The Fish and Wildlife Service said we have to kill elephants to help save them. The data says otherwise. – Washington Post

The Fish and Wildlife Service said we have to kill elephants to help save them. The data says otherwise. – Washington Post

Supporters of trophy hunting say that permit fees from the practice, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars in the case of large game like elephants, can be put toward conservation efforts that help bolster the populations of endangered animals.

In part, that was the logic behind the Trump administration’s reversal of an Obama-era ban on importing African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has made a finding that the killing of African elephant trophy animals in Zimbabwe, on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, will enhance the survival of the African elephant,” according to a notice posted Friday in the federal register.

Late Friday evening, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would “put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts.” It’s unclear how the President’s tweet would affect the Fish and Wildlife service policy.

If the logic of killing elephants to save them strikes you as questionable, you’re not alone.

As of 2014 the African elephant population stood at an estimated 374,000, according to the Global Elephant Census, a massive and costly effort to measure the continent’s remaining savanna elephant population. That’s down from an estimated 10 million elephants at the turn of the 20th century, and from 600,000 of the animals as recently as 1989.

The more detailed population trend data from the census showed that populations had been on a rebound from 1995 to about 2007. But since then, elephant populations have been declining by a rate of about 8 percent annually, or 30,000 elephants each year.

“These dramatic declines in elephant populations are almost certainly due to poaching for ivory,” according to the census. “Elephant poaching has increased substantially over the past 5—10 years, especially in eastern and western Africa.”

It’s theoretically possible, of course, that population declines would be even worse without the legally sanctioned killings of hundreds of elephants a year. But there are also a number of very good reasons to suspect that trophy hunting does not bring any great benefit to Africa’s elephant populations.

For starters, the hunting of elephants brings in very little revenue. A 2017 report by Economists at Large, an economic analysis firm based in Australia, found that in eight African countries, trophy hunting amounted to less than 1 percent of total tourism revenue and 0.03 percent of the countries’ total gross national product. A 2015 National Geographic report found that only minimal amounts of revenue from game hunting actually trickled down to the communities managing elephant populations. Government corruption is a big factor in this, with authorities keeping hunting fees for themselves and seizing wildlife lands to profit from hunting and poaching.

Zimbabwe, in particular, has been rife with bad wildlife management practices, which is why the Obama administration banned elephant trophy imports from the country in the first place.

“For decades, Zimbabwe has been run by a dictator who has targeted and killed his political opponents, and operated the country’s wildlife management program as something of a live auction,” said Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States in a blog post. “Government officials allegedly have been involved in both poaching of elephants and illegal export of ivory tusks. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe even celebrated his birthday last year by feasting on an elephant.”

Before the Obama administration’s ban, animals hunted in Zimbabwe accounted for nearly half of all elephant trophy imports to the United States, according to Fish and Wildlife Service data analyzed by the Humane Society. After the ban was put in place, elephant trophy imports fell dramatically.

In Zimbabwe alone, from 2005 to 2014, American hunters imported an average of nearly 200 elephant trophies each year. As of 2016, that number had fallen to just three. If the number returns to historic averages after the Trump administration’s rule change, roughly 200 additional elephants would potentially be killed each year by American hunters in Zimbabwe.

The ban’s reversal comes at a particularly inauspicious time for Zimbabwe, just two days after the military took control of the country, accusing the government of corruption. “This fact in and of itself highlights the absurdity and illegal nature of the FWS decision to find that Zimbabwe is capable of ensuring that elephant conservation and trophy hunting are properly managed,” wrote the Humane Society’s Pacelle.

In response to President Trump’s announcement that he would put the decision on hold, Pacelle said, via email, that he was “grateful to President Trump for reassessing elephant and lion trophy hunting imports. This is the kind of trade we don’t need.”

