Young boy saves entire family from devastating house fire in …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 20, 2017 in Rat News
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A family in Canada have been saved from a devastating fire that tore through their home after the youngest son woke his mother to raise the alarm.

Eleven-year-old David Lutgendorf was FaceTiming his father at his home in Glovertown, Newfoundland, when he noticed the flames.

He was the only family member awake at the time and rushed to rouse his mother and sister.

“Within seconds of him getting us up, the flames were everywhere,” his mother, Marcy Smith, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It happened so fast,” she said, describing how the flames “ate around” her and her son as they stood in their kitchen by a wood stove.

“The entire kitchen just disappeared while we were standing in it,” she said.

Ms Smith and her two children escaped the house, but their dog, Marley, cats and pet rats were unable to be saved.

The fire is understood to have been started after Ms Smith burned some rubbish in her wood stove, which she told the publication she had done “a thousand times”.

The family’s fire alarm did not go off and they were left with nothing but the pyjamas they had been wearing when they escaped the house.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Smith’s sister-in-law on behalf of the family, explaining that they had lost everything, including most of their pets, in the fire. 

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Both children were left unharmed by the fire, but Ms Smith was burned on one of her arms and one leg, it states.

“Please folks reach out and help, nobody deserves to have something this horrible happen,” sister-in-law Mae Smith-Ward wrote.

People have donated over $1,200 (£730) in the space of three days though the GoFundMe page.

Ms Smith told the CBC she is grateful for her son’s actions and the donations her family has received from the community since the fire.

People have already given shoes, clothes and money for food to the family, with one anonymous person giving David a bike.

Ms Smith added that her son does not realise how significant his actions were in helping the family to escape with their lives.

All he understands is that they three of them got out of the house, “he doesn’t understand that he’s the only reason we did,” she said. 

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/young-boy-house-fire-save-family-canada-11-year-old-glovertown-newfoundland-a7847436.html

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Young boy saves entire family from devastating house fire in Canada

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 18, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

A family in Canada have been saved from a devastating fire that tore through their home after the youngest son woke his mother to raise the alarm.

Eleven-year-old David Lutgendorf was FaceTiming his father at his home in Glovertown, Newfoundland, when he noticed the flames.

He was the only family member awake at the time and rushed to rouse his mother and sister.

“Within seconds of him getting us up, the flames were everywhere,” his mother, Marcy Smith, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It happened so fast,” she said, describing how the flames “ate around” her and her son as they stood in their kitchen by a wood stove.

“The entire kitchen just disappeared while we were standing in it,” she said.

Ms Smith and her two children escaped the house, but their dog, Marley, cats and pet rats were unable to be saved.

The fire is understood to have been started after Ms Smith burned some rubbish in her wood stove, which she told the publication she had done “a thousand times”.

The family’s fire alarm did not go off and they were left with nothing but the pyjamas they had been wearing when they escaped the house.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Smith’s sister-in-law on behalf of the family, explaining that they had lost everything, including most of their pets, in the fire. 

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    Iraqi boys wash a vehicle in west Mosul a few days after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters

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    Afghan policeman pour fuel over jerry cans containing confiscated acetic acid before setting it alight on the outskirts of Herat. Some 15,000 liters of acetic acid, often mixed with heroin, were destroyed by counter narcotics police

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    Residents stand amid the debris of their homes which were torn down in the evicted area of the Bukit Duri neighbourhood located on the Ciliwung river banks in Jakarta

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    Boys play cricket at a parking lot as it rains in Chandigarh, India

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    10 July 2017

    Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul

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    Police from the anti-terror squad participate in an anti-terror performance among Acehnese dancers during a ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Indonesian police corps in Banda Aceh

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    10 July 2017

    New Mongolia’s president Khaltmaa Battulga takes an oath during his inauguration ceremony in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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    10 July 2017

    US army 1st Division, US air force, US Navy and US Marines, march down the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade

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    9 July 2017

    Participants run ahead of Puerto de San Lorenzo’s fighting bulls during the third bull run of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain.
    Each day at 8:00 am hundreds of people race with six bulls, charging along a winding, 848.6-metre (more than half a mile) course through narrow streets to the city’s bull ring, where the animals are killed in a bullfight or corrida, during this festival, immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” and dating back to medieval times and also featuring religious processions, folk dancing, concerts and round-the-clock drinking.

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    8 July 2017

    Iraqi women, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, cry as they stand in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated

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    8 July 2017

    US President Donald Trump arrives for another working session during the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany

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    People climb up on a roof to get a view during riots in Hamburg, northern Germany, where leaders of the world’s top economies gather for a G20 summit

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    A military helicopter rescues people trapped on the roof of the Ministry of Finance by an intense fire in San Salvador

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    Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland.

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    A firefighter conducts rescue operations in an area damaged by heavy rain in Asakura, Japan.

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    Anti-capitalism activists protest in Hamburg, where leaders of the world’s top economies will gather for a G20 summit.

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    Crowds gather for the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.

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    A member of the Iraqi security forces runs with his weapon during a fight between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq.

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    A U.S. MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired during the combined military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea against North Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea

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    4 July 2017

    North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony following the talks at the Kremlin

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    Belarussian servicemen march during a military parade as part of celebrations marking the Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus

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    Ambulance cars and fire engines are seen near the site where a coach burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway near Muenchberg, Germany

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    2 July 2017

    Protesters demonstrating against the upcoming G20 economic summit ride boats on Inner Alster lake during a protest march in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg will host the upcoming G20 summit and is expecting heavy protests throughout.

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    1 July 2017

    Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. Thousands joined an annual protest march in Hong Kong, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his visit to the city by warning against challenges to Beijing’s sovereignty.

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    30 June 2017

    Jockey Andrea Coghe of “Selva” (Forest) parish rides his horse during the first practice for the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy June 30, 2017

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    30 June 2017

    A man takes pictures with a phone with a Union Flag casing after Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) inspected troops at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 30, 2017

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    29 June 2017

    A protester against U.S. President Donald Trump’s limited travel ban, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, holds a sign next to protesters supporting the ban, in New York City, U.S., June 29, 2017

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    Israeli Air Force Efroni T-6 Texan II planes perform at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva

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    28 June 2017

    A woman gestures next to people spraying insecticide on a vehicle during a mosquito-control operation led by Ivory Coast’s National Public and Health Institute in Bingerville, near Abidjan where several cases of dengue fever were reported

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    28 June 2017

    An aerial view shows women swimming in the Yenisei River on a hot summer day, with the air temperature at about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), outside Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, June 28, 2017

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    27 June 2017

    A Libyan coast guardsman watches over as illegal immigrants arrive to land in a dinghy during the rescue of 147 people who attempted to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017.
    More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy’s coastguard said on June 27, 2017

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    27 June 2017

    Investigators work at the scene of a car bomb explosion which killed Maxim Shapoval, a high-ranking official involved in military intelligence, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017

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    26 June 2017

    A man leaves after voting in the Mongolian presidential election at the Erdene Sum Ger (Yurt) polling station in Tuul Valley. Mongolians cast ballots on June 26 to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master in a presidential election rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric

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    26 June 2017

    People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a play ground in the suburb of Sale, Morocco

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    25 June 2017

    A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activist as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a Gay Pride annual parade on 25 June 2017 in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor’s office.

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    25 June 2017

    Pakistan army soldiers stands guard while rescue workers examine the site of an oil tanker explosion at a highway near Bahawalpur, Pakistan. An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing more than one hundred people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, an official said.

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    24 June 2017

    Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide that occurred in Xinmo Village, Mao County, Sichuan province, China

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    Student activists shout anti martial law slogans during a protest in Manila on June 23, 2017

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    23 June 2017

    A diver performs from the Pont Alexandre III bridge into the River Seine in Paris, France, June 23, 2017 as Paris transforms into a giant Olympic park to celebrate International Olympic Days with a variety of sporting events for the public across the city during two days as the city bids to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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    23 June 2017

    Debris and smoke are seen after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft released a bomb, during an airstrike, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over parts of Marawi city, Philippines June 23, 2017

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) stands under pouring rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion, by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, on June 22, 2017

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    Smoke rises following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, on June 22, 2017

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    Iraqis flee from the Old City of Mosul on June 22, 2017, during the ongoing offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the last district still held by the Islamic State (IS) group

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    21 June 2017

    Girls stand in monsoon rains beside an open laundry in New Delhi, India

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    People take part in the 15th annual Times Square yoga event celebrating the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, during classes in the middle of Times Square in New York. The event marked the international day of yoga.

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    Faroe Islanders turn the sea red after slaughtering hundreds of whales as part of annual tradition

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    A firefighting plane tackles a blaze in Cadafaz, near Goes, Portugal

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    15 June 2017

    A person participates in a journalists’ protest asking for justice in recent attacks on journalists in Mexico City, Mexico, 15 June 2017

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    Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski starts in front of the Messeturm, Fairground Tower, in Frankfurt Germany. More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run

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    A runner lies on the ground after arriving at the finish line in Frankfurt Germany. More than 1,000 runners climbed the 1202 stairs, and 222 meters of height in the Frankfurt Messeturm skyscraper run

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    A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union

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    11 June 2017

    A troupe of Ukrainian dancers perform on the tarmac at Boryspil airport in Kiev, on the first day of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the European Union

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    French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Trogneux cast their ballot at their polling station in the first round of the French legislatives elections in Le Touquet, northern France

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    A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand. Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world. Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoist

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    A Thai worker paints on a large statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as Guan Yin at a Chinese temple in Ratchaburi province, Thailand. Guan Yin is one of the most popular and well known Chinese Goddess in Asia and in the world. Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism and also worshiped by Taoists

    EPA

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    10 June 2017

    Volunteers spread mozzarella cheese toppings on the Guinness World Record attempt for the Longest Pizza in Fontana, California, USA. The pizza was planned to be 7000 feet (2.13 km) to break the previous record of 6082 feet (1.8 km) set in Naples, Italy in 2016

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    10 June 2017

    Jamaica’s Olympic champion Usain Bolt gestures after winning his final 100 metres sprint at the 2nd Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica

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    Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m ‘Salute to a Legend’ race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.
    Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil. Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships

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    Usain Bolt of Jamaica salutes the crowd after winning 100m ‘Salute to a Legend’ race during the Racers Grand Prix at the national stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.
    Bolt partied with his devoted fans in an emotional farewell at the National Stadium on June 10 as he ran his final race on Jamaican soil. Bolt is retiring in August following the London World Championships

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    10 June 2017

    Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station. The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have ‘no indication whatsoever’ the incident was an attack

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    10 June 2017

    Police officers investigate at the Amsterdam Centraal station in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A car ploughed into pedestrians and injured at least five people outside the station. The background of the incident was not immediately known, though police state they have ‘no indication whatsoever’ the incident was an attack

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    Protesters stand off before police during a demonstration against corruption, repression and unemployment in Al Hoseima, Morocco. The neglected Rif region has been rocked by social unrest since the death in October of a fishmonger. Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed in a rubbish truck as he protested against the seizure of swordfish caught out of season and his death has sparked fury and triggered nationwide protests

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    A man looks on at a migrant and refugee makeshift camp set up under the highway near Porte de la Chapelle, northern Paris

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    9 June 2017

    Damaged cars are seen stacked in the middle of a road in western Mosul’s Zanjili neighbourhood during ongoing battles to try to take the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters

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    Smoke billows following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa

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    Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures next to Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto during a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico

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    Soldiers and residents carry the body of a Muslim boy who was hit by a stray bullet while praying inside a mosque, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who has taken over large parts of the Marawi City, Philippines

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    Opposition demonstrators protest for the death on the eve of young activist Neomar Lander during clashes with riot police, in Caracas

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    8 June 2017

    Neomar Lander, a 17-year-old boy was killed during a march in the Chacao district in eastern Caracas on Wednesday, taking the overall death toll since the beginning of April to 66, according to prosecutors

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    8 June 2017

    Former FBI director James Comey is sworn in during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

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    Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

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    8 June 2017

    Usain Bolt of Jamaica trains at the University of West Indies in Kingston. Bolt says he is looking forward to having a party as he launches his final season on June 10 with what will be his last race on Jamaican soil. The 30-year-old world’s fasted man plans to retire from track and field after the 2017 London World Championships in August

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    Acquanetta Warren, Mayor of Fontana, California, reacts after US President Donald Trump introduced himself before the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors at the White House in Washington, US

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    8 June 2017

    Frenchman Alain Castany, sentenced to 20 years on charges of drug trafficking in the ‘Air Cocaine’ affair, leaves the prison in Santo Domingo, on his way to France, where he is being transferred for medical reason

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    8 June 2017

    A woman reacts at the place where 17-year-old demonstrator Neomar Lander died during riots at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, June 8, 2017. The sign reads: ‘Neomar, entertainer for ever’

    REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Both children were left unharmed by the fire, but Ms Smith was burned on one of her arms and one leg, it states.

