Snakehead Hunters, Preservation in Petra, Canada Funds Carp Fight, and a Fellow sends out a Call for Ignorance

Back in the saddle after a long weekend, and ready with a fresh batch of Fellow stories! From Rona Kobell with the Chesapeake Bay Journal, a look at the invasive snakehead fish - and the folks who love to catch them:

Invasive snakeheads spawn beat'em & eat'em fishery

Brian Rawlings stares down into a hydrilla bed on Mattawoman Creek, mayflies circling his face. Suddenly, a large gray mass begins to move. He pulls back his arm and shoots an arrow into the heart of a snakehead.

After the atta-boys, Rawlings’ friend Austin Murphy measures the fish: 35 inches. Its weight: close to 17 pounds, the size of a small toddler. Murphy whacks the whipsawing fish with a baseball bat to immobilize it. Then, the men cut out the gills to make sure the catch is good and dead.

“This is a good night,” Murphy declares.

And how. By midnight, the five-man crew will pulverize more than a half-dozen snakeheads, enough to feed the co-workers and friends who can’t get enough of the invasive but delicious fish.... Read more.

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Christine Dell'Amore writes in The Washington Post about Petra's efforts to keep the wear-and-tear of tourism to a minimum:

Petra, Jordan's famous city of stone, faces a preservation struggle

We’ve been hiking a narrow canyon for nearly half an hour, hemmed in by huge sunset-colored cliffs, and the suspense is killing me.

Where’s Petra? 

It’s becoming clear why it was lost for so long,” quips one of my fellow travelers to the ancient Middle Eastern city.

Finally, rounding a hulk of rock, I spot a sliver of Petra’s most famous monument, al-Khazneh, or the Treasury. The two-story facade with its Greek-inspired columns is the first thing you see when you reach the end of the canyon, or Siq. Film buffs know it as the temple where Harrison Ford found the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”... Read more.

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John Flesher with the AP in Michigan reports that Canada has vowed to join the fight to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes:

Canada pledges $17.5 million in fight against Asian carp

Canada said Monday it will devote $17.5 million to protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp, including development of an early warning system with U.S. agencies so authorities can react quickly if the invasive species is detected.

Another priority will be informing people about the dangers that Asian carp pose and how to keep them out of the lakes, which the two nations share, said Keith Ashfield, minister of Canada's Fisheries and Oceans department. Canada also will work with law enforcement agencies to prevent unlawful transport of the fish.

"We are committed to working with our American counterparts to continue to protect the Great Lakes basin," Ashfield said. "Together, these measures will go a long way toward our ultimate goal of stopping Asian carp from entering and becoming established in the Great Lakes."... Read more.

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And finally, on the blog The Last Word on Nothing, a call from Michelle Nijhuis for scientists to send examples of the "ignorance that drives them."  Sound strange? Read on:

Ignorance: The Elevator Speech

Ever since I reviewed Ignorance: How it Drives Science, a charming new book by the Columbia neuroscientist Stuart Firestein, I’ve been thinking about ignorance. And I tell you, it’s been a bit of a headache.

Firestein teaches a popular science class at Columbia, also called Ignorance, in which he invites scientists from different disciplines to talk about what theydon’t know. (“Recruiting my fellow scientists to do this is always a little tricky — ‘Hello, Albert, I’m running a course on ignorance and I think you’d be perfect,’” Firestein writes.) But Firestein’s guests soon realize that they, like all scientists, are in the business of creating questions — of creating ignorance, so to speak. “Once they get over not having any slides prepared for a talk on ignorance, it turns into a surprising and satisfying adventure,” Firestein says.

Of course, the scientific pursuit of ignorance has long been exploited by those with something to lose from it. The tobacco industry perfected the strategy: Portray the doubt and uncertainty inherent in science as, well, plain old doubt and uncertainty — otherwise known as very good reasons not to act... Read more.

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