Bits and Pieces: Texan Rhinos, Cloth Diapers and Uranium-Alloy Shotgun Pellets

Short news bits on bear fat, space communication and Tennessee rivers.

| July/August 1984

Africa, Texas-Style  

Texans used to talk about the thunder of buffalo. Now it's the rumble of rhino. Rhinoceros specialists have released two male and three female black rhino onto private ranch land in Texas, hoping to establish a substantial breeding herd. The black rhino is threatened with extinction in Africa, where it suffers from poaching, drought, and reduced habitat ... while attempts to mate the shy mammal in captivity have not been very successful. The specialists are hoping the rhino will feel a little more at home on the Texas range.

No More Rivers to Damn?  

After decades of dredging, channelizing, and damming southeastern rivers, the Tennessee Valley Authority has apparently decided it has done all it can. Originally created to improve economic conditions in a severely depressed area of the Southeast, TVA became the object of pork barrel politics and the source of questionable policies that produced limited economic benefits and submerged thousands of acres of valuable forests and farmland. TVA's new policy is to let the rivers run where they will, "except where significant public benefits are clearly established and environmental damage can be avoided." If only the new policy could be made retroactive ...

Scientists Seesaw on Sea Rise  

Coastal inhabitants can unload the moving van ... maybe. The possible rise in sea level that could result from the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is now being questioned by a number of experts. Early reports from the Environmental Protection Agency indicated that a CO2 induced warming trend might break up the polar ice caps. causing a significant rise in sea level. But a number of scientists argue, on the basis of new evidence, that the ice caps would remain stable through a warming period and, as a result of increased snowfall, might even expand. In short, no one can say with much certainty exactly what will be happening to the world's oceans in two or three decades. (See the Plowboy Interview with W.O. Roberts for more information)

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