Monthly Archives: December 2011

Exploring the world of birds and biodiversity with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

As a thank you to its supports, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology shares this video montage filled with wonderful sequences of birds from their archives. Enjoy:

How easily, mindlessly, have we learned to kill 800 year old living beings…

… and this time even in the name of green energy! Only fools would object to such wanton destruction in the name of sustainable climate friendly energy projects, we are told. Be a fool, feel for the silent ancient Mojave yucca, and weep with me…

A BrightSource contractor working on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in California’s Mojave Desert kills a Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) that was likely between 400-800 years old.

This video is posted under Fair Use provisions of US copyright laws, as a means of exposing activities by BrightSource that contravene that company’s agreements and obligations to protect the fragile desert wildlife on the site it is now bulldozing.

The BLM recently reported that they expect as many as 140-150 tortoises to be found on the 4,000-acre site. If BrightSource is breaking its promises to transplant and preserve ancient desert plants, how can we trust what they’re doing with the tortoises?

Imagine if this were a more charismatic plant, say a similar-aged Redwood or Sequoia tree – would you weep then? Would you be outraged?

Stephen Fry & friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens

Irritant as Hitchens was to people on the right and the left, he sure was hard to ignore. Much as I wish he hadn’t lost his head over Iraq and the “clash of civilizations” in the MIddle East, I am glad he went after many holier cows from Kissinger to Mother Teresa. This celebration of his life is particularly illuminating to listen to for the gentle way that Stephen Fry probed Rushdie about the possible origin of the particularly sharp animus Hitch had for the Islamic countries. Forty-five minutes well spent listening to quite the array of intellectuals speak of their relationship with Hitch… I’m glad we get to listen in.

Using deep-sea bioluminescent bacteria to illuminate pollution in estuarine waters

Promising tale of a new approach developed by Dr. Edith Widder to detect and monitor pollution in estuaries and marine ecosystems. Also illustrates how basic science – in this case, exploring the wonders of the deep dark ocean – can help shed light on the very applied problem of pollution. Do read the story accompanying this video in the New York Times.

So the Iraq war is over, you say? Well… let’s not forget the History of Oil

As my American friends celebrate / breathe a sigh of relief at the announcement today that the US war on Iraq is finally officially over, I can’t help but go back to this brilliant history lesson (which I have posted here before):

So what of the American Plan to Bring Democracy to the Middle East? Well, the war may be officially over, but don’t lose heart, not yet… just have a look at this map, for this is what the “end” of a war looks like now:

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Now welcome the weary broken American troops back home from their multiple long stints in Iraq (let’s not think about their Iraqi counterparts); dust them off, patch them up, replenish their ranks, and let’s get them back out there. There is much Democracy yet to be brought to many a thirsty, hungry, desperate (but rich in oil or other resources) corner of this world!

Enjoy the peace, my American friends…

 

Will the world’s leaders finally “Get It Done” after Anjali Appadurai’s mic-check at the UN Climate Change Conference?

Powerful call to act from the young woman which ought to shame the world’s leaders into doing what they must, for her and future generations. But, we all know, don’t we? Most of the world’s so-called “leaders” (especially those from the US and other wealthy and high carbon footprint nations) have no shame! They will continue to bow down to immediate political expediency and pressure from their corporate overlords to keep selling those future generations down the river (and the rising seas) to protect short-term profits.

So it is up to us, to carry forward Anjali’s mic-check and take up her call to ask our “leaders” to “GET IT DONE”!! Or get it done ourselves – starting with throwing these bums and their corporations out of the positions of power they currently wield!

You want proof humans are weirding the global climate? How about rock-hard proof?

http://www.sfgate.com/g/graphics/2011/11/30/hardscience_player.swf