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Election recap: Much ado (and cash) results in nothing

Photo by Sue PeacockPhoto by Sue Peacock.

There was an election yesterday. Perhaps you heard?

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall attempt spurred by an approach to dealing with his opposition that William T. Sherman would have appreciated. Organized labor, a key target of Walker, invested a lot of time and energy in his defeat but, with all of the votes in, Walker defeated Tom Barrett for the second time in two years -- this time, by a wider margin.

It was a triumphant victory for the way things already are. Not like we could use any world-changing or anything.

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Will the Butterball raid yield any real results?

The Butterball facility in North Carolina that was raided on Thursday. (Photo by Mercy for Animals.) If turkey were beer, Butterball would have the brand power of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors combined. From six plants, the company produces 1 billion pounds of turkey each year and exports the meat to over 50 countries. Given this dominance, the Butterball brand has been a priceless asset to the company -- until Thursday morning. At about 9:00 a.m., officers from the local sheriff's office raided a Butterball semen collection facility in Shannon, N.C. (Industrially bred Broad-Breasted White turkeys must be artificially inseminated to reproduce.) …

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Climate deniers refuse to accept skeptical scientists’ results

So you know how we kind of use "climate change deniers" and "climate change skeptics" interchangeably, because news stories get super boring if you don't mix it up? We're not wild about doing that, because skepticism is in fact a great scientific value that people should embrace, whereas denialism is just sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la." And nothing has made that clearer than the skeptical scientists who, despite their Koch funding, found evidence of global warming -- and the dogmatic deniers who refused to accept their results. Richard Muller and his team at Berkeley …

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Chilean sea bass test yields fishy results

Mmm. That's great bass. But is it sustainable?Photo: Norm EvangelistaThe international seafood labeling organization, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) got some boat-rocking news last week, when researchers discovered that a significant portion of what had been labeled MSC-certified Chilean sea bass was in fact something else. Chilean sea bass, also known as Patagonian toothfish, became enormously popular in the last decade because of its flaky texture and light, buttery taste. But pressure on the slow-growing species made it especially vulnerable to overfishing. Today, the fish tops the red "avoid" category on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list. But, as is …

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A small venture that could generate big results

Imagine a program that turns a relatively small initial investment into billions of dollars of U.S. economic growth, thousands of new Americans jobs, and groundbreaking technologies that change the way we use energy in this country and around the world. It would be a darling of innovators, the private sector, and policymakers. Sounds impossible for such a little program to generate such big results? Just like the little engine in the children's story that pulled the train over the mountain, the U.S. has a small venture that could generate big results. It's called the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, …

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Mixed results from the Edible Schoolyard

Elementary school children regularly involved in gardening, cooking and nutrition education are more likely to develop a taste for fresh fruits and vegetables--even leafy greens--and will more eagerly help make fresh meals at home, but those gains come to a screeching halt as kids get older and move into middle school, where they often backslide. Those are the mixed results of a three-year evaluation of the "School Lunch Initiative" undertaken by Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Foundation in Berkeley, Calif., schools. Performed by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, and easily the most ambitious examination to date of an integrated school garden and …

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Poll results on energy, climate, and offshore drilling are all over the map

More evidence that polls are to be taken with a thousand grains of salt:  A few days ago, former Obama pollster Joel Benenson released the results of a survey showing that 61 percent of those queried support a comprehensive clean energy bill that would charge energy companies for carbon pollution, and 39 percent said they are more likely to support it in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. Now an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll concludes that 60 percent of Americans support more offshore drilling, despite the gurgling mess in the Gulf of Mexico.  And 53 percent think the potential …

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Poll results handily explained by what bloggers think

First things first: Another week of waiting for details of Senate legislation left little public grist this week. The Economist runs a climate package, which is worth reading. Beyond that, it's a good time to take a step back. Last week, Gallup released results of its latest global warming poll. They found that nearly half (48 percent) of Americans believe that the seriousness of global warming is "generally exaggerated." That's up from 41 percent in 2009 and 31 percent in 1997. The gap narrowed between people who believe climate change is anthropogenic or natural, 50 percent to 46 percent. Thirty-two …

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A tasting of nine “natural” root beers yields surprising results

Nothing hits the spot on a hot day like an icy glass of all-American root beer. (Okay, if you want to split hairs: Nothing hits the spot on a hot day like an icy glass of all-American root beer when you must stay sober.) The problem is that when you take your wilting self to the cool respite of the beverage aisle, you discover that nothing in this life is simple. Perhaps, like me, you go with the simple criterion of avoiding anything produced by Big Soda and loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. Ha! If only it were this straightforward. …

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A green look at election results in Washington state

Once the BIG race for the White House was called, Seattle-area voters turned their attention to that other Washington. Here are some key races in Washington state and a look at what the election results could mean for the environment: Christine Gregoire. Governor: Christine Gregoire The governor's race was a close one again this year (it was decided by just 129 votes in 2004), but major news networks began calling it for Gregoire, the Democratic incumbent, before the night was over. Gregoire lists as one of her top goals "creating a cleaner future." To that end, she has made a …

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