Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Go In The Water (Link Round-Up 7/11/12)

[via Reddit]

LIBOR (and the scandal) in one handy infographic

Climate change forces salmon to evolve mating patterns
Many species have changed their migration patterns over the past few decades in response to warmer temperatures. What is difficult to tell is whether the species are changing their behaviour or evolving genetically – or both.

Thanks to an old experiment, researchers at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks were able to confirm that genes play a role in at least one animal's response to warmer temperatures – the pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Its migration from the ocean to the river is controlled largely by its genes.
Ocean acidity: climate change's evil twin
“We’re just beginning to uncover many of the ways in which the changing chemistry of oceans affects lots of behaviors,” Lubchenco said. “So salmon not being able to find their natal streams because their sense of smell was impaired, that’s a very real possibility.”

The potential impact of all of this is huge, Lubchenco said. Coral reefs attract critical tourism dollars and protect fragile coastlines from threats such as tsunamis. Seafood is the primary source of protein for many people around the world. Already, some oyster farmers have blamed higher acidity levels for a decrease in stocks.
Chemicals in river cause interspecies reproduction
The study, published in Evolutionary Applications, also reports on possible ecological implications for this kind of cross-species confusion. It could, for instance, damage biodiversity by breaking down species barriers. This could be a particularly significant problem when invasive species are involved. If native species start to mate with invasive species, they may grant the invasive species a foothold in a new habitat. This can prevent a major risk to other species living in that habitat, especially if the invader relies on similar sources of food.

Ms. Ward warns that this kind of interspecies interaction has “the potential for the decline of our native species.”
State officials have been trying to change the perception of the fish, calling it a nutritious food that could become a consumer item. Last year the agency offered a free community dinner featuring the bony fish. 
Mark Miller, who heads the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says Asian carp tastes good deep fried, sautéed and even crab-cake style. More importantly, he says eating the carp helps control the population in Illinois waters.
College degrees are becoming increasingly worthless to everyone but universities
Quadrupling the supply of gold stickers is one way to devalue the credential; getting rid of the sticker system altogether is another. In our pay-to-play society, many of those toward the bottom of the educational pyramid are getting fleeced; others, though, are getting a leg up. Because it’s callous and unreasonable to ask the disadvantaged to decline opportunities to advance, subverting credentialism must start at the top. What would happen to the price of a bachelor’s degree if the 42,000 high school valedictorians graduating this spring banded together and refused to go to college? And is it too much to ask the Democratic Party to refrain from running any candidate for national office who holds a degree from an Ivy League school?
People with broad interests...the new elitists?
Unlike the shared class character of Gilded Age elites, omnivores seem highly distinct and their tastes appear to be a matter of personal expression. Instead of liking things like opera because that’s what people of your class are supposed to like, the omnivore likes what he likes because it is an expression of a distinct self. Perhaps liking a range of things explains why elites are elite, and not the other way around.

By contrast, those who have exclusive tastes today — middle-class and poorer Americans — are subject to disdain. If the world is open and you don’t take advantage of it, then you’re simply limited and closed-minded. Perhaps it’s these attributes that explain your incapacity to succeed.
Kim Jong-un shows off Disney characters on North Korean TV
The appearance of the characters from the United States, North Korea’s mortal enemy, was remarkable fare on tightly controlled North Korean television, which usually shows more somber and overtly political programs. A Disney spokeswoman, Zenia Mucha, had no comment Monday beyond a statement: “This was not licensed or authorized by the Walt Disney Company.”

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