Portland, Oregon, US: Colourful lorikeets preen each other at the Oregon zoo. Photograph: Don Ryan/AP
Oakland Getting First Urban Network of CO2 Sensors
California has a cap-and-trade law that goes into effect Jan. 1, and the new sensors might be the best way to figure out whether or not it’s actually effective. Scientists are spreading 40 of them across a 27 square-mild grid in Oakland, creating a much better measurement framework than the dozen or so sensors that currently exist.
The forgotten fish?
Shark finning is a massive, multi million dollar industry. But there’s another fish that’s more endangered (in fact, the IUCN once described this as one of the most endangered species on earth) that’s also being killed illegally for one small component of its body. Above is the beluga, or Huso huso. Not the whale, but the sturgeon. Growing up to some massive sizes of 1500 kilos and 7.2 meters long (as one specimen caught in 1827) and living for up to 100 years it is also the oldest living family of bony fish. It is hunted for its roe. Beluga caviar is one of the most exclusive and sought after types of caviar, and severe overfishing has caused this beautiful fish to be classified as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Beluga caviar can sell for as much as 10,000$ per kilo depending on the quality, with a special sort (harvested exclusively from females at least a 100 years of age) going for some 25,000$ per kilo.
Much like the shark, the beluga is an apex predator in its environment, and it would be a shame to see such a beautiful fish disappear.
Shake your Garden Bon Bon
Does your valentine have a greenthumb? Give ‘em Garden Bon Bons, non-edible truffles (aka seed balls) made from organic compost and clay.
Recycled flip-flop dog hammock
Yep, you read that right. Behold, the Jamboree Dog Bed, the best (and only) errant fur-catching rubber flip-flop pet bed out there.
Through the ice!
After having drilled through 3623 meters of ice, the Russians have finally reached the sub-glacial Lake Vostok. This could prove to be incredibly interesting: It’s thought that if life, at any level, is found in a lake of this type it may very well be that there is life on Europa (one of jupiter’s moons, thought to have life) and on other similarly constructed planets and moons.
Lake Vostok is interesting for a number of reasons: It is thought to be supersaturated with oxygen and nitrogen, that is, it contains about 50 times the amount you’d find on earth, and even though the Lake Vostok base station has recorded the record low temperature of all time on earth (-89c), the lake remains liquid due to geothermal activity beneath the 3 kilometers of ice. Because of all these conditions; the supersaturation of oxygen, the complete lack of light and the geothermal energy it is thought that life may be found there that has never been observed before. Although it is under 3.6 km of ice, in 2005, researchers also recorded tides with a range of about 12 mm.
On another note, while things like these may lead to new insights about many different things, is it really right for us to drill down and pollute an environment like this that hasn’t been touched for 20 million years? You never know how sensitive ecosystems like these are. Something to think about.
Above: the Lake Vostok Station, location of Lake Vostok, & diagram of Lake Vostok.
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