Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LIVE SCIENCE)

 

Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.
(Image: © Steve Kajiura, Florida Atlantic University)

 

Sharks making their annual northward migration from Florida have a new summer vacation destination: Long Island.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus), which range from 4 to 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters) long, spend much of the year in Florida before heading north to cooler waters. In the past, the Carolinas were the sharks’ destination of choice. But not anymore. Because of climate change, the waters off North and South Carolina are no longer cool enough in the summer. So blacktips are seeking waters farther north — and Long Island fits the bill. And just like the New Yorkers eager to spend the last weeks of summer in the Hamptons, these finned beachgoers are traveling in droves.

“These blacktips are going way the heck up to Long Island in big numbers — not just a few, but 25, 30 percent of the population,” Stephen Kajiura, a shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, told Live Science. “It blows your mind when you see it.”

Related: On the Brink: A Gallery of Wild Sharks

Nearly every year since 2011, Kajiura has surveyed the coast of Florida in a plane to see these sharks make their great trek north. There are often so many sharks that, from the sky, it’s hard to distinguish the individual sharks. Thousands aggregate in dark clumps. “There are just so many of them,” Kajiura said.

Many of these sharks are tagged with devices that allow scientists to track their locations. But it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists noticed that many of the tagged sharks’ had new migration pattern. At first, it seemed like a fluke, but it’s happened every summer since then — including this one, Kajiura said. Kajiura was blown away by the change.

There are two possible reasons blacktips might choose the Hamptons over the Carolinas, according to Kajiura. It might be that the Carolina waters are getting too hot for them; most sharks, including blacktips, are ectotherms, so they can’t cool down their bodies like mammals can. Even a small change in ocean temperature can cause them to overheat. Or, it could be that it’s the fish the sharks eat, not the sharks themselves, that are moving due to warming waters —  and the sharks are simply following them, Kajiura said. Either way, there’s no question about this: Temperatures along the Atlantic Seaboard are changing rapidly. Since 1960, the temperatures of the waters between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the Gulf of Maine have shot up by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), National Geographic reported.

“Whether they’re moving themselves, or whether they’re moving because their prey are moving, either way, it’s a temperature-driven phenomenon,” Kajiura said. “The end result is the same.”

For now, blacktip sharks may be adapting.There is no evidence that populations of this species are declining overall, according to Kajiura, just that they’re edging farther north during the summers. For humans (especially New York humans), the end result might not be as bright.

“You have the potential for more bites on humans than you ever had before,” Kajiura said.

Long Island is much more packed with humans than blacktips’ former habitat. That means more encounters between sharks and humans are probable, Kajiura said. Although blacktips don’t have the same reputation for aggression as their better-known cousins, great whites, these small sharks are responsible for the majority of bites in the US, Kajiura said. That’s because blacktips are shallow-water species; they hang out where people swim.

People don’t usually die from blacktip bites, Kajiura said. These encounters are typically exploratory “hit-and-runs” where the shark is just as surprised to get a mouthful of human as the human is to feel a shark chomping on their leg. But that doesn’t mean people walk away unscathed.

“You’re not going to lose a limb, but it’s nasty,” Kajiura said. “You’ll still have a mangled hand or foot.”

Most likely, it’s not just blacktips that are expanding their range, Kajiura said. It just so happens that scientists have the data for blacktips, and because they hug the coast more than other shark species do, people are more likely to notice them in places where they didn’t swim before.

“We can use blacktips as an indicator,” Kajiura said. “It’s a changing world. It’s exciting. But in a way, it’s terrifying.”

Originally published on Live Science.

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

The United States of America is the world’s fourth largest country and Canada is the second largest. It is hardly surprising then that the two share the world’s longest land border between two nations. Scattered along the 5,525 miles are hundreds of cities, towns and villages in addition to islands, lakes, national parks and waterfalls. Here’s six towns that will brighten up any journey along this immense frontier.

Derby Line, Vermont

Derby Line, Vermont

Credit: Cynthia Gauthier/Shutterstock

Derby Line, and its Canadian neighbor Standstead, Quebec, are one of the finest examples of a border town. The two share several streets, although the names change into French once you get into Canada. Rumor has it that officials were inebriated when mapping the border, and today it zigzags around houses and through public buildings. The best instance of this is at Haskell Free Library and Opera House, where the entrance is in the U.S. and the books in Canada. This is also the only place in the world to have a stage in one country and the audience in another.