Published at Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:32:04 +0000

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Gadget Daddy: Buying an iPhone X? Buy the protection too – News Chief

News Chief

Gadget Daddy: Buying an iPhone X? Buy the protection too
News Chief
That OLED screen on the new $1,000 Apple iPhone X is something to behold. Until it hits the pavement. Two companies had different viewpoints on the same screen this week. The good: Displaymate, which does exhaustive evaluations of monitors, …
iPhone X review: A groundbreaking gadget that’s way ahead of its timeMirror.co.uk

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Android Circuit: New Galaxy S9 Design Leaks, Massive OnePlus 5T Launched, Pixel 2 Beats iPhone X – Forbes


Android Circuit: New Galaxy S9 Design Leaks, Massive OnePlus 5T Launched, Pixel 2 Beats iPhone X
Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the Samsung Galaxy S9 release date, the Galaxy S9’s boring design, why the Pixel 2 beats the iPhone X, the launch of the OnePlus 5T

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Frosty supermarket aisles could become a thing of the past thanks to new gadget developed for Formula One cars – Daily Mail

Daily Mail

Frosty supermarket aisles could become a thing of the past thanks to new gadget developed for Formula One cars
Daily Mail
If you’ve ever found yourself pulling your coat closer as you pick out your chilled goods, then this will come as very good news. For frosty supermarket aisles could soon become a thing of the past – thanks to a gadget developed for Formula One cars.

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Researchers develop smart, ultra-thin microfibre sensor

Researchers develop smart, ultra-thin microfibre sensor

A research team at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a soft, flexible and stretchable microfibre sensor for real-time healthcare monitoring and diagnosis.

Highly sensitive and ultra-thin with a diameter of a strand of human hair, the sensor has been designed to be both simple and cost-effective to mass produce.

While wearable and flexible technology has gained significant interest in recent years, current devices have various limitations – for instance, they may not fit well on the skin or are uncomfortable to wear.

According to Professor Lim Chwee Teck from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, who is the leader of the research team, “Our novel microfibre sensor can hardly be felt on the skin and conforms extremely well to skin curvatures. Despite being soft and tiny, the sensor is highly sensitive and it also has excellent electrical conductivity and mechanical deformability. We have applied the sensor for real-time monitoring of pulse waveform and bandage pressure. The results are very promising,”

The smart microfibre sensor developed by the NUS Engineering team comprises a liquid metallic alloy, which serves as the sensing element, encapsulated within a soft silicone microtube. The sensor measures an individual’s pulse waveform in real-time, and the information can be used to determine one’s heart rate, blood pressure and stiffness in blood vessels.

“Currently, doctors will monitor vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure when patients visit clinics. This requires multiple equipment such as heart rate and blood pressure monitors. As our sensor functions like a conductive thread, it can be easily woven into a glove which can be worn by doctors to track vital signs of patients in real-time. This approach offers convenience and saves time for healthcare workers, while patients can enjoy greater comfort,” added Prof Lim.

“Our microfibre sensor is highly versatile, and could potentially be used for a wide range of applications, including healthcare monitoring, smart medical prosthetic devices and artificial skins. Designed to be durable and washable, it is highly attractive for promising applications in the emerging field of wearable electronics,” said Prof Lim.

Researchers are currently refining the sensor design and reducing the size of its accessories to improve the user-friendliness of the device.

Neil Tyler

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Top Stories – Google News

Top Stories – Google News

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WASHINGTON — There was a time when the question of whether to disown a candidate accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl was fairly straightforward.

But the divisions in the Republican Party run so deep that the latest rallying cry for many on the right has become the case of Roy S. Moore, the Senate candidate in Alabama who faces allegations of preying on many young women, including a 14-year-old, when he was in his 30s.

The debate among Republicans over what to do about Mr. Moore has taken on a significance that extends far beyond Alabama’s borders. It pits ascendant forces in the party — the most conservative evangelical Christians and insurgent, anti-establishment populists — against the Republican leadership in Washington. And it is being fanned by many of the same emotions that helped stoke President Trump’s rise and election: a mistrust of government, a desire for a leader who disdains and disrupts the political status quo, and a suspicion that elected officials will stop at nothing to hold on to power.

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In the center of this caldron is Mr. Moore, an unlikely and highly flawed hero for many conservatives, who have come to see him as a convenient scapegoat for Republicans in Washington who want to quash their grass-roots uprising.

“People are fed up with the ruling class in Washington and their attitude ‘We know better than you do,’” said Ed Martin, a conservative commentator and protégé of Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative icon. “They think we’re barbarians. And we’re here at the gate.”

