Scientists thought they had found the world's smallest frog just a month ago, when a researcher announced he'd found coin-sized amphibians in New Guinea. But psych! Those weren't the smallest frogs. This is the smallest frog. In fact it's the smallest vertebrate known to man.
I’m told, by people with less finicky stomachs, that sometimes even the most well-intentioned foodies and factory-farm opponents really jones for an Egg McMuffin. If you can’t resist the occasional splurge — maybe it’s been a late and smokey night at college, if you know what I mean — then at least you can make sure you don’t see your picture splashed across the front page of Food Scold Daily or something.
According to this graph from the Daily Livestock Report, we are way past Peak Beef. U.S. beef consumption has been dropping for the last 40 years, and projections put it back down at 1950s levels this year, which would mean we're eating less meat than at any time in the last 50 years. Americans are eating a lot less meat overall, but beef and to a lesser extent pork have seen the biggest reductions -- which is cool, because cattle and pigs are the most resource-intensive livestock.
North Atlantic sea ice in areas where harp seals breed has declined as much as 6 percent every 10 years since 1979, according to scientists from Duke University and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. As a result, in low-ice years, entire populations of brand-new seal pups die, reports Yale e360. According to Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans department, as many as 80 percent of seal pups born in 2011 may have died because of a lack of sea ice. Seal, moping, by Peter Hedger
Hey makers of right-wing talking points! Pay attention to these solar companies. They might fail this year, and as we all know, when a solar company fails you can repurpose its hide into a political hobby-horse and ride it forever.
In design, biomimicry -- the idea that nature does design best -- is all the rage. So it must have been a head-slapping "duh" moment when solar-power designers sought inspiration from sunflowers -- a plant that has "sun" in its name, for goodness' sake! It turns out that sunflowers are really good at using the sun (NO WAY), and mimicking their structure can allow designers to seriously reduce the size of concentrating solar power farms.
Natural gas companies are looking into "super fracking," which uses larger, deeper cracks and draws power from our planet’s yellow sun. West Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and Ohioans are all hoping that Shell will choose to build a petrochemical refinery in their state, because the plant promises jobs. Maybe it's time to abandon Ulysses S. Grant's laws for federal land, which dictate that hard-rock mining is the best use for any plot.
As any Portlandia fan knows, ethical meat-eaters don't just want their food to be humanely raised and humanely slaughtered. They also want it to have had a happy life. And it turns out that what makes pigs have a happy life is video games. Seriously -- pigs like to snuffle at flashing lights, which is basically Galaga. Accordingly, ethical farming researchers at Wageningen University are working with designers from the Utrecht School of the Arts to develop a human/pig interactive gaming app. The game, called Pig Chase, is designed to relieve some of the tedium of being a pig on a farm -- bored pigs aren't just a bummer for Portlandia food snobs, they're also more cranky and aggressive.
An independent research group has analyzed oil industry contributions to Congress, and figures that President Obama is staring down a $12 million barrel of political opposition on Keystone XL. Some of that is going out in huge chunks -- 16 Republican House members and one Democrat have received $100,000 or more in contributions from the oil lobby, and lo and behold, the representatives are all voting just the way their evil overlords would like them to. But the industry is also spreading the wealth around. A total of 118 House members list the oil and gas industry among their top 10 contributors, and most of them are toeing the line as well. Update: An earlier version of this post had "anti-Keystone" in the headline because, I don't know, I'm an idiot? Anyway, PRO.