2023 February

Friday, February 24, 2023

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[Deer Have Covid Variants] New research suggests that North America’s huge deer population has become a reservoir for Covid, reports The New York Times. A study published last week found that by December 2021, long after the Alpha and Gamma variants of the virus had stopped spreading widely among people, they continued to circulate in North American white-tailed deer. Previous research has shown that humans repeatedly introduced the virus into white-tailed deer populations, either by direct contact with the animals or through wastewater. The big question was whether those older variants were still spreading and evolving among the deer—and if so, whether a new mutation could jump back to humans. Scientists have already documented one suspected case of deer-to-human transmission, in Ontario last year. Study co-author Diego Diel, from Cornell University, says he and his colleagues are now preparing to analyze deer samples from the 2022 hunting season. “It is a very large wildlife population in North America,” he says, “that has constant and very intense contact with humans.”
Alligator kills 85-year-old woman in Florida. On Tuesday, officials identified the woman as 85-year-old Gloria Serge. The incident took place around noon in Spanish Lakes Fairways, a 55-plus community, where according to neighbors, Serge was walking her dog and was dragged into the water and killed by a 10-foot alligator. Link
[“Real estate prices coming down”] Sadly that’s because the great climate change exodus has begun.

Raquel Welch: A life in pictures. Welch met Queen Elizabeth II at a royal film performance. Link

[866 Flights Cancelled] According to FlightAware data, there have been 866 flight cancellations within, to or from the United States as of 08:30 EST on Wednesday morning. Remember when traveling was fun? Link

[First Steely Dan] Scientists think they found a 2,000-year-old dildo in ancient Roman ruins. Link

[Friday Joke] Puns: I never thought orthopedic shoes would really work for me. But I stand corrected.
Once upon a time there was a king who was only 12 inches tall. He was a terrible king but he made a great ruler.
A Mexican magician says he will disappear on the count of 3. He says: “Uno, dos …” Poof. He disappeared without a tres.
I wrote a book on how to fall down the stairs. It’s a step-by-step guide.
My son was chewing on electric cords, so I had to ground him. It’s OK, though. He’s doing better and conducting himself properly.
My friend claims that he “accidentally” glued himself to his autobiography, but I don’t believe him. But that’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
An armed man ran into a real estate agency and shouted: “Nobody move.”
I asked the surgeon if I could administer my own anesthetic. He said, “Sure. Knock yourself out!”
In Britain it’s called a lift, but Americans call it an elevator. I guess we were just raised differently.
[“Immigration base camp on Plantation Key”] Why not use the 16-site County owned campground on BPK at Ave C and 5th? Its empty!
The next Full Moon Kayak Excursion, benefiting the Refuges of the Florida Keys, will be Monday March 4th, departing at 5:00 p.m. from the Old Wood Bridge Marina on Bogie Drive, Big Pine Key.  Please arrive about 30 minutes prior for set up.  Call Bill, our sponsor from Big Pine Kayak Adventures, at 305-872-7474 for more information. Reserve your space today at (click on the events tab).  The donation is $30 per person, we’ll provide the guides and all the gear.
[Big Pine Key and No Name Key Burn Propaganda] If USFWS believes that the latest press release on burning has a basis in science, they should submit the scientific studies that their management uses.

The largest study ever performed on Pine Rocklands on Big Pine Key was done by a team from Florida International University from 1996 thru 1999. It inventoried 10 acre plots before and after carefully conducted burns. This study cost taxpayers about $900,000. and nowhere in it does it suggest actions that Key Deer Refuge managers are currently performing.

In 1980 there were about 1100 acres of functioning pine rocklands in the Lower Floriday Keys, today there are under 500 acres. Some of the loss is from sea level rise, but most is from USFWS management. In July 2004 in one day, USFWS burned the entire pine ecosystems on both Sugarloaf and Cudjoe Keys resulting in disastrous fires that killed the vast majority of overstory pines on both keys. There is abundant photographic evidence that the pines were killed by bad management practices more than a year before Hurricane Wilma flooded both systems (25 October, 2005).

In the 1980s hundreds of local residents worked hard to acquire land for the National Key Deer Refuge, little did they realize that the land would be mechanical cleared and herbicide used to clear native trees and shrubs. When you cut down a 10 foot thatch palm, besides killing a hundred year old tree, you are depriving the Key Deer of substantial food. When you poison a native hardwood tree you are reducing the food available to birds, deer, and other wildlife. When you carelessly burn, you reduce the biodiversity of the pine rocklands.

On September 15, 2011 USFWS started a fire to burn 18  acres south of Port Pine Heights Subdivision. There had been no rain for weeks, residents had spent hundreds of hours trying to convince staff to burn in an ecologically sound and safe manner. The fire was set, with no notice, and within an hour, it was hopelessly out of control. Over 100 acres that was not slated to burn was incinerated. The entire neighborhood of Pine Heights was evacuated, many of those residents deeply effected by the events.

Today. the entire pine rockland ecosystem north of the Bluehole, west of Key Deer Blvd. to Port Pine has forever been degraded. This magnificent forest, with many 40 ft. tall ancient pines, is gone. Tens of thousands of trees are gone, biodiversity reduced and species lost. Some acres of this forest had 61 species of plants present. Today if you find 16 species, you are doing pretty good. Most of this area is no longer a functioning pine rockland, just a highly degraded remnant. Very little shelter, very little food, and no hope of any natural recovery due to ever increasing sea level rise.

