Sunday, September 30, 2007

ENV: Rimatara Lorikeets

With Birdfair's help, Rimatara Lorikeets return to the Cook Islands

27 Rimatara Lorikeets Vini kuhlii have been released on the island of Atiu in the Cook Islands after an absence of almost two centuries.

The reintroduction proposal emerged from research in 1992 on Rimatara by Gerald McCormack and Judith Kunzlé of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. For 15 years McCormack worked patiently towards the reintroduction, which was implemented with funding from the 2006 British Birdwatching Fair.

The reintroduction would not have been possible without the generous permission of the people of Rimatara, French Polynesia, for whom the lorikeet is a symbol of joy and wellbeing. Around a hundred years ago, the Queen of Rimatara imposed the tapu (taboo) which saved the lorikeet (also known as Kuhl’s Lorikeet) from extinction within its natural range (though there are introduced populations on two of the Northern Line Islands, Kiribati).

The bird (currently listed by BirdLife as Endangered) had been extirpated from Atiu and the other Cook Islands by the 1820s, hunted for its red feathers, which were used in ceremonial and chiefly attire. Since then, the tree-climbing, egg-eating Black or Ship’s Rat has become widely established in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, devastating other Pacific parrot species, and dooming most hopes of reintroduction.

"...we're delighted to be able to contribute to this wonderful outcome..." —Martin Davies, Co-organiser, British Birdwatching Fair.

In 1994, McCormack and other researchers established that Atiu, like Rimatara, had surprisingly remained free of Black Rats. The vegetation on Atiu was the same as on Rimatara, ensuring that the birds would find the nectar and fruit they needed.

From then on, according to Gerald McCormack, the project was “off more often than it was on”, because of the difficulties of obtaining the support of ornithologists, local communities, and numerous government agencies. In 2005, Cook Islands Prime Minister Jim Marurai delivered a letter from McCormack to the French Polynesian President Oscar Temaru. He in turn passed it to MANU (BirdLife in French Polynesia), who approved the programme and joined the reintroduction project. Other key partners included TIS (BirdLife in the Cook Islands), and the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Also in 2005, BirdLife International added the reintroduction to their regional programme 'Saving the Pacific's Parrots', the beneficiary of the 2006 British Birdfair.

By April 2007 all approvals were in place and McCormack lead an international team of 15 to Rimatara. The lorikeets were caught in mist nets between 13 and 18 April. Air Rarotonga donated two flights to transport the birds, the project team, and island representatives. “Cook Islands protocol has elaborate welcoming ceremonies, but in this case the Atiu community agreed to postpone the welcome until after the release of the birds,” says Gerald McCormack. “All 27 birds flew strongly to the nearest tree, where they spent several minutes preening, orienting and exploring the immediate surroundings, before they flew out of the area.”

There have been regular sightings since, with flocks of up to 13 being reported on sunny days. Gerald McCormack says the birds have spread over the whole 30 km2 of the island –though they have never been seen again at either of the release sites.

Altogether, the Birdfair raised £215,000 towards the BirdLife International Programme 'Saving the Pacific's Parrots' . The Rimatara project received £35,000 from this programme, of which £23,000 was spent on the reintroduction; the rest will be used for monitoring the population over the next four years –and procedures to ensure that the Black Rat doesn’t establish itself on Atiu.

“Some conservation projects that Birdfair funds can take years to bear fruit,” said Birdfair co-organiser Martin Davies. “This project too had already been a long time in the planning by Gerald and Judith, but we're delighted now to have been given the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful outcome, helping bring their dreams to reality. How satisfying it must be for all concerned to see these beautiful birds flying once again over the island of Atiu."

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ATH: U.S. Women win Third at World Cup

U.S. rebounds to win third place at World Cup
Wambach scores 2 in 4-1 victory over Norway to end tumultuous tourney
The Associated Press, Updated: 10:13 a.m. CT Sept 30, 2007

SHANGHAI, China - A big question remains for the United States after its rousing 4-1 victory over Norway for third place in the Women’s World Cup.

Why did it take so long to play so well?

Abby Wambach scored two goals and Lori Chalupny and Heather O’Reilly added the others Sunday. From an energized dressing room beforehand to an emotional hand-over of the captain armband in the final minutes — from Kristine Lilly to goalkeeper Briana Scurry — the U.S. was the attacking team it wasn’t for most of the tournament.

“We were in the locker room, and it was a completely different atmosphere for us,” Chalupny said. “Everybody was jumping around and we just had a new joy.”

In the championship game, Germany downed Brazil 2-0 to win its second straight World Cup. Birgit Prinz and Simone Laudehr scored for Germany, which did not allow a goal in six games.

The days leading to the third-place game were rough and bumpy for the Americans: a humiliating 4-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals to end a 51-game unbeaten string, followed by the expulsion of goalkeeper Hope Solo for criticizing coach Greg Ryan for benching her against the South Americans.

Solo’s comments threatened to split the team. Instead they created a rallying point — a reason to win a normally lackluster bronze-medal game. The victory gives the U.S. three bronze medals to go with titles in 1991 and 1999.

“These past couple days have been real emotional,” Wambach said. “It’s never easy losing. Our team showed today that we have serious character. We are women of heart.”

Added Lilly, who has played in all five World Cups but is undecided about next year’s Olympics: “I wish it had come out against Brazil, but it didn’t.”

Wambach finished the tournament with six goals and her last two — in the 30th and 46th minutes — were of typical poaching variety. First, she deflected in Chalupny’s bouncing shot from outside the area. Sixteen minutes later, Wambach chipped in a loose ball goalkeeper Bente Nordby failed to control.

In the second half, Chalupny struck in the 58th on a shot that rattled off a Norwegian defender’s leg, going in from long range. A minute later, O’Reilly knocked in a short rebound.

“It was the last game, and it was a game I promised everybody before we stepped on that field that I wasn’t going to leave any bit of energy,” Wambach said. “I wanted to leave everything on the field.”

Lilly went off a few minutes from the end, probably her last World Cup appearance. She’s the only woman to play in all five. As she left to a loud ovation, the 36-year-old star handed over the armband to 36-year-old Scurry. It was Scurry who replaced Solo in goal.

“It felt incredible when Lilly came over to me,” said Scurry, famous for stopping the deciding shot in a penalty shootout to give the Americans the ’99 World Cup. “The team has been great support for me all of these years, and especially the last few days. To have that armband on those few minutes meant the world to me.”

The Americans were under pressure beginning with the draw in April, grouped with North Korea, Sweden and Nigeria. The 3-0 quarterfinal victory over England was probably the easiest of the tournament.

Then came Brazil, Ryan’s last-minute switch to Scurry, and Solo’s anger over the choice. After yielding two goals against North Korea, she had not given up a goal in 298 minutes.

Solo’s outburst took the focus off Ryan, whose risky move preceded the Americans’ worst loss in World Cup play.

“I felt like each game was so under the gun,” said Ryan, a soft-spoken Texan whose contract expires at the end of the year. “Each match became an elimination match for us. I didn’t feel like we got enough people involved in the attack through the tournament. Some of that might have been being tight. Some of it may have been we just held back at bit.”

Despite Solo’s apology to the team, Ryan excluded her from the Norway game, putting her future with the national team in doubt. She didn’t attend the game, but team officials said Sunday she remained in China. It was unclear if she will travel to the U.S. with the team.

Defender Cat Whitehill, Solo’s former roommate, said switching goalies wasn’t the problem.

“There was just a lot going on, and we didn’t handle it well,” she said. “It was just handling the pressure that came with it, the semifinal game, listening to the media talk about the goalkeepers.”

Whitehill said many teammates had forgiven Solo. Wambach said she hadn’t seen her but would probably give her a hug if she did.

“I’d like to think that I’d like to forgive her,” Wambach said. “But at this point I just want to move quickly past this and celebrate this win.”

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

ENV: Spineless Time in the Big Top!

Circus Time Again!

Yep! It's Time for the Circus of the Spineless #25. Send your submissions to by September 30 to thebudak(at)gmail.com by this Saturday, so they can be posted at The Annotated Budak


#26 will be at The Other 95% http://other95.blogspot.com

send your submissions by October 30 to kaz146(at)psu.edu


#27 will be at The Hawk Owl’s Nest http://hawkowl.blogspot.com/

send your submissions by November 29 to pbelardo(at)yahoo.com


#28 will be at Catalogue of Organisms http://catalogue-of-organisms.blogspot.com/

send your submission by December 30 to gerarus(at)westnet.com.au


#29 will be at Andrea’s Buzzing About: http://qw88nb88.wordpress.com/

send your submissions by January 30, 2008 to araychandler(at)yahoo.com


#30 will be at A D.C. Birding Blog http://dendroica.blogspot.com/

send your submissions by February 27, 2008 to empidonax(at)gmail.com


And of course, we’re looking for hosts for March and beyond!

http://invertebrates.blogspot.com

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ATH: Not exactly world-class

USA 0 - Brazil 4
09/27/2007 10:13 AM

HANGZHOU, China (Sep 26, 2007) -- The United States' campaign for their third FIFA Women's World Cup title ended Thursday, as they fell, 0-4, to a strong Brazil side, ending their 51-game unbeaten streak.

