Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Environment, Marine Protected Areas, Oceans, Protected Areas, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Among the most read stories at our Spanish-language service, Mongabay-Latam, this past week were articles about camera traps providing new insights into the spectacled bear’s natural habitat in Peru, and in Ecuador both private and governmental initiatives which are successfully fighting to protect the dry forest ecosystem in the southern part of the country.The banner image above shows a butterfly (Lasaia agesilas), known as the glittering sapphire, in the reserve of Tambopata, Peru. Stay up to date with Mongabay-Latam by following on Facebook and Twitter.Videos: spectacled bear’s home in the dry forests of Peru revealed“Laura” is a spectacled bear that lives in the Batán Grande Archaeological Complex, Peru. Camera traps have provided insight into how she and other bears live in the dry forest of Peru, their natural habitat.The spectacled bear of the dry forest feeds mainly on sapote. Photo courtesy of SBC Peru.The dry forest: a threatened jewel in EcuadorDeforestation, agriculture and livestock have put a lot of pressure on the dry forests of Ecuador, threatening these ecosystems’ great biodiversity. But there are positive private and government initiatives that are successfully fighting for conservation.Native trees of the dry forest. Photo courtesy of Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional.Chiribiquete Park in Colombia is now a mixed World Heritage SiteThe announcement that the Chiribiquete National Natural Park is now a World Mixed Heritage Site comes at a key moment for the conservation of the largest protected area in Colombia. After its expansion, the challenge of the new government is to confront the economic and illegal interests that cause the deforestation of this wonder.Chiribiquete is an important area for the conservation of birds. Photo courtesy of Parques Nacionales.Bolivia: three main threats to the Sama ReserveThe Tajzara Basin, a wetland of international importance, faces serious threats due to overgrazing, the construction of a road and intense droughts. What is the impact on the fragile ecosystem of the Cordillera de Sama Biological Reserve?Overgrazing, the construction of a road, and the intense and prolonged droughts generate significant impacts on the fragile ecosystem of the Cordillera de Sama Biological Reserve. Photo courtesy of Sernap.Chile: new marine reserve will protect species and ecosystems of the Rapa NuiThe creation of the Rapa Nui Marine Protected Area generated positive expectations, and is the largest in Latin America. The government of Chile and the Rapa Nui people will manage it and only traditional artisanal fishing will be allowed.The management of the new protected area will be in the hands of a governing board composed of six representatives of the Rapa Nui people and five from the Chilean government. Photo courtesy of Governorate Easter Island.Setting a price on carbon could save millions of hectares of tropical forestA recently published study found that setting a price of $20(US) per metric ton of carbon dioxide could reduce deforestation by about 16 percent.A logging road in Gabon. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/ Mongabay.Read all these stories in Spanish here. Article published by Maria Salazar Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Earlier this year a shocking thing happened. I turned 60. It was a good time to remind myself of Robert Kennedy’s belief that “youth is not a time of life but a state of mind – a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination.” Turning 60 was also a good time to reflect on what it means to grow older in America, and to realize just how much that definition has changed in the second half of my lifetime. Thirty years ago, people over 70 were considered “really old,” and a 100th birthday warranted national news coverage. But no more, thanks in great part to the state of mind of those once called senior citizens. Sixty really has become the “new 40,” and the very notion of what is “old” is constantly being redefined. Many people are continuing to work well into their 70s and even 80s. Those who retire at 65 have many active years ahead of them for travel, second careers, volunteer activities and the vigorous lifestyle that defines this “new senior citizen.