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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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Tim DeChristopher put in ‘isolated confinement’

Tim DeChristopher. (Photo by Cliff Lyon.)

Editor's note: Wednesday night, DeChristopher was released back into regular old prison.

Peaceful Uprising put out the word Tuesday that Tim DeChristopher, still serving his sentence for disrupting a government auction of oil leases, has been transferred to isolated confinement. He’s been there since March 9.

It's a strange story: Peaceful Uprising says that "Tim was informed by  Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU [the prison's Special Housing Unit] because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington, D.C., complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend."

Read more: Natural Gas, Oil, Politics

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Lorax statue lifted from Seuss estate

Someone stole a statue of the Lorax from Dr. Seuss' estate. The sculpture, made by Dr. Seuss' stepdaughter, weighs 300 pounds, so whoever stole it must have been really strong, brought friends, and really wanted the thing. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The thief or thieves apparently rolled the statue and stump down a hill and into a getaway vehicle, according to the San Diego police.

Who would commit such a heinous crime? Here are our (very, very speculative) theories:

Read more: Sprawl

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Critical List: Fukushima will take decades to decommission; North Sea gas leak

Is Fukushima news ever positive? A new assessment of damage at the plant shows levels of radiation higher than expected, which means decommissioning the plant could take decades.

Building cleantech requires certain resources -- rare earth metals, water, biomass -- that are getting scarce.

Mohamed Nasheed, the deposed Maldives president, is doing a media tour to promote The Island President, the movie about his work on climate change and Copenhagen (out this week in theaters!).

Read more: Uncategorized

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Wind-powered opera slightly less extravagant than regular opera

For many people, the opera is just a chance to nap in a $300 chair under a $1,500 chandelier while wearing $2,000 worth of clothes. But one opera festival in the U.K. is making sure that its extravagance is at least powered by clean energy.

CleanTechnica's Zachary Shahan notes that the 78th Glyndebourne Festival is billing itself as the "first opera festival powered by renewable energy." The star of the show is a wind turbine that will provide 90 percent of the power for staging the operas.

Opera might not be the most sustainable of activities. All forms of theater require costumes, sets, lights, and other resources, some of which get tossed as soon as the show is done. But increasingly, theater companies are getting on board with making their operations not only wind-powered, but more energy-efficient and less wasteful.

Read more: Wind Power

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Global warming could explode ‘compost bombs’ all over the planet

When the compost pile in your backyard revs up, it starts producing heat, as the microbes in it do their work breaking down organic matter. On a small scale, that’s great for your garden. On a grand scale, though, this same process can create a "compost bomb" -- a burst of carbon into the atmosphere. And as the planet warms up, this is going to happen more often.

Read more: Climate Change

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Critical List: EPA to release draft rules for power plant emissions; Keystone XL’s doppelgangers

The EPA's going to release draft rules governing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Environmental writer and advocate Sandra Steingraber is using her Heinz Award prize money ($100,000) to start New Yorkers Against Fracking.

The world's going to pass a few climate change tipping points very soon.

Republicans and Democrats agree: They should spend some time publicly fighting over oil industry tax breaks. Bipartisanship!

Keystone XL won't be the only pipeline connecting Canada and the Gulf Coast. TransCanada's competitors are planning pipelines, too.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Denver zoo test-drives elephant-poop-powered vehicle

The Denver Zoo has to deal with a lot of waste. A good deal of that waste comes from visitors, but the zoo also produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of animal poo each year. Now, zoo engineers have found a positive use for it: They rigged up a poo-powered tuk-tuk. (A tuk-tuk is a motorized rickshaw.)

"We want to show people that we're not crazy for wanting to take elephant poop and turn it into energy," one engineer told the Denver Post.

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This ocean climate model is downright hypnotic

Last year, a group of NASA scientists and animators put together this animation of the world's ocean surface currents, based on ocean flow data for June 2005 to December 2007. The video starts over the Atlantic, and as the globe rotates, you can see the whorls and waves dancing across the ocean, the relative calm of the Pacific, and the stillness around Antarctica. It's dazzling and hypnotic. We really should be posting this on a Friday afternoon:

Read more: Climate Change

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Critical List: Gulf of Mexico dolphins have serious health problems; tweeting from the ocean bottom

James Cameron hung out at the deepest point in the ocean yesterday -- and tweeted about it.

Dolphins that have been in living in the Gulf of Mexico have serious health problems -- low body weight, liver and lung cancer -- that scientists describe as "consistent with oil exposure."

Obama's promoting an "all-of-the-above" energy plan, but he hasn't been mentioning coal as part of it.

The Sierra Club's Michael Brune goes on the offensive against hydrofracking.

Demand for beef is driving deforestation in Paraguay.

Read more: Uncategorized

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One giant, offshore wind turbine can provide power for 6,000 people


Off the coast of Belgium, truly gigantic wind turbines are going up. They're rated at 6.15 megawatts. The blades of these monsters cover the surface of two soccer fields, according to RWE Innogy, the German company behind the project. The hub holding the gear that makes the electricity? It's the size of a two-family home. Just one of these things can provide power for 6,000 people.

It's hard to get a sense from the photo above how big wind turbines like this are, because the sea is so massive. But check out this video of a six megawatt rated wind turbine … it's just huge.

Read more: Cleantech