Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wind farm turbines blamed for bird kills

WASHINGTON - Six birds found dead recently in Southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains were majestic golden eagles. But some bird watchers say that in an area where dozens of wind turbines slice the air they were also sitting ducks.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Darryl Fears-Washington Post

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calif. could be first state to ban foam containers

SACRAMENTO - Restaurant owner Gary Honeycutt says a push in California’s Legislature to ban the plastic foam containers he uses to serve up takeout meals could cost him thousands of dollars in an industry where profit margins are razor thin.

The bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat, would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores, and other vendors from dispensing food in expanded polystyrene containers beginning in 2016.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe Green Blog by Associated Press






Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Just what the islands need

As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Irene, all eyes are on the Outer Banks, a line of long, thin barrier islands off the North Carolina coast where the storm is expected to reach American soil Saturday.

Tourists and locals have fled by the thousands, the governor and President Obama have declared an emergency, and residents are left with little option but to pray that their homes survive the storm.

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times by -- Deborah Netburn

Transformers: From four wheels to two

Matt Marx, 41, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, reworked his commute from Westwood.

I had been a doctoral student at Harvard, which isn’t too bad to drive to, but the stretch from the Allston tolls to MIT added a half-hour in rush-hour traffic. I couldn’t drive that every day.

I started driving to the commuter rail to take the train, but it cost $5 a day to park. So I bought a bike to ride to the train station. After a couple of months, the bike had paid for itself. I was excited, because I’m pretty cheap.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog as told by Amy Sutherland

They watch rivers flow, or not flow

While state officials work on producing new guidelines to protect the state’s drinking water sources and watersheds, some environmentalists south of Boston say they lack the scientific knowledge needed to guarantee adequate “stream flow’’ in the waterways of this region’s flat, sandy areas.

Stream flow, the measure of how many gallons per second water flows past a given point, is an indicator of a stream’s environmental health. Adequate stream flow is needed to keep fish and other species alive.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe -Green Blog by Robert Knox

Thursday, August 18, 2011

GM plans to roll out Cadillac ELR, a luxury electric compact car

Cadillac, the upscale General Motors Co. brand, plans to come out with a luxury electric compact car — based on the decidedly blue-collar Chevrolet Volt.

GM said Wednesday that the Cadillac ELR will use a drivetrain similar to what it developed for the Chevrolet Volt, which will enable the new model to travel some distance on only electricity before a gas motor kicks in to act as a generator and extend the vehicle's range.

Such a system is known as a series plug-in hybrid vehicle, but others, including GM, call it an extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt can go about 35 miles on electricity before the engine starts and extends the range at least an additional 300 miles.,0,2441947.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Jerry Hersch




Fear of noxious 'green tides' drives tourists from beaches of Brittany

MORIEUX, France - The Chateau du Val hotel off France’s Brittany coast should be full this time of year. Instead, barely half of its 52 rooms and 28 rental properties are occupied.

Tourists are staying away after French media splashed photos of the nearby beach covered in rotting seaweed, fumes from which are blamed for the deaths of 36 wild boars in July. Article courtesy of The Boston Globe –Green Blog by Gregory Viscusi Bloomberg News




Group aims to put plastic pollution on world's radar

HONG KONG - People are familiar with the concept of a carbon footprint. But whoever heard of a plastic footprint? Well, soon, more and more people will have.

Starting in October, companies and institutions around the world will receive a questionnaire asking them to assess and report their use of plastic: how much they use, what processes they have for recycling, and what policies they have to reduce their plastic consumption or to increase the proportion of recycled or biodegradable plastic at their organizations.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Bettina Wassener International Herald Tribune



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Smelly socks could help curb malaria

Finding that disease-bearing mosquitoes are drawn to foot odor, researchers in Africa, which accounts for 90% of malaria deaths worldwide, are planning to use the smell from sweaty socks in traps.,0,4786558.story

Article courtesy of Los Angeles Times by Robyn Dixon




Two New York men nearly drown -- in an elevator

Do not read this story if you have a fear of elevators. And, if you do not fear elevators, you might after reading this story. Two New York City construction workers were rescued Sunday morning after they were trapped in an elevator flooded by heavy rains. By the time rescuers arrived, the pair were standing on supply carts in water that was neck-high -- and rising.


