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Friday Creature Feature: The Bull Shark

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Thursday, 28 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

On April 7, 2011 a bull shark with two heads was discovered inside the uterus of an adult bull shark that two-headed-baby-bull-shark-Courtesy of Patrick-Rice-Shark-Defense-Florida-Keys-Community-Collegehad been caught by a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico.

The unborn shark was first taken to the marine science department at Florida Keys Community College and was then transferred to Michigan State University (MSU).

At MSU Michael Wagner, an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, and his team used MRIs to confirm that the baby shark had two distinct heads, hearts, and stomachs with the rest of the body joined together in back half of the animal to form a single tail only a mother shark could love.

These observations meant researchers were able to confirm that this was not a case of conjoined twins but a single bull shark with two heads the first-ever found.

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Is Living in A Cold City Bad for the Environment?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 28 March 2013
in Earth Blog

Sometimes there are headlines that can make a person say, “Duh.”green-mittens-jdurham-mfile

Take for instance this headline that introduces a study recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters: “Cold Cities Less Sustainable Than Warm Cities, Research Suggests.” Anecdotal evidence, the sort of information you can gather from people sitting on a park bench, can support a claim like that.

However, the data Dr. Michael Sivak, at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, presented in his paper after analyzing the artificial heating and cooling in two big cities is far better than any empirical evidence I can give you about living in a place that is freezing in the winter and so hot in the summer the carpet in a house can feel like it’s on fire.

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Galveston is the Next City to Get Blue Trees

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Monday, 25 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Vegetation

"I realized that forests are the lungs of the world," Konstantin Dimopoulos said in a press release that blue-trees-houston-announced his most recent art installation in Houston, Texas: trees painted blue.  Not pink not green, but ultramarine!  This is a vibrant color to make the viewer think about a world without trees and deforestation.

The press release pointed to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report three years ago that said 32 million acres of forests were lost due to natural causes or were cleared for other uses between 2000 and 2010. That means 3.2 million acres were lost per year during that time frame.

"Through my work I am striving to address global issues and provide a visual platform to effect change," said Konstantin Dimopoulos. "So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual's power of influence, and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way."

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Ford Has Water Conservation Goal In Sight

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Sunday, 24 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Water

On Friday Ford Motor Company announced they were over halfway toward their current goal of using an car-water-sign-claritaaverage of only four cubic meters of water per vehicle during manufacturing globally by 2015. The company reduced the average amount of water used to make each vehicle by 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

"Ford recognizes the critical importance of water, and is committed to conserving water and using it responsibly," says Robert Brown, the vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
"Many vehicle manufacturing processes require water and the resource is used at every point in our supply chain."

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Researchers Find What They Are Looking For With GPS and Polar Bears

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 20 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Dr. Seth Cherry of the University of Alberta and a team studied polar bears in the extremely cold polar-bear-cubs-collar-Andrew-Derocher-University-Alberta-OEB-0056conditions of the western Hudson Bay for ten years to see what impact, if any, climate change and its affect on the ice’s melting and forming would have on the polar bear’s ice-based habits.

The Hudson Bay is a body of water almost completely surrounded by northeastern Canada. It is the second largest bay in world (the Bay of Bengal is the largest) with a surface area of 1,230,000 kilometers2 (470,000 square miles). It is a part of the North Atlantic Ocean but some portions of it are considered to be part of the Arctic Ocean. Whatever way you want to look at the bay it’s still cold and there are polar bears.

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Pocoyo and Jessica Alba Promote Earth Hour 2013

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Tuesday, 19 March 2013
in Clean Fun

Important news from the world of children’s entertainment! A world I should know nothing about (since I pocoyo-friends-at-seahave no children) but I am all too familiar with as more of my friends start to have children or their children discover the magic world of television.

Yesterday the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Earth Hour announced that Pocoyo, the monochromatically dressed and be-hatted toddler with a group of anthropomorphic friends, would be serving his a third term as Earth Hour's Global Kids' Ambassador.

This year’s Earth Hour campaign includes the “I Will If You Will” challenge reminiscent of those school yard rejoinders like “I know you are but what am I?” and “I triple dog dare you!”

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Is Your Home Leaking Money?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Monday, 18 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Water

The EPA says: “One in every ten homes has a leak that is wasting at least 90 gallons of water per day.”sink-drain-water-griet49-mfile

How do you know if your home is one of the ones leaking enough water to fill up a fish tank commonly found in people’s living rooms? It starts with your water bill and knowing how much water on average your home and its occupants use.

Now that auto pay has become the preferred method of bill paying in many homes it can  be all too easy to ignore the bottom line, blissfully unaware you have a leak. During the winter or seasonal equivalent in your state if water usage for a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons a month you probably have leak somewhere.

