Sunday, July 26, 2009

ATH: WTH?? Mexico 5 USA 0

Mexico Resets Rivalry
GoldCup By Clemente Lisi - EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (Jul 26, 2009) USSoccerPlayers

The United States is second best once again this summer – and again it was down to a second-half lapse.

With 79,156 crammed into Giants Stadium on Sunday in suburban New York, Mexico routed the US 5-0 in the Gold Cup final. The mostly pro-Mexico crowd got the win they wanted, but the how should have left most in attendance shocked.

The stunning loss ended the US’s eight-year unbeaten home streak against CONCACAF teams at 58 games. The victory also marked Mexico’s first win against the US on American soil this decade (the US had posted a 9-0-2 home record in the previous 11 meetings).

Although the US was playing at home, the sticky 86-degree temperature and a sea of green-clad fans chanting “ole’” each time the Mexican midfield strung together a series of passes made that advantage questionable. The poor response after going down 1-0 didn’t help either, as Mexico scored four more goals in a span of 26 minutes to grab the win.

Coach Bob Bradley said the US was unable to stop the game from “becoming a free-for-all.” "We gave them all sorts of space and opportunity,” he said.

Neither country sent its best team to the biennial tournament, with the US fielding a squad comprised largely of MLS players unproven on the international scene after using its regulars in the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Despite Sunday’s score, several second-string players -- particularly midfielders Stuart Holden, Robbie Rogers and Kyle Beckerman -- performed well enough at the Gold Cup to suggest additional opportunities.

Mexico was also missing several big names, relying instead on veteran striker Miguel Sabah and midfielder Gerardo Torrado, who was wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Rafa Marquez.

Players like Holden and Beckerman showed once again why they should play at international level. Holden had a solid first half, creating plays and intimidating the Mexican defense with a series of set pieces and corner kicks. In the 28th minute, Holden unleashed a rocket from just outside the penalty area that sailed just wide of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa’s net. Six minutes later, Beckerman’s shot went high over the crossbar after he retrieved the ball near the top of the area after the Mexican defense had failed to clear the ball. The problem for the US was its inability to finish off scoring chances – something that would come to haunt them later in the game.

The Americans, who had won the previous two Gold Cups, effectively played one-touch soccer for large chunks of the opening half, allowing them to move the ball forward with ease as the Mexican defense double-teamed Holden and striker Brian Ching in order to keep them off the scoreboard. For their part, Mexico used the long ball for most of the afternoon. Sabah and Alberto Medina tried to use the counterattack to get past the US defenders, but it didn’t work. Mexico came closest in the 45th minute when Medina attempted a run along the right flank, but his shot went wide to the left of goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

The US dominated possession in the first-half, outshooting El Tri 7-3, but the Mexicans hung on to keep the game scoreless at halftime. By game’s end, Mexico and the US were tied with 14 shots apiece.

A pep talk from Bradley at halftime didn’t serve the players well in the second-half as the US began to fall apart. The game changed in the 55th minute when Jamaican referee Courtney Campbell whistled a controversial penalty kick in Mexico’s favor after defender Jay Heaps appeared to bring down Giovani Dos Santos in the box. TV replays later showed that the call had been a bad one, with Dos Santos elbowing Heaps in the face as both players hit the turf. The call could have gone either way. Torrado converted the kick and Mexico was up, 1-0.

It was all Mexico after that. With the US defense stretched to the max in an attempt to tie the game, Mexico again used the counterattack – this time with success -- to double the score. El Tri had a chance to get on the board again with a breakaway in the 61st minute, but Perkins came up with a point-blank save on Sabah to limit the bleeding.

With the US defense virtually non-existent, Mexico made it 2-0 three minutes later when Dos Santos scored off a rebound following a scramble in front of the US net that Perkins was not able to stop. The goal was cause for the crowd – and astonishingly the partisan reporters assembled in the press box – to celebrate wildly.

A desperate Bradley made two substitutions in the 64th minute to try and generate some offense. Striker Kenny Cooper came in for Davy Arnaud and Santino Quaranta for Logan Pause. The changes didn’t help generate much offense as Mexico ran up the score in the 70th minute when Carlos Vela netted on a breakaway.

If that wasn’t enough. Mexico turned the match into a rout, scoring again in the 79th minute with an unmarked Jose Antonio Castro slipping past the defense to shoot the ball past Perkins, who could only watch helplessly as the ball rolled over the line.

With tensions running high, Heaps was red carded with two minutes left after a rough foul on Vela. The man-advantage allowed Guillermo Franco to make it 5-0 in stoppage time to end the game, which had turned into a scrimmage at that point for the Mexicans. In the end, Mexico walked away with the trophy as the stunned American players left the field with their heads down.

The game, however, was no prelude to the much-anticipated August 12th World Cup qualifier between the two sides since most of the players on the field will not be involved in that game. Instead, next month promises to be a very different encounter. Hopefully for the United States, it will also be one with a very different outcome.

Clemente Lisi is the author of “A History of the World Cup: 1930-2006.”

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Friday, July 24, 2009

ATH: USA 2 Honduras 0

Gold Cup: Honduras 0 - USA 2

The United States advanced to the 2009 Gold Cup Final, dominating the offense against Honduras in Chicago on Thursday. Clarence Goodson got the first goal of the game in first-half stoppage time and Kenny Cooper added the second in the 90th, minutes after coming on for Davy Arnaud. Stuart Holden assisted on both goals.

"Anytime I'm on the field I want to impress and I want to win," Holden said. "I'm a competitor and anything I can do to help the team win goes a long way. I'm confident, and feeling good and the guys around me are doing a good job finishing balls off. It's been an all around team effort from the first game until tonight."

With the USA taking advantage in all the offensive categories, the defense did their job. Carlos Costly did everything but score in the 85th, having two shots blocked in the US box. Jay Heaps experienced similar at the other end minutes later when his chance was stopped on the line.

US National Team coach Bob Bradley addressed adding players for the Final, saying: “I think that everyone came out of this match OK, and if that’s true than the 18 that we have will be the 18 for the final. We would only need to go deeper into the roster if there are some injuries that we don’t know about at this time."

Late game winners Mexico got past Costa Rica on penalties, setting up a USA - Mexico Final Sunday at Giants Stadium (3pm - FSC).

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

ATH: USA v Honduras

Scouting Report: Honduras - Semifinals

What has changed since our Group Stage scouting report on Honduras? Well, the 'beat the United States' prediction took a bit of a hit. The United States turned a questionable first-half into a game winning second, beating Honduras 2-0 on July 8th on their way to winning Group B.

Honduras got a 4-0 win in their final Group B game against Grenada, but the United States and Haiti had already shown that Grenada was over-matched in this tournament. Honduras' quarterfinal win over Canada ended with Canada feeling they were the victim of bad officiating rather than a breathtaking show of skill from Honduras. That was helped by Honduras goal scorer Walter Martinez telling the media after the game that he didn't think it was a penalty either.

"All referees make mistakes and are human," he said. "I didn't think it was a penalty, but I was able to score."

Of concern with their second game against the United States in the 2009 Gold Cup should be scoring from the run of play. It's one thing to run up the score against Grenada, but Honduras hasn't had the kind of game that stresses confidence in their attacking players. They have looked dangerous, but that hasn't been reflected on the scoreboard.

Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda isn't making any predictions this time around. In fact, he has been all but silent about his plans for his squad's second chance against the United States. What he is stressing is an understanding that the US players are treating these games as their best chance at proving their worth for World Cup Qualifying and beyond. "It doesn't make it any easier for us," he said on Wednesday.

