That’s the entomological equivalent of the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Those dastardly little red-eyed scourges have gnawed through crops across the Mid-Atlantic region — and they have few natural predators.
The project called on participants to conduct a daily count of the pests they spotted on the exteriors of their homes and to submit the information online. “By the end of October, scientists expect to have the raw numbers they will need to start compiling data,” our colleague Darryl Fears
reported last month. “They plan to analyze the colors of homes, their sizes, location, elevation and surrounding vegetation to see what attracts the bugs.”
But then came the shutdown. Web sites went down. Researchers were furloughed. The horror was that the bugs were going unchecked.
But never fear. We’re told that the participants in the project — more than 300 people, from middle-school students to music professors — were already keeping records before the shutdown, and that the USDA’s university partners have stepped in to collect them after the government had to go dark.
Eventually, there will be a pile of data for the government researchers.
The government took pains to keep national security functions going. But the war on stink bugs? Good thing we’re not losing our edge there, either.
Not that we’re likening the folks on Capitol Hill to evil dictators — or even hungry sharks. But when we spotted former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson’s new book, “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories From a Master Negotiator,” we couldn’t help think there might be some parallels to the current stalemate.
Richardson’s book offers lessons from the longtime political hand’s dealings with the likes of “Castro, Saddam, the Taliban, two generations of North Korean leadership, and many more of the world’s most infamous dictators,” according to the tome’s description.
So these relatively reasonable lawmakers in suits should be a piece of cake, right?
We asked Richardson for his advice to his former colleagues on methods to negotiate their way out of the current impasse. Richardson at first laughed off our request, saying he didn’t expect them to follow his counsel. But when we assured him these were truly desperate times (so much so that we even recently asked a marriage counselor for advice on resolving the dispute), he offered these four ideas, some of which he mentions in an Outlook piece last weekend: