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Record 2021 heat wave could become once-per-decade event

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A study offers new insights into the record 2021 Western North America heat wave Combined unusual weather systems, supercharged by climate change COLUMBIA CLIMATE SCHOOL The heat wave that hammered western North America in late June and early July 2021 was not just any midsummer event. Over nine days, from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon and beyond, it exceeded average regional temperatures for the period by 10 degrees C and, on single days in some locales, by an astounding 30 C. Among many new daily records, it set a new national benchmark for all of Canada, at 121.3 F in Lytton, British Columbia. The next day, the entire town burned down amid an uncontrollable wildfire—one of many sparked by the hot, dry weather. Across the region, at least 1,400 people died from heat-related causes. More here.

New research reveals incredible hunting secrets of the Great Grey Owl

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by Larry Powell   The Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa). Photo by Drsarahgrace, public domain. A new study in Manitoba shows how the “Great Gray Owl,” a common site, either soaring over the plains and perching and nesting in the forests of the eastern Canadian prairies, overcomes many obstacles to find its prey.   The prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) - Photo by Soebe, public domain The bird is able to "punch" through as much as 50cm (20”) of hard, crusty snow - enough to hold a person’s weight - to catch a vole hiding beneath. (The vole is a small rodent which frequently serves as a meal for the winged predator.)                         But the snow presents the owl with other problems way before the “moment of capture,” too. Not only does it hide its prey from site, forcing the bird to rely on its hearing only, it deadens, or attenuates any sound the vole is making, and even "bends" or refracts it, creating an “acoustic mirage,” or false impression of its location

Some revolutionary advice for producers of seedless watermelon - and perhaps other fruits and vegetables, too!

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by Larry Powell A wild bee on a sunflower. A PinP photo.   For two years, US researchers studied the impact that both bee pollinators and beetle pests had on seedless watermelon.         What they found was striking.          Flea beetles feast on turnip-tops in Manitoba, A PinP photo.       In both years, p ollination by the bees was “the only significant factor” in both fruit set and marketable yield - even when compared to the harm done by the pests. Not only that, the wild bees increased those yields anywhere from one-&-a-half to three times more than honeybees.      So the researchers conclude; If you want better yields, it’s more important to protect the bees that pollinate them than to kill the pests which eat them!       “These data," they state, "advocate for a reprioritization of management, to conserve and protect wild bee pollinations, which could be more critical than avoiding pest damage for ensuring high yields.”      But the lead author of the study, As

Canada’s disappearing forests are a devastating hidden carbon bomb

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NATIONAL  OBSERVER The amount of wood in Canada’s forests has declined relentlessly for decades. Details here.

SAVE THE WILDERNESS - A MUSIC VIDEO WITH A MESSAGE

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 A video I produced a few year ago with the generous consent of Eric Bogle, folksinger/songwriter extraordinaire. It's an appeal to save our wild places from human greed before it's too late. I believe it bears repeating. L.P.

Of Poets & Pioneeers - a book review

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by Larry Powell  At first, I thought I had made a mistake - agreeing to review “Of Poets & Pioneers.”  After all, I’m no poet! The last “poetic gene” in my family seems to have died when my own Grandfather, J.J. Powell passed away in 1953.  But I was soon to discover, one doesn’t need a “poet’s pedigree” to appreciate the values which this work embraces.   Poetry just happens to be the backdrop - a vehicle, if you will - that offers a glimpse into a rare and remarkably close relationship between the author, Bill Massey and his paternal grandfather, “Will.” Bill’s earlier book, “Of Pork and Potatoes,” details the troubled home he grew up in and helps us better understand why his visits with his grandfather, recorded in this one, provided such a precious haven in his own life. Woven between the poetic parts are stories “Grandfather Will” wrote about a sometimes harsh life in a British public school and later about the trials and tribulations he faced as a pioneering farmer in Manitob

Disinformation ruins the conversation on fertilizer policy, MPs say

The National Observer Pervasive disinformation around Canada’s voluntary fertilizer reduction plan makes it hard to have a rational discussion on this critical topic , Green and NDP MPs say.