Sunday

Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin has come out and told us a very real message that lies behind the franchise.

He's revealed there is a 'certain parallel' between his original book, A Game of Thrones - which is part of epic fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire - and the increasing threat of climate change.

Asked about whether his books offered a metaphor for understanding climate change, Martin told the New York Times: "It's kind of ironic because I started writing Game of Thrones all the way back in 1991, long before anybody was talking about climate change.

"But there is - in a very broad sense - there's a certain parallel there. And the people in Westeros are fighting their individual battles over power and status and wealth.

"Those [battles] are so distracting them that they're ignoring the threat of 'winter is coming', which has the potential to destroy all of them and to destroy their world.

"And there is a great parallel there to what I see this planet doing here, where we're fighting our own battles."


Martin continued: "We're fighting over issues, important issues, mind you - foreign policy, domestic policy, civil rights, social responsibility, social justice.

"All of these things are important. But while we're tearing ourselves apart over this and expending so much energy, there exists this threat of climate change, which, to my mind, is conclusively proved by most of the data and 99.9 percent of the scientific community. And it really has the potential to destroy our world.


"And we're ignoring that while we worry about the next election and issues that people are concerned about, like jobs. Jobs are a very important issue, of course. All of these things are important issues. But none of them are important if, like, we're dead and our cities are under the ocean.

"So really, climate change should be the number one priority for any politician who is capable of looking past the next election. But unfortunately, there are only a handful of those."

Martin added: "We spend 10 times as much energy and thought and debate in the media discussing whether or not NFL players should stand for the national anthem than this threat that's going to destroy our world."
Source

Friday

The bees that live on the roof of Notre Dame are alive and buzzing, having survived the devastating fire that ripped through the cathedral on Monday, the beekeeper Nicolas Geant confirmed to CNN.

"I got a call from Andre Finot, the spokesman for Notre Dame, who said there were bees flying in and out of the hives which means they are still alive!" Geant said. "Right after the fire I looked at the drone pictures and saw the hives weren't burnt but there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived. Now I know there's activity it's a huge relief!"

Notre Dame has housed three beehives on the first floor on a roof over the sacristy, just beneath the rose window, since 2013. Each hive has about 60,000 bees. Geant said the hives were not touched by the blaze because they are located about 30 meters below the main roof where the fire spread.

"They weren't in the middle of the fire, had they been they wouldn't have survived," Geant said. "The hives are made of wood so they would have gone up in flames."

"Wax melts at 63 degrees, if the hive had reached that temperature the wax would have melted and glued the bees together, they would have all perished."

While it is likely that the hives were filled with smoke, that doesn't impact them like it would with humans, Geant explained.


"Bees don't have lungs like us," he said. "And secondly, for centuries to work with the bees we have used bee smokers."

A bee smoker is a box with bellows which creates a white, thick cold smoke in the hives, prompting the bees to calmly gorge on the honey while beekeepers do their work, Geant said.

Geant said he wouldn't be able tell whether all of the bees are alive until he was able to inspect the site, but he's confident because the hives didn't burn, and because bees have been spotted flying in and out.


"I was incredibly sad about Notre Dame because it's such a beautiful building, and as a catholic it means a lot to me. But to hear there is life when it comes to the bees, that's just wonderful. I was overjoyed," he added.

"Thank goodness the flames didn't touch them. It's a miracle!"
Source


Thursday

Why is it called a pink moon? The name can be traced back to North American aboriginal peoples, who referred to the full moon in April as a pink moon after a type of wildflower.

This wildflower blooms early in the year, helping to signify that spring has arrived.

April’s full moon goes by a number of other names in different cultures. Some coastal tribes refer to it as the fish moon because it coincided with the shad swimming upstream.

It takes the moon about 29.5 days to go through all of its phases meaning on average each month has one full moon.

The full moon of April occurs on Friday, April 19, at 7:12 a.m. EDT (1112 GMT) - but will appear full the night before and after its peak to the casual stargazer.

This year, April’s full Moon is also connected to Easter. It’s what’s known as the Paschal Full Moon—the full Moon that determines Easter’s date.


This year, the Full Pink Moon reaches peak fullness at 7:12 A.M. (EDT) on Friday, April 19. For the best view, watch for the Moon on the night of the 18th, when it will be at near-peak fullness and shine bright in the sky.

Skylore assigns names for every full moon. The April full moon is called the Grass Moon, Egg Moon or Pink Moon here in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s autumn now, this full moon is the Hunter’s Moon, or full moon following the Harvest Moon (which is the full moon nearest to – not necessarily following – the equinox).

April’s Full Moon, the Full Pink Moon, heralds the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.


Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability. The name itself usually described some activity that occurred during that time in their location.

