commentary

Convert Guantanamo to Disease Research Centre
March 6, 2008 11:54 PM -

Guantanamo Bay detention camp should be converted into a biomedical research institute dedicated to combating the diseases of poverty in the Western hemisphere, says Peter J. Hotez. In an editorial in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, he says the move would tap into the tradition of vaccine diplomacy that began 50 years ago — when Moscow and Washington put aside ideological differences to collaborate on the development of a live polio vaccine at the height of the Cold War.

Finding your Zen
March 6, 2008 11:46 PM -

Three things happened to me this past week that gave me pause: 1. I saw a movie in the middle of the afternoon with a friend. 2. I bought a new book. 3. My husband got the stomach flu. not necessarily in that order” Why are these things important? Because they made me take a step back and look at what’s important in my life.

How to recycle your cell phone, painlessly
March 6, 2008 11:39 PM -

Last week I participated in a ritual that's becoming increasingly common these days: replacing a (mostly) functional cell phone. Bluetooth and my beat up phone were not playing nice, and I need to have a headset to filter out noise as I talk to clients, colleagues, and co-conspirators. So now I find myself with a semi recent vintage RAZR huddling in my miscellaneous drawer, gathering dust. Fortunately for it, I happen to be someone who knows a bit about what to do with such a device, as I wrote about here so it will be going off to Second Rotation. Or someone else who cares to pay me a better price for my old gear. Paid? For your old cell phone? Yes.

Is Nano a No-No? Nanotechnology Advances into Buildings
March 6, 2008 11:31 PM -

It’s revolutionary, it’s the next big thing, and it’s going to change everything. The media and industry representatives have described nanotechnology with so much excitement in the last decade, and at such a growing pace, that to illustrate the trend one investment firm has measured the explosion of this coverage with what it calls a nanotechnology hype index.

Cleaner, Greener U: Students Drive the Campus Climate Movement
March 6, 2008 11:19 PM -

Climate change is our generation’s civil rights movement,” says Brianna Cayo Cotter, communications director for the Energy Action Coalition, swilling from a tall cup of coffee. Cotter talked fast and raked her fingers through her thick, wavy hair, staring intently, as though she’d been on a steady diet of nothing but caffeine for the last few days. This was PowerShift 2007, held at the University of Maryland, the largest gathering of college students ever assembled to fight climate change, a weekend of non-stop workshops and speakers and rallies brought together by Energy Action staff.

To All Major Retailers: Start Charging for Plastic Bags, NOW!
March 6, 2008 11:09 PM -

Over the past year, many leading companies have taken proactive steps to minimize their use of resources that clutter up our landfill. European retailers IKEA and Marks & Spencer have started charging customers up to 10 cents per plastic bag. Not only are these companies realizing the environmental benefits of charging for plastic bags, but also seeing the financial benefits, along with the positive branding, and philanthropic benefits (Marks & Spencer donates profits to improve parks and play areas across the country) as well.

Nanotech Works for Hydrogen
March 6, 2008 05:47 PM -

Hydrogen is everywhere on our planet, but it is not free to roam. It is always joined at the molecular hip with something else. It is a carrier of energy since it requires energy to break it away from a mate. But when free, hydrogen can be a fuel, a source of energy to do something, to do work. Unfortunately as a carrier of energy hydrogen is not very efficient. It takes considerable energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen or carbon, for instance. By some estimates more energy is needed for separation than hydrogen will give back as fuel — with available technology that is.

Earth sciences need a higher profile
March 6, 2008 05:39 PM -

Let's encourage the mood of political cooperation on the big issues during the International Year of Planet Earth, says Nasser Ennih. The International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) — launched earlier this month in Paris — is an opportunity to use the knowledge, experience and publications of the world's estimated 500,000 earth scientists to better inform decision-makers and politicians about how to achieve sustainable development.

Battle lines drawn over GM sugar beets
March 6, 2008 05:29 PM -

Thousands of acres of Roundup Ready genetically modified sugar beets will be planted this spring with sugar from the GM crop entering the food supply. Consumer and organic groups are suing to block production of GM sugar beets. In January, farmers, food safety advocates, and conservation groups filed suit in federal court challenging the deregulation of genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Attorneys from the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice are representing plaintiffs Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Center for Food Safety in the lawsuit, which seeks a thorough assessment of environmental, health, and associated economic impacts of the deregulation as required by federal law.

Recycled Fish: Anglers as stewards of the resource
March 6, 2008 05:14 PM -

How do you recycle a fish!? That’s a question we are asked often at Recycled Fish, and it always makes us smile. The short answer — you let it swim! Recycled Fish is the non-profit organization of anglers as stewards of the resource. One of the most tangible things we anglers can do is to release our catch. That’s “Catch and Release” fishing, and it’s caught on! Over 80 percent of Americans now release their fish most or all of the time. But the “catch and release” conversation is still a good starting point for how those of us who fish can be stewards of the fishery, and our name “Recycled Fish” speaks to that.

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