Category Archives: Ecology

Lord of Recycling (LotR parody )

The latest Megasteakman video is out and turns the humble act of recycling into an epic battle for the fate of the world. It’s a Lord of the Ring’s parody that uses littering and environmentalism as metaphors for the forces trying to save and destroy the planet. It seems fitting in so far that movies like LotR and Avatar are almost like advertisements for the wonders of natural splendor, even if the nature is modified, or even entirely created, digitally. Whereas the heroics and the environmentalist parable that exists in these movies are out of reach of most people, simple acts like cleaning up your garbage and recycling are real gestures that serve to benefit the world. But yeah, it’s goofy parody video. Also bonus: I’m in it for a moment. I’m one of the extras playing garbage orcs. That made me really happy for two reasons.
1) I like making messes.
2) I’ve wanted to do garbage cosplay larping for years.

Green Porno

This is one part of a video series called Green Porno featuring Isabella Rossellini dressing up in animal costumes and humping giant fake invertebrates to teach you about nature. It is a charming blend of art, sensuality and education made for an internet age. See all of the videos on the Sundance Channel on Youtube.

YouTube now hosting pornography

ECO: Polar Ice Sheets More Vulnerable Than Expected

by Irma Arkus

Joined study by a Princeton and Harvard science team, whose findings are published in this week’s Nature, reveals that our polar ice sheets are far more vulnerable to temperature changes than initally estimated.

Even minor warming, study warns, will result in a significant sea level change. Estimated 2 degrees temperature increase could give rise up to 9 meters in the sea levels.

That significant of a water increase would impact all coastal areas, at this point most populated areas on the planet, submerging New Orleans, a big part of Florida, large part of the US East Coast, Bangladesh, and most of the Netherlands, resulting in billions of dollars worth of losses, and displacement of millions of people from their homes.

Though the rise in sea level is officially expected to take centuries researchers point out that the continuous rise in greenhouse gasses may speed up this process.

While the Copenhagen talks disintegrated, many hope that the action on the global climate change be undertaken swiftly, and on a global scale.

Prions: Can Farmed Fish Give You Mad Cow Disease?

by Irma Arkus

Remember Mad Cow Disease? The one that revealed prions transmitted in beef products as cause of brain illness, and not just any illness, but the deadly spongiform encepalopathy?

As a preventative measure, the peeps at “bovine university” have desisted the practice of feeding animals to cows. But that did not stop the feed containing animals from entering a new food chain, and opening doors to an entirely new form of creating sources of prions into human diet – farmed fish!

Voila! Did not expect that? Me neither.

In upcoming “Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Aquaculture,” University of Kentucky neurologist Robert P. Friedland and his science gang, have determined that due to less than adequate testing of feed for aquaculture, fish farms are potentially a deadly source of prions.

Now fish, a major source of nutrients that cannot be found in other foods, including omega-3 fatty acids, is also potentially a way of transmitting diseases that until now never crossed from fish to humans.

Read more here.

Plastic In Ocean: Update

by Irma Arkus

(Just for once, I would like to write and report on something that isn’t detrimental to marine wildlife, but this is not that day…)

The problem with plastic is that it may at first end up in the ocean, but eventually it will end up as part of you – yes, you! [National Geographic]

Schwarzenegger, A Bad Enviro Boy

by Irma Arkus

First thing I popped open today comes courtesy of New Scientist (I know I keep complaining on the quality of their articles, but this stuff is like a gossip rag of science) on Schwarzenegger’s new move to TERMINATE FUNDING for California state parks.

Why am I mentioning this?

Ah well. California, touted as literally the third world greatest economy, is having some serious financial issues. Not sure if you’ve been keeping track, but Schwarzenegger has been in the news as the governor of California who refuses to pay his civil employees for months at a time, and his budgetary issues have come up as soon as someone mentioned stimulus funds. In other worlds, they are drowning, and cutting corners everywhere.

Currently, California is juggling a massive deficit, of almost 25 billion dollars. While financially, it may make sense to cut funding to parks, the species that exist and are threatened might fair worse without a little extra help. For one, Sequoia trees are having the roughest time with their comeback, as they are currently tended from being overingulfed by more aggressive Fir trees.

Since I was a kid, Sequoia trees have been on my list of “things to see.” My brain still screams in agony at the thought of fisheries collapsing due to overfishing. When it comes to extinction of something as old as Sequoia trees, it simply shuts down, as if hit by lighting or a mild stroke.

Furthermore, the ongoing research projects in the park are at risk of losing their funding. Parks currently host some 120 projects, all of which are in danger of either losing their financial or administrative support.

We, on the other hand, are in risk of losing countless species, to money.

Doctor Who: The New Companion

by Irma Arkus

Since David Tennant revealed that he is to depart from the franchise, I’ve been feeling pangs of loss. He is, after all, one of the best Doctors to arise, standing right up there with Tom Baker as one of my top two favorites.

When Matt Smith was announced as the new face of the Doctor, I admittedly, freaked out a little. Too young? That’s kind of what I thought when Tennant came along too. Too inexperienced? Definitely. The only time we got to previously “see” him in, was in Billie Piper’s X-mas specials, “The Ruby in the Smoke” and “The Shadow in the North.” In a roundabout way, I presume that that was how Mr. Smith indeed ended up connected to the Doctor Who franchise itself.

But rumours are that in his audition, he puffed and huffed and blew all other competition away. Casting has been assuaging us that he is an amazing fit for the Doctor, and that naysayers will be proven wrong.

The new companion for the new Doctor has been announced too, however.

Tall glass of gorgeousness, Karen Gillan, is the new companion. While everyone touts Gilan’s small role in the “Fires Of Pompeii” from last season, I recall her from a failed pilot that showed off the undeniable fact that Gillan is a supermodel calibre of beauty, with the kind of face that you cannot peel your eyes off of, sporting a pair of bright, large eyes, and a whole lot of red hair.

Giant Rat Truly Giant

by Irma Arkus

Just when you thought that megafauna is a thing of the past, in Fuzhou, China, they catch a giant rat. Now that’s disgusting. [ Telegraph]

Israel Embraces Electric Cars

By Irma Arkus

News of the day is the announcement by Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres, that Israel will actively engage in a nation-wide effort toward using environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

Personal vehicles in Israel are atrociously expensive due to shipping and taxes (partially employed to discourage growth of traffic) but the general growth of fuel prices has made the market even harder on