was a consultant to the International Association of Physical Activity, Aging and Sports. She also did sculpting and quilting, and for a period ran a frame, art and antique store.

Charles Ruttenberg, lawyer

Charles Ruttenberg, 94, a Washington lawyer and partner in the firm of Arent Fox who retired in 2008, died Feb.27 at his home in Washington. The cause was cancer, said a daughter, Alexandra Ruttenberg.

Mr. Ruttenberg, a native of Reading, Pa., began his legal career in Washington as an associate with Covington & Burling. Later he was deputy general counsel to the National Science Foundation and general counsel to the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities. In 1969, he joined Arent Fox, where his specialties included entertainment, intellectual property and antitrust law. He was a former president of the Cosmos Club.

Janet Brown, Pentagon employee

Janet Brown, 93, who retired from the Pentagon in 1972 as adviser for Latin American affairs in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, died Feb.24 at a hospital in Arlington, Va. The cause was heart ailments, said a son, Bradford Brown.

Mrs. Brown, an Arlington resident, was born Janet Waldo in Toll Gate, W.Va. She settled in the Washington area after Navy service during World War II and began working at the Pentagon. She was an analyst for Army intelligence before joining the Chief of Naval Operations.

Vasilia Valia Vassila, singer, choral teacher

Vasilia Valia Vassila, 63, a piano and chorus teacher at Montgomery County, Md., schools in the 1980s and 1990s, including Mill Creek Towne and Beverly Farms elementary schools and Thomas Pyle Middle School, died Feb.6 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. The cause was metastasized lymphoma, said a daughter, Liana Vassila.

Mrs. Vassila was born Vasilia Apostolou in Athens, and moved to the Washington area in the mid-1970s, eventually settling in Potomac, Md. Early in her career, she performed at the Athens Conservatoire and toured Europe with a Greek national choir. Her memberships included the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, a charitable organization. In the 1980s to the early 1990s, she led the choir at Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Bethesda.

William Brown, obstetrician-gynecologist

William Brown, 81, an obstetrician-gynecologist who taught at Howard University medical school and served in staff positions at Howard hospital, died March2 at a hospital in Baltimore. The cause was complications from pneumonia, said his wife, Hattie Brown.

Dr. Brown, a Washington resident since 1960, was born in New York City. He served on the medical staff at Howard for 30years before retiring in 2004 after holding positions that included director of medical services and assistant professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department. He was a past president of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia and a past executive secretary of the National Medical Association.

Mary-Louise Walker, foreign languages teacher

Mary-Louise Walker, 93, who taught French and Spanish at Glasgow Middle School in Lincolnia, Va., among other schools in Northern Virginia from the 1960s to the 1980s, died Feb.26 at a retirement home in Winchester, Va. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a daughter, Linda Walker-Hill.

Ms. Walker, a Fairfax County resident from 1953 to 2011, was born Mary-Louise Hershberger in Johnstown, Pa. Her memberships included the Daughters of the American Revolution and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was a former volunteer usher for the Wolf Trap performing arts center in Vienna, Va.

Mary Love, English teacher

Mary Love, 69, who taught English at Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church, Va., from the mid-1990s to 2009, died March 8 at a medical center in Loveland, Colo. The cause was cardiac arrest, said a son, Ralph Love.

Mrs. Love was born Mary Blaisdell in Milwaukee and settled in Fairfax County, Va., in 1984. She moved to Fort Collins, Colo., in 2015. Her memberships included the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mayflower Society and the P.E.O. Sisterhood.

Andre Le Gallo, CIA officer

Andre Le Gallo, 78, a CIA clandestine officer from 1961 to 1994 who served in Asia, Africa, Europe and then spent five years as vice president for corporate security for the energy giant Enron, died March5 at his home in Woodland, Calif. The cause was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease, said a daughter, Therese Le Gallo.

Mr. Le Gallo was born in Paris and lived with his grandparents in Brittany during World War II, immigrating to the United States at 11. After his CIA retirement, he moved to Houston from McLean, Va., for Enron as one of its first hires from the spy agency. They were looking for people who knew where the international buttons were, he later told the New York Times. He left in 1999, several years before the company imploded in a massive fraud scheme. He eventually moved to California and wrote spy novels.

