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Posts

April 14, 2014

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5:23 PM | George Bush Presidential Library opens offshore drilling exhibit
The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University has a new exhibit that tells the story of offshore drilling and the 41st President’s previous life as an oilman. The... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:36 PM | Flexible Thermoelectric Generator Turns Body Heat Into Electricity
A team of researches at KAIST University, Korea, has developed a glass fabric-based flexible thermoelectric generator that is extremely light and produces electricity from the heat of the human body. Read more »
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3:20 PM | BMW Unveils Concept X5 eDrive
BMW is using the New York International Auto Show 2014 to present the BMW Concept X5 eDrive—a company’s next step in reducing fuel consumption and emissions in the SAV segment. Read more »
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3:04 PM | Still want to cut food stamps?
Desperate people were not waiting for the government to help them; they were helping themselves, acting directly. Aunt Molly Jackson, a woman who later became active in labor struggles in Appalachia, recalled how she walked into the local store, asked … Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | Four Ways to Reduce the Loss of Native Plants and Animals from Our Cities and Towns
The actions we undertake under the banner of “creating biodiversity-friendly cities” are about more than just conservation, they are about managing urban biodiversity in a broader sense. Frequently in our discussions of this topic, two distinct but interdependent ideologies tend … Continue reading →
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2:01 PM | Futuristic Iceberg Society, IPCC: 'The Time Is Now,' Jellyfish Toilet Paper?
By Jason Bittel The last word: The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the third and final part of its massive report yesterday (there won’t be another big one for seven years or so). In the meantime, the latest is chockfull of dire warnings and strongly worded clarion calls. The chief takeaway is that while there’s still time to act against a 2-degree-Celsius rise in global temperatures, that window is closing. “We […]
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1:30 PM | Chevron Tries Again With Richmond Refinery Revamp
Chevron is looking to launch a billion-dollar construction project at its Richmond refinery. It’s a slimmed down version of a project that environmentalists stopped with a lawsuit a few years ago.
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7:51 AM | Ethnomineralogy
Ryan went to the Gadget Show last week, and brought me back a present. He bought me three notebooks made from Parax Paper, which (according to the label) is made from stone. He knew I’d be intrigued, and I had to investigate. It turns out that Parax paper is tree-free, made from calcium carbonate (the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and the stuff that makes water hard) and some plastic (HDPE). Its manufacture doesn’t use any water, requires less energy than conventional […]
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1:03 AM | AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph
A couple of weeks back, I made a quickie bar graph to provide some context for the amount of water involved in the Colorado River Delta pulse flow. It was half-assed. A reader asked for more: “Would love it more if it included other things, like Las Vegas consumption, MWD consumption, UB pasture irrigation, and ...Continue reading ‘AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph’ » Related posts:Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Cities’ water use in the Colorado Basin Municipal and […]
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12:05 AM | Documenting the Disappearing Rio Grande
From its headwaters amidst towering Colorado peaks to its mouth in a small delta along the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande flows 1,896 miles — a ribbon of life-giving water through a parched land. And it is disappearing. As environmental journalist and adventurer Colin McDonald tells it: For more than 3,000 years it has supported […]The post Documenting the Disappearing Rio Grande appeared first on ImaGeo.

April 13, 2014

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2:39 PM | Nations’ Handling of New Climate Report Presages Divisions in Treaty Effort
Wrangling over wording of the summary of the latest U.N. climate report foreshadows worse to come in treaty talks.
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2:16 PM | Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space
From an interesting talk last month by Margaret Bowman on a vision of what the Colorado River Basin solution space might look like (pdf of talk text here): [T]he region’s agricultural industry will be modernized with more efficient irrigation technologies. This modernization will not only increase the productivity of agriculture, but will also result in ...Continue reading ‘Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space’ » Related posts:Dead Pool, the Colorado […]
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3:48 AM | My TEDx Talk: We Are Perfect, With a Hefty Asterisk
I propose a shift in goals from numbers to traits that can help us shape a "good" Anthropocene.

