june 24, 2011 - tidbits of spokane county, wa

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The June 24, 2011 issue of Tidbits of Spokane County, WA.


  • S u n r i s e P u b l i s h i n g 5 0 9 - 4 4 8 - 1 0 5 8 k i m _ f e r r a ro @ ya h o o . c o m

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    There is some pretty intriguing life in the worlds oceans, and this week, Tidbits dives into examining some of the unusual creatures found there.

    Probably the most feared shark and frequently called a man-eater, the great white shark actually prefers a dinner of sea lion rather than human prey. The species Latin name Carchardon Carcharias, translates jagged teeth, and indeed, this shark has about 3,000 teeth, all arranged in several rows. They fi nd their prey very easily due to their extreme sensitivity to the electrical fi eld surrounding living creatures, perceiving half a billionth of a volt. Theyre found in every major ocean, and have a life span of more than 30 years. How likely are you to experi-ence an unprovoked attack by a shark? Youre more likely to die from a lightning strike. Due to the publicity generated by the death of adventurer Steve Irwin, lots of folks believe that the manta ray can kill a human. Irwins chest was pierced by a stingray, not a manta. The manta is the largest of all rays, up to 25 feet (7.6 m) across, weighing as much as 5,100 pounds (2,300 kg). While its tail is similar to that of a stingray, it does not have a stinger and is harmless to swimmers. The squid, snail, octopus and clam are all exam-ples of mollusks, soft-bodied creatures with no inter-nal skeleton. Some mollusks have a hard outer-shell; some do not. More than 85,000 species of mollusks have been identifi ed, and most probably there are many more that have not yet been discovered. The common squid can be found in all of the oceans of the world. Most are about 24 inches (60 cm) long, but the giant squid reaches lengths of 43 feet (13 m). In 2003, an even larger species was dis-covered, the colossal squid, which may grow to 46 feet (14 m). When in danger, the squid emits a cloud of ink from a sac to confuse its predators. This mol-

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    lusk has the largest eyes in the animal kingdom; in fact, the colossal squids eyes have a diameter of about 11 inches (28 cm). Certain octopuses have a life span of only six months. Even the longer-living species only live about four years. Reproduction takes its toll on this sea creature, with males surviving only a few months after mating and females dying within a short time after their eggs hatch. An octopus, like the squid, is a cephalopod, which translates to head to foot be-cause its appendages are attached to its head. Also like the squid, the octopus ejects a cloud of dark ink when threatened by predators. The ink is colored by melanin, the same compound that gives humans our hair color. Not only can the octopus eject ink for pro-tection, it can instantly camoufl age itself, changing the color of its skin to match its environment. The largest octopus is the Giant Pacifi c Octopus, which swims in the waters off British Columbia. Their average weight is usually about 33 pounds (15 kg), with an arm span of about 14 feet (4.3 m) and rarely exceeds 90 pounds (40.8 kg). However, the occa-sional one is found that lives up to the name giant, such as the largest ever caught, which weighed about 600 pounds (272 kg).

    Women Vets Polled on Health Care

    The American Legion recently asked women veterans about the health care provided by

    Department of Veterans Affairs. While the survey indicates an overall positive feeling, there is a lot of room for improvement, especially when compared to civilian health care.Here are some of the results from the 67-question survey:Access: Approachable and easy to contact? One-third of the women were dissatisfi ed, mostly with their Women Veterans Program Manager, when it came to getting information about gender-specifi c care. One-quarter said the convenience of the locations is poor.Competence: Most respondents were satisfi ed with the medical staffs level of knowledge and skills, but one quarter werent, and thats a big percentage.Reliability: Ability to perform services accurately and dependably. Nearly one-third were dissatisfi ed with VA health care, compared with their private doctors.Communication: Forty percent didnt feel that they were given enough information on treatments and procedures.Responsiveness: Willingness to provide prompt care. One-third responded that they were dissatisfi ed, compared with their civilian doctors. Credibility: Believability and honesty of the staff. Compared with their civilian doctors, many of the women were dissatisfi ed. It was suggested that the VA adopt some of the practices of private health care.Courtesy: Polite and friendly staff. Again, one-quarter of respondents rated the VA as lacking in this regard, and it was suggested that perhaps more training of staff is required.Finally, one-third of the women veterans who replied to the survey dont know what all their benefi ts are -- health care or otherwise.While women veterans comprise a smaller percentage of service personnel, theyve earned the right to good care. If nothing else, no veteran should have to wonder what his or her benefi ts are.Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

    Paying for Retirement Is Major Concern

    More and more of us are concerned about how were going to pay

    for retirement, or whether can retire at all, espe