Archive for December 2009

The NY Times has a new article, “Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively,” on environmental consequences of using  rare earth elements in things like wind turbines and hybrid cars. These elements are very dense, and are very useful for helping reduce energy consumption. China has a virtual monopoly on some of the heavy rare earths, and as […]

New York’s 22nd District should be proud of their congressman, Maurice Hinchey.  He’s got a clear handle on the issues, and has submitted a nice set of comments to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation on their evaluation of permitting needs for drilling in the Marcellus shale in NY. His submittal is detailed at his […]

It’s strange to read a long discussion in the NY Times about how plants respond to stimuli, and thus might be similar to animals in terms of why some people are vegetarians. The author notes, somewhat quixotically: before we cede the entire moral penthouse to “committed vegetarians” and “strong ethical vegans,” we might consider that […]

Exxon’s purchase of natural gas firm XTO is in the news, and while they are currently removing gas from Texas shales, they may port their drills up to the Marcellus shale area, as well. As detailed here in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram: Exxon’s impending purchase of Fort Worth-based XTO — a leading U.S. gas […]

We’ve made mention (here) of  recent news on drinking water contamination, such as the recent NY Times article, “That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy,” making use of a lot of publicly available data.  The discussion largely revolves around increases in pollution in recent decades. This issue provides an opportunity for adding other […]

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the national Sierra Club is one of natural gas’s biggest boosters. … Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director, has traveled the country promoting natural gas’s environmental benefits, sometimes alongside Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the biggest U.S. gas companies by production. while

There’s a brief review of benzene in a recent article in the Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator, discussing some aspects of its sources, uses, and risks. This brings to mind the famous story of how the chemist Kekulé realized, in a dreaming state, that benzene’s properties could be explained by a ring structure.  As recounted by Aisling […]

Forest destruction is a big problem, so recycling in this way is really useful. The Anniston Star reviews a book with an interesting title, Wrapping Scarf Revolution, by Patricia Lee.  The author also sells scarves at  As the article says, and as many well know: On Christmas morning, trash barrels across the nation will […]

There’s an excellent Op-Ed, by forestry expert Bernd Heinrich, in today’s NY Times showing how off-setting carbon by tree planting is harmful because it does not preserve rainforests (having the opposite effect), and because trees are only temporary carbon sinks. As Heirich states clearly: