News — by Oyvind Holmstad December 11, 2010
Welcome to round thirteen of our Weekly Linkfest, where we share the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain interesting from what we’ve seen this week.
I would greatly appreciate readers getting involved in this weekly linkfest. Please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a summary sentence outlining the key point of each link) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet.
Off we go:
Good News (coz we all need it):
- Invention Awards: A Box That Keeps Plants Hydrated in the Desert. In 2006 Hoff took 25 Waterboxxes to Morocco’s Sahara desert, and after a year, 88 percent of the trees he treated had green leaves, while 90 percent of those watered weekly (the traditional local method) died under the scorching sun. In Scientific American he argues that planting 5 billion acres of trees – about 2.5 times the surface area of Canada – would be enough to offset annual emissions of 10 billion metric tons of CO2. Visit the manufacturer’s homepage here. See also this + this.
- "Blue Carbon" – Buried Treasure for Climate and Communities. Carbon sinks along the world’s coast lines, including mangroves, sea grasses, and tidal salt marshes, store massive quantities of carbon for centuries at a time, and could provide an immediate and cost-effective tool to counter the impacts of climate change. See also this + this + this.
- ‘Greener’ climate prediction shows plants slow warming.
- The fight is on to save Kenya’s green lung. "If the Mau Forest is destroyed, Kenya will die." This is the stark message of the scientist and Nobel Peace Prizewinner Professor Wangari Maathai from the University of Nairobi. See also.
- The new book Unplanning by Charles Siegel goes straight against the strict and bureaucratic planning practices of modernism, which has ribbed our lives for life and meaning. Recommended by Prof.Nikos Salingaros!
- New Shark Sanctuary Declared in Indonesia. This is surely needed! Regional studies have shown that when shark populations crash the impact cascades down through the food chain, often in unpredictable and deleterious ways.
- Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund Launches New Investment in Caribbean.
- Expressing Gratitude Is a Powerful but Underused Force, Scientists Say. See also.
- Are We Predisposed To Give Back? New Studies Examine Why We Help Others.
- Faith communities around the world are taking action – both personal and political – as the moral implications of climate change become more apparent.
- Why Not Eat Insects? Marcel Dickes’ TED Talk. Personally I would prefer to eat insects than frankenfish. I’ve heard that all insects were able to multiply unchecked, they could within a year make a 0.5 meter thick layer covering all the Earth. Do we really have a food problem?
- New Approach to Blocking Malaria Transmission Developed.
- Lower Occurrence of Atopic Dermatitis in Children Whose Mothers Were Exposed to Farm Animals and Cats During Pregnancy. One more reason to support small scale dairy production.
- A Straw Bale Rebuilding Solution for Haiti. This is a much better solution for the climate than using concrete! See also.
- Small house, big movement. To build small is the easiest way to build energy efficient too. Also, read this article!
- Food Not Lawns Wants to Replant Your Yard. Food Not Lawns is a combination of how-to practical wisdom and neighborhood-building.
- Gardens are able to sustain a greater number of bumblebee nests than farmed land, a study involving genetic analysis and modeling has suggested. See also.
- New Tech Could Revolutionize Recycling. First-of-its-kind technique recovers pulp and plastics that were otherwise unrecyclable.
- "Peak Fertilizer" To Make Manure A Valuable Commodity. Half of the 15 million tons of phosphorus exploited each year ends up in the oceans, much of this flushed down the toilet. Hopefully we’ll see a change.
- Sumatran Tiger Population May Be Larger Than Believed – Second Only to India.
- Mountain Gorilla Population Increases 25% in Central African National Parks.
- A critical breakthrough has been made in efforts to save the giant panda, one that could kick-start attempts to reintroduce the animals to the wild.
Bad News (coz we need to understand the challenges if we’re to design our way out of them):
- Next on the menu: GMO oranges. I think we call them “GMORANGES.”
- Cloned products ‘need no labelling’.
- Loss of Biodiversity Makes Humans Sick. The problem, Scheiner’s study shows, is that when habitats are fragmented, the species most deeply affected are those that act as buffers for disease. Those that thrive happen to be the best carriers of pathogens.
- Urgent call to save Europe’s bees.
- Recent studies point to a greater likelihood of polar temperatures falling farther south, as atmospheric circulation responds to warming in the Arctic. Unfortunately ignorant people in my country see this as a sign that global warming is not happening. See also.
- Ocean acidification and temperature change are double the trouble for coral reefs.
- Permafrost soil releases laughing gas due to global warming. Laughing gas (N2O) is 300 times worse than carbon dioxide (CO2). This is not a laughing matter! See also.
- Anesthesia Gases Equal the Emissions of 1 Million Cars.
- Goodbye grey skies, hello extra warming. See also this + this.
- Heavy Metals Now Dangerously Contaminate Snow & Soil Atop Mount Everest.
- Factory farms in the USA have grown 20% in size since just 2005.