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsMore significant than the numbers is the fact that, over the past 30 years, there has been a refreshing change in lifestyle attitudes that has, as much as anything else, resulted in people living not just longer, but also better-quality, lives. The “new seniors” are taking increased accountability for their own health. More than ever before, they are watching their diet, having regular checkups, engaging in appropriate exercise, not smoking, keeping their minds alert and wearing seat belts. Of course, many of those choices would not be possible were it not for the incredible advances in medical science over the past 30 years. Diagnostics, from lab tests to high-tech devices, now allow physicians to pinpoint disease sooner and with greater accuracy. Surgical procedures that were once invasive and debilitating are now performed with minimal risk and rapid recovery. Pharmaceuticals now treat not only acute illness, but also the chronic conditions that once shortened lives. Preventive measures, from bone-density scans to flu shots, have become more routine, affordable and available. These advances in medicine are coming at a time when aging Americans are placing increasing value on independent living and are recognizing the physical, emotional and psychological advantages of staying in their own homes as long as possible. Portable medical equipment, new pharmaceuticals and breakthroughs in remote care are making this more achievable than ever. And that’s a good thing because nobody wants to go to a nursing home unnecessarily – certainly not the “new senior” who looks in the mirror and sees someone with lots still left to do. I, too, still have lots left to do and, as Robert Frost said, “miles to go before I sleep.” So hats off to my fellow seniors and the path they have blazed for me over the past 30 years. I know the best is truly yet to come. David Schmidt is president and chief executive officer of SCAN Health Plan.
Share This!One of the most exciting aspects of a Universal Orlando vacation – besides all the thrill rides and the ever-more-expanding selection of butterbeer products, that is – is the constantly changing nature of the resort; with $500 million being poured into all three domestic Universal parks each and every year by parent company Comcast, there’s bound to be a few new additions practically every time you turn around.While terribly exciting, this can also make planning your next sojourn terribly frustrating. When is the optimal time to visit? What will give you the best bang for your vacationing buck? Will there ever be a time when construction walls won’t dot the landscape as far as the eye can see? (That one’s for your picky Aunt Millie.)While we can’t definitively answer questions that are so inherently subjective to both your and your family’s desires, we can sketch out the next several developments that will be popping up over the course of the next two summers.Enjoy, and please let us know when you think you’ll next be slipping past all those bulldozers and cranes.1. Hello KittyType: retail/meet-‘n-greetLocation: Hollywood, Universal Studios FloridaOpening: February 2016The only experience open thus far may also be the most limited one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun, worthwhile, or – most of all – super-cute.Occupying the former site of Lucy: A Tribute, Hello Kitty is, chiefly, a store carrying a wide selection of Sanrio-infused products, ranging from apparel to accessories to stationery to, but of course, collectibles. Most of these are standard Hello Kitty fare, but expect to see much more Universal-exclusive wares to arrive over the course of the year – along with a meet-‘n-greet experience with the titular feline and all her Japanese pals, to boot.The most intriguing aspect of the whole she-bang? The exclusive themed culinary offerings, which run towards the sweet and which keep up Universal’s newfound success in developing gastronomical delights that can’t be found anywhere else in the world (Harry Potter’s butterbeer and The Simpsons’s Duff Beer, we’re looking at you).2. Skull Island: Reign of KongType: attractionLocation: Skull Island, Islands of AdventureOpening: summer 2016An absolutely mammoth – seriously, you should see this thing in person – new dark ride that heralds the return of King Kong to Universal Orlando (he was last seen in Kongfrontation over at Universal Studios Florida back in 2002), this is the opening that looks to dominate all of Orlando for this summer. Universal has finally started to trickle out information about the attraction’s story, size, and scope, and each new morsel has us absolutely salivating for more – the combination of 3D projections with what is rumored to be one of the biggest audio-animatronic figures ever created just sounds too good to be true.Fun fact: Skull Island will be the seventh “island” at Islands of Adventure, inserted in between Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon on a swath of land that was originally earmarked as an expansion for JP. While it will be the smallest land at the park – it more than likely won’t even have a restaurant, even a quick-service one – it still promises to house one of the best attractions in all of Orlando, if not the entire Western hemisphere.3. The Incredible Hulk CoasterType: attractionLocation: Marvel Super Hero Island, Islands of AdventureOpening: summer 2016Image © UniversalThe Incredible Hulk Coaster, one of the most fun roller coasters anywhere in the country (take that, Cedar Point!), has been completely dismantled and is currently being systematically, painstakingly put back together again. The net result will be a smoother ride, restoring the experience back to its day-one feel all the way back in 1999. (The Floridian climate is none too kind on attractions, particularly the ones that operate nearly every day of the year for 17 years running.)Just in case that weren’t enough, however, Universal is throwing in what can potentially be an even bigger sweetener: a brand-new, redesigned-from-the-ground-up queue. What, exactly, this will entail is entirely unknown, but we should be looking at a modernized presentation of Dr. Bruce Banner’s backstory, at the least, or a tie-in with the box office-smashing Marvel Cinematic Universe, at the very most. (Yeah, our money’s on the former, too.)4. Sapphire Falls ResortType: hotelLocation: next to Royal Pacific ResortOpening: July 2016Universal Orlando’s four on-site hotels don’t have tie-ins with one intellectual property or another – unlike Walt Disney World, which is able to absolutely nail it with the likes of the Art of Animation Resort – but that doesn’t mean their theming is threadbare or otherwise inferior; in point of fact, the majestic terraces of Portofino Bay Hotel or the retro immersion of Cabana Bay Beach Resort are hard to beat.The resort’s fifth venue, Sapphire Falls Resort, looks to double down on this trend. The hotel transports guests to a Caribbean getaway, replete with the ruins of a stone turret in the lobby to a towering waterfall cascading down into the tropical lagoon (which the main restaurant, Amatista Cookhouse, overlooks). Our favorite detail, though, has to be Strong Water Tavern, a bar that offers an unbelievable variety of different rums and your own rum specialist to walk you through them all.A couple of quick notes regarding Sapphire Falls, though: although it is the sister property to Royal Pacific Resort, its list of perks is decidedly different (concordant with its lower price point). While it still features water-taxi access to CityWalk and the parks, it doesn’t offer complimentary Express Passes, so be sure to factor this into your on-site considerations.5. Fast & Furious: SuperchargedType: attractionLocation: San Francisco, Universal Studios FloridaOpening: summer 2017Image © UniversalMuch like how Reign of Kong is a transplant of and massive expansion upon Universal Studios Hollywood’s King Kong: 360 3D tram experience, Orlando’s Fast & Furious: Supercharged looks to be a similar cloned upgrade of the tram tour’s climax. What, exactly, this will consist of is a giant question mark at the moment, but given how impressively detailed and in-depth Skull Island is looking to be, we have faith that Universal Creative will give a comparable dose of steroids to USH’s big-name addition from last year.There are two little tidbits we’ve been able to ascertain, however. First and foremost, the footprint for this attraction is going to be absolutely huge – it’s not only taken over Disaster: A Major Motion Picture… Starring You, it’s also subsumed Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue. Secondly, yes, this is most certainly going to be a screen-based experience, given recent permits that the company has filed with the city of Orlando. Make what you will of these two facts.6. Race through New York Starring Jimmy FallonType: attractionLocation: New York, Universal Studios FloridaOpening: summer 2017Image © UniversalRace through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is, quite easily, the most intriguing of the new attractions arriving at Universal Orlando in the foreseeable future – not for what the ride will entail, but for what its limitations are. Going into the slot formerly occupied by Twister… Ride It Out, its space is completely boxed in on all sides, thanks to the location of its show building and the little fact that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit smashes through its second story.This left Universal with not very many options for what the replacement experience could be, but the decision to embrace The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for what is sure to be an attraction infused with comedy (not to mention multimedia synchronicity) could very well be the best of all possible alternatives. The fact that rumors point to a Soarin’-esque ride vehicle are only icing on the theming cake.7. Volcano BayType: water parkLocation: next to Cabana Bay Beach ResortOpening: summer 2017Image © UniversalThe final punch of Universal’s one-two-three salvo that is meant to fend off Disney’s long-in-development Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion at Animal Kingdom, this