The center shipped Juliette’s plastic cup, along with 17 others purchased from Target, Walmart, and Babies R Us, to CertiChem, a lab in Austin, Texas. More than a quarter—including Juliette’s—came back positive for estrogenic activity. These results mirrored the lab’s findings in its broader National Institutes of Health-funded research on BPA-free plastics. CertiChem and its founder, George Bittner, who is also a professor of neurobiology at the University of Texas-Austin, had recently coauthored a paper in the NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It reported that “almost all” commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. According to Bittner’s research, some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA.
Source: The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics – Mother Jones
Hallie was featured on the front page of the N&O, 15 Nov 2017
The story of the new environmental lawsuit that Hallie is participating in
(along with two other teens) ran on the front page of the News and Observer today. Pretty cool to see that.
This is at least the second time she’s been featured on the N&O’s front page, if not the third. The first time was when she was still a guest of the WakeMed NICU.
News broke today that Hallie is trying again, this time with friends, to get North Carolina’s environment back on track. Go, Hallie!
Hallie Turner was 13 years old when she stood outside a Wake County courtroom telling media crews with cameras trained on her that she planned to continue to fight for action on climate change despite her unsuccessful attempt to sue North Carolina over its environmental rules.
Now 15, Hallie is trying again to get the state Department of Environmental Quality and the state Environmental Management Commission to adopt a rule calling for a sharp reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the next three decades. This time, two other North Carolina teens — Emily Liu, 16, of Chapel Hill, and Arya Pontula, a Raleigh 17-year-old, will join Hallie in petitioning the commission.
With the help of Ryke Longest at the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, and Our Children’s Trust, a Oregon-based nonprofit focused on climate change, the teens hope to persuade the state to adopt a rule ensuring that by 2050 carbon dioxide emissions would be down to zero.
“It would be a future in which you would not be burning fossil fuels to power your homes,” Longest said on Monday, the day before the teens plan to file their petition.
Source: Climate change:NC teens petition NC environment commission to cut fossil fuel and greenhouse gases | News & Observer
It’s sad to read of the devastation to the El Yunque rainforest. It is a national treasure.
LUQUILLO, P.R. — When you looked up, you could once see nothing but the lush, emerald canopy of tabonuco and sierra palm trees covering El Yunque National Forest.
That was before Hurricane Maria obliterated the only tropical rain forest in the United States forest system. Left behind was a scene so bare that on a recent visit, it was possible to see the concrete skyline of San Juan about 30 miles west — a previously unimaginable sight.
El Yunque, pronounced Jun-kay, has been an enormous source of pride in Puerto Rico and one of the main drivers of the island’s tourism industry. The 28,000-acre forest on the eastern part of the island has over 240 species of trees; 23 of those are found nowhere else. Over 50 bird species live among the forest’s crags and waterfalls.
But sunlight now reaches cavities of the forest that have not felt a ray of light in decades, bringing with it a scorching heat.“Hurricane Maria was like a shock to the system,” said Grizelle González, a project leader at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, part of United States Department of Agriculture. “The whole forest is completely defoliated.”
Source: Another Victim of Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico’s Treasured Rainforest – The New York Times
Terrifying commentary on climate change.
It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.
Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
Source: When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?
It’s low risk but low-risk doesn’t generate clicks. 🙂
Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park in the space of a week, according to experts.
A total of 464 quakes have been recorded over the past week at Yellowstone, which sits above one of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes.
This is the highest number of earthquakes at the park within a single week in the past five years.The recent activity has raised fears that the supervolcano is about to blow.
If it were to erupt, the Yellowstone supervolcano would be one thousand times as powerful as the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption, experts claim – although they say the risk is ‘low’.
Source: Swarm of 464 earthquakes hits Yellowstone National Park | Daily Mail Online
The Yellowstone volcano has a massive chamber the size of Mexico.
A recent scientific discovery has drastically changed our view of the global carbon cycle and identified a new significant risk. Researchers have discovered a giant lake or reservoir made up of molten carbon sitting below the western US.
The molten carbon (primarily in the form of carbonate) reservoir could drastically and immediately change the global climate for over a decade if it were to be released. Thankfully there is little risk in the near future of this happening. The carbon sits 217 miles beneath the surface of the Earth in the upper mantle and has no immediate pathway to the surface. In total the lake covers approximately 700,000 square miles, approximately the size of Mexico. This has redefined how much carbon scientists believe sits locked away in the Earth’s mantle and its interaction with surface and atmospheric carbon.
Source: A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US
Is DC power the wave of the future for computing environments?
Power distribution in data centers used to emulate the architecture of old telephone central offices. A “rectifier” would step down and rectify the ac from the power line and use it to charge banks of batteries that provided an unregulated 48 V dc, which was distributed around the facility to run the telephone equipment in the racks.
Since at least 2007, data-center engineers have been talking about distributing 400 V dc (sometimes 380 V). Data centers are bigger and use a lot more power than telco central offices. At a minimum, higher voltage distribution would mean lower I2R losses and/or thinner power-distribution cables.
Source: As early as 2007, analysis demonstrated that 400-V dc distribution had advantages; Now there’s a way to implement it.
Falls Lake at the worst of drought, December 9, 2007
On Saturday my family and placed four tons of grass sod in our backyard. As I fired up a sprinkler for the first time in several years (a decade, perhaps?) I thought about how much our next water bill was going to cost us. The City of Raleigh has tiered water rates, meaning everyone gets their base allotment for the same price but the price quickly jumps beyond that amount. The idea is that economics will compel water customers to conserve which is a worthy goal.
But what about the times conservation isn’t needed? Right now Falls Lake is full. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from Falls Lake at a rate of 6,000 cubic feet per second, which I’ve heard is about the most it will release at any time. This onslaught of water is causing issues downstream, flooding neighborhoods that haven’t yet recovered from last month’s initial round of heavy flooding.
It doesn’t appear that conservation is an issue at the moment, so what if our water bills could reflect this? What if Raleigh residents could give The Army Corps a hand by putting that water where it could good some good: on everyone’s lawns and gardens, not just those unfortunate few who live close to the raging river? What if the City reduced water rates on a temporarily basis while the river release was underway? I know there’s more to water use than simply supply (it has to be treated, for instance) but tying water rates to our supply might make sense.
How to fix poor sleep brought on by modern technology: go camping!
Are you sick of going to bed late and waking up tired? Then grab your hiking boots and a tent. A new study suggests that a couple days of camping in the great outdoors can reset your circadian clock and help you get more sleep.
The circadian clock is an internal system that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Scientists track this clock by measuring the amount of melatonin circulating in a person’s blood at any given time.
In a healthy sleeper, melatonin levels rise a few hours before bedtime, stay high through the night and then settle back down to daytime levels when it’s time to wake up. The period when melatonin levels are elevated is known as biological night.
In our modern society, biological night does not usually coincide with night in the natural world. Most of us stay up many hours past sunset, and we would probably sleep in many hours after sunrise if we could.
The trouble is, if your biological night begins at midnight or later, your melatonin levels may still be high when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. This leads to grogginess, and it may have other consequences, researchers say. Diabetes, obesity and heart disease have all been associated with not getting enough sleep.
Research by integrative physiology professor Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado at Boulder found that people reset their circadian clocks by taking a six-day summer camping trip in the Rocky Mountains.
Source: How to reset your body clock, and get better sleep, with hiking boots and a tent – The Washington Post