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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NE New York
Home country: USA
Current location: Serious Snow Country :(
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 70,638

Journal Archives

Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to harm environment

This week, as we mark the fourth anniversary of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, evidence of that catastrophe's effects on wildlife continues to emerge.

Despite sunny assurances from BP, the largest oil spill in U.S. history is leaving its mark on everything from marine mammals to mollusks.

Bottlenose dolphins have been particularly hard-hit.

Some 900 of these graceful creatures have been found stranded, most of them dead, in the northern Gulf between April 2010 and March 2014, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently published a study linking the ill health of dolphins in Louisiana's Barataria Bay - anemia, adrenal problems and lung disease - to oil exposure.

Birds that migrate through the Gulf Coast or winter here are likewise showing signs of oil exposure.


A flotilla of fire boats battle flames in the aftermath of the explosion of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. Photo By U.S. Coast Guard/Handout
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sun Apr 20, 2014, 12:41 AM (7 replies)

McCartney: I'm coming to Albany

ALBANY - Paul McCartney made it official a few moments ago:

"Paul's just added Albany, NY and Pittsburgh, PA to his #OutThere tour," his official Twitter account announced Tuesday afternoon.

McCartney's "Out There Tour" will land July 5 at the Times Union Center.

McCartney tweeted as arena officials and government leaders held a news conference to announce the show.


Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 8, 2014, 04:09 PM (46 replies)

NY looks to suspend vehicle registrations of toll scofflaws

The amount of uncollected tolls on New York's Henry Hudson Bridge increased an astounding 785 percent after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority eliminated cash toll lanes and began mailing bills to drivers without E-ZPass.

Figures provided by the MTA show that 1 in 3 motorists who receive a bill in the mail don't respond. From November 2012 through September 2013, those drivers owe the MTA $1.6 million, which the agency is still trying to collect.

State officials say that over the past five years, toll evaders statewide have failed to pay $150 million in tolls. But now, the state may dole out stiffer penalties...

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a plan to suspend the registration of drivers who are persistent toll dodgers. Some lawmakers agree and are working to make the proposal part of the annual state spending plan.

Read more at http://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/NY-looks-to-suspend-vehicle-registrations-of-toll-scofflaws/1715-567898-2349.aspx#Sm11h1r3mu0lEYdt.99

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 8, 2014, 02:23 AM (4 replies)

Cops: Bethlehem drunk driver called police on herself

At least she knows who dropped the dime.

A 51-year-old Delmar woman was charged with drunken driving Wednesday after allegedly becoming so intoxicated that she called police on herself, authorities said.

Cynthia L. Begg, of Harrison Ave., registered a blood-alcohol content of .31% — nearly four times the legal limit — when she was taken into custody around 3:50 p.m. near the busy intersection of Kenwood and Delaware avenues, police said.

The legal threshold for intoxication in New York is a BAC of .08%.

But unlike many cases in which officers are summoned by an alarmed fellow motorist or a report of a wreck, police said Begg called them herself when she realized she was way too drunk to keep going.

“She stopped driving, she pulled over and she waited for us to get there,” Bethlehem police Sgt. Stephen Kraz said. “In 16-and-a-half years, I’ve never seen that before.”

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Thu Apr 3, 2014, 03:52 AM (4 replies)

NYT: Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come (includes video and photos)

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.

Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty.


Greenland'­s immense ice sheet is melting as a result of climate change. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 1, 2014, 12:53 AM (13 replies)

'Silly walk' sign enrages roads agency (Norway)

The craze for installing doctored comedy signs has reached small-town Norway, with an art collective in Ørje on the Swedish border installing a pair of zebra crossing signs inspired by Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.

"It's just for fun. There's no deep thought behind it," Reidar Johannes Søby from the Kreativiteket art group told The Local. "People live in their ordinary lives and when they see this sign, maybe they can have a little smile on their face. That's all."

The sign, designed to encourage people to use a "silly walk" from the classic Monte Python Norwegian Public Roads Administration is not so amused.

"One should not use signs that can be confused with public signs," section chief Elisabeth Bechmann told NRK.

"They are not very happy about it," Søby said. "They do not seem to have a sense of humour."


Kreativiteket's 'Ministry of Silly Walks' sign in Ørje. Photo: Kreativiteket
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Mar 31, 2014, 02:24 AM (2 replies)

It’s Not Just Keystone — Five Dirty Pipelines You’ve Never Heard Of

By now most people have heard of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline and the fact that, after five years of deliberation and protest, its fate still hangs in the balance (the southern portion is already built, but the northern portion that crosses the Canadian-US border awaits a permitting decision). The issue has galvanized the environmental movement, inspired dozens of high-profile demonstrations and captured media attention. But while the impacts from Keystone XL are significant, it’s not the only tar sands pipeline project in town.

Usually pipelines don’t draw much attention unless something goes wrong — like when a suburban Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood was flooded with heavy crude from the Alberta tar sands last May courtesy of a busted Exxon pipeline. But increasingly, communities aren’t waiting until catastrophe strikes to voice their opposition to new or expanded pipeline projects — partly because of environmental and public health risks from spills and partly out of concern for increasing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

When Keystone XL was brought into the spotlight, people began to understand that not all pipelines are created equal — a pipeline carrying “dilbit,” or diluted bitumen from tar sands — poses different (and often greater) risks than a conventional oil pipeline. Hazardous chemicals and other hydrocarbons need to be added, along with high pressure and heat, to move viscous dilbit through a pipe. And when spills occur, the oil doesn’t sheen at the surface; it sinks — making cleanup difficult (or impossible). Just ask communities along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan where a 2010 dilbit spill of close to a million gallons is still causing headaches even after $1 billion in cleanup operations.

And then there are also the environmental implications that come from the mining of tar sands, which have devastated the boreal forests of Alberta, creating massive lakes of toxic chemicals, clear cuts, and polluted water and air.


Cushing, Okla. -- where Keystone XL's southern leg begins. Photo: Tara Lohan
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Mar 29, 2014, 01:57 AM (8 replies)

Arctic climate’s last bastion succumbing to global warming, researchers say

One of the last refuges from the effects of global warming in Canada’s Arctic is succumbing to rising temperatures, creating significant risks for polar bears and the people who must survive off a rapidly transforming landscape.

A team of five researchers from Queen’s University, Laurentian University and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has looked at algae deposits in lake sediments in the Hudson Bay Lowlands over the past 70 years and determined that, since the mid-1990s, the area has warmed dramatically.

In a paper released Tuesday, they say their research provides evidence “that we are witnessing the transformation of the Arctic at an exceptional pace.”

The research follows a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in late September in which climate scientists said they were more certain than ever that human activity is the leading cause of global warming and that its effects will linger for centuries.


Andrew Paterson, left, and Chris Jones collect sediment cores in the Hudson Bay Lowlands.

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Wed Oct 9, 2013, 01:07 AM (1 replies)

Special driver's licenses available for vets

Designation is intended to speed up discounts


New York residents who are military veterans can apply to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for a special designation on their driver's license.

The special licenses are intended to eliminate the need for veterans to carry separate documentation proving their military service in order to take advantage of discounts or other programs available to vets.

Whether it will result in smoother traffic stops for designated vets is open to interpretation.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Greg Ball, an Air Force veteran. It went into effect on Thursday, a year after being signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Oct 5, 2013, 01:58 AM (1 replies)

Fracking wastewater contaminated — and likely radioactive

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, extracts oil and gas from deep underground by injecting water into the ground and breaking the rocks in which the valuable hydrocarbons are trapped. But it also produces wastewater high in certain contaminants — and which may be radioactive.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, researchers found high levels of radioactivity, salts and metals in the water and sediments downstream from a fracking wastewater plant on Blacklick Creek in western Pennsylvania.

Among the most alarming findings was that downstream river sediments contain 200 times more radium than mud that's naturally present upstream of the plant, said Avner Vengosh, a co-author of the study and a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University. Radium is a radioactive metal naturally found in many rocks; long-term exposure to large amounts of radium can cause adverse health effects and even diseases such as leukemia.

Contaminated waters
The concentrations of radium Vengosh and his team detected are higher than those found in some radioactive waste dumps, and exceed the minimum threshold the federal government uses to qualify a disposal site as a radioactive dump site, Vengosh told LiveScience. While the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility removes some of the radium from the wastewater, the metal accumulates in the sediment, at dangerously high levels, he added.


Plants that treat oil and gas wastewater are shown in red. The Josephine water treatment plant is shown in black.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Sat Oct 5, 2013, 01:49 AM (1 replies)
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