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Nov 08
2010

The Icarus Project

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , Science , rights , research , medicine , media , lifestyle , Ideas , healthcare , Health , drugs , disability , current events , chemicals , author , art , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Icarus Project has become an outspoken advocacy organization for the idea of "radical mental health. Co-founder Jacks McNamara explains how they define that concept.

Radical mental health asks if being "different" is something that requires treatment, or can sometimes be recognized as just a different way of being. need not be seen or treated as a mental illness, argues Artist and poet Jacks McNamara argues that her bi-polar disorder should be seen as a "dangerous gift," something to cherish and to be wary of.

The art and poetry of Jacks McNamara, as well as her personal history as told in her own words, forms the subject matter for the short film, Crooked Beauty, by  Ken Rosenthal. Here is a trailer for the film.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgAaIBlq-cs 360x240]

Now that the Icarus Project is eight years old, and well established across the country and beyond, McNamara says she is now turning more of her energies toward nurturing a new class of leaders and advocates to take the organization on to its next level.

Jul 14
2010

Tektites

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Science , research , history , environment , education , chemicals , California

Bruce Robinson

Small black balls of glassy rock found in the Dry Creek Valley may be remnants from a prehistoric meteor strike. Or maybe not.

Geology professor Rolfe Erickson with tektites collected from strewn fields all over the world. (Photo by Jean Wasp)

Jul 02
2010

Bat Lady Remembered

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , toxic , nonprofit orgs , farms , environment , chemicals , California , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

More than 50 years ago, Patricia Winters got her first bat, and promptly fell in love with it. As an advocate for the small nocturnal flying mammals, she was known throughout the North Bay and beyond as the Bat Lady. She died of cancer at age 70 recently, but shared her enthusiasm and knowledge in an early North Bay Report from January 2006. This is a repeat of that report.

How does someone become “the Bat Lady”?  In her case, recalls Patricia Winters, it started almost half a century ago.

Bats are moderately common in North America, but far more prevalent in the tropics, where they play an essential role in propagating fruits and other crops.

 

This is a Mexican free-tailed bat in flight, one of the more common species in northern California. Because of their echolocation sounds, bats actually make a lot of noise as they fly at night, but those sounds are at pitches to high for human hearing.You can listen to the echo-location sounds of a Mexican free-tailed bat, transposed into the rage of human hearing, in this audio clip.

For contrast's sake, here is the sound of what Patricia Winters calls a microwave popcorn echo. This bat send out its sounds between a gap in ins front teeth, so that the echo will no reverberate inside its mouth.

 

The Statewide Integrated Pest Management program at UC Davis offers this online resource to guide homeowners in dealing with bats generally and  on their property.

 

Pallid bat with fresh-caught grasshopper.


There are places where thousands of bats live together in caves or underground, and emerge in great clouds as the day turns dark. Here's a video of such an emergence.

 

Jun 23
2010

Cleaning Gulf-oiled birds

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , nonprofit orgs , current events , chemicals , birds , animals , activism

Bruce Robinson

Near the mouth of the Mississippi River, oil soaked pelicans, one-by one, are getting cleaned up, fed, and returned to the wild. A volunteer from Sonoma County explains the process.

 

As Executive Director of the Sonoma County Bird Rescue Center, Doris Duncan (seen below in the process of hosing down an oily pelican in Louisiana) has considerable experience working with large seabirds. She says the same is true of everyone at the cleaning facility that was hastily erected at the historic site of Fort Jackson.

The majority of the rescued birds are large brown pelicans, such as those seen in this holding pen. Duncan says they are fed and protected while awaiting their turn to be cleaned.

 

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