What should be expected is more of the same from Honduras. Though Rueda has talked about different looks tailored to each opponent, their attack, and to a large extent their game, runs through Carlos Costly. Exemplifying the issues with the Honduras attack, he has yet to get a goal in this tournament. For that to change later tonight, he's going to have to allow the attack to develop rather than rushing forward.

The United States have shown over their games that they aren't afraid to defend in their box. This means needing to beat more than one player to create quality chances. Honduras hasn't been doing enough of that, and without a revamp of their attacking mentality, that's not likely to change.

On the other end of the field, Donis Escober showed the first time around against the US that he won't be beaten easily. Santino Quaranta's goal was so well hit it's doubtful anybody stops it. Brian Ching's was a result of a Steve Cherundolo pass that opened up the Honduran defense.

Canada spent a lot of time in the second-half trying to get shots off in the Honduran box, and a combination of bad selection, bad luck, and good goalkeeping kept them out. For all of Canada's complaints about the officiating, there was the feeling that their best potential result was going to be carrying a scoreless draw past 90 minutes.

Building off of Escobar, there's the same feeling that Honduras has brought into every game except Grenada. Low scoring, trying to breakup plays before they reach their defensive third, and stalling on a lead if they get one. No surprises and not a lot of offense, but it's gotten them to the semifinal stage.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MSC: Differences

An interesting site that solves the differences between related concepts for folks who can't quite seem to differentiate . . . wish i'd have had this in high school for one of my teacher/coaches who routinely got things backwards . . .

Anyway, it's a great idea, but let's see if it turns out to be an updated, useful blog or just another quick-buck idea from someone trying to get ad clicks for pennies . . .

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Monday, July 20, 2009

ATH: USA v Panama

Three minutes
By Graig Carbino - ALBANY, NY (Jul 19, 2009) USSoccerPlayers

For 180 seconds on Saturday night in Philadelphia Panama could see themselves finally reaching their soccer summit. In the lead courtesy of a Blas Perez goal, the Panamanians were finally going to beat the United States in Gold Cup competition. After being knocked out of the contest by the US the previous two tournaments, revenge was looking like theirs. For three minutes at least….

In truth, those three minutes were more like twenty as Perez’s goal came off a Panama corner kick right at the stroke of half-time. By the time the squads reemerged from the locker room, the US intentions became clear. There was a new look in the group's eyes that flashed aggression, a trait they needed to pick up in order to match the physicality of their opponents.

The US took the game to Panama early in the second period and Kyle Beckerman’s 49th minute pile driver brought the match even. It was a sucker punch to the stomach of Panama, knocking the wind out of the Central Americans and proving a blow too mighty to overcome.

A USA winner goal seemed inevitable as the field tilted toward the Panama goal for the remainder of the second half. It took over time, but when Kenny Cooper was fouled in the penalty area there was only going to be one outcome. The Dallas based forward stepped up and converted the penalty as he has done so many times for his club team and the United States had done it to Panama again.

The US came into this quarterfinal with a depleted roster of ‘green’ players that are still getting their feet wet on the international stage. Stuart Holden and Robbie Rogers started on the wings, a combination that had worked so well against Grenada on the first match day.

Davy Arnaud was rewarded for his recent sharp play with a start up front, partnering with one of the few veterans among the starting eleven, Brian Ching. Kyle Beckerman and Logan Pause struck up their partnership in the center of the field once again as Bob Bradley looked to put the shackles on the Panamanian ground game through the middle.

Jay Heaps picked up his second international cap starting opposite Heath Pearce at right back. Kansas City Wizards center back Jimmy Conrad took the captains armband for the second match running as he continues to force his way back into the National Team picture for next summer.

Unfortunately for Conrad, his night came to an early and abrupt ending just before half-time. As he rose to meet a US corner kick Conrad smashed heads with a Panama defender and crumpled to the turf appearing to be concussed while still in mid-air. As the defender was helped from the field and slowly made his way back to the locker room it was clear he would not be able to continue.

