BBC: A Hellbender salamander holds a northern water snake in its jaws in this photo taken in Tennessee’s Tellico River. David Herasimtschuk says the snake eventually managed to escape after wrestling with North America’s largest aquatic salamander.
Black Bear, Black Bear (Cinnamon Phase), Grizzly Bears, Human Predation, Mountain Lion, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Wyoming
Hiker found dead on Mount Hood was likely killed by cougar. (ABC News 9/12):
The hiker who went missing on Mount Hood in late August and was found dead at the bottom of a ravine Monday was likely killed by a cougar, authorities said — a shocking twist in the missing persons case.
The body of Diana Bober, 55, was found Monday at the bottom of a 200-foot embankment on the famous Oregon mountain’s Hunchback Trail, the Clackamas County Sheriffâ€™s Office said Tuesday.
Bober was last seen on Aug. 29 when she went for a hike on the trail. Her backpack was found by two hikers on the following day and her car was left in a parking lot at the base of the mountain.
Ginseng hunter killed by black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bear still at large. (wbir 9/12):
The body of 30-year-old William Lee Hill Jr. of Louisville, Tennessee, was found Tuesday afternoon two miles north of Cades Cove off Rich Mountain Road, according to a news release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Park officials began searching for Hill when they were notified on Sunday that Hill was missing. He and a close friend had gone to the park on Friday to look for ginseng and were separated during the day, and Hill had not been heard from since. …
An adult male bear remained in the area where Hill’s body was found and showed aggressive behaviors for multiple hours as rangers recovered Hill’s body throughout Tuesday evening, the release said. Evidence of wildlife scavenging of Hill’s remains was visible.
Wildlife biologists reportedly came to the area, trapped the bear and recovered human DNA from it, the release explained. At that point, park officials said they decided to humanely euthanize the bear out of concern for public safety — but on Friday it was revealed the bear had not, in fact, been euthanized yet and was fitted with a GPS tracker.
Wyoming grizzlies kill hunting guide, maul client. (Jackson Hole Daily 9/16)
The grizzly bears suspected of fatally mauling outfitter Mark Uptain were trapped and killed early Sunday near the elk carcass that caused conflict on Terrace Mountain.
â€œWe killed two grizzly bears up there a little bit ago, and we have every reason to believe they are the offending bears,â€ Wyoming Game and Fish Department Jackson Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga said around 10:45 a.m. Sunday. â€œThey fit the description.â€ …
[W]ildlife managers are not releasing all the details about what they believe occurred when Uptain and his bow-hunting client, Corey Chubon, were aggressively attacked by the pair of bruins Friday afternoon.
Hovinga surmised that the bears involved were a sow and its grown cub.
â€œThe behavior exhibited by these bears is abnormal behavior for a family group,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s not typically how we would see family groups behave.â€
Chubon, who was airlifted out of the Teton Wildness with leg, chest and arm injuries, reported to investigators that of the two grizzlies involved, only one was the aggressor. The Florida resident, who flew back home Saturday, told authorities that he was unable to fire a shot from a handgun he retrieved during the attack, but he threw the firearm to Uptain before departing the scene.
Late Saturday, Hovinga declined to discuss evidence collected at the scene, but he did say that bear-deterrent pepper spray was among the things the guide and client possessed. He said he â€œdidnâ€™t knowâ€ if the handgun was with Uptainâ€™s remains. The gun was not recovered immediately around where the attack took place, at the site of an elk Chubon had struck with an arrow Thursday. The guide and client did not locate and start to retrieve the elk until early the next afternoon.
The elk carcass was â€œundisturbedâ€ when it was located by Uptain and Chubon, which suggests that the bear was not necessarily food guarding â€” a common behavior that often leads to conflicts with humans, especially hunters.
New Mexico hunting guide kills attacking bear with Glock, deceased bear remains attached to his leg. (All Outdoor 9/14):
When a New Mexico hunting guide reportedly found himself the target of a bear, he dropped his phone and reached for his pistol. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions he ever made. An earlier decision, though, threatened to cost him his life.
Heâ€™d been working out his dogs in preparation for the upcoming hunting season when theyâ€™d struck a bearâ€™s trail. The only way to put an end to that was to catch up with his dogs, so he pursued, with family members following. As he approached the fight, he grabbed his not-fully-loaded pistol as he left his UTV.
As an afterthought, he took the GLOCK 20 10mm pistol from his vehicle and shoved it in his waistband behind his cowboy belt. It was loaded with 175 grain Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock loads. The magazine only had 10-12 rounds in it. A few months earlier, he had heard the theory of â€œspring setâ€ and decided not to keep the magazine fully loaded.
