California wildfires force 250,000 to evacuate
October 22, 2007 04:14 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fast-moving wildfires raged across Southern California on Monday, forcing at least 250,000 people to flee their homes and destroying hundreds of buildings as desperate fire officials called for help from other states.
More than a dozen separate fires, driven by dry, gale-force Santa Ana winds, burned out of control across the drought-stricken southern half of the state, charring an estimated 200,000 acres, killing at least one person and injuring a number of others.
"It's a tragic time for California," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared a state of emergency in seven California counties.
The fires also forced closures of major state highways, schools and businesses and sent plumes of thick black smoke drifting across much of the state, blotting out the sun.
US Govt Study: Source of Nitrate in Precipitation Is Coal Power
October 22, 2007 03:09 PM -
Denver, CO - Nitrate found in precipitation occurring in rural areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States is primarily caused by emissions from stationary sources located hundreds of miles away, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.
Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.
Chemosignal encourages women’s sexual desire
October 22, 2007 12:36 PM -
Chicago - Breastfeeding women and their infants produce a substance that increases sexual desire among other women, according to research at the University of Chicago discussed Tuesday at American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Washington, D.C.
The work on sexual desire was first published in the paper “Social Chemosignals from Breastfeeding Women Increase Sexual Motivation,” in a 2004 issue of Hormones and Behavior.
Bee Expert: Insecticides, Climate, Malnutrition, Paracites And Microbes Collapsing Bee Colonies
October 22, 2007 11:15 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Davis, California - Noted University of California, Davis honey bee specialist Eric Mussen fingered a line-up of prime suspects in the case of Disappearing Bees. Mussen identified malnutrition, parasitic mites, infectious microbes and insecticide contamination as among the possible culprits. It's a complex issue, he said, but one thing is certain: "It seems unlikely that we will find a specific, new and different reason for why bees are dying."
"One third of our U.S. diet depends on honey bees," Mussen said. "If bees produce fruits and vegetables somewhere else, do we (Americans) want to be as dependent on food as we are on oil?"
China Needs More Than Electric Cars: Toyota
October 22, 2007 11:04 AM -
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Toyota is working to improve its hybrid cars and develop electric cars for the future, but an official said on Monday that these vehicles would not help reduce CO2 emissions in China.
"In France, 80 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear stations so if electric cars replace fossil fuel cars then you have a clear reduction in the emission of CO2," said Tatehito Ueda, a managing officer at Toyota Motor Corp.
"But in China they make electricity by burning coal, so China is not the place for electric cars," he told the Nikkei International Automotive Conference in Tokyo.
Kansas Vetos Coal Power: Health Risks Cited
October 22, 2007 10:57 AM - Bernie Woodall, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Opponents of coal-fired power plants say they were given a new weapon last week when Kansas became the first state to reject a coal-fired power plant solely on the basis of the health risks created by carbon dioxide emissions.
A dozen states have rejected plans for new coal-fired power, at least in part because of concerns over carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, Kansas does not regulate carbon emissions and is believed to be the first state to tie CO2 to health risks and use that as the only stated reason for denying a required air permit, said Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club's national effort to stop new coal plants and retire the dirtiest of existing ones.
Jolie, Pitt Spotlight Aid Workers In Documentary Series
October 22, 2007 10:49 AM - Nellie Andreeva
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are making their first joint producing effort with an HBO series about aid workers.
The untitled drama will explore the behind-the scenes politics of an international aid organization, and chronicle the lives of humanitarian workers assigned to dangerous zones and the needy people they assist.
Jolie and Pitt will serve as executive producers, along with Scott Burns, who will write the pilot. Burns co-wrote "The Bourne Ultimatum" and was a producer of "An Inconvenient Truth."
Carmakers Seek Engine of the Future
October 22, 2007 01:38 AM - Marcel Michelson
TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil is getting scarce and the internal combustion engine adds to pollution, therefore the car of the not too distant future needs a new motor. But what?
Delegates at the Nikkei automotive conference here, in the week of the Tokyo Autoshow, reviewed the industry's sputtering progress towards new power systems in the knowledge that if they do not come up with a solution the sector may come to a halt.
"In the long-term, it's very clear that on-road transportation has to decouple from petroleum for both dependency and greenhouse gas emissions reasons, and the pathway for that is electric drive," Michael Milikin, editor of the Green Car Congress publication, told Reuters.
Don't go near the baobab at Nigerian heritage site
October 22, 2007 12:43 AM - Estelle Shirbon
SUKUR, Nigeria (Reuters) - Visitors to Sukur are warned not to approach a certain ancient baobab tree because, villagers say, it turns people into hermaphrodites.
It is an atmospheric introduction to this Nigerian World Heritage Site for the trickle of outsiders who come, but villagers who trek up and down from the remote hillside community are ready for an injection of modernity.
A road would be a start.
Crisis was "accident waiting to happen": Greenspan
October 22, 2007 12:22 AM - Emily Kaiser
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An unusually high degree of risk taking across asset classes made recent financial market turmoil all but inevitable, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Sunday.
"The financial crisis that erupted on August 9 was an accident waiting to happen," Greenspan said in a speech on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings. "Credit spreads across all global asset classes had become suppressed to clearly unsustainable levels."
"Something had to give."
"If the crisis had not been triggered by a mispricing of securitized U.S. subprime mortgages, it would eventually have erupted in some other sector or market," Greenspan said.