Joel Fisher, environmental adviser

Joel Fisher, 76, an environmental adviser from 1980 to 2006 to representatives of the United States and Canada on the use of air and water resources in the boundary regions shared by both countries, died Feb.24 at a hospital in Green Valley, Ariz. The cause was multiple systems failure, said a son, Paul Fisher.

Dr. Fisher was born in Brooklyn and lived in Fairfax County, Va., from 1966 until 2006. Early in his career, he was a staff engineer with the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration and an Environmental Protection Agency research engineer, specializing in biological surveys of Alaska rivers for the Alaska pipeline. In 2006, he moved to Tucson, where he did environmental consulting for clients including EPA and the State Department.

Frances Williamson, volunteer

Frances Williamson, 83, a homemaker who did volunteer work with Bethesda First Baptist Church, Suburban Hospital, the American Cancer Society and a mens homeless shelter in Rockville, Md., died Feb.25 at a hospice in Rockville. The cause was a stroke and heart ailments, said a daughter, Donna Lynn Melvin.

Mrs. Williamson, a resident of Silver Spring, Md., was born Frances Bledsoe in Bethesda, Md. As a young woman, she was a secretary at the Pentagon.

Richard Balenger, IBM engineer

Richard Balenger, 76, an IBM computer engineer for 26years who turned to freelance computer training in retirement, died March6 at a hospice center in Jacksonville, Fla. The cause was cardiopulmonary disease, said a daughter, Victoria Balenger.

Mr. Balenger, a native Washingtonian, was a former resident of Silver Spring, Md., who most recently lived in Jacksonville. His memberships included the Wheaton Moose Club and several bowling leagues.

Lane Hart IV, NSA cryptanalyst

Lane Hart IV, 89, a National Security Agency cryptanalyst who retired in 1979 after 28years with the agency, died March10 at a care center in Ellicott City, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Lane Hart.

Mr. Hart, a resident of Ellicott City, Md., was born in Harrisburg, Pa. He was a former president of the Association for Retarded Citizens of Howard County, Md., and a volunteer wholesale manager of a charitable organization that provided goods for a welfare clinic in Guatemala.

Patrick Quinlan, Army officer

Patrick Quinlan, 82, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran who for 13years after retirement ran his own executive search and recruitment organization, died March9 at his home in Alexandria, Va. The cause was Alzheimers disease, said his wife, Patricia Quinlan.

Col. Quinlan, a native of Mount Pleasant, Mich., served 22years in the Army before retiring in 1979. He then was president of High Quality Search in the 1980s and 1990s. He was president of the Boosters Club at Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria and a eucharistic minister at Woodlawn Chapel at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Harry E.T. Thayer, ambassador

Harry E.T. Thayer, 89, a career Foreign Service officer who served as ambassador to Singapore in the early 1980s and retired in 1989 as the dean of the Foreign Service Institutes School of Language Studies, died Jan. 21 at a hospice center in Washington. The cause was nasopharyngeal cancer, a rare form of head and neck cancer, said a son, Robert Thayer.

Mr. Thayer was born in Boston, raised in Newtown Square, Pa., and moved to Washington in 1956 to work for the State Department. His overseas assignments took him to posts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Beijing. In the late 1970s, he served as the State Departments director of Chinese affairs. Besides foreign affairs and diplomatic organizations, his memberships included the C&O Canal Association, a conservation group.

Mariko Ando, singer

Mariko Ando, 97, a singer and soloist in the choir at the Protestant chapel at Fort Myer, Va., and in concerts and operas in the Washington area and elsewhere, died March10 at a hospital in Alexandria, Va. The cause was respiratory failure and pneumonia, said a daughter, Roxanne Ando.

Mrs. Ando was born Mariko Mukai to Japanese immigrant parents in Seattle, and she pursued a musical career in opera and concerts in Seattle, New York and Colorado. In 1961, she moved to the Washington area and eventually settled in Alexandria.

At the Arlington Music Theatre, she sang the role of Rosina in Rossinis The Barber of Seville, and she continued to sing in the choir at Fort Myer through her 80s. She also taught piano lessons at home. Her last public performance was at 95 as a guest soloist at a concert at a senior center in Silver Spring, Md.

Rita Rosenkrantz, court domestic relations master

Rita Rosenkrantz, 82, who made preliminary rulings and judgments as a domestic relations master for the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Md., from 1984 to 1994, died Feb.15 at a hospice care center in Rockville, Md. The cause was a subdural hematoma, said a daughter, Clove Haviva.

Ms. Rosenkrantz was born Rita Reitman in Fairmont, W.Va., and moved to the Washington area in the early 1960s, eventually settling in Rockville. From 1967 to 1984, she led a private law practice in Silver Spring, Md. She held leadership positions with the Womens Bar Association of Montgomery County and the Maryland State Bar Association. She volunteered with the Girl Scouts and served on the board of the Jewish Social Service Agency, providing pro bono legal services for adoptions.

John Renzi, oboist

John Renzi, 85, an oboist in military bands who retired in 1975 as a master gunnery sergeant and chief oboist in the Presidents Own U.S. Marine Corps band, died March14 at his home in Summerland Key, Fla. The cause was congestive heart failure and a stroke, said his wife, Betty Renzi.

Mr. Renzi was born in New York, and his father was a musician in the NBC Symphony conducted by Arturo Toscanini. The younger Mr. Renzi was an oboist with the U.S. Military Academy band at West Point, N.Y., from 1948 to 1955 and with the Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Md., from 1955 until he joined the Presidents Own in 1962.

In retirement, he taught music lessons and also was a contracting officer for the Small Business Administration for 10years. A former resident of Boyds, Md., he sailed with his wife to Summerland Key in 1995 and decided to stay there.

Lawrence Scheinman, nuclear nonproliferation expert

Lawrence Scheinman, 82, an expert on nuclear nonproliferation who joined the Carter administrations State Department in the late 1970s and worked to curb Japans plutonium program, died Feb.19 at his home in Vienna, Va. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Adam Scheinman.

Dr. Scheinman, a native of Queens, spent much of his career in academia teaching international affairs and political science. He served in the Clinton administration as assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and remained in the Washington area afterward.

Dr. Scheinman served on multiple advisory committees and organizations, including the Senate Foreign Relations Policy Advisory Group, and his memberships included the Atlantic Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. He wrote books on nuclear proliferation.

Richard Littell, lawyer

Richard Littell, 85, a Washington lawyer who specialized in administrative matters in private practice after having served during the 1970s as general counsel to the Postal Rate Commission and the Civil Aeronautics Board, died Feb.5 at his home in Fairfax County, Va. His death certificate listed the sole cause as complications of advanced aging.

Mr. Littell was born in Hartford, Conn. He came to Washington in 1958 as an attorney adviser to the Civil Aeronautics Board. In that capacity, he helped negotiate a treaty on hijacking and sabotage. Later he worked for private law firms including Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin; and Bishop, Cook, Purcell & Reynolds. From 1990 until he retired in 2005, he had a solo private practice.

He was author of a legal treatise on the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and of pieces in The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Washington Times on subjects including utility rate cases and the ivory trade and the saving of elephants.

Stanley Deutsch, anesthesiologist

Stanley Deutsch, 86, an anesthesiologist and professor at George Washington University Hospital for nine years before his retirement in 1998, died March12 at his home in Bristow, Va. The cause was complications from Parkinsons disease, said his wife, Margaret Deutsch.

Dr. Deutsch was born in New York City. He was on the anesthesiology faculty at the University of Texas at Houston, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Chicago and Harvard before joining GWU in 1989. He had been a longtime examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology and was a former president of the American College of Anesthesiologists. A former resident of Arlington, Va., he moved to Bristow seven years ago.

Carol Smith, bookkeeper

Carol Smith, 75, a bookkeeper at Howard Universitys dental college from the mid-1960s until her retirement in 1989, died March11 at a hospital in Henderson, N.C. The cause was pneumonia, said a son, Larry Smith.

Mrs. Smith was born Carol McDowell in Washington. In 2000, she moved to Warrenton, N.C., from the District.

Roger Shoup, Presbyterian clergyman

Roger Shoup, 79, a Presbyterian clergyman who served eight churches in Northern Virginia and Maryland on interim assignments, died March11 at his home in Gainesville, Va. The cause was renal failure, said his wife, Marilyn Cromartie.

Dr. Shoup was born in Fremont, Ohio, and held clerical positions at churches in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania before coming to the Washington area in 1997 as interim pastor at John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Annandale.

