The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 5A
DNR culls 160
trees for new Belle
Isle state park
The Michigan Department
of Natural Resources says it has
completed the clearing of at least
160 hazardous trees on Detroit's
Belle Isle as the state prepares
to take over management of the
park next week.
The 982-acre Detroit River
island opens Monday as Michi-
gan's 102nd state park. The state
will operate it under a long-term
lease from the city of Detroit.
The DNR's Forest Resources
Division staff has spent the past
several months examining the
island's trees and identifying at
risk of falling and injuringvisitors.
A video that the department
released Wednesday shows dead
trees that towered over play
areas until crews felled them.
by singing fish
Big Mouth Billy Bass appar-
ently got the best of a would-be
burglar in Minnesota.
Authorities in Rochester say
the motion-activated singing
fish apparently scared off an
intruder who tried to break into
the Hooked on Fishing bait and
The novelty bass had been
hung near the door and would
start singing "Take Me to the
River" whenever someone
entered the shop.
The Olmsted County Sheriff's
Office says the fish was found
on the floor after the intruder
knocked it down while breaking
the door to get in late Sunday or
Sgt. Tom Claymon tells the
Star Tribune the would-be bur-
glar left without stealing any-
thing, including cash that had
been left in "a very visible spot."
winter creates salt
As piles of snow grow taller
during this seemingly endless
winter, the mounds of salt for
spreading on the nation's icy,
slushy roads are shrinking,
forcing communities to ration
supplies or try exotic new ice-
Cities have already gone
through most of their salt
well ahead of the time they
traditionally really need it -
when the coldest part of winter
gives way to temperatures just
warm enough to turn snow into
freezing rain and sleet and roads
into ribbons of ice.
"If we don't get the salt, at
some point people are going to
be sliding all over the place like
what you saw in Atlanta," said
Julius Hansen, public works
director in the Chicago suburb
of Glen Ellyn, citing last week's
television images of thousands
of motorists getting stranded on
ice-covered roads in the South.
Iran: U.S. wishes
won't come true'
at nuclear talks
Iran's foreign minister said
Wednesday that Washington's
"wishes are unlikely to come
true" in talks between the Islam-
ic Republic and world powers
over its nuclear program, the
government's latest apparent
attempt to deflect criticism from
hard-line skeptics who say that
President Hassan Rouhani will
give up too much for too little
in upcoming negotiations over a
final comprehensive deal.
Mohammad Javad Zarif
indicated the U.S. wanted Iran to
give up major parts of its nuclear
program but said such demands
won't be carried out.
Daily wire reports
push for more
In this Jan.11 photo, Dennis Olsen measures a fissure which he said was about an inch wide and at least eight to10
inches deep, in his rural driveway following a frost quake in Waupun, Wis.
Mysterious noises revealed
to be result of 'frost quakes'
Rare weather terious noises that range from
an earthquake-like rumble to
)nditions cause sharp cracking sounds some-
times mistaken for falling trees.
ake-like weather This winter has been ripe for
frost quakes, known technically
phenomena as cryoseism. Temperatures
have been frigid, but occasional
LOUIS (AP) - Chuck warm-ups have allowed for
on heard the loud thud, thawing. And the temperature
another and another. It swings have sometimes been
led like someone was abrupt.
ting big snowballs on the That was the case last
fhis home. weekend in Missouri, where
e house is more than 100 temperatures in the 40s on
old and creaks, Herron Saturday gave way to single-
but he had "never heard digit readings by Sunday night.
ing like that before." In Mark Twain's hometown
his neighbors in tiny Paris, of Hannibal, Mo., 100 miles
huddled around televisions north of St. Louis, police and
ay for the Super Bowl, emergency dispatches received
were startled by similar several calls within about two
ge noises. Some even saw hours. Facebook feeds were
rs of light and called 911. filled with worries.
entists say the commu- Some people compared the
axperienced a rare natural noise to a sonic boom that rattles
omenon known as a "frost windows, said Michael Hall,
," which happens when executive director of the 911
ure in the ground sud- center that covers the Hannibal
freezes and expands. If area. Others described it as
tions are just right, the soil sounding like "somebody
drock breaks like a brittle banging on their house."
n pipe, generating mys- Missouri isn't alone. Frost
in Canada and in several other
states - Indiana, Michigan,
In DeKalb, Ill., Lisa Kammes
and her family were getting
ready for bed earlier this winter
when the loud popping noises
"The louder ones sounded
like somebody was throwing
snowballs at the house,"
Neighbors heard noises too,
and several contacted police.
"It wasn't the regular noise
you hear when your house is
creaking, blowing in the wind or
ice is breaking," Kammes said.
The light flashes reported
by some people are believed to
come from electrical changes
that occur when the freezing
Robert Herrmann of the
Saint Louis University Earth-
quake Center said frost quakes
are far different from real
earthquakes. Tremors typi-
cally occur a mile or two under-
ground. Frost quakes are near
the surface and do not show up
complain that laws
will hinder success
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)
- Angry over revelations of
National Security Agency
surveillance and frustrated with
what they consider outdated
digital privacy laws, state
lawmakers around the nation
are proposing bills to curtail the
powers of law enforcement to
monitor and track citizens.
Their efforts in at least 14
states are a direct message to
the federal government: If you
don't take action to strengthen
privacy, we will.
"We need to stand up and pro-
tect our liberty," said Republican
Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf,
author of a digital privacy bill.
moves will in some cases hinder
efforts to deter or solve crimes."t
would cripple law enforcement's
ability to do investigations," said
Bart Johnson, executive director
of the International Association
Proponents say the measures
will overhaul the definition of
digital privacy and help increase
oversight of specific surveillance
tools that law enforcement
agencies have been using in the
states that critics say mirrors
federal surveillance technology.
