Sun, Jun 13, 2010 from Scientific American: The Full Price of Oil While it is the worst oil spill in U.S. history--it's just a piece of the devastation around the globe.
Nigeria, for example, experiences more than 300 such oil spills every year. At least 450 million gallons of oil have fouled the Nigerian Delta over the last 50 years. There are other similar recent disasters from Australia to Venezuela.
The environmental impact is only one cost of our oil addiction. Like all addictions, the greatest toll is on human health . Whether that be the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the more than 70 cleaners sickened by the aftermath, or the thousands of Nigerians killed directly or indirectly by our unquenchable thirst for petroleum.
And don't forget coal and natural gas. They also pollute, sicken and kill. Cleaning up our energy habits is indeed the moral equivalent of war. ...
C'mon, if it didn't happen in the US, with CNN and FOX coverage, it's just imaginary.
Sun, Jun 13, 2010 from New York Times: Vital River Is Withering, and Iraq Has No Answer Withered by decades of dictatorial mismanagement and then neglect, by drought and the thirst of Iraq's neighbors, the river formed by the convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates no longer has the strength the keep the sea at bay.
The salt water of the gulf now pushes up the Faw peninsula. Last year, for the first time in memory, it extended beyond Basra, Iraq's biggest port city, and even Qurna, where the two rivers meet. It has ravaged fresh-water fisheries, livestock, crops and groves of date palms that once made the area famous, forcing the migration of tens of thousands of farmers..
In a land of hardship and resignation and deep faith, the disaster along the Shatt al Arab appears to some as the work of a higher power. "We can't control what God does," said Rashid Thajil Mutashar, the deputy director of water resources in Basra.
But man has had a hand in the river's decline. Turkey, Syria and Iran have all harnessed the headwaters that flow into the Tigris and Euphrates and ultimately into the Shatt al Arab, leaving Iraqi officials with little to do but plead for them to release more from their modern networks of dams. ...
Working together with those next-door-neighbors, I'm sure we can keep the Malthusian commons green.
Sun, Jun 13, 2010 from New York Times: Take Them to the Cleaners, Again and Again MAN or woman, every one of us has experienced the frustration that drove Rick Siegel to become an inventor. He would be in his clothes closet, running late, wrestling with the plastic bags that encased -- and the twist ties that entangled -- his dry cleaning. Surely, he thought, those twist ties would drive him mad.... Ms. Nigrosh's father ran a cardboard recycling factory when she was growing up, so a trip to the closet made her stomach clench: Where did all this plastic go? Suddenly Mr. Siegel, who was once a Hollywood talent manager, and his wife, a marketing copywriter in the music industry, had an idea: a reusable bag to transport your clothes to and from the dry cleaner. After an initial investment of about $200,000, the Green Garmento was born. ...
And the more we can encourage cleaning clothes with toxic chemicals, the better for the planet.
Sat, Jun 12, 2010 from AFP: World still heading for 3 degree Celsius by 2100: study The world is careering towards three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by 2100 despite headline-making promises to curb carbon emissions, a study released at UN talks here said on Thursday.
"The current pledges and loopholes give us a virtual certainty of exceeding 1.5 C (2.7 F), with global warming very likely exceeding 2 C (3.6 F) and a more than 50-percent chance of exceeding 3 C (5.4 F) by 2100," said Bill Hare of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Around 120 countries have signed up to voluntary action on greenhouse gases under last December's Copenhagen Accord, which aims to limit warming since pre-industrial times to 2.0 C.... Scientists caution there is no consensus on what is a safe level for warming, and some say a rise of even 2.0 C could still have far-reaching risks for ice and snow cover and rainfall patterns.... Temperatures have already risen by around 0.8 C (1.4 F) since the start of the Industrial Revolution, causing worrying glacier melt, snow loss and retreating permafrost and an accelerating rise in ocean levels, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ...
Something tells me more than twice as much change as we've seen in less time may have some untoward consequences.
Sat, Jun 12, 2010 from Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Canada Won't Seek Delay in Greenland 'Iceberg Alley' Drilling Canada will ask Greenland for information about safety plans for drilling in arctic waters, without seeking a request to delay exploration following the Gulf of Mexico spill, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said.... The drilling program "is a challenging one in that we are speaking about drilling activity in the Baffin Basin; it's known as iceberg alley."... Those waters, including some shared with Canada, may hold 17 billion barrels of oil, 148 trillion cubic feet of gas and 9.3 billion barrels of gas liquids, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates. ...
Sat, Jun 12, 2010 from National Geographic: "Ominous" Pre-Katrina Conditions Seen in Atlantic t's already been forecast to be "extremely active," but the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season may be shaping up to be something even worse: a replay of 2005, the most active and destructive Atlantic basin hurricane season in history.
The warm ocean temperatures and weak winds recorded this past May were similar to those of May 2005--the year that spawned Hurricane Katrina.
Such patterns are "definitely ominous and foreboding," said Chris Hebert, lead hurricane forecaster for the private forecasting company ImpactWeather, based in Houston.
For instance, the similarities to 2005 means there's an increased risk of hurricane impact across the northern Caribbean islands, the Florida Peninsula, and the northeast Gulf Coast, from southeastern Louisiana to Florida, he said.
Right now the oscillation value is -1.49, compared with -1.25 in 2005, Hebert said.
In 2009, a quiet hurricane year, the value was 1.68, because the Azores-Bermuda high remained strong all year, hampering hurricane formation. Last year unusually warm Pacific waters--part of an El Nino event--caused the jet stream, a high-altitude wind current, to shift southward into Atlantic regions where storms typically form. ...
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from Friends of the Earth, via SolveClimate: Potential of "Clean Coal" to Reduce Emissions is Overstated A new research paper by Friends of the Earth (FOE) Denmark says that governments and institutions have greatly overstated the potential of CCS to curb greenhouse gases and asserts that even if widely deployed, it would only avoid a "small fraction" of global warming emissions from coal-fired power plants by mid-century.... His research found that about 11 percent of total coal plant emissions would be avoided over the next 50 years - assuming 40 percent of coal plants have CCS by 2050. That means 90 percent of the emissions expected from the world's coal plants would still reach the atmosphere.... "I couldn't believe it," Bendsen told SolveClimate of his "very, very surprising" result. ...
Well... that would just about cover Guangdong Province's emissions, by then.
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from BBC: Sudden oak death spreads across channel to south Wales A deadly tree and plant disease first found in the UK in 2002 has spread to Wales, the Forestry Commission says.
Spores of the fungus-like organism referred to as "sudden oak death" have spread across the Bristol Channel to south Wales, said the commission.
In 2009 Japanese larch trees in south west England were found to be infected.... The organism, Phytophthora ramorum, gets its common name because it kills many of the trees and plants that it infects, the commission explained.
It was first identified eight years ago on a viburnum plant at a garden centre and has since infected shrubs including rhododendrons, viburnums and bilberries.
Last year's outbreak made south west England the only place in the world where it has attacked large numbers of commercially grown conifer species. ...
Those terrorists are hitting the Brits where it hurts -- their shrubbery!
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from Bristol Bay Times: Pollock show boost of bicarbonate in blood No matter what you believe about climate change, ocean chemistry doesn't lie. Even toy store chemistry tests will show that the seas are becoming more acidic, and the off-kilter levels can have a scary impact on sea creatures: it dissolves them.... In tests on one-year old pollock at varying levels of pH, researchers at NOAA Fisheries Newport lab discovered that the fish seemed to compensate for increased [acidity] by boosting levels of bicarbonate in their blood.... "Even if they were absorbing it from sea water, that is energy they are spending on regulating pH that they are not spending on growth and reproduction and foraging," he added. "So either way there was likely an energetic cost to the fish."... The Whiskey Creek Hatchery in Oregon is a major producer of oyster spat for most of the West Coast. For the past two years, the hatchery has had almost complete loss of 10 billion oyster larvae due to acidic water flowing through the holding tanks, depending on the direction of the wind. ...
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from New York Times: Oil Could Reach Atlantic Coasts For weeks there have been discussions about the potential for the spreading Gulf of Mexico oil slick to slip around Florida and flow up the East Coast. Now a suite of simulations, run by an international team of ocean and climate scientists, shows this is a likely outcome should the flow remain unabated this summer. The researchers stress there are caveats and uncertainties, most notably related to the state of the gulf's highly variable loop current in coming weeks. (The Department of Energy put out its own fact sheet stressing that the simulations are highly uncertain.)
