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April 24, 2009

South Florida fire potential extremely high

Extremely dry conditions have contributed to the fires that closed Alligator Alley and could lead to more throughout the state. One of the main indicators of these conditions is the drought index map below. It is updated daily and can be found at can be found at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

601-800 Associated with severe drought. Live fuels burn actively, creating intense, deep burning fires.
401-600 Plant leaves, twigs, etc. (whole or decomposing) burn intensely.
201-400 Plant leaves, twigs, etc. (whole or decomposing) are drying and beginning to contribute to fire intensity.
0-200 Moisture levels are high and do not contribute significantly to fire intensity.



POSTED IN: Environment (52), Government (48), Len De Groot (29), Safety (10), Science (44)

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April 21, 2009

Bears in Florida! A map of where they live

Lions, tigers and bears oh my! Well, actually, just bears. You heard right, there are bears in Florida. Black bears that is. Check out the map to view the areas where Black bears hang out.



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April 9, 2009

Feast on these natural "Easter" eggs

Who doesn't love Easter eggs? There's the plastic, multicolored eggs. Candy eggs. Dyed eggs. The ones filled with candy, or money or both. Great times!

So one year, I thought I'd do a different take on colorful eggs for a page. The original idea was to do a page on how a female's brightly colored eggs signaled she was quite a catch to male birds. And it was for timed to run on Easter. Seriously ...

But research proved there wasn't much more to that statement for me to illustrate, so I had to find a Plan B. I opted for a page on the variety of colors and patterns of bird eggs — all thanks to a book I found about bird eggs.

I loved the idea of having Nature's own green, red, blue and spotted eggs. I also learned there's a variety of egg shapes too. And that the largest egg doesn't always belong to the biggest bird.

So why don't you check it out and read on to find out more ...


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April 3, 2009

South Florida shipwrecks: A map for scuba divers


Shipwrecks must be an awesome site to behold. They can be great places to find fish and other interesting sea creatures. Or if you've ever seen the movie "Fool's Gold," then you can imagine the thrill of finding sunken treasure within an old shipwreck.

I wouldn't know. I don't dive.

But if you do, check out this classic News Illustrated page showing the areas within South Florida that have shipwrecks. The page was done by Hiram Henriquez, former Sun Sentinel senior graphics reporter, back in April 2006.

If you'd like some more information on local diving, check out this cool site that lists a lot of local shops and diving links.

And if you do have any awesome dive stories, or found buried treasure, then let us know in the comment section below.

Happy diving!


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April 2, 2009

Spring Break skin: Pass the sunscreen or get burned



Last Sunday, we started our Best of News Illustrated series, a collection of graphics hand-picked by the staff on a variety of timeless subjects.

We specifically chose "Killer Tans" to kick off the series, since we're in the middle of Spring Break season. Appropriate since a trip down A1A in Fort Lauderdale will tell you that there's a lot of people who are getting their daily doses of vitamin D.

Renee Kwok's page was originally published in 2006. It's an oldie, but a goodie. And you may learn something new!

If you want more information, check out the Food and Drug Administration's site, as well as Tanning Facts and Tanning Truth.

Or, if you want a break from reading, check out the Sun-Sentinel's Spring Break gallery.



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