. . .Probably Hasn't Seen His School Property Tax Bill
The following article on laughing hyenas, as appears on pawnation.com, tickled our fancy, but the pending increases in school tax levies -- ranging from 5% to 10% or more in many Long Island districts -- is truly no laughing matter.
The drastic reduction in state aid to education, coupled with escalating costs for salaries, benefits, pensions, transportation, energy, insurance, and the list goes on, will surely mean the return of sticker-shock for most Nassau and Suffolk homeowners.
School tax levies, already accounting for more than 60% of the typical property tax bill, now threaten to gobble up more of the household budget, with little or no relief on the horizon by way of reform.
Do we consolidate districts, or at least the back office? Can we chuck the regressive property tax in favor of a more progressive means of financing public education? Will we, as Long Islanders, insist on parity and equity with upstate school districts when it comes to state aid? And how do we continue to provide our children with a top-noth education in view of the diminishing returns on our tax dollars?
In the coming weeks, The Community Alliance blog will explore the issues that weigh heavily on both minds and wallets as the May 18 school budget vote drawers near.
We ask for your input, by way of commentary, suggestions, ideas, and paliative solutions, this through your comments, e-mails, and guest blogs. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, keep on smiling behind that nervous laughter. For the moment, or so it would seem, when it comes to taxing homeowners to the hilt to pay for education, all we can do is grin and bear it!
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Hyenas - What They’re Really Laughing About
by Evan Jacobs
Lip Kee, Flickr
To our untrained ears, hyena communication often sounds like a series of crescendoing yelps, surprisingly similar to human laughter. However, to the hyenas — and now to researchers as well — the laughter carries a great deal of information.
Recently, Professor Frederic Theunissen from the University of California at Berkeley, and Professor Nicolas Mathevon from the Universite Jean Monnet in St Etienne, France, published in the journal BMC Ecology,
the first ever study on deciphering the hyenas’ language after studying 26 captive spotted hyenas.
By recording and listening to the hyenas vocalize in various situations, reports the BBC, the researchers learned that, just as with human communication, the sounds often reveal much about the animal and its place in the society. The pitch of the laughs indicate a hyena’s age, while their frequency signifies the hyena’s social status. Professor Theunissen told the BBC that “The hyena’s laugh gives receivers cues to assess
the social rank of the emitting individual.
This may allow hyenas to establish feeding rights and organize their food-gathering activities.”
Spotted hyenas have ten different types of vocalizations, from long “whoops” to communicate across large distances, to soft growls when they run into members of their own clan. Previously, researchers thought the laughter, which mainly is heard when the hyenas are fighting over a carcass, was to show submission. However, since this new study was released, we now know they are saying a lot more.
These results make us eager to learn more about other forms of animal communication — especially that of our own pets.