Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gray Wolf hunting by the numbers

This information concerns only to the state of Wisconsin where wolf hunting permits have been granted for 2012 wolf hunting season. The main picture and some of the resources for this note were obtained from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) Wolf Management Section 2011-2012. 

Estimated wolf population in Wisconsin as 2011: ~800 (782-824, 202-203 packs, 19 loners, and 31 on Indian reservations. The hunting permits apply to outside reservation specified hunting zones)

How many wolves can the state of Wisconsin support: 700-1000
Maximum estimated historical population (highest pick 1830s): 3000-5000. No censuses were conducted then. Censuses started in the 90s.

Wolves were locally extinct by 1960s: population zero or near zero or zero sightings. This was associated with the increase in deer hunting as a sport activity, and non-tolerance for wolves as competitors for pray.

How many deers do wolves really eat? approximately 20/year (estimates based on current wolf populations). For Wisconsin, DNR researchers estimate that 30 livestock and 30 domestic animals (dogs) may be killed by wolves yearly. Accounting for all wolves in the state deer lost to wolves is about 16,000. This represents only 1/10 of the deer killed during hunting season.

How many deer are killed by hunters during hunting season? The number varies by year, policies observed and other factors. The most recent numbers:
During the first two opening days of the 2011 season ~600,000 hunters registered 112,581 deer killed in two days. This number alone surpasses the total deer estimate for a whole year.

How many deer are killed in car accidents (anthropogenic/human activity)?: 800

How many people apply for wolf hunting permits: 20,000

How many permits do the lottery would grant: 1600

WDNR quota for 2011 harvest: 116 wolves

Total wolves killed after the 2011 hunting season: 110. The season opened on Oct 25, 2012 and ended on Dec 23, 2011. The harvest was set up by quotas per region/management zones.  Originally, the season supposed to be open until the quota was reached and it was expected to be open until February 2013, although the quota was reached in less than two months.  (last update Dec 27, 2012)
Estimated pop 2011 before harvest season=~800 wolves. Now the numbers are below 700.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Today's favorite Science News: Elvis the robots that knows when you lie...

A University of Arizona team developed a robot that can detect with an accuracy of 90% whether you are lying or not! The robot will be initially used to screen people at the airports entry points. This robot was custom design to meet the needs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP).  Although CBP counts with very good human agents, who are trained to detect even professional liers, they can only humanly detect 54% of the total liers.  But this new Super Agent of Truth, Special Agent 'Elvis', will detect any attempt on your side to lie.

Elvis official name is  Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time. But I think that if CBP uses some marketing, and make Elvis as famous or more than Elvis Presley, or something like the Angel of Truth, even the Mexican Mafia would like to meet him.  For now, most folks will only know Elvis as the Avatar Kiosk, which makes Elvis only another ATM-like machine with man Avatar. The difference though is that you may speak like if you were speaking to a person. If you are Catholic, you may even confess to him, instead of feeling shameful in front of the priest. I am seeing all sort of potential with Elvis. He can be hired by Universities for admission purposes; by the policy as an interview detective; by the FBI as Special Agent Elvis; our even by You, the successful owner of a business, to increase the truthfulness factor of your labor force...

Super Agent Elvis, will solve more than CBP screening entry needs.  People who suffer from anxiety, or score low in social skills, could totally avoid humans and instead meet Elvis. Also, all the generations of game players and machine and avatar lovers, would also identify with Elvis. Finally, CBP has also entered in Second Life and people could met their dreamed Elvis for real.  Besides that, everybody else who sweat having to pass customs, and want to avoid humiliating moments, may also go to talk to Elvis. Go to Elvis and avoid the hassle, could be the new CBP Slogan.  I bet they soon will be creating more Elvis'clones or firing some human agents. 

I recommend that University of Arizona in association with the Department of Home Land Security, FBI, and CBP, buy some of those good looking Chinese and Japanese robots, like the ones they have in their technology fairs, to improve new Elvis prototypes. People would think of that human-like robots are more personable. They may even be friendly and provide free handshakes. In the future CBS will hire agents, not to screen you for the truthfulness factor, but to protect their Special robot agents from stalkers and from being harassed by humans.

Some potentials problems for Elvis will include finding a way to rid himself of the pesky testers or those who fall in love with the machine, or those who want to practice their flirting skill with the robot.

For now, Customs and University of Arizona can make some money for more research by promoting the contest  "Do you think you could defeat Elvis?"  The sponsors for more Truth, could offer big cash prizes or CBP could offer an entire year of express pass by custom. 

ps. Please come visit again, next time I will have my very own Manga version of Elvis!
ps2. I first read this in CNN  Meet Elvis: The Virtual Border Official Who Knows You are Lying

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hey guys you are only a gene away from monkeys...

Y chromosomes in males has lost only one gene compared to the monkeys. That gene may be very important... and not only for male reproduction (insert laughs). The Joy of Science, that is  the title of a book I read a while ago. This is also an emotion I felt when I was reading Nature News. Yes, I was laughing...and it was not because of males lacking one thing monkeys still have. I know you guys have gained so much with that little loss...but really, our science is not only funny but highly controversial and exciting too!

Sometimes reading about controversial science views, new discoveries, the way someone interpret results, and so on, one find oneself participating in that old fashion soap opera of science.  The controversies and anti-controversies...the paradigms and destruction of paradigms. The rise and fall of theories. As they say, everything that rise may fall.

Australian scientists predicted the disappearance of the Y gene, and recently other scientists said no way. The Y chromosome, containing our male they are not going away. Amanacera y veremos--the sun will rise, and we will see.

A while ago, Australian scientists have predicted the disappearance of the Y gene. Their assessment was based in the absence of Y chromosome in some mammalian species, such as certain voles and thus the male of our species. They predicted that the male gene could disappear within the next 10 millions years.  One of the scientist involved in that study consider that the human y chromosome many duplications is a tell story of its demise. Yet, that does not mean the demise of males. The study found that the information for the expression of male feature in species that have lost their Y chromosome was relocated.

I was not imagining a world without males of our species. How boring the world would turn out to be? It would make a good science fiction story though. No brother, no lover, no father, etc., The males of our species are rather interesting creatures.

Would the lost of the Y gene correlate to the demise of Patriarchism, and the decrease of testosterone driven violence? I don't mean to be hopeless, but I bet that both roles, the 'patriarchal stereotype ruler' and the violent gang, would be taken by a segment of the female population. Haven't we seen how people get rid of their oppressors just to rise a new generation of them.

Independently of our science controversies, evolution will continue and will tell the stories. The scientist of the future will elucidate the outcome. They will say how close or far the scientist in the last two decades were.