"For Brazil, this was a perfect win tonight and I congratulate my players not only for their performance but for their strong desire to win," said Brazil head coach Jorge Barcellos. "You could see that desire in their aggressive play. For me, it is always more important to win the match than to play beautiful football."

Leslie Osborne's own-goal opened the scoring in the 20th minute, after attempting to clear a corner in front of goal and sending it straight in. Seven minutes later, Marta beat Briana Scurry from the top of the box after taking on four US defenders, giving Brazil a 2-0 halftime lead and a man advantage after Shannon Boxx was red-carded for her second foul at the end of the first half.

The Boxx send off was key for US coach Greg Ryan: " First I want to congratulate Brazil, who played an absolutely fantastic game tonight. I also want to say that I am very proud of my own girls, who don't forget had gone 51 games unbeaten going into this match. Shannon Boxx getting sent off so early completely changed the game. Yes, Brazil looked great, but we had to chase them round the park for the whole second half with ten players."

In the second half, the USA had no answer for reigning FIFA Women's Player of the Year, Marta, who scored two goals on the night. with Ryan subbing defensively a man down, the United States never got the spark needed to start their offense. Brazil dominated possession and quality chances, missing several opportunities to add to the scoreline.

"It was a very difficult game but we produced, I think, a perfect performance," Marta said. "We are creating history by making the final and that is not down to me, it is down to a great performance by our team. To be the best player in them all has always been my target, that is why I work so hard on and off the field. But without my team-mates I am nothing."

Brazil advances to their first-ever Women's World Cup Final, where they will face Germany on Sunday in Shanghai. The U.S. will play Norway in the Third Place Match on Sunday at 5 p.m. local, 4:55 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

-- GAME REPORT --

Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Semifinals
Venue: Dragon Stadium – Hangzhou, China
Date: Sept. 26, 2007; Kickoff – 8:00 pm local / 8 a.m. ET
Attendance: 47,818
Weather: Hot, Humid
Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
BRA 2 2 4

BRA – Own Goal 20th minute
BRA – Marta 27.
BRA – Cristiane 57.
BRA – Marta 79.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Briana Scurry; 4-Cat Whitehill, 3-Christie Rampone, 15-Kate Markgraf (2-Marian Dalmy, 74); 17-Lori Chalupny, 7-Shannon Boxx, 12-Leslie Osborne, 14-Stephanie Lopez (11-Carli Lloyd, 46); 9-Heather O’Reilly (8-Tina Ellertson, 60), 13-Kristine Lilly – Capt, 20-Abby Wambach.

Subs not used: 18-Hope Solo, 2-Marian Dalmy, 10-Aly Wagner, 12-Leslie Osborne, 16-Angela Hucles, 19-Marci Jobson, 21-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan

BRA 1-Andreia; 2-Elaine, 3-Aline, 4-Tania, 5-Renata, 7-Daniela, 8-Formiga, 9-Maycon, 10-Marta, 11-Cristiane, 20-Ester

Subs not used: 6-Rosana, 12-Barbara, 13-Monica, 14-Grazielle, 15-Kaija,16-Simone, 17-Daiane, 18-Pretinha, 19-Michele, 21-Thais
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos

Statistical Summary:
USA / BRA
Shots: 10/19
Shots on Goal: 4/8
Saves: 4/4
Corner Kicks: 2/4
Fouls: 16/15
Offside: 0/0

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Shannon Boxx (caution) 14th minute
USA - Lori Chalupny (caution) 26.
BRA - Aline (caution) 28.
BRA - Renata (caution) 44.
USA - Shannon Boxx (caution) 45+
USA - Shannon Boxx (sent off) 45+
USA - Abby Wambach (caution) 49.

Officials:
Referee: Nicole PETIGNAT (SUI)
Asst. Referee: Corinne LAGRANGE (FRA)
Asst. Referee: Karine VIVES SOLANA (FRA)
Fourth Official: Tammy Ogston (AUS)

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ATH: Chris Gilbert in the news

Chris Gilbert gets a say in the Duke lacrosse case!

A lawsuit, if filed, could focus on the university's internal policies, said Chris Gilbert, an education law attorney at Bracewell and Guiliani in Houston, who is not involved in this case. University policy, for example, says that Duke "does not discriminate on the basis … of any other university program or activity."

Gilbert said that it could be difficult for families to show that the university broke the law by not doing enough to protect their children and that the professors' statements could be protected by the First Amendment.


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Monday, September 24, 2007

OBT: Gary Primich

I first met Gary Primich when he was about to win the Kerrville Folk Festival Blues Harp Jamoff, and we spent some time talking music and technique. I made a point to see him when i could in Austin. His death is a stunner.

OBITUARY
Gary Primich 1958-2007

Musician Gary Primich dies at 49

By Michael Corcoran,
AMERICAN-STATESMAN, Monday, September 24, 2007

There are generally two types of harmonica players: Ones who have amazing technique, and those who play with intense feeling. Gary Primich was both. The great blues player, whose appearances in Europe brought out harmonica aficionados in droves, died Sunday, ex-wife Tina Rosenzwieg confirmed. An announcement of his death was also posted on his Web site. He was 49. The cause of death has not been released.

"Gary was the sweetest, smartest, hardest-working harp player in the world," said Rosenzwieg, who met Primich when they were students at the University of Indiana. Although the couple divorced after several years, they remained close.

A native of Gary, Ind., Primich moved to Austin in the mid-'80s after a single visit to Antone's. He formed the Mannish Boys with former Frank Zappa drummer Jimmy Carl Black but achieved his greatest success as a solo artist. His 1995 album "Mr. Freeze" was named one of the 20 best blues albums of the '90s by Chicago weekly New City. He recorded eight albums in all for such labels as Antone's, Black Top, Amazing and Flying Fish.

Although he was based in Austin the past two decades, Primich made most of his money playing overseas, as a solo artist or while touring with bands such as Omar and the Howlers.

"He had established himself all over the world as one of the most technically proficient harmonica players," said his friend and fellow harp-blower Ted Roddy. "He wrote great instrumentals that leaned toward organ jazz. It was like Jimmy Smith, only on harmonica."

Funeral services are pending.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

ATH: Luke Smith in the News!

Luke Smith Earns Heartland Conference Men´s Soccer Honors for St. Mary´s
Derek Smolik, 09/21/2007

SAN ANTONIO—St. Mary’s University men’s soccer player Luke Smith was named Heartland Conference defensive player of the week for his play against Eastern New Mexico University, it was announced by the league office this week.

Smith (Sr., Kerrville) helped St. Mary's to its third straight win against Eastern New Mexico. Smith and the Rattlers allowed just five shots on goal in the 4-2 win over the Greyhounds. ENMU came into the contest averaging more than three goals per game. Smith also tallied his first goal of the season and second career goal in the second half of the win. For the season the Rattlers are allowing just 1.50 goals per game, while scoring 2.00 per contest.

The men’s soccer team (4-2 overall, 2-0 Heartland Conference) will face both of their major conference rivals when they travel to Austin today to take on the St. Edward’s University Hilltoppers at 5 p.m. in a key regional and Heartland Conference matchup. They will then take on the sixth-ranked University of Incarnate Word on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Boerne.


Luke Smith Earns Heartland Conference Men´s Soccer Honors for St. Mary´s
Luke Smith scored his second collegiate goal and helped St. Mary's to a key regional win last week to earn Heartland Player of the Week honors (photo by Jeff Huehn, Lazy J Photo).


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ATH: US Youth Soccer

Youth Soccer: What Is To Be Done?
By Ken Pendleton, 09/20/2007 8:00 AM

CORVALLIS, OR (September 20, 2007) USSoccerPlayers -- The United Sates Soccer Federation, under the direction of DC United President Kevin Payne, is currently in the process of conducting a technical review of Player Development in the United States. The outline of the preliminary findings, which includes one really important policy decision, makes for interesting reading.

The first page of the document, entitled Change, accurately cuts right to the chase: “The problem -- our players are not good enough at the highest levels. We need to get better.” This failure is occurring because of two related reasons. The environment for elite youth players is not good enough. “Youth players are stretched too thin,” they have too few practices, too few quality matches, and too many (up to 100) poor quality ones per year. The result is that these players enter the international arena behind their peers from other countries. They are not as comfortable on the ball, have less tactical acumen, are not as disciplined or committed, and often lack ideal soccer specific physical characteristics.