He approached the melee, expecting the bear to run at the sight of him. And when he spotted the bruin, he grabbed his phone to take some video of its unusual cinnamon coloration. But the bear had other ideas.
Bridgerâ€™s first thought was to get video. It would be an incredible image. Big cinnamon bears arenâ€™t common. The bear would run at any moment, once he saw or smelled the man. Bridger grabbed his phone.
That bear never read the rulebook. It didnâ€™t run. The bear saw Bridger, turned toward him, and flattened its ears back along its head. Its eyes had locked on Bridger. Heâ€™d watched hundreds of bears in similar situations and he knew heâ€™d been targeted. He dropped the phone and snatched the GLOCK from his belt.
A lot happened very fast, but for Bridger, everything slowed down as he went into tachypsychia. Itâ€™s a common occurrence in high stress life-or-death situations. The mind speeds up and events appear to be happening in slow motion. In reality, the person is acting faster than they ever have before.
The bear was coming for him. Bridger elected not to aim for the head. He didnâ€™t want to hit one of his dogs. He triggered two or three shots aimed at the bearâ€™s body. The bear started to spin, snapping at the wounds, about six feet away.
Bridger decided to retreat. He turned and hopped to the next boulder, then the next. He was mid air to the third when he saw dogs moving past him.
In his fast mind-state, he realized this was bad. As he landed and turned, the big GLOCK in his hand, and saw the bear coming at him like an over-sized NFL linebacker with claws and big, pointy teeth.
Before he could fire again, the bear hit him. They went over the edge of the shelf together, tumbling down a steep, rocky slope in mortal combat.
Although he has no memory of shooting as they fell, empty shells were later found along the path of their descent.
Bear and man stopped downslope, wedged into brush and boulders. Bridger could feel the bear and frantically attempted to disentangle. The bear reared erect, jaws ready to strike. Bridger shot him again, in the front of his chest before falling/sliding further down the slope. The bear pursued him. He screamed at Janelle to stay away.
Bridger tried to kick the bear away from him as it tried to get at his upper body. He couldnâ€™t shoot for fear of hitting his own legs.
The bear dodged a kick, and grabbed Bridgerâ€™s right inner thigh in its jaws, lifting him like a dog lifting a rabbit. Bridger shoved the muzzle of the GLOCK against the bears neck, trying to shatter its spine and shut the bear down. He fired.
The bear released his lower thigh, then grabbed his calf, just below the knee. The shot missed the spine. Man and bear are still moving fast, but in Bridgerâ€™s hyper-aware state, time slowed. He saw an opportunity for a headshot and pressed the trigger on the GLOCK.
Later, Bridger found bear hair between the guide rod and the slide of the G20 pistol. The hair prevented the slide from returning into battery. Bridger knew he should still have ammunition left in the magazine, so he racked the slide and saw a live round eject in slow motion.
Fractions of a second later, another opportunity for a head shot presented itself. The bear ripped at his leg. As the bear tried to tear off his calf muscle, Bridger saw his chance and pressed the trigger.
Man and bear went down together, rolling and sliding a bit further down the slope.
Although the bear was dead, its teeth were still hopelessly tangled in Bridgerâ€™s calf muscle. When rescue personnel arrived â€” quickly, thanks to his familyâ€™s close proximity at the time of the attack â€” they struggled and failed to free the meat from the fangs. Only after cutting the bearâ€™s head off with a pocket knife could they transport Bridger and his now-gray leg muscle.
Tennessean Andrew Exum rattles Volunteer State sabres in the direction of Georgia, and plots defensive strategies in a Wired article delightfully titled: Graveyard of Peaches.
The Georgia Legislature had better think twice about trying to move the state line in order to correct that surveying error made in 1818.
As a soldier, I fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan; as a scholar, I performed most of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation in southern Lebanon. Nowhere in the world, though, have I ever encountered a more brutal, tribal and violent race of people than the Scots-Irish of East Tennessee. Any Georgian occupation force would inevitably get sucked into our petty politics and family vendettas. We might share a language, but Georgia would struggle to relate to its new foreign subjects, let alone entrench its authority over us.
From Glenn Reynolds, another belligerent Tennessean.
Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, Ava Gardner, Loretta Lynn and George C. Scott, Tom Hanks and Heather Locklear, and Steve Martin are all alleged by some sources to have Melungeon ancestry.
The Melungeons are an ethnic group, commonly described as a “tri-racial isolate,” resident in the Cumberland Gap neighborhood of Eastern Tennesee, Southwest Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky. The Melungeons’ comparatively dark complexions and other exotic characteristics have been attributed to mixed Amerindian and Spanish or Portuguese descent. Other alleged origins included shipwrecked Turkish slaves or descent from Gypsies. One legendary account claims that they descend from a native people resident before the arrival of European colonists.