“Please folks reach out and help, nobody deserves to have something this horrible happen,” sister-in-law Mae Smith-Ward wrote.

People have donated over $1,200 (£730) in the space of three days though the GoFundMe page.

Ms Smith told the CBC she is grateful for her son’s actions and the donations her family has received from the community since the fire.

People have already given shoes, clothes and money for food to the family, with one anonymous person giving David a bike.

Ms Smith added that her son does not realise how significant his actions were in helping the family to escape with their lives.

All he understands is that they three of them got out of the house, “he doesn’t understand that he’s the only reason we did,” she said. 

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/young-boy-house-fire-save-family-canada-11-year-old-glovertown-newfoundland-a7847436.html

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Maltin on Movies

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 15, 2017 in Rat News
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We’ve all been watching Bruce Davison for years—tending to his pet rats in Willard in the early 70s, earning an Oscar nomination for Longtime Companion in 1989, defying the X-Men as a Senator in 2000, and making his mark in an endless variety of roles on stage, television and movies. It turns out he is also a world-class raconteur. Leonard and Jessie were held in rapt attention as he imitated Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda and a host of others while spinning a series of unforgettable anecdotes. Don’t miss this episode!

Follow @LeonardMaltin and @jessiemaltin on Twitter! And be sure to check out leonardmaltin.com

Article source: http://nerdist.com/maltin-on-movies-135-bruce-davison/

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Live near the beach? Coral reef expert Charlie Veron has some advice for you

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 14, 2017 in Rat News
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Charlie Veron, the world’s foremost expert on coral reefs, lives on a shady bend of Sachs Creek, half an hour’s drive out of Townsville, in a concrete block house with three dogs, eight geese, two pet rats, seven cockatoos, a baby red fruit bat, scores of tropical fish, a green tree frog (in the bathroom), bush turkeys, the occasional echidna and what appears to be several million wallabies just about everywhere you look. Other animals include one son, two daughters and an adult female named Mary Stafford-Smith.

“The house is a bit of a menagerie,” says Stafford-Smith, who also happens to be Veron’s wife. “There are dingoes in the valley, too. Once we found a pup under a bush in the garden and looked after it.”

The house, which is called Rivendell, after the elves’ hidden refuge in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, is part of Veron’s being. He built much of it by hand, and has lived here for 40 years. (Stafford-Smith, also an expert coral biologist, has been here for 30.) Recently, however, he has been thinking about moving, perhaps to the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns, where it is cooler, wetter and higher, and thus more likely to cope with climate change – the cataclysmic wrath of which will be upon us, Veron believes, in 10 to 15 years.

“We have crossed a bridge now, and we have burnt it,” he says, sitting on his patio overlooking the creek, eating a ham and cheese roll. Moving out, should it come to that, will be a mixed challenge. The 72-year-old Veron is a veteran “chucker-outtera”: apart from a defunct pool table and his father’s army dress sword, he has few material possessions. He gets his clothes from Vinnies (“the best shop in the world”), doesn’t own a pair of formal shoes and has successfully purged his home of coral specimens, which remind him of work.

Shifting his library, on the other hand, could be trickier. Rivendell is stuffed with books, thousands of titles on everything from Giuseppe Verdi to Lawrence of Arabia. But most of his collection concerns marine biology and coral, a topic Veron knows more about than anybody on the planet. Dubbed the “Godfather of Coral”, Veron has, over his 50-year career, redefined our understanding of reefs, the way they grow and reproduce, the way they evolve, and now, most poignantly, the way they are dying. He has identified more than 20 per cent of the world’s coral species, and has been likened by David Attenborough to a modern-day Charles Darwin.

“His contribution has been huge,” says the scientist, explorer and conservationist Tim Flannery. “Without his early work we wouldn’t have had the basic benchmarks to see the nature of the changes that we are now seeing. He provided that baseline to put everything in context.” Author and environmental advocate Tim Winton says Veron “isn’t just a coral scientist, he’s a pathfinder, a scout who’s been sending back dispatches on the future of our planet for decades. If ever there was a moment for Australians to listen up and act on what he’s learnt, it’s now.”

Veron is a journalist’s dream: highly knowledgeable, and fearlessly outspoken. He has of late become the go-to guy for anyone seeking a frank opinion about coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. “The reef is in strife, and to say otherwise is bullshit,” he tells me at Rivendell. “Half the place is dead already. It won’t be here in 15 years.” Contrary to public opinion, he says, runoff from nearby farms is not nearly as big a threat to the reef as climate change, embodied most recently in the proposed Carmichael coal mine, in north central Queensland. The mine’s proponent, the Indian multinational conglomerate Adani, projects there will be more than 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions associated with the mine over its lifetime – nine times Australia’s total production of the greenhouse gas in 2015.

Veron has variously referred to Carmichael as “evil”, “beyond logic” and “appallingly stupid”. The larger problem is not the mine, as bad as that is. It’s Australia, it’s the world; it’s our complacency, our distrust of science and, of course, it’s our politicians. “We are being led by idiots,” Veron says. Former federal environment minister Greg Hunt is “the most stupid man you could ever hope to meet”. Tony Abbott is a “moron”; Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has also backed the mine, “just awful”. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, he says, is the worst of the lot. “A few years ago I talked to him for two hours about climate change, and he had a great grasp of it. Then he turns around and does nothing. To me, that is truly criminal.”