The report also acknowledged that there are some larger challenges that must be overcome that are, on the whole, unique to the United States: geography, climate, lack of professional infrastructure, the focus on winning at an early age, the fact that the majority of the players are under ten and are recreational level players, the lack of economic incentives compared with other sports, the fact that education is a priority, and the wide-range of opportunities that soccer must compete with, such as music and video games.

Given all this, the report concludes that the focus should be finding solutions that impact thousands of players, rather than hundreds, although improving the everyday environment for elite players should also be a priority. Furthermore, although the report did list the different problems faced by different age groups, they decided to focus on 13-17 year-olds rather than on the 6-12s, or older players.

The best way to achieve this, the report claims, is to focus on clubs, which is how soccer players are nurtured in all the developed nations, and to replicate the Bradenton model “across the country on an everyday basis.” To that end, last month the USSF announced the formation the US Soccer Development Academy (USSDA), which will be comprised of 64 teams.

This preliminary report has some real positives. First of all, the authors deserve credit for acknowledging the fundamental problem -- the fact that our players are not good enough at the highest level -- and identified many of the reasons for these shortcomings. Second, the USSF is wise to set up the USSDA rather relying on the free market (that is, the clubs left to their own devices) to evangelize the sport. And the Bradenton program, which began in 1999, is the best model we currently have. Of the 192 players who have participated, five played in the 2006 World Cup, 48 have become professionals in MLS or Europe, and every player who sought a college scholarship was offered one.

There are, however, some major problems with the report.

First of all, the focus needs to be on 6-12 age bracket at least as much as, if not more than, on the 13-17 bracket. The report outline does identify many of the problems faced by what they call Base Level players: there is a shortage of qualified coaches, games tend be dominated by more physically mature players, and there is too much emphasis on winning. What’s more, the proposed solutions -- more free play, encouraging more experimentation and passion, and more technical training -- make good sense. But, for reasons that were never explained, the authors decided that the focus should be on what they call the Growth Level.

This is a huge mistake. The Maradonas and Zidanes are formed from an early age, long before they start playing for clubs in organized leagues. There is a common perception that American players fall behind because they do not receive proper coaching during adolescence, but the bigger problem, by far, is that they do not develop a passion for soccer until they are already well behind.

I realize that trying to impact this age group presents deep difficulties, because the US does not have a mainstream soccer culture. Most boys grow up dreaming of becoming the next Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez, or Lebron James, not the next Ronaldinho or Landon Donovan. Most Base Levels start playing soccer because their parents sign them up for leagues, not because they have a deeply seeded passion for the sport. They want to throw a football, swing a bat, or shoot jumpers a lot more than they want to juggle a soccer ball. It’s easy to suggest that the US would produce busloads of world-class players if kids would just play! play! play! But figuring out how to instill that desire in them is far more complicated.

Yet it is imperative. The US will never be able to consistently compete with the best nations unless this changes.

What’s needed is experimentation, good old fashioned trial and error. Why not send the coaches, the ones with “limited knowledge,” training DVDs, free of charge, that emphasize technical training and 1 vs1 and 2 vs 2 situations? Why not create more spaces where kids can play with limited supervision, where there is little if any stress placed on winning? This won’t happen without a conscious effort. Maybe the 68 USSDA coaches should be instructed to work extensively with the local Base Level coaches to help foster such environments. There are no simple solutions, so the USSF has to seek out more complicated, creative ones.

My second misgiving about the preliminary report is the lack of any mention of Latinos. I realize that the purpose of this report outline is to examine the state of the youth structure in the most general terms, and that the USSF is making a real effort to reach out to Latino and immigrant cultures, but the problems these communities face are so different that they need to be identified and addressed separately. These kids have ball skills and a passion for the sport. The challenge is to find ways to integrate them into the mainstream structure. There should have been a list of the problems they face -- language barriers, the fact that their playing style is at odds with the Northern European paradigm that dominates American coaching, educational barriers, and financial issues all spring to mind -- and a set of specific recommendations.

My biggest fear is that Latino players will be marginalized by the USSDA project, just like they have been, by and large, by the National Team and the Olympic Development Program. The report outline should have indicated what steps are going to be taken to identify the best players, how financial issues are going to be addressed, and expressed an explicit commitment to integrating Latinos into the USSDA power structure at every level. Task forces and advisory committees are all well and good, but the best way to guarantee that a marginalized group’s voice is taken seriously is to give it votes and power.

The financial barriers to participation are especially troubling. One of the problems that the report outline did not identify was the fact that many qualified coaches spend a lot of time working with less talented prospects. One of the main reasons, of course, is that many of the less talented kids have the wealthy parents, while many of the most talented ones come from poor families. This is another huge problem because of the acute shortage of qualified coaches. The USSF, MLS, the USL, Nike, adidas, and the other corporations who have a vested interest in soccer, need to spend far more money subsidizing these coaches so that they can spend their time working with the best prospects.

Finally, I am also worried that Latino views about how soccer should be played, which put far more of a premium on developing balls skills, will remain largely ignored. The report indicates that the Bradenton model will be used at the other 64 clubs. These clubs will all use the same core curriculum. They will be monitored by National Team coaches and scouts. And the coaches will meet once or twice a year to hold “best practice discussions.”

Why does the USSDA want to use just one core curriculum? Bradenton has been successful, but the academy still has not produced a single world-class outfield player. The 64 clubs should be run by coaches who have diverse views about how soccer should be played, and they should be allowed to experiment with different core curricula.

The greatest strength the United States has is its ethnic diversity, but its greatest weakness has been its tendency to force everyone to adopt Northern European values. This is especially true of soccer. English views about how the game should be played have held sway, and, as Paul Gardner has argued for years, this has not been good for the development of the sport here. The report outline should have identified this as a core problem, and made suggestions about what steps can be taken to promote more pluralism. Soccer is not going to reach its full potential in the US until it pays equal attention to all of its voices.

Ken Pendleton has a Ph.D. in philosophy and currently teaches at Oregon State University. But his first love, though he should know better, is soccer.

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LNG: Nuance in Mutsun

A wonderful discussion from the listservs about nunces of language

This discussion about which pronunciation information one can get from who
has been really interesting. I'd like to share another example.

I work with the Mutsun (Costanoan, California) community. The last fluent
speaker of Mutsun died in 1930, so it's a dormant language. (We don't use
"extinct" or "dead.") The community has been working on revitalizing the
language from the archival records of it since about 1996, and I've been
working with them since 1997, and some additional linguists have now
joined me. I'm an outside linguist, not a community member, and much as
we would like to change this, there aren't any community members who have
had the chance to become trained linguists so far. (Quirina Luna, the
first language leader in the community, is becoming an excellent
informally trained linguist.)

The documentation of the language is entirely written, except possibly for
a very few recordings of songs, which for several reasons aren't likely to
help us much on pronunciation. There is extensive written documentation,
including several thousand pages of fieldnotes made by the linguist J.P.
Harrington, working with the last fluent speaker, Ascension Solorsano, in
1929-1930. There are a couple of earlier sources, including one from
approximately 1815, when there were many fluent speakers. J.P. Harrington
is known from his other work to have been an excellent phonetician, and
this skill is also evident in his Mutsun notes. He gives very
detailed information on pronunciation, and it's clear that he spent a
great deal of his and Mrs. Solorsano's time and effort on clarifying
exactly which sounds were in which words.

One thing we have focused on throughout our work is knowing the sources,
each one: knowing what can be trusted in which sources, and knowing what
kinds of transcription mistakes are typical of which sources. If
Harrington tells us a word sounded a particular way, we trust him. He
also gives us information about Mrs. Solorsano, the last speaker, that
leads us to believe she was exceptionally fluent for a last speaker.
There were many words she didn't know from the earlier sources, but she
seems to maintain phonological distinctions. If the earlier sources use a
particular transcription that looks suspicious, we know whether it's a
likely mistake for that particular source or not: we know which linguists
or amateur linguists neutralized which distinctions based on influence
from their native language (Spanish or English). We also know which ones
couldn't find a way to write certain sounds, even if they could hear them.
(By "amateur linguists" here, I'm referring to people from outside the
community, not Mutsun speakers, who happened to start writing down native
languages, but weren't trained as linguists. C. Hart Merriam gives us
excellent information on plant and animal species word meanings, because
he was trained as a naturalist, but his transcriptions are a disaster in
terms of sounds.)

