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Posts Tagged "california"

But Seriously...

Space: The Private Frontier

Brian at SpaceX

Following up on the SpaceX launch videos I posted yesterday, I wanted to repost this video I made a couple years ago for Time.com. In 2010, I visited the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. This was my second visit to their one-stop rocket factory, thanks to an old friend who works for the company. But [...]

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Expeditions

Deepwater spill survey: Smoke on the water, burnt oil in the sky

Texas A&M,Deepwater,BP

Editor’s Note: A team of researchers led by John Kessler, Texas A&M College of Geosciences chief scientist and assistant oceanography professor, traveled to the Deepwater Horizon disaster area to study the methane leaking into the Gulf of Mexico (along with tens thousands of barrels of crude oil) daily at the site of the damaged Macondo [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Unusual Night Lizard Returns after Eradication of Invasive Species

Island Night Lizard

A rare reptile found only on a few islands off the California coast has become the latest species to recover and leave the protection of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported this week. The island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) originally faced threats from nonnative species such as goats, pigs and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Lawsuit to Remove Plant from Endangered Species List Completely Backfires

Indian Knob

Oh what a difference a few years makes. Just four years ago, the rare California shrub known as the Indian Knob mountain balm (Eriodictyon altissimum) was poised to drop off the endangered species list after the threats to its existence had mostly been abated. This week, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Banned Pesticide DDT Is Still Killing California Condors

california condor

Just one week after the California legislature voted to ban lead ammunition to protect California condors from the toxic substance, which they can consume via carcasses shot by hunters, new research shows that the critically endangered birds are also still at risk from another long-banned toxic substance: the pesticide DDT. The U.S. banned the use [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Does Controversial Decision Pit California Condors against Wind Turbines?

california condor

Talk about a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. The U.S. needs to generate more renewable energy if we hope to stave off the effects of climate change. At the same time, critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)—which today number 417 birds after the last 22 members of their species were put [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The 5 Most Endangered Canine Species

Ethiopian wolf

Domesticated dogs are some of the most popular animals on the planet, but their cousins in the wild aren’t always as beloved. For thousands of years humans have persecuted wolves, jackals, dingoes, foxes and other members of the family Canidae, pushing many species into or close to extinction. Here are five of the most endangered [...]

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Extinction Countdown

California Condor Populations Hit Important Milestone, but Still Face Threats

The population of endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) hit an important milestone last month, reaching a high of 405 birds—quite an achievement for a species that was down to its last 22 individuals just 25 years ago. California condors—North America’s largest birds, with a wingspan of up to 2.8 meters—were almost wiped out by poaching, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Should California Ban American Bullfrogs?

American bullfrog

Santa Cruz County in California could soon become the first county in the U.S. to ban the import, sale and possession of American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). Last week, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark W. Stone sent a letter to the board urging it to enact a ban in 2012. Stone’s request followed [...]

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Extinction Countdown

California sea otter populations sink as research funding dries up

Populations of southern, or California, sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) have declined for the second year in a row, including a dramatic drop in births, according to new numbers released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). At the same time, the money necessary to study and help save the sea otters could soon evaporate amidst [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Stay otter there: California sea otters cross over to the forbidden zone

sea otter

Few things in my life have brought me as much joy as watching sea otters play in the waters near Monterey, Calif. So when I heard this week that the frisky yet endangered critters may be slightly expanding their habitat, I figured everyone would think that was good news. Silly me. Once hunted into near-extinction [...]

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Observations

Pacific Northwest Gets More Fast-Charge Juice for Its Electric Highway

electric,hybrid,infrastructure,car,Washington

The future of electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. balances tenuously these days on a chicken-and-egg quandary. Roadside stations that charge EVs in less than 30 minutes are needed to encourage drivers to buy EVs, yet there must also be enough EVs already on the road to justify the investment in a fast-charging infrastructure. The [...]

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Observations

Sophisticated stone tools and piles of bones identify early bird hunters in coastal California

stone tools california channel islands early seafaring human bird hunters

A collection of delicate stone tools discovered on California’s Channel Islands indicates that early humans in the Americas were hunting local waterfowl some 11,200 to 12,200 years ago. "The points we are finding are extraordinary," Jon Erlandson, director of the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, who has been working on the [...]

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Plugged In

The California Drought: “A Stark Warning of Things to Come”

California Drought

This is what California looked like on January 13 in 2013 and 2014. You’ll notice things have changed. I live here, so this morning I listened as Governor Jerry Brown delivered his annual State of the State address. He described the drought as cause for long-term concern: We do not know how much our current [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: California’s Signal Hill Oil Field (1930)

01

This photo is of the Signal Hill Oil Field at Atlantic and 28th Streets in Long Beach, California, USA around 1930. It is one of a large group of energy photos maintained by the California Department of Conservation. Photo Credit: Photo of the Signal Hill oil field at Atlantic and 28th Streets, circa 1930. Courtesy of the [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Winter Wind in Palm Springs

8726186867_2e42ae82a6_b

This photo of wind turbines near Palm Springs, California, USA and Joshua Tree National Park was taken in December 2013. Photo credit: This photo was taken by vxla and found using Creative Commons, used under this license.

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Plugged In

California’s Second Carbon Auction Today: An Explainer on Cap-and-Trade

Photo courtesy of California Air Resources Board

At the beginning of this year, the Golden State officially launched its long-discussed market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California’s GHG cap-and-trade program is not the first of its type. Carbon trading schemes are popping up around the world. But, it’s only the second program to takeoff in the U.S. The first, the [...]

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