Scientists are, by nature, cautious. Instead of opinions, they have facts. Instead of randomness and speculation, they have reason and protocol. Veron is largely the opposite. He abhors protocol and is falling over himself with opinions, many of which have found their way into his new book, A Life Underwater. Equal parts memoir, coral reef primer and requiem to a planet, Veron’s book charts a career that could scarcely be imagined today, a love affair with science birthed from childhood wonderment, free-range academia and happy accidents.

Born and raised in Sydney’s north, Veron was an awkward child: he suffered from asthma and a pronounced stammer. He spent most of his time roaming nearby bushland or poring for hours over rock pools at Long Reef beach. Veron (whose real first name is John) had a habit of bringing his discoveries into class – sea worms, funnel web spiders – prompting his teacher to dub him Mr Darwin, or Charlie. He attended Barker College, a private school, where he failed miserably in everything except biology.

In his final year, however, he took part in a one-off government experiment to test whether IQ results could predict university performance better than school leaving exams. To Veron’s amazement, he topped them all, and was offered a Commonwealth scholarship to the university of his choosing. He opted for the University of New England, in country NSW, mostly because it was away from the cities.

“Because of his results at school, Charlie felt he had a lot to prove,” says his first wife Kirsty, who met Veron at university. “He felt he had to carve out a niche.”

A few years ago I talked to [Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull] for two hours about climate change, and he had a great grasp of it. Then he turns around and does nothing. To me, that is truly criminal.


Charlie Veron

Veron studied herpetology and entomology. He was about to move to Canada to study locusts when Kirsty came upon an advertisement for postdoc work on corals, based at James Cook University in Townsville. Veron knew virtually nothing about corals but, remembering his time at Long Reef, applied for the position. Little did he know, his was the sole application. Thus he set two unlikely records: being appointed the Great Barrier Reef’s first full-time research scientist, and becoming a marine biologist without ever having attended a single lecture on marine biology.

Veron is slight and wiry; he has a deeply guttered face, grey hair and piercing blue eyes. He is mesmerically articulate, given to long, discursive tutorials on everything from the endurance of coral larvae to the carbon cycle. He can also be petulant – “No one ever listens to me, I’m just a marine scientist” – and prone to the odd, discordant analogy. (At one point he likens himself to “an Aborigine”, due to his ability to enter meditative, nature-induced trances.)

“Charlie is eccentric,” says the University of Queensland marine scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. “He is also a very personal and focused individual. Lots of pioneers are like that. They don’t work well in groups.”

Veron’s achievements are, quite literally, unprecedented. He was the first to compile a global taxonomy of corals – a monumental task that effectively became the cornerstone for all later learning. He was the first to show that, contrary to received wisdom, the Indo-Philippines archipelago has the world’s greatest diversity of coral, not the Great Barrier Reef. He was instrumental in identifying the Coral Triangle – the so-called “Amazon of the seas” – a 5.7-million-square-kilometre area from the Solomon Islands in the east to Brunei in the west, which is now recognised as the world’s centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation.

He also originated a whole new theory about how corals evolved – which is kind of a big thing. Reticulate evolution, as it’s known, was born in large part from coral’s taxonomic complexity, and the profusion of what scientists call cryptic species. “With land animals, you can hold a mouse in your hand and say, ‘This is a mouse,’ ” Hoegh-Guldberg explains. “What Charlie discovered is that coral can go back and forth between one species and another.” Darwinian evolution describes how, over time, animals diverge from one another into discrete and permanent species. Reticulate evolution describes how the ocean environment has made the boundaries between marine species, such as coral, much more “fuzzy”.

“On land, there are barriers like mountain ranges, which are semi-permanent, which lead to animals in one part evolving differently to those in another part,” Hoegh-Guldberg says. “But the ocean is a much more fluid environment. There are changes in currents and water temperatures, El Niños, everything. As a result, species boundaries in water change more frequently, quick enough even to disrupt full species emergence.”

Veron’s theory was revolutionary: when he published it, in his 1995 book Corals in Space and Time, the journal Science devoted an article to it, and he later received the prestigious Darwin Medal from the International Society for Reef Studies. While reticulate evolution has found a permanent place in the universe of ideas, the academic environment that produced it – a robust culture of free and independent inquiry – is fast disappearing, according to Veron. “The demise of academia in this country is horrific,” he says. 

When Veron arrived at James Cook University, the head of the biological sciences department waved vaguely in the direction of the Great Barrier Reef, and told him: “Your job is to go out there … and do something,” adding as an afterthought: “And try to stay out of trouble.” Veron was granted similar independence when, in the mid-’70s, he became the first full-time scientist employed by the newly formed Australian Institute of Marine Science. Back then, AIMS was rambunctious and non-hierarchical, home to a hardworking, free-wheeling culture that put results before rules. “Like all scientists, we worked best that way, when we were left alone,” he says. 

Before long, however, Veron began noticing an increasing number of meetings to attend, committees to report to and forms to fill out. “The place was becoming run by bureaucrats who kept on coming up with more rules and regulations, because that is what gave them work and kept them employed.” By the time Veron became AIMS’s chief scientist in 1996, the situation was “out of control”. Every AIMS staffer who returned from a dive, for example, was required to fill out a long, complicated form logging, among other things, tide, visibility, water temperature, wind, currents, and the number of fish they had sighted.

“Unless you come across something noteworthy, recording all that data is utterly useless,” Veron says. “It would never be read, it was all just put together by some guy in a computer centre who couldn’t even swim.” One day Veron switched the whole system off. “Just like that,” he says. “Not that it helped, because by that time, the culture was gone.” Veron left AIMS in 2007. “It’s got even worse, from what I hear,” he says. “The scientists there are told what to work on, when to work on it, for how long and with what resources.” He believes the institute should be shut down.

“People there don’t discover things anymore,” he says, before adding. “Just imagine if Darwin had to work in that system. He would have been stomped on long ago.” (CEO John Gunn says, “AIMS has certainly changed since Charlie left, but I’d suggest that most organisations have evolved, and that AIMS has been very successful. Charlie was a legend at AIMS, and always will be revered as a pioneer.”)

Dr. Charlie Veron at favourite spot at home near Townsville.

Dr Charlie Veron at favourite spot at home near Townsville. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Veron can make for depressing company. While his rapture at the natural world remains intact, he has become fixated on climate change, the effects of which, he believes, are now irreversible. “It’s a catastrophe,” he says. “We are looking at a future that is barely comprehensible. There will be immense social disruption, mass starvation, resource wars, cyclones the likes of which we’ve never experienced. Mass extinctions. And it’s going to happen much sooner than people think.” For parents of young children, Veron’s message is particularly grim. “Don’t imagine that your kids will have a life like yours, because they won’t.”

Veron has borne the brunt of what the American Psychological Association calls “eco-anxiety”: a despair at the future of the planet so deep it can cause depression, grief, stress, even suicide. Stafford-Smith, Veron’s wife, says, “There is a quite high rate of depression among scientists. We see it ourselves. We have been trying to get the message out for 30 years. We are going over a precipice, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Veron’s pessimism is informed by his 50-year love affair with the reef, says Tim Flannery. “Charlie has watched one of the world’s greatest assemblages collapse around him, in his lifetime.” (Flannery, it’s worth noting, is more hopeful than Veron, whom he says “would not be aware of the potential ways we will be able to draw CO² out of the atmosphere with carbon-negative silicon rocks and making plastic with atmospheric CO² “.) Not that Veron has given up: in the past 18 months, he has given 67 interviews about climate change and the state of the Great Barrier Reef, and has also taken part in the documentary Chasing Coral. And yet, in a moment that would make Eeyore proud, he tells me that it’s only made things worse.

“It’s like having a child with a terminal illness, and you’re talking about it over and over.” It’s no fun, then, chez Veron. When I tell him I live near the beach, he suggests I sell up and move before storm surges make my house unviable. “I make an analogy with being Jewish in Nazi Germany in the 1930s,” he says. “I’d say, ‘Move, move now! Don’t worry about getting a good price for your house, just go. In 10 years’ time, everyone will be moving and it’ll be too expensive.’ “

Before I leave, Veron leads me down to the banks of the creek in front of his home, to a cool, shady spot overhung with the branches of a giant fig tree. He leans against the tree’s roots and tells me about how, when he was a boy, he would sit for hours in a beautiful place, in the bush usually, and do nothing. He would just sit there and breath, and drift off. And not think. At all. “Not thinking is such a gift,” he says. 

As he grew older, though, not thinking became harder to do. “Now I’m trying to get that back, the ability to not think.” We both stare in silence at the creek, which has tiny bubbles on its surface which pop, and are replaced by other tiny bubbles. Then we go back up to the house for a cup of tea.

Charlie Veron’s A Life Underwater (Penguin Random House, $35) is published on Monday.

Article source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/good-weekend/charlie-veron-the-dire-environmental-prognosis-we-cannot-ignore-20170711-gx8tqr.html

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Charlie Veron: The dire environmental prognosis we cannot ignore

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 13, 2017 in Rat News
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Charlie Veron, the world’s foremost expert on coral reefs, lives on a shady bend of Sachs Creek, half an hour’s drive out of Townsville, in a concrete block house with three dogs, eight geese, two pet rats, seven cockatoos, a baby red fruit bat, scores of tropical fish, a green tree frog (in the bathroom), bush turkeys, the occasional echidna and what appears to be several million wallabies just about everywhere you look. Other animals include one son, two daughters and an adult female named Mary Stafford-Smith.

“The house is a bit of a menagerie,” says Stafford-Smith, who also happens to be Veron’s wife. “There are dingoes in the valley, too. Once we found a pup under a bush in the garden and looked after it.”

The house, which is called Rivendell, after the elves’ hidden refuge in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, is part of Veron’s being. He built much of it by hand, and has lived here for 40 years. (Stafford-Smith, also an expert coral biologist, has been here for 30.) Recently, however, he has been thinking about moving, perhaps to the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns, where it is cooler, wetter and higher, and thus more likely to cope with climate change – the cataclysmic wrath of which will be upon us, Veron believes, in 10 to 15 years.

“We have crossed a bridge now, and we have burnt it,” he says, sitting on his patio overlooking the creek, eating a ham and cheese roll. Moving out, should it come to that, will be a mixed challenge. The 72-year-old Veron is a veteran “chucker-outtera”: apart from a defunct pool table and his father’s army dress sword, he has few material possessions. He gets his clothes from Vinnies (“the best shop in the world”), doesn’t own a pair of formal shoes and has successfully purged his home of coral specimens, which remind him of work.

Shifting his library, on the other hand, could be trickier. Rivendell is stuffed with books, thousands of titles on everything from Giuseppe Verdi to Lawrence of Arabia. But most of his collection concerns marine biology and coral, a topic Veron knows more about than anybody on the planet. Dubbed the “Godfather of Coral”, Veron has, over his 50-year career, redefined our understanding of reefs, the way they grow and reproduce, the way they evolve, and now, most poignantly, the way they are dying. He has identified more than 20 per cent of the world’s coral species, and has been likened by David Attenborough to a modern-day Charles Darwin.

“His contribution has been huge,” says the scientist, explorer and conservationist Tim Flannery. “Without his early work we wouldn’t have had the basic benchmarks to see the nature of the changes that we are now seeing. He provided that baseline to put everything in context.” Author and environmental advocate Tim Winton says Veron “isn’t just a coral scientist, he’s a pathfinder, a scout who’s been sending back dispatches on the future of our planet for decades. If ever there was a moment for Australians to listen up and act on what he’s learnt, it’s now.”

Veron is a journalist’s dream: highly knowledgeable, and fearlessly outspoken. He has of late become the go-to guy for anyone seeking a frank opinion about coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. “The reef is in strife, and to say otherwise is bullshit,” he tells me at Rivendell. “Half the place is dead already. It won’t be here in 15 years.” Contrary to public opinion, he says, runoff from nearby farms is not nearly as big a threat to the reef as climate change, embodied most recently in the proposed Carmichael coal mine, in north central Queensland. The mine’s proponent, the Indian multinational conglomerate Adani, projects there will be more than 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions associated with the mine over its lifetime – nine times Australia’s total production of the greenhouse gas in 2015.

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Veron has variously referred to Carmichael as “evil”, “beyond logic” and “appallingly stupid”. The larger problem is not the mine, as bad as that is. It’s Australia, it’s the world; it’s our complacency, our distrust of science and, of course, it’s our politicians. “We are being led by idiots,” Veron says. Former federal environment minister Greg Hunt is “the most stupid man you could ever hope to meet”. Tony Abbott is a “moron”; Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has also backed the mine, “just awful”. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, he says, is the worst of the lot. “A few years ago I talked to him for two hours about climate change, and he had a great grasp of it. Then he turns around and does nothing. To me, that is truly criminal.”

SCIENTISTS ARE, by nature, cautious. Instead of opinions, they have facts. Instead of randomness and speculation, they have reason and protocol. Veron is largely the opposite. He abhors protocol and is falling over himself with opinions, many of which have found their way into his new book, A Life Underwater. Equal parts memoir, coral reef primer and requiem to a planet, Veron’s book charts a career that could scarcely be imagined today, a love affair with science birthed from childhood wonderment, free-range academia and happy accidents.

Born and raised in Sydney’s north, Veron was an awkward child: he suffered from asthma and a pronounced stammer. He spent most of his time roaming nearby bushland or poring for hours over rock pools at Long Reef beach. Veron (whose real first name is John) had a habit of bringing his discoveries into class – sea worms, funnel web spiders – prompting his teacher to dub him Mr Darwin, or Charlie. He attended Barker College, a private school, where he failed miserably in everything except biology

In his final year, however, he took part in a one-off government experiment to test whether IQ results could predict university performance better than school leaving exams. To Veron’s amazement, he topped them all, and was offered a Commonwealth scholarship to the university of his choosing. He opted for the University of New England, in country NSW, mostly because it was away from the cities.

“Because of his results at school, Charlie felt he had a lot to prove,” says his first wife Kirsty, who met Veron at university. “He felt he had to carve out a niche.”

It’s a catastrophe. We are looking at a future that is barely comprehensible.

Veron studied herpetology and entomology. He was about to move to Canada to study locusts when Kirsty came upon an advertisement for postdoc work on corals, based at James Cook University in Townsville. Veron knew virtually nothing about corals but, remembering his time at Long Reef, applied for the position. Little did he know, his was the sole application. Thus he set two unlikely records: being appointed the Great Barrier Reef’s first full-time research scientist, and becoming a marine biologist without ever having attended a single lecture on marine biology.

VERON IS slight and wiry; he has a deeply guttered face, grey hair and piercing blue eyes. He is mesmerically articulate, given to long, discursive tutorials on everything from the endurance of coral larvae to the carbon cycle. He can also be petulant – “No one ever listens to me, I’m just a marine scientist” – and prone to the odd, discordant analogy. (At one point he likens himself to “an Aborigine”, due to his ability to enter meditative, nature-induced trances.)

“Charlie is eccentric,” says the University of Queensland marine scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. “He is also a very personal and focused individual. Lots of pioneers are like that. They don’t work well in groups.”

Veron’s achievements are, quite literally, unprecedented. He was the first to compile a global taxonomy of corals – a monumental task that effectively became the cornerstone for all later learning. He was the first to show that, contrary to received wisdom, the Indo-Philippines archipelago has the world’s greatest diversity of coral, not the Great Barrier Reef. He was instrumental in identifying the Coral Triangle – the so-called “Amazon of the seas” – a 5.7-million-square-kilometre area from the Solomon Islands in the east to Brunei in the west, which is now recognised as the world’s centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation.

He also originated a whole new theory about how corals evolved – which is kind of a big thing. Reticulate evolution, as it’s known, was born in large part from coral’s taxonomic complexity, and the profusion of what scientists call cryptic species. “With land animals, you can hold a mouse in your hand and say, ‘This is a mouse,’ ” Hoegh-Guldberg explains. “What Charlie discovered is that coral can go back and forth between one species and another.” Darwinian evolution describes how, over time, animals diverge from one another into discrete and permanent species. Reticulate evolution describes how the ocean environment has made the boundaries between marine species, such as coral, much more “fuzzy”.

“On land, there are barriers like mountain ranges, which are semi-permanent, which lead to animals in one part evolving differently to those in another part,” Hoegh-Guldberg says. “But the ocean is a much more fluid environment. There are changes in currents and water temperatures, El Niños, everything. As a result, species boundaries in water change more frequently, quick enough even to disrupt full species emergence.”

Veron’s theory was revolutionary: when he published it, in his 1995 book Corals in Space and Time, the journal Science devoted an article to it, and he later received the prestigious Darwin Medal from the International Society for Reef Studies. While reticulate evolution has found a permanent place in the universe of ideas, the academic environment that produced it – a robust culture of free and independent inquiry – is fast disappearing, according to Veron. “The demise of academia in this country is horrific,” he says. 

When Veron arrived at James Cook University, the head of the biological sciences department waved vaguely in the direction of the Great Barrier Reef, and told him: “Your job is to go out there … and do something,” adding as an afterthought: “And try to stay out of trouble.” Veron was granted similar independence when, in the mid-’70s, he became the first full-time scientist employed by the newly formed Australian Institute of Marine Science. Back then, AIMS was rambunctious and non-hierarchical, home to a hardworking, free-wheeling culture that put results before rules. “Like all scientists, we worked best that way, when we were left alone,” he says. 

Before long, however, Veron began noticing an increasing number of meetings to attend, committees to report to and forms to fill out. “The place was becoming run by bureaucrats who kept on coming up with more rules and regulations, because that is what gave them work and kept them employed.” By the time Veron became AIMS’s chief scientist in 1996, the situation was “out of control”. Every AIMS staffer who returned from a dive, for example, was required to fill out a long, complicated form logging, among other things, tide, visibility, water temperature, wind, currents, and the number of fish they had sighted.

“Unless you come across something noteworthy, recording all that data is utterly useless,” Veron says. “It would never be read, it was all just put together by some guy in a computer centre who couldn’t even swim.” One day Veron switched the whole system off. “Just like that,” he says. “Not that it helped, because by that time, the culture was gone.” Veron left AIMS in 2007. “It’s got even worse, from what I hear,” he says. “The scientists there are told what to work on, when to work on it, for how long and with what resources.” He believes the institute should be shut down.