April Full Moon names from different cultures: April Moon Names Leaf Moon (Kiowa). Yellow Moon (Pima). Flowers Moon (Pomo). Growing Moon (Celtic). Flower, Egg (Cherokee). Frog Moon (Assiniboine). (Full Janic), (Dark Janic). Big Spring Moon (Creek). Wildcat Moon (Choctaw). Budding Moon (Mohawk). Wind Breaks Moon (Hopi). Leaf Split Moon (San Juan). Big Leaves Moon (Apache). Strawberry Moon (Natchez). Ice Breaking Moon (Arapaho). Geese Return Moon (Dakota). Indian Corn Moon (Algonquin). Green Grass moon (Sioux). Geese Egg Moon (Cheyenne). Sugar Maker Moon (Abernaki). Awakening Moon (Neo Pagan). Seed Moon (Medieval English). Spring Moon (Passamaquoddy). Corn Planting Moon (Winnebago). Planterâs Moon (Colonial American). Ashes Moon (Taos Native American). Broken Snow Shoe Moon (Anishnaabe). Big Spring Moon, Gray Goose Moon (Cree). Other Names : Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Planterâs Moon, Pink Moon, Fish Moon.

VIDEO Full Moon April

Sunday

Rescuers from Four Paws are celebrating what is their largest mission yet with the removal of 47 neglected animals from a war-torn zoo in Gaza.

The Rafah Zoo, which opened in 1999 in the southernmost part of Gaza, has since become known as the “Zoo of Sorrows” because of the tragic conditions animals there live in. Sadly for the zoo’s many residents, they’ve been kept in inappropriate enclosures, and have been lacking food and veterinary care, both of which have taken a serious toll on their psychological and physical health.

While the zoo has been on the radar for some time, it recently come under increasing fire after four lion cubs froze to death in January, and a young lioness later had her claws barbarically removed with garden shears so visitors could play with her. According to Four Paws, the zoo’s owner claimed to have amputated the leg of an injured fox with a circular saw himself, and announced more male lions would also be ruthlessly declawed so they could interact with visitors.

Tragically, many have died there as a result of conflict in the area and a lack of care.

Now, however, the suffering of the survivors has finally come to an end and they’re all starting new lives. Although the rescue mission was delayed due to escalating violence and border closures, 47 animals have been safely evacuated by rescuers.

“This mission was one of the most nerve wrecking for our team. After the team’s first attempt to rescue the animals was thwarted due to border closures and increased tensions in the region, we were all anxiously awaiting to see what would unfold during the second attempt. We are so thankful to our team and supporters,” said Robert Ware, Executive Director of Four Paws.


In all, five lions, a hyena, several monkeys, wolves, porcupines, foxes, cats, dogs, emus, ostriches and squirrels were taken on a 186-mile journey across the border to sanctuaries in Jordan, while two of the older lions are headed to LIONSROCK, Four Paws’ big cat sanctuary in South Africa.


“The last few weeks have been very intense for our team and have brought our team to its limits. To examine and load almost 50 animals in just a few days was a huge challenge, but to save lives and provide better futures, it is all worth it,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, Four Paws’ veterinarian and Head of Mission.


Hopefully these animals will all thrive in their new homes, and their story will help raise awareness about the plight of captive animals in the region.
SOURCE
VIDEO

Monday

A rhino poacher is believed to have been attacked by an elephant and then eaten by a pride of lions during an incident in South Africa’s Kruger national park.

Police brigadier Leonard Hlathi said police received information that a group of men had gone into the park on 1 April in order to hunt rhino, “when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them”.

“His accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the park.”

Hlathi said the group of men left the park and informed a family member of the deceased what had happened, who contacted police. Park rangers began a search for the man, on foot and by air, but could not locate the man at first due to failing light.

Rangers and police returned on 4 April and were able to find the man’s remains in the Crocodile Bridge section of the park.

“Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants,” said Isaac Phaahla, the general manager of communications for the Kruger national park.


Three men, aged between 26 and 35, were arrested in the KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort precincts, police said in a statement.

The suspects appeared in court on 5 April charged with possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, conspiracy to poach as well as trespassing. An inquest has also been opened into the cause of the man’s death.

The managing executive of Kruger national park said: “Entering Kruger national park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”


South Africa, which is home to almost 80% of the world’s rhinos, has been hard hit by poaching. More than 1,000 rhinos were killed by poachers each year in South Africa between 2013 and 2017. The number dropped to 769 for 2018, with poachers targeting the animal for its horn, according to Save the Rhino.

Kruger national park has the largest concentration of rhinos on the planet, and has been a target for poachers. In 2015, more than 70% of all rhinos known to be poached in South Africa were poached in the park.

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