Natural fire does not occur very frequently in the Keys. The pine ecosystem most similar to this system is on Andros Island in the Bahamas. The ideal that the people planning and managing our refuge, never have seen this ecosystem in its prime, and think they know everything about it is truly scary. The evidence is there. Scarifying the oolitic caprock is permanent and makes the invasion of exotics likely and the damage to the substrate can never be repaired.

To call any of this restoration is insult to the people that care about the protection that a refuge is supposed insure. Just like burning an uninhabited offshore island twice in three years, to protect the urban /wildland interface, to restore an island that has been doing fine being managed by nature.

[What Motivates] People will say anything for popularity, publicity, gossip, hate, and propaganda. It is impossible to believe anything anymore.

[Friday Joke] A man was getting a haircut prior to a trip to Rome. He mentioned the trip to the barber, who responded, “Why would anyone want to go there. It’s crowded and dirty and full of Italians. You’re crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?”
“We’re taking United,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!” “United!” exclaimed the barber. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly and they’re always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?”
“We’ll be at the downtown International Marriott.” “That dump! That’s the worst hotel in Rome. The rooms are small, the service is surly and they’re overpriced. So, what are you going to do when you get there?” “We’re going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope. “That’s rich,” laughed the barber. “You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it!”
A month later, the man again came in for his regular haircut. The barber asked him about his trip to Rome. “It was wonderful,” explained the man. “Not only were we on time in one of United’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a beautiful young stewardess who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel! Well, it was great! They’d just finished a $25 million remodeling job and now it’s the finest hotel in the city. They were overbooked too, so they apologized and gave us the presidential suite at no extra charge!”
“Well, “muttered the barber. “I know you didn’t get to see the Pope.” “Actually, we were quite lucky, for as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked in. As I knelt down he spoke to me.”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Where’d you get that shitty haircut?”

I do this real moron thing, and it’s called thinking. And apparently, I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions. ~George Carlin

[Changing Your Mind] What amazes me here in the Keys is when you form an opinion about anything and others agree with you until they talk to another bunch of idiots who have a different opinion, then your “friends” turn against you! The only way to survive in the Keys is to think like an idiot or democrat and keep one’s mouth shut!

Woman from India seldom have real nice butts. They have wide butts, but I’ve never seen a “cantaloupe” butt.
[Friday Joke] In order to save the economy, the Secretary of Homeland Security will announce next month that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement will start deporting seniors, instead of illegals, in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs.  A major study concluded that older people are easier to catch, offer less resistance, and—most importantly—will not remember how to get back home. Be sure to send this notice to your relatives and friends so they’ll know what happened to you. I started to cry when I thought of you, then it dawned on me — I’ll see you on the bus!
[Night Lights] Our country uses lots of extra lighting, and 99% of it serves no clear purpose. Besides safety concerns, too much lighting creates a host of other problems, such as:
Expense: All those watt-hours add up.
Wasted Energy: Consuming excess electricity produces unnecessary carbon pollution.
Neighborhood Discourse: It your lights shine in your neighbor’s yard, it can aggravate them while creating a hazardous situation on their property. It would be nice to check in with your neighbors to make sure your outdoor lighting setup isn’t impacting them.
Light Pollution: Excessive light blocks out the night sky. Not only astronomers and scientists enjoy looking at the stars and planets.
HUMAN HEALTH: Nighttime lights interrupt our sleep cycle. We’re only beginning to learn the range of consequences, but one is an increased risk of cancer.
Ecosystem Health: Light harms animals, because more than half of species are nocturnal. It also harms migrating birds and even trees.
Happiness And Creativity: Dark, starlit nights give us a feeling of universal connection. They inspire us to create art like Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. Excessive lighting robs us of those nights.
[Friday Joke] I was having a beer down at the VFW last night with my buddy Ricky and he said he was thinking of leaving his wife because she hasn’t talked to him in over a week. Of course, I counseled him not to, because women like that are hard to find. Follow me for more relationship advice.

[Redux] This is the 24th damn time this picture has been around. Either attach her phone number, or drive her over to my cabin at latitude 24, longitude 81, ASAP!

[In Key West Money Talks] Almost one year ago, the City Commission unanimously adopted Resolution 22-073. Better known as the one-ship policy, this effectively established a maximum limit of one cruise ship per day in our port.

The one-ship policy represented a compromise between the sweeping cruise limits overwhelmingly enacted by Key West voters in the 2020 election, and the anti-democratic reversal of those limits by the state government in 2021. In effect, it has allowed the private operator of Pier B to operate heedless of the reasonable limits approved by voters, while simultaneously ending cruise traffic to the City-operated piers at Mallory and the Outer Mole. This successful policy has produced a 55% reduction in environmentally damaging cruise ship traffic.

Unfortunately, on Monday, a clear and blatant violation of this policy occurred when the 623-foot-long cruise ship “Evrima” docked at City-owned Mallory Pier at the same time as the 961-foot-long “Radiance of the Seas” was docked at Pier B.

[Fish Freed] 2 fish guides from Palm Beach release 12 sharks and 2 grouper from a line. They thought they were helping out our oceans. They offered to pay the commercial outfit for their fish, but they refused restitution.
With the ever changing rules and regulations, it’s almost a necessity to carry a hand held radio to be clear on what can and can not be done.
[Friday Joke] Why am I Hungover?”
“Did you drink water?”
“From a glass?”
“Was it frozen?”
“Was it surrounded by Rum?”
“It’s like you know me.”
The current Coconut Telegraph was published on 2/24/23 at 7:24 am.