White Nose Syndrome and American Bats

Since 2006, a deadly epidemic has been raging in North America, causing an environmental catastrophe that remains unknown to most people. White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease introduced to the US from Eurasia, has infected bat colonies in 29 states, killing up to 90% of infected animals and posing a serious threat of extinction for many species.

wns bat

White Nose Syndrome                                                                     photo by USFWS

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Dreadnoughts: The Ships that Changed the World

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, naval military forces underwent a revolution. The old wooden sailing ships with broadsides of smoothbore cannon were replaced by sleek steam-powered steel-plate ships, with breech-loading rifled guns in turrets that could fire in any direction. The “battleship” was born. But it wasn’t until after the turn of the century that the naval battleship reached the full potential of its power.

uss texas

The dreadnought USS Texas

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The Zaporozhian Cossack Letter

In the later part of the 17th century, the ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire sent an edict to the Ukrainian Cossacks on his northern border, demanding that they stop launching raids into his territory. In response, the Zaporozhians sent back what may be the most wonderfully insulting diplomatic message in history.

a sultans letter painting 1880 Ilya Repin

“The Cossacks Write a Letter to the Sultan”, by Ilya Repin

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