April 12, 2014

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7:44 PM | An homage to Ansel Adams: Moonrise over the Ballpark
Disclosure: I digitally altered the original. The moon was moved. Related posts:What is that building? tossing out of the light Indian Service Route 46
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6:06 PM | Tropical Cyclone Ita Lumbers Along Australian Coast
After making landfall in Queensland, Australia on Friday, April 11 as a category 4 storm, Tropical Cyclone Ita has been lashing coastal areas between Cairns and Townsville with heavy rain and gale force winds, including gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Despite having remained mostly over land since landfall, Ita’s cyclonic structure has remained fairly […]The post Tropical Cyclone Ita Lumbers Along Australian Coast appeared first on ImaGeo.
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2:45 PM | The National Environmental Policy Act in western water
The National Environmental Policy Act – NEPA – is a weird bird. It’s one of the earliest of a suite of U.S. environmental laws that took shape in the 1960s and ’70s as environmental values grew into a substantive element of our nation’s politics. It doesn’t actually protect anything, but it does require the U.S. ...Continue reading ‘The National Environmental Policy Act in western water’ » Related posts:The shortcomings of the Endangered […]
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2:00 PM | Weekend Species Snapshot: Spix’s Macaw
You or your kids may have seen the fabulous blue macaw in the movie “Rio” or the just-released “Rio 2.” Unfortunately, more people have seen these movies than will ever see... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:38 AM | Rapid pulse
Ryan and I have been clearing out our cupboards and running down our food supplies, inadvertently doing so at the same time as the Guardian’s Live Better campaign was looking at food waste. In one memorable day I used up four spare eggs, making pancake batter and two batches of Snickerdoodle dough (one which went into the freezer for later) and roasted the butternut squash that had been sitting on the counter for… a while. Mostly it has been less eventful, just making use of […]
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6:27 AM | tossing out of the light
I’ve quoted before Don DeLillo’s great description of how, at a night baseball game, under the lights, “the players seem completely separate from the night around them.” At our Albuquerque Isotopes’ home opener this evening, the players’ home whites seemed impossibly white, the grass seemed impossibly green, the sky behind the lights impossibly inky black. In ...Continue reading ‘tossing out of the light’ » Related posts:8-?-2 Notes […]
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1:19 AM | Cape Cod Bay Update
Our colleagues at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown, MA (http://www.coastalstudies.org/) have been very busy in the last few weeks as their annual spring right whale surveys continue in and around Cape Cod Bay. In recent days CCS has reported seeing as many as 100 right whales in the Bay! Most of the whales are feeding at or just below the surface on the high concentrations of

April 11, 2014

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11:24 PM | Weekend Reads: Big Bird Puppet Masters, Green Jobs for Ex-Cons, Mosquitos: to Kill or Not to Kill?
By Melissa Mahony Reared by PuppetsWhen the California condor population fell to just 22 birds in 1987, conservationists took drastic measures to save the species, collecting every last wild condor and bringing them to the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos for breeding. The birds got to it. Problem is when they released the next generation into the wild, these scavengers had lost their wild ways. You see, instead of their real parents teaching them proper […]
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10:09 PM | California Wildfire Study: Spend on Prevention to Save on Disasters
A new study finds that investing in forest management could shrink the size of wildfires and save California hundreds of millions of dollars.
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8:29 PM | 4 Ways To Reduce Your Home Energy Use & Save Money This Summer
Keeping your home cool and your energy consumption low during the torrid months of summer is a challenge. The average household electricity bill for the June-through-August time period last year was a staggering $395, according to the U.S. Energy Information … Continue reading →
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7:20 PM | Study to Determine ‘How Solar Users Think’
Homeowners install solar panels for a variety of reasons, but one UA study is gaining insight into what truly motivates them to go green. Read more »
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6:26 PM | A different take on Escargot
Gastropod shells and bodies extracted after microwavingAnd today for something completely different. Let's start with a description of the problem:Extracting DNA from gastropods presents particular difficulties due to the capacity of the living animal to retract into the shell, resulting in poor penetration of the ethanol into the tissues. Because the shell is essential to establish the link between sequences and traditional taxonomic identity, cracking the shell to facilitate fixation is not […]
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5:50 PM | Right-Sizing U.S. Electrical Grid Could Reduce Blackout Risk
David Newman, a physicist at the University of Alaska, believes that smaller grids would reduce the likelihood of severe outages, such as the 2003 Northeast blackout that cut power to 50 million people in the United States and Canada for up to two days. Read more »

Carreras, B., Newman, D. & Dobson, I. (2014). Does size matter?, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 24 (2) 23104. DOI:

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4:45 PM | NASA Wants to Replace Battery Technology With Something Better
NASA is seeking proposals for the development of new, more capable, energy storage technologies to replace the battery technology that has long powered America’s space program. Read more »
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3:09 PM | Scientists Suggest Planting Biofuel Crops on Solar Farms
A new model for solar farms that “co-locates” biofuel crops and solar panels could result in a harvest of valuable plants along with solar energy. Read more »

Ravi, S., Lobell, D. & Field, C. (2014). Tradeoffs and Synergies between Biofuel Production and Large Solar Infrastructure in Deserts, Environmental Science & Technology, 48 (5) 3021-3030. DOI:

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2:00 PM | Soil Science May Be Important Key to Tackling Climate Change
Studying the important partnership between soil and plants may lead to some solutions for the ongoing problems arising from climate change. The East Bay Regional Park District's Sharol Nelson-Embry highlights a recent panel discussion in San Francisco with local soil scientists and author Kristin Ohlson on carbon sequestration.
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1:51 PM | Organic Solar Cell Benefit From Face-On Alignment of Molecules
New research from North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill reveals that energy is transferred more efficiently inside of complex, three-dimensional organic solar cells when the donor molecules align face-on, rather than edge-on, relative to the acceptor. This finding may aid in the design and manufacture of more efficient and economically viable organic solar cell technology. Read more »

Tumbleston, J., Collins, B., Yang, L., Stuart, A., Gann, E., Ma, W., You, W. & Ade, H. (2014). The influence of molecular orientation on organic bulk heterojunction solar cells, Nature Photonics, DOI:

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