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Katharine Wroth's Posts

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This bears repeating

Warning: there is no merit, journalistic or otherwise, to this post. But recently, while looking through my nephew's Ask magazine -- a cool science rag for kids -- I learned a little something. It seems new research shows that pandas pee on trees while doing handstands. (And hey, if the BBC's reporting it, it must be news.) In this gloomy world, when all talk is of climate change and other catastrophes, let us simply take a moment to savor that.

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Bubba, we hardly knew ye

It all started innocently enough. Well, sort of. Nantucket lobstermen hauled up a 22-pound crustacean and sold it to a market in Pittsburgh. The owner, awed by the clawed -- which was nicknamed Bubba and estimated to be 100 years old -- decided to donate it to the local zoo. On Tuesday, the big fella arrived there, and promptly swam to the big trap in the sky. Lobster author Trevor Corson has a few thoughts about the misguided effort to "save" Bubba, and conservation guidelines in Maine that would have left him in the sea to begin with. P.S.: You …

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Reefer madness

A U.S. research ship made its way out of Mexico yesterday after banging up a coral reef and potentially screwing with marine life. The vessel -- operated by Columbia University but carrying scientists from several countries -- had spent five weeks using sonic pulses to examine a crater for clues to dinosaur extinction. While whalehuggers asserted that the technology could damage undersea creatures, the crew encountered a bigger problem: it ran aground in mid-February, damaging 20 square yards of reef north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Upon departing, Columbia coughed up $200,000 and blamed the whole thing on faulty charts. Hasta …

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Trading fossils for fossil fuels

It may not be as expansive or awe-inspiring as, say, an Alaskan refuge, but a 12-million-year-old snail-fossil bed in Thailand is at risk of being destroyed in the name of insatiable energy consumption. While a state-sponsored firm digs away for coal on 10 of the area's 17 acres, snailhuggers protest that it's a loss to science and history. "But if we conserve the entire site," a representative from the power authority sputtered, "we would lose 265 million tons of coal worth 130 billion baht [about $3 billion]." Still, the company recently suspended operations for two weeks, giving geologists a chance …

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Pollute, two, three four

I'm just going to hazard a guess, here, but it seems like if the Israeli military is a major source of environmental damage, other similar outfits in nations around the world probably are too. Note to all the big guys: war is good for, as they say, absolutely nothing. Good god, y'all.

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Where there’s smoke, there’s inaction

In a boost for clean air and public health, an international tobacco treaty went into effect yesterday. Signed by 168 nations and ratified by 57, the agreement addresses advertising, packaging, smuggling, and taxes. More than two-thirds of the ratifiers are developing nations -- which are expected to account for 70 percent of smoking-related deaths by 2020. One country that has signed, but not not yet ratified, the pact is -- wait for it! -- the U.S. "This treaty will save millions of lives ... the U.S. is missing the boat," says Kathryn Mulvey, executive director of Corporate Accountability International. "As …

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Who speaks for the armadillo?

I'm all for animal rights, to a point. I mean, we're like, y'know, all part of the same interconnected web and stuff? But sometimes a sense of humor goes a long way. What do you mean, road-kill candy is offensive? Next thing I know, you're going to tell me Nerds are an affront to environmental editors everywhere. Update [2005-2-25 16:24:57 by Katharine Wroth]: Alas, this one has already been resolved. For the sake of the children, this candy will no longer see the light of day. Which is good, because all those eight-year-olds driving cars would have started aiming straight …

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Now we’re golden

You think the reason more people don't switch to solar is because it's expensive and, well, takes effort? Nope, turns out it's just a fashion thing. At least, that's the theory behind multi-national Kyocera's solar panels, which masquerade as common roof tiles. (Special thanks to Phil, stuck in snowy Boston, for pointing this one out.) Using a somewhat less subtle approach, an Australian company is moving forward with plans to build a 3,280-foot-high solar tower. Proponents say the tower will power 200,000 homes, and they've just purchased a 25,000-acre sheep farm to host it. Let the sun shine in.

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Poop is not funny

OK, maybe a little. Hot off the, er, presses: a company in Australia is seeking donations of kangaroo dung to make recycled paper. Inspired by African and Asian operations that make sheets from elephant excrement, Joanna Gair hopes to make "Roo Poo Paper" a household name. The "pooey" product has proven useful as a conservation fundraiser in some places and is, of course, a hit with the kids. "It's taken my breath away just how popular this [idea] is," Gair says. Which is not a funny quote at all. Folks in Milford, Nebraska, might want to consider the same plan, …

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Lights, camera, activism

Here's some greenish "news" filtering through all the Million-Dollar Oscar hype: buncha stars are going to show up in Priuses instead of limos. And since they'll be using chauffeurs, it probably even counts as carpooling! For the third year running, hybrid-minded actors -- including Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, and, of course, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins -- are taking part in "Red Carpet, Green Cars" to raise funds for Global Green U.S.A. As a token of thanks, Greenfeet will provide them with eco-goodies including hemp napkins, organic wine, and ... disposable bamboo plates. Which sound super sustainable. Anyway. The whole …

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