July 8, 2013 |
Forget the John Deere tractor: giant island tortoises make the best lawn mowers, according to a new study. In an effort to control the alien plants that had dominated a small island in the Indian Ocean for decades, scientists introduced two types of land tortoises. Round Island , a 529-acre island off the coast of Mauritius, has a long history of onslaught by invasive species. The island was overrun in the 1800s by rabbits and goats brought in by humans. The critters stripped the island bare, threatening a host of native reptiles and a substantial seabird colony.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 18, 2012 |
A surveillance drone is buzzing overhead. The booming of heavy artillery can be heard in the distance. On the desert floor, Thelma and Louise, the grand dames of the desert tortoise population at the massive Marine base at Twentynine Palms, are blissfully munching on their breakfast of mixed fruit and vegetable slices. At one time the two were the pets of a Marine general. But he deployed to Iraq, and there is no room in a combat rucksack for tortoises, despite their status as the state reptile of California.
October 16, 2012
Should we save the desert tortoise, or plow over its habitat to build solar power plants that can help us save ourselves? It's a question that has arisen frequently in recent years as solar developers have flocked to California's Mojave Desert in search of generous federal incentives to turn the sun's heat into electricity, raising conflicts with conservationists and Native American tribes who think all this "progress" will ravage natural and...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2012 |
The sign outside Fred Caporaso's door lists his official title: professor of food science. And it's true that his research area is sensory evaluation, the science of how food tastes. But step inside, and it's clear that his heart never strays far from the Galapagos Islands. His cluttered desk and shelves are lined with tortoise trinkets and photos with him and his students, mementos from the 18 trips he has taken to the islands. The professor has become enamored with the islands made famous by Charles Darwin, and he has emerged as something of an authority - taking students each year and giving lectures nationwide about the creatures inhabiting the islands.
July 25, 2012 |
Obsession of the moment: Hasami porcelain plates and bowls released in a new matte black finish by the Japanese design importer TGS, or Tortoise General Store, in Venice. The Hasami porcelain is beautiful in its spare simplicity and smart function. The pieces nest nicely for storage. Optional oak lids pair well with the stone bowls and can be used separately as serving trays. TGS co-owner Keiko Shinomoto says the collection has a nice back story too: It's part of a project in the southern Japanese town of Hasami, where a pottery tradition that dates to 1599 is ailing because of -- can you guess?
March 8, 2012
Tortoise power Re " The solar desert: An uneasy coexistence ," March 4 I was utterly amazed, though not surprised, by the attempts to "save" the desert tortoise at such a tremendous expense of dollars, personnel, programs, sacrifices and concessions. There is a severe shortage of renewable clean energy on this planet. There are millions of children who go to bed hungry each day. There are millions of humans who do not have access to clean drinking water. But by all means let's have a private company spend in excess of $56 million to provide food, housing, medical care and security for the desert tortoise.