Articles by Francis Stokes
A recent article announced a new milestone in the blogging world -- the very first blog by pigeons. A team at University of California Irvine is gathering data on smog particles in the atmosphere using pigeons outfitted with "backpacks and cell phones." (Because they don't already gab enough on apartment windowsills.) The project was inspired by WWII homing pigeons equipped with spy cameras.
The team devised a feather-weight minipack with an antenna, a cell phone SIM card, global positioning system equipment, and a pollution sensor. The GPS tracks the pigeon's exact location, the sensors pick up airborne pollutants, and the information is text-messaged to the website.
The naturally meandering route of a pigeon gives the experiment a random quality that creator Beatriz da Costa intended. The project does have its detractors, though.
To animal lovers, the idea of proudly displaying the remains of something you hunted down and killed is a sad aspect of male bravado. Well, consider if the animal was a domestic creature raised in a cage for tourists to photograph. Troy Lee Gentry, of the country music duo Montgomery Gentry, has been charged with paying $4,650 to the Minnesota Wildlife Connection to kill a tame bear named "Cubby."
Pop-superstars-turned-moody-hasbeens-turned-pop-superstars Pearl Jam recently pledged to donate $100,000 to groups that focus on climate change and other environmental concerns, as a way to offset their carbon emissions. Many of the recipients are, not surprisingly, in the Seattle rockers' home state. (Although there's at least one local nonprofit they seem to have missed ... what were they thinking?)
While the "carbon neutral" concept is trendy right now, Pearl Jam has followed this model for donations before.
Pearl Jam has aided other green causes in the past, including donating money to preserve a Madagascar rain forest to atone for environmental damage wrought by its last tour.
Vedder also recently gave an extremely large tip to his hair stylist to atone for the Mohawk hairdo he sported for their last album.
A new report from leading conservation experts suggests that a third of all amphibian species are at risk, and calls for an urgent rescue to save frogs, newts, and other amphibians from extinction. Disease, habitat loss, and climate change are the major culprits -- amphibians are "delicate sentinels of environmental change." But frogs must carry some of the blame themselves. Frog celebrities have been poor role models: Mr. Toad's reckless driving and compulsive behavior have led some to call his life a "wild ride," and Kermit the Frog's heroin thin physique has raised suspicions of anorexia and drug use. While the Amphibian Survival Alliance is doing its best to aid the crisis, I offer a few survival tips for our frog friends: