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    • Why Would Iran Attack Tankers?
      Well, if it did. Let me tell a story, possibly apocryphal. Back in the 70s the Russian (USSR) ambassador supposedly had a talk with the Pakistaini leader of the day. This is what he is reputed to have said. ” I do not know who will be in charge in Moscow in ten, twenty or […]
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Open Thread: Dangerous Floods and Adorable Babies

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Please send good vibes to my home town, Fargo, North Dakota, and the entire state and region. I’ve been following the story for a few days now. The state has been declared a disaster area and FEMA is already up there to help.

North Dakota is in a race against time as residents try to shore up huge sandbag levees ahead of massive flooding expected to hit this weekend. Forecasters predict the Red River’s waters will crest at 41 feet by early Saturday, exceeding record levels set in 1997.

Along the river, residents engaged in a frantic battle against the fast-rising water and bitter cold. Water reached 35.6 feet in Fargo by midday Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. City officials said they’ll add another foot to the dikes — already 42 feet high — in an effort to withstand the river’s crest.

Mayor Dennis Walaker said the city is bracing for the worst. “We’re talking about levels never reached before by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

A 41-foot crest in Fargo would be two feet higher than the record level of 39.6 in April 1997, when the area was struck by one of the largest and costliest floods in U.S. history.

In some good news, a pair of rare clouded leopard cubs have been born at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC, and they were rescued before their mom had time to harm them. Apparently the dad’s sometimes kill the moms too!

cloudedleopards1

early yesterday, despite murderous tendencies in the captive species, two newborn clouded leopard cubs were found alive, well and squealing at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va.

They were taken immediately from their gorgeous mother before she could do them harm, or do them in, placed in an incubator set at 88 degrees and fed salt water from baby bottles. Born with dappled, reptile-pattern fur, they were the first such births at the zoo in 16 years.

Their births were a coup, and the end of a complex reproduction saga involving an exotic, endangered and beautiful species of animal that experts call the ghost cat.

It was also a genetic home run: The zoo said the cubs’ genes, which come from outside the captive population, make them among the most valuable clouded leopards in North America.

“Genetically, they’re the most valuable animals outside their home range,” said Ken Lang, a zoo expert on the species, because their genes stem directly from the wild. “These are totally new genes.”

More photos at the link above.

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