Posts

September 18, 2014

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7:27 PM | Thar They Blow!
By Brian Palmer The Earth almost lost its largest living creature in the last century. Whalers killed more than 350,000 blue whales worldwide, nearly hunting the species to extinction. But according to a recent study, a group of these behemoths living off the West Coast has recovered to almost pre-whaling levels.Worldwide, only 10,000 to 25,000 blue whales remain today, and few communities of these mammals—which can be found in all of the […]
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4:04 PM | This Land is My Land
As I mentioned in my earlier post, as soon as we close the deal on our waterfront property, I’d start blogging about the land, the plants and animals that inhabit it, the overall ecology of the region, and the process around building as close to a net-zero low-impact home as we can.  Last week the […]
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3:59 PM | How to Look for Mammals
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present a workshop at the National Biodiversity Data Centre on Saturday September 13th on the art of “Tracking Ireland’s Mammals”. This was the third year this workshop was held, and over the course … Continue reading →
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3:49 PM | Moving beyond risk-based governance of agricultural GM technologies
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. The GMFuturos launch event, ‘A new approach to governing GM crops? Global lessons from the rising powers’ at the Royal Society earlier this summer brought together a range of senior academics from across the social and life sciences, together with [...] The post Moving beyond risk-based governance of agricultural GM technologies appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and […]
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3:14 PM | Odile: The Still-Swirling Storm That Keeps on Giving, Bringing Torrential Rains and Severe Flooding Risks
Heavy downpours from the still-swirling remnants of Hurricane Odile could bring life-threatening floods and mudslides from southeastern Arizona across southern New Mexico and into western Texas and the panhandle through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding has already occurred in Arizona — just 10 days after Hurricane Norbert drenched the region, producing a […]The post Odile: The Still-Swirling Storm That Keeps on Giving, Bringing Torrential Rains and […]
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3:05 PM | DNA Barcoding and killing agents
source INBio Costa Rica[..] sequencing projects require the collection of large numbers of specimens, which need to be killed and preserved in a way that is both DNA-friendly and which will keep voucher specimens in good condition for later study. Factors such as time since collection, correct storage (exposure to free water and heat) and DNA extraction protocol are known to play a role in the success of downstream molecular applications. Limited data are available on the most efficient, […]
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2:35 PM | The UN Is About to Get Wild
By Susan Cosier Ahead of the Peoples’ Climate March in New York City on Sunday, the Ocean Preservation Society will begin projecting endangered species onto the side of the United Nations Headquarters (where eight days of international climate talks will kick off on Tuesday). These animals—chimpanzees, whales, parrots, and more—will move across the building on the east side of Manhattan, highlighting how humans are contributing to mass […]
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1:25 PM | Prescription for Trouble? Studying Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater.
By Marguerite Huber Approximately 1,800 drugs are approved for prescription use in the United States. Have you ever thought of what happens to all those drugs once they have left you (or your medicine cabinet)? Due to human excretion and people flushing unused pills, these pharmaceuticals can end up in the wastewater stream, presenting a […]
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1:00 PM | Pretty parrots in peril
Poachers snatch parrots from the wild to sell as pets, and about 30 percent of the world’s parrot species are in jeopardy. But do the thieves tend to catch the most attractive parrots, or do they simply go for the birds that are easiest to bag? To find out, a research team analyzed data on
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12:02 PM | Looking Back to 1821, Insurers Foresee a $100-Billion Hurricane
If the great 1821 hurricane struck the East Coast today, it would leave a $100-billion trail of losses.
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9:37 AM | Alphanumeric string sorting in python
I had a list of files, alphanumeric strings. paramList = [param_11.txt, param_2.txt, param_20.txt, param_1.txt] Which I wanted to look like paramList = [param_1.txt, param_2.txt, param_11.txt, param_20.txt] However the conventional sort doesn’t cut the mustard. paramList.sort() = [param_1.txt, param_11.txt, param_2.txt, param_20.txt] There is a solution if you google it, as you may already know because you found this page. It’s […]
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8:00 AM | REEcycle sweeps past the competition by turning waste into a domestic stream of rare earth elements
A student team from the University of Houston swept this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. With their innovative (and proprietary) approach to recycling a pair... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:55 AM | Colorado River problems are a threat to beer
Colorado River, Water Source For Craft Beer, Drying Up: Some of the best craft beer in the US is produced in the West, in places like Colorado and California. And the craft beer culture in that part of the country is also strong. Many craft brewers, such as Stone Brewing, obtain all of their brewing ...Continue reading ‘Colorado River problems are a threat to beer’ »
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1:41 AM | Born to be Wild (Sort of)
“Civilisation; it’s all about knives and forks.” —David Byrne As a child I was not nature-deprived. I lived in small towns and villages in rural Somerset in England, and enjoyed nature study in primary school but I know that I’ve never … Continue reading →