Eureka, Montana

Eureka, Montana

Credit: corradobarattaphotos/iStock

Just nine miles south of the border crossing between Montana and British Columbia is Eureka, a gateway to superb outdoor adventures. There’s great hiking on the Pacific Northwest Trail, which travels along the Tobacco River at the edge of town. Drive south on the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway with tall pine forests on one side and views across the Kootenai River to Kootenai National Forest on the other. The fishing is superb at the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, as is the skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Eureka is also only a 90-minute drive from the heart of Glacier National Park.

International Falls, Minnesota

International Falls, Minnesota

Credit: Kallie Kantos/Shutterstock

International Falls has the cult claim to fame of being the inspiration for Frostbite Falls, the hometown of the protagonists from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. The city lies on the opposite side of the Rainy River from Fort Frances, Ontario, and at the point where the river meets Rainy Lake. A major attraction of the town is the opportunity to view the aurora borealis (northern lights) from Voyageurs National Park. Across the river, Fort Frances is a starting point for cross-country skiing, ice-fishing and snowshoeing in Ontario.

Category IconGeneral
3pts

Daily trivia question

Today’s Trivia Question

What are South America’s only 2 landlocked countries?

PLAY!Plane icon

Lubec, Maine

Lubec, Maine

Credit: Bill Florence/Shutterstock

A bayside setting and clapboard houses surrounded by white picket fences give Lubec a quintessential New England charm. Interestingly, for geography fanatics at least, this is the closest point of the U.S. mainland to Africa. While here you can visit the McCurdy Smokehouse Museum, which retraces the town’s once booming smoked fish industry. South of town, the picture perfect West Quoddy Head Lighthouse has great views over the Bay of Fundy. Passport in hand, cross the Lubec Narrows waterway and visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park, an island retreat and former summer residence of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls, New York

Credit: Elena_Suvorva/Shutterstock

Straddling one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls are two cities that go by the same name and are linked by the arched Rainbow International Bridge. The Niagara Scenic Byway brings you into New York State’s Niagara Falls, the home of the Niagara Falls State Park. Come here to ride the Maid of the Mist boat and descend slippery wooden walkways to the Cave of the Winds. With amusement arcades, quirky museums, an observation wheel, and vibrant nightlife, the Canadian Niagara Falls is somewhat of mini theme park. There’s unbeatable views of Horseshoe Falls, too, and the fascinating Journey Behind the Falls attraction. Not bad for a 30-minute drive from Buffalo or 90-minute car journey from Toronto.

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Credit: TracieMichelle/iStock

Until 1812, Sault Ste. Marie, and its namesake sister city in Ontario, were one city that sat on either side of St. Mary’s River. Today the aptly named Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge connects the two. In Michigan’s version, history fanatics flock to the Museum Ship Valley Campto learn about the wrecked SS Edmund Fitzgerald. The Tower of History affords uninterrupted views of ships arriving at the river’s canal locks. A 40-minute scenic drive from downtown is Point Iroquois Lighthouse, the place where Lake Superior flows into St. Mary’s River. Over the bridge you’ll find a pretty 19th-century red sandstone storehouse at Sault Ste. Marie Canal and riverside walking trails at Whitefish Indian Island Reserve.

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

Credit: Balaraman Arun/Shutterstock

Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

Credit: Pabkov/Shutterstock

Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: Albert Pego/Shutterstock

New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Credit: Areej Khaddaj/Shutterstock

Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Credit: Sherry V Smith/Shutterstock

When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

Credit: MaxBaumann/iStock

The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.

