More Than Your Average Bear

“It was built to be impenetrable, from its “super rugged transparent polycarbonate housing” to its intricate double-tabbed lid that would keep campers’ food in and bears’ paws out. The BearVault 500 withstood the ravages of the test bears at the Folsom City Zoo in California. It has stymied mighty grizzlies weighing up to 1,000 pounds in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.

But in one corner of the Adirondacks, campers started to notice that the BearVault, a popular canister designed to keep food and other necessities safe, was being compromised. First through circumstantial evidence, then from witness reports, it became clear that in most cases, the conqueror was a relatively tiny, extremely shy middle-aged black bear named Yellow-Yellow.

Some canisters fail in the testing stage when large bears are able to rip off the lid. But wildlife officials say that Yellow-Yellow, a 125-pound bear named for two yellow ear tags that help wildlife officials keep tabs on her, has managed to systematically decipher a complex locking system that confounds even some campers.In the process, she has emerged as a near-mythical creature in the High Peaks region of the northeastern Adirondacks.” (New York Times via abby)

Should Thursday Be the New Friday?

“As government agencies and corporations scramble to cut expenses, one idea gaining widespread attention involves cutting something most employees wouldn't mind losing: work on Fridays. Regular three-day weekends, without a decrease in the actual hours worked per week, could not only save money, but also ease pressures on the environment and public health, advocates say. In fact, several states, cities and companies across the country are considering, or have already implemented on a trial basis, the condensed schedule for their employees.” (Scientific American)

Police Report

“Lots of folks are already on this, but I wanted to post about the police report for the arrest of Henry “Skip” Gates in Cambridge the other day. Here’s a copy of the police report… The officer is clearly trying to justify the disorderly conduct arrest, which has to involve other people and a public place and cannot be made inside a person’s own house. Even the officer’s own version of events involve him persuading Gates to walk outside so that he could have an excuse to arrest him. Gates had already provided his identification and the officer makes it clear in his report that while he was still inside Gates’s house he knew he was no longer investigating any kind of crime. Gates’s “crime” in the officer’s own report consists solely of loudly accusing the officer of being a racist and asking for his name and badge number. The report makes it clear that the arrest was meant as a retaliation for being yelled at and called a racist, and he really didn’t care that the charge wasn’t going to stick.

Out on the streets, this kind of interaction happens all the time: objecting to police treatment when you have, in fact, done nothing wrong gets to you arrested for disorderly conduct or resisting an officer. It does happen to Whites, but it happens a heck of a lot more often to people of color. To me the most frightening thing about this incident are the large number of commenters on some sites who are sure the police have the right to retaliate if you object to their mistreatment of you.”(Scatterplot via walker)

And:

Is this the instance of police misconduct to obsess about? “Interesting as it is to speculate about Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge Police Department, the attention the case is generating reflects an unfortunate feature of American public discourse: you’ve got someone like Radley Balko who spends the bulk of his career documenting the most grave instances of police misconduct imaginable — including cases that involve the incarceration of innocent people for years on end — and most of even the egregious cases he writes about never break into mainstream conversation, whereas a minor altercation involving a Harvard professor who isn’t even being charged with a crime spawns wall-to-wall media coverage.

Isn’t it notable that six months into his presidency, the most prominent advocacy President Obama has done on behalf of minorities mistreated by police is to stand up for his Ivy League buddy? ” — Conor Friedersdorf (The Daily Dish)