Whether it can be attributed to the loss of their captain in the heart of defense is uncertain. But the US were behind just after Conrad’s exit at the hands of Panama’s most dangerous attacking player.

An in swinging corner was not properly dealt with and bounced off a few bodies before falling to the feet of Blas Perez. The former Pachuca striker made no mistake smashing the ball past a helpless Troy Perkins in the US goal. There was barely enough time to kick off again before Benito Archundia’s whistle signaled for half-time.

The US weren’t without chances in the first-half, but never really looked to get their passing game going. Panama was bypassing the midfield and knocking passes into their strikers without much resistance. Perez and Luis Garces were being afforded time and space to receive the ball with Nelson Barahona pulling the strings. Luckily enough for the US, the attackers didn’t seem up to actually doing anything with their possession and Perkins was rarely tested.

There must have some team talk during the intermission. The United States seemed to come out of halftime with a new determination to impose their will on the game. They did not appear wary of what Panama might do, they were just concerned about what they needed to do.

Said Bradley, “We had to make sure our discipline to keep moving as a unit was there, and we also talked about the fact that, in certain situations, we can play the ball faster. We talked about having a little more energy, being a little more aggressive in those situations and obviously it was nice to get a goal early in the [second] half.”

Give a measure of credit to the Panamanians. They did not consciously do what we have seen from so many CONCACAF teams in the past. You know, get a lead against the US and then batten down the hatches and hold on for dear life until the end. No, Panama tried to keep playing the way they had for the first 45 minutes. The US just simply would not let them have their way.

Beckerman and Cooper assured that the US would move on to the semifinals against Honduras next week in Chicago, but the result against Panama was a true group effort. Logan Pause will never be confused for the most flashy player on the field, but he certainly did his holding job well last night. Jay Heaps, somewhat maligned after his performance against Haiti was as solid as ever at right fullback.

It is going to take a similar effort on Thursday at Soldier Field if the US is going to make it to their third straight Gold Cup Final.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

OBT: Ellen Red

Long-time birder Ellen Red passed away Thursday July 16th at 5pm after a long struggle with an unknown illness. Her family appreciates all the great friendships & fabulous life their mom had through her birding.

Funeral services are to be scheduled at St Phillip Presbyterian Church at San Felipe & Loop 610. There may be a note on the Audubon website or Texbirds.

She was the consummate mentor. Days before her passing she was still noting the Coopers Hawk that has frequented her yard for over a year.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

ATH: Scouting v Panama

From the US National Team Players Association

Scouting Report: Panama

By Graig Carbino -- Panama enters their Gold Cup quarterfinal match up with the United States on somewhat of a high. After a disappointing 2-1 reverse in game one against Guadeloupe, Los Canaleros were able to right the ship and get things going with a controversial and hotly contested 1-all draw with regional powerhouse Mexico.

That result gave meaning to group game three against Nicaragua, a match that saw a somewhat undermanned Panama side ease to a relatively comfortable victory over their Central American counterparts. That win granted Panama a spot in the knockout rounds as one of the two best third-place group finishers and a meeting with the United States on Saturday in Philadelphia.

These two squads are no strangers to one another in Gold Cup play. They met in the 2005 final with the United States eventually taking the title 3-1 on penalty kicks. In 2007 it was the quarterfinals, with Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra scoring in a 2-1 win. Those two players, along with most of the US regulars, will not be at Bob Bradley’s disposal this weekend.

Looking forward to Saturdays encounter in the City of Brotherly Love, Panama should be able to field what coach Gary Stempel considers his first choice starting lineup. Defender Armando Gun and attacking threat Ricardo Phillips were both sent off against Mexico and missed Panama’s last match with Nicaragua. Those players should return to the lineup along with team captain and defensive stalwart Felipe Baloy - out for the last match because of yellow card accumulation.

Baloy, Gun, and the rest of the Panamanian defense will have to be at the top of their games to keep out a United States attack that has scored eight times through three Gold Cup matches.