The statement by the Alabama Republican Party on Thursday that it stood by Mr. Moore and “trusts the voters” to decide whether he should be elected to the Senate underlined the divisions between Washington and the grass roots. And the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, made clear which side Mr. Trump was on, echoing that sentiment.

In recent days, some notable figures in the conservative movement have also given Mr. Moore cover. Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, who saw Mr. Moore’s upset primary victory against an establishment Republican as a turning point in the war he is waging against Washington, has told his associates that he is unwavering in his belief that Mr. Moore should fight on.

Sean Hannity of Fox News, who this week delivered Mr. Moore an ultimatum to answer for allegations of sexually predatory behavior, backed down on Wednesday night, telling his audience that Alabama voters — not him — should ultimately decide.

Those moves were a telling rebuke of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and other Republicans in Washington who have either called for Mr. Moore to leave the race or for his expulsion from the Senate should he be elected.

“This is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama and they will not stand for it!” Mr. Moore wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “I’m gonna tell you who needs to step down,” he continued in another post, “that’s Mitch McConnell.”

But many Republicans believe that trying to remove Mr. Moore from the race or expel him from the Senate if he wins would further enrage the party’s restive base and kill the small-dollar fund-raising that both political parties rely heavily on. And it would provide the kind of raw, angry grass-roots energy that Mr. Bannon says he needs to achieve his goal of ensuring that Mr. McConnell is not the Republican leader a year from now.

“Roy Moore would be a thorn in the Senate G.O.P. leadership’s side, and they would be happy to expel him hoping to both dissuade others and put down the Bannon rebellion,” said Erick Erickson, the Christian conservative writer and radio host who has argued that the debate over Mr. Moore should be viewed in the context of the much larger and more pitched battle between the party’s establishment and anti-establishment wings.

Party leaders, Mr. Erickson added, “are not as interested in the long-term consequences.” They just want to send a signal by defeating Mr. Moore that the conservative insurrection can and will be crushed, he added. Writing on his website recently, Mr. Erickson said, “I don’t blame the Roy Moore voters for thinking people are out to get them because people really are out to get them.”

Mr. Erickson, like Mr. Bannon, did not initially support Mr. Moore when the primary for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, was a three-way contest. In the first round of voting, it was Mr. Moore against Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat and was supported by Mr. McConnell, and Representative Mo Brooks, a conservative favorite who is much less unpredictable and polarizing. But after Mr. Brooks did not make the runoff, conservatives say, they rallied behind Mr. Moore because of what he represents to them: someone who is under attack from the same Republicans they believe have long tried to marginalize religious conservatives.

That sense of marginalization is real for many. A caller into Rush Limbaugh’s radio program on Tuesday expressed similar suspicions, saying he believed Mr. Moore’s ouster would be the beginning of a purge of the party’s right wing. “But my worry,” said the caller, who identified himself as Jim from Missouri, “is the so-called conservatives in Congress are going to fall prey to this and throw this man under the bus. And then they’ll forever set a precedent for getting rid of conservative people that we might try to elect.”

Many on the right have openly wrestled with how quickly Mr. Moore should be judged and condemned.

“I think it’s complicated, and that is 100 percent the truth,” said Penny Young Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative group.

Ms. Nance said many conservatives were weighing a number of arguments and counterarguments: a suspicion of the national news media against the sense that Mr. Moore’s accusers seem credible, the fact that the 1970s and ‘80s, when he is accused of committing the acts, was “a different time,” and the fact that Republican Party leaders have tried to thwart him repeatedly throughout his career.

“It’s also about the people of Alabama making their own decisions instead of Washington foisting its opinion on them,” Ms. Nance added. “They need to decide. That’s part of what makes them so angry: Washington bureaucrats and elitists telling them what they need to do.”

The inclination to dig in on Mr. Moore could also be a symptom of a larger cultural shift in politics. Americans are more likely now to say that elected officials can still do their jobs in an ethical manner even if they have committed immoral personal acts, research has found. And no group seems to have come around on this question more drastically than white evangelical Protestants, according to one survey conducted before the election last year by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings.

More than seven in 10 were willing to overlook transgressions in a politician’s personal life, the survey said, compared with three in 10 who were asked the same question in 2011.

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