Posts

October 03, 2014

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8:53 PM | Don’t Drink the Farm
By Susan Cosier Toxic algae blooms choke Lake Erie almost every year. But this August, that algae made its way into Toledo's drinking water, leaving more than 400,000 people without their taps for two days and making headlines across the country.Now the scientists and public officials who have been warning about Lake Erie's problems for years are determined to finally do something about it. And that means farmers, they're looking at you.Fertilizer […]
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8:50 PM | #22: When in Doubt Eat PIZZA!!!
A large fire is built to heat the oven to over 500 degrees. The last couple weeks of any field season is filled with mixed emotions.  Frustration - where are the whales? Overwhelmed - we have so much to do before closing up the field station. Defeated - I didn't accomplish everything you wanted to during the field season. Everyone has a different way of dealing with all these feelings.  My
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8:42 PM | Understanding California’s drought: the “Porterville problem”
I imagine that if I was a reporter in California, trying to cover the drought, I’d end up in Porterville too. It’s the little community in Tulare County where the taps have gone dry. Jennifer Medina of the New York Times took us there this week, and for residents of a nation used to running ...Continue reading ‘Understanding California’s drought: the “Porterville problem”’ »
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7:42 PM | This Week in EPA Science
By Kacey Fitzpatrick It’s the first week of October which happens to be my favorite month of the year. I love October, and fall in general, because the crisp weather and leaves changing color make it the best time of year to be outside. Visiting an orchard, hiking a trail, or just taking a nice […]
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5:35 PM | Friday Fiction Facts: Land of the Rising Suns
Welcome to Friday Fiction Facts: sciency things that fiction writers need to know. So you’ve got this great idea for a story and you decide, just to make life interesting, you’ll place it on a planet that has two suns. Why not? It worked for Star Wars, it can work for you. Yes it can, […]
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5:34 PM | Happy World Smile Day
Do you have a toothy grin like a zebra, a sly smirk like an alpaca or a cheetah chuckle? Check out these top ten smiling animals and see which one you look like when you smile!
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4:52 PM | Pennies for the Planet
By Brian Palmer French President Francois Holland pledged nearly $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund at the United Nations climate summit last week, in an effort to help developing countries move away from fossil fuels.Green Climate Fund—qu'est-ce que c'est? The Green Climate Fund is so obscure in the United States that most of the journalists who covered the French pledge didn’t mention the fund by name in their headlines. (And neither did I.) […]
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4:50 PM | A Family Meal a Day May Keep Obesity Away
Adolescent obesity rates in the United States are rising quickly, and so is the likelihood that obesity will carry forward into adulthood. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University report that family meals could reduce obesity. On average, family meals tend to include more fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains that quick food eaten on the go.Jerica M. Berge and colleagues collected data from 2,287 people over 10 years in a study dubbed Project EAT (Eating […]
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3:57 PM | Severe Weather = the New Normal is a Fraught Meme
This week NPR asks: When can a big storm or drought be blamed on climate change? If you have been nodding in approval to everything that Bill McKibben and his fellow climate concerned advocates say on this subject, then you already have your answer. And if you are familiar with the “new normal” meme, which I […]The post Severe Weather = the New Normal is a Fraught Meme appeared first on Collide-a-Scape.
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3:49 PM | Invasion of the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean sea is home to 17,000 species, of which around 20% occur nowhere else. Millions of tourists visit the Mediterranean Sea each year, but what no one knows is that underwater we are witnessing the largest invasion currently underway on Earth. Almost 1,000 alien species, including fish, crustaceans, and algae have become established from other seas largely through human activities. These invasive species disrupt the balance of this unique marine ecosystem. For example, Siganus […]
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3:03 PM | Getting Beyond the 2-Degree Threshold on Global Warming
An author of a commentary questioning the value of a hard danger threshold for planetary temperature defends his views.
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2:38 PM | University of Texas-San Antonio Releases Report on Economic Impact of Eagle Ford Shale
In a report released by the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) entitled “Economic Impact of the Eagle Ford Shale”, researchers from the Center for Community and Business Research at the University’s Institute for Economic Development found that extraction of oil, … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Set Your Alarm for the Early Morning Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8
In the wee morning hours of Wednesday, October 8, a total lunar eclipse will occur, delighting anyone of the lucky side of the Earth willing to set their alarms extra early.
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12:17 PM | The Pygmy Owl's Big Day in Court?
By Susan Cosier You wouldn’t think you would need extra protection when you make your home in a cactus. But that’s not the case for the ferruginous pygmy owl. Habitat loss, livestock grazing, wildfires, invasive species, and border disputes are disrupting this bird’s southwestern lifestyle, which consists of eating lizards and peeking adorably out of saguaro cacti. Yes, the owl is 6.5 inches of pure cuteness, but fewer than […]
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12:00 PM | Bats get confused by wind turbines pretending to be trees
The first clue that bats were dying due to a case of mistaken identity was that the dead were mostly tree-roosting species. Wind turbines are killing the tiny flying mammals in record numbers, but the cave dwelling varieties were largely unaffected. Dead bats have turned up at wind turbine facilities on multiple continents, with death
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11:31 AM | Seminar – How much risk management is good for us?
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. 6th October 2014, 13:00 to 14:30, W007, Dept of Geography, Professor Sarah Curtis, Executive Director of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience This presentation is interdisciplinary in outlook and aims to provoke, through consideration of a specific research study, [...] The post Seminar – How much risk management is good for us? appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and […]
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2:04 AM | Are we winning yet? An update on the Cowichan River
My last post outlined some of the water issues we’re having here in the Cowichan Valley. Coincident with the fall equinox, we were in for some wet, stormy weather – and there was a lot of hope that the rain would address some of our low river flow concerns. So what do the data tell…

