Photography Contest XI

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Kodak Instamatic
Kodak Instamatic 814, 1968-70.

The 11th annual photography contest begins now, Friday, June 14, at 12:00 p.m., MDT (MDT = UTC(GMT) – 6 h). Entries will be accepted between now and Monday, June 24, at 12:00 p.m., MDT. The rules are precisely the same as last year’s, except, obviously, that the dates have been updated.

Butorides virescens

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Photograph by Paul Burnett.

Photography Contest, Honorable Mention.

Green heron
Butorides virescens – green heron. Mr. Burnett writes, "This is in the same pond as my turtle pictures a few [as of 2016] years ago. There's a pair of them living around the pond, but they're so shy I haven't found a nest yet."

Photography Contest XI

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Kodak Instamatic
Kodak Instamatic 814, 1968-70.

The number of entrants in the photography contest, but by no means the quality of the photography, has been decreasing more or less monotonically with time. But it has not hit 0 – so we thought we would announce the 11th annual contest, with entries accepted between June 14 and June 24, which gives you 2 weekends to polish your lenses or perfect your digital techniques. The rules will be the same as last year’s, except, obviously, that the dates will change. We will post a formal announcement at noon, MDT, June 14, and begin accepting entries immediately thereafter. We will choose a number of finalists and open voting for the winner at noon, June 28. The winner and the runner-up will receive a book courtesy of the National Center for Science Education.

Rattus sp.

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Rats
Rattus sp. – rat.

These rats, probably Norway rats (see link), are active during the day, unlike most rats, which are nocturnal. The rat that interested me was the rat with the white blotch. Domesticated animals such as horses, cows, dogs, and now foxes often show blotchy coats, whereas, as far as I know, wild animals do not. The blotched rat, then, is probably a feral rat or a descendant of a feral rat that bred with a wild rat. Is that right? Did someone irresponsibly release a domesticated rat into the neighborhood?

Act of God?

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Landslide
United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky

Is God wroth with the Ark Encounter? We cannot know for sure, but it is entirely possible that he or she visited an admittedly minor act of God upon Ark Encounter LLC. The insurers of Ark Encounter LLC, all six of them, may or may not have thought so, but they refused to pay for a landslide along a road leading directly to the “Ark.” Ark Encounter, in its turn, prayed for relief, not to God, but to the United States District Court (see the link in the caption).

Dan Phelps, a nearby Kentucky geologist, notes, “Any competent geologist would have told them that landslides are a consequence of building on the shales of the Kope Formation,” and expresses surprise that they did not have access to one. He further explains that the photograph, which we got from the text of the lawsuit, “is a textbook example of a landslide occurring in the Late Ordovician Kope Formation of northern Kentucky. The Kope is typically more than 50% shale. If the Kope gets wet and is on a steep slope, it is very much vulnerable to landslides.”

It seems likely that Ark Encounter’s geologists are no better than their staff astrophysicists, though their failure is perhaps more obvious and more meaningful.