Eco-Saturday: Oil-Eating Microbes, Wearable Batteries and a Tiger Cub Rescue
As the date of the final kill of BPs crippled Macondo Well draws closer, scientists say they've discovered a new oil-eating microbe living large in the Gulf of Mexico. "Scientists discovered the new microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf following the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig," the Associated Press reports.
A more skeptical view on the effects of the BP disaster from Mother Jones, which reports that clean-up workers in far-off Pensacola, Fla., discovered two tons of oil in a single night.
Meanwhile, industrialized nations all over the world are working to cut their dependence on fossil fuels. In California, regulators gave the nod to a large-scale solar power plant, the first such license to be issued in the U.S. in 40 years, The New York Times reports. Look for similar announcements from Sunbelt states as the clock ticks toward 2011, when federal incentives for renewable energy projects expire.
In Australia, there's talk of an ambitious new plan for the island nation to rely fully on renewable energy in the next decade, according to Reuters. While authors of the plan say it will cost $370 billion, they're mum on where the money will come from.
Maybe the folks Down Under can turn to Portugal for advice. A mere five years after vowing to go green, 45 percent of the energy in Portugal's grid comes from renewable resources, says The New York Times. "I've seen all the smiles--you know: It's a good dream. It can't compete. It's too expensive," says Prime Minister José Sócrates, recalling the way Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, mockingly offered to build him an electric Ferrari. Sócrates adds, "The experience of Portugal shows that it is possible to make these changes in a very short time."
So much talk about the sun and yet, what does it really look like? Researchers at the Big Bear Solar Observatory used a new solar telescope get amazing images, the most detailed photos yet of a sun spot.
Make your vacation meaningful with a visit to Riviera Nayarit, one of the gorgeous beaches along Mexico's Pacific coast. There, volunteer campers are helping to save sea turtles, every species of which is either threatened or endangered. Instead of collecting shells on the beach, guests gather turtle eggs, which are then carefully incubated. Where there were once just 300 sea turtle nests, organizers now count 2,700. Details about how to get there and what it costs (less than you'd think) plus some great pix, can be found in Annie Scott's story on Second Act.com.
Think you know how to get the best gas mileage from your car? A quiz in the Green Guide may surprise you. (Your best gas consumption depends on what time of day you fill your tank--true? False? Are you sure about that?)
Speaking of which, the eco-friendly Prius runs so quietly in electric mode, it has gotten a pedestrian-unfriendly rep. Look for new models to come with a new option--fake engine noise.
Baggage checkers got quite the surprise when they opened a large suitcase at a security checkpoint in the Bangkok airport. What appeared to be bones in the X-ray scan turned out to be a live two-month-old tiger cub, tranquilized as a woman tried to smuggle him through customs to Iran. Whether poached from the wild or raised in captivity, the cub can't legally be moved across national borders because the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified all tigers as endangered, according to the story in Wired.
What are the 10 least green government subsidies? Ecosalon.com draws up a list of environmentally unfriendly practices that get tax breaks far heftier than greener enterprises.
Let's close with something straight from the sci-fi files: Researchers report they've found a new virus that can be used to create materials that act as a power source. When woven into fabrics, the resulting garments become wearable batteries. The news, via PhysOrg.com, comes from this week's meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Previous Post: Older Workers Fill Jobs in Place of Teens
Next Post: You're Never Too Old to Join This Marching Band