Former U.S. intelligence agent Tony Mendez, architect of ‘Argo’ rescue, dies at 78

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Former U.S. intelligence agent Tony Mendez, architect of ‘Argo’ rescue, dies at 78
April 22nd, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Former United States Central Intelligence Agency agent Tony Mendez died Saturday, aged 78, at a Frederick, Maryland assisted living facility. Mendez is known for organizing the safe return in 1980 of several U.S. nationals who had hidden in the Canadian embassy during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell praised Mendez on Twitter: “Tony was one of the best officers to ever serve at CIA. His work was unique, and it help to protect our nation in significant ways. He will be missed. May he Rest In Peace.”

Mendez once told The Washington Post he considered himself “an artist first.” He worked as a draftsman before applying for a graphic artist job in 1965 that turned out to be at the CIA. Mendez spent most of his 25-year career at posts outside the U.S., many in Asia. He specialized in removing people from areas that had become dangerous for them, a process called “exfiltration.” He studied Hollywood makeup and special effects for use in his work, later titling his memoir The Master of Disguise.

Mendez’s wife Jonna Mendez, also CIA, said, “He could be Pakistani, he could be Mexican, he could be from a lot of different countries[…] It was incredible to work with my husband.”

In 1979, revolutionaries took control of Iran and captured the U.S. embassy, taking dozens of people there hostage. They would be held for 444 days. Six other U.S. diplomats fled to the Canadian embassy and hid until Mendez and another agent successfully smuggled them out of the country disguised as a Canadian film crew working on a supposed movie called Argo. The events were nicknamed “the Canadian Caper” and later made into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name — Argo — in 2012, with Ben Affleck directing and playing Mendez.

For his work, Mendez was awarded the Intelligence Star by then-U.S.-president Jimmy Carter, though the CIA’s involvement in the Argo rescue remained a secret until 1997.

Affleck tweeted, “Tony Mendez was a true American hero. He was a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness. He never sought the spotlight for his actions, he merely sought to serve his country. I’m so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories.”

According to his publicist, Mendez died of Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, Jonna, three children from two marriages, two grandchildren, and his sisters. Another son has predeceased him. He has authored three books, one with his wife. A fourth, also co-written with Jonna Mendez, is due out in May.

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate
April 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood

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Chemical plant fire decimates Danvers, Massachusetts neighboorhood
April 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

According to outgoing Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, an explosion that was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb. bomb” and registered 0.5 on the Richter scale decimated an area of Danvers and is also a “Thanksgiving miracle.”

The explosion occurred around 2:45 am EST, this morning in the Danversport area of Danvers, Massachusetts at the plant for solvent and ink manufacturer, CAI Inc. The explosion, which was caught on security camera and was heard up to over 25-50 miles away in southern Maine and New Hampshire.

The explosion damaged over 90 homes, blowing out windows and knocking some houses off their foundations. Officials believe that some of the more extensively damaged houses will have to be leveled and rebuilt. Some of the buildings damaged included a bakery, boats at a close by marina and the New England Home for the Deaf, an assisted-living facility for people who are deaf or deafblind and elderly residents requiring constant care. “These people are extremely fragile,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, whose district includes the affected area. “Many of them have Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. It’s clear they can’t stay here long, but it’s clear they won’t be able to return for quite a while.”

Danvers Fire Chief James P. Tutko toured the area by helicopter and said many residents would be kept from their homes for the foreseeable future. “It looks like a war zone, that’s the only thing I can say,” Tutko said. When asked about the loss of no life at all, he responded “Somebody out there likes us.” Finally, he said that finding out the cause of the explosion would take days.

Outgoing governor Mitt Romney toured the area and said the explosion was a “Thanksgiving miracle” as the explosion was “equivalent to a 2,000 lb bomb going off in a residential neighborhood,” and that no one was killed and only about 10 people suffered only minor injuries in area that included over 300 residents. Residents of the area have been evacuated to the Danvers High School where temporary shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Donations are being taken for residents affected by the explosion. Residents are also being told to start filing insurance claims right away and to keep track of their expenses for items bought.

There were minor environmental concerns due to water runoff of chemicals. According the Environmental Protection Agency‘s on-scene coordinator Mike Nalipinski, preliminary tests showed low levels of toluene, a solvent, but said it was nothing of significance. Water runoff from the water used by firefighters left a purple sheen on the river and tests were being conducted. However, the water is not a local drinking water supply and the chemical evaporates quickly. Chief Tutko said there was no risk of toxic fumes getting into the air.

