Massive sinkhole prompts evacuation of 22 families in Rome

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Massive sinkhole prompts evacuation of 22 families in Rome

A view of a large sinkhole that opened in a street of a residential area in Rome on Wednesday.

(CNN)A massive sinkhole swallowed several cars in a Rome neighborhood, forcing the evacuation of surrounding buildings and raising pressing questions over safety protocols in the Italian capital.

The incident took place on Wednesday in via Livio Andronico, in Rome’s Balduina district, just before 6 p.m. local time, according to Italian firefighters who were called to the scene.

The sinkhole opened up near a building site.

“The road had sunk for about 10 meters, dragging parked vehicles with it,” firefighters said in astatement.
About 22 families were evacuated from the surrounding buildings. No injuries have been reported.
As of Thursday morning, firefighters were still carrying out security and stability checks on the scene with help of technicians.
The sinkhole appeared near a building site where construction workers are erecting residential buildings, according to public broadcaster RAI News.

Workers remove cars that were sucked down into the sinkhole.

Some of the residents said they had complained to authorities about cracks in the roads.
Lawyer Giancarlo De Capraris told La Repubblica newspaper: “In the last three months I filed a complaint to Carabinieri (national police) and firefighters. Everything remained unheeded. I flagged the cracks on the road surface that became deeper every day and the continuous passage of heavy vehicles. This was a disaster waiting to happen.”
One resident told RAI News she felt the floor of the house shaking in the past few days.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi told Italian news agency ANSA: “Those responsible will pay.”

Grand Canyon Rattle Snakes-Including Pink Rattle Snakes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE U.S. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)

 

Rattlesnakes

Light colored rattlesnake coiled
Grand Canyon rattlesnake on the North Kaibab Trail.

NPS

The Grand Canyon is home to six species of rattlesnakes. These creatures control rodent populations in the Canyon, helping prevent the spread of disease and the over grazing of fruiting plants. Please observe these venomous predators from a distance.

Identification

  • The most famous physical feature is the rattle on the end of the snake’s tail. It is made of highly modified scales, and the noise it makes is used to scare way animals that may threaten the snake. By scaring away predators without a fight, rattlesnakes avoid injury and don’t waste venom that they need for hunting.
  • Rattlesnakes have a thick body and broad, diamond shaped head.
  • Rattlesnakes are part of a group of venomous snakes called pit vipers. All pit vipers are characterized by a pair of heat-sensing pits below their nostrils that help them find prey at night.
  • Each of the 6 rattlesnake species in the Grand Canyon has a different color pattern.
Rattlesnake with black tip on its tail.
Black-tailed rattlesnakes are only found at the western edge of Grand Canyon.

William Flaxington

Black-Tailed Rattlesnake

Crotalus molossus

Light colored rattlesnake
Often described as pink in color, this species is found nowhere in the world but the Grand Canyon.

NPS

Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus abyssus

Light colored snake with dark spots
The North Rim is the only part of the park where this species is found.

Boise State University

Great Basin Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus lutosus

Snake coiled between rocks
Hopi rattlesnakes are found in northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.

NPS

Hopi Rattlesnake

Crotalus viridis nuntius

Rattlesnake coiled on sand
Often called the “Mojave green,” Mojave rattlesnakes often have a greenish color.

William Flaxington

Mojave Rattlesnake

Crotalus scutulatus

Coiled rattlesnake
Speckled rattlesnakes are found in the western part of the park.

William Flaxington

Speckled Rattlesnake

Crotalus mitchellii

Habitat

  • While they can be found on the Rims, rattlesnakes are primarily found inside the Canyon.
  • Most species prefer open, rocky areas. Rocks provide shelter from predators, and an ambush site for hunting.

Behavior

  • Rattlesnakes are ambush predators, meaning that they wait motionless until prey moves close enough for the snake to strike.
  • Prey includes small mammals, birds, and other reptiles.
  • Rattlesnakes are hunted by hawks, eagles, and other snakes (including the kingsnake, which is immune to rattlesnake venom).
  • Because rattlesnakes are ectotherms (meaning that they cannot regulate their body temperature like mammals do) they must bask in the sun to warm themselves in cooler weather.
  • During the winter, rattlesnakes enter a state of brumation. Similar to hibernation, brumation means that the snake becomes far less active, but are not completely inactive through the winter. Rattlesnakes will stay in this dormant period until daytime temperatures consistently reach 60oF (15.5oC).
  • Rattlesnakes are highly venomous, but will not attack a human unless provoked. Most bites occur when people try to pick up rattlesnakes.
  • If you hear a rattle, move away from the noise and watch the snake from a distance of at least 15 feet (3m)

Racer Snakes – The Demons Of Planet Earth II

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEBSITE ‘THE CONVERSATION’)

(I WAS WATCHING A PROGRAM ON NETFLIX THIS EVENING CALLED PLANET EARTH II, THIS IS WHAT MADE ME LOOK THIS SNAKE UP AND TO PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO YOU.)

