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Fish eat plastic like teens eat fast food, researchers say June 3, 2016

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The fish that did hatch in these waters with high quantities of micro-plastics were “smaller, slower, and more stupid” than those that hatched in clean waters, lead author Dr Oona Lonnstedt, from Uppsala University, said.When exposed to predators, about half the young perch from clean waters survived for 24 hours. Those that had been raised with the strongest plastic concentrations were all consumed by pike over the same period.

junkfoodMost surprising for the research team was the way that plastic changed food preferences.

“They all had access to zooplankton and yet they decided to just eat plastic in that treatment. It seems to be a chemical or physical cue that the plastic has, that triggers a feeding response in fish,” Dr Lonnstedt told BBC News. “They are basically fooled into thinking it’s a high-energy resource that they need to eat a lot of. I think of it as unhealthy fast food for teenagers, and they are just stuffing themselves.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36435288

How Global Warming Can Start an Ice Age October 12, 2015

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ArcticColdSpotIn the last month, there’s been much attention to a cool patch in the North Atlantic Ocean, where record cold temperatures over the past eight months present a stark contrast to a globe that is experiencing record warmth. And although there is certainly no consensus on the matter yet, some scientists think this pattern may be a sign of long-feared consequences of climate change — a slowing of North Atlantic ocean circulation, due to a freshening of surface waters.

The cause, goes the thinking, would be the rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, whose large freshwater flows may weaken ocean “overturning” by reducing the density of cold surface waters (colder, salty water is denser). If cold, salty waters don’t sink in the North Atlantic and flow back southward toward Antarctica at depth, then warm surface waters won’t flow northward to take their place.

Now, two new studies just out in Nature Geoscience help to underscore why scientists have a good reason to think this sort of thing can happen — namely, because it appears to have happened in the Earth’s distant past. And not just once but on multiple occasions.

Source: Why the Earth’s past has scientists so worried about the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation – The Washington Post

Back in 2007, I posted this sun spot research that  predicted that by 2020 we would be cooled by a low solar activity ( a cooler sun) period. https://terryorisms.com/2007/06/23/read-the-sunspots/   

The Reign of Recycling October 5, 2015

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According to the E.P.A.’s estimates, virtually all the greenhouse benefits — more than 90 percent — come from just a few materials: paper, cardboard and metals like the aluminum in soda cans.
Once you exclude paper products and metals, the total annual savings in the United States from recycling everything else in municipal trash — plastics, glass, food, yard trimmings, textiles, rubber, leather — is only two-tenths of 1 percent of America’s carbon footprint.

As a business, recycling is on the wrong side of two long-term global economic trends. For centuries, the real cost of labor has been increasing while the real cost of raw materials has been declining. That’s why we can afford to buy so much more stuff than our ancestors could. As a labor-intensive activity, recycling is an increasingly expensive way to produce materials that are less and less valuable.

It would be much simpler and more effective to impose the equivalent of a carbon tax on garbage, as Thomas C. Kinnaman has proposed after conducting what is probably the most thorough comparison of the social costs of recycling, landfilling and incineration.

The Reign of Recycling http://nyti.ms/1iUpbBE

Seeking a Climate Change – The Chronicle of Higher Education November 9, 2014

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cultural theory of risk assessment. Social norms, above all else, informed how people judged risks, she said. The public divided along two spectra: one measuring their support of social structure, running from egalitarian to hierarchical; the other, their devotion to individualism or communitarianism. The scales combined for four essential “worldviews.” – See more at: http://m.chronicle.com/article/Seeking-a-Climate-Change/149707/#sthash.vX66URJw.dpuf

http://m.chronicle.com/article/Seeking-a-Climate-Change/149707/

Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ September 20, 2014

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ikePolicy makers and the public may wish for the comfort of certainty in their climate science. But I fear that rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is “settled” (or is a “hoax”) demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences.

Society’s choices in the years ahead will necessarily be based on uncertain knowledge of future climates. That uncertainty need not be an excuse for inaction. There is well-justified prudence in accelerating the development of low-emissions technologies and in cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.

Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.

via Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ.

Just What We Need – Something Else To Worry About July 24, 2014

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solarstorm1On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth.  Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.

Analysts believe that a direct hit … could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket.  Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.

“In my view the July 2012 storm was in all respects at least as strong as the 1859 Carrington event,” Baker tells NASA. “The only difference is, it missed.”

During the Carrington event, the northern lights were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii according to historical accounts.  The solar eruption “caused global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices,” NASA  notes. The infamous solar storm of 1921 caused “the entire signal and switching system of the New York Central Railroad below 125th Street to be put out of operation, followed by a fire in the control tower at 57th Street and Park Avenue.”  global manufacturing capacity for high voltage transformers is estimated to be only about 70 units per year. A repeat of the 1921 space weather event might damage at least several hundred such units worldwide, with replacement of so many transformers taking a year or more

Though it’s impossible for scientists to predict exactly when or where the next solar storm happen, what they do know is that with more sunspots come more stoms. And the fall of 2013 is when the Sun is set to reach the crest of its 11-year sunspot cycle.

via How a solar storm two years ago nearly caused a catastrophe on Earth.

Can Innovation Save Our Future? May 3, 2014

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A Saudi oil minister once said, the Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone. Ecologists call this “niche construction”—that people (and indeed some other animals) can create new opportunities for themselves by making their habitats more productive in some way. Agriculture is the classic example of niche construction: We stopped relying on nature’s bounty and substituted an artificial and much larger bounty.

Economists call the same phenomenon innovation. What frustrates them about ecologists is the latter’s tendency to think in terms of static limits. Ecologists can’t seem to see that when whale oil starts to run out, petroleum is discovered, or that when farm yields flatten, fertilizer comes along, or that when glass fiber is invented, demand for copper falls.

That frustration is heartily reciprocated. Ecologists think that economists espouse a sort of superstitious magic called “markets” or “prices” to avoid confronting the reality of limits to growth. The easiest way to raise a cheer in a conference of ecologists is to make a rude joke about economists.

If I could have one wish for the Earth’s environment, it would be to bring together the two tribes—to convene a grand powwow of ecologists and economists. I would pose them this simple question and not let them leave the room until they had answered it: How can innovation improve the environment?

via The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out – WSJ.com.

coalplugThe technological optimists crowd writing, in the current issue of Wired magazine, visits huge Chinese projects to sequester the Co2 from burning coal. An interesting read

Did You Ever Think the U.S. Would be largest Energy Producer? October 5, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Geopolitics.
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productionSince 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States. Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined hydrocarbon output by about 1 quadrillion Btu over the past five years. Note: Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, refinery processing gain, and other liquids, including biofuels. Barrels per day oil equivalent were calculated using a conversion factor of 1 barrel oil equivalent = 5.55 million British thermal units (Btu).

via U.S. expected to be largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013 – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

What In The World! October 4, 2013

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To gain perspective on just how differently people are living on this planet,
Half the World
(Parts of Malaysia and Indonesia have been intentionally left out—without them, the red regions still contain more than 50.2% of the world’s population.)

World_population_density_map

Volcanic Vortices May 30, 2013

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Volcanic Vortices bruce-omori-Extreme-Exposures-Fine-Art-Gallery-HiloBruce Omori, owner of Extreme Exposures Fine Art Gallery in Hilo, received the Windland Smith Rice International Award for his lava photo titled “Volcanic Vortices,” which will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s annual exhibition in June. His winning photograph was selected from almost 20,000 submissions from photographers in 46 countries.

“On an early morning shoot at the Waikupanaha ocean entry, lava from the Kilauea volcano poured into the sea. This created a huge escape of steam, and as it rose, multiple vortices began spinning off of the huge plume,” Omori described in his photo submission description. “A vortex or two is a pretty rare sight—but when one after another kept forming, my fumbling with the lenses turned into a panicked rush to switch my telephoto to wide angle lens to capture this awesome scene of seven vortices in a row.” Thanks to Muriel Lighter

via Hilo Photographer Receives Smithsonian Museum Award | Hawaii Business.

How Many Animals Can You See? May 27, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Enviroment.
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how_many_animals_can_you_seeThis beautiful painting by Donald Rusty hides more than meets the eye! Check it out and see if you can spot all the animals hidden somewhere inside it. How many are there? Don’t forget the proper way to submit your findings is using the “submit illusion” email link that can be found at the very bottom of this site. You are also free to post your outlined solution pics using “add image” option underneath the comment box. Happy hunting!

via Mount Zoomore Optical Illusion | Mighty Optical Illusions.

Fracking without Water May 20, 2013

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It’s possible to fracture gas-rich rock formations without using any water at all. Indeed, gas and oil companies have been using carbon dioxide this way for decades, albeit on a limited basis. Right now carbon dioxide fracking is used in places, like Wyoming, that already have carbon dioxide pipelines. But if this approach is going to be used on a large scale, it will require a major investment in infrastructure for getting carbon dioxide to fracking sites. And in some cases a price on carbon emissions may be the only way to make the economics work.

A price on carbon, for example, could create a big supply of cheap carbon dioxide by giving utilities incentive to capture it from power plants’ smokestacks. This might make sense in China, where the best shale gas deposits are in arid areas (see “China Has Plenty of Shale Gas, but It Will Be Hard to Mine”).

via Fracking with Carbon Dioxide Could Help Shale Gas Production in Arid Areas | MIT Technology Review.

Extreme Weather – The New Norm May 4, 2013

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The climate will swing to extremes as it tries to find a new equilibrium, in response to the warming climate. Siberian winters will be colder, heat waves extended, etc. This report says that if you are in a rainy location, expect more deluges, and if you live in a dry area, expect more droughts. Specifically, the new study found that although the 14 climate models differ when it comes to the amount of rainfall in individual locations such as cities, over larger areas, they all point to the same average picture. That is, for every single degree Fahrenheit the global average temperature climbs, heavy rainfall will increase in wet areas by 3.9 percent, while dry areas will experience a 2.6 percent increase in time periods without any rainfall.

Rain will get more extreme thanks to global warming, says NASA study | The Verge.

World’s Tallest Palm Trees April 9, 2013

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Wax PalmsColombia’s lush Cocora Valley, part of Los Nevados National Park, is the principal home for the country’s national tree, the palma de cera, or wax palm. The lanky tree is the world’s tallest palm tree, reaching up to 200 feet tall. Photograph by Alex Treadway

via Cocora Valley, Colombia — Travel 365 — National Geographic.

Video -Humongous Greenland Glacier Collapse February 2, 2013

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On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Chasing Ice won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and has won 24 awards so far this year. Playing in theaters now. Thanks to Valerie Sanders. Click on the YouTube logo, choose the HD option and go Full Screen for the full effect.

Cute Kitty the Killer January 30, 2013

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A new study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.

KittyThe KillerYet the new study estimates that free-roaming pets account for only about 29 percent of the birds and 11 percent of the mammals killed by domestic cats each year, and the real problem arises over how to manage the 80 million or so stray or feral cats that commit the bulk of the wildlife slaughter.

via That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think – NYTimes.com.

Is Great White Following Kayak Picture Real? January 20, 2013

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Great White and Kayak

I’ve always wondered if the well-circulated image was rea. The Photographer’s notes sound quite convincing.
©Thomas P. Peschak
When this photograph was first published in Africa Geographic, BBC Wildlife and later in Paris Match and the Daily Mail (London) it resulted in a flurry of e-mails, phone calls and letters from around the world asking if the image was a fake. The image became the most talked about of shark photograph ever.

The photograph is real, no photoshop, no digital manipulation, no nothing, in fact it was shot on slide film Fuji Provia 100 using a Nikon F5 Camera and 17-35 mm lens. For those conspiracy fans who still doubt its authenticity please read how I took the photograph.

To capture this image I tied myself to the tower of the research boat Lamnidae and leaned into the void, precariously hanging over the ocean while waiting patiently for a white shark to come along. I wanted to shot a photograph that would tell the story of our research efforts to track white sharks using kayaks. When the first shark of the day came across our sea kayak it dove to the seabed and inspected it from below. I quickly trained my camera on the dark shadow which slowly transformed from diffuse shape into the sleek outline of a large great white. When the shark’s dorsal fin broke the surface I thought I had the shot, but hesitated a fraction of a second and was rewarded with marine biologist Trey Snow in the kayak turning around to look behind him. I pressed the shutter and the rest was history. Throughout the day I shot many more images, most showing the kayak following the shark, but all lacked the power of that first image of the great white tracking the kayak.

55′ Snake January 15, 2013

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Snake 55footThis picture is claimed to be from Malaysia, where workers cutting a road through the jungle inadvertently killed this estimated to be 120 year-old snake with the pictured excavator. The driver supposedly felt so bad that he cried at what he had done.

17′ Florida Python – The hunt is on for a new record January 13, 2013

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FlaPythonSome estimate that nearly 150,000 pythons are living in the Florida Everglades. Officials say the Burmese pythons are eating wildlife and with no natural predator, the population is overwhelming. The Everglades have become crowded with the snakes and the pythons have started to move into nearby neighborhoods. Last year, a Burmese python was caught and registered more than 17 feet long and 160 pounds. The catch set a new Everglades National Park record.

via Florida Python Hunt Launched to Curb Slithering Population – ABC News.

Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature January 10, 2013

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animal-camouflage-photography-art-wolfe-1In this astonishing new book, legendary wildlife photographer Art Wolfe turns to one of nature’s most fundamental survival techniques: the vanishing act. His portraits show animals and insects disappearing into their surroundings, using deceptions, disguises, lures, and decoys to confuse the eye of both predator and prey. Click on this link and hit the “Slideshow” option and see how many you can find.

Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature | Art Wolfe Stock Photography 888-973-0011.

animal-camouflage-photography-art-wolfe-2

How Leaded Gasoline Caused Our Violent Crime Wave. January 5, 2013

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Starting in the 1960s, America saw a huge increase in levels of violent crime that peaked in the early 1990s, then steadily declined, and continues to decline today. All kinds of theories have been promulgated to explain this peak and decline in crime, and plenty of politicians in the 1990s took credit for it. Lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

And with that we have our molecule: tetraethyl lead, the gasoline additive invented by General Motors in the 1920s to prevent knocking and pinging in high-performance engines. As auto sales boomed after World War II, and drivers in powerful new cars increasingly asked service station attendants to “fill ‘er up with ethyl,” they were unwittingly creating a crime wave two decades later.

The use of lead pipes to carry water to wealthy neighLeadedCrimeWaveborhoods is claimed to be one major factor that contributed to the weakening and eventual destruction of the Roman Empire. At least we had the Science to discover our lead folly and correct it, even though much is to still be remediated. But the huge penal/judicial/police industrial complex budget justifications are threatened by such a simple crime source. Turns out criminologists were blaming the wrong Lead, when some accused the music of Led Zeppelin, among others.

via America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones.

Extreme Firewood Stacking December 29, 2012

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Firewood keeps you warm, when you’re cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking it, in addition to when you actually burn it. Now that the Winter weather is really here, it is time to reflect on how some other folks have gone beyond just stacking up wood to keep warm. .

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How To Properly Stack Firewood – Yellow Bullet Forums. Click for more examples of Extreme Firewood Stacking

More Deaths Caused by Obesity than Hunger December 29, 2012

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Obesity has become a bigger threat to global health than child hunger, according to a major study.

More than three million deaths in 2010 were attributable to excess body weight, three times the death toll due to malnutrition.

The largest investigation of disease ever undertaken, published yesterday, also found that high blood pressure, smoking and drinking alcohol have become the world’s biggest health risks.

So-called diseases of the western industrialised nations have become more prevalent as developing nations become more affluent. Fewer infants are dying of starvation in the poorest countries while a fast expanding middle-class in the emerging economies. ibeatanorexia

Obesity kills more than hunger in march of ‘progress’ | The Times.

Mt. Everest – In Incredible Composite Detail December 18, 2012

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This gigapixel image of the Khumbu glacier was captured by David Breashears during the spring of 2012, from the Pumori viewpoint near Mount Everest. The Khumbu Icefall is clearly visible here, and one can easily see the hustle and bustle of Everest Base Camp below.

EverestClick the image to enter gigapixel navigation, then use the controls at the bottom of the screen to zoom and pan and find climbers on the glacier and around the base camp tents, which will give you perspective on the scale of what you are viewing.

via Khumbu Glacier – Mt. Everest – The Glaciers of the Himalayas.

Arctic Ocean Flowers December 15, 2012

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ArcticOcean Flowers These spiky little bunches of ice form on thin and new ice in the Arctic Ocean. But these badboys can only form under very special conditions:

1) Calm winds. We can’t have these beauties blown away can we?

2) Cold, cold air. It has to be about 20C less than the water and since seawater freezes around -2C, that means the air must be about -22C or -7.6F. BRRR.

Frost flowers form when newly formed ice sublimates, that is ice changes directly from a solid to a gas totally bypassing the liquid stage. Initially, the water vapor formed by sublimation is the same temperature as the sea ice, but gets quickly cooled by the cold air. The air is then becomes supersaturated with water vapor, which means the air has too water much in it. Air really doesn’t want to hold all that excess water vapor, so when the supersaturated air touches another ice crystal the water vapor quickly turns back into ice. (Click the image to enlarge)

via The icy plumage of the Arctic | Deep Sea News. (more…)

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