HL Hunley. Archaeologists have discovered the Confederate submarine was still attached to its Housatonic-sinking torpedo when the device exploded, which in turn probably caused Hunley to founder. Previously, most believed Hunley stuck the torpedo into the Union ship and released it before reversing and detonating it from a distance.

Coyotes. A Connecticut wildlife biologist says “a map of where coyotes were sighted in 2012 compared to 2011” reveals “the number had mushroomed.” This doesn’t necessarily mean the population is up — we don’t know because the state hasn’t conducted a census — but I think that’s a reasonable inference. In any event, while the biologist did inform his audience that we’re probably not dealing with coyotes but rather coywolf hybrids, the implications of this didn’t seem to be fully understood. Prescriptions for hazing and other prevention techniques used west of the Mississippi may not be germane to our situation here in the northeast.

Grand Central Terminal. My favorite building turns 100.

BioShock Infinite. I never played the original BioShock game but the verisimilitude of this trailer for the alt-hist sequel — set in 1912 — produced in the style of an early ’80s In Search of… documentary show is outright amazing.

Nutmeg News

Coyotes. According to biologists who are doing a better job than the Connecticut DEP, western coyotes have successfully penetrated New England — and picked up wolf genes along the way, making them larger and more capable of dropping bigger prey. Meanwhile, the telephone poles in my town resemble those of Santa Carla in The Lost Boys, papered with “lost dog” fliers. Not all of them ran away or were hit by cars…

Easton raid. Daniel Tepfer at the Connecticut Post has a solid update on the fatal police raid four years ago this month. It’s such a thorough piece — compensating for the Post’s previously shallow reporting on the event — that I’m tempted to go through it line-by-line, but I’ll confine my remarks to “Chandra Parker,” the informant. If, like me, you’re obsessed with discovering the counter-narrative of what really happened that day, then she is the crux of the whole matter. Why did an obvious liar and drug addict willingly walk into a police station to rat and/or lie about Terebesi? One attorney involved in the case suggested to me that Terebesi had a habit of disobeying the first law of engaging prostitutes and this was her revenge (the shotgun shooting of the house less than two weeks earlier may have been related or evidence of similar bad judgment). From Tepfer’s rendition, it sounds like the officers who took her statement were confused by Parker/Pankov’s presence but Solomon seized upon it as the wedge he wanted. So was it serendipitous (for him) — or prearranged?

Radley Balko on the raid here. My story for the Fairfield County Weekly is no longer online, but I’ve written about it on the blog here.

Sunday sales. You won’t hear me say many good things about Governor “Tax” Malloy, yet I have to admit he accomplished something none of his predecessors could — albeit still in the name of taxes. Here’s a post from the co-owner of Mrs. Kuhl’s wine shop, who specifically entered the business so he could have a guaranteed Sunday off from work. I see his point but protectionism is protectionism; there was a time when all Connecticut shops were closed on Sundays, and nobody is nostalgic for that.

Coyote Calculations

The coyote population of Connecticut is on the rise. Or maybe not. Nobody knows because the state DEP’s Wildlife Division hasn’t tallied them:

Coyotes are difficult to count because they only settle down when they are giving birth during the spring, according to Paul Rego, also a wildlife biologist with the DEP. Rego estimates the population in Connecticut ranges from 2,000 to 4,000. The number of complaints about coyotes received by the DEP has risen over the last few years to around 400 a year, he says, though it’s unclear whether that number represents more contact with humans or a success in the initiative to encourage reports of a sighting.

Coincidentally, I did some preliminary research back in November for an article on coyotes before becoming distracted by my feature on Long Beach West. I interviewed Rego and at the time he had no idea what the coyote population of Connecticut was. He said that while sightings and complaints were more frequent, he felt the population was stable.

I asked him how he could justify this belief without having a head count, particularly in light of coyotes’ high reproductive rate. He replied that once coyotes filled available habitat (one estimate I was given by another source said coyotes prefer ten square miles for every mated pair), their numbers would be kept in check.

Yes — but there’s no reason to think they’ve reached that point yet. With abundant food — garbage, deer (another problem here in CT), small pets, rodents — and without predators, there’s little evidence to suggest coyotes have reached equilibrium between reproduction and mortality. Habitat only serves as a check on population when there’s too few resources, but by all accounts Connecticut coyotes are well-fed and thriving.

It would seem after my interview Rego collected himself enough to be able to provide the story’s author a more substantial answer than he could give me, though apparently he still couldn’t say whether their numbers were growing. That’s because only a study — not a gut feeling — can tell us if the population is stable or otherwise.

Photo of a coyote skeleton preserved in the brea. Taken at the Page Museum in Los Angeles.