One problem is that Harrington was almost _too_ good a phonetician: he
often transcribes fine differences among sounds that weren't a distinctive
or consistent part of the pronunciation of the word. All speakers of all
languages (including English) have variability: one time you say the word
"bat" with your vocal cords already vibrating before your lips open on the
/b/, and the next time maybe you don't start your vocal cords vibrating
until just after your lips open. The difference isn't distinctive in
English, so your listener doesn't even notice. Harrington transcribed
every production he heard in as much detail as he could. In Mutsun, he
uses about 6 different symbols for different kinds of /s/ or /S/-like
sounds, but the language only has two that are distinct, and he also tells
us they're usually much like English /s/ and /S/ (palatoalveolar
fricative, I mean). It's _very, very_ clear throughout the data that only
those two are distinct in the language, and that those are the most
typical realizations. (The remaining other symbols he uses also don't
seem to be predictable allophonic variation, they really do seem to be
random variability.) I think linguists sometimes forget that natural
language does have a lot of random, free variation, as well as the
systematic kinds we're used to looking for. One result of his careful
transcriptions is that one time, he may write /sii/ 'water' with one of
the "s" symbols, and another time write the same word with a different
symbol. Sometimes community members trying to learn Mutsun from the
records try so hard to get everything "right," and this can lead them to
put a lot of effort into trying to learn six different sibilants, and
memorize which word to use which one in, when on the very next page that
information is likely to get contradicted, because it was free variation.

This is where lots of communication between the linguists and the
community members gets really important. Communication about what the
community's goals are: To maintain the distinctions of the language in
one's own productive use of the language? To create a simplified system
that will be easier to learn? To pronounce one word faithfully to the way
an ancestor did one time, but not to try to speak on one's own? And I
think trust among the community members and linguists is important: trust
that the linguists are paying attention to what the community's goals are,
and trust that the linguists have the skills to know what they know as a
secure fact about the language and what is unsure, and trust that the
linguists will be honest about what they are or aren't sure of about the
language. In a dormant language situation, or an endangered language
situation with recent language change, there will always be things that
one can't be sure of about how the language was spoken before. As Bill
points out, there are things about the phonetics of English we still don't
know, so it's likely that there will be some things one can't be sure of
for any language no matter how good the documentation. This means that
linguists have to be able to say "I don't know how one should say that, it
might be this way or it might be that way, and here's my best guess, and
here's why I think that." It's also helpful if linguists can say "Yes, I'm
sure that this is how this sound is, even though that other place in the
notes says something different, and here's why I'm sure." Richard, it
does sound like some more of these kinds of consultation might be a good
thing in your case.

In the case of Mutsun, the project was initiated by the community, and we
linguists work _with_ the community. We really do consult each other when
decisions about which sounds to try to learn where, or how to write them,
have to be made. The first practical orthography for the language is one
that a community language leader (Quirina Luna) and I developed together,
making the decisions (reasonably much) together. The practical
orthography has been revised several times, most often at the instigation
of the community. A few years ago we did a major overhaul of the
orthography, and that was not only motivated by the community, in fact,
they came up with all the choices of the new symbols, and then ran them by
us to see what we linguists thought of them. We went with their choices,
as far as I can remember, and I believe they were better choices than the
ones I (a linguist) had come up with a few years earlier. In this case,
the community and the linguists have always been in total agreement about
the importance of maintaining phonological distinctions the language had,
and we are lucky that the documentation, when pooled across the various
sources, is good enough to be pretty sure what the distinctions are. But
the most important part of this is that linguists and community members do
consult with each other on these decisions. (I agree with Bill, of
course, that a community is free to choose to teach a language in some way
that doesn't maintain distinctions if that's what they want. The Mutsuns
have wanted to maintain the distinctions.)

We've had a different experience with suprasegmentals (stress and
intonation, in Mutsun) than with segments, though. Even Harrington gives
us very unclear and inconsistent information about stress. A later source
(Okrand) analyzed his data, and found a somewhat inconsistent pattern he
described as a rule for where to put stress on a Mutsun word, but Okrand
makes it clear that he isn't at all sure about it, and that the data isn't
consistent at all. We realized that pattern was extremely hard to learn,
as it almost always puts stress in the opposite place from English, but we
tried to teach it for a while in the community. Then we realized (after
consulting with linguists who specialize in stress) that the stress rule
Okrand worked out probably can't be right, because it's pretty unlikely to
occur in _any_ language of the world. While that doesn't mean it's wrong,
combined with Okrand's uncertainty about it, and Harrington's extremely
inconsistent use of suprasegmental markings, _and_ the difficulty of
learning it, we decided to stop trying to teach it, and let people put
stress wherever they want, which will probably be based on English.
Linguists and community members made this decision together. We decided
the slow-down to learning wasn't worth it in asking learners to try very
hard to memorize something difficult, for every single word, that was
probably not even right in the language.

We wrote about some of these issues recently, especially about imperfect
learning of a dormant language, in an article in the first issue of the
new Language Documentation and Conservation journal:

http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/June2007/

Finally, I want to reaffirm Bill's point about how people's knowledge of
one language's sound system influences how they learn the distinctions of
another language. There has been a whole lot of research on this in
phonetics during the last 10-15 years (not on endangered language
learning, on bilingualism and language learning generally), so we now know
a lot more about how either a linguist or a child or adult who is fluent
in some language like English is influenced by the sound system of, for
example, English, when they try to learn any other language. Having the
categories of one language makes it very hard to learn certain
distinctions in another language. This is true whether you're a linguist
doing fieldwork or an adult or even a child learning a language in the
community, _if_ you already speak some other language. If you're a kid
learning your heritage language as your first language, from fluent
speakers, _and_ you don't have knowledge of the categories of any other
language yet, then you don't have the problem, of course. Having
knowledge of some other language's categories doesn't make it impossible
to learn the sound categories of a language, but it does make problems in
getting sound categories right likely.

Thanks, everyone, for the interesting discussion. Sorry for writing such
a long reply.

Thanks,

Natasha Warner
University of Arizona



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ENV: Philippine Monkey-eating Eagle

New sighting of RP eagles encourages conservation
By Villamor Visaya Jr., Northern Luzon Bureau, Posted date: September 20, 2007

PEÑABLANCA, Cagayan—At least three new sightings of the endangered Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) were recorded recently at the Peñablanca protected landscape and seascape here, prompting conservationists to be upbeat on efforts to protect the national bird.

Dr. Artemio Antolin, Conservation International (CI) biodiversity corridor program director, said the sightings came following seven sightings along the Northern Sierra Madre natural park in Isabela.

Logging survivors

“These Philippine eagles have been seen but their nesting and breeding sites have yet to be identified. This information is promising … even though commercial logging had been rampant in the 1970s to the 1980s along the Sierra Madre mountain ranges,” he said.

The Philippine eagle, a forest raptor described as one of the three most critically endangered species in the world, belongs to the 118 species of birds seen in the Peñablanca protected area, Antolin said.

At least 56 species, or 47 percent, of the birds in the park are endemic, he added.

Endemic owls

CI records said at least 178 species of fauna (birds, doves, reptiles and bats) have been recorded in the park, with 54 percent of them classified as endemic.

Four endemic owls have been seen in the park.

“The park possesses a wealth of biological diversity. In fact, it is one of the most important bird areas worldwide and a conservation priority in the country,” Antolin said.

Antolin and other CI officials last week entered into a reforestation agreement with the Toyota Motor Corp., the Peñablanca local government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the 1,772-hectare reforestation project in five villages in Peñablanca’s protected landscape and seascape.

Caves, rivers

CI records said the Peñablanca protected area has a 118,781-hectare forest and marine area. It is connected to the Northern Sierra Madre natural park, which has 476,588-hectare marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

“The forest of Peñablanca is a haven of endemic flora and fauna that is the richest in the world and considered as one of the country’s last remaining old growth and mossy forests,” Antolin said.

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ENV: Chinese Crested Terns

“Alarm-call” for China’s rarest bird
21-09-2007

A study of Chinese Crested Tern highlights that the global population has fallen to less than fifty individuals, half what they were just three years ago.

The study believes that the main cause of this decline is an unregulated expansion in trade for seabird eggs, a local delicacy that has risen in demand alongside a thriving tourist economy.

Without urgent action conservationists have given the bird less than five years before disappearing completely from its two remaining breeding areas.

Chinese Crested Tern Sterna bernstein is China’s rarest bird, listed by BirdLife International as Critically Endangered – the most severe threat category.

First discovered in 1861 and rarely recorded since, Chinese Crested Tern was largely presumed extinct until 2000, when four adults and four chicks were found amongst a colony of other tern species on Matsu, an island off the coast of Fujian Province. In 2004, it was discovered breeding at another site: Jiushan Islands, on the coast of Zhejiang Province of eastern China. At present these are the only known breeding sites in the world.

Chen Shuihua
Seabird eggs collected as delicacies may include threatened species like Chinese Crested Tern
Zoom In

“Compared with 2004, the population size has decreased by more than 50 percent,” —Dr Chen Shuihua, CCT survey team

“We all thought we had lost this species sixty years ago and were so happy to hear of its rediscovery in 2000,” commented Simba Chan, Senior Conservation Manager at BirdLife’s Asia Division. “Its survival in Fujian and Zhejiang waters was probably due to the tension between Beijing and Taipei.”

“It would be such an irony if the Chinese Crested Tern survived amid the hostility in the Taiwanese Strait, yet becomes extinct now the relationship between Beijing and Taipei gradually normalises,” he added.

“Both sides of the Strait should work together to save this, the rarest bird in China - otherwise it will be sure to follow the Baiji [Yangtze River Dolpin] as another ecological tragedy of the early 21st century.”

The recent survey, undertaken by a Chinese survey team, is the first time Chinese Crested Tern have been surveyed over successive breeding seasons.

“Compared with 2004, the population size has decreased by more than 50 percent,” said Dr Chen Shuihua, who led the Chinese Crested Tern survey team. “Our investigation indicated that its survival is under very severe pressure and on the verge of extinction.”

The study suggests that egg-collecting poses by far the most dramatic threat to Chinese Crested Tern, whereby seabird eggs are collected by local fishermen in the belief that wild eggs have more nutritious value than poultry eggs.

“With rapid economic development along the east coastal area in China, tourism and catering have also developed rapidly,” explained Dr Chen. “As a result a large number of sidewalk snack booths have emerged in the coastal areas of Zhejiang and Fujian.”

Seabird eggs have become a popular delicacy, yet there is little awareness that some of these eggs may come from threatened species.

The report indicates that the going rate for one seabird egg at Juexi (nearby the Jiushan Island breeding colony) was approximately 15 Chinese yuans ($2USD) in 2005. In two years this price has more than doubled: seabird eggs now sell for 35 Chinese yuans (about $4.5USD), encouraging more people into the egg-collecting trade.

In 2005 and 2006, the Chinese Crested Tern breeding colony disappeared altogether on Jiushan Island, most likely a sign of breeding failure caused by egg-collecting. Subsequent findings have reinforced this opinion: “We saw few newborn seabirds in our 2006 and 2007 breeding season surveys,” added Dr Chen.

BirdLife International are among those putting together an action plan that will draw together measures needed to save Chinese Crested Tern. Among the actions needing urgent implementation are: enhancing protection of breeding habitats, stationing wardens, regular monitoring, and regulations for selling and collecting of seabird eggs in eastern China.

“China has a good record on taking action to save other bird species from extinction - this alarm-call to save Chinese Crested Tern has hopefully come just in time.” said Simba.

For a Chinese translation of this story please click here (PDF, 136kb)

This news is brought to you with the support of BirdLife’s Species Champions and the British Birdwatching Fair.

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ENV: Beaked Whales and Sonar

Does Navy Sonar Hurt Beaked Whales?
Scientists Seek Clues on How Navy Sonar Affects Beaked Whales in the Pacific
By AUDREY McAVOY, The Associated Press, KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii

Robin Baird's research team members stare at the horizon for hours, searching for rarely seen beaked whales.

The small, gray marine mammals have been at the center of the dispute over the Navy's use of high intensity sonar ever since several washed ashore with bleeding around their brains and ears during naval exercises in the Bahamas seven years ago.

"They appear to be the most susceptible group of cetaceans to impacts from Navy sonars," said Baird, a marine biologist based in Olympia, Wash., whose team recently spent three weeks off Hawaii's Big Island studying whales.

Training sailors to use sonar is a top priority for the Navy as more nations, including China, have acquired quiet, hard-to-detect submarines. In many cases, the only way the Navy can find these stealthy ships is by using mid-frequency active sonar, firing bursts of sound through the water and listening for an echo off a ship's hull.

Environmentalists have filed lawsuits challenging the Navy's plans for sonar training exercises, claiming the underwater noise harms whales and arguing there's enough evidence to require the Navy to take more aggressive measures to protect the animals.

The Navy says it doesn't want to deny its sailors the full spectrum of sonar training because of unproven theories.

Beaked whales are among the least understood marine mammals. To learn more, Baird's research team headed off the Kona coast of the Big Island to attach time-depth recorders and satellite tags to beaked whales in order to monitor the animals' diving patterns and movements around the islands.

Beaked whale adults stretch an average 18 feet about half the length of a typical humpback whale, the most famous and easily spotted whale around the Hawaiian islands.

As they hunt squid, they dive deeper than almost any marine mammal. One that Baird tagged in previous years descended more than 4,900 feet.

Many scientists suspect it is the beaked whales' unique ability to swim at great depths for long periods that makes them more vulnerable to sonar.

One theory, not yet verified, is that the loud sonar noise startles the whales, prompting them to surface unusually rapidly and causing injuries similar to the bends in human divers.

"The question is, why would it have a different response from other species? Or why would a behavioral response affect them more?" said Baird, a research biologist with the nonprofit Cascadia Research Collective.

After four years of field work, Baird estimates there are fewer than 200 members of two beaked whale species around the Big Island. This year, in 17 days off the Kona coast, his team spotted beaked whales only twice.

Experts don't know enough about beaked whales to say whether their numbers in Hawaii are growing or shrinking, making it impossible to measure sonar's effect on the population as a whole, Baird said.

Scientists in the Bahamas ran controlled experiments this month to see how beaked whales and other marine mammals respond to different sounds.

"We still know almost nothing about the reactions of marine mammals to underwater sound," Brandon Southall, the Bahamas study's principal investigator, told reporters in a recent conference call. "Our field is very much in its infancy."

Southall, who directs the ocean acoustics program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the results of the Bahamas study should help regulators decide what type of sonar to allow. The Navy is almost entirely funding the study, about $3 million this year.

Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, said the Navy is willing to post whale lookouts on its ships and limit sonar use when the animals get too close.

But he said there's no scientific basis for more stringent measures demanded by some environmentalists, including designating entire areas as non-sonar zones.

"The frustration and challenge is that we are being asked to put mitigating procedures into place, or to not operate and restrict our freedom of operations, without any foundation whatsoever," Willard said in an interview.

Joel Reynolds, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said studies have shown that high intensity sonar can affect whale behavior.

"It is essential to use the technology in a precautionary fashion and implement commonsense measures to reduce the risk of harm," said Reynolds, who leads a team suing the Navy over sonar in federal court.

On the Net:

Cascadia Research Collective: http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/robin/hawaii.htm

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ATH: Women's wins not pretty

U.S. Team Winning Games, Not Style Points
MIKE WOITALLA, New York Sun, September 25, 2007

The United States has taken the Abby Road to the 2007 Women's World Cup semifinals, yet the team's overreliance on booting balls up to its powerful striker, Abby Wambach, hasn't earned Coach Greg Ryan's team many style points.

While Wambach has scored four goals in as many games and notched an assist, the nation with the richest history in the women's game has hardly sparkled in this tournament. And its predictable strategy will be tested severely when it meets Brazil on Thursday, the tournament's only unbeaten and untied team through four games at the finals in China.

In a 2–2 tie with North Korea and a 1-0 win over Nigeria, the U. S. was dominated for long stretches. Meanwhile, Brazil and Germany, which faces Norway in the other semifinal, have provided a more diverse and entertaining brand of soccer.

After Wambach scored twice to down Sweden, 2–0, the Swedish captain and three-time World Cup vet Victoria Svensson said, "I've definitely seen them play better. Six or seven years ago, with Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy in the team, they would try to play the ball on the ground a lot more and pull teams apart that way. ... Now they just try to bang it up to Abby."

At this tournament, Foudy serves as ESPN2's color commentator. In the quarterfinals, when Wambach clashed with one of England's defenders to win a corner kick, Foudy said, "That's the beauty, if you can call it beauty, of Abby's game, is that it's a little bit ugly, but it's effective. And you just wear players down."

The comment was made after the 5-foot-11-inch Wambach broke English captain Faye White's nose with an elbow and scored the opening goal by flying through another defender to head it home from four yards.

Shannon Boxx, after England coughed up the ball deep in their territory, struck with a 20-yard shot, and Kristine Lilly tapped the ball into an empty net after keeper Rachel Brown badly misjudged a long through-ball by Cat Whitehill.

For sure, the Americans played efficiently in their 3–0 win over England. But the English weren't a title contender and nor were the Swedes.

Perhaps the U.S.'s solid defense — three shutouts in four games — and more from Wambach will be enough for the team to reclaim the World Cup title it won in 1999 but conceded to Germany in 2003. But even if it wins the title in China, questions must be asked about how women's soccer in America is evolving if it needs to rely on the long-ball and wearing opponents down instead of outplaying them.

Shouldn't U.S. women's soccer be the world's the most successful and most entertaining?

America has had a big headstart in the women's game. The enforcement of Title IX spurred the massive growth of women's college soccer, creating opportunities for young women to play competitively at a scale unmatched anywhere in the world.

The U.S. Soccer Federation's investment in its women's and girls' national team programs is far, far greater than any rival. It fields national teams at the U-21, U-20, U-17, U-16, and U-15 levels, and has a U-14 Girls National Development Program.

To prepare for this Women's World Cup, the U.S. team spent two years in a residency camp and played more preparation games than any other entry. And nowhere do so many girls play the game as they do in America, whose 1.56 million registered girl players are more than the sum total of the 14 nations that rank behind it.

Usually when a team resorts to Route 1 soccer and out-muscling its opponents, the coach's excuse is that he doesn't have the talent to play a possession game. Could it be that despite all of the ambitious grassroots girls soccer programs, the nation still isn't producing enough players so the national team can control the rhythm of the game and win with flair?

When Ryan had to defend his team's playing style, he wasn't about to belittle the talent of his players, but he took a shot at those who believe the game should entertain.

"If you spend all your time trying to look pretty, you're going to end up with big problems the other way," Ryan told FIFA.com.

Not that anyone is asking his team to spend all its time trying to entertain, but soccer has had a long history of teams that look good while they win. How can that be too lofty of a goal of the U.S.? In fact, it should be the aim of the U. S. women's national team.

Ryan's main mission may be to capture the title, but women's soccer has a grander goal in America. A professional women's soccer league is scheduled to launch in 2009. Its previous incarnation came in the form of the Women's United Soccer Association and lasted just three seasons, between 2001 and 2003.

Organizers of the re-launch believe they can succeed this time around by implementing a shrewder financial policy than the WUSA had. But it won't be that simple. To draw crowds week-in, week-out to support pro clubs, the product must be tantalizing.

If the nation's showcase team relies on a gritty kick-and-rush game because it doesn't have the players with the individual skills needed to serve up a more sophisticated style, the future of women's soccer in America doesn't look as bright as it should.

Mr. Woitalla is the executive editor of Soccer America Magazine.

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OBT: Marcel Marceau

Mime Marcel Marceau dies at age 84
World-famous performer played range of human emotions for 50 years
The Associated Press, Updated: 10:41 a.m. CT Sept 23, 2007

PARIS - Marcel Marceau, who revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, has died, French media reported Sunday. He was 84.

France-Info radio and LCI television said the family had announced the death of Marceau. No other details were released.

Wearing white face paint, soft shoes and a battered hat topped with a red flower, the world-famous Marceau played the entire range of human emotions onstage for more than 50 years, never uttering a word. Offstage, he was famously chatty. “Never get a mime talking. He won’t stop,” he once said.

A French Jew, Marceau survived the Holocaust — and also worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children.

Inspired by Charlie Chaplin
His biggest inspiration was Charlie Chaplin. Marceau, in turn, inspired countless young performers — Michael Jackson borrowed his famous “moonwalk” from a Marceau sketch, “Walking Against the Wind.”

Marceau performed tirelessly around the world until late in life, never losing his agility, never going out of style. In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, “Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death,” he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes.

“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?” he once said.

Marceau was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. His father Charles, a butcher who sang baritone, introduced his son to the world of music and theater at an early age. The boy adored the silent film stars of the era: Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx brothers.

When the Germans marched into eastern France, he and his family were given just hours to pack their bags. He fled to southwest France and changed his last name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins.

With his brother Alain, Marceau became active in the French Resistance. Marceau altered children’s identity cards, changing their birth dates to trick the Germans into thinking they were too young to be deported. Because he spoke English, he was recruited to be a liaison officer with Gen. George S. Patton’s army.

Father sent to Auschwitz
In 1944, Marceau’s father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died.

Later, he reflected on his father’s death: “Yes, I cried for him.”

But he also thought of all the others killed: “Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who (would have) found a cancer drug,” he told reporters in 2000. “That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another.”

When Paris was liberated, Marcel’s life as a performer began. He enrolled in Charles Dullin’s School of Dramatic Art, studying with the renowned mime Etienne Decroux.

On a tiny stage at the Theatre de Poche, a smoke-filled Left Bank cabaret, he sought to perfect the style of mime that would become his trademark.

Bip — Marceau’s on-stage persona — was born.

Marceau once said that Bip was his creator’s alter ego, a sad-faced double whose eyes lit up with child-like wonder as he discovered the world. Bip was a direct descendant of the 19th century harlequin, but his clownish gestures, Marceau said, were inspired by Chaplin and Keaton.

Marceau likened his character to a modern-day Don Quixote, “alone in a fragile world filled with injustice and beauty.”

Dressed in a white sailor suit, a top hat — a red rose perched on top — Bip chased butterflies and flirted at cocktail parties. He went to war and ran a matrimonial service.

'Public garden'
In one famous sketch, “Public Garden,” Marceau played all the characters in a park, from little boys playing ball to old women with knitting needles.

In 1949 Marceau’s newly formed mime troupe was the only one of its kind in Europe. But it was only after a hugely successful tour across the United States in the mid-1950s that Marceau received the acclaim that would make him an international star.

Single-handedly, Marceau revived the art of mime.

“I have a feeling that I did for mime what (Andres) Segovia did for the guitar, what (Pablo) Casals did for the cello,” he once told The Associated Press in an interview.

In the past decades, he has taken Bip to from Mexico to China to Australia. He’s also made film appearances. The most famous was Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie”: He had the only speaking line, “Non!”

As he aged, Marceau kept on performing at the same level, never losing the agility that made him famous. On top of his Legion of Honor and his countless honorary degrees, he was invited to be a United Nations goodwill ambassador for a 2002 conference on aging.

“If you stop at all when you are 70 or 80, you cannot go on,” he told The AP in an interview in 2003. “You have to keep working.”

Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

ATH: Luke is Player of the Week!

A Tivy homeboy!

Rattler Mens Soccer Keeps Rolling, Wins 4-1, Over ENMU
9/17/2007


Senior Luke Smith scored his second career goal as a Rattler, helping St. Mary's to a 4-2 win over Eastern New Mexico Sunday. Smith was named Heartland Conference Player of the Week.



David Peterson scored his fifth goal of the season, while three other St. Mary's University players put in their first goal of the season as the Rattlers rolled to a 4-2 win over Eastern New Mexico University in men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at St. Mary's University Soccer Field.

After scoring 16 goals all of last season, the Rattlers have scored eight goals over just the last two games. Peterson (Fr., Saginaw) put in his fifth goal in six games this season.

The Rattlers started fast for the second straight game. In just the eighth minute of the game Bryon Plagge (Jr., San Antonio) sent a throw in to Kris Sumter (Sr., San Antonio) in the penalty area, who headed the ball to Funmilola Dada (Sr., Houston), who then one-touched the ball into the net for a 1-0 Rattler lead. That was it for the scoring for the Rattlers in the first half, but ENMU tied things late on a goal by Edgar Bear.

Peterson then put the Rattlers up for good in the 61st minute when he outraced a soft pass back to goalkeeper Leif Craddock and beat Craddock to give the Rattlers a 2-1 lead. Eight minutes later Luke Smith (Sr., Kerrville) took a free kick from just outside the penalty area and beat Craddock for a 3-1 lead. Zach Valdez (Sr., Plano) finished off the scoring for the Rattlers with his first goal of the season in the 87th minute.

Jayson Horn (Jr., San Antonio) recorded his third win in as many games in goal for the Rattlers. He made three saves. Craddock made six saves for the Greyhounds, while facing 21 shots.

With the win the Rattlers have now won three straight games and improved to 4-2 overall this season. ENMU fell to 3-4. St. Mary's will return to action on Friday when they travel to Austin to face St. Edward's University in a Heartland Conference matchup.


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ENV: A new I and the Bird is up!

Here's Mike's email notification:

Old goatherds swear how all night long they hear
The warning whirr and burring of the bird
Who wakes with darkness and till dawn works hard
Vampiring dry of milk each great goat udder…

Shudder… excuse me while I interrupt this daring verse, entitled Goatsucker by Sylvia Plath, to explain why it is apropos of the newest I and the Bird. Goatsucker is but one of many aspersions cast at the humble species of the Order Caprimulgiformes, a ragtag collection of frogmouths, pauraques, potoos, and poorwills that has been vilified throughout the ages, mocked for their physical peculiarities, feared for their nocturnal proclivities.

Moon full, moon dark, the chary dairy farmer
Dreams that his fattest cattle dwindle, fevered
By claw-cuts of the Goatsucker, alias Devil-bird,
Its eye, flashlit, a chip of ruby fire.

Members of the Family Caprimulgidae, the goatsuckers of goatsuckers if you will, are truly fascinating. These birds, known collectively as nightjars, are possessed of wide gapes and capacious gullets, not to mention long rictal bristles rimming the mouth. These whiskers, absent in nighthawks, facilitate flycatching and moth munching, not udder embezzlement. Thus, the brilliant light of scientific inquiry dispels yet another slanderous myth.

So fables say the Goatsucker moves, masked from men's sight
In an ebony air, on wings of witch cloth,
Well-named, ill-famed a knavish fly-by-night,
Yet it never milked any goat, nor dealt cow death
And shadows only—cave-mouth bristle beset—
Cockchafers and the wan, green luna moth.

The host of our newest I and the Bird may be known in blogging circles as The Nightjar, but he does not, to my knowledge, perpetrate any of the atrocities his namesakes have been accused of nor consort with cockchafers (a European beetle, oh ye of overactive imagination.) Instead, he writes about a variety of engaging topics dear to my heart like sports and avifauna. Today, he's presented a delirious sci-fi themed edition of I and the Bird #58.

Have you got the inside scoop on avian indiscretions? Do you set the record straight about just how wild some wild birds can get? Inquiring I and the Bird minds want to know. Our next host is the sensational Summer at Naturalist Notebook. Send a link to your best bird-related post to me or Summer by Tuesday, October 2 for the October 4 edition.

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ENV: Baiji refound!

Baiji Dolphin Previously Thought Extinct Spotted in the Yangtze River
Kathleen Sullivan, Newsroom, WWF Press Release, For Release: 08/31/2007

BEIJING-- The reported sighting of a Yangtze River dolphin, or Baiji, means there is still a chance for people to take further action and protect the cetaceans in the Yangtze from extinction, according to World Wildlife Fund.

The Chinese media reported that a local businessman in Tongling City in east China’s Anhui Province filmed “a big white animal” with his digital camera on August 19. The footage was later confirmed to be the Baiji by Prof. Wang Ding, a leading scientist in Baiji study at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It is the first Baiji reportedly found in the Yangtze since the scientific expedition last year, during which no single Baiji was spotted.

Based on the river’s geographic and hydrological complexity and the official definition of extinction by IUCN, WWF and many scientists agreed that this species was “functionally extinct”, but thought it was still too early to declare its extinction.

“This sighting presents a last hope that the Baiji may not go the way of the dodo bird,” said Karen Baragona, Yangtze River Basin Program leader at World Wildlife Fund. “Other species have been brought back from the brink of extinction like the southern right whale and white rhinos, but only through the most intensive conservation efforts.”

WWF has been actively involved in the protection of cetaceans and their habitat in the Yangtze River. “WWF calls for immediate joint efforts to provide a living space for this beautiful animal, which is a key species indicating the health of its habitat – the Yangtze River. To be effective, efforts must address agriculture, water resources, transportation, environmental protection and sanitation to reduce human disturbance and protect the cetaceans in the river,” Baragona said.

Last year, WWF cooperated with other stakeholders to finish drafting a protection strategy and action plan to improve the protection capacity of nature reserves.

“Protections will be implemented under the WWF program to conserve the Baiji and the Yangtze together with related stakeholders,” Baragona added.


About the Yangtze Freshwater Dolphin Expedition 2006
Organized by the Hydrobiology Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Yangtze Fisheries Resources Administration Commission and The baiji.org Foundation with support from WWF, American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Britain’s Zoological Society of London and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), the search is the largest of such kind in recent years in the Yangtze River.

Kicked off in Wuhan, Hubei Province on November 6, 2006, scientists from home and abroad spent 39 days on board of two ships traveling a distance of nearly 3,400 kilometers between Yichang, Hubei Province and Shanghai along the river. Advanced equipments and a well-formulated standard were used for the search expedition, during which participants conducted uninterrupted simultaneous surveillance via high-precision telescope and human eyesight.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

ENV: Red Bird of Paradise

Rare red bird of paradise hatched at Houston Zoo KHOU.com staff report, 04:47 PM CDT on Thursday, September 13, 2007

A rare red bird of paradise, considered near-threatened in the wild, is being raised by its mother at the Houston Zoo. The chick hatched in the Zoo’s off exhibit breeding area following an incubation period of 17 days.

“This is a significant birth for the Houston Zoo,” said Houston Zoo Bird Curator Hannah Bailey. “Only three other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have red bird of paradise. Of those three, only one other zoo has successfully bred the birds this year.”

The chick fledged 17 days after hatching and its breeding is the first at the Zoo since 1978.

The bird is being raised by its mother and is receiving a diet of fruit, meal worms and crickets, and a nutritionally balanced pellet food.

Red birds of paradise are found on several small islands off the coast of Papua, the Indonesian governed western half of New Guinea. The species was almost harvested to extinction in the late 1800s when the birds distinctive tail plumage was used as fashionable hat décor.

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ENV: IUCN Listing for 2007

More birds than ever face extinction – but success stories highlight way forward 9-12-2007

As the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveals the scale of the escalating extinction crisis occurring across the planet, an unobtrusive parakeet from Mauritius is showing that, with funding and dedicated fieldworkers, species can recover from the brink of extinction.

Released today, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveals that unprecedented numbers of species are now threatened with extinction. For birds, the Red List is maintained by BirdLife International, who report that 1,221 species are considered threatened with extinction. The overall conservation status of the world’s birds has deteriorated steadily since 1988, when they were first comprehensively assessed.

189 birds are now listed as Critically Endangered - the highest threat category.

Yet even among these severely threatened birds is a small number whose survival odds are improving, providing case-studies to others for how species can be successfully saved. The most encouraging recovery seen in the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is Mauritius (Echo) Parakeet, once dubbed “the rarest parrot on Earth”.

Mauritius Parakeet, Psittacula eques, males of which have a bright red bill - was once down to just 10 birds in the 1970s, but today saw the World Conservation Union (IUCN) announce its move from Critically Endangered to Endangered.

“Mauritius Parakeet is an inspiring example of how species can be helped to recover even from the brink of extinction,” comments Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s Global Species Coordinator.

In the last century the species has suffered from a multitude of threats all of which contributed to substantial declines; yet concerted actions, involving local and international conservationists, the government and people of Mauritius –with support from an array of international funders- has seen the species’ chances of survival improve.

“Our work in saving other Critically Endangered birds on Mauritius has taught us that you must tackle the root causes of decline and be prepared to address these issues first,” says Vikash Tatayah of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF), the island’s sole terrestrial conservation NGO.

For Mauritius Parakeet, these threats included introduced nest predators (in particular Black Rat), decline of the native fruits on which the parakeets feed (itself outcompeted by invasive non-native plants, and eaten by feral pigs), and a loss of suitable nesting sites.

“These parrots only naturally nest in old canopy trees, which are disappearing across the island,” Vikash explains. “Many years of hard work went into tackling the shortage of nest sites and finally we’ve come up with a design acceptable to Echo Parakeets and requiring less maintenance. The parakeets now nest in artificial cavities more than the traditional nest cavities.”

“The artificial cavities also control for invasive nest predators – another long-term threat to the birds,” Vikash continues. “The boxes are rat-proofed, overhanging trees are trimmed, we poison for rats on the ground, and staple plastic sheeting around trees to reduce predation of eggs and chicks by rats. These are simple but essential measures to help get the population back on its feet.”

“Across the world there are dedicated people struggling to repeat this story for other species, but they need the resources to achieve this.” —Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Species Programme Coordinator

This is the third such downlisting to occur on Mauritius in recent years due to the efforts of MWF. In 2000, Pink Pigeon Nesoenas mayeri, down to just nine birds a decade earlier, was downlisted to Endangered and now numbers 400 birds. Likewise, Mauritius Kestrel Falco punctatus, went from just four birds in 1974 and now numbers approximately 1,000 individuals.

On being asked the secret of their success Vikash answers: “It’s no use saying ‘a parrot is a parrot, a pigeon is a pigeon’; instead we must ask how we can use the lessons we have learnt on restoring populations of other threatened birds – we must pass information on, learn from our experiences and the experiences of other projects worldwide.”

“We’ve needed fantastic support and that’s what we’ve got: both technical and financial but you also need excellent and dedicated people in the field. Whilst funding is crucial, equally so is having trained people in the field – people make the difference.”

The news is of encouragement to those working in conservation within the BirdLife Partnership, once again proving that with adequate investment and trained people on the ground, threatened species do recover. [5]

Two weeks ago the first Mauritius Parakeet eggs of the season were laid and MWF is confident that, due to good native fruit season, a sufficient number of young parrots will fledge to maintain the population.

