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Links 1 through 10 of 133 by Chad Orzel tagged environment

Many of us think that if a fish species is overfished we probably should be wary about choosing it at the supermarket or on the restaurant menu. But the opposite may be true. Our boycotting of some overfished species may be hurting us and the American fish industry, not the fish.

This counterintuitive opinion is laid out by Ray Hilborn, professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington, and co-author of Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Hilborn holds that the public, food retailers, NGOs and congress have misunderstood what defines a sustainable fishery. In fact overfishing and sustainable can, oddly enough, go together.

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"My investigation asked the question of whether there is a secret formula in tree design and whether the purpose of the spiral pattern is to collect sunlight better. After doing research, I put together test tools, experiments and design models to investigate how trees collect sunlight. At the end of my research project, I put the pieces of this natural puzzle together, and I discovered the answer. But the best part was that I discovered a new way to increase the efficiency of solar panels at collecting sunlight!"

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"Over the past few years, in conditions of strict secrecy, a multinational team of scientists has been making a mighty effort to change the light bulb. The prototype they’ve developed is four inches tall, with a familiar tapered shape, and unlighted, it resembles a neon yellow mushroom. Screw it in and switch it on, though, and it blazes with a voluptuous radiance. It represents what people within the lighting industry often call their holy grail, an invention that reproduces the soft luminance of the incandescent bulb — Thomas Edison’s century-old technology — but conforms to much higher standards of energy efficiency and durability. The prototype is supposed to last for more than 22 years, maybe as long as you own your house, so you won’t need to stock up at the supermarket. And that’s fortunate, because one day very soon, traditional incandescent bulbs won’t be available in stores anymore. They’re about to be effectively outlawed."

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"The good news is that it seems the effects of methane gas can be limited through action by industry. But the economics of drilling, mediated by the actions of regulators, will determine just how “clean” natural gas ultimately proves to be."

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"The group tested 68 drinking water wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale drilling areas in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York State. Sixty of those wells were tested for dissolved gas. While most of the wells had some methane, the water samples taken closest to the gas wells had on average 17 times the levels detected in wells further from active drilling. The group defined an active drilling area as within one kilometer, or about six tenths of a mile, from a gas well.

The average concentration of the methane detected in the water wells near drilling sites fell squarely within a range that the U.S Department of Interior says is dangerous and requires urgent “hazard mitigation” action, according to the study."

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"You’ve experienced this. More than once. You’re at a restaurant with a large party of friends or co-workers or castmembers or — riskiest of all — people from church, and everybody is on one tab. The bill gets passed around the table and the money gets piled up in the middle and you wind up $20 short — not to mention the tip. “Who didn’t put in?” No one says anything. Everyone insists they paid more than enough for their share, with plenty of extra for the tip, but you’re $20 short, so somebody is lying. More than one somebody, probably. But since no one fesses up, you end up tossing in way more than you should have had to and those $5.99 nachos wind up costing you $40.

That’s the sort of experience that makes it seem easier and even cheaper to just buy your own lawnmower."

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"I have a lot of complicated misgivings about the implications of this overall approach in its reconsideration of the public sphere, deliberative processes, the act of persuasion, and our models of subjectivity, agency and consciousness. But I have a simpler objection to this particular subset of the bigger paradigm. Namely, that it is not irrational or unreasonable to regard scientific claims which recommend or insist upon particular public policy initiatives with sharply pronounced skepticism across the board. Not because science itself requires a particular form of skepticism (though it does) but because such skepticism is evidence-based, derived from the history of the relationship between policy, the modern state, and science, a history which even non-experts have often viscerally experienced or witnessed."

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"Three seventy a gallon tonight.  Fill up’s going to cost what?  Around fifty-five bucks?  What are you going to do?

Put it on the card, hope you got enough to cover it when the bill comes?

Pay cash?

There goes your night out at the movies.  That or you do a smaller shop at the grocery store, put off paying the phone bill again.

I got it!

Sell the car right now.  Trade it in on a hybrid.  Walk away from the mortgage.  Move to a progressive urban area where there’s reliable mass transit.  Find a house or an apartment, someplace with a small carbon footprint, on a high speed rail line.  And maybe it’s time to start that new career, go back to school, get a degree in bio-engineering, find a green job close to home, buy a new bike, learn to love to walk everywhere again, cut up that Exxon card at last!

Or, you know, fill the tank halfway and have tuna casserole again tonight.

Stop whining about the price of gas?

Really, Treehugger?  You want to go there?"

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"You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation."

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But... but... but... When do I get to panic?

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