“People there don’t discover things anymore,” he says, before adding. “Just imagine if Darwin had to work in that system. He would have been stomped on long ago.” (CEO John Gunn says, “AIMS has certainly changed since Charlie left, but I’d suggest that most organisations have evolved, and that AIMS has been very successful. Charlie was a legend at AIMS, and always will be revered as a pioneer.”)

Dr. Charlie Veron at favourite spot at home near Townsville.

Dr. Charlie Veron at favourite spot at home near Townsville. Photo: Wolter Peeters

VERON CAN make for depressing company. While his rapture at the natural world remains intact, he has become fixated on climate change, the effects of which, he believes, are now irreversible. “It’s a catastrophe,” he says. “We are looking at a future that is barely comprehensible. There will be immense social disruption, mass starvation, resource wars, cyclones the likes of which we’ve never experienced. Mass extinctions. And it’s going to happen much sooner than people think.” For parents of young children, Veron’s message is particularly grim. “Don’t imagine that your kids will have a life like yours, because they won’t.”

Veron has borne the brunt of what the American Psychological Association calls “eco-anxiety”: a despair at the future of the planet so deep it can cause depression, grief, stress, even suicide. Stafford-Smith, Veron’s wife, says, “There is a quite high rate of depression among scientists. We see it ourselves. We have been trying to get the message out for 30 years. We are going over a precipice, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Veron’s pessimism is informed by his 50-year love affair with the reef, says Tim Flannery. “Charlie has watched one of the world’s greatest assemblages collapse around him, in his lifetime.” (Flannery, it’s worth noting, is more hopeful than Veron, whom he says “would not be aware of the potential ways we will be able to draw CO² out of the atmosphere with carbon-negative silicon rocks and making plastic with atmospheric CO² “.) Not that Veron has given up: in the past 18 months, he has given 67 interviews about climate change and the state of the Great Barrier Reef, and has also taken part in the documentary Chasing Coral. And yet, in a moment that would make Eeyore proud, he tells me that it’s only made things worse.

“It’s like having a child with a terminal illness, and you’re talking about it over and over.” It’s no fun, then, chez Veron. When I tell him I live near the beach, he suggests I sell up and move before storm surges make my house unviable. “I make an analogy with being Jewish in Nazi Germany in the 1930s,” he says. “I’d say, ‘Move, move now! Don’t worry about getting a good price for your house, just go. In 10 years’ time, everyone will be moving and it’ll be too expensive.’ “

Before I leave, Veron leads me down to the banks of the creek in front of his home, to a cool, shady spot overhung with the branches of a giant fig tree. He leans against the tree’s roots and tells me about how, when he was a boy, he would sit for hours in a beautiful place, in the bush usually, and do nothing. He would just sit there and breath, and drift off. And not think. At all. “Not thinking is such a gift,” he says. 

As he grew older, though, not thinking became harder to do. “Now I’m trying to get that back, the ability to not think.” We both stare in silence at the creek, which has tiny bubbles on its surface which pop, and are replaced by other tiny bubbles. Then we go back up to the house for a cup of tea.

Charlie Veron’s A Life Underwater (Penguin Random House, $35) is published on Monday.

Article source: http://www.theage.com.au/good-weekend/charlie-veron-the-dire-environmental-prognosis-we-cannot-ignore-20170711-gx8tqr.html

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iafrica.com ‘I’ll have a rat.’ A rodent cafe is here

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 11, 2017 in Rat News
Closed
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The rodent-borne bubonic plague may seem unappetizing, but for a few San Francisco visionaries, it proved just the inspiration needed to launch one of the city’s latest eateries: The Rat Cafe.

The pop-up cafe, which opened Saturday, offers visitors a chance to munch on a breakfast of pastries, coffee and tea, and enjoy a bit of play time with a small handful of rats.

Hosted inside The San Francisco Dungeon, an immersive tourist attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the city’s dark past from Alcatraz to the violence and greed of the Gold Rush, the $50 breakfast was conceived after some employees began pondering the venue’s section on a black death plague that struck in the early 20th century.

“We tell the story of the (bubonic) plague here in San Francisco and we really thought we wanted to do something special for the summer,” said the Dungeon’s Matthew Gunter.

“Let’s bring the rats to life, let guests actually get a chance to get up close and personal with rats, of course plague-free rats,” he said.

Several dozen people have shelled out the money to attend one of two breakfast sessions in which they get to interact with approximately six to eight rats and have breakfast. The venue says more breakfasts may be planned at a future date.

Krissi Reeves, a spokeswoman for the Dungeon, said tickets for the July 1 and 8 events sold out in less than an hour.

“The rats are pretty darn cute and the people who purchased tickets, I think they have already decided that they’re gonna like the rats and not be too scared,” she said. 

The rats are provided by Rattie Ratz, a California non-profit that helps place pet rats in homes.

“They love to be petted, they’re very affectionate. They’re way more affectionate than any small animal I know,” said the organization’s Jennifer Girgar.

The Rat Cafe opens amid a booming cat cafe trend in parts of Asia and even the United States and Europe, in which visitors sip beverages surrounded by felines which are often available for adoption.

AFP

Article source: http://www.iafrica.com/articles/1052416.html

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Rat Cafe: New pop-up in SF offers a chance to get cozy with rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 8, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

– How about a rodent with that coffee? While many eateries take measures to make sure their establishment is rat-free, there’s a new pop-up cafe in San Francisco that’s offering visitors a chance to sit among rats while they enjoy their morning coffee or tea.

The Rat Cafe debuted on July 1 inside The San Francisco Dungeon, an interactive attraction in Fisherman’s Wharf that brings to life old San Francisco and its dark past, taking visitors on a journey through theater, special effects and even an underground boat ride.

The venue offers a section on the rat-borne bubonic plague that hit San Francisco in the early 1900’s.

The “Black Plague’s” first reported incident in the continental U.S. was in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

So when the Dungeon considered ways to explore that part of the city’s past, naturally, it figured a rat cafe would offer a pretty unique experience.

For about $50 a ticket, guests are offered a breakfast pastry, coffee or tea, and of course some quality time with a handful of friendly rats.

After breakfast, guests get 15 minutes of rat time and the ticket includes admission to The San Francisco Dungeon.

