17 Jan
2021

Help Frogs Hybernate

first_imgWhat will these dead leaves do for the fish? Nothing good. The decomposition of leaves underthe ice will use oxygen, and that’s bad for fish. Let’s examine what wild frogs do when winter closes in. Bullfrogs, green frogs, leopard frogsand some other frogs squirm down deep through the layers of dead leaves and debris. Therethey sit. I cleaned and emptied one and filled it with fresh water. Into the other I dumped a bushel ofdead leaves. Then one cold winter day I checked the temperature of the ponds with aprobe-type thermometer. The problem for most frogs in ornamental ponds isn’t a lack of oxygen or a potful of mud. A”clean” pond bottom is the problem. A clean pond is inhospitable to a frog, especially in winter. That’s because the watertemperature can’t stratify. That is, the bottom layers aren’t much warmer than the top. A deeper pond is better. In the piedmont and coastal plain, a foot deep might be enough. Inthe mountains and colder areas farther north, two or three feet is better. When the water gets too cold for them to move, they’re helpless. When spring comes and theirworld warms, they swim to the top, get a breath of air and become active again. No one system is good for everything. So manage your fish ponds and frog ponds differently. But if you let leaves and debris accumulate, you’ll provide a better winter habitat for yourfrogs. That doesn’t mean all your frogs will survive, but it definitely improves the odds. In the October issue of Pondscapes Magazine, Mike Mullen of Kansas City, Mo., wrote abouthis problems in bringing frogs through winter. Here’s an experiment I did one winter to gather data on this frog-in-winter problem. I had twoidentical plastic ponds, about a foot deep, in the front yard. Mike placed a bubbler in the pond to add oxygen. But it didn’t seem to help. He put acontainer of sand on the bottom for the frogs to hibernate in, but they didn’t burrow into it.They just sat on the bottom and chilled into immobility.center_img Winter hibernation is hazardous to a frog’s health. Some die. But then, every day is hazardousif you’re a frog. To live a year is to be exceptionally lucky. With the arrival of chilly fall nights, I’ve been getting calls from ornamental pond ownerswondering what to do for their frogs and turtles during winter. The temperature at the top of the leafy pond was the same, just above 32 degrees. But as Ipushed the probe deeper I recorded higher temperatures. At the bottom, it was a bit over 40degrees. I broke a little hole in the ice of each pond. The ice was about an inch thick on the clean pondand just a skim, about an eighth of an inch, in the leafy one. The clean pond was just slightlyabove 32 degrees from top to bottom. Is there an easier plan to get frogs through the winter? There is. Last year he feared Freddie, his favorite bullfrog, would suffer a similar fate. So he broughtFreddie into an indoor pond for the winter. That’s one solution, but it means extra workbecause, among other things, frogs need live food. He noticed that the frogs in his pond didn’t hibernate successfully. When spring arrived, hefound dead frogs in it. To help turtles hibernate, provide the same dead-leaf habitat. If you’re a neat type and want clean water right to the bottom, this doesn’t bode well for yourfrogs. The layering of leaves on the bottom slows down water mixing and keeps the temperaturewarm enough for hibernation.last_img read more

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28 Aug
2020

‘Lenient’ Pistorius sentence challenged

first_imgSouth African prosecutors say they will take court action in order to secure a longer prison sentence for Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.He was jailed for six years earlier this month for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.Prosecutors argue that Pistorius’ sentence is inappropriate for the crime of murder and “shockingly too lenient”.They also argue that the sentence is unjust and could bring the justice system into disrepute.Pistorius was initially given a five-year term for manslaughter, but was found guilty of murder on appeal last December. He admitted shooting her, but said he had mistaken Ms Steenkamp for an intruder and acted out of fear.Rise and fall of Oscar PistoriusAugust 2012: Competes in London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won a gold medal February 2013: Shoots dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp March 2014: Trial begins September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide  October 2014: Begins five-year sentence October 2015: Transferred to house arrest December 2015: Appeal court changes verdict to murder  July 2016: Sentenced to six years in jail for murderlast_img read more