3 States With Very Restrictive Gun Laws With Three Mass Shootings This Weekend

3 States With Very Restrictive Gun Laws With Three Mass Shootings This Weekend

 

This letter to you this evening is one filled with my opinions on guns and gun laws here in the U.S. as well as some facts for you to consider. New York, Illinois and California are three of the most restrictive gun law States in our Nation. Since Friday evening through Sunday night there were three mass shooting that I am aware of. First, Friday evening at a block party in Brooklyn NY some coward opened fire on the crowd killing at least three and wounding eleven. Sunday evening in the city of Gilroy in north central California another coward, or two, did the same at their annual festival, again killing at least three and wounding eleven. Over the weekend in Chicago the police there say that from 5 PM Friday through Sunday evening 40 more people were shot with at least 8 being killed. One thing that these three States have in common is that they are three of the most restrictive gun law States in our Nation.

 

What I mean by ‘restrictive’ is simple, it means that the laws in those States make it very difficult to buy and possess a firearm legally and to carry one on you, almost impossible. But, as all the world knows that in most cases it is not a person who bought a legal firearm that tends to go around shooting people. Don’t get me wrong, I am for several restrictions being in place to stop really bad people from buying guns. Restrictions like 5-7 day waiting periods to possess a firearm that is bought from a store. Federal background checks are a very good thing and I believe that people who are obviously a looney tune should never be able to get a firearm. I believe that ‘gun shows’ should have major curbs on them such as no firearms being allowed to be bought in the parking lots outside of the buildings and the same 5-7 day waiting periods with background checks for weapons being bought inside the shows.

 

Think about the situation just across our southern border in Mexico, they have very tough gun laws there which makes the law abiding citizens nothing but fodder for the drug gangs, the people aren’t allowed to defend themselves and the bad folks know it. I live in the State of Kentucky which has extremely lenient gun laws, probably about the most lenient ones in the whole Country. I have a concealed license as does every member of my family, we had them even before our ignorant governor made it legal for anyone and everyone to carry concealed shortly before the spring elections. This means that you don’t have to have any training at all to carry a hideaway gun on you, a very stupid idea. But there is one issue I would like you to think about concerning gun law reality here in Kentucky compared to Illinois, New York or California. Here in Kentucky if an idiot pulls out a firearm in a store there is a very very good chance that patrons within the store are going to shoot that person dead on the spot. If in a case like what happened in Brooklyn or in Gilroy happened here where a coward opens fire on a crowd many of the people in that crowd will have guns on them and they will without a doubt kill that shooter or shooters on the spot, thus limiting the body count of the murderous cowards. Please notice one thing about these shooters, the reason I call them cowards, they always commit their crimes where they are pretty positive no one will be shooting back at them. States with these highly restrictive gun laws only end up getting their innocent law abiding citizens murdered.  What I am trying to do in this letter to you this evening is to point out realities. After every mass shooting the ‘progressive left’ starts using the deaths as an excuse to disarm the law abiding civilians. One of the most gut wrenching realities is when a total coward goes into a school and kills a bunch of kids or into a place of worship and kill all the unarmed people. Cowards always choose the easiest unarmed targets, don’t be one. Don’t let the far left politicians or anyone else get you and your family murdered by one of these cowards. If you notice, the ones who do the most screaming about disarming you are the ones who have the protection of people with guns all around them, think about it.

10 Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

From towering skyscrapers to the ancient Colosseum, the world is filled with architectural marvels. And since architecture is best enjoyed in person, here are 10 cities that architecture lovers simply must visit.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Credit: Semmick Photo/Shutterstock

It’s called the “City of Big Shoulders” for a reason. Chicago is home to some of the oldest skyscrapers, such as the Manhattan Building, built in 1891; the Reliance Building, built in 1895; and Chicago Savings Bank Building, completed in 1905. Most of Downtown Chicago was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, but the iconic Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, was left standing. Built solely of yellow Lemont limestone, seeing the 182-foot tower firsthand should be on every architecture lovers bucket list.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Credit: S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Rome is home to some of the world’s most photographed structures, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Trajan’s Market. Had it not been for the Romans, designs like the arch and the dome would never have come to be. Rome’s classical structures are a must see. That’s a given. But the city’s Baroque style buildings, which were mostly constructed during the 17th century, are also well worth your time. The sheer grandness of structures like St. Peter’s Basilicaand the Trevi Fountain can’t be captured in a photograph. Few things in life will leave you as awestruck as taking a stroll inside St. Peter’s, with its massive dome, and looking up. You may never want to look down again.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Credit: V_E/Shutterstock