“Mauritius Parakeet is still Endangered – we still have lots of work to do,” states Vikash. MWF will continue conservation work on the species until the Mauritius Parakeet population is self-sustaining, but by working to maintain habitats, control predators and promote biodiversity they hope to improve the survival odds of other species that too depend on the island’s biodiversity, “People included,” adds Vikash.

“Like other species that have been saved from extinction, reversing the fortunes of the Mauritius Parakeet took painstaking research to identify the threats, sufficient funding and sustained efforts by dedicated fieldworkers to implement the necessary actions,” said BirdLife’s Dr Stuart Butchart.

“Across the world there are dedicated people struggling to repeat this story for other species, but they need the resources to achieve this.”

For more on today’s Red List 2007 announcements visit: www.iucn.org


Mauritius Parakeet, Psittacula eques

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

COM: More on the GSQ friends front

Just a note to say the Charles has landed the role of Romainville in the Equity production of Ring Round the Moon at St. Edward's this fall. The show runs from 7-18 November. Mathis grabbed the role of Mendel in Fiddler on the Roof at Lon Morris, but i don't have the dates for that one yet. And finally Austin Owen is back on the road in The Producers on tour nationally, and will be inTexas in March 2008 for shows in Galveston, Corpus and Waco. Great kids, great actors, great shows . . . if you get a chance chekck 'em out.

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COM: In the blood

That's the nephew leading the list there!


Six McKinney-area high school seniors were named 2007-08 National Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jeffrey M. Cameron and Laura E. Norman are McKinney Boyd High School’s first National Merit Semifinalists. Also achieving the honor were David B. McCoy from McKinney High School, Daniel T. Hooper from McKinney North High School, Allison M. Boos from Gateway Preparatory School and Emily A. Leeke from Lucas Christian Academy.

These seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards, worth $34 million, to be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling several requirements. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners.

The semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ATH: Women's World Cup

US Opens With Draw
09/11/2007 8:10 AM

CHENGDU, China (Sept. 11, 2007) – Through steady rain, the US came away with a draw in their first FIFA Women’s World Cup match against North Korea.

After a scoreless first half, the US got on the board first when an Abby Wambach strike was too much for goalkeeper Jon Myong Hui to handle. Just a few minutes later, however, the striker would suffer a deep cut to the back of her head on defensive play, forcing the US to play with 10 players for several minutes while getting stitched up.

"I could hear the crowd going crazy when I was in the locker room getting my stitches," said Wambach. "I only wish the doctor could have gotten them in faster."

A young North Korea team seemed unphased, and took full advantage of their man-up situation, pulling even in the 58th minute when Kil Son Hui struck a long-distance shot that Hope Solo couldn’t handle in the wet conditions. Just four minutes later, the North Koreans took the lead on a goal from Kim Yong Ae.

North Korea head coach Kim Kwang-Min said "I think the USA is the best team in the world frankly, but today they did not perform to the best of their ability and we took advantage of it. I think we played well tonight and I am satisfied. I hope we can get better as the tournament goes on."

The Americans, back to full strength, tied the game on a Heather O’Reilly finish with the outside of her right foot in the 69th minute to earn a tough 2-2 draw, and an important point in Group B. The US will next face Sweden on Friday, Sept. 14 at 4:55 a.m. EST on ESPN.

-- Game Report --

Participants: U.S. WNT vs. North Korea
Competition: FIFA Women’s World Cup
Location: Chengdu, China
Date: Sept. 11, 2007
Attendance: TBD

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
PRK 0 2 2

USA – Abby Wambach (Kristine Lilly) 50th minute
PRK – Kil Son Hui 58.
PRK – Kim Yong Ae 62.
USA – Heather O’Reilly 69.

Lineups:
USA: 1- Hope Solo; 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill, 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly (6-Natasha Kai, 90), 11-Carli Lloyd, 13-Kristine Lilly, 14-Stephanie Lopez, 15-Kate Markgraf, 17-Lori Chalupny, 20-Abby Wambach
Subs Not Used: 1-Briana Scurry, 2-Marian Dalmy, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 8-Tina Ellertson, 10-Ally Wagner, 12-Leslie Osborne, 16-Angela Hucles, 19-Marci Jobson, 21-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Greg Ryan

PRK: 21-J. Myong Hui; 2-Kim Kwong Hwa, 3-On Jong Ran, 5-Song Jong Sun, 7-Ho Sun Hui (17-Kim Yong Ae; 19-Jong Pok Sim), 8-Kil Son Hui, 9-Ri Un Suk, 12-Ri Un Gyong, 15-Sonu Kyong Sun, 16-K. Hye Ok
Subs Not Used: 1-Phi Un Hui, 4-Yun Song Me, 6-Kim Ok Sim, 11-Ho Un Byol, 14-Jang Yong Ok, 18-Yun Hyon Hi, 20-Hong Myong Gum
Head Coach: Kim Kwang Min

Statistical Summary: USA / PRK
Shots 21/18
Shots on goal 8/10
Saves 6/8
Fouls 13/13
Corner Kicks 6/7
Offside 0/0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Christie Rampone (caution) 45th minute
PRK – J. Pok Sim (caution) 90.

Officials:
Referee: Nicole Petignat (SUI)
1st Assistant: Corinne La Grange (FRA)
2nd Assistant: Karine Vives Solana (FRA)
Fourth Official: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)

Courtesy of US Soccer Communications. Quotes courtesy of FIFA.com

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Monday, September 10, 2007

COM: Lyle!

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Almost 21 years after he released his first album, Lyle Lovett has scored personal bests on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts.

"It's Not Big It's Large" entered the Billboard 200 at No. 18 with sales of 25,000 copies in the week ended September 2, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

The previous best for the 49-year-old Texan singer/songwriter was "The Road to Ensenada," which opened at No. 24 in 1996, albeit with more than 43,000 copies. (The overall music industry has slumped in that time.)

On the country chart, "It's Not Big" opened at No. 2, surpassing the No. 4 start for "Ensenada." The Curb/Lost Highway release is Lovett's first album on this chart since "My Baby Don't Tolerate" reached No. 7 in 2003. His self-titled 1986 debut peaked at No. 14 the following year.



Large and in charge
Lyle Lovett: It's Not Big It's Large
By JOEY GUERRA, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 27, 2007, 3:22PM

A Lyle Lovett record feels like an old friend. Even if you've never heard it, the tunes are warm and full of familiar emotions.

It's Not Big It's Large, in stores today, sticks to that well-worn, still-solid formula. The Houston-born crooner has assembled a moving collection of memories and musings on life. They're like musical keepsakes from his remarkable life.

Instrumental kickoff Tickle Toe sets a reliably snappy tone via a blast of horns and fiddles. But the mood quickly shifts to something deeper and often darker.

Mournful gospel chant I Will Rise Up soars on a swelling chorus of hard-luck voices. It has an ominous, unsettling tone punctuated by twinges of rock guitar.

That tune also incorporates the traditional Ain't No More Cane, which Lovett reprises later in the disc, to glorious effect.

The tall Texan has gathered an impressively tasteful array of collaborators, including Viktor Krauss (bass), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Sam Bush (mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Bela Fleck (banjo) and Jon Randall (guitar and vocals).

Even with so many players (including Lovett's own Large Band) there's nary a wasted moment on the disc. It's a taut, focused collection.

South Texas Girl features Texas icon Guy Clark crooning a sweet intro and outro. It dances along a wistful, waltzlike arrangement as Lovett recalls memories of his Lone Star childhood. In the overstylized hands of a current country heartthrob, it would be a huge radio hit.

Lovett injects a few tunes — No Big Deal, All Downhill — with his trademark wry humor. All Downhill is a jovial country tune highlighted by expert string work. Fiddle, mandolin and guitars commingle with ease.

Don't Cry a Tear is a lump-in-throat standout, hooked on Lovett's aching delivery. It's a hushed, meditative moment on mortality that's difficult to listen to, even after several plays.

This Travelin' Around is a beautifully arranged lover's lament, with Lovett repeating the song's pivotal lyric ("This travelin' around/It's gonna be the death of me") to drive home the point.

Much of the record's pace is slow and steady. But things pick up during Up in Indiana, which rides an irresistible, knee-slapping groove. Think of it as a kinder, gentler cousin to Garth Brooks' Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up). The song also is included in a fine pickin'-and-grinnin' acoustic rendition.

Make it Happy is an equally engaging — albeit smoother and even sillier — band romp. You can almost see the backup singers' smiling faces amid the bubbling instrumentation.

Lovett says he wrote The Alley Song in 1979, but it rings with immediacy. The details are as rich and evocative as any of the Robert Altman flicks on Lovett's acting résumé. ("When you know you're not the best / You hope no one can tell.")

It's Not Big It's Large is the sound of an artist comfortable, confident in his musical skin. It not only charms, it captivates.

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