The Internet may be producing an excess of penguin sweaters

The Guardian reports that the Phillips Island Penguin Foundation in Australia is asking volunteers to knit sweaters for penguins being rehabilitated after oil spills. Back in 2011, Dean wrote here about a similar request. The catch: That earlier plea for penguin sweaters (in fact, every earlier plea for penguin sweaters) has produced far, far more penguin sweaters than penguins actually need. For instance, in 2000, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust requested 100 sweaters and received 15,000. Yes, penguins wearing sweaters are cute, but it may be a good idea to contact the Phillips Island Penguin Foundation directly before you get started knitting.

Reducing waste can help feed the hungry

Four billion tons of food are grown and raised worldwide every year. About 25% of that goes to waste.

Being too cute is hurting the slender loris

Slender lorises are adorable, squirrel-faced primates with huge, sad-looking eyes. Sadly, their cuteness is working against them as poachers have started capturing them for an illegal pet trade and wildlife photographers have taken to capturing and harassing the poor things. Eye-damaging spotlights, sharp, prodding sticks, and people who scoop you up in your usual stomping grounds only to dump you miles away from home — it's hard out there for a slender loris.

Canadian Conservative govt guts protections for 99+% of waterways, spare handful of lakes with high-cost cottages

David says, "Canada used to have 2.5 million protected lakes and other bodies of water. After recent Conservative Omnibus bills, we're down to 97. 87 of which are located in Conservative ridings (rich cottage country). More info." Cory

Loggerheads in Mississippi

For the first time in two decades, someone has found Loggerhead turtle nests on the beaches of mainland Mississippi. (Via Jaymi Heimbuch)

877 dolphins wash up dead in Peru. Why?

Dolphin carcasses are displayed by conservationists and environmental police officers at San Jose beach, 40kms north of Chiclayo, Peru, on April 6, 2012. The cause of death of over 800 dolphins in the last four months on the shores of Piura and Lambayeque are still being researched, Gabriel Quijandria, Deputy Environment Minister said on April 20, 2012. More about the ongoing investigation into the possible cause of these mass die-offs: CBS News, MSNBC, AFP, DPA, CNN, (REUTERS/Heinze Plenge)

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Saving the whales? Now there's an app for that, too.

An interesting new iOS app launched today called Whale Alert. Though it's available for anyone, the iPhone/iPad app is intended primarily for use by workers in the shipping and maritime industry. It "combines science and technology to help save critically endangered North Atlantic right whales by reducing threats of collisions with large ships along the East Coast of North America."

From the launch announcement by IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare):

The app links the bridge of a ship to the latest data about right whale detections and informs users when their vessels enter right whale management areas. The app uses Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Identification System (AIS), the web and digital nautical chart technologies to alert mariners to NOAA’s right whale conservation measures that are active in their immediate vicinity. A key feature of Whale Alert is a display linking a system of near real-time acoustic buoys that listen for right whale calls to an iPad on a ship’s bridge showing the whale’s presence to captains transiting the shipping lanes. In a matter of seconds the ships position is updated on the iPad in relation to any endangered right whales in the shipping lanes allowing the ship to safely slow down and navigate around the whale.

North Atlantic right whales, which live along North America's east coast from Newfoundland to Florida, are one of the world’s rarest large animals and a species on the brink of extinction. So few exist -- about 450 -- that scientists have identified and named almost all of them. Collision with ships is a leading cause of right whale death.

Link to Whale Alert at the Apple App Store. More about the project at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) website.

More app screenshots below, along with a shot of the beautiful and endangered cetacean they're trying to save.

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Energy consumer: The musical

Everybody knows that Americans have a god-given right to waste energy as they see fit—from turning on every light in the house, to leaving the TV on for the cat. The call to conserve? That's just an evil plot. Sing along with this clip from a satirical musical produced by Allied Chemical in 1978.

Then think: This guy is caught up in a false dichotomy—he thinks he either has to ignore the problems associated with fossil fuels or nobly sacrifice away his standard of living. In reality, what Mock-turtleneck there wants isn't an unlimited quantity of energy (or greenhouse gas emissions). Neither will make him happier. Neither will make him wealthier. What he wants is the services of energy. That's what makes efficiency such an important concept, according to William Moomaw, professor of International Environmental Policy and Director of Tuft's Center for International Environment & Resource Policy. Getting people the results they want, for less energy and low emissions, does a lot more good than the usual song and dance.

Watch more of the musical, "Seein' the Light".

(Thanks to Sean Meredith of Track 16 Gallery for the video!)

Cave tour in Costa Rica: Freedom vs. Preservation

Tourist caves in the United States lean toward the disappointing—paved trails, teenage guides spouting corny dialogue, stalactites bathed in the purple stench of theater stage lights.

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