He was a specialist in conflict resolution. Among the churches he later served were Fairfax Presbyterian Church, Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Md., Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Manassas Presbyterian Church and Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax County. He retired in 2011 after two years as head of Chester Presbyterian Church in Chester, Va., south of Richmond.

Milton Newberry, army colonel

Milton Newberry, 79, a retired Army colonel who participated in combat operations in Vietnam, died March5 at a hospital in Washington. The cause was blood cancer, said a son, James Newberry.

Col. Newberry, a resident of McLean, Va., was born in San Antonio. He served in the Army from 1959 to 1986, retiring as a staffer in the office of Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was vice president for Army operations at Burdeshaw Associates, a Washington-based defense consultancy, from 1987 to 2017.

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Notable deaths in the Washington area – Washington Post

April 7th, 2017

Hartley: Getting a little squirrely about fake news – Aspen Times

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This week, I was so excited to write a column about one of the best things I’ve seen on Facebook in a while: “Woman arrested for training squirrels to attack her ex-boyfriend.” I’m not even sure what the crime would be for something like that, but it was accompanied by the greatest mug shot I’ve ever seen just awesomely stupid. I couldn’t believe how easy my job was going to be.

I practically had the column written in my mind the minute I saw the headline. I was going to go out and trap a bunch of squirrels and train them to be special operations forces. Then I was going to set them loose to kill all the world’s religious extremists. It was going to be a win-win. Best-case scenario, I was going to end terrorism; worst-case scenario, you’d have a few more cuddly attack squirrels at the park where your children play.

The story itself couldn’t have been any better. The squirrels had ambushed the guy on a number of occasions and managed to bite off two fingers and a testicle, and he only figured out his ex-girlfriend was orchestrating everything when he caught her lurking behind a tree during one of the attacks.

As I read on, though, I realized it seemed a little too perfect. The article was on a website that was clearly some kind of tabloid, and when I looked deeper into the story, I learned that all of it from the squirrels to the mug shot was fake.

I was crushed. I wanted so badly for the story to be true. Those are the kind of stories that keep me going and on which I’ve survived for the past nine years. But I am a respectable journalist, dadgum it, and when I learn that a story is fake, there is no way that I will use it as the basis for a column.

And so it goes with the nonexistent lady with the imaginary trained attack squirrels. I couldn’t possibly use it as a flimsy premise for a column now. That would be beneath me.

Yeah, right.

But my experience does bring up an important point about why fake news is such a problem, and why everyone, on all sides of all issues, needs to keep themselves better informed and bring a healthy dose of skepticism to everything they read or hear from a friend.

We’re all insecure. We all want so badly to think that we’re right about things. It’s important to our fragile egos. Thus, when we want to catch up on the news, we seek out sources whether it’s Brietbart or MSNBC that reinforce the things we already believe and make us feel better about ourselves.

I’m sure researchers have done studies proving that people are much more likely to believe fake news when they already agree with it. That’s just human nature. If you like what something is telling you, you’re not going to challenge it because you wouldn’t want to know it wasn’t true.

In my case, with the nutty lady and her squirrels, there’s no drastic consequence. I was just bummed to learn it wasn’t real. But when it comes to things that matter, like stories about our government and elected leaders, it can be a little dangerous to have people believing fake things. At the very least, it contributes mightily to the pathetic level of discourse that passes for our national conversation these days.

If you’re a regular reader of Fox News’ website or the Wall Street Journal, go to CNN or the New York Times every now and then to read some opposing viewpoints, and vice versa. Before you believe everything you read online and share it with your friends, check to make sure it’s true. Your friends will appreciate it.

There was a quote that a friend reposted on social media recently that perfectly sums up the problem I’m talking about: “Ah, April 1st: The only day of the year that people critically evaluate things they find on the Internet before accepting them as true.”

Just treat every day like April Fool’s Day and never accept things at face value, particularly if you agree wholeheartedly with them. I know that sounds cynical and pessimistic, but in this day and age, with so much untrue crap flying all around the Internet, you really need to be wary, or next thing you know, you’ll be believing that mentally challenged women can actually train squirrels to attack.

Todd Hartley taught chipmunks how to stuff acorns in their cheeks. Seriously; he was the guy. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.

Excerpt from:
Hartley: Getting a little squirrely about fake news – Aspen Times