1. Bats Being Devastated By "White Nose Syndrome"

    jake on 2008.04.17 at 06:42 pm

    Here come the mosquitoes.

    My parents’ property includes a big chunk of wetlands. There is also a small wooded area across the yard. These woods were once home to many bats. As it grew dark in the summer you could watch them journey across the yard for a dinner of bugs. At least until a few years ago when our neighbor unnecessarily cut down a large section of trees and the bats disappeared. We miss them and their taste for mosquitoes.

    Now bats in New England (more recently including Connecticut) are being threatened by a new ailment, “white nose syndrome.” Not a lot is known about the fungus but scientists are investigating.

    Bats with this white–nose syndrome have the white fungus on their noses and occasionally other parts of their bodies. It is unknown if the fungus is causing the deaths or is symptomatic of a disease. Human health implications are not known; there is no information indicating that people have been affected after exposure to the white fungus.

    Lets hope they find a way to stop this before it becomes more widespread. Even if they creep you out, like spiders, bats are very beneficial to us.

    Posted in: Environment · Nature · Science

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  2. Motorless Wilderness

    brian on 2008.01.02 at 02:05 am

    The New York Times tackles this issue of land access on public lands in the west with this article and 7 minute video.

    Alternate TextMotorized, “off-highway” (ATVs, MX dirtbikes) vehicle purchases have exploded in the past decade. And our public lands are groaning beneath the surging, internal-combustion-powered flock.

    This is why I choose to hike or mountain bike. Wilderness areas are not for motors. Aren’t motors what we’re escaping from?

    Let’s hope with increased environmental sensitivity and insanely high gas prices, this trend abates in 2008.

    Posted in: Environment

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  3. Irony, Greed, Hypocrisy, Bluster and Snow

    brian on 2007.12.29 at 03:56 am

    I followed a link today to this video, Sabotage Stupidity which resides on The Burton Snowboards website. It’s a series of marketing videos that are very clever, and very “in-brand” for Burton. Sabotage Stupidity is the name of Burton's campaignI’ve long had a lot of respect for Burton. They were a pioneer (but not inventor) of the snowboard, with a distinct style and attitude that really set the tone for the whole budding snowboard industry. Snowboarding itself really had to swim upstream. For many years, snowboarders were second-class citizens on the slopes–if they were even allowed on the slopes. It’s a classic story, they were different and thus they were not liked. Of course, as with any situation like this, there were a few punks who made trouble on the slopes and gave everyone else a bad name.

    What follows is a story of silly discrimination and silly corporations… and what else? Money.

    Read More

    Posted in: Design · Environment · Nature · Sports

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  4. The Story of Stuff

    jake on 2007.12.05 at 02:17 pm

    When I was in elementary/middle school the beginning of the year brought many new things. New books, new friends (hmm… maybe not), new classes, and new stuff. While new clothes may have been superfluous the biggest waste I’d have to assign is to sneakers. Every year you’d walk into school with shiny new Air Jordans that hopefully your mom found at a reasonable price. But the majority of the time this had nothing to do with your old sneakers falling apart or your feet growing too fast. It was simply a status symbol. I recall even being jealous of the kids who could buy a new pair over winter break. Why would we need all those, fully functional shoes?

    The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard This question has bothered me for years and is related to a new video by Annie Leonard. The Story of Stuff is a twenty minute video where Annie breaks down and points out the issues with our consumer culture. It was originally a slide show presentation (just like Al! only less controversial and less vice presidenty). This video will make you cry on Black Friday.

    My uncle mentioned this to me on Thanksgiving and this season is very fitting for a viewing. I’m glad that it’s getting recognition around the Internet.

    Posted in: Environment · Movies · Nature

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  5. Reclassify the manatee?

    jake on 2007.04.09 at 04:18 pm

    Is it just because I watched Planet Earth (you should see it) last night or is there an issue to be taken with the possibility of reclassifying manatees as “threatened?” I’m going to go with my gut on this one and declare it the latter.

    An annual census of the manatee population recorded 2,812 [emphasis added] of the animals in Florida waters this year…

    In 1991 — the survey’s first year — 1,267 manatees were found in the state. This past year, scientists counted 3,116 [emphasis added].

    Getting beyond the obvious issue of the number dropping this past year I looked around for the numbers recorded by year. Along with some more facts I also noticed an expired petition attempting to stop this very event.

    The other information I discovered is how the manatees are currently counted.

    A synoptic survey is a statewide aerial survey designed to get a head count of individual manatees.

    Scientists have been working for a while to find a better method for tracking the manatee population. It is fairly obvious by the annual numbers that there is a large fluctuation every time the scientists go out and try to count by flying overhead. Downgrading manatees should not even be considered until a more accurate method is put in place.

    Posted in: Environment · Science

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  6. If you only see one movie in your lifetime.

    brian on 2007.01.08 at 01:49 am

    “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.”Roger Ebert

    “There is no controversy about these facts. Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.” – Al Gore

    It took me until tonight to see this movie, which is available “onDemand” for Comcast cable subscribers for $3.99. I later found out I could have watched in HD for $5.99 The nice thing about onDemand is that I didn’t have to use fossil fuels to get the movie from the store.

    There’s really no reason you can give me that you shouldn’t see this movie, if you haven’t already. Up to and including the fact that the movie is actually entertaining. I’m contemplating buying the DVD and lending it to everyone I know. Would you like to borrow it? Please?

    “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative…your mind will be changed in a nanosecond.” – Roger Friedman of

    Posted in: Environment · Movies · Nature · Politics · Weather

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  7. Why you don't wanna go swimming in Newtown Creek

    jake on 2006.09.29 at 06:24 pm

    Amanda Congdon has started a road trip across the US to reach LA and her new job. It’s not a huge surprise that she’s using the Internet to podcast her experiences.

    This past week she had a couple of pieces (one seems to be from a sponsor on Newtown Creek and cleaning up the water in NY. It’s frankly appaling that companies can continue to pollute the water in such a manner. It was bad enough that they were allowed to dump and let run off damage bodies of water. But aren’t there laws today that prevent more pulluting?

    Anyone looking for another reason to boycot ExxonMobil?

    p.s. This is the first thing I’ve ever posted to digg (Newtown Creek (Video from Amanda Across America)). As of right now it has a whopping one digg (besides my automatic increment).

    Posted in: Environment

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