Article courtesy of The Los Angeles times

Oil spill not expected to reach Scotland

LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell estimated yesterday that 54,600 gallons of oil have spilled into the North Sea from a rig off Scotland’s eastern coast. The Gannet Alpha rig, 112 miles east of Aberdeen, is operated by Shell and co-owned by Shell and a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by The Associated Press



Electric-car charging stations rolling closer

Four area communities will be getting charging stations for electric vehicles in the coming months, part of a program that will set up 142 of the facilities across the state.

The stations slated for Brookline, Hopkinton, Lexington, and Newton will be set up in central locations, near municipal centers, large employers, and hotels.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe Green Blog By Calvin Hennick Globe Correspondent




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Energy Dept. panel set to back shale-gas drilling

WASHINGTON - A key Energy Department advisory panel will issue a qualified endorsement of shale-gas exploration today, saying that hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," can continue safely as long as companies disclose more about their practices and monitor their environmental impact. Article courtesy of by Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post

Read more:



First fuel-efficiency and greenhouse-gas emissions standards for trucks announced

Reporting from Washington—

President Obama announced the first fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for long-haul rigs, work trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday, the second mileage pact with manufacturers in less than a month.,0,6810898.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Neela Banerjee



Monday, August 8, 2011

Arctic oil spill could prove tough to clean

Shell Exploration's plan for exploratory oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea won conditional approval from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. One of the big questions now is what happens if there's an oil spill.

Agency officials are expected as early as next week to act on Shell's oil spill response plan, which conservationists say falls short of the mark for responding to an accident in icy waters, often shrouded in darkness, hundreds of miles from the nearest deep-water port.

Earlier this month, Canada looked at the same issue: How hard would it be to clean up an oil spill in the Beaufort Sea, which straddles the border between the two countries. The answer? Really hard.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times Greenspace by Kim Murray


Underwater 'windmills' may feed power grid

A Mass. company aims to tap the mighty Mississippi’s ceaseless currents

In centuries past, water wheels drove New England mills and powered the Industrial Revolution in America. Now, a Boston company is hoping to harness river flows to profit from the green energy movement.

Since late June, Free Flow Power has been testing an underwater turbine in the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, La. The equipment looks like a jet engine, but uses technology similar to what’s in windmill-powered electric generators, such as those proposed for Cape Wind, the energy project planned for Nantucket Sound.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by John Dyer/Globe Correspondent



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Warning: Habits and poor health in midlife can shrink your brain

Pop quiz: Which of the following causes the brain to shrink?

1) diabetes

2) smoking

3) high blood pressure

4) being overweight in middle age?

Answer: All four. That’s the latest word from the famous Framingham Heart Study, an investigation of residents of a Massachusetts town that’s been going on since 1948.   

This particular report, published in the journal Neurology, tracked 1,352 people with an average age of 54 for years. All were offspring of the original set of Framingham residents who agreed to join the study.  They had their risk factors assessed at mid-life. Then, between ages 61 and 67, their brain structure was assessed via MRI scanning. They also had cognitive tests.,0,6012036.story?track=rss

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Rosie Mestel/for the Booster Shots Blog

Researchers examine cumulative health risks

New Bedford residents, like those in many cities, are at risk for high rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and high blood pressure, according to state and federal studies.

Now, researchers from Boston University School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Northstar Learning Centers are studying the reasons why, trying to unravel what they believe is a myriad of combining factors - from PCBs and prenatal tobacco exposure for ADHD, to diet and fine particulate matter exposure for high blood pressure - that may be increasing the illness risk for residents.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe Green Blog by Beth Daley/Globe Staff




New auto mileage standards leave room for interpretation

DETROIT - President Obama announced new automobile fuel-efficiency standards yesterday that require an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But even if the auto industry manages to meet the new standards, it is unlikely car buyers will see many fuel-economy stickers boasting such high mileage.

Instead, the average new vehicle in 2025 will probably be closer to 43 miles per gallon, based on the typical 20 percent discount applied by federal officials when rating a car or truck in real world driving conditions.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by Bill Vlasic New York Times




Drought taking a toll on Texas oysters

SMITH POINT, Texas - The third-worst drought in state history has killed any hope that Texas oysters would make up for the severe losses in Mississippi and Louisiana, where the shellfish were affected by last year’s oil spill and this year’s massive flooding.

Oysters are a $217 million industry on the Gulf Coast. Louisiana and Texas account for 70 percent of the eastern species found in the Gulf and along the East Coast. Pessimism about the harvest this season is growing.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe –Green Blog by The Associated Press