September 17, 2014

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9:21 PM | What to Know About California’s New Groundwater Law
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will require the first-ever rules for pumping groundwater in California. Here's why lawmakers and the governor acted, and what the new laws mean.
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8:15 PM | NRDC Names New Leader
By The Editors Rhea Suh, an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Interior, was today named the new president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s leading environmental advocacy groups (and the publisher of OnEarth). Suh is the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, appointed to the post by President Obama in 2009. She oversees the agency’s $12 billion budget and more […]
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7:41 PM | Chinese Sturgeon Give Up, Stop Breeding in Polluted Yangtze River
When an endangered species stops breeding, you know its days are probably numbered. In China the countdown has apparently begun for the critically endangered Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis).... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:27 PM | Stanford Psychologist Who Studies Racial Profiling Wins ‘Genius Grant’
A professor whose research is helping a California police department improve its strained relationship with the black community and a lawyer who advocates for victims of domestic abuse are among the 21 winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation 'genius grants.'
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5:05 PM | Imposter
I minored in math in undergrad. In about the second week or third week of each math course, I would strongly consider dropping, convinced I wasn’t clever enough to pass. I made a B in one of those courses and … Continue reading →
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4:22 PM | Can the U.S. and China Find Harmony in Pursuing Climate Progress?
A close look at the intensifying dance between the United States and China over how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
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2:36 PM | What’s Inside a 13-foot Colossal Squid? There’s Only One Way to Find Out…
By Susan Cosier It’s an octopus! It’s a giant squid! No, no … it’s a colossal squid, a species so mysterious and elusive that humans rarely get a glimpse of one (outside of their nightmares). But now you can see the second intact specimen ever caught—though, this dissection video shows the squid becoming very much less intact. If you can handle it, skip to minute 6:57 for all the gooey goodness. Fishermen hauled up the […]
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2:06 PM | Blastocystis in dogs and cats
Companion animals (specifically, domestic dogs and cats) are prone to several protozoan gastrointestinal infections, with Giardia duodenalis [syn. G. lamblia, G. intestinalis] and Cryptosporidium parvum both being of significant concern in animals with gastrointestinal disease, and as potential zoonotic infections. Recently, increasing interest has been given to the stramenopile organism Blastocystis spp. as a potential cause of gastrointestinal disease in human beings.Human infections are […]
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1:13 PM | To Catch a Predator
By Mary X. Dennis This week marks the beginning of black bear-hunting season across much of upstate New York, with wildlife officials permitting the "sport" in some parts of the state for the first time in decades.At last count, New York had as many as 8,000 black bears, and many of them have been venturing out of remote territories in the Adirondack, Catskill, and Allegheny mountains to more populated places in central New York, increasing the number of […]
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12:00 PM | Plankton might evolve to survive climate change
Here’s two things we know: One, the oceans are getting warmer. Two, the oceans are becoming more acidic. Here’s one thing we don’t know: what those two things mean for phytoplankton. The tiny microscopic plants form the base of the marine food web, and are responsible for about half of the planet’s primary production –

September 16, 2014

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10:00 PM | Soils at Imaggeo: field in late summer after rain
Konstantinos Kourtidis Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece About Imaggeo Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and […]
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8:53 PM | This Rare White Possum Could Soon Be a Ghostly Memory
A ghost lives in the Daintree Rainforest in northeastern Queensland, Australia. There, on a single mountain range located 1,100 meters above sea level, scientists have recently found what may be the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:10 PM | At least 150 companies prep for carbon prices
Wendy Koch, reporting for USA Today: At least 150 major companies worldwide — including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States — are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report out today says. It seems like national governments will be the last ones […]∞
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6:26 PM | Urban Energy Systems and Women in Energy – two themes woven together as C3E symposium gets underway
“The future of cities and energy efficiency could be a very bright one – but we have to get there,” said MIT Professor Dr. Amy Glasmeier at today’s launch of the 2014 Women in Clean Energy Symposium... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:15 PM | Climate change fixes may be free—or better
Justin Gillis, reporting for the New York Times: A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power […]∞
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6:07 PM | Where the carbon dioxide comes from
We know approximately where most of the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from—developed and more advanced developing nations. But beyond that, things have been less certain. Now, though, NASA, NOAA, and a collection of universities have developed a map using satellite data that more precisely pinpoints where emissions originate. Source: ASU ∞∞
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