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Nat Geo Wild Announces Short Film Competition

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Sunday, 17 March 2013
in Clean Fun

Today is the last day of the Sun Valley Film Festival but a short film competition they are sponsoring along zebras-zoo-m-hull-mfilewith Nat Geo WILD and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has just begun.

The first annual WILD to INSPIRE Short Film Competition is accepting submissions from April 1 through October 1, 2013.

"WILD to INSPIRE showcases Nat Geo WILD's commitment to supporting filmmakers who are passionate about capturing the awe-inspiring wonder of the natural world that exists both in our own backyards, and in places many of us only dream of going," said Geoff Daniels, the executive vice president and general manager for Nat Geo WILD. "Our goal every day is to take our viewers to new 'wild' places, and we are excited to see where each submission in this competition takes us next."

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Are Shade Balls Still in the Silver Lake Reservoir?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Saturday, 16 March 2013
in Earth Blog

About five years ago the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) dumped 400,000 blackShade-Balls-2-LADWP-Silver-Lake “shade balls” into the Ivanhoe Reservoir. The reservoir is one of the two concrete basins that are collectively known as the Silver Lake Reservoir in the Los Angeles neighborhood that bears the same name-Silver Lake.

The shade balls are similar to the type you would find in the ball pit of a Chuck E. Cheese’s (hollow and plastic) except obviously far less colorful and their purpose is for science not merriment.

They were placed in the water to act as a relatively inexpensive and safe floating barrier to prevent a chemical reaction between bromate and chlorine caused when California’s perpetual sunlight hits the water. This particular pairing could cause cancer if the bromate was allowed to reach high levels.

While there was only a slim chance Los Angeles residents could get cancer from the water officials decided to go with the balls while the Headworks Reservoir- an underground reservoir that will replace the existing basins for potable water- is being built.

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Friday Creature Feature: Pine Marten

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Friday, 15 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Earlier this week I was chatting with a friend when I linked him this video. It’s safe for work for but if you Martes martes crop-wiki-Dani-Kropivnikare unable to view it I will be more than happy to describe it to you.

During a soccer game (football match) a pine marten (martes martes) works its way onto the field (pitch). The animal proceeds to frantically run around like a deranged streaking fan (fanum rabidus nudus). Unlike a zealous fan the creature left the field on its own a few times but returns, suspends play, and is chased down by several people including a member of FC Zurich: defender Loris Benito.

Benito swoops, tumbles, but manages to snag the animal only to be rewarded with a bite to the finger.  Apparently, as Benito is leaving the field the pine marten escapes the defender (irony) and Zurich goalkeeper David Da Costa is either directed to because he is wearing gloves and accustomed to trying to stop fast moving objects or takes it upon himself to grab the pine marten ending the spectacle.

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Finland Looks To Cardboard While Sweden Uses Plastic

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 13 March 2013
in Earth Blog

In Sweden they are putting plastic in the water to study ocean acidification and climate change. Gertje-Konig-mesocosmMeanwhile, next door over in Finland, researchers are thinking about making diapers out of cardboard. Has all of Northern Europe gone crazy?

Nope. Scientists might look like they are doing crazy things from our point of view but they have a master plan. That plan is to gain our trust by getting plausible results after doing or saying crazy things so we will keep listening to them and giving them funding.

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Actions to Reduce Deforestation In Brazil are Working

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Saturday, 09 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Vegetation

There have been a few creatures I’ve featured on Fridays whose populations have been affected by pete-newton-brazil-rainforest-UMdeforestation- especially animals that live in the Amazon rainforest like the lowland tapir and the giant armadillo.

Animals aren’t usually the first thing that pops into a person’s mind when deforestation is mentioned. The air is usually the first topic of discussion because clearing trees affects air quality and most of us learn that in elementary school: “Trees help us breathe!”

Conserving biodiversity and Brazil’s recent commitment to reduce deforestation in order to lower carbon emissions in the country’s two million square miles of Amazon rainforest are probably what led to a University of Michigan (UM) study that explored the efficacy of Brazil’s policies.

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Big Meteorite Found in Antarctica

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Thursday, 28 February 2013
in Earth Blog

A month ago, a few weeks before a space rock with an estimated size of 55 feet (17 meters) slammed into Russia, a team of eight international scientists from Belgium and Japan were in Antarctica scanning theSAMBA-meteorite-1-IPF frozen environment for fragments of space rocks for the SAMBA project.

They hit the jackpot when they found a rock weighing 18 kilograms or 39 pounds embedded in the Nansen Ice Field. Researchers say this is the largest meteorite found in the region in over twenty years. The previous record holding rock was found in 1988.

