Posts

July 11, 2014

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1:33 PM | Save the Snot Otter! Stop Bankrolling Big Oil!, Polar Vortex: Summer Edition
By Jason Bittel Cruel summer: The same fluctuation of the jet stream that caused multiple polar vortices this winter will give the Midwest and East Coast a blast of cooler-than-normal air next week—which ironically will bring a lot of hot air from the mouths of certain conservative radio hosts. Remember everyone, a few cold snaps (no matter the time of year) don’t mean global warming isn’t happening. “This winter was a temporary cold […]
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12:00 PM | Counting Polar Bears From Space
The icy (and increasingly ice-free) Arctic is a forbidding place. It’s isolated, it’s remote. The weather is tumultuous. If the polar bears don’t get you, the cold will. That makes it tough to conduct surveys of wildlife populations. Walruses and ribbons seals are so hard to monitor that they’re classified by the IUCN as “data
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11:00 AM | From Twitter, a Growing Collection of Communicative Conservationists
A list of communicative conservationists who press the case for animal care on Twitter.

July 10, 2014

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10:37 PM | AMACRQ: Can you move Colorado River water from one state to another?
For the latest “Ask me a Colorado River question,” a friend of Inkstain wonders: Q: Can you move water from one Colorado River Basin state to another? A: No. OK, this is the Law of the River, so of course it’s more complicated than that, with numerous edge case exceptions, but basically, no, you can’t ...Continue reading ‘AMACRQ: Can you move Colorado River water from one state to another?’ »
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8:26 PM | Spies Like Us
Armed with low-cost surveillance technologies, nonprofits aided by “citizen spies” are tracking fracking in Pennsylvania, flaring in North Dakota, and rogue fishing around Easter Island
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8:18 PM | iHop
A radical rethinking of our fast food future: Eat insects, not cows.
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8:14 PM | Le Tour de Peat – Moorlands and the industrial revolution
The Tour de France this week traversed the peak of Holme Moss at 524 m as Stage 2 passed through the peatlands of the Southern Pennines from Yorkshire and into Derbyshire. As Blel Kadri led the other riders over the summit the quality of the soil could not have been further from their minds. …
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8:13 PM | Pace Yourself
At the ball game or the coastline, we can practice boredom. But if you watch enough baseball, you might see a perfect game; and if you spend long enough on the beach, you could find a doubloon.
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8:12 PM | Is It Contagious?
Disease can spread from animals to humans—and back again
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7:43 PM | Scientists Take Snapshots of Photosynthetic Water Oxidation
An international collaboration of scientists led by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has taken detailed “snapshots” of the four photon-step cycle for water oxidation in photosystem II, a large protein complex in green plants.

Kern, J., Tran, R., Alonso-Mori, R., Koroidov, S., Echols, N., Hattne, J., Ibrahim, M., Gul, S., Laksmono, H., Sierra, R. & Gildea, R. (2014). Taking snapshots of photosynthetic water oxidation using femtosecond X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy, Nature Communications, 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5371

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7:18 PM | Climate Actuarially: What Are the Odds?
Clear away all the politics and rhetoric, and climate change risk is simply a numbers game. And the insurance industry has a lot of skin in that game.
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7:18 PM | How to reform a disastrous disaster policy
The reality of climate change and sea level rise, combined with the amount of wealth we have built along our coasts, is its own kind of economic disaster.
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7:18 PM | The Climate Corporation’s hyper-local weather insurance
The Climate Corporation's hyper-local weather insurance
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7:18 PM | How much is climate change to blame for extreme weather?
The science of climate change risk
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7:15 PM | What to Do with Leftovers
Cities are recycling old and outdated infrastructure in creative new ways
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7:15 PM | “Big, expensive, controversial—and indispensable”
James Fallows, making the case for California’s high-speed rail project: Plus, infrastructure! Of the right kind. You can think of big transport investments that didn’t pay off, especially if you start by thinking of Robert Moses. You can more easily think of ones that defined countries, eras, economies. For your old-world types, you have the […]∞
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7:14 PM | Non-Toxic Flame Retardants Made from Milk
New research has shown that milk proteins called caseins, a byproduct of cheese production that normally gets dumped down the sewer, could help make fabrics more flame-retardant.
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6:56 PM | 31 Flavors and Then Some
There are nearly 1,900 recorded edible insect species on Earth, and counting. How many different types of meat have you sampled in your lifetime? Most people never go beyond the standard dozen-plus basics of chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and maybe five to ten kinds of fish. This is a fairly limited flavor palate—the “beginner box”
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6:56 PM | This Forest Is Bugged
Rainforest Connection is a tiny nonprofit launched two years ago in San Francisco by Topher White. White, 32, is “upcycling” used Android smartphones into solar-powered spy gadgets, which he mounts in the canopy of protected forests. The devices record periodic snippets of audio, uploading the clips over the cellular network to his servers, which scan
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6:56 PM | Watchmen of the Global Forest
In February, the World Resources Institute launched the first interactive, regularly updated map of the world’s forests. Two years in the making, the Global Forest Watch Web service integrates terabytes of data from a vast archive that includes multiple satellite feeds. It builds on detailed maps of forest change published two years ago in Science
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6:54 PM | Dietary Restrictions
“The Chinese do eat probably the world’s greatest diversity of beasts,” wrote Craig Simons in his Fall 2013 feature story “Chinese Takeout.” And with China’s population growing, these culinary preferences pose serious risks to biodiversity. The country’s government, however, is beginning to crack down on treasured wildlife on the menu. The Chinese newswire Xinhua reported
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6:54 PM | Solar Is Big­—and Cheap—in Texas
Over the past several years, an unexpected flood of cheap natural gas has taken a bite out of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. But natural gas is still a fossil fuel. As John Carey explained in “Gas Pains” (Conservation, Summer 2013), renewable energy sources need to reach price parity with gas in order for it to
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6:54 PM | Conservation and Poverty Reduction
Ever since conservationists started to marry protected area management with social programs, the relationship has been rocky and ill-defined. In “Conservation and Poverty” (Conservation, Spring 2011), Fred Pearce explored economic advancement in biodiverse regions. A recent study looked at communities in Costa Rica whose welfare improved after protected areas were established nearby. (1) Economists found
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6:54 PM | Does Wood Construction Benefit the Climate?
In the “Think Again” section of Conservation’s Summer 2012 issue, Sarah DeWeerdt laid out the carbon-storing virtues of using wood in skyscraper construction (“Tall Wood”). According to a new study, the benefits of using more wood in building and bridge construction are multiplied when you account for the energy- and emission-intensive steel and concrete that
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6:53 PM | Free the Seed
In “Closed Source Crops” (Conservation, Summer 2011), Paul Salopek explored how a handful of large corporations are laying the groundwork to control the genetic data of our major food crops. This consolidation of the seed industry has broad implications for biodiversity and food security in a warming world. Now a group of plant breeders, farmers,
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6:15 PM | Why You Should Elbow the Elevator Button
In 1997, I was living in Manhattan when the New York Observer–a sardonic weekly–published a front page story entitled, “New York is Germ City!” As the Seattle Times recalls: The paper asked a laboratory to analyze swab samples taken throughout Manhattan and found the city an effective incubator for all sorts of staph and strep and E. […]The post Why You Should Elbow the Elevator Button appeared first on Collide-a-Scape.
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6:11 PM | Laser Helps Understand Inner Workings of Solar Panels
Believe it or not we don’t totally understand how solar cells work, particularly organic thin-film photovoltaics. But scientists Canada, London and Cyprus have recently used lasers to shed some light into the process, which could help make more efficient solar panels tomorrow.

Provencher, F., Bérubé, N., Parker, A., Greetham, G., Towrie, M., Hellmann, C., Côté, M., Stingelin, N., Silva, C. & Hayes, S. & (2014). Direct observation of ultrafast long-range charge separation at polymer–fullerene heterojunctions, Nature Communications, 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5288

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5:32 PM | Maine Is the New Florida
By Miriam Wasser Here we are, right in the thick of summer—it’s hot, it’s humid, and you break into a sweat the moment you step out of the air-conditioning. I feel for you, friend. But just imagine what it’s going to be like as climate change continues to heat things up over the coming decades. Well, now you don't have to! This infograph from Climate Central shows us how much hotter 1,001 U.S. cities are going to be in the summer […]
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5:27 PM | I’m disappointed in you, El Niño
You showed such promise, El Niño, but this is simply unacceptable: The chance of a strong El Niño is not favored in any of the ensemble averages for Niño-3.4. At this time, the forecasters anticipate El Niño will peak at weak-to-moderate strength during the late fall and early winter….
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5:08 PM | In disappearing Mexican jungle, it’s tribes vs. biologists
Joshua Partlow, reporting for the Washington Post: Land struggles have a storied history in Mexico. They were at the heart of the country’s biggest political upheavals, dating to its decade-long revolution at the turn of the 20th century. During the 1994 Zapatista uprising here in Chiapas, the masked Mayan farmers who seized towns across the […]∞
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