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Hey look, a newly discovered ecosystem!

Oh crap, there it goes.

A little over three years ago, an enormous section of Antarctica's Larsen Ice Shelf collapsed and splintered into thousands of icebergs. You'd think nothing positive would come out of this (except maybe a little awareness), but you'd be wrong. Thanks to the collapse, researchers have discovered that an "expansive ecosystem of knee-high mud volcanoes, snowy microbial mats and flourishing clam communities lies beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica." This discovery, as reported by AP, was detailed this week in Eos, the weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union. You can read the PDF here. Sadly: Now that the …

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Security and the city

City cores are, if anything, safer than the ‘burbs.

This article in Sunday's Washington Post, penned by New America Foundation fellow Joel Kotkin, is definitely thought provoking. In the wake of terrorist attacks in London and New York, Kotkin argues that the single most important challenge facing modern cities is providing basic security to their citizens. To wit ... While modern cities are a long way from extinction, it's only by acknowledging the primacy of security -- and addressing it in the most aggressive manner -- that they will be able to survive and thrive in this new century, in which they already face the challenge of a telecommunications …

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Concrete

The manufacture of concrete is responsible for up to 10 percent of worldwide CO2 emissions. That's a lot. Apparently, though, the world of concrete is abuzz with innovation: Worldchanging brings us concrete that is light and concrete that is bendy, while Treehugger ups the ante with concrete that eats pollution. Who knew?

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Re-consider this

New models in Nike’s ‘Considered’ line an improvement

As Metaefficient has already pointed out, Nike has added new models to its "Considered" line of eco-friendly(er) shoes. And I have to agree with Meta's note that for the most part, these are an improvement. Perhaps the folks at Nike read my original post!

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Fusion. The holy grail?

Should nuclear fusion be considered a green energy source?

Thanks to Treehugger for reminding me to blog about the cover story of National Geographic's August issue: Powering the Future. I'm sure some Gristmillians will find flaws in some of the article's assertions and statistics, but as Treehugger Michael Richard notes, it seems to be a good introductory piece for the uninitiated. What I found of interest was the inclusion of fusion as a possible green energy source. I did a quick search of the Grist archives and found very little. So what is it doing in a NG feature story? Here is how the section for fusion starts off: …

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What victory looks like

Another great essay over on Tom's Dispatch: Rebecca Solnit reflects on what victory looks like in the real world: Radicals often want a victory that is sudden, dramatic, and full of moral illumination, that belongs clearly to them and to them alone, the kind where the other side loudly repents and credits you with dramatically reversing their course, or better yet simply surrenders and leaves the arena. This is not even victory, but vindication ... ... Activists often have a real distaste for hailing anything that comes from those regarded as the enemy, and the distaste is understandable; but the …

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Greener automakers

Everybody and their uncle is linking to this NYT essay, but it seems a bit half-baked to me. If the author is seriously trying to argue that an American car company could remake itself as completely green, making only hybrids and low-emission diesel cars, in today's market, and not become a "niche player," well, he's nuts. I think American automakers have adopted a disastrously brown strategy over the last 20 years, but turning in a new, greener direction is going to take time, thought, and care. On a related note, it's too bad the auto industry isn't more competitive, such …

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Energy bill end game

The energy bill negotiations are entering the home stretch.

The conferees were hard at work over the weekend and are meeting this evening at 5 pm EST to have what might be the last official meeting of the conference. All the remaining controversial items are on the table. Will Rep. Barton be able to get support for his MTBE deal? Will Sen. Bingaman's climate change language survive? How much ethanol will the country be required to use by 2012? Tune in and find out. Missed the early episodes? Catch up with these factsheets courtesy of Rep. Waxman.

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An outright thumbs down

The ads combined with the Indian proclivity to combine slightly askew English phrases made this article an interesting read. It also highlighted the fact that India is losing the battle to save its biodiversity, thanks in part to the human male's residual instincts to demarcate territory. The environment and forest ministry has given an outright thumbs down to a proposal for Indo-US cooperation for Bengal tiger conservation which would commit the US to funnel huge sums to the cause in return of a say in the project... Packing punch in its dissenting note to the proposal by the external affairs …

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City ecosystems

Attempts to introduce new species to city ecosystems are often doomed to failure.

An article in Pacific Northwest Magazine discussing Seattle's recurrent Canada goose problems got me thinking. Cities are primarily for people, and they have their own microenvironments. Some animals and plants thrive inside these ecosystems, and some do not. Creatures that can live among us already do. Attempts to introduce other species to please our sensibilities will more often than not turn into expensive failures or chronic damage-control exercises. Another example of this is the decade-long effort by Seattle citizen groups to reintroduce coho salmon to Thornton creek. My daughter and I recently visited the outlet to this creek, where it …

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