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The remains of an Ice Age bison have been found underneath a freeway in the northern stretches of San Diego.
A paleontologist from the San Diego Natural History Museum found the massive set of bones in early April at the junction of State Route 76 and Interstate 15 near the community of Pala Mesa, where work crews have been making freeway improvements, according to a report in U-T San Diego.
The bison bones are the latest in a series of fossil finds during freeway construction in the region.
During the recent widening of Interstate 15 in the nearby area of Rancho Bernardo, paleontologists found much older remains dating back 45 million years, including: remains of a brontothere, an extinct mammal nicknamed the “thunder beast” and related to today’s rhinoceros; a flesh-eating hooved-animal; and an early lemur-like primate.
Construction over the past two years along nearby State Route 905 in Otay Mesa uncovered whale, dolphin and walrus fossils from 3.5 million years ago.
Back in 1992, crews working on State Route 54 in the south Greater San Diego area found fossilized ground sloths, a mastodon, a Dire wolf and a camel from about 200,000 years ago.
Extinct for the past 20,000 years, the Bison latifrons — a solitary animal that lived in coastal woodlands across North America — was an evoluntionary relative of the Plains bison, Thomas Demere, curator for the history museum’s paleontology department, told U-T San Diego. .
Adults of the discovered bison species stood up to eight feet tall at the shoulders, measured about 15 feet from tail to nose and weighed up to two tons, according to the museum, which added the animal found in North County is believed to have been a female.
“This is a time capsule that was preserved for at least one hundred thousand years until just last month,” Demere said during a press conference Monday. “It’s just as exciting as Christmas morning to us to see what’s inside.”
The recent discovery represents the most complete set of bison fossils ever.
Stopping suicide. Facebook is teaming up with UK organization Samaritans to reach out to users contemplating suicide. The BBC explains why.
“I think Facebook is under increasing pressure as other social networks to be a bit more responsible for what happens on their site.”
“They are under pressure from regulators around the world, in particularly the UK, to do more to look after users. Particularly young and vulnerable people.”
Concerned Facebook friends can fill out a form to report alarming posts and status updates. Site monitors will then contact police or Samaritans volunteers to get help for those struggling — and one writer for TIME Techland is all in on the idea.
“I think this is a good thing even though it does invade on some privacy issues … Sure, some of these calls will be false alarms … but if Facebook’s intervention with the help of Samaritans makes even one person think twice about killing themselves, I’d call it a success.”
A writer for The Atlantic Wire thinks it’s a great idea for those in need — and for Facebook. itself.
“Mark Zuckerberg may be man of the year to some, but the company’s reputation has still taken a hit: aside from a negative film portrayal … Facebook’s once squeaky clean image has been blemished by its relation to a handful of suicides and bullying-related events.”
But ZDnet reports — in the company’s defense, its policy is to report imminent risk of bodily harm or death to authorities.
NDTV is raving about the new system — even if it’s in response to tragic events that have already occurred.
“The best part is that the report remains anonymous … Facebook is clearly trying to do its bit for the society even if it comes a little [too] late.”
Facebook ran a trial session for the new service and Samaritans said they received genuine reports and no hoaxes — but a writer for Yahoo! News has some concern over the program’s implementation.
“Unfortunately, the reporting form is difficult to find. Only after searching through the help center were we able to track it down.”
For now, Samaritans help is only available in the UK, but reports indicate Facebook is working to set up a similar program with organizations in the United States and encourages concerned users to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
BY MIRANDA WHEATLEY
When it comes to slowing down global warming and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels many believe electric cars could be a solution. However, a recent study released by Oxford University says that might not be the case.
Self-proclaimed ‘clean energy wonk’ William Pentland analyzed the study on his blog for Forbes.com, he wrote…
“Electric cars are not a silver bullet solution for global warming, but could they actually be part of the problem? In some developing countries, the answer is likely ‘yes’…”
Pentland’s post — and its dramatic headline — took off — reappearing on several sites including…
Red Dog Report, Australian Climate Madness, and Fox Nation.
But a contributing writer for National Geographic says the headline is misleading.
“Holy Turnaround, Batman. Does That Mean We Should Stick With Our Gasoline-Sucking Mobiles? No. First off, Pentland downplays the authors’ finding that despite the higher carbon intensity of China’s and India’s electricity, only in some scenarios do petroleum-powered vehicles emit less CO2 than their electric-powered equivalents.”
The actual study compared the emissions of traditional internal combustion engines to battery electric vehicles of similar models in several different countries.
The researchers found that in countries with high carbon dioxide emissions such as China and India — it all comes down to the source of the electricity. If it’s not a clean source charging the vehicle — like coal-powered electricity — emissions will be higher. The United States came in slightly better — and France — who gets nearly 80% of its power from nuclear energy — came in on top. (Science Direct)
The study completed by Oxford University only looked at electric vehicles, not hybrids and compared vehicles of roughly the same size and power. A different study recently released by MIT suggests hybrid vehicles have slightly lower emissions than electric. To see more of that study, visit the link in our transcript section.
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Transcript by Newsy.