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Articles by Francis Stokes

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  • Small town sprayed with fine mist of oil like Wolfgang Puck salad

    The Houston Chronicle reported today on a recent oil spill in Texas. Residents of Baytown awoke to an eerie grey mist hanging over their town, like in a John Carpenter movie. Cars were coated with a slippery film of oil, so that locals found it difficult to open their car doors (but easier to open that front gate, which was needing a little WD40). When resident Felicia Joseph called the authorities, no one came.

    For six years Felicia Joseph lived beside one of the nation's largest oil refineries -- and not once did she complain about pollution. "It's like living near a bakery," said the 34-year-old hairdresser. "You know you are going to smell baked goods. You pretty much know what you are up against."

    Yes, just like living near a bakery. In which case an accident like this would have caused her neighborhood to be showered in a fine mist of cinnamon buns.

    Flawed Response To Exxon Spill Exposed (Houston Chronicle)

  • Humans still winning on “Survivor”

    Since the pilot episode of the most ambitious reality series ever -- "Survivor: Earth" -- roughly 65 million years ago, humans have been on a long winning streak. Each week, they've voted other species off the island at a surprising rate. 844 animals and plants are known to have been voted off in the last 500 years, according to a recent count. They've managed to dominate the show, winning every Challenge and conspiring against other species (such as their successful alliance with cows to vote off numerous rainforest species). Dolphins and chimps showed some promise at various points, but they've remained dark-horse contenders, along with cockroaches.

    When viewers got bored with "Survivor: Dinosaurs," the show was yanked from the lineup, making way for the current "Survivor" series. But that earlier show was quite successful, running for 165 million years. Unfortunately, at the rate it's developing, the current series may not have the staying power.

    Humans spur worst extinctions since dinosaurs (Reuters)