An Eastern Propane facility was also located near the area, however, it was not the source of the explosion. A spokesman for the company said that although the property suffered some minor damage, their tanks are secure.

According to WHDH television, a person who answered the telephone at CAI’s Georgetown, Massachusetts headquarters refused comment, and a telephone message left at the company president’s home was not immediately returned.

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Canadian woman gives birth while sitting on toilet

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Canadian woman gives birth while sitting on toilet
April 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Friday, December 18, 2009

International media attention has been a harsh mistress for 32-year-old Heather Richard of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who gave birth on Sunday while sitting on the toilet. Richard, who believed she was barren and thus assumed she could not be pregnant, thought she was suffering from cramps and a bad bowel movement.

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“I kept getting the urge to push and just thought it was a real bad bowel movement,” Richard told the Winnipeg Sun, whose interview was picked up by the Canadian wire service. “It just fell out. I thought it was my intestines, so I’m freaking out…but then it’s a little boy.” Richard realized that the product was a baby and not her insides when its leg twitched.

Relatives of Richard’s found her hysterically crying and pointing at the toilet. “She was crying and saying, ‘Help me, get my baby out of the toilet, he’s drowning,” Keith Richard, her cousin, told the Sun. While the rest of the family was immobile by the revelation, police officers knocked on her front door; she was to be arrested due to outstanding warrants that Richard says have since been cleared.

One officer performed CPR on the baby and it was rushed to the hospital. The baby, since named Isaiah, weighed five pounds, nine ounces, and suffered a skull fracture, presumably as a result of his head hitting the toilet bowl. The baby is in stable condition and Richard is recovering from her birth at home.

The incident spread like wildfire in the Canadian and international press on Tuesday and Wednesday. When asked about the coverage, Richard told the website canoe.ca that she was embarrassed at all the fuss the story generated.

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata
April 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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Sunflower oil saves at-risk newborns from infection

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Sunflower oil saves at-risk newborns from infection
April 17th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Saturday, March 5, 2005Simply massaging low birth weight babies with sunflower seed oil can protect them from potentially fatal infections.

Infections and complications from preterm birth cause more than half of all neonatal deaths, and very low birth weight babies are particularly vulnerable.

Preterm babies have immature skin that lacks a protective film called vernix that has antimicrobial properties.

In some countries, such as India, newborns are routinely massaged with mustard oil.

But mustard oil, says Gary Darmstadt of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, can delay recovery of the skin barrier and have a toxic effect on skin.

Seeking an alternative low-cost product, Darmstadt and colleagues experimented with sunflower oil and an ointment called Aquaphor that comprises petrolatum, mineral oil, mineral wax and lanolin.

The researchers tested the treatments on 497 newborns (72 hours old or less) and preterm babies (less than 33 weeks gestation) between 1998 and 2003 in Bangladesh.

They applied the treatments to the entire body besides the scalp and face three times daily for the first 14 days and then twice daily until discharge.

Babies treated with sunflower oil were found 41% less likely to develop infections than controls.

“Evidence is emerging that the skin is much more important as a barrier to infection than previously recognized, particularly in preterm infants whose skin is underdeveloped,” says Darmstadt. “The good news is that treatment is available to strengthen the function of the skin as a barrier in these vulnerable newborns.”

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Women in South Africa advancing in fields of science and technology

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Women in South Africa advancing in fields of science and technology
April 14th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa, publicized results of a study on Tuesday on the role of women in the fields of science and technology in the country. Though women only make up thirty-three percent of publishing scientists in the country, their numbers have increased in recent years. When compared to a similar study from 2004, trends show increased enrollment of women in higher education.

Pandor was disappointed by the dearth of individuals that attended the announcement of the results of the study at the Parliament of South Africa. “It shows the degree to which science does – or doesn’t – matter to South Africans,” said Pandor. Prior to her role as Minister of Science and Technology, Pandor had served as Minister of Education of South Africa.

“It shows the degree to which science does – or doesn’t – matter to South Africans.”

Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, a woman scientist in South Africa, commented to News24 that some educational organizations in the country were “really, really hostile to women”.

Pandor highlighted problems affecting women and specifically black women in the country from increased participation in science, including “financial difficulties before and during tertiary studies, gender stereotyping, legacies of disadvantage in black communities, negative dynamics at workplaces, and the lack of attention to women’s specific needs”.

Women in the country are advancing against men in science fields, particularly engineering, agricultural studies and biology. At present there are a greater number of women than men among enrollments for degrees in higher education, and among individuals obtaining those degrees. According to The Times, “their biggest gain has been in health sciences, where women earned more than half the doctorates awarded in 2005”. Pandor emphasized a current need for additional women to enter the fields of technology and engineering.

