Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

A daily, in-depth interview program providing context and background to the issues that face our region.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Permalink

Insight: U.S. Involvement In Iraq / California Hop Exchange / Science Cafe / Yolo Causeway Bats / Grazing Goats




The United States’ air strikes in Iraq this past week were intended to stop the Islamic State's advance on the Kurdish capital of Erbil and protect members of the Yazidi religious minority who were coming under attack from the Islamic extremists. But are these new air strikes a sign that the U.S. is pivoting to a more limited role in Iraq focused in Kurdistan? Professor of Modern Islam and Director of the Human Rights Initiative at UC Davis Keith Watenpaugh joins us to talk about the ever-evolving situation in Iraq and why the U.S. is intervening in a conflict it recently stepped out of. 
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The California Hop Exchange's 2014 Pre-Harvest Meeting will take be held August 16 at 10am in Sacramento. The event is targeted at aspiring, home, and commercial hop growers and brewers, as well as craft brew fans. The meeting will be used to make pre-harvest contracts and discuss the future of the hop exchange in detail. 


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The UC Davis Department of Chemistry's own Professor Jared Shaw will host the Science Café at DeVere's Pub in Downtown Davis on Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. This outreach, entitled "Big City Life: of Urban Flamingoes and Coral Reef Villages," is just one of many monthly gatherings that encourage casual, open-forum scientific discussion. Professor Shaw's research is focused in organic chemistry, developing new reactions, and synthesizing natural products. His research team is in the works of developing exhibits that will highlight natural plant products in partnership with the UC Davis Arboretum.

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These are not your urban lawn flamingos! This pair dancing in the low tide in Mumbai’s busy harbor are Lesser Flamingos, considered near-threatened species due to declining populations in Africa and India. Yet, over the past decade, some 10-25 thousand of them have been turning up in Mumbai’s Thane Creek to spend the winter right in the middle of a megacity of over 20 million people. I photographed this pair just a year ago at Sewri Port, an industrial dockyard area known more for repairing boats than harboring such wildlife, which now teems in the creek’s recovering mangroves. Credit, Madhusudan Katti.

Every evening at sunset, a quarter million Mexican free-tailed bats leave their home underneath the Yolo causeway and go searching for food. If you act fast, you can get a ticket for the Yolo Basin Foundation’s popular bat tours to watch the spectacle. You’ll also learn a lot about bats. The organizer of the tours is Corky Quirk, the founder and executive director of Northern California Bats (aka NorCal Bats), a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of bats. She joins us to talk more about the winged mammals that call the causeway home for the summer.


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People living along American River Drive welcomed some new neighbors this summer . . . goats! The goats are bred for grazing overgrown lots and managing excess brush over the course of several weeks. The County of Sacramento Department of Water Resources hired Debbie Olympias, owner of KD Goat Ranch, to graze her goats at a grass lot along American River Drive called the Wilhaggin Basin. The goats became such an attraction many neighbors didn’t want them to leave. As Insight intern Annie Chernich reports, using goats for brush control isn’t just a spectacle. They manage the ecosystem naturally without the use of lawnmowers that can cause a fire hazard in the dry summer months.


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  • Should The United States Be More Involved In Iraq

    A UC Davis professor talks about the current turmoil in Iraq.

  • California Hop Exchange Targets Hop Growers, Craft Brew Fans

    Growers are gearing up for California Hop Exchange's 2014 Pre-Harvest meeting.

  • Science Cafe: Big City Life: of Urban Flamingoes and Coral Reef Villages

    Learn about what's coming up for Science Cafe.

  • Yolo Causeway Bats Flourishing

    The Yolo Causeway is home to a thriving bat colony.

  • Goats: The Best Kind Of Lawn Mowers

    Annie Chernich

    In an urban setting you don’t expect to see a herd of goats grazing a couple lots over. As summer progresses, municipalities like Sacramento County are ditching lawn mowers and hiring goat herders to clear county-owned basins of overgrown brush.

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