Sign Of The Cat: The Cougar Is Back

It goes by many names -- puma, mountain lion -- but after being all but exterminated east of the Rockies, the great cat is slowly regaining lost ground, causing concern among biologists, wildlife officials, and ordinary citizens.

What's the Latest Development?


A century after becoming all but extinct east of the Rocky Mountains, cougars -- also known as mountain lions, pumas, and panthers, among other names -- are on the move, as evidenced by an increasing number of sightings in 11 Midwestern states as well as in Louisiana and Arkansas. They have reoccupied parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska, and the Florida panther population has grown more than five times in size since 1995. Cougar Network founder Mark Dowling says, "It used to be a rarity when a mountain lion showed up in Missouri. It’s almost routine now."

What's the Big Idea?

The growth of the cougar population in North America -- estimates stand at about 30,000 -- is considered one of the great successes of wildlife conservation. However, and not surprisingly, their arrival is a source of worry for many. Cougar Network researcher Clay Nielsen says, "A lot of state conservation agencies are looking into how to prepare for recolonization." They may want to take advice from people like Wyoming cattle rancher Ogden Driskill, who says that, compared to wolves, "Cougar are easier to hunt and easier to control."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The New York Times

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less