Archive for January 2014

Canucks play in Winnipeg for the first time in 18 years, and get beat by Jets   Leave a comment


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Big win for the Jets as they creep a bit closer to a possible wild card playoff spot. 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Beating the Canucks is good.

Devin Setoguchi had a good game with two goals including the winner.

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John Tortorella, the  loud mouthed and temperamental coach of the Canucks, who is currently suspended and can’t coach, was still in attendance, at least in paper form.

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The old curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf joined the eccentric Tortorella behind the Canucks bench.

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Posted January 31, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The imposing size of Lacrosse goaltenders   Leave a comment


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While watching lacrosse on TV I have always been mystified by the size of the goalies. These guys appear twice as big as the forward players. I assumed this was because the goalies were huge obese guys who had cat like reflexes. Take a look at these behemoths.

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In researching lacrosse goaltender equipment I discovered that it is the massive pads that make the goalies look so huge.  These goalies could withstand a grizzly bear attack with all that padding.

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Lacrosse goaltenders equipment includes upper body gear (measuring no more than 3 inches (7.6 cm) up and 5 inches (13 cm) out off the shoulder—much larger than similar gear for field lacrosse or ice hockey goaltenders), large shin guards that must measure no more than 11 inches (28 cm) at the knee, 9 inches (23 cm) at the top of the shin and 7 inches (18 cm) at the ankle, and a field lacrosse helmet or ice hockey goalie mask according to the rules set by the CLA for the 2012 season.

More pictures of these copiously padded net stoppers.

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Posted January 31, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Animals that you probably never heard of   2 comments


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The Dhole

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The Dhole is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia.  The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt.  It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo, and even tigers.

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The Babirusa

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Babirusa, meaning “Hog-deer”, are members of the pig family found in Wallacea, or specifically the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sula and Buru.  If a babirusa does not grind its tusks (achievable through regular activity), they will eventually keep growing so as to penetrate the animal’s own skull.

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Pink Fairy Armadillo

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The pink fairy armadillo is approximately 3.5-4.5 inches long, excluding the tail, and is pale rose or pink in color. It has the ability to bury itself completely in a matter of seconds if frightened.  It is a nocturnal animal and it burrows small holes near ant colonies in dry soil, and feeds mainly on ants and ant larvae near its burrow.  It uses large front claws to agitate the sand, allowing it to almost swim through the ground like it is water. It is torpedo-shaped, and has a shielded head and back.

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The Fossa

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The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar.  The fossa is the largest mammalian carnivore on the island of Madagascar and has been compared to a small cougar.   It has semi-retractable claws and flexible ankles that allow it to climb up and down trees head-first, and also support jumping from tree to tree.

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The Gerenuk

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The gerenuk, also known as the Waller’s gazelle, is a long-necked species of antelope found in dry thorn bush scrub and desert in Eastern Africa. The word gerenuk comes from the Somali language, meaning “giraffe-necked”.  Gerenuks have a relatively small head for their body, but their eyes and ears are proportionately large.  Gerenuks seldom graze but browse on prickly bushes and trees, such as acacias. They can reach higher branches and twigs than other gazelles and antelope by standing erect on their rear legs and stretching their elongated necks.

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Naked Mole Rat

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This creature has a lot of characteristics that make it very important to human beings.  For one it is resistant to cancer.  They also live up to 28 years, which is unheard of in mammals of its size.  It seemingly does not age much in those 28 years either.  It remains “young, healthy and fully fertile for almost all its days, which for an elderly animal is equivalent to an 80-year-old woman having the biological make-up of someone 50 years younger.”  The naked mole rat is used in both cancer research and the study of aging.  Not only making it a bizarre creature, but an incredibly important creature as well.

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Irrawaddy Dolphin

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The Irrawaddy dolphin is a species of oceanic dolphin found near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia.  Genetically, the Irrawaddy dolphin is closely related to the killer whale.

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Markhor

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The markhor is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals.  The markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.  While chewing the cud, a foam-like substance comes out of its mouth which drops on the ground and dries. This foam-like substance is sought after by the local people, who believe it is useful in extracting snake poison from snake bitten wounds.

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Snub-Nosed Monkey

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Snub-nosed monkeys live in various parts of Asia and get their name from the short stump of a nose on their round face.  Snub-nosed monkeys inhabit mountain forests, in the winter moving into deeply secluded regions. They spend the majority of their life in the trees and live together in very large groups of up to 600 members.  They have a large vocal repertoire, calling sometimes solo while at other times together in choir-like fashion.

