Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Toledo: Don’t Drink the Water

August 4, 2014

Toledo: Don't Drink the Water

Residents of Toledo and environs, all 500,000 of them, have been warned not to drink or or wash with their tap water. The region’s water treatment plant found microcystin, a toxin that can cause nausea and liver damage. Boiling the water only concentrates the toxin. The source of the poison is a blue-green algae bloom on the west side of Lake Erie, thought to be caused by excessive phosphorous from agricultural runoff.

More:

“Water crisis grips hundreds of thousands in Toledo area, state of emergency declared,” Tom Henry, Toledo Blade

“A toxic algae scare has left 500,000 people in Ohio without drinking water,” Brad Plumer , Vox

“7 Things You Need To Know About The Toxin That’s Poisoned Ohio’s Drinking Water,” Emily Atkin, Think Progress

“Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins: Information for Drinking Water Systems, EPA Office of Water

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West Virginia: Life in the Spill Zone

March 13, 2014

West Virginia: Life in the Spill Zone

“Life in West Virginia wasn’t all that easy to begin with. It is the third poorest state in the country; almost 18 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. Many people in the spill zone are now spending a chunk of their paychecks simply to have access to clean water — a necessity so fundamental it’s one that people in a developed country should expect.”

— “Don’t Drink the Water: West Virginia After the Chemical Spill,” Heather Rogers, Rolling Stone

Related:

“Chemical Valley,” Evan Osmos, The New Yorker

“What’s that smell in West Virginia water?” ScienceBlog

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Axolotl

February 22, 2014

Axolotl

Mexico’s amphibious Axolotl, the strange looking “water monster,” may be almost extinct in the wild, warns Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México biologist Armando Tovar Garza. Ambystoma mexicanum, the “walking fish,’ of Lakes Chalco and Xochimilco, is unmistakable with its slimy tail, stubby legs, plume-like gills and goofy smile. The odd critter is under habitat pressure from urban sprawl, competition from recently introduced fish species like carp and tilapia, and capture for aquariums, laboratories, and pet owners.

Frankly. we believe the decline of the strange species began in 1961 when Frank Jacobs and Wally Wood published the recipe for Axolotl Pudding in Mad Magazine.

Related:

Axolotl Poem from MAD magazine #43, 1958

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Image by Wikimedia user th1098  (CC3)

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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day
It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax and dream of winter’s end. Whether or not you believe in woodchuck weathermen, one thing is certain: you can’t have groundhogs if you want a backyard full of fresh garden veggies.

Groundhogs (aka woodchucks, whistlepigs, and marmots) are insecto-vegetarians and confirmed locavores. If you plan to plant this spring, harvest those hairy beasts now. Celebrate Groundhog Day with critter cuisine.

Serving suggestions:

Woodchuck au Vin

Canadian Fried Woodchuck

Groundhog Pie

Woodchuck Recipes from Michigan (Oriental Groundhog,Waco Groundhog in Sour Cream,Woodchuck Stew, Woodchuck Meat Loaf)

More groundhog lore and recipes here and here.

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Happy New Year, Bambi

January 4, 2014

Happy New Year, Bambi

2014 sees the resumption of the white tailed deer hunt in DC’s Rock Creek Park. National Park Service sharpshooters are blasting the graceful critters again as part of a 15-year deer management plan. When NPS started the cull in 2012 there were 320 deer in the urban park, 77 deer per square mile. The target density NPS is shooting for: 15 to 20 deer per square mile. To provide a partially happy ending to this tale, venison harvested by the program is donated to programs for the homeless.

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Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Power Up with Bovine Burps

November 3, 2013

Power Up with Bovine Burps

Argentina raises a whole lot of cows, and they raise a whole lot of burps. When you’ve got four stomachs and eat plants all day, gas happens. That gas is mostly methane, and each cow belches about 300 liters of it daily. It’s a polluting greenhouse gas, but it’s also fuel. Argentinos want to use all that gas to power up their cars — or maybe even cook up all that beef.

More:

“Argentine scientists tap cow burps for natural gas,” Maximiliano Rizzi, Reuters

“El gas de las vacas puede alimentar un motor,” INTA Informa

Reuters video here 

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Found in the Trash: Music & Children

October 20, 2013

The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay.

More:

LandFillharmonicMovie.com

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China’s Farms: ‘The Good Earth’ No More

August 22, 2013

China's Farms: 'The Good Earth' No More

A fifth of China’s farmland is polluted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. There’s carcinogenic cadmium in the rice. Heavy nitrogen fertilizer use is turning the soil acidic and less productive.

Tom Philpott summarizes recent reports:

“6 Mind-Boggling Facts About Farms in China, Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hcK

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Attention young people: The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl Buck.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Giant Machine Tunnels Under Nation’s Capital

April 11, 2013

Lady Bird, a 400-foot-long, $30 million, 1,300-ton German-made tunnel boring machine, will soon be carving miles of 22-foot-wide tunnel 100 feet below the Potomac riverbed. It’s part of DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, the second-largest civil engineering project in DC history (only Metrorail is bigger). When completed in 2025, the $2.6 billion EPA-funded dig will keep raw sewage from flowing into the Potomac and Anacostia when it rains hard. That’s what happens now (it’s called CSO, “Combined Sewer Overflow”).

Lady Bird will be underground and out of sight, but you can follow her on her own Twitter account.

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DC Celebrates Cherry Blossom Festival with Bare Branches

April 8, 2013

DC Celebrates Cherry Blossom Festival with Bare Branches

Tourists have infested thronged Washington for the city’s annual Spring celebration, the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year’s festival has concerts, kites, kimonos, food, fireworks ….. everything but cherry blossoms. Unseasonably cool temperatures have resulted in tiny green and pink buds but no real blossoms. The festival ends next weekend; maybe the cherry blossoms will be out by then.

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-gtf

Image (“DC Spring Weenies, Barracks Row“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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