Not in MY side yard! Babe and neighborhood tom Orange Kitty go eyeball to eyeball this morning. The border dispute ended when Tiny and Baby both charged at once, sending the intruder skulking off.
"When they wrote down their notes independently and compared them, Mr. Gallagher said, Mr. Harrison was struck by the reality of the discovery and began sobbing, repeating, 'I saw an ivory bill,'" reports New Scientist re the rediscovery of America's largest woodpecker, long thought extinct. We heard about it first from a classically concise Ann Althouse post last week, given here in full:
Thrilling! A grown man breaks into sobs when he realizes what he has seen. Beautiful!
Ann's laconic poetry was complemented today by TigerHawk's fact-rich, generous prose in a twofer -- a must-read, with lots of pictures, links and witty commentary -- covering the return of the bird plus one we hadn't heard of, even though it's our field: The return of the American Chestnut. Talk about sobs of joy. On a field trip to Blue Hill for a course called "Plant Communities" way back when, the instructor had pointed out how these once towering lords of the forest were now cut off at the knees, unable to grow past shrub stature in the wake of the a devastating Japanese fungus that invaded in the first half of the 20th century. The American Chestnut Foundation has developed a hybrid of the American and its feisty but less statuesque Chinese cousin:
Chestnut blight was first introduced to North America in 1904. Like many other pest introductions, it quickly spread into its new -- and defenseless -- host population. American Chestnut trees had evolved in the absence of chestnut blight, and our native species lacked entirely the genetic material to protect it from the fungus.
Unlike the American, Chinese Chestnuts had evolved in deadly combat with the Japanese blight. As TigerHawk notes, "The goal of the hybridization program has been to create a tree that is more than 93% American chestnut, but which retains the Chinese genes that protect the tree against the Asian blight." His post got us to thinking of how the American Chestnut's plight last century reminded us of the MSM's plight today. As we noted in his comments:
The American Chestnut's evolution without the blight to challenge its dominance of the forest called to mind the American Mainstream Media's evolution without the blogosphere to challenge its dominance of the news business:
Unless the MSM gets some new genes -- perhaps the integration of blogs into its own operations that seems to be underway -- it will go the way of the American Chestnut in the 20's.
As we wrote here a coupla months back, "The long-repressed voices of opposition in a free society, now ringing loud and clear through talk radio, cable TV and -- of course -- the blogosphere, will force the left to rethink its arguments or go extinct."