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Posts Tagged "pollution"

Culturing Science

Cigarette Butts in Nests Deter Bird Parasites

Urban house sparrows nest with cigarette butts.

The sight of cigarette butts delicately woven into birds’ nests sparks an array of reactions, from relief that birds are adapting to urban environments to disgust at the display of human disregard for wildlife. But a new study suggests that some birds may benefit from nesting with cigarette butts. The nicotine lingering in filters may [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Chinese Sturgeon Give Up, Stop Breeding in Polluted Yangtze River

chinese sturgeon

When an endangered species stops breeding, you know its days are probably numbered. In China the countdown has apparently begun for the critically endangered Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis). According to a report issued this week by the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, only about 100 of the massive fish remain in the heavily polluted and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Japan Could Lose 561 Plant Species by the Next Century

Polemonium kiushianum

A massive new study of Japan’s native plants reveals an extinction crisis in the making. The study examined 1,618 threatened Japanese vascular plant species, most of which can be only be found in extremely limited ranges and many of which already face shrinking populations. According to a paper published June 12 in PLoS ONE, the [...]

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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

Hellbender Head Start: Raising Giant Salamanders in the Bronx

Eastern Hellbender sq

Four years ago 41 hellbender salamander larvae from western New York State arrived at their temporary home in New York City. Originally collected as eggs near the Allegheny River, the hellbenders—also known as snot otters or devil dogs—were hatched at the Buffalo Zoo and then transferred to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, where they [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Philippines Cancels Planned Burn of Confiscated Elephant Tusks after Clean-Air Groups Object

elephant with tusks

This Philippine government this weekend cancelled plans to burn $10 million worth of seized elephant tusks after several clean-air groups cried foul. The Philippines isn’t the only country trying to destroy its ivory stockpiles. Gabon conducted a massive ivory burn last year—an act that  their government said sent a message to poachers in that country [...]

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Extinction Countdown

China Feeds Extra Fish to Finless Porpoises to Save Them from Starvation

Chinese officials added an extra 50,000 carp to the waters of Poyang Lake this week to help feed the endangered Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) that live there, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency. Around 300 to 500 porpoises live in Poyang Lake in northern Jiangxi Province, representing between one third [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Hellbender Salamander Gets Endangered Species Designation, but No Habitat Protection—and That May Be a Good Thing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) this week granted the Ozark hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but made the unusual decision not to declare critical habitat for the rare, giant salamanders because, it said, doing so could open it to threats from those who would illegally collect the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

China’s Yangtze Finless Porpoise Faces 80 Percent Decrease in 30 Years

finless_porpoise

The already rare Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) faces an 80 percent drop in its population over the next 30 years, according to research by the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Currently, around 1,000 of the freshwater porpoises live in China’s Yangtze River and its surrounding lakes, down from 2,700 [...]

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Not bad science

Human Noise Disturbs Different Fish in Different Ways

The three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus

It is well known that animals are affected by human noise pollution. For example, dark-eyed junco birds that live in cities sing both louder and with a different song than their countryside counterparts. However, human noise pollution is not contained to cities, and even our oceans are filled with the noise from ships, motorboats and [...]

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Observations

Google Maps Dives Underwater with “Street View”

Credit: WIkimedia Commons

Google has taken its ‘street view’ maps to a whole new level—namely, the ocean’s depths. Already, scientists have collected 400,000 panoramic photos of coral reefs and other marine marvels off the coast of Australia and in the Caribbean, some of which viewers can access on Google Maps. This week, U.S. government scientists will dive the [...]

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Observations

Oceans Likened to World’s Biggest Failed State

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Overfishing and pollution have pushed life in the high seas to the brink of collapse, according to a new report from the Global Ocean Commission. “The oceans are a failed state,” David Miliband, co-chair of the commission, told Reuters. The commission has implored governments to set a five-year deadline to deal with [...]

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Observations

The Quest: 6 Facts about Aging and Aging Research

Fact #1: With about $2.5 billion in annual funding, aging research is in the top 20 research categories supported by the National Institutes of Health.* That gives me another opportunity to test my contention that taking a couple of seconds to think about where to start searching for medical information instead of automatically calling up [...]