But nearly all of the simulations end up with oil flowing east and north. There's even a small chance some of the oil could cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Europe, although Martin Visbeck, a German oceanographer involved with the work, noted that it would most likely be extremely diluted and degraded by then. ...
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from Reuters: Waiter, there's a potential carcinogen in my soup What Sprague didn't realize is that BPA, or bisphenol A, is ubiquitous. Simply put, just about anything you eat that comes out of a can -- from Campbell's Chicken Soup and SpaghettiOs to Diet Coke and BumbleBee Tuna -- contains the same exact chemical.
The exposure to BPA from canned food "is far more extensive" than from plastic bottles, said Shanna Swan, a professor and researcher at the University of Rochester in New York. "It's particularly concerning when it's lining infant formula cans."
BPA is the key compound in epoxy resin linings that keep food fresher longer and prevents it from interacting with metal and altering the taste. It has been linked in some studies of rats and mice to not only cancer but also obesity, diabetes and heart disease.... What is clear, however, is that unlike the case with plastic, there are no economically viable alternatives to the chemical in epoxy resins right now.... Because BPA has been presumed to be safe without question for so long, very little research has been undertaken to find commercially viable substitutes in canned goods. ...
If it's canned in a Mason Jar, it's more likely BPA-free.
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from CIDRAP: Three countries report growing flu activity Some parts of India and Colombia are reporting increases in pandemic flu activity, along with some deaths, while New Zealand, which is beginning its regular flu season, is reporting a rise in flu-like illnesses, particularly in young children.
Yesterday India's health ministry said nine pandemic H1N1 flu fatalities have been reported so far in June, one from Karnataka state and four each from Maharashtra state and the city of Kerala, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported. An official told the news service that the ministry saw a rise in pandemic flu cases following monsoon activity in the area at the end of May.
The official said health officials are on alert because they expect more monsoons, but added that the country is more prepared now that a domestically produced pandemic flu vaccine is available, with three more expected to launch soon.... The ministry said the predominant virus is likely to be the pandemic H1N1 strain and advised citizens to take precautions and receive the seasonal flu vaccine, which covers the pandemic virus. ...
Didn't we fix that already? It's as if these things evolve.
Fri, Jun 11, 2010 from WREG, Memphis: Mystery Crop Damage Threatens Hundreds Of Acres Something is killing crops, trees, even weeds and nobody can explain why.
Farmers are scratching their heads and some are worried their crops may be lost to the mysterious plague. Tiny dots appear to have burned onto leaves of all types of plants, and they appear different depending on the plant.
On corn stalks, the dots seem to turn white in the center.
On other plants, a white dust speckles the leaves and then destroys the green life underneath.
"We found it all in the herbs, in the flowers, in the plum tree, in the weeds," said organic farmer Toni Holt. "It's apparently in everything."
Holt grows organic produce that she sells at area farmers' markets.
As she and other farmers inspect the new growth covered in the perplexing plague, they fear their entire crop may be lost.
Less than ten miles from Holt's crops, the damage could possibly hit hundreds of acres of corn at Wilder Farms.
It appears to have hit everything in its path. ...
Worst of all, when you connect the leaf dots, they spell out "death to all humans"!
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from Epoch times: Monsanto's Gift Not Needed in Haiti Monsanto Company sent more than 60 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds to help with relief efforts in Haiti in May, but the gift was not entirely welcomed. According to numerous media reports, 10,000 members of The Movement of Papay (MMP) lead by Chavannes Jean-Baptiste took to the streets to protest the planting of Monsanto's crops, which were accepted by the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture.
Monsanto -- an American giant of agricultural produce -- has a reputation of producing large amounts of hazardous pollution and dispersing branded herbicides, like Roundup, around the world to make resource-poor countries dependent on Monsanto's supply of the chemical.
Hybrid seeds donated by Monsanto will allow farmers to grow crops for only one year as the plants do not reproduce, thus making the farmers dependent on buying the same crops the following year. ...
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from New York Times: Going to War Against Grasshoppers LUSK, Wyo. -- The duel began just after sunrise on Wednesday, at 150 miles per hour, 50 feet above the ground. Below: billions of voracious, recently hatched migratory grasshoppers, Melanoplus sanguinipes, shock troops of the worst insect infestation here in at least 25 years....Bug wars have long punctuated life in the nation's grassy midsection, but this year is an exclamation point. At least $25 million in hay, wheat and alfalfa alone in this corner of Wyoming is up for grabs, state officials say, to be eaten by insects, or saved. Huge areas of Montana and South Dakota are also at risk, especially from sanguinipes, the migrator, one of the most feared of 100 grasshopper species on the plains because of its startling mobility. In Wyoming alone, about 7,800 square miles -- an area the size of New Jersey -- is infested and scheduled for aerial treatment. ...
Thank goodness the chytrid fungus is preventing the follow-on "plague of frogs."
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from PhysOrg: Professor to present vision for zero-carbon future for UK Professor Seamus Garvey, of the University's Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, will speak on the potential of vast floating offshore 'energy farms' off the UK coastline, which could produce 'green' electricity at a fraction of the cost of its nearest competitors.
Professor Garvey said: "Imagine for a moment that renewable energy was the cheapest way to source power and that this power could be dispatched on demand. Imagine further that the landscape did not have to be blighted by man-made structures to gather that power.
"The impact on the world would be profound: secure low-cost energy supplies for most countries, reduction in the environmental assault that is most mining and oil/gas extraction and some hope of curtailing climate change not dependant on politics."... The technology is centred on a simple premise -- using giant wind turbines to compress and pump air into huge undersea Energy Bags™ anchored to the seabed -- or geological formations where deep water is not available. The high pressure air would be expanded in special turbo-generator sets to provide electricity as required -- not just when the wind is blowing. ...
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from EPOCA: The societal challenge of ocean acidification [S]ince the beginning of the industrial revolution, the oceans have taken up approximately 30 percent of the CO2 produced from fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture and land use changes.... While the invasion of CO2 into the ocean removes this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and thereby dampens global warming, it forms carbonic acid in seawater and lowers ambient surface ocean pH... [It] will become more pronounced as humankind emits more CO2 into the atmosphere, with surface ocean pH expected to decline by a further 0.3 pH units by the end of the century, corresponding to an approximately 100 percent increase in ocean acidity.... Such a rapid change in ocean pH has very likely not happened since the time the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. ...
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from Nature Conservancy: New Research Finds 472 Million People Worldwide Have Potentially Been Negatively Affected by Dams Published in a special issue of the Water Alternatives journal recognizing the 10th anniversary of the World Commission on Dams, the findings reveal that at least 472 million people have potentially experienced negative consequences to their incomes and livelihoods.
"There are many places where dams have undeniably provided economic benefits such as flood protection, irrigation, and hydropower, but as this report shows they have also caused serious consequences for some of the world's most vulnerable people," said Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy's Global Freshwater Program Director and lead author of the report. "At a time when global dam-building is rampant, we need to be smarter about planning for and operating dams in ways that alleviate harmful human and ecological impacts."... On the Kafue River in Zambia, 50 percent of the fish catch once consisted of the commercially-important three spotted tilapia, but after the Kafue Gorge and Itezhitezhi Dams were built, this figure was reduced to only 3 percent.... In the Mun River in Thailand, the Pak Mun Dam has caused a 60-80 percent decrease in fish catch, and 50 fish species have disappeared entirely.... The paperís authors point out that pragmatic, scientifically-sound and well-demonstrated approaches and solutions are already available and can be utilized today, not only at the dam planning phase but also retroactively, to adjust the operations of an existing dam.
"It is unacceptable that half a billion people have been essentially ignored"....
Thu, Jun 10, 2010 from BBC: Oil extraction increasingly risky Future oil extraction could create new environmental, social and technological challenges, says the UK's former chief scientist.
Sir David King said that, as global oil demand started to outstrip supply, oil companies would be forced to drill in unconventional places.... The scientist has called on governments to "de-fossilise" their economies and accelerate the development of alternative energy sources, such as biofuels, to reduce the world's dependence on oil.
He added that global oil resorces might in fact be drying up faster that many - including governments - have been led to believe.... "As early as 2015, oil production capacity is going to begin to be challenged in terms of meeting rising demand, particularly from continuing growth of the economies of China and India," Sir David commented at the press conference.... He concluded that, together with an effect on climate change, these two "highly pressing" reasons should be enough to persuade world leaders to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, something that will become "a very significant issue as we move into the next decade". ...