The bills include a Colorado
proposal that would limit the
retention of images from license
plate readers, an Oregon bill that
would require "urgent circum-
stances" to obtain cellphone
location data and a Delaware
plan that increases privacy pro-
tections for text messages.
Republican and Democratic
lawmakers have joined in pro-
posing the measures, reflecting
the unusual mix ofpolitical part
nerships that have arisen since
the NSA revelations that began
in May. Establishment leader-
ship has generally favored the
programs, while conservative
limited government advocates
and liberal privacy supporters
have opposed them.
Supporters say the measures
are needed because technology
has grown to the point that
police can digitally track
someone's every move.
Devices such as license plate
readers and celphone trackers
"can tell whether you stayed in a
motel that specializes in hourly
rates, or you stopped at tavern
that Lasnude dancers," said David
Fidanque, director ofthe American
Civil Liberties Union ofOregon.
"It's one thing to know you
haven't violated the law, but
it's another thing to know you
haven't had every one of your
moves tracked," he said.
As for digital privacy, bills
promoting broader protections
against email surveillance have
popped up recently in various
states with varying results. One
proposal became law in Texas
last year, but a similar measure
was vetoed in California where
the governor said it was too
onerous for police to follow.
But proposals focused
specifically on police
surveillance are a new variety.
Schaaf's proposal for a legisla-
tively mandated ballot measure
in Missouri would add electron-
ic data to a list of property pro-
tected from unreasonable search
and seizure. If it passes, it would
go before voters in November.
"The people in Missouri, ifthey
get the chance to approve it, will
send a message that other states
can, and must, do the samething,"
Schaaf said. "We can't wait on
Congress to pick up the ban ner."
In Indiana, legislators have
put forward a bill that would ban
the warrantless use of a portable
device that can track cellphone
movements within a mile, as
well as the numbers of incoming
and outgoing calls and text
messages. Indiana lawmakers
also want to use warrants to
limit the use of tracking devices
and surveillance cameras.
"You could get to the point
whereyou're just trackingevery-
one's car just for the fun of it,"
said Republican Rep. Eric Koch.
Clatsop County, Ore., District
Attorney Josh Marquis said the
legislators' concerns are mis-
placed. He said state agencies
aren't collecting the kind of
metadata the NSA collects and
bills curtailingthe abilityoflocal
authorities to gather intelligence
could do more harm than good.
Under NSA surveillance
programs that NSA analyst
Edward Snowden revealed, the
agency sweeps up information
about millions of Americans'
phone calls: the number called
from, the number called and the
duration of the call.
That information is stored
at NSA facilities until a secret
court known as the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court
gives intelligence officers
permission to examine the
phone call if investigators
believed there was a connection
to a terrorist. Another similar
program examines Internet data
and email traffic.
"People think of the NSA as
this group of agents trotting
the globe, snooping on people,"
Marquis said. "That's not the
case. They're geeks and analysts.
They don't want your data.
What they're looking for is four
numbers in Lahore, Pakistan."
Instead, local lawenforcement
agencies are usingthe technology
to run surveillance on drug
cartels or lure sex predators into
online communication that leads
to an arrest, Marquis said.
After months of NSA revela-
tions, President Barack Obana
last month proposed changes
that would require bulk tele-
phone data collected by the NSA
to be stored outside the govern-
ment to reduce the risk of abuse
and put limits on the number of
people who could be watched.
TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, Tuesday, Feb
4, 2014, at the Petersburg, Ky. museum.
BiI Nye and Ken Ham face
oft in debate about evolution
Debaters fear for "The Bible is the word of God,"
Ham said. "I admit that's where I
country's future start from."
Nye delivered a passionate
if children adopt speech onscience and challenged
the museum's teachings on the
other's views age of the earth and the Bible's
flood story. Like most scientists,
PETERSBURG, Ky. (AP) Nye believes there is no credible
- True to his passionate and evidence that the world is only
animated TV persona, "Science 6,000 years old.
Guy" Bill Nye tapped on the "If we accept Mr. Ham's point
podium, threw up his hands and of view ... that the Bible serves
noted that science shows the as a science text and he and his
Earth is "billions and billions" followers will interpret that
of years old in a debate at a for you, I want you to consider
Kentucky museum known for what that means," Nye said. "It
teaching that the planet's age is means that Mr. Ham's word is
only 6,000. to be more respected than what
Nye was debating Creation you can observe in nature, what
Museum founder Ken Ham and you can find in your backyard in
promoting science in the snappy Kentucky."
way that made him a pop culture The event drew dozens of
staple as host of "Bill Nye The national media outlets and about
Science Guy" in the 1990s. 800 tickets sold out in minutes.
The event was meant to Ham said ahead of the debate
explore the age old question, that the Creation Museum was
"How did we get here?" from the having a peak day on its social
perspectives of faith and science. media sites.
Ham, an Australian native who "I think it shows you that the
has built a thriving ministry in majority of people out there,
Kentucky, said he trusts the story they're interested in this topic,
of creation presented by the Bible. they want to know about this,
they don't want debate shut
down," Ham said before the
At times, the debate had
the feel of a university lecture,
with slides and long-form
Responding to an audience
question about where atoms
and matter come from, Nye
said scientists are continuing
to find out.
Ham said he already knows
"Bill, I want to tell you, there
is a book that tells where atoms
come from, and its starts out,'In
the beginning ...,"'Ham said.
Nye said there are plenty
of religious people around
the world who don't question
"I just want to remind us all
there are billions of people in the
world who are deeply religious,
who get enriched by the
wonderful sense of community
by their religion," said Nye,
who wore his trademark bow
tie. "But these same people do
not embrace the extraordinary
view that the Earth is somehow
only 6,000 years old."