Lest we forget: Carrie Johnson, “Justice Department filing on Mar-a-Lago documents puts Trump’s lawyers in focus:”
Former prosecutors who now defend white-collar criminal cases said it would be aggressive if the Justice Department were to prosecute Trump for lying to his attorneys, but that it’s happened before.
They point to a 2004 case involving the New York company Computer Associates. Executives there misled lawyers conducting an internal investigation into fraud at the business, knowing those statements would be passed along to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.
Daniel Mason has discovered the joy of Myxomycetes. Something to follow up on:
The only literary slime molds I know of are meditations in the notebooks of Octavia Butler and a telepathic invention of Philip K. Dick.
I attended the Strange Loop conference in St. Louis this past week. I got a little time to have a look at the city, which I haven’t seen since I visited my departed friend Jim Wilson in University City many years ago. Ted Drewes is still there, although you can buy a concrete from a vending machine in the airport now.
I found another fallout shelter sign, this one exposed to the weather and badly faded.
Richard Serra’s quadrilateral Twain is not in great condition, and the landscaping around it is a bit lumpy and wild (perhaps by design?), but this iridescence caught my eye. And the framing of the courts building across the street is too perfect to have happened by chance.
I was sitting in the hotel, eating my breakfast, idly looking out the window, and I spotted a rather fancy looking building a few blocks away. “Let’s take a closer look,” I thought. “That looks interesting.” Oh, yeah. It’s the Wainwright Building.
I spent a little time birding for the Saint Louis specialty, unsuccessfully, alas. But I did add a light rail system to my list.
I found the arch, too! This pair of barrel-vaulted tunnels had been abandoned, but were repurposed by MetroLink. This is the south end of the 8th and Pine station.
I should bumper-sticker Della with the warning, “I brake for cable-stayed bridges.” This is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge: I’m standing on the approach on the Verona Island side; Prospect is at the other end. You can just make out the windows of the observation deck at the top of the far tower.
I wrote up some notes on A Portable Cosmos, by Alexander Jones, a summary of what 120 years of studying the Antikythera Mechanism (one of my obsessions) have revealed to us.
Jared M. Spool dismembers Net Promoter Score from the user experience perspective: easy to game, sensitive to noise, not correlated with past or future actual behavior,
NPS scores are the equivalent of a daily horoscope.
A lovely “bloom” of one of our common yellow myxomycetes in the Ridge Heights meadow.
At left, a mystery slime mold busting out of the mulch, in my neighborhood on the way to the bus stop. At right, 51 N Street, N.E, being demolished ever so gradually.
Our final field trip with Rachel Gauza’s class took us to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, 600-odd acres near Poolesville and McKee-Beshers WMA. Out host was Larry Anderson. Our targets were snakes, but we didn’t score well with that taxon. However, we found plenty to look at off the West Woods trail. Please don’t mind the nearby gun range.
As you might imagine, deer management is an advanced art here, so it’s not uncommon to see nicely developed understory vegetation. Although we did see patches of the usual non-native invasives, we also saw some good natives—lots of Pawpaw (Asmina triloba), some Smilacina, a chance encounter with a bellwort, not yet in flower, Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana) on the ridgetops; Cathy spotted Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense).
I tried to puzzle out some ferns, unsuccessfully. This possible myxomycete also caught my attention.
And we did see some herps! Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris), too hoppy for my camera, and multiple Marbled Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum). Rachel says that this is the first time that she’s seen Marbleds on the property.
Something to skim during my long twice-daily train rides: Arthur Lister’s Monograph of the Mycetozoa (2/e, 1911), digitized and available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Robert Rice updates us on the progress of the Smithsonian’s Bird Friendly (BF) coffee program, and connects it to research programs here and abroad. The program is retailing north of 700 thousand pounds of java annually.
The biggest challenge facing the BF coffee program is marketing. Currently, less than 10% of the coffee certified as BF actually makes it into the market as such. This shortfall is partly due to the fact that BF coffee is certified organic (as a pre-requisite) and thus often is sold into the organic coffee stream as organic only—not being purchased or marketed as BF. We presently are working with a consultant to help us design plans to increase demand. Creating more demand will result in more shade coffee farms being certified as Bird Friendly, and that is our main goal of this program: conserving viable, quality habitat for migratory and resident birds in the tropics.
Many conservation-oriented links piling up on my virtual desk, unremarked—so this needs must be a roundup post.
- Sharman Apt Russell describes her experiences collecting phenology data for Nature’s Notebook.
- Caren Cooper summarizes the findings in her recent paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management: birders and hunters alike are more likely to engage in conservation-supporting actitivies. Cooper’s “conservation superstars” are birders who are also hunters: these people are even more likely to donate money for conservation and do other things to preserve our legacy.
- Jason Goldman sings the praises of shade-grown coffee from an unexpected part of the world: Ethiopia, the land where Coffea was first domesticated.
- And Goldman summarizes a paper by A.M.I. Roberts et al., working with 222 years of phenology data collected by Robert Marsham and his descendants from the family estate in Norfolk, UK. For certain tree species, “winter chilling” turns out to be a more important factor determining leaf out than the warmth of “spring forcing.”