Bravo, Sir David. Could you, perchance, depict the depth of human misery those "significant issues" will produce?
Wed, Jun 9, 2010 from Associated Press: AP IMPACT: BP spill response plans severely flawed VENICE, La. -- Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf.
The names and phone numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service.
BP PLC's 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its 52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig are riddled with omissions and glaring errors, according to an Associated Press analysis that details how BP officials have pretty much been making it up as they go along. ...
You'd think oil companies would be better planners.
Wed, Jun 9, 2010 from BBC: Snakes in mysterious global decline Snakes may be declining across the world, according to a global study.
Researchers examined records for 17 snake populations covering eight species over the last few decades, and found most had declined markedly.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, some populations shrank in number abruptly around 1998.
Writing in the journal Biology Letters, the researchers describe the findings as "alarming" but say much more work is needed to understand the causes.... The researchers believe they amassed most, if not all, long-term datasets for this study - although "long-term" in this context means going back more than one decade, in some cases more than two.
Nevertheless, within this relatively short timeframe, eight of the 17 populations were seen to fall markedly in size - some by more than 90 percent - with only one showing any sign of a rise. ...
Enough is enough! I've had it with these mother#!"!ing snakes down the mother#!"?ing drain!
Wed, Jun 9, 2010 from Chatham House / Lloyd's of London: Sustainable Energy Security: Strategic Risks and Opportunities for Business # Businesses which prepare for and take advantage of the new energy reality will prosper - failure to do so could be catastrophic
# Market dynamics and environmental factors mean business can no longer rely on low cost traditional energy sources
# We are heading towards a global oil supply crunch and price spike
# Business must address energy-related risks to supply chains and the increasing vulnerability of 'just-in-time' models
# Investment in renewable energy and 'intelligent' infrastructure is booming. This revolution presents huge opportunities for new business partnerships ...
Like I should listen to the oldest insurance company around's thinktank. Why would they care?
Wed, Jun 9, 2010 from BBC: Cane toad threat spreads beyond Australia to Caribbean Cane toads, one of the world's most destructive invasive species, have started killing native wildlife outside of Australia.
Cane toads are poisonous, secreting a toxin that kills predators not adapted to eat them, and as a result the toads have caused a decline in native Australian reptiles and marsupials.
Now scientists have discovered that the toads are also killing boa snakes in the West Indies, suggesting that other predators in the Caribbean and elsewhere may also be at risk.... In the early to mid 19th Century, the toad was intentionally introduced to islands in the Caribbean, including Jamaica in 1844, and then through the South Pacific.
The toad was introduced to eat and control pests of sugar cane, including rats and beetles.
However, the toad has had a destructive impact in many places where it has spread, out-competing native species.... Now scientists have documented the cane toad killing rare native fauna in the Caribbean. ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from ABC News: BP Buys 'Oil' Search Terms to Redirect Users to Official Company Website Be careful where you click, especially if you're looking for news on the BP oil spill. BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website.
A simple Google search of "oil spill" turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. "Learn more about how BP is helping," the link's tagline reads. ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from CBC: Iceberg melting sinks sculpture project Sculptures by Dutch artist Ap Verheggen are sitting under 500 metres of water, after the iceberg on which they were placed melted too quickly.
Verheggen set the two sculptures Dog Sled Riders adrift on an iceberg off Greenland to draw attention to climate change.
But global warming happened a little too quickly for the artist, whose project is supported by the World Wildlife Fund.
The iceberg was to take several years to float down the Davis Strait to Newfoundland and Labrador, after calving from the Greenland glacier in March.
But an average high temperature record for the Arctic was set in May and the iceberg collapsed in a matter of months.
Last week the iceberg was seen floating off Uummannaq, a tiny island in the northwest of Greenland, but on Thursday, the iceberg collapsed.... The curvy, five-metre long sculptures depict the outline of an Inuit directing a dog sled team with a long whip, in homage to an Inuit way of life that is disappearing because of climate change.
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from Associated Press: Pa. halts drilling by company after gas accident Pennsylvania regulators halted work Monday at dozens of unfinished natural gas wells being drilled by the company whose out-of-control well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours last week.
The order against Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. will remain in place until the Department of Environmental Protection can finish its investigation and until after the company makes whatever changes may be needed, Gov. Ed Rendell said.
he order stops EOG from drilling and hydraulically fracturing wells. It affects about 70 unfinished EOG wells into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. ...
Let's just stop drilling, period -- especially at the dentist!
You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy): Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from TreeHugger: The Pacific Trash Vortex Explained (Video) What exactly is the Pacific Trash Vortex? Well, it's a huge floating mass of trash twice the size of Texas that has the dubious honor of being the largest landfill on the planet.
90 percent of this trash is plastic, 80 percent which originates on land with the other 20 percent coming from seafaring vessels and, eh hem, oil platforms.... Who's responsible for this mess? Humans, especially those in the developed world who are consuming, discarding and replacing mostly Chinese-made plastic crap at an ever-accelerating rate.
The U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population but consumes 30 percent of the world's resources and creates 30 percent of the world's waste.... No-one knows exactly when Great Pacific Garbage Patch began to form but we do know plastic has been around for the past 144 years and except for the small amount that's been incinerated every bit of plastic ever made still exists.
Given we're churning out about 60 billion tons of it, much of it disposable, it's no wonder monsters the like the Great Pacific Vortex have been created. ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from The Onion: Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters LONDON - As the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico entered its eighth week Wednesday, fears continued to grow that the massive flow of bullshit still gushing from the headquarters of oil giant BP could prove catastrophic if nothing is done to contain it.
The toxic bullshit, which began to spew from the mouths of BP executives shortly after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April, has completely devastated the Gulf region, delaying cleanup efforts, affecting thousands of jobs, and endangering the lives of all nearby wildlife.
"Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest," said BP CEO Tony Hayward, letting loose a colossal stream of undiluted bullshit. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean, and the volume of oil we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total volume of water." ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from Guardian: Bumblebees on UK pollination 'rescue mission' die in hibernation An "international rescue mission" to tackle Britain's pollination crisis has suffered a setback after a shipment of bees due to be imported into the country died just days before their release.
Natural England, the government's countryside agency, chose the short-haired bumblebees from New Zealand because they were originally from the UK, but have since become extinct in their homeland.
But less than two weeks before the selected bees were due to be flown over and released on Friday, scientists say they have died in hibernation.... The plan to bring them back to the UK, where they were declared extinct in 2000, was in response to a steep decline in bumblebees and other pollinating insects in recent years, a problem blamed on the loss of most wildflowers in Britain's intensively farmed landscapes - some of which were also transported to New Zealand and have survived in the South Island's England-like climate. ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from BBC: Banned GM maize sown in Germany A genetically modified (GM) variety of maize banned in the EU has been sown accidentally across Germany.
The NK603 variety has been planted in seven states. The seed supplier, US firm Pioneer Hi-Bred, called the level of contamination "minute".
It is not clear how the mistake occurred, but it could cost farmers millions of euros, as crops will now have to be destroyed.... "In the past when they found trace amounts we removed the seed from the market. In this case they told us after it had been planted."
Stefanie Becker, spokeswoman for Lower Saxony's Environment Ministry, said that "fields will have to be ploughed up before the maize blooms - it is still possible to halt the uncontrolled spread [of the GM variety]". ...
Tue, Jun 8, 2010 from CBC: Humpback whales form lasting friendships Female humpback whales appear to form lasting friendships, with pairs searching out each other every summer in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a finding scientists say shows they are more social than previously thought.
The discovery may also mean that commercial whaling breaks apart long-established social groups.
The whales spend most of the year on their own while they migrate, coming together with males only briefly to breed. But the females return to the Gulf each summer, pairing up with the same female each time, says Christian Ramp, a researcher with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, a non-profit marine research organization in St. Lambert, Que....
Until now, baleen whales were not thought to be particularly social, but this most recent research shows humpback friendships lasting as long as six years.... The researchers say the most likely explanation for the annual gathering is co-operation in finding food, which might explain why females "with the most stable and long-term associations also had the highest reproductive output," the researchers write.
Hey, Japan and Iceland -- how about we "scientifically" murder a few females to see how sad their friends get?