 

In defence of racer snakes – the demons of Planet Earth II (they’re only after a meal)

BBC

It’s the stuff of nightmares: a rockface that comes alive with a writhing mass of snapping serpents seemingly hellbent on working together to capture and consume a defenceless young marine iguana. This jaw-dropping scene aired as part of the new series of the BBC’s flagship natural history programme, Planet Earth II, and seems to have captured the imagination of millions.

Racer snakes are right bast

 

Filmed on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos, the Galápagos Racer (Philodryas biserialis) is a slim, fast-moving, mildly venomous snake that reaches lengths of up to 120cm. They were filmed during their best feeding opportunity of the year, as young iguanas are born and make a dash for the safety of the higher rocks above. Snake eyesight has evolved to quickly detect movement – and once they spot a target, their reactions can appear highly aggressive and relentless in pursuit.

It’s all too easy to demonise the snake, and for years that’s exactly what the media has encouraged. Reports involving snakes are commonly misrepresented or deliberately sensationalised. Snakes are often portrayed as slimy, cold, angry sticks with teeth rather than anything resembling a living, breathing creature. This of course does little to alleviate public ophidiophobia, an irrational fear of snakes.

In fact, my first break as a wildlife presenter came about following a phone call from the BBC Natural History department regarding snakes, having seen me deliver a talk for the British Association of Science at Cardiff University.

“We’d love to shoot a documentary about adders with you,” the voice on the other end of the phone exclaimed. “We especially want to see the fangs, and the venom … just how much venom can we see from milking an adder?”

Taking a deep breath, I clarified through gritted teeth that Britain’s only venomous snake was both shy and reclusive and not at all aggressive. It was a delicate snake that could easily be injured, and it would be unethical to undertake such an exercise just for the camera. A documentary of that calibre would present adders in a poor light, and it was not a project I would want to be part of.

“Okay,” the voice replied, seemingly without hearing a word I had just uttered. “Do you know anyone else that would be interested?”

One that got away. BBC NHU/© Elizabeth White

I remember thinking that that would be the last chance I’d ever have to work for the BBC, but also feeling that I’d made the right decision. A couple of days later, though, I received another call telling me that the documentary had been poorly thought out and that a decision had been made to cancel the production. As you can imagine, I was relieved. And rather than hinder my career, my stand attracted BBC producers with better judgement, and eventually led to me presenting my own primetime BBC One wildlife series, Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol.

But while it worked out well for me in the end, the same cannot be said for the racer snake, which has already been roundly and colourfully attacked. Rather than capturing a coordinated attack from snakes hunting as a pack, the clip from Planet Earth II actually shows a number of snakes acting individually, on instinct. The time of year when these iguanas hatch is for these snakes the equivalent of Black Friday bargain hunting – it’s every snake for itself, because if they miss out here, they’ll go hungry. Collectively, the actions of these snakes can appear terrifying, but once a snake eats it loses its desire to hunt again.

Unlike mammals, snakes don’t chew their food and have no appendages with which to carve up a share of their quarry with their kin. Evolution has instead led them to consume their prey whole, digesting bones and all. As ectothermic – or cold-blooded – animals, reptiles only require around a tenth of the food intake of a similarly-sized mammal to survive. Once prey is consumed, the snake may not eat again for several weeks.

It is perhaps because snakes’ eating habits, appearance and movement is alien to us that we fear them. After all, we are most often afraid of the things we don’t understand and struggle to anticipate. Throughout history we’ve presented the snake as a symbol of evil and danger. No surprise then to witness the relief felt when the little iguana slipped through the snakes’ constricting coils and escaped to safety. But I suspect very few people gave a second thought to the plight of the snakes left hungry on the beach.

