A 2011 earthquake in Oklahoma, the most powerful ever recorded in the state, can probably be blamed on the oil industry, according to new research by university and federal scientists.
The 5.7-magnitude quake and a string of smaller quakes that rocked central Oklahoma in November 2011 appear to have been induced by oil-drilling wastewater being pumped into the ground at high pressure. That's the conclusion of a study published Tuesday in the journal Geology.
Turns out that pumping tainted water into the ground at high pressure creates problems. Go figure.
We already know that having more trees around protects our health. Turns out those trees might also protect our wealth and safety, according to a new study from researchers at Temple University, published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.
Controlling for some socioeconomic factors such as poverty, education, and density, the researchers examined crime and tree data and found that "the presence of grass, trees and shrubs is associated with lower crime rates in Philadelphia, particularly for robberies and assaults."
Here's where things get a little presumptuous. The authors "surmise this deterrent effect is rooted in the fact that maintained greenery encourages social interaction and community supervision of public spaces, as well the calming effect that vegetated landscapes may impart, thus reducing psychological precursors to violent acts," according to a Temple University press release.
A study published in the same journal last year backs up the connection: A 10 percent increase in trees in Baltimore correlated to about a 12 percent decrease in crime. “It’s really pretty striking how strong this relationship is,” said Austin Troy, lead author of that study.
Here's a question that should be easy to answer. Which is more healthful: A candy bar with a green nutritional information label or a candy bar with a white one?
(Ignore, for the moment, that the very notion of “nutritional” is a farce when it comes to diabetes- and obesity-inducing candy bars.)
The color of the label is obviously irrelevant. But green nutritional panels -- which now adorn Snickers, M&M's, and other candies made by Mars -- appear to fool shoppers into thinking they’re buying something that’s more healthful, according to a research paper published last month in the journal Health Communication.
Halliburton and other companies are pumping chemicals into the ground beneath Wyoming to lubricate cracks created during fracking, which allows sand to slide in and hold the cracks open so natural gas can be extracted. Many residents, property owners, and environmentalists would like to know what mixture of chemicals is being used. The state of Wyoming knows, thanks to a 2010 rule requiring companies to disclose the information to the state government, but officials refuse to release that information to the public.
And now a county judge has weighed in, ruling against the public and in favor of energy company secrecy. From the AP:
The bankruptcy of Chinese solar-panel heavyweight Suntech may be an omen that the sun is about to set on super-cheap solar energy.
The world’s biggest solar module manufacturer is on the verge of collapse under a pile of more than $1 billion in debt. The problem is not that the market for solar panels is weak. The problem is that there is too much competition among manufacturers of panels, which has driven prices down to unsustainably low levels.
As Suntech’s hometown tries to bail out the company, its woes are pointing to what could be ahead for other firms operating in the solar sector -- and for those who were looking forward to buying cheap solar panels for their homes and businesses.
On Sunday, the government said the pulling-dead-pigs-out-of-the-water operation was "basically finished." Chinese official media reports that some of the dead animals were traced by their ear tags to pig farms in Shaoxing, and their owners have been prosecuted. Farmers in Shaoxing have recently been charged with selling meat from diseased animals.
The New York Times points out the silver lining of the porcine flotilla: At least the diseased pigs aren't ending up on dinner plates. As the government cracks down on contaminated meat, the only place to put them is in the river. Three cheers for food safety!
Tim Sappington wants to promote the eating of horsemeat, but he really isn't helping his cause.
In a video now stirring up outrage on YouTube, Sappington is shown with a colt on his property. "All you animal activists, fuck you,” he says. Then he pulls a handgun from its holster and aims it between the animal’s eyes. He pulls the trigger. As the horse lies convulsing on the ground with its legs kicking in the air, Sappington walks away and mutters, “Good.”
The killing appears to have been perfectly legal. The U.S. banned the slaughter of horses in 2006, but the ban quietly expired in 2011.