The US attacking threat will be diminished somewhat by the loss of Charlie Davies and Freddy Adu who have returned to their club teams in Europe for preseason training. Without these two more experienced youngsters Bradley, will turn to tournament standout Stuart Holden (2 goals) to provide the offensive punch to push past Panama.

World Cup veteran Brian Ching (1 goal) is also a good bet to see the field, possibly pairing with Kansas City Wizards forward Davy Arnaud (1 goal) or DC United attacker Santino Quaranta (1 goal).

Mexico-based forward Blas Perez should lead the Panamanian offense after his two-goal performance in the tournament thus far. Perez spent the 2009 Clausura with Pachuca registering nine goals in seventeen appearances.

Short-lived Real Salt Lake striker Luis Tejada will also look to threaten the US backline having scored two goals against Nicaragua. Tejada will be pushing for a chance from the opening whistle having made two substitute appearances thus far. Nelson Barahona and Gabriel Enrique Gomez have also tallied in the tournament for Panama who sit just behind the US on goals scored with six up to this point.

Panama is a team that has certainly given the United States a bit of trouble in the past without being able to actually get a result. They come into the contest on Saturday with a fairly settled team and will look to reverse recent history..

Discounting the inspiration that comes along with the United States' last two Gold Cup victories over Panama would seem shortsighted. As manager Stempel said, “Two previous losses to the United States is somewhat of a motivation for us to change the result.”

Panama also clearly will not be facing the same sort of US team they were up against the previous two tournaments. This is an MLS/less experienced US roster that got even smaller this week as the aforementioned Adu and Davies were joined by defenders Steve Cherundolo and Michael Parkhurst on jets back to Europe. Bradley will need to rely on a mix of a few veterans and many younger, untested players to get the job done on Saturday.

Full complement of first team players or not, international tournaments matter. A positive result for Panama against the United States this weekend would be a huge mile marker for the ‘Red Tide’ to finally cross.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

ENV: Patch-nosed Salamander

New Salamander Discovered Near Georgia Busy Road
NatGeoWorld, Posted on July 7, 2009

A newly discovered salamander, which is the second-smallest salamander species in the U.S. and one of the smallest in the world at just two inches long, could change what scientists know about some amphibians, the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources said today.

The new salamander is so distinct that it belongs in its own genus (a grouping of related species), according to Carlos Camp, Piedmont College professor who first recognized it as a news species. "It represents the first new genus of four-footed creature discovered in the United States in 50 years."

Photo of new salamander courtesy UGa

Researchers weren't looking for anything new when they went exploring in the northeast part of Georgia. "But they ended up making a big discovery of a tiny animal," the University of Georgia said in a statement about the discovery.

The salamander is now under study by a diverse group of researchers from several U.S. colleges. The team is searching for more of the salamanders, which are described in a new paper appearing in the Journal of Zoology.

The initial discovery came in spring 2007 near Toccoa, Georgia, when University of Missiouri graduate student Bill Peterman and Warnell graduate student Joe Milanovich stumbled across it while collecting another species of salamander in Stephens County.

"They knew they'd found an animal not known in that region but did not yet know it was a new species," Warnell said in the statement.

Milanovich consulted John Maerz, a Warnell assistant professor of wildlife, who advised the students to take the salamander to Carlos Camp, professor at Piedmont College, who recognized it as a new species. Trip Lamb, a professor at East Carolina University, used genetics to confirm the new species and establish its relationship to other species in the region.

After the students found the first salamander, a female with eggs, in a creek, researchers went back repeatedly looking for others, Warnell said. "That is when Maerz's then 10-year-old son Jack and Milanovich found the first male specimen."

The research team has since found several individuals at the original site, including larvae, and they have found the new species at two other nearby locations in Georgia. Collaborators also found the species at a nearby site in South Carolina, Warnell added.
Evolution of Stream Salamanders

This discovery, according to Maerz, could yield exciting new information on the evolution of stream salamanders in this region.