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from TreeHugger: Reforestation & Biochar: Two Geoengineering Methods That Won't Cause More Harm Than Good Geoengineering has been a slow burning controversy for some time now, with some truly wacky ideas proposed, as well as some which take a more sober look at the prospect of intentionally tinkering with the climate to stop the effects of human activity disturbing it in the first place. Let's look at a couple of those geoengineering methods which won't cause more harm than good: Biochar and Reforestation/Afforestation.... Biochar is essential using charcoal made through pyrolysis of biomass and then burying it mixed in with the soil. It has a long history of use in Amazonia, where it's known as terra preta, for its benefits in making soil more fertile. In regards to long-term carbon storage potential, biochar can work on a millennial scale with, in most cases, no negative soil side effects. Some estimates show biochar having the potential to sequester one billion tons of CO2 each year. ...
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from Pune Mirror: The effects of cellphone tower radiation on honey bees: India report The recent experiment, which observed bee colonies exposed to mobile phone radiation, concluded, "At the end of the experiment, there was neither honey nor pollen in the beehives. It resulted in complete loss of the colony."
The study found that the queen bee's egg-laying capacity dropped drastically because of the radiation. The bees that went foraging could not find their way back to the beehives, according to the experiment.
The implications of these findings could be catastrophic for Mumbai. An expert from the BNHS said, "If the bees were to disappear from Mumbai the result would be disastrous.
It would cause a huge imbalance in the entire ecological system. Bees are not just one of the key pollinating agents but also an important part of the food chain."... Bees, which have magnetite in their bodies, utilise the earth's magnetic field to navigate. Cell tower radiation interferes with this process. ...
Those Indian bees should quit talkin' and keep their eyes on the road.
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from BusinessGreen: Clean tech patents enjoy record quarter The number of clean tech-related patents granted in the US hit record levels during the first quarter of the year, according to new figures released last week, further fuelling optimism that the sector is recovering strongly from the recession.
The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index report from intellectual property law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti found that 379 clean tech patents were granted in the US during the first three months of the year, representing the highest quarterly value since the index began.
The performance marked an improvement of more than 50 per cent year on year and a 12 per cent increase in patents compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
According to the report, fuel cell technologies dominated the list, with 208 patents granted during the first quarter, while the number of patents granted to solar and hybrid and electric vehicle technologies also rose. ...
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from Akron Beacon Journal: EPA and Goodyear on Toxic Dump: Plan is to let nature clean up It has taken 16 years, but the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. are inching closer to finalizing a remedy for a decades-old toxic waste dump in Springfield Township....
A small part of that tract is contaminated with low levels of industrial solvents, cyanide, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls.
The EPA is reviewing the latest plan by Goodyear and its consultants to deal with the pollution in the soil and groundwater on a portion of the 94 acres where Summit County later built a sewage treatment plant.... The remedy is called natural attenuation and relies on naturally occurring bacteria to destroy the contamination.... The 7.5-acre dump site was first used in 1943 as a toxic waste dump by Goodyear Aircraft Corp. (later Goodyear Aerospace).
Goodyear disposed of waste solvents, heavy metals, plating and polishing wastes, and cyanides at the site until 1966.
The EPA is unsure how much or exactly what was dumped at the site. ...
"Natural attenuation" of heavy metals and PCBs. The solution to pollution is dilution!
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from KWGN: A deadly week on Colo. rivers Rivers and streams across Colorado are running dangerously high as the sudden warm weather melts the mountain snow faster than expected.
Northern Colorado is under a flood advisory through Tuesday night because of heavy runoff.
Estes Park officials continued to monitor the Big Thompson and Fall rivers, which came close to overflowing Saturday. Sandbags were placed around the Estes Park post office, but the water receded on Sunday.
The fast-moving water may have played a role in several drowning fatalities and at least one disappearance.... The weather service highly discourages rafting, kayaking, fishing and other water activities due to the conditions.
Warm weather continues across the state on Monday and temperatures could reach 97 in Denver.
Mon, Jun 7, 2010 from BBC: Amazon forest fires 'on the rise' The number of fires destroying Amazon rainforests are increasing, a study has found.
A team of scientists said fires in the region could release similar amounts of carbon as deliberate deforestation.
Writing in Science, they said fire occurrence rates had increased in 59 percent of areas with reduced deforestation.As a result, the rise in fires could jeopardise the long-term success of schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation, they added.... The practice of "slash and burn" is widely used by farmers in the Amazon region to clear secondary forests and allow food and cash crops to be cultivated. ...