October 02, 2014

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9:38 PM | Staying Upbeat and Engaged in a Turbulent, Complicated Climate
Seven climate-focused people explain how they sustain their energy and enthusiasm.
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9:36 PM | Venice of the East Coast?
Casey Ross, reporting for the Boston Globe: A report scheduled to be released Tuesday about preparing Boston for climate change suggests that building canals through the Back Bay neighborhood would help it withstand water levels that could rise as much as 7 feet by 2100. Some roads and public alleys, such as Clarendon Street, could […]∞
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7:37 PM | “drying up the streams” – Elwood Mead
To water many western valleys will involve drying up the streams that flow through through them, and this physical fact ought to be faced frankly and honestly. That’s Elwood Mead, sounding an awful lot like a proto-environmentalist, in his 1903 book Irrigation Institutions. Mead, who headed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1924 to 1936, ...Continue reading ‘“drying up the streams” – Elwood Mead’ »
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7:13 PM | Computer-Generated Molecular Models Promises Greener Concrete
More precisely targeted cement would use less calcium and use less energy to create it. A study at MIT exploring the molecular structure of cement promises substantial energy and greenhouse-gas savings in this crucial technology.
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6:51 PM | Cheaper Energy Could be Inspired by Giant Clams
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Santa Barbara have found out how giant clams are operating as super-efficient, living greenhouses that grow symbiotic algae as food.Iridescent Giant Clam, courtesy of Alison SweeneyThis discovery could have implications for alternative energy research, paving the way for new types of solar panels or improved reactors for growing biofuel."Many mollusks, like squid, octopuses, snails and cuttlefish have iridescent […]
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5:58 PM | The Tar Sands Bubble
By Brian Palmer The Canadian tar sands industry has seen better days. Energy giant Statoil announced last week that it would postpone a major mining project in Alberta for at least three years. It was just the latest in a string of major setbacks for tar sands oil, which has become nearly as bad for corporate profits as it is for the environment.High labor costs and the falling price of crude oil have contributed to the industry’s dark days, but […]
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5:14 PM | Barcoding a zoo
Meet Marla, a wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) calf born 2012 in the Munich Zoo Hellabrunn. Soon after the birthday veterinarians took blood samples for a standard check up. Today, two years later, Marla has already moved to a different zoo in Germany (Leipzig) and grown quite a bit. However, her blood sample is making headlines in the German press as it represents the first of a new project run out of the Zoological State Collection in Munich.The colleagues are planning to generate DNA […]
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4:23 PM | We’re (Almost) #1! Liquid Petroleum Production in the U.S.
The U.S. is on track to become the world’s leading liquid petroleum producer. According to IEA, domestic production of oil was about 11.5m barrels a day in August, and the Financial Times... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:28 PM | Science knowledge and policy support
[W]idespread knowledge and well-informed citizen support are not necessarily required for implementation of effective climate policies. From “Does effective climate policy require well-informed citizen support?”, Rhodes et. al, Global Environmental Change, Volume 29, November 2014, Pages 92–104
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1:17 PM | PG&E Tests Tech Adapted From NASA’s Mars Rover
The sensor is based on a tool that's mounted on NASA's Mars Curiosity rover.
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1:00 PM | Instead of herbicides, use goats
Where herbicides and mowers have failed, goats might succeed. In a new study, scientists have found that these humble herbivores can devour 12-foot-high invasive plants, allowing native species to regain a foothold in wetlands. The plant in question is the common reed (Phragmites australis), which arrived in North America from Europe in the 1700s and
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12:26 PM | Where'd the Aral Sea Go? (Seriously, It's Missing)
By Susan Cosier Can you point out the Aral Sea on a map? Yeah, neither can we … because it barely exists anymore. Once the fourth largest lake in the world (it’s actually a lake, not a sea), the Aral has gone dry. The lake reached its lowest level in modern history in August, as shown in these NASA satellite images (see the full transformation here). What happened? Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets began diverting the region's two largest […]
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11:00 AM | Do sharks have personalities?
Do sharks have social personality traits? According to a new study, they do. Some sharks act more gregarious and have strong social connections. Others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous.Small spotted catsharkPhoto by Hans HillewaertA team from the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) has been studying the behavior of spotted catsharks and have reported evidence of personalities. Personalities are known to exist in many animals, and […]
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