one looks to easily be the most expansive, the most impressive, and, quite possibly, the most revolutionary.Here’s the premise: a 200-foot, regularly-erupting volcano marks the centerpiece of a water park that will feature several attractions, some of which will be transplanted from the not-long-for-this-world Wet ‘n Wild Orlando (and some of which will reportedly crisscross through the volcano itself). The theming is said to be out-of-this-world for a water park, and rumors have held strong that tying the whole experience together will be Universal’s own version of Disney’s MagicBands, which will ensure that the entire park is queue-free.If even half of these items end up coming to fruition, guests are in for an incredible treat next summer.8. Cabana Bay Beach Resort expansionType: hotelLocation: Cabana Bay Beach ResortOpening: summer 2017Cabana Bay has proven to be incredibly successful since its debut two years ago, and the hotel’s upcoming expansion – adding two new towers and a total of 400 additional guest rooms to the south end of the property – stands testament to this. But it also reveals just how busy Universal believes Volcano Bay will be; these two towers will be adjacent to the upcoming water park, providing spectacular views of its central volcano and the perfect place for visitors to hang up their bathing suits at the end of a long, water-soaked day. (Since Volcano Bay won’t have its own dedicated parking lot, guests will have to either stay next-door or take shuttles from the main parking structure located next to CityWalk.)Are we expecting any major change-ups to Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s aesthetic, amenities, or other room features? In a word, no – this is a strict expansion, pure and simple, with no added surprises or frills. Still, given how wonderful the hotel already is, and given how much more value (no pun intended) will be added to it once the water park opens up, this is perfectly fine by us.
Tigers held to four hits, fall to 3-3 in WVCBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield baseball team had a chance to move up the Wisconsin Valley Conference standings, but D.C. Everest pitcher John Breske was not about to let that happen.Breske threw a complete-game four-hitter as D.C. Everest shut out Marshfield 2-0 on Tuesday at Jack Hackman Field.With the victory, Everest (5-2 in WVC, 9-5 overall) maintains its hold on second place behind unbeaten Wausau West. Marshfield drops to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the WVC after suffering its third-straight loss.Matt Jagodzinski had an RBI single to score pinch runner Ben Bosi in the first inning, and Conner Langbehn scored on a double steal in the second to provide Everest and Breske with all the offense they would need.Marshfield’s Connor Jasurda delivers a pitch during the Tigers’ 2-0 loss to D.C. Everest on Tuesday at Jack Hackman Field. Jasurda struck out seven in six innings of work.Connor Jasurda pitched six innings for Marshfield was the hard-luck losing pitcher as he allowed only five hits and four walks while striking out seven.Marshfield had two runners on the first inning before Breske wiggled out of it with a pair of fielder’s choice groundballs and another ground out.Braden Bohman led off with a walk, and Ryan Krueger followed with a single. A fielder’s choice put runners on first and third before Jared Klein hit a tapper back to the pitcher, and Bohman was thrown out at home trying to score.Austin Palacek led off the third inning with a single, and Bohman walked, but Marshfield’s attempted rally was quickly snuffed out as Everest converted a triple play.Krueger hit into what would have been a 6-4-3 double play, but it turned into a triple play as Palacek rounded third too far and was gunned down by Langbehn.The Tigers only had two baserunners the rest of the game as Breske cruised to the shutout win. He struck out four and walked just two.“The D.C. Everest pitcher (Breske) threw a great game against us,” Marshfield coach Jon Bauer said. “Connor did a nice job for us. We just didn’t get enough of the little things done to win this one.”Marshfield will play at D.C. Everest on Thursday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Evergreens 2, Tigers 0D.C. Everest 110 000 0 – 2 5 0Marshfield 000 000 0 – 0 4 0WP: John Breske. LP: Connor Jasurda.SO: Breske 4; Jasurda (6 inn.) 7, Logan Jakobi (1 inn.) 1. BB: Breske 2; Jasurda 4, Jakobi 0.Top hitters: DC, J.J. Berdahl 2×3; Matt Jagodzinski 1×3, RBI. M, Braden Bohman 1×1, 2 BBs; Ryan Krueger 1×3; Jared Klein 1×3; Austin Palacek 1×2.Records: D.C. Everest 9-5, 5-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Marshfield 4-6, 3-3 WVC.
Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Is the move towards interoperability a meaningful announcement and what kind of future could it lead to? I asked three industry experts for their opinion this morning.A Musical Tour of Select SecondLife Locations Professional virtual world gadfly Eric Rice told me this morning that it would not be easy to translate identities from one platform to another. He’s known as the character Spin Martin in most of the worlds he visits, including Second Life where he’s the owner of one of the premier event spaces in the world. That’s not the case in the warfighting world of Halo, however, where Rice feels the need to operate under a more battle-ready identity. Likewise, graphics standards are wildly different from world to world and Rice said that residents of some of the more visually high-end worlds would likely take on a “Not in My Backyard” attitude about ugly avatars from less visually compelling worlds if interoperability presumes a direct translation of avatars. Rice also predicted that some worlds would only respect standards in theory while in practice building non-compliant but technically superior avatars and functionality for their users. It’s a logical next step for the medium of virtual worlds and one that could cause their number and size to grow substantially. It could also lead to bitter, if sometimes humorous, conflict between users identified primarily with different sites. Nick Carr warned this morning that the move will likely lead attacks on peaceful Second Life residents by ogres from World of Warcraft. Innovation in IdentityBarb Dybwad, Producer of the gaming Joystiq and Engadget networks at Weblogs, Inc, says the interoperability announcement raises the possibility of a standards based environment of incredible fecundity – the kind of thing the web at large should embrace more than it does. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting “It’s basically mashing up Second Life with concepts like OpenID and web standards and turning a once proprietary walled garden model into open architecture,” she said, “and that’s a good thing for users and businesses alike.” Innovation Through Open Architecture“I think digital identity/avatars is one component of it,” Barb Dybwad told me in response to Rice’s concerns, “but they go beyond that and are talking about opening the architecture in the platform itself – including transactions and integration with existing web services using web standards. That could be big.” Dybwad believes this type of platform could become nearly ubiquitous online someday soon. “I’m playing a few other MMOs and I definitely see a future where gamers and even people who don’t identify as gamers are spending much more time inside virtual worlds,” she told me. “It’s an incredibly compelling experience. It’s experiential in a way that things like Facebook and Myspace don’t quite get … until they make their own 3D platform on top of themselves.” Increasing User NumbersWagner James Au is the founder of New World Notes, a blog focused on Second Life. He was an embedded reporter on staff with Linden Labs in the games early years and is now working on a forthcoming book about SL. Au told me that he sees the interoperability announcement as very related to today’s release of the Electric Sheep Company’s simplified Second Life browser; both are events that could be key in turning Second Life into “a truly mass market phenomenon.” That seems plausible to me; other virtual worlds are far more populated than Second Life and its official client is notoriously difficult for beginners to use.Making mass access to virtual worlds more viable could lead to any number of events. IBM dealt with a relevant situation just last month when it was the target of what’s believed to be the first labor strike in Second Life. Nearly 2000 people from around the world stormed the company’s SL business center is solidarity with striking Italian IBM workers on the 27th of September. Standards are never an easy thing to agree upon but it’s exciting to thing that these questions could be close to seeing some working answers developed. One thing’s for sure – when the time comes I’d appreciate if you’ll have pity on my poor, under-dressed avatar. Related Posts marshall kirkpatrick I asked Barb if she thought the move could make Linden Labs more relevant to the virtual world market in general than it currently is. “What this work could do is open the market completely so almost everyone could add virtual world functionality on top of their existing services; so there would be a million second lifes. It distributes the virtual world market instead of hoarding it under linden lab and i think that’s a smart move for them.” Linden Labs, makers of Second Life, announced a partnership with IBM and nearly 30 other companies today to work on creating a layer of interoperability across all online virtual worlds. This layer, the plans for which are being discussed publicly for the first time at today’s Virtual Worlds Expo in San Jose, would allow users to port identities and other assets from one virtual world to another. 