Influenced by the legendary 19th century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s architecture, much like the city itself, is imaginative and colorful. One sight that’s a must see is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. The façade of the building is constructed of broken ceramic tiles, thus creating an eye-popping mosaic that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Other structures that are inspired by Gaudi’s vivid imagination include Jean Nouvel’s Tower, which is designed to resemble a geyser of water shooting through the air, and Frank Gehry’s Fish.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Credit: Rastislav Sedlak SK/Shutterstock

In addition to being home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai skyline is filled with twisty-turny steel buildings. If you find yourself wandering in this desert city, be sure to check out the Burj al Arab, which is designed to look like an Arabian dhow ship, as well as the curving Cayan, with its seemingly impossible 90-degree twist. There’s also the famed underwater zoo located in the Dubai Mall, which features 300 different species of aquatic life, including all types of fish, sting rays and sharks.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Credit: Sven Hansche/Shutterstock

Fueled by government investment, Shanghai has grown rapidly in recent years. It’s almost as if a glossy new structure pops up each month. The architecture in Shanghai is modernistic, and best represented in buildings like the Hongkou Soho office building, with its pleated exterior. Shanghai is also home to the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower, which features a twisted, glass façade that stretches upward for 2,073 feet.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Credit: Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

The birthplace of Art Deco and Gothic architecture, Paris is a city whose rich architectural history stretches back centuries. Gothic style, which is marked by colorful stained glass windows and flying buttresses, can be seen in a number of Paris cathedrals, including the Sainte-Chapelle, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais and, most famously, Notre-Dame, which was in the news earlier this year after sustaining serious damage during a 15-hour fire. Paris’s famed Art Deco buildings, with their notable exteriors that feature numerous horizontal lines, began popping up shortly before World War I and were dominant in the ’20s and ’30s. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Grand Rex movie palace are two prominent structures that exhibit this style. This is a small sample of the numerous architectural wonders in the City of Light.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Credit: Reidl/Shutterstock

The Russian capital is home to some of the most recognizable architecture in the world with a style known simply as Russian architecture. Arguably the most renown structure in the Russian style is Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Constructed in the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral is known for its vibrant, onion-shaped domes. Moscow is also home to more recent architectural wonders like the Ostankino Tower, which was completed in 1967 and was for a period of time the tallest building in the world, and a group of Moscow skyscrapers known as the Seven Sisters. The seven buildings, which were built during the reign of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, are wide and blocky, and scattered throughout Moscow. They were constructed in the Stalinist style of Russian architecture, which borrows elements of the Russian baroque.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Credit: milosk50/Shutterstock

Several ancient monuments from Athens’s classical era are still standing, most notably the Parthenon, with its enormous stone columns. There is also the Theatre of Dionysus, which was the birthplace of Greek tragedy and the first theater ever constructed. And what would a historically rich city like Athens be without its ancient temples? During its heyday, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which was completed around the 2nd century, had an unthinkable 104 columns, although only a few remain standing today.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Credit: LALS STOCK/Shutterstock

The most populous city in Turkey is known for two distinct styles of architecture: Byzantine and Ottoman. The Hagia Sophia, which was constructed in the 6th century, is a church that is emblematic of the Byzantine style, with its massive dome and elegiac mosaics depicting Christ and other biblical figures. The Ottoman style of architecture also flourished in Istanbul. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries a number of imperial mosques were constructed throughout the city, including Faith Mosque, Yeni Mosque\ and Bayezid Mosque. The mosques all have the key features of the Ottoman style, with extensive use of domes and columns, and are an absolute marvel to experience in person.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

From the Art Deco masterpiece that is the Chrysler Building (1930), to the Gothic Revival design of the Woolworth Building (1913), to the more recent green design of the Conde Nast Building, New York City’s skyscrapers employ a wide range of stylistic elements. The character of the city can also be seen in the architectural designs used in its residential neighborhoods. From the brownstones in Brooklyn to the tenements on the Lower East Side, New York’s five boroughs are an architectural cornucopia whose styles are as diverse as the city itself.

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

America is home to more than 328 million people, but did you know that more than 53 percent live in just 10 states?

Naturally, these 10 states are home to the country’s biggest urban centers. The most popular states are, for the most part, located along the United States’ borders, giving rise to the term “flyover states” to refer to the more sparsely populated interior states.

The following population estimate numbers were obtained from the most recent count by the U.S. Census, which was completed in 2018.

10. Michigan

Credit: pawel.gaul / iStock

With 9,995,915 residents, Michigan beats out New Jersey by more than 900,000 people to slide into the tenth spot. The auto industry in Detroit has historically been linked to population growth in the Great Lakes State. While that industry has downsized considerably, cheap real estate has recently attracted home-hungry millennials to the state.

9. North Carolina

Credit: traveler1116 / iStock

About 10,383,620 people call the Tarheel State home. There are lots of reasons North Carolina has grown to be such a populous state, including its temperate climate, prestigious universities, and a relatively low cost of living. Perhaps chief among them is the favorable business climate, which has drawn many employers to the state and jobs to boot. Forbes named North Carolina the Best State for Business two years in a row (2017 and 2018).

8. Georgia

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

The Peach State is home to 10,519,475 people. Like North Carolina, its population blossomed between 2010 and 2018, growing a robust 8.57 percent. Close to half of the state residents, more than 5.8 million people, live in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. The next biggest metro area, Augusta, is home to 600,000.

7. Ohio

Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The perennial swing state of Ohio has 11,689,442 million residents. While many of its traditional Rust Belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron have seen shrinking populations, the capital city of Columbus has boomed, growing more than 11 percent since 2010.

6. Illinois

Credit: Starcevic / iStock

Buoyed by Chicago, the country’s third-most populous city, The Land of Lincoln is home to 12,741,080 people. Of all the states in the top 10, Illinois is the only one that actually shrunk during the last eight years. The state shed 0.71 percent of its population, the equivalent of over 90,000 people.

5. Pennsylvania

Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

The Quaker State grew at a snail’s pace of 0.82 percent over the last eight years, but it was enough to take the fifth-place spot from Illinois. Pennsylvania is now home to an estimated 12,807,060 people.

4. New York

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

From the top of the Adirondacks to the hot dog stands of Coney Island, about 19,542,209 people call the Empire State home. A big chunk of them, about 44 percent of the state’s population, live in close proximity to each other in New York City.

3. Florida

Credit: Mia2you / Shutterstock.com

Florida is the second-fastest growing state on the list, boosting its population by 13.27 percent over the last eight years. That brings the state’s total population to about 21,299,325 people. A steady flood of retiring Baby Boomers has given a bump to the Sunshine State’s growth.

2. Texas

Credit: Art Wager / iStock

Everything is bigger in Texas, including population growth. The Lone Star State is the fastest-growing state in the country, expanding its population at a rate of 14.14 percent since the last census tally and is now home to 28,701,845 million people.

Texas’ growth is powered by its cities. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all have a spot in the top 10 most populous cities in the country. Austin is right behind in 11th place. All told, some 6 million Texans live in it four biggest cities.

1. California

Credit: Chones / Shutterstock.com

Apparently, everybody wants to move to California, and for good reason. Not only is the California economy the largest in the nation, but if California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

The Golden State grew more than 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching a population of 39,557,045 people. It is also the third-largest state by area, covering more than 163,000 square miles. That gives California even more room to grow.

Some people, however, think California should be broken up into three smaller states. Activists came close to getting a referendum to break up California on the ballot in 2018. Proponents argued that the proposal would allow all residents to obtain better infrastructure, better education, and lower taxes, according to venture capitalist Tim Draper who sponsored the failed measure. It would also give the people more representation in the U.S. Senate, giving the population within its boundaries six senators instead of just two.

Trending on

You may like

Sponsored Links by Taboola

BACK TO TOP

Trump: Democrat congresswomen ‘love’ al-Qaeda, use ‘anti-Semitic’ language

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump: Democrat congresswomen ‘love’ al-Qaeda, use ‘anti-Semitic’ language

US president says ‘many people agree with me’ that lawmakers Tlaib, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley should ‘leave the country’ if they hate it

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Made in America showcase event on the South Lawn of the White House, July 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Made in America showcase event on the South Lawn of the White House, July 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Unbowed by searing criticism, US President Donald Trump on Monday emphatically defended his tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “broken and crime infested” countries. Condemnation of his comments “doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump declared, adding that the lawmakers employ “anti-Semitic” language and have “love” for terror group al-Qaeda.

