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Growth of the Alberta tar sands from 1984 to 2011

NASA has posted a series of satellite photos documenting the expansion of the Athabasca tar sands. The Athabasca pits cover over 54,000 square miles in Alberta with an estimated reserve of 1.75 trillion barrels of oil - good enough for third in the world behind Saudi Arabia (1) and Venezuela (2).Production increases noticeably from the mid-1980s to present day:Visible in the pictures are the tailing ponds holding contaminated water and material from the extraction process, along with surface stripping.So, in light of the near-certain death of the Keystone XL pipeline, will Canada's tar sand production continue to grow in the coming years?...

December 28, 2011 — David Wogan

#SciAmBlogs Tuesday - nauseated lions, wolves, quail, drugs and more...

Today - quality instead of quantity:- John R. Platt - Lions vs. Cattle: Taste Aversion Could Solve African Predator Problem - Cassie Rodenberg - Street slang in drug education advertises more than it helps - The Dog Zombie - The hearty ingredients of Canis soup - Bora Zivkovic - The wonderful quail…and what Sen.Coburn should learn about it. - Scicurious - Cocaine and the sexual habits of quail, or, why does NIH fund what it does? - Melissa C...

STAFFDecember 28, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic

The wonderful quail...and what Sen.Coburn should learn about it.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his "Wastebook" a week ago - a list of 100 government-funded projects that are supposedly a waste of money.Every campaign season, quite predictably, someone from the GOP makes a document like this, listing examples of spending that, in their view, represents the most egregious excesses of governmental spending...

December 28, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic

Street slang in drug education advertises more than it helps

Yesterday, I asked a 12-year-old the biggest lessons he learned from a recent middle school drug assembly. The answers I received contained the terms “White Lightning,” “Hurricane Charlie” and “Trail Mix.” While valuable for kids to have drug education programs in schools, it becomes a pressing concern when lesser known drugs and/or street names are the primary concepts gleaned from lessons...

December 27, 2011 — Cassie Rodenberg

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