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Florida SPCA Will Help Build Community Cat Cafes

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Monday, 25 February 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Representatives from Florida Southern College (FSC) in Lakeland, Florida estimate a herd of 100 cat-cafe-SPCA Florida-FLWun-owned, free range cats live on the campus.  In an effort to control the cat population they are going to name each cat George and hug them and pet them and squeeze them. They will also feed them, build them little Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) inspired houses, and then spay or neuter them.

SPCA Florida is partnering with the college and they have decided to call the houses Cat Cafes and because the FSC campus is apparently “home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed building structures in the world”  they decided to stick with the FLW style. The cafes will blend seamlessly into the campus’s existing architecture. Between 1938 and 1955 Wright designed eighteen buildings for the college but only eleven were actually constructed.

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H&M Wants Your Old Clothes

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Sunday, 24 February 2013
in Earth Blog

Yesterday I went to our local H ampersand M in search of a pair of black ankle boots with metal toe caps I H-M-SOPHIA-BUSH-eco-ivorysaw in a magazine. They resemble this pair from Zara.

The H&M had the boots but spending anything over $20 for a pair of shoes I would only sporadically wear was not practical. Furthermore after seeing them up close I discovered I wasn’t as enamored with them as I thought.

Now had I known that I could have brought in a bag of old clothes and received a discount on those boots I would probably be wearing them right now with my pajamas. I’m beginning to regret not snapping up those shoes. Don’t judge me.

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Ode to Sourdough

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Saturday, 23 February 2013
in Clean Factoids

Did you know that sourdough bread resists mold? I didn’t know that. But that may be because I haven’t Sourdough-miche-boule-Chris-R- Sims psdhad the luxury of letting a decent loaf (a honest-to-goodness loaf) of sourdough bread sit out to waste away since leaving the Golden State. I’m not even able to splurge on a Sourdough Jack from Jack in the Box because the fast food chain isn’t found in this region. I'm not bitter, I'm just hungry.

Fun Fact: The mascot of the San Francisco 49ers is named “Sourdough Sam” as a nod to the bread’s Gold Rush era heritage in Northern California.

The football team’s website says Samster’s favorite food is garlic fries. Shouldn’t his favorite food be sourdough bread? I’ve heard it said that you can make sandwiches with the stuff. No one could hate a sandwich.

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General Mills Announces New Vanilla Program

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 20 February 2013
in Earth Blog

In the summer of 2011 General Mills announced that a team of international researchers working at the vanilla-madagascar-general-millsUniversity of California-Davis would receive a $200,000 grant to begin the Vanilla Sustainability Project.

The vanilla project, led by Dr. Sharman O’Neill,  a professor of biological sciences at UC Davis, was the winning entry in the Sustainability Challenge. General Mills invited universities to submit grant proposals with their best ideas for encouraging sustainable consumption, reducing waste, and using resources responsibly.

The research team will map the vanilla genome, research natural crop improvements, study natural and traditional plant-breeding methods to develop improved and hybrid vanilla varieties that are hardier, more disease resistant, and offer enhanced flavor.  

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Kids Can Help Their Parents Be Green

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 13 February 2013
in Earth Blog

We all know kids say the darndest things. I’ve got two here right now that I am caring for while their kid-meadow-macieklew-mfilemother, a friend, handles an emergency.  Neither of the two boys, ages five and three, quite understand the meaning of the phrase “inside voice.” The three year old keeps chanting the word “cheeseburger” while he eats a banana.

But sometime kids say helpful things and according to a group of researchers at Imperial College London this means the lessons children learn about protecting the environment can be passed up to adults.

The entire study called “Child-orientated environmental education influences adult knowledge and household behaviour” is available online at IOP Science but can also be found in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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SELC'S 5th Annual List of Endangered Places

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Monday, 11 February 2013
in Earth Blog

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has released their annual top ten list of the most charlottesville-virginia-robert-llewellynendangered places in the Southern United States.

In a statement last week Nat Mund, SELC's Legislative Director said, “There's absolutely no reason why we have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy—in fact, the two go hand-in-hand. History shows that investing in clean water, healthy air, and clean energy can create jobs and save money—and lives—in the long run. And yet, many of the South's natural treasures are at stake because of short-sighted attempts to weaken environmental safeguards under the guise of fiscal responsibility."

Three areas are making a repeat appearance from last year’s list because SELC is continuing to work with organizations and communities to protect these places.

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4th Annual National Day of Unplugging

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Sunday, 10 February 2013
in Clean Fun

The National Day of Unplugging website asks: “Do you have multiple cell phones? Take your ipad to the no-outlet-tech-slow-livingbeach on vacation? Ever find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Is your computer always on?”

Do people have multiple cell phones? Most of the time I can barely stand my one phone and you mean to tell me some people have more than one cell phone? Are these people doctors? Does the President of the United States even have more than one cell phone? A pair of pants really only has two good pockets for a cell phone so if you have more than two where is the third one kept? Good grief, we are a technologically addicted society, aren’t we?

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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