Trump responded to questions at the White House after his Sunday tweet assailing the lawmakers, all of whom are US citizens and three of whom were born in the country. He has been roundly criticized by Democrats, who labeled his remarks racist and divisive, and a smattering of Republicans, who also have objected. Most leading Republicans have been silent.

“When I hear the way they talk about our country, when I hear the anti-Semitic language they use, when I hear the hatred they have for Israel, and the love they have for enemies like al-Qaeda, then you know what, I will tell you I do not believe this is good for the Democrat party,” Trump said.

Resurrecting language not prevalent in the US for decades, he added that if the lawmakers “hate our country,” they “can leave” it.

“If you’re not happy in the US, if you’re complaining all the time, you can leave, you can leave right now,” he said.

The lawmakers’ criticism has been aimed at Trump and his administration’s policies and actions.

Earlier Monday, Trump made clear he had no intention of backing down, asking on Twitter when “the Radical Left Congresswomen” would “apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said.”

“So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!” he wrote.

It was yet another sign that Trump, who won the presidency in 2016, in part by energizing disaffected voters with incendiary racial rhetoric, has no intention of backing away from that strategy going in 2020. Trump has faced few consequences for such attacks, which typically earn him cycles of front-page media attention.

Asked whether Trump’s comments were racist, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, defended Trump, telling reporters he had been responding to “very specific” comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and was not making a “universal statement.”

But Trump did not make that distinction in his tweets. He cited “Congresswomen” — an almost-certain reference to a group of women known as “the Squad” that includes Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

This combination image shows, from left, US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, July 10, 2019; Ilhan Omar, March 12, 2019; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, July 12, 2019; and Ayanna Pressley, July 10, 2019, all in Washington. (AP Photo)

“I don’t think that the president’s intent any way is racist,” said Short, pointing to Trump’s decision to choose Elaine Chao, who was born outside the US, as his transportation secretary.

Chao is one of the few minorities working among the largely white and male aides in high-profile roles in Trump’s administration. She is the wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who had made no comment on Trump’s attacks as of midday Monday.

Omar ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington several months ago, when she suggested that some members of Congress support Israel because of money, while Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, riled up a supportive crowd by calling the president a profane name and predicting he would be removed from office.

Tlaib and Omar are fierce critics of Israel and have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state. Ocasio-Cortez has also criticized Israel on multiple occasions. Pressley, on the other hand, has said she opposes BDS and supports the two-state solution.

Tlaib is organizing a congressional visit to the West Bank in August, to compete with Israel trips organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of AIPAC.

Following a familiar script, Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s Sunday morning broadsides that caused Democrats to set aside their internal rifts to rise up in a united chorus against him.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump wants to “make America white again,” while Ocasio-Cortez said Trump “can’t conceive of an America that includes us.”

“Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” she tweeted, adding that, “You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”

Omar also addressed herself directly to Trump in a tweet, writing: “You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”

Pelosi announced Monday that the House would be holding a vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s comments.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president who golfed with him over the weekend, advised him to “aim higher” during an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” even as he accused the members in question of being “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”

US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Don’t get personal. Don’t take the bait,” said Graham. He said Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues “are American citizens” who were “duly elected,” while adding: “We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country.”

Trump’s words may have been meant to widen the divides within the Democrat caucus, which has been riven by internal debate over how far left to go in countering him, and over whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings against the president. Instead, the president’s tweets, which evoked the trope of telling black people to go back to Africa, brought Democrats together.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential front-runner, tweeted Sunday that Trump “continues to spew hateful rhetoric, sow division, and stoke racial tensions for his own political gain.”

“Let’s be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate.

Among the few GOP lawmakers commenting, Rep. Pete Olson of Texas said Trump’s Sunday tweet was “not reflective of the values of the 1,000,000+ people” in his district. “We are proud to be the most diverse Congressional district in America. I urge our President immediately disavow his comments,” he wrote.

It was far from the first time that Trump has been accused of holding racist views.

In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, Trump deemed many Mexican immigrants “rapists.” In 2017, he said there good people on “both sides” of the clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators that left one counter-protester dead. Last year, during a private White House meeting on immigration, Trump wondered why the United States was admitting so many immigrants from “shithole countries” like African nations.

Repeatedly, Trump has painted arriving immigrants as an “infestation” and he has been slow in condemning acts of violence committed by white supremacists. And he launched his political career with false claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Fearful of his Twitter account and sweeping popularity among many Republican voters, GOP lawmakers have largely tried to ignore the provocative statements.

READ MORE:

5 Best U.S. National Parks for Bird watching

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Best U.S. National Parks for Bird watching

Even if you’re not a member of the Audubon Society, that doesn’t mean you can’t still appreciate the beautiful splendor of our feathered friends. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, more than 45 million Americans engaged in birdwatching in 2018. And if you’ve decided to go beyond your backyard to find new birds, then these five national parks are ideal havens for discovering birds in their natural habitat.

National Mall, Washington, D.C. — 260 species

Credit: Carol Hamilton / iStock

You might be surprised that a city-based park is home to so many birds. But the National Mall in the heart of the nation’s capital serves as a haven for 260 diverse species of birds, including numerous waterfowl. Its prime location next to the Potomac River attracts a variety of birds and acts as a seasonal home for migratory songbirds. While the National Mall doesn’t have the largest availability of diverse vegetation when compared to other National Parks, it does serve as a great option for spotting a large number of species in one day.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Gary, Indiana — 285 species

Credit: BirdImages / iStock

Indiana Dunes National Park could serve as a two-in-one vacation. This park sits just at the southern base of Lake Michigan and is the location of numerous lakeside beaches. If you’ve had your fill of catching rays or opt to visit this national park during the off-season, birding is a very popular attraction.

In fact, this activity is so common that the park and nearby tour operators offer guided birding tours. If you time your trip to Indiana just right, you can stop by the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival in late May. This three-day event is hosted by the Indiana Audubon Society and focuses on conservation and education to preserve the area as a haven for local and migratory birds.

Death Valley National Park, California & Nevada — 375 species

Credit: Frank Fichtmüller / iStock

With a name like Death Valley, you probably imagine an inhospitable and barren wasteland. But the opposite is true. If you’re not familiar with this park, you might be surprised that it spans two states. Death Valley offers diverse habitats that include valleys, woodlands, and canyons. Because of this, this national park attracts a wide array of seasonal migratory and year-round bird species.

One of the most recognizable bird species is the Roadrunner. While it looks nothing like the purple and blue Looney Tunes cartoon version that outsmarts Wile E. Coyote, this bird is a year-round resident. Experts recommend that you traverse multiple habitats to increase your chances of spotting the largest variety of birds.

Gateway National Recreation Area, New York & New Jersey — 375 species

Credit: chuvipro / iStock

Gateway National Recreation Area is yet another national park that straddles multiple states, this time New York and New Jersey. The park is a critical home for birds, many of which are on the threatened or endangered list like the piping plover. It is located within the Atlantic Flyway, a main north-south pathway that birds follow during seasonal migration patterns.

Gateway features three major units: Sandy Hook, Jamaica Bay, and Staten Island. Advanced birders will usually prefer Jamaica Bay because it serves as a refuge for more difficult-to-spot birds. The park even offers a special birding field guide that highlights 12 of the more popular species guests will see.

Everglades National Park, Florida — 280 species

Credit: Donyanedomam / iStock

Most people know that the Everglades is an extremely diverse biosphere, and not just for birds. This watery reserve offers nine unique birding spots perfect for discovering feathered friends that can be divided into three main categories: wading birds, land birds, and birds of prey.

Some of the most common species include the white ibis and the wood stork, along with numerous species of egrets and herons. This park is a popular attraction for birders from around the world. Should you choose to go birdwatching at Everglades National Park, be sure to use their interactive checklist.

While bird watching is a popular pastime at pretty much every national park in the U.S., this is a great list of places to get you started. If there’s a particular bird that you have in mind and want to see in real life, be sure to use the Audubon Society’s interactive bird guide on their site for detailed information about specific species and maps of where to find them.

Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Long Accused of Molesting Minors, Is Charged

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Long Accused of Molesting Minors, Is Charged

Mr. Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking, had avoided federal charges a decade ago in a widely criticized plea deal.

Jeffrey Epstein in custody in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2008. Credit Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press
CreditCreditUma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press

Jeffrey E. Epstein, a billionaire New York financier long accused of molesting dozens of young girls, has been charged by federal prosecutors with sex trafficking, two people with knowledge of the case said on Saturday night.

Mr. Epstein was arrested in the New York area and is in federal custody. He is expected to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday.

Mr. Epstein had avoided federal criminal charges in 2007 and 2008 in a widely criticized plea deal after he was accused of paying dozens of underage girls for sexual massages in Florida.

Before then, Mr. Epstein, a former hedge-fund manager, had been friendly with Donald J. Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

He pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting prostitution, served 13 months in a county lockup and registered as a sex offender. His extraordinary jail arrangement allowed him to get out of the Palm Beach County Stockade six days a week to work out of his office.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which brought the charges against Mr. Epstein, declined to comment on Saturday night.

Defense lawyers for Mr. Epstein could not immediately be reached for comment.

Women who said they were Mr. Epstein’s victims have repeatedly assailed federal prosecutors for reaching the non prosecution agreement with him more than a decade ago.

Jack Scarola, a lawyer for two of the women, said he had not been informed of the arrest.

“But given his extensive pattern of past criminal conduct and the apparent addictive nature of his aberrant behavior, an arrest comes as no surprise,” Mr. Scarola said on Saturday night.

The new charges against Mr. Epstein were first reported on Saturday night by The Daily Beast.

In the Florida investigation, the authorities found that Mr. Epstein paid cash to dozens of girls, some of them as young as 14 or 15, to give him nude massages that often ended in masturbation, oral sex or, in at least one case, forcible rape.

Some of the girls were runaways or foster children; Mr. Epstein would ask some girls to recruit others to bring to his properties. The encounters took place from 1999 to 2005.

According to court records, in a 2007 interview with the F.B.I., one girl shared that at age 15 she began visiting Mr. Epstein and gave him massages — both in her underwear and then nude — for $200 each.

Over time, the encounters became increasingly sexual. Mr. Epstein also got the underage girl to bring other girls who worked with her at a local strip club.

The plea deal that protected Mr. Epstein from federal charges was signed by the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, Alexander Acosta, who is now President Trump’s labor secretary.

In February, a judge in Florida ruled that the prosecutors led by Mr. Acosta violated federal law when they failed to disclose Mr. Epstein’s nonprosecution agreement to his victims.

The agreement was negotiated in secret while victims were told prosecutors were still pursuing a possible federal criminal case.

Mr. Acosta has defended the handling of Mr. Epstein’s case, saying the plea deal sent Mr. Epstein to jail and guaranteed that he would register as a sex offender.

But lawyers for his victims have fought for years against a punishment they saw as too lenient.

The case received new public scrutiny after an investigative report published by The Miami Herald in November quoted four of Mr. Epstein’s victims, who are now adults, on the record for the first time.

One of the victims, Courtney Wild, now 31, was wearing braces when she first met Mr. Epstein. “Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless,” Ms. Wild told The Herald. “He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right.”

Investigators had identified more than 30 victims. The Herald said it located about 60.

In February, the Justice Department said it had opened an investigation into the non-prosecution agreement. The inquiry is reviewing whether prosecutors committed professional misconduct in their handling of the Epstein case.

Derrick Bryson Taylor and Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.

Patricia Mazzei is the Miami bureau chief, covering Florida and Puerto Rico. Before joining The Times, she was the political writer for The Miami Herald. She was born and raised in Venezuela, and is bilingual in Spanish. @PatriciaMazzei  Facebook

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @WRashbaum  Facebook

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

Credit: Balaraman Arun/Shutterstock

Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

Credit: Pabkov/Shutterstock

Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: Albert Pego/Shutterstock

New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Credit: Areej Khaddaj/Shutterstock

Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Credit: Sherry V Smith/Shutterstock

When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

Credit: MaxBaumann/iStock

The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.