New honeybee sperm bank racing to halt bee decline

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For years, entomologist Brandon Hopkins has argued for the establishment of a germplasm repository for cryopreservation of honey bee semen. Unfortunately, bee semen us very hard to collect and even harder to preserve, but Hopkins found better ways to extract and store their genetic material. Read the rest

30-year satellite image timelapses of notable places

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Google's Earth Outreach just published a series of nifty decades-long views of how world landmarks of changed, like this one of the Aral Sea from 1984 to present. Some of them are like watching slime molds grow: Read the rest

Cityscapes created inside toilet paper rolls

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Paris-based artist Anastassia Elias created these papercraft cityscapes inside toilet paper cores. It was part of November's World Toilet Day, and it was commissioned to bring awareness to the sad state of toilet affairs in many large cities. Read the rest

Trump Administration: a climate denier for the EPA, a Goldman-Sachs banker for Treasury

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Donald Trump, who once claimed that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese has indicated that his EPA transition team will be led by Myron Ebell, who claims that accession to the Paris Climate Accord is unconstitutional, that global warming is "modest" and "nothing to worry about" and even that "a warming trend would be good for other people" because "more people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves." Read the rest

Watch Before the Flood, an urgent call to arms about climate change

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National Geographic released Before the Flood over the weekend, and it is a calm but clear-eyed overview of the scope of the environmental crisis facing our planet. It also looks at pragmatic steps we can take right now to slow the damage. Read the rest

300 Million Children Breathe Highly Toxic Air, reports UNICEF

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“Almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines” UNICEF said today, in releasing a new report on how air pollution around the world affects our most vulnerable.

Read the rest

Watch BBC's Planet Earth II trailer

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Ten years after the original series, BBC's widely-acclaimed Planet Earth returns to television in the UK in November and in the US in January 2017.

The first episode, Islands, looks at how animals can become very large or very small in those conditions. This adorable swimming sloth looks worth watching the series all the way through:

Bonus video: extended trailer:

Planet Earth II website Read the rest

Greenpeace NZ delivers a solar power petition -- with a song

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The government of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand imposing an energy-company-backed tax on people who put solar panels on their homes. Greenpeace's petition in support of sustainable, renewable power was delivered with a catchy, angry song by Tiki Taane. Read the rest

Five years of American drought, visualized

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At Adventures in Mapping, John Nelson developed a sobering series of maps that visualize the intensity of the drought gripping much of the US: Read the rest

Everything Change: free anthology of prizewinning climate fiction

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Arizona State University's Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative held a short story contest to write "climate fiction," judged by Kim Stanley Robinson and others; now the best stories have been collected in a free downloadable ebook that includes a forward by Robinson, and an interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. Read the rest

What is "design fiction?"

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I've been writing "design fiction" for years (see, for example, Knights of the Rainbow Table), and when people ask me to explain it, I say something like, "An engineer might make a prototype to give you a sense of how something works; an architect will do a fly-through to give you a sense of its spatial properties; fiction writers produce design fiction to give you a sense of how a technology might feel." Read the rest

Quarter of bumble bee species may soon be endangered in US

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Reuters reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes listing the rusty patched bumble bee among America's endangered species.

Though just one of many species of bumble bee, Bombus affinis's sharp decline is a worry to conservationists. About a quarter of bumble bee species face "a risk of extinction."

The agency attributes the decline to a number of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.

Bumble bees, as distinguished from domesticated honey bees, are essential pollinators of wildflowers and about a third of U.S. crops, from blueberries to tomatoes, said Sarina Jepsen of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned the government for protection of the insect.

Bumble bees’ annual economic value to farms is estimated at $3.5 billion, according to experts.

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LA water hog exposed as "Wet Prince of Bel-Air"

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Who is the top residential water hog of Los Angeles? The Center for Investigative Reporting has narrowed it down to 7 Bel-Air mansions, with billionaire Jerry Perenchio's estate the prime suspect for using almost 12 million gallons of water a year. Read the rest

This couple's business uses more water than all homes in Los Angeles combined

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Mother Jones profiles Lynda and Stewart Resnick, central California megafarmers who grow water-intensive tree nuts, mostly almonds and pistachios. During a 1980s drought, they bought distressed groves, now part of a farming conglomerate grossing $4.8 billion annually, according to the article. Read the rest

LA halts subsidies for plastic lawns

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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has changed its rebate program that subsidized homeowners who ripped up their wasteful turf lawns and put in plastic grass or gravel. Read the rest

#NoDAPL: U.S. orders halt in North Dakota pipeline construction on Native land

Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. September 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

The United States government today ordered a temporary halt to construction of a stretch of North Dakota oil pipeline that has been the focus of a sustained and growing occupation protest by Native Americans and environmental activists.

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Gallery of hermit crabs with garbage shells

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The hermit crab housing shortage of empty shells is forcing some crabs to use marine waste, as documented by Okinawa-based photographer Shawn M. Miller. Read the rest

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