The Woodside based-Rattie Ratz, provided the rodents. The non-profit group helps place pet rats in homes.

The limited pop-up is set to open again on Saturday.

But if you want to go, you’re out of luck. Tickets are sold out.

However, if this rat experience has always been a dream of yours, don’t lose hope. The venue is considering plans for additional dates.

 

Article source: http://www.ktvu.com/news/believe-it-or-not/266491307-story

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People are sharing their cafe tables with rats and they love it

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 7, 2017 in Rat News
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The rodent-borne bubonic plague may seem unappetising, but for a few San Francisco visionaries, it proved just the inspiration needed to launch one of the city’s latest eateries The Rat Cafe.

The pop-up cafe, which opened on July 1, offers visitors a chance to munch on a breakfast of pastries, coffee and tea, and enjoy a bit of play time with a small handful of rats.

Hosted inside The San Francisco Dungeon, an immersive tourist attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the city’s dark past from Alcatraz to the violence and greed of the Gold Rush, the US$50 (RM215) breakfast was conceived after some employees began pondering the venue’s section on a black death plague that struck in the early 20th century.

“We tell the story of the (bubonic) plague here in San Francisco and we really thought we wanted to do something special for the summer,” said the Dungeon’s Matthew Gunter.

“Let’s bring the rats to life, let guests actually get a chance to get up close and personal with rats, of course plague-free rats,” he said.

rat cafe san francisco

Say hello to Charlotte, one of the rats diner can have breakfast with at The Rat Cafe. Charlotte was saved from being eaten by a snake at a pet store before being adopted by Rattie Ratz. Photo: AFP

Several dozen people have shelled out the money to attend one of two breakfast sessions in which they get to interact with six to eight rats and have breakfast. The venue says more breakfasts may be planned at a future date.

Krissi Reeves, a spokeswoman for the Dungeon, said tickets for the July 1 and 8 events sold out in less than an hour.

“The rats are pretty darn cute and the people who purchased tickets, I think they have already decided that they’re gonna like the rats and not be too scared,” she said.

The rats are provided by Rattie Ratz, a California non-profit that helps place pet rats in homes.

“They love to be petted, they’re very affectionate. They’re way more affectionate than any small animal I know,” said the organisation’s Jennifer Girgar.

The Rat Cafe opens amid a booming cat cafe trend in parts of Asia and even the United States and Europe, in which visitors sip beverages surrounded by felines which are often available for adoption. – AFP Relaxnews

Article source: http://www.star2.com/food/food-news/2017/07/07/cafe-share-table-with-rat/

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For $50 each, patrons get to eat breakfast with rats at pop-up cafe in San Francisco

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 4, 2017 in Rat News
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The rodent-borne bubonic plague may seem unappetizing, but for a few San Francisco visionaries, it proved just the inspiration needed to launch one of the city’s latest eateries: the “rat cafe.”

The pop-up cafe, which opened Saturday, offers visitors a chance to munch on a breakfast of pastries, coffee and tea, and enjoy a bit of play time with a small handful of rats.

It comes amid a booming cat cafe trend in parts of Asia — including Japan — and even the United States and Europe, in which visitors sip beverages surrounded by felines that are often available for adoption.

Hosted inside The San Francisco Dungeon, an immersive tourist attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the city’s dark past from Alcatraz to the violence and greed of the Gold Rush, the $50 breakfast was conceived after some employees began pondering the venue’s section on a black death plague that struck in the early 20th century.

“We tell the story of the (bubonic) plague here in San Francisco and we really thought we wanted to do something special for the summer,” said the Dungeon’s Matthew Gunter.

“Let’s bring the rats to life, let guests actually get a chance to get up close and personal with rats, of course plague-free rats,” he said.

Several dozen people have shelled out the money to attend one of two breakfast sessions in which they get to interact with approximately six to eight rats and have breakfast. The venue says more breakfasts may be planned at a future date.

Krissi Reeves, a spokeswoman for the Dungeon, said tickets for the July 1 and 8 events sold out in less than an hour.

“The rats are pretty darn cute and the people who purchased tickets, I think they have already decided that they’re gonna like the rats and not be too scared,” she said.

The rats are provided by Rattie Ratz, a California nonprofit that helps place pet rats in homes.

“They love to be petted, they’re very affectionate. They’re way more affectionate than any small animal I know,” said the organization’s Jennifer Girgar.

Article source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/03/world/offbeat-world/50-patrons-get-eat-breakfast-rats-pop-cafe-san-francisco/

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Pet rats take centre stage in Carlisle

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 3, 2017 in Rat News
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Don’t miss your chance to meet and learn about the most intelligent pocket pets in the country on Saturday 15th July at St Mark’s Church in Belah, Carlisle for an event dedicated to celebrating the pet rat.

With free entry, this is set to be a fun day out for all the family.

This is the second annual event to be held and will be jointly hosted by the North of England Rat Society and the Scottish Rat Club. Between them, these two clubs have over 250 adult and junior members. We are anticipating around 80 rats to be present, the friendliest of which will be on ‘cuddle corner’ duty, ready to get up close and personal with visiting humans!

Most of the rats attending, who come in more colours than you can imagine, will be eyeing each other up as they compete for the top show prizes.

Linda O’dell, one of the club members who lives and works in Carlisle is planning on entering her rats, Janice and Ella, in the show: “Our pets have been handled from an early age and are well socialised. It’s much better for both rats and their owners to buy them from a respected breeder than from a pet shop, so you know that both they and their parents are friendly and healthy.”

Jacob, 9, who will be co-running some of the interactive activities with his mum says: “I love rats because they are cuddly and friendly pets. My rats love to sit on my shoulder and watch TV with me and snuggle to sleep on my knee.

“I love to take them to shows so I can show them off. Everyone is friendly and I get to cuddle other rats. I learn how to look after them and find out how healthy my rats are. I like to help with the competitions too and make fun toys for my rats.”

The event is open to the public from 11.30am, with the day ending around 5pm. Rat owners who would like to bring their pets along or enter them in the judged show, must contact the show secretary by 12th July: showentries@neratsociety.co.uk

Article source: http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2017/07/03/pet-rats-take-centre-stage-carlisle/

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