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The Maned Wolf

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The Maned Wolf is the largest canid in South America, resembling a large fox with reddish fur.  This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees throughout South America.  The maned wolf is the tallest of the wild canids and it’s long legs are most likely an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.

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Southern Right Whale Dolphin

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The southern right whale dolphin is a small and slender species of mammal found in cool waters of the southern hemisphere.  They are fast active swimmers and have no visible teeth and no dorsal fin. They are very graceful and often move by leaping out of the water continuously.

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Sunda Colugo

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Also known as The Sunda flying lemur, it is not actually a lemur and does not fly. Instead, it glides as it leaps among trees. It is strictly arboreal, is active at night, and feeds on soft plant parts such as young leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruits.  The Sunda Coluga can be found throughout Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

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Tufted Deer

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The Tufted Deer is a small species of deer characterized by the prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead. It is a close relative of the muntjac, living somewhat further north over a wide area of central China.  It is a timid animal, mainly solitary or found in pairs and prefers places with good cover, where it is well camouflaged.

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Lamprey

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Lampreys are a type of jawless fish that live mostly in coastal and fresh waters whose adults are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth.  They attach themselves to fish and suck their blood.  Lampreys have been around for nearly 300 millions years and their body structure has remained relatively unchanged.

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Raccoon Dog

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The Raccoon Dog, or Tanuki, is a canid indigenous to East Asia.  The raccoon dog is named for its resemblance to the raccoon, to which it is not closely related.  They are very good climbers and regularly climb trees.

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Zebra Duiker

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The zebra duiker is a small antelope found in Ivory Coast and other parts of Africa.  They have gold or red-brown coats with distinctive zebra-like stripes (hence the name)  Their prong-like horns are about 4.5 cm long in males, and half that in females.  They live in lowland rainforests and mostly eat leaves and fruit.

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Star-Nosed Mole

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The star-nosed mole is a small mole found in wet low areas of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It is easily identified by the 11 pairs of pink fleshy appendages ringing its snout, which is used as a touch organ with more than 25,000 minute sensory receptors, known as Eimer’s organs, with which this hamster-sized mole feels its way around.

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Now for some animals you have heard of:

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Posted January 31, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Polar Vortex extends its Cold, Dark Claws southward as far as Atlanta   Leave a comment


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The citizens of Atlanta, Georgia experienced the wrath of the infamous Polar Vortex.  The harsh cold front swooped down on Atlanta with a mean spirited furry.  It created havoc and chaos on the roads and highways of the Atlanta area. Sheer ice was the condition of road surfaces causing vehicles to slide sideways and backwards. The highways around Atlanta looked like giant spasmodic parking lots.

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A polar vortex (also known as a polar cyclone, polar low, or a circumpolar whirl) is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near either of a planet’s geographical poles. On Earth, the polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere. They surround the polar highs and lie in the wake of the polar front. These cold-core low-pressure areas strengthen in the winter and weaken in the summer due to their reliance upon the temperature differential between the equator and the poles. They usually span less than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in which the air circulates in a counter-clockwise fashion (in the Northern Hemisphere). As with other cyclones, their rotation is caused by the Coriolis effect.

The Arctic vortex in the Northern Hemisphere has two centers, one near Baffin Island and the other over northeast Siberia. The Antarctic vortex in the Southern Hemisphere tends to be located near the edge of the Ross ice shelf near 160 west longitude. When the polar vortex is strong, the Westerlies increase in strength. When the polar cyclone is weak, the general flow pattern across mid-latitudes buckles and significant cold outbreaks occur. Ozone depletion occurs within the polar vortex, particularly over the Southern Hemisphere, and reaches a maximum in the spring.

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The consequences of the Icy Vortex.

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Frozen fountain

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Posted January 30, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Outdoor hockey extravaganza at Yankee stadium   Leave a comment


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For the second time in the last week the faithful braved cold temperatures at Yankee stadium in New York City to watch NHL action.  The New York Rangers nipped the New York Islanders 2-1 in a game played in -7 C temps.

The New York Islanders Ice Girls

 

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Posted January 30, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Why Cats are Leery of Kids   Leave a comment


 

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Posted January 29, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The contrast of the seasons in Winnipeg   Leave a comment


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From the glorious sunny and green days of summer to the white frigid winter days. We get it all.

Images from Library Park in downtown Winnipeg.

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Posted January 29, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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