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Observations

World’s Deadliest Fuel Made Safe and Clean?

bituminous-coal

Coal kills. When it’s not horrific mining accidents like the one in Soma, Turkey, on May 13 that killed more than 300 miners, it’s the 13,000 Americans who die early each year because of air pollution from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. Coal is a way of life, providing jobs and inexpensive energy wherever it [...]

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Observations

Keystone Pipeline Will Impact Climate Change, State Department Reports

oil-sands-refinery

How much can one oil pipeline affect global climate change? That’s one of the fundamental questions probed by a new, final environmental impact assessment released January 31 by the U.S. State Department. At issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 730,000 barrels a day of oil from western Canada, mostly from Alberta’s tar [...]

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Observations

12 Graphics That Contain Everything You Need to Know about Climate Change

earth-energy-heat-budget

Climate change is real, it’s here and it will be affecting the planet for a long, long time. That’s the lesson of the latest iteration of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s state of climate science report, released in its entirety on January 30. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have now touched 400 [...]

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Observations

What Do China’s New Policies Mean for the Environment?

china-high-speed-train

BEIJING—A Chinese high speed train whispers into the station, before finally engaging the brakes and coming to a stop with a sound like the tinkling of breaking glass. Five years ago, such trains hardly existed. In the span of one Communist-style planning period, China has built a high-speed train network that now crosses the entire [...]

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Observations

Smog Blog: World-Class Pollution Brings Tehran to a Halt

Tehran, smog, Tehran smog

During the first weeks of 2013, Tehran was often blanketed in a stagnant, brown layer of smog so thick and obtrusive that it was difficult to make out the conspicuous mountain ranges that encircle the city. After trying to regulate the number of cars on the streets, a measure that failed to reduce the noxious [...]

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Observations

How Would Fish Vote in the 2012 Election?

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

This week’s look at the ScienceDebate answers provided by Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama focuses on their replies to a question about the health of our oceans and coastlines. Two areas in particular—declining fisheries and pollution—were highlighted for special consideration. Of course, the oceans also play a major role in driving weather systems [...]

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Observations

Recycling Reality: Humans Set to Trash Most Elements on the Periodic Table

metal-cycle

Almost all lead is recycled, among the only elements on the periodic table to earn that distinction. With good reason, mind you: the soft metal is a potent neurotoxic known to impact children’s brain development, among other nasty health effects. Today, nearly all lead is used in batteries (though it was once put into gasoline, [...]

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Plugged In

The Water Intake Crib: A Primer

So Toledo and environs goes through a terrible water crisis when nutrient-rich water from farms, lawns, and other nonpoint sources flows into Lake Erie. This causes hideous algae blooms that turn whole portions of Lake Erie a frightening bright green. Nasty enough, but the algae also release a toxin, microcystin, that can make you seriously [...]

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Plugged In

Smog shuts down Harbin, China, as seen from space.

Harbin_smog_385

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of smog that paralyzed the northeastern Chinese city of 10 million.

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Plugged In

China enveloped in smog, as seen from space. Again.

China_smog_Oct_2013_385

Heavy smog that paralyzed eastern China is visible from space in this satellite image from NASA.

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Plugged In

Maybe … a Half of a Cheer for Shale Gas? Maybe?

I had a whole post prepared about how the Geographic Information Services people helped in the response to the April tornados that devastated Raleigh, which seemed like a good way to introduce the infrastructure-plus-connectivity-plus-how-do-they-DO-that? applied science take I hope to bring to this blog, but then I came back from vacation and opened the newspapers [...]

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Symbiartic

If Anime Can Save Science Outreach, It Will Look Like This

Guilty_Yuumei_mini

Guilty, by Yummei a.k.a. Wenquing Yan is simply a stunning and extraordinary work of art in an attempt to raise ecological awareness about pollution in the oceans. Painted in a realistic and anime blended style, the lighting, complicated colours create an almost idealized version of reality. Yuumei says about the piece, “Education is the best [...]

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Symbiartic

Something in the Air: Smog on Display

Abeles-bike-220

Today on Symbiartic, we’re happy to present a Guest Post by Lisa Gardiner. – - In an effort to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade, Los Angeles-based artist Kim Abeles is turning air pollution into art. For her current exhibit in Boulder, Colorado, Kim worked with middle school students to capture and create art from [...]

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