The announcement at Parliament in South Africa was part of the launch of the “Facing the Facts 2009” booklet, which was published by a sub-committee of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), Science, Engineering and Technology for Women (SET4W). Dr. Romilla Maharaj of SET4W presented the report to Parliament, and stated that enrollment by women in higher education had increased by one percent from a previous study. Dr. Maharaj noted that women were still currently in the minority among individuals with degrees in higher education.

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French ‘iPod bill’ seeks digital music player interoperability

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French ‘iPod bill’ seeks digital music player interoperability
April 14th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Legislation pending in the French Parliament would require that music purchased online for use on digital music players be compatible across all players. It has become popularly known in France as the “iPod bill,” after the popular music player made by Apple Computer, and could pit France against Apple and other distributors of online music.

The National Assembly (lower house) and Senate (upper house) have passed two separate versions of the legislation. Both would reduce the penalties for piracy, require software companies to provide details on how their programs work, and create an agency that would have jurisdiction over digital copyright issues, including how often music can be legally copied by a customer for personal use and ensuring compatibility across devices.

Unlike the Assembly version, the Senate version does not contain provisions that would require manufacturers such as Apple and Sony to open all music sold on their platforms to work on players other than their own. Currently, the stores for Apple and Sony sell music only for use on their own players. Critics of the changes say that the Senate’s changes would defeat the purpose of the bill.

The two versions must now be reconciled in conference committee, a process that could take months.

Speaking in support of the bill, Assembly member Christian Paul said, “We oppose the idea that the seller of a song or any kind of work can impose on the consumer the way to read it, forever, and especially in the consumer’s home. Can we allow a couple of vendors to establish monopolies tightly controlling their clients and excluding competition?”

Christian Vanneste, the National Assembly sponsor of the iPod bill, said, “In France, there are two distinct mentalities. On one side is the backwards left, which is anti-American, and on the other is the right, which thinks that the U.S.A. shouldn’t be the only one with good ideas, and who want to compete with them.”

After the National Assembly’s vote in March, Apple denounced the measure as “state-sponsored piracy.” They refused to comment on the legislation after the Senate’s vote on May 10.

Francisco Mingorance, European policy director for the Business Software Alliance, said that the Assembly’s proposal is “about ripping off technology from those who developed it and putting it in the public domain.” The Business Software Alliance represents Apple, Dell, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other major computer hardware and software companies.

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Present Day Value Of Engineering Cad Drawings

April 14th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Click Here To Find Out More About:

Present Day Value of Engineering CAD Drawings

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With advancements in the field of technology, several techniques can now be used to design engineering structures. Computer Aided Design is one such technique that makes engineering design convenient. In order to design and develop products used by end consumers, CAD engineering drawings prove useful. Right from the product conceptualization stage to final detailing, CAD is used extensively in engineering sector. Engineering CAD drawings are made with the help of AutoCAD software. This software makes complex engineering drawing simple and accurate. For architectural, electrical and mechanical CAD drawings, AutoCAD software is used. By this process, hand-drawn sketches can be converted into computerized blueprints quite easily. There is also the possibility of editing drawings, as these are saved in digital formats. Engineering CAD drawings can be modified if there is a change in the project. Further, these drawings can be saved in the hard disk of a computer and used for future references. Drawings can be mailed to the engineers working in any part of the globe.

In almost all engineering-based industries such as automotive, architecture, ship building, electronics, construction and aerospace, engineering drawings are used. For designing buildings, architects use CAD solutions. Civil engineers and architects are benefited by CAD while creating architectural, electrical, structural and interior designs. In mechanical engineering companies, CAD is used in a number of ways. It finds application in various manufacturing processes, right from creating engineering drawings to 3D modeling. Engineering companies are able to design products or components for machinery with the help of 3D modeling and pro-engineering packages. Engineering CAD drawings save money, time and ensure accuracy and precision. For things such as PCB designs and wiring layout designs, professionals of electrical and electronic engineering industries use CAD. Using engineering drawings, overall layout of the manufacturing unit can be designed. CAD has brought about a revolution in the engineering sector, as large projects can, now, be completed within the stipulated period of time. Quicker product turnaround time is enabled due to CAD engineering process, and, consequently, more and more products are introduced in the market.

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Engineering CAD drawings

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Male Magellanic penguins pine for pairings: Wikinews interviews biologist Natasha Gownaris

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Male Magellanic penguins pine for pairings: Wikinews interviews biologist Natasha Gownaris
April 12th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.

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