(Nature/Poem) These Beautiful Appalachian Hills

These Beautiful Appalachian Hills

 

These beautiful hills of east Tennessee

The Smokey’s so beautiful, all natural

A gem of nature, for all, so pleasing to see

Can the eye see, what was, what is, what will be

 

Appalachia, scenic, pleasing to one’s senses

People so poor, yet so kind, southern hospitality

Raised with tobacco, coal, and dirt in our blood

Heads bowed on the Sabbath or the First

Like we know we all should, give the Lord thanks

 

Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia

Iron Ridge, Twin County, Carol and Grayson

Twin sisters in nature, the people are one

Our love is not money The Lord come’s first

 

Tread lightly on that which you love

Walk to heavily, you crush all that is good

Consider that what you see, given by Grace

God’s nature is that which you breathe

 

Do not let that which you love, be trashed

Treat your gifts like one that you truly love

From the Smokey’s to the Blue Ridge Mountains

A gift we are given by Grace so blessed to call home

 

 

El Capitan rockfall kills one, injures another at Yosemite

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

El Capitan rockfall kills one, injures another at Yosemite National Park

Tour guide Jon Kameen captured the moment of a fatal rock fall on Yosemite's El Capitan.

Story highlights

  • Fatal rock slide was an “undetermined size”
  • Fall took place during climbing season on popular route

(CNN)At least one person was killed and another injured after a rockfall on El Capitan, the most prominent granite cliff in Yosemite National Park, according to a statement from the National Parks Service.

The fatal rock slide, which was of “undetermined size,” according to a press release from the NPS, appears to have started near the Waterfall Route, a “popular climbing route” on the east buttress of the famous, nearly 3,000-foot granite wall.
“Park Rangers are working to transport the injured person to receive medical care outside of the park,” the statement reads. The rockfall comes during climbing season, and there are “many climbers” on the rock formation and other climbing routes in Yosemite.
The statement adds that the Yosemite remains open and visitor services unaffected.
Tour guide John DeGrazio was giving a tour of the park when he captured the moment of the rockfall.
“We saw a huge plume of smoke from the summit of Half Dome and later found out it was a fatal rockfall,” he told CNN.
“I am a guide on a tour right now. We were on the summit of Half Dome when we saw this.”
El Capitan is one of the world’s most famous climbs, known for its near vertical cliffs. It was believed to be impossible to climb until 1957, when American rock climbing pioneer Warren Harding made it to the top with two aides.
In June, climber Alex Honnold became the first person to free-solo climb the mountain.

Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors

9:53 AM ET 8-12-2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — A wildfire has cut off the return route for dozens of people staying in a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet, leaving them the choice of remaining until rangers tell them it’s safe or hiking out along a longer and more difficult trail, park officials said Friday.

Park rangers also planned to lead out 39 other hikers who were staying in backcountry campsites near fires that broke out after a passing lightning storm on Thursday, Glacier spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.

It’s peak tourist season at the Montana park, and the stone chalet built more than a century ago is a top attraction in one of the busiest parts of Glacier. There are typically between 40 and 50 guests and 10 staff members at the chalet each night, with most visitors arriving by foot or horse along a steep trail nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Lake McDonald Lodge on the park’s main roadway.

A lightning strike ignited a fire in the forest somewhere between the lodge and the chalet. Neither structure is threatened, but park officials determined that it was unsafe for those at the chalet to return by the same trail Friday.

Thirty-nine of the 42 guests staying at the Sperry Chalet decided to hike out and three stayed behind, said Suzie Menke, the office manager of Belton Chalets Inc., which runs the chalet.

They must take a rugged trail more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) long that crosses two mountain passes and can take eight to 10 hours to walk. That trail ends up on the eastern side of the park, on the other side of the Continental Divide from Lake McDonald Lodge.

For those who stay, the chalet has running water, a full-service kitchen and 17 private rooms — but it doesn’t have electricity and only spotty cellphone coverage.

“The good news is they got resupplied yesterday,” Alley said.

Park officials confirmed three small fires started after Thursday’s lightning storm. The one affecting Sperry Chalet is the largest at about 10 acres (40,500 square meters).

Despite the sudden outbreak of fires, most areas of the park are still open to the record number of tourists who are flocking to Glacier this year. More than 1 million people visited the park in July, the first time so many people have been in Glacier over the course of a single month.

Dozens of fires are burning across the West, and federal and state fire managers planned to raise the National Fire Preparedness Level to its highest point on Friday. That Level 5 signals most firefighting resources are being used and that assistance may be needed from military and other nations. The level was last raised to 5 in 2015.

In Oregon, a fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation destroyed two houses and threatened dozens of others. The fire had burned more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) by late Thursday, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.