Recent research seems to offer a much simpler explanation: descent from African freedmen.
[A] new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy [Not apparently yet available on-line] attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
Tennessee has passed a measure making it a crime to transmit by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication an image that would cause â€œemotional distressâ€ â€œwithout legitimate purpose.â€
“Emotional distress” is a standard of practically universal application. Anything at all might cause someone emotional distress, and there is no basis to determine whether someone experiences it, beyond his own say so.
What is and what is not a “legitimate purpose” also constitutes a legal nightmare. Who wants any judge to be permitted to decide what is and what isn’t legitimate?
Liberals are always arguing that we need to inform the American legal system with the superior wisdom of international jurisprudence.
From Brazil, comes the story of a court decision upholding the right of one Ana Catarina Silvares Bezerra, an accountant analyst who is allegedly afflicted with a female equivalent of satyriasis, to achieve personal gratification on company time, using the company’s computer and Internet access, for 15 minutes every 2 hours.
Via Walter Olson.
Disasters, Journalism, Mainstream Media, Media Bias, Nashville Flood, Nashville Flood of 2010, Tennessee, The Mainstream Media
The flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 obsessed the media and produced a storm of criticism for an insufficiently massive and rapid federal response that turned national opinion finally against George W. Bush, making him into a lame duck for the rest of his second term, and presaging democrat recovery of both Congress and the White House. The New Orleans flood was treated as terribly important.
Recently, the Cumberland River crested Monday at 51.9 feet, 12 feet above flood stage, spilling over its banks into the city of Nashville, Tennessee, flooding a historic downtown, producing billions of dollars in damages and killing at least 30 people. Meanwhile, national news coverage has focused instead on an oil spill in the Gulf which had not even yet reached shore, and a car bomb in Times Square that did not even explode.
Why the differences in perceived significance and coverage? Andrew Romano explains that it’s a herd thing. They all cover what everybody else covers and they have a seriously limited attention range.
As you may have heard, torrential downpours in the southeast flooded the Tennessee capital of Nashville over the weekend, lifting the Cumberland River 13 feet above flood stage, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage, and killing more than 30 people. It could wind up being one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.
Or, on second thought, maybe you didn’t hear. With two other “disasters” dominating the headlinesâ€”the Times Square bombing attempt and the Gulf oil spillâ€”the national media seems to largely to have ignored the plight of Music City since the flood waters began inundating its streets on Sunday. A cursory Google News search shows 8,390 hits for “Times Square bomb” and 13,800 for “BP oil spill.” “Nashville flood,” on the other hand, returns only 2,430 resultsâ€”many of them local. As Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene writes, “it was mind-boggling to flip by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX on Sunday afternoon and see not one station even occasionally bringing their viewers footage of the flood, news of our people dying.”
So why the cold shoulder? I see two main reasons. First, the modern media may be more multifarious than ever, but they’re also remarkably monomaniacal. In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what’s most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most. Sheer volume of coverage has become its own qualification for continued coverage. (Witness the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James saga.) In that sense, it’s easy to see why the press can’t seem to focus on more than one or two disasters at the same time. Everyone is talking about BP and Faisal Shahzad 24/7, the “thinking” goes. So there must not be anything else that’s as important to talk about. It’s a horrible feedback loop.
Of course, the media is also notorious for its ADD; no story goes on forever. Which brings us to the second reason the Nashville floods never gained much of a foothold in the national conversation: the “narrative” simply wasn’t as strong. Because it continually needs to fill the airwaves and the Internet with new content, 1,440 minutes a day, the media can only trade on a story’s novelty for a few hours, tops. It is new angles, new characters, and new chapters that keep a story alive for longer. The problem for Nashville was that both the gulf oil spill and the Times Square terror attempt are like the Russian novels of this 24/7 media culture, with all the plot twists and larger themes (energy, environment, terrorism, etc.) required to fuel the blogs and cable shows for weeks on end. What’s more, both stories have political hooks, which provide our increasingly politicized press (MSNBC, FOX News, blogs) with grist for the kind of arguments that further extend a story’s lifespan (Did Obama respond too slowly? Should we Mirandize terrorists?). The Nashville narrative wasn’t compelling enough to break the cycle, so the MSM just continued to blather on about BP and Shahzad.
Global Warming, Media Bias, Natural History, Popular Delusions, Snowy Owl, Tennessee, The Mainstream Media
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)
John Hinderaker, of Power-Line, is amused by the MSM’s ecological double standard. Changes of species’ ranges interpretable as evidence of the media’s beloved catastrophism are gleefully noted, but new appearances of sub-arctic species, like the Snowy Owl, in the Southland are just a curiosity devoid of any implications.