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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 38,334

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Drone flies into Volcano


I don't know how that thing survives some of the explosions....

Meet Mercury, the solar system's incredibly shrinking planet

The smallest planet in our solar system is getting even smaller.

Mercury, the first scorched rock from the Sun, has contracted into itself even more than previously thought over the past 4 billion years, according to new research using images from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft.

The proof is in its stretch marks.

Looking at tectonic features like wrinkle edges and rounded cliffs (similar to wrinkles on our skin), researcher determined Mercury has shrunk up to 8.6 miles in diameter over the course of several millennia.

The shrinkage is a result of the huge temperature difference between Mercury's core and its surface.



Officials give up on evicting pythons — big but nearly invisible in the wild — from Everglades

Only in Florida can a search for one invasive monster lead to the discovery of another.

On a balmy Sunday recently, a group of volunteers called Swamp Apes was searching for pythons in Everglades National Park when it stumbled on something worse: a Nile crocodile, lurking in a canal near Miami suburbs.

It was an all-points alarm, prompting an emergency response by experts from the national park, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida. They joined the Swamp Apes and wrestled the reptile out of the canal. Nile crocs are highly aggressive man-eaters known to take down huge prey in Africa, and officials worried that the one in the canal might be breeding in the swamp since it was first spotted two years ago.

Worrying is what Florida wildlife officials often do when it comes to invasive species. The state is being overrun by animals, insects and plants that should not be there, costing Floridians half a billion dollars each year in, among other things, damaged orange groves, maimed pets and dead fish in water where plants have depleted the oxygen.



Climate change is putting world at risk of irreversible changes, scientists warn

The world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday.

In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations.

“As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” the AAAS said in a new report, What we know.

“But we consider it our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risks and costs of taking action.”



Narwhal’s tusk is super sensitive

By Ella Davies

Narwhals' distinctive long tusks are super sensitive, research has found.

The whales are known for their tusks which can reach 2.6m (9ft) in length, earning them comparisons with mythological unicorns.

The tusk is an exaggerated front tooth and scientists have discovered that it helps the animals sense changes in their environment.

Experts suggest males could use the tusks to seek out mates or food.

The results are published in the journal The Anatomical Record.



West Texas county sues Odessa oil service company for dumping chemicals

ODESSA, Texas -- Ector County in West Texas is suing an Odessa oil services company for as much as $1 million in fines for allegedly dumping thousands of gallons of toxic oil field chemicals down Odessa city sewers.

The suit charges Roywell Services, which services existing oil wells in six locations in Texas, with pumping xylene acid and other chemicals down a manhole cover on its property. The manhole connects to the Odessa city sewer.

The lawsuit cites three Roywell employees, interviewed by Odessa police, as having been told to pump the chemicals on the orders of an unnamed manager.

The chemicals were stored in a waste pit on the property which was “hot,” according to one employee interviewed by police, meaning the chemicals were toxic. The employee told police he could see the chemicals bubbling, and that dirt and rocks thrown into the waste pit would dissolve.



Portland attack cat Lux winds up at animal shelter while owners wrestle with decision to keep him

The owners of Lux, the 22-pound Himalayan cat who cornered them, their baby and the family dog in a Northwest Portland apartment last week, has taken up residence in the Multnomah County Animal Services shelter.

The couple contacted Animal Services workers Monday morning and asked them to come get the cat, said Mike Oswald, director of the shelter in Troutdale.

"They are wrestling with the decision whether to keep the cat,'' Oswald said. "They said they are going to think about it tonight and we will talk about it Tuesday."

The decision to give up a pet is a difficult one, but Animal Services is willing to work with pet owners, he said.



I hope Lux finds a new home with people who won't torment him.

50 myths and lies about public schools


A valuable new book called “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools” takes a stark look at some of the worst ideas being promoted by school reformers around the country as ways to improve the public education.
The book — from which I am going to run a series of excerpts — looks at international tests, teachers, school funding, charter schools and a lot more, including sections on:

* International tests show that the United States has a second-rate education system.
* Teachers are the most important influence in a child’s life.
* Merit pay is a good way to increase the performance of teachers.
* Subject matter knowledge is the most important asset a teacher can possess.
* American K-12 education is being dumbed down.
* The money available to school districts is spread equally across their schools.
* Group projects waste children’s time and punish the most talented.
* School uniforms improve achievement and attendance.
* Schools can teach all students to the point of mastery.
* Education will lift the poor out of poverty and materially enrich our entire nation.



Kentucky coal-ash dumping tracked by hidden cameras

by Renee Lewis

Environmental groups announced their intent to sue a Kentucky coal ash plant for “unabated” dumping into the Ohio River on Monday, after a hidden camera they set up captured alleged illegal discharges of chemicals by the company.

“We deserve clean water,” Thomas Pearce, regional organizer for the Sierra Club in western Kentucky, told Al Jazeera. “We’re calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to put forward more stringent guidelines for coal ash because states aren’t policing it. Look at North Carolina and the Duke spill.”

The allegations against Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) are the latest in a series of controversies over coal-ash dumping. Last month, Duke Energy, the country’s largest electricity provider, spilled 35 million gallons of toxic coal-ash slurry into the Dan River. Coal ash contains high levels of arsenic, lead, selenium and other heavy metals that the EPA says can cause cancer, birth defects and respiratory problems.

The Sierra Club and EarthJustice say their soon-to-be-filed lawsuit against LG&E is based on time-lapse photography from a camera they strapped to a tree. The camera captured a year’s worth of images showing “dangerous” coal ash wastewater being dumped continuously into the Ohio River.



And this isn't the only coal plant doing this sort of stuff

Tuesday Toon Roundup 2- The rest







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