Axolotl Found

It really is a shame that so many animals are threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.  By this point in history, you would assume that people would know better.   But what’s done is done.  And when we discover that endangered species are still out there and fighting, it really is inspiring and refreshing.  

In central Mexico, there is a sort of “fish” known as the Axolotl.  This is ultimately a pretty ugly and unusual-looking creature, with a slimy tail, plumage-like gills and a mouth that almost curves into a smile.  Its original habitat, the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals originally set up by the Aztecs hundreds of years earlier, which is in the middle of the Mexico City metropolitan area, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.  As a result of this, the Axolotl is seriously under threat due to pollution, urban expansion and invasive species.  Because of its ability to to regenerate severed limbs, it is extremely important to scientific research.  

While some axolotls are still in aquariums, water tanks and research labs, these conditions aren’t ideal for the animals.  And releasing captive-bred axolotls into the wild could potentially prove dangerous, due to a fungal infection that is fatal to the animal.  The area around Xochimilco is being converted into illicit shantytowns, where sewage is dumped into the water.  Scientists estimated that in 1998, there were an average of 6,000 axolotls per square kilometer in the area.  This figure dropped to 1,000 in a 2003 study, and then to 100 in a 2008 study.   Biologists recently built special “breeding grounds” in isolated areas of Xochimilco for the animals to breed and live without dangerous outside interference.  However, recent efforts to skim Xochimilco to find axolotls proved futile, which caused many scientists to fear that the animals were extinct in the wild.

However, this past week, researchers spotted several of the creatures, reaffirming that they are still alive and have a chance at recovery.  This is vital for the continuation of the species in their natural habitat.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best for the axolotl and all of the other animals across the earth that face extinction.


Cherry Cherry by Neil Diamond

I remember listening to this song all of the time back when I was a kid. Just heard it again on the radio, and I remembered dancing to it on those sweet, romantic teenage nights from so long ago.

Will Dubai’s Real Estate Market Learn from Past Mistakes?

Gary Richetelli

Real Estate in Dubai There are rumblings of a Dubai real estate bubble of late.

You may or may not have heard at this point about the speculation of another property bubble poised envelop real estate developments in Dubai. There are a few hard statistics surrounding the fact: housing prices leapt upwards of 20%, and rents increased around 17%. Even though prices aren’t expected to reach the incredible highs that they did last year, some have perceived their continued rise as a cause for concern, warning that the economy is still recovering from the disaster that was 2009.

But not all are seeing Dubai’s real estate situation as a red flag. Rory Jones of the Wall Street Journal reports, that JLL is arguing that Dubai, in fact, is not facing an inevitable bubble. JLL admits that while, the immense price jumps are unsustainable, investors won’t be so quick to make the same…

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“The artist exi…

“The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it. Art is born out of an ill-designed world” – Andrei Tarkovsky

A great quote about art from the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.

Jewelry Retailer Bankruptcies Up After First Quarter

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

Alex FetanatIn a recent article available on National Jeweler’s website it talks about how there has been a pretty startling increase in bankruptcies in the jewelry industry during the first quarter of 2013.  According to the Jewelers Board of Trade statistics, the number of bankruptcies rose from 7 in the first quarter of 2012 to 11 during Q1 of this year.  Among those that filed for bankruptcy, was Brodkey’s Jewlers the Omaha Nebraska based chain of nine stores.  These statistics are for retailers- but there was also an increase in the number of wholesalers that filed for bankruptcy this quarter as well.  In 2013 there were 4 wholesalers that filed for bankruptcies- up from 2 last year.

There were no manufacturers who filed for bankruptcy.

This might seem like a startling rise in bankruptcies, but in actuality this might not be such a horrible or foreboding statistic after all.  JBT president Dione Kenyon was quick to point out that this year’s statistics might not be as telling because 2012 was an amazing year as far as bankruptcies are concerned.  2012 saw a record-low number of bankruptcies in the jewelry industry, and though there was an increase this year this might just be a reflection of things returning to normal.  Kenyon said in reference to the statistics of 2012, “I haven’t seen anything like that in more than 10 years. You are coming off a comparison of a year when there weren’t that many,”

Along with the low number of bankruptcies in 2012, we’re starting to see an improving economic condition this year which in turns gives business owners the flexibility to take more risks.  This, too, could be a root cause of some of these bankruptcies.  “For those that it’s good for, it’s pretty good. For those that it’s not, it’s pretty bad. There’s not a lot of middle (ground),” Kenyon said.

All around, I don’t think that we should be too worried at the moment regarding these bankruptcies, but we definitely do want to keep an eye out for the rest of the year- if the jewelry industry is in for a turn for the worse we will see this pattern of bankruptcies continue in the rest of the quarters this year.  But for now, let’s keep our eyes on the statistics and hope for the best!

via Alex Fetanat