- Recently, deforestation has been dramatically reduced in Brazil, but the forest is still being destroyed by fires. The drought allows fires to spread easily. Less forests produce less rain, and less rain leads to more forest fires. Some ecologists worry that the Amazon may reach a tipping point, where the ecosystem’s destruction will fuel itself. See also.
- Ravenous Foreign Pests Threaten U.S. National Forests.
- Mangroves are disappearing fast. Thirty-five percent of mangrove ecosystems disappeared between 1980 and 2000, according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Shrimp farms have been a primary cause of mangrove loss, as well as urbanization and agriculture. Please skip tiger shrimps!
- World Running out of New Places to Fish: Study. Well, not if we learn from Geoff Lawton.
- Many Coastal Wetlands Likely to Disappear This Century, Scientists Say.
- Caribbean Corals in Crisis: Record Thermal Stress, Bleaching, and Mortality in 2005.
- A biological survey in Northeastern Madagascar has turned up evidence of extensive logging in Masoala National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its biologically-rich rainforest. See also this + this.
- Smartphones And Computers: "Bloodstains At Our Fingertips". Another reason not to change your cell phone every six months.
- New corporate trend; misclassify the store managers to avoid paying overtime.
- Air pollution linked to diabetes.
- Scientists found extremely high levels of a flame-retardant chemical in a sample of brand-name butter.
- Using phone while pregnant ‘can lead to behavioral problems in children’.
- Deadly Medicine. See also.
- Lower levels of education are associated with increased risks of heart failure. This doesn’t bode well for me, hope it can help a little if I get a PDC diploma? Or maybe there is hope in Marmite and vitamin B1?
Just plain interesting or odd (coz we’re curious creatures):
- Overeating, Like Drug Use, Rewards and Alters Brain. See also this + this.
- Six Resources for Climate Change Information.
- Identifying the Gene that Establishes a Baby’s Gender. This doesn’t look good for China; where there are already 65 million more boys than girls. See also this + this.
- Ancient Mega-Lake Found in Egyptian Desert. See also.
Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf?
- World’s Oldest Ax Discovered in Australia.
- Giant fossil bird found on ‘hobbit’ island of Flores. Maybe we’ll see it in the new hobbit film?
- Remarkable Preservation of African Fossils Explained.
- Thousands of plant species ‘undiscovered in cupboards’.
- Fish Tough Guys May Get the Girls. Well, the bad guys get the girls. so it’s not like I didn’t know that. Anybody still left wondering why we have wars?
- Finger Length Predicts Mental Toughness in Sport.
- Evolution of Cooperative Cross-Feeding Could Be Less Challenging Than Originally Thought. See also.
- Farmers Slowed Down by Hunter-Gatherers: Our Ancestors’ Fight for Space.
- Fear of Being Envied Makes People Behave Well Toward Others.
- Dogs Have Bigger Brains Than Cats Because They Are More Sociable, Research Finds. My suspicion is confirmed, cat lovers are less intelligent.
- 4 Best Herbs for the Brain.
- Herb Gardening Indoors: Best Plants To Grow This Winter (photos).
- Bioplastics Not Necessarily the Greenest.
- Power a house using a waterwheel.
- Ultra Rare Albino Redwoods Are an Everwhite Mystery (Pics).
- Age-Related Hearing Loss and Folate in the Elderly + Eating omega-3-rich fish may keep vision loss at bay. I’ve seen some fish oil tablets with added folate, possibly a good idea in old age.
- Long-Term Daily Aspirin Cuts Cancer Deaths, Study Suggests. I guess some kind of plants may have the same effect?
- Chemicals in Apple Skins, Wine Could Help Fight Alzheimer’s.
- Is Your Diet Giving You the Blues? You may be choosing foods that make you sad.
- Top Twenty Acrylamide-Rich Foods.
- Natural Food Coloring – What a Healthy Option! List of natural food colors here.
- Dehydrate your own chicken for long-term food storage.
- Food Storage Tips. Buying food in bulk amounts will save you money, time and energy, while reducing waste. But it needs to be stored properly in order to protect your investment.
- Sweet potatoes have a place in every kitchen. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, or beta carotene, and contain fiber, plus vitamin C, B6 and potassium. This sounds like a sweeter choice for the poor than “golden rice.”
- Plants ‘Remember’ Winter to Bloom in Spring With Help of Special Molecule. See also.
- ‘Left-handed’ snails foil snakes. I’ve heard that left-handed people foil the enemy in combat too.
- Water-based and silicon-based lubricants for sex – which is better?
- Look: What your reaction to someone’s eye movements says about your politics.
- Greg Stone’s TED Talk: Saving the Ocean One Island at a Time.
- How do ecosystems develop? A unique project could provide answers.
- Mastermind Steroid Found in Plants.
- Embryos Show All Animals Share Ancient Genes.
- Arsenic-associated bacteria (NASA’s claims). See also.
- Failure. A group decision tip.
Don’t forget to send your links for next week’s linkfest!! – editor (at) permaculturenews.org
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