• Chesapeake Energy stems flow from blown Pennsylvania gas well

    Chesapeake Energy has stemmed the flow of leaking drilling fluids from a natural gas well that suffered a blow-out late on Tuesday in Pennsylvania and prompted the company to suspend a controversial gas production technique in the state. Chesapeake, one of Pennsylvania's biggest shale gas producers, used a mix of plastic, ground-up tires and heavy mud to plug the well -- an operation that echoes BP's "top kill" effort to seal its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well last year. "Late Thursday afternoon, efforts to seal the leak and regain control of well pressure were successful," Chesapeake said in a statement on Thursday evening. The company said it still did not know the cause of the blowout nearly two days after it occurred. It was planning to start an investigation into the accident, the statement said. >> Read the Full Article
  • DigitalGlobe Partners with Extreme Ice Survey to Monitor World’s Glaciers

    A new report released this week by high-resolution satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe in partnership with Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) reveals environmental changes as told by the world’s climate change barometers – glaciers. Using a combination of on-the-ground photography with satellite imagery to monitor the state of the world’s glaciers, the organizations issued the "Worldwide Glacier Monitoring Report," a first in a series of reports that depict satellite images from the last three years to show how three glaciers – Khumbu Glacier at Mt. Everest, the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland and the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland – have changed over time. Glaciers are a clear indicator of the state of the environment and a thermometer of local and regional climate conditions. Since 1995, Ilulissat Glacier, the largest producer of icebergs in Greenland, doubled its flow speed and volume of ice discharged due to warming air and ocean temperatures. The combined effect of ice loss in mountains and ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica will produce at least 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, dislocating at least 150 million people. As the planet becomes warmer, sea levels will continue to rise. >> Read the Full Article
  • Target Customers Respond to New Recycling Program

    About one year into Target’s new recycling initiative, the results seem pretty impressive. In the first nine months alone, the store collected 170 shopping bags and 700 tons of bottles and cans. Target’s program also includes ink cartridges and small electronics, the latter of which were recycled to the tune of two million units in the same time period. That breaks down to about 90 units a month per store. The electronics component of the program is particularly interesting because it indicates that Target has caught onto the idea of using convenient dropoff as a way to draw more consumers into its stores, adding yet another twist to the emerging interplay between retailers, consumer products and recycling. >> Read the Full Article
  • Amazing: the slow crawl from water to land, New from BBC Earth!

    The writer C.S. Lewis once said that "Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal." He may have been speaking symbolically, but he wasn't too far from the truth! The name Amphibians comes in essence from the Greek meaning "two" and "modes of life". Their ability to transform from water-breathing juveniles into an air-breathing adults, meant a better chance at finding food and less of a chance that they would have to fight for it. But learning to breathe wasn't the only thing up against these aquatic pioneers. The greatest challenge was how to get there. In the beginning, one group of amphibians developed multi-jointed leg-like fins which allowed them to crawl along the sea floor. And incredibly, the mudskipper pictured above is part of that same family. And not only were their bodies in an evolutionary deviation, but their minds were too! >> Read the Full Article
  • Mexican trial of GM maize stirs debate

    [MEXICO CITY] Mexico has authorised a field trial of genetically modified (GM) maize that could lead to commercialisation of the crop, sparking debate about the effects on the country's unique maize biodiversity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Electric Cars

    Will electric cars ever become the common way to drive? What is needed is an infrastructure that allows easy recharging of the vehicle (such as gasoline stations are for the internal combustion engine). There are two key barriers to plug-ins: first, the current battery technology is very expensive, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a plug-in. Next, many well-established sectors must change to accommodate plug-ins. Consumers must learn the pros and cons of a plug-in lifestyle, and a new way of valuing upfront costs against operational savings. Utilities must learn to manage a large and mobile load. Cities, retailers, and other businesses must incorporate a new infrastructure of charge spots. All these players must build a new system of connectivity in order to line up charging times, billing, and consumer preferences. >> Read the Full Article
  • Earth Day 2011

    When is Earth Day? In many ways it should be every day but officially it is the anniversary of the first formal celebration on April 22, 1970. An estimated 20 million Americans wearing bell-bottoms and gas masks, gathered to voice their concerns about the deterioration of the environment. Earth Day is celebrated by no one central authority or government. Many different organizations (public, private and individuals) supply personal initiative to the celebration. The closest to a general or national governmental response was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on April 16 and 17 on the National Mall. With more than 40 interactive exhibits, kids and adults can have eco-fun with hands on activities, art, music and storytelling with special guests. Special guests include Marcus McNeill from the San Diego Chargers, Madieu Williams from the Minnesota Vikings, and Olympic track star Michael Walton. Visitors learnt how to protect their own health and the environment in which they live. >> Read the Full Article
  • Incredible rites of passage: Scarred for life, new from BBC Earth

    With a dangerous reputation, crocodiles would not be the first animal you would associate with mental and physical strengthening. Surprisingly, the people of Papau New Guinea have a connection between man and beast that marks a boys journey into adulthood. Many traditional celebrations that accompany events like birth, the start of adolescence, marriage, and death are richly integrated with the use of natural materials; such as feather, skin and bone. But when an occasion as serious and important as the coming of age beckons, the rituals connection between cause and effect must reflect this intensity. Many inhabitants of the South Pacific islands practice some form of physical transformation during male adolescence. The sacred act of scarring which people of the Solomon Islands practice can make rituals such as ceremonial hair cutting, and being cast into the wilderness for a short period seem relatively less challenging. For decades, tribes have used the tradition of scarification to mature their young boys into men. For a number of weeks, the boys psychological as well as physical barriers are pushed with consistent verbal taunts as well as public humiliations. However their discipline is yet to be tested to its breaking point. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: Human Planet

    Human Planet has arrived: The first natural history series to ever focus solely on human behavior. With a phenomenal collection of over 80 stories from over 70 locations around the world, the lens has been breathtakingly turned on one of the most successful species on the planet...Humankind. Bringing together the same fantastic program making as seen in the award winning Planet Earth, and widely-acclaimed blockbuster LIFE and The Blue Planet. The BBC has again teamed up with Discovery Channel to reveal and examine the amazingly complex relationship of humankind and nature in the modern day: Through the eyes of those who have learned to adapt and survive in some of the most unforgiving environments on earth. Heralded by the national press such as The Telegraph as being "like nothing you've ever seen before", this fascinating series made by documentary makers with over 50 years natural history experience, brings home the message that human's relationship with nature is still very much alive and well. This landmark series that weaves stories never told before on television will premiere on the Discovery Channel on Sunday April 10, 17 and 24 at 8 p.m. (EST) with two episodes each night. Human Planet will then arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26, just two days following the last broadcast. >> Read the Full Article
  • Vietnam creates reserve for newly-discovered, nearly-extinct mammal, the saola

    The Vietnam government and local people have approved a Saola Natural Reserve to protect one of the world's most endangered—and most elusive—mammals. Only discovered by the outside world in 1992, the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) inhabits the lush forests of the Annamite Mountains. No one knows how many saola remain, but it has been classified as Critically Endangered as it is likely very few. >> Read the Full Article