As a science writer and reporter, I tend to read a lot of sci-news of great interest, but much of which never makes it into one of my articles. In addition to this small fraction that I am able to actually read, there is simply so much news being released on a constant basis that it is impossible to stay on top of it — even with all the RSS feeds in the world (which is the essence of the problem). This news is, none-the-less, noteworthy, and indeed, interesting. So, in the interest of serving the public interest, here’s my very brief list of noteworthy eco/enviro news stories from around the Web/World that you might have missed the first time:
OMG, coal is burning underground…This you have to read to believe (and see the pictures); one of the best environmental exposes I’ve seen on the web, and possibly one of the scariest too (might have made it onto my top 13 Worst Environmental Horrors list) in a year of scary enviro news, it’s China’s 50 year old underground coal fires, from the very cool Environmental Graffiti web magazine/blog.
Probably the most important, and most positive, news this year for the Environmental Justice movement, and beyond, came with the EPA announcement that it was reviving an “inter-agency working group to tackle environmental justice”, check out: Environmental Justice Comes Back to Life, from the content-rich, public-interest website Truth-out.org
It’s been a rough year for science, and scientists, due in part to some problem data sets and lack of method transparency, and partly due to an exaggerated, anti-science sentiment emerging in the political landscape. And what with all the media hype and distortion, you might think that peoples’ trust (faith?) in science was dramatically declining, but you’d be wrong; check out the article Survey Says: In Science We Trust for some very noteworthy, (truth) telling, survey results (such as what budget item spending we would cut), from the wonderfully skeptical folks at Science20.com
If to you the terms “urban” and “ecotopia” seem to be in opposition — and throw into the mix the term “Arabian Desert” — then you’ll be amazed with this report (and equally amazing pictures/media) of eco-consciousness blooming in the sands; a first for urban design, read all about the eco-magical city of Masdar (now under construction): In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises, from the all-seeing NY Times.
I have always loved salamanders. They’re cool (not just cold-blooded). So, courtesy of Nature’s endless curiosity shop, we have this amphibian success story (and man, do these critters need some good news these days): Meet 100-year-old salamander, from the always-stimulating web mag The Scientist.
Spring Break in Tanzania? Members of Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), college Engineering students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, are giving back and helping out in Tanzania, Africa, with much needed sanitation and energy technology works; their adventures are chronicled here: Engineering HELP in Africa: Departing to Dar es Salaam, from the venerable and popular science magazine Sci Am.
Garbage isn’t just a problem down here on Earth, it’s a growing problem up in space too. Although currently “orbital debris” (as it’s called) disintegrates at the same rate it occurs (due to collisions), there are prediction of an increases in space junk due to an increase in collisions (starting after mid-century). Many solutions have been offered to deal with this problem (including a few conceptual ones offered by this author*), most recently, as reported in the article: Company floats giant balloon concept as solution to space mess, from the endlessly informative folks at world-science.net.