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26 Aug
2020

Doc Rivers can sympathize with Mike D’Antoni’s position

first_imgThe hits were coming from all angles, and with his team unable to mount a disproving retort, all Rivers could do was sit there and take it.“Obviously it’s not fun to go through,” Rivers recalled before his Clippers played the Lakers Thursday night at Staples Center.Sound familiar?Across the corridor, D’Antoni stood outside the Lakers locker room and fielded questions about a wounded, talent-deficient team currently barreling toward one of the worst finishes in franchise history.For fans and pundits thirsty for a perpetrator, D’Antoni is the embodiment of the Lakers struggles.Maybe he’s the long-term answer for the Lakers, maybe not.But to judge him based on the flawed roster he works with these days is about as fair and foolish as Simmons demanding Rivers’ head because he couldn’t turn Allan Ray into Ray Allen.These guys are coaches, not magicians.The Lakers’ problem is a lack of talent, not a lack of coaching.And in just a few more months, the talent issue can finally be addressed.The Lakers will have a max contract to lure a top free agent and a high draft pick to add a potential impact rookie.Or maybe they trade the draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for reportedly unhappy point guard Kyrie Irving, then resist the free agent market this summer in favor of chasing Kevin Love in 2015.The point is, the luxury of payroll flexibility and a lottery pick await the Lakers.Not that it helps D’Antoni at the moment. He’s just trying to win a game.Rivers understands.“I respect anyone who goes through that because I’ve been through it.” Rivers said. “And it’s very, very difficult.”With the benefit of retrospect, we know Boston resisted outside pressure and stuck with Rivers. And history shows the following year the rebuilt Celtics rose all the way to the NBA Finals, where they beat the Lakers to win their 17th title in franchise history.In one calendar year the perception of Rivers was forever altered. He is now known as one of the great coaches in the NBA, and the Clippers ascent in the Western Conference is proof of his impact. But it wasn’t a change in philosophy that altered Rivers’ history.It was patience.And the plays he called the following year for Kevin Garnett were essentially the same he called for Brian Scalabrine.He didn’t change.The players did.“I believed in what we were doing. As far as our schemes, defensively and offensively,” Rivers said. “I knew we needed more players. But I liked what we were doing.”That conviction pulled Rivers through many a sleepless night.“You just have to believe in that,” Rivers said. “That’s the time not to question yourself.”Ironically, the draft lottery Ainge and Celtics fans pinned their hopes wasn’t a benefit.Another lesson their Lakers counterparts might want to heed.The Celtics finished with the fifth pick that summer, not the first or second. That left them out of the running for either Oden or Durant.“That was a bad moment, for sure,” Rivers said.Initially, anyway.Ultimately it moved them off Plan A and onto Plan B.Rather than build around a rookie they reached into the trade market to add proven veterans.They traded the fifth pick to the Seattle Supersonics for Allen, then traded six players to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.With a pair of future Hall of Famers now teamed with Paul Pierce, the Celtics rolled to the NBA Championship.And the perception of Rivers was forever changed.“Obviously it all fell together,” he said.Down the hall at Staples Center, D’Antoni was just trying to win a game.And maybe buy himself another season.He’s in an impossible position coaching terrible team beset by injury.You don’t have to explain that to Rivers, though.He’s been there. Upstairs in the front office, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was feeling the heat too. But a top-heavy draft the following summer featuring college greats Greg Oden and Kevin Durant was his out card.With each loss improving the Celtics lottery chances, the Boston faithful consoled themselves with visions of Oden or Durant pulling them out of the darkness.And that bought Ainge time.It was different for Rivers, an outsider who elicited little confidence.In fact, well-known Celtics fan turned national columnist Bill Simmons penned one of the all-time spiteful articles in sports history when he sarcastically chastised Rivers and called for his firing. Prior to being anointed the respect befitting an NBA championship, Doc Rivers was — in a manner of speaking — Mike D’Antoni.It was the 2006-07 season and Rivers was the face of the perennially storied but presently horrible Boston Celtics.With the losses piling up and a proud fan base restless for a culprit, Rivers was an easy target.He had bombed previously with the Orlando Magic, and with the Celtics regressing rather than progressing there was sincere concern in Boston he was the right man for the job.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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