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Miller-McCune's Posts

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"I'd hate to see out of control"

At Chernobyl, it was all under control

A memorial rests in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.Photo: Matti PaavonenThis piece was written by John Perlin. As a visiting scholar last year at the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells, I met Valery N. Bliznyuk, a visiting professor at Linz and a permanent faculty member at Western Michigan University. His fascinating work in materials at molecular and nanotech levels includes work on polymer photovoltaics. Over dinner, he told me he hailed from Kiev (or Kyiv in Ukrainian), and the subject of Chernobyl inevitably arose. And now, with the disaster at Fukushima dredging up memories of that meltdown 25 years ago, …

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for whom the word polls

Wording change softens global warming skeptics

This snowlady needs to rewrite her sign if she wants to be 6.3 percent more convincing.Photo: Amy GoodmanThis piece was written by Tom Jacobs. Are you convinced climate change is real? What about global warming? Yes, that second question is redundant. But new research finds the two labels, which are widely used interchangeably, evoke remarkably different responses among self-described Republicans. Writing in the journal Public Opinion Quarterly, a research team led by University of Michigan psychologist Jonathon Schuldt reports Republicans are far more skeptical of "global warming" than of "climate change." In an experiment conducted as part of a large survey, the researchers …

Read more: Climate Change, Politics

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100000 ways to die

How to bury nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years

A scene from Into Eternity, a documentary that looks at Finland's plans to store the country's nuclear waste for 100,000 years. Yep ... 100,000. Photo: PosivaThis piece was written by Lewis Beale. The first documentary that Netflix might slot into their science fiction category, director Michael Madsen's Into Eternity, is an eerily fascinating look at the planet's most unique construction project. Known as Onkalo -- "hiding place" in Finnish -- this massive work in the north of Finland, which began construction in the last century and won't be completed until the next one, is a series of concrete-reinforced underground tunnels …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Gmork'd!

China: the neverending traffic jam story

Transportation experts say there's barely enough space on the roads in China's largest cities for the 35 million cars that were bought during the past decade of frenzied consumerism. Photo: Remko TanisThis piece was written by Melinda Burns. The new Great Wall of China is the "Great Wall" of cars stuck in city traffic, researchers say, and it will take more than restrictions on new license plates and car registrations to break the gridlock. The problem is, there's barely enough space on the roads in China's largest cities for the 35 million cars that were bought during the past decade …

Read more: Cities, Transportation

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Black swan news

How bullets kill wildlife decades after they’ve been fired

Honker flew the coop and dodged a bullet.Photo: Alan VernonThis piece was written by Bruce Dorminey. At first glance, Crescent Lake, a shallow body abutting a cornfield in upper Snohomish County, Wash., would appear to be perfectly pristine. Mallard and pintail ducks skirt the edges of its banks on waters that -- in this contaminated age at least -- would seem to be as untouched as anyone could hope. But as wildlife biologist Martha Jordan explained on a recent rain-sodden Northwest afternoon, the lake has become lethal to the celebrated trumpeter swan, the world's largest waterfowl. The trumpeter swan, or …

Read more: Living

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If you want to destroy my swelter

Is it hot in here? Or is the climate changing?

Climate skepticism fading ... Must. Buy. Air conditioner.This piece was written by Tom Jacobs. How do you get people to understand that climate change is occurring? The question frustrates scientists and policymakers, who face a disbelieving public prone to discounting discomforting data. A newly published study suggests one answer is to set aside the charts and statistics in favor of a more visceral approach. To put it simply: If you want to convert a skeptic, turn up the thermostat. Jane Risen of the University of Chicago and Clayton Critcher of the University of California, Berkeley, provide evidence that belief in …

Read more: Climate & Energy