"Whenever you find something new, it has the potential to change what we know about a range of related species," he said. There are more than 560 species of salamanders worldwide, and approximately 10 percent are found in Georgia."

But that's not the only reason Maerz is excited, Warnell added. "The new species was found in a well-traveled area in the middle of a creek right next to a road, almost hidden in plain sight."

"To make such a find in an area with extensive human activity proves that there are still things out there to discover. It makes you wonder, what else is out there?"

"To make such a find in an area with extensive human activity," Maerz said, "proves that there are still things out there to discover. It makes you wonder, what else is out there?"

With funding from The Environmental Resources Network (TERN), Milanovich and Camp are leading research efforts to describe the ecology of the tiny creatures.

"It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in such a big find, particularly one right in our backyard," Milanovich said. "The fact that it is such a unique animal makes it all the better and gives us more opportunity to continue to learn about the species. One of the best parts of being involved with this project is the collaboration that has come out of the species description, so I am excited to continue working with the other coauthors as we keep unpeeling the onion of U. brucei."
Patch-nosed Salamander

The research team's suggested common name is patch-nosed salamander, based on the lighter coloring on the tiny salamander's nose. The formal Latin name is Urspelerpes brucei for Richard Bruce, professor emeritus at Western Carolina University and a well-respected, longtime salamander researcher who has connections to many members of the research team.

"Dr. Bruce has done much of the foundational work on stream salamander ecology in the region and on the evolution of miniaturization in salamanders, so naming this species after him is a good fit," Maerz said.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ATH: Peter Navarra at Rice

‘War of attrition’
John Turner, The Daily Times , Published July 11, 2009

Two days. Ten events.

This is where the weak of heart, mind or body need-not-apply. This is how dedication meets desperation and exhilaration meets exhaustion. This is hundreds of hours spent training in Houston heat and humidity, all in the name of a score.

This is the mind-dulling, senses-numbing, body-aching decathlon, or as Kerrville native and Rice University track and field member Peter Navarra calls it, “the war of attrition.”

It was never meant to turn out like this. Navarra planned on running a couple sprints here and there, maybe participating in a relay or two, but not this. Nothing he did at Our Lady of the Hills, or his senior year at Tivy, could have prepared him for such physical torment.

“I never thought I would hurdle, or pole vault of throw discus or shot put or javelin or any of these things,” Navarra said. “I just joined to run the 400.”

Just looking at the decathletes was intimidating to Navarra, who never gave any thought to the event before 2009.

“Before I started training for this, I saw the guys who do it and said ‘I don’t know how this works, I don’t know how they do this, I could never do these things,” Navarra said.

A physical rehabilitation session of discus tossing with Rice’s star decathlete, Philip Adam, changed all of that.

Well, at least the part about Navarra not being a decathlete.

“The coach happened to be walking by and said ‘You know, you’re going to be a decathlete,’” Navarra said. “And that was pretty much it. So I got really scared because I did not want to pole vault and I did not want to hump hurdles. Those things freaked me out.”

Over the course of the past year, Navarra learned to push himself in ways he didn’t know he could. He found the grueling, five-hour practices to be pure joy, heaving javelins and leaping over bars. He dedicated himself to befriending the punishment that accompanies the life of a decathlete.

In other words, he found he had what it took.

“You’ve got to have fun hurting yourself — putting yourself through all the pain,” Adam said. “(Peter) definitely works really hard and he’s a natural athlete.”

As Conference USA champion in the decathlon, Adam knows a thing or two about pain. He’s pulled, stretched and twisted ligaments to positions that would test the sturdiest stuffed animals. He’s been through rehab more times than he cares to look back on, yet despite possessing the smarts of an Academic All-American (a 3.94 GPA studying economics), he continues to train for this event — and enjoy it.

“I think they’re fun,” Adam said. “Working with guys like (Navarra) and our coach, we’re just out there having a good time. I don’t even think of it as practice, I think of it as what I want to be doing during the afternoon.”

Through his sophomore year, Navarra tapped into the madness that separates decathletes from other track and field participants. He dedicated himself to learning 10 unique events, some which of which flat out frightened him.

“I was jumping over obstacles trying to get to the end of that track,” Navarra said of his experience with the hurdles. “It was painful. I never fell down in a race, but I really thought I was going to.”

He learned the art of “throwing stuff,” as he calls it, and how fun it can be.

“Throwing long spears is more fun than it looks,” Navarra said. “It’s like being a little kid with all these events.”

By time the CUSA meet rolled around in May, Navarra was ready and willing to accept the torture of his first full decathlon.

“They threw me in the fire, and I got enough support from the rest of the team that I was able to learn all these events in a short amount of time,” Navarra said. “I got to go to the conference meet and placed sixth, so it turned out pretty well.”

There’s no looking back now for the junior, as each practice only fuels his desire to succeed in an event he once considered to be outside his physical capabilities. And while he hopes to one day be a leader in CUSA, for now he’s keeping his objectives fairly straight forward.

“As far as goals, I just want to survive and keep doing it,” Navarra said.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

ENV: American Burying Beetle

This species occurs in two Texas counties along the Red River. MikeQuinn, Austin

Moribund burial beetle getting a new lease on life

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff | July 6, 2009

NANTUCKET - The undertaker of the insect world is beginning to make a
comeback from its own near-death experience.

Once, the American burying beetle - known for the unusual subterranean
habits that inspired its name - was found throughout the Northeast.
But the beetles have largely vanished from the region, except for a
population that lives on Block Island off Rhode Island.

Now, a 15-year effort to reintroduce the black-and-orange beetle is
showing signs of success, right under tourists’ feet on Nantucket. At
least 150 beetles - and probably many more - are surviving in the wild
here each year.

The insects’ chemical sensors can detect a carcass 2 miles away within
hours of an animal dying. After flying to it, a pair of beetles begin
excavating - slowly sinking the carcass into the earth and leaving
little sign on the surface that it was ever there.

Parents regurgitate food to feed larvae and continually tend the
carcass, removing fungi and covering the mushy ball with secretions.
Beetle larvae even beg for food by stroking the mandibles of the

“You just don’t see that extended parental care in insects very
often,’’ said Michael Amaral, an endangered species biologist with the
US Fish and Wildlife Service who oversees the American burying beetle

So 15 years ago, the US Fish and Wildlife’s Amaral and staff at the
Roger Williams Zoo began releasing beetles at Audubon’s Sesachacha
Heathlands Wildlife Sanctuary. They stopped in 2005 after releasing
about 3,000.

The team has caught more than 110 beetles this year. Perrotti
conservatively estimates there are 150 beetles on the island, but
there are probably many more. Last week, one was found on the western
end of the island, where a reintroduction effort was halted several
years ago.

“By the time [most species] are rare, they have lost their ecological
importance,’’ said David Wagner, professor of ecology and evolutionary
biology at the University of Connecticut.

Wagner still says they should be saved. Their impressive chemical
arsenal may one day be useful in pharmacology or biotechnology. And
since humans probably played a role in their decline, there is a moral
argument that people should try to bring them back.

Perrotti agrees and notes the bug’s reintroduction costs only about
$3,000 a year.



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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

ATH: FIFA Rankings

FIFA World Rankings

In a rankings cycle where the United States lost an away Qualifier and won at home before their historic run in the FIFA Confederations Cup, they moved up two slots to 12th. Brazil replaces Spain as World #1, while Mexico falls seven slots to 33rd. The next FIFA rankings will be published on Aug 5th.

FIFA World Rankings: July 2009
Brazil 1672
Ivory Coast

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