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M.S. DhoniCaptain CluelessDid Indian captain M.S. Dhoni, 30, get himself banned for the fourth Test to start at Adelaide? During the third Test at Perth, umpire Aleem Dar kept reminding Dhoni that India were two overs behind schedule. To no avail. Contrast this with Australian captain Michael Clarke, 30, who,M.S. DhoniCaptain CluelessDid Indian captain M.S. Dhoni, 30, get himself banned for the fourth Test to start at Adelaide? During the third Test at Perth, umpire Aleem Dar kept reminding Dhoni that India were two overs behind schedule. To no avail. Contrast this with Australian captain Michael Clarke, 30, who may be on a winning streak, but is not done yet. He wants a 4-0 whitewash and is paying individual attention to every player’s needs. Dhoni rarely communicates with his teammates and spends most of his time in the hotel room with wife Sakshi. At the nets, he is often seen doing what he loves most: smiling and bowling. He is happiest when flanked by best friends Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar. Unfortunately, neither is part of the Test team. Dhoni wants to retire from Test matches in 2013, citing fatigue. Well, that’s how the Indian cricket fan feels too.Healing TouchLachy Patterson, the Australian cricket team’s missing media manager, is back in action. Patterson and his wife Louise lost their twin girls before the Boxing Day Test in Mel-bourne. During the match, the Australian team members wore black armbands. The 32-year-old, who was hired by Cricket Australia five years ago, took charge before the third Test in Perth. Journalists from India and Australia offered their condolences.Quotes of the Week”You die, you die. You don’t see which is the better way to die.” M.S. Dhoni, on whether a whitewash in Australia will hurt more than the one in England.advertisement”Practise.” Rahul Dravid, on being asked how he planned to celebrate his 39th birthday.”I am going to tell Sachin to try some other sport if he loves defending.” Sourav Ganguly’s advice to Sachin.Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid practise at the nets.Finally, Some PracticeOn January 17, for the first time during the tour, the entire Indian team was seen at net practice at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground in Perth, even though it was optional. The lethargic body language was gone. No one was resting in the shade. The pacers were taking the requisite 15-20 strides before bowling at the nets and the batsmen were padded up, unlike in the past. One thing was unchanged though. Coach Duncan Fletcher did not speak much, merely observing the players from a quiet corner.HIT WICKETViewers in Western Australia, who switched on their TV sets to watch the Aussies romp to an easy win at the waca on Day 3 of the third Test, were in for a shock. Channel 9, the official broadcaster of the match, decided to air a special surfing event instead of the match because they wanted a crowd at the stadium.Find of the SeriesAfter the first Test in Melbourne, Umesh Yadav, the 24-year-old coal miner’s son from Nagpur, said: “Australia ko khol ke rakh dunga (we will tear the Australians apart).” He kept his word. In the last three Tests, he has scalped 13 wickets, including a five-wicket haul in Perth. He is spending a lot of time with his mentor and former Indian pace bowler Subroto Banerjee, who is in Australia now. If only he had some support from the famed Indian batting line-up.Sakshi sports a Mahi tattoo on her neck.Love BiteM.S. Dhoni’s wife Sakshi, 23, not only got a “Mahi” tattoo on her neck, she also posted pictures on her Facebook profile. Indian cricket’s first lady has been travelling with Dhoni since the beginning of the tour Down Under and the couple is inseparable off the field.Virender SehwagNo nets for NawabRahul Dravid says there is no rift between M.S. Dhoni and his deputy Virender Sehwag. But the two are barely talking to each other, on and off the field. A day before the third Test in Perth, Sehwag faced only six balls in the nets before calling it a day. India lost the Perth Test by an innings and 37 runs and Sehwag scored a duck in the first innings and 10 in the second. That did not stop him from taking wife Aarti and four-year-old son Aryavir out shopping the very next day. He better be careful of excess baggage, especially with the family help booked into a separate room at the hotel.Zaheer KhanFamily FirstZaheer Khan is waiting for the Australian tour to end, but for a different reason. Khan and his on-off girlfriend, dancer-actor Isha Sharvani, 27, have decided to tie the knot by end-March.Isha SharvaniDaughter of Australian composer Devissaro and Indian dancer Daksha Seth, Sharvani’s family is currently based in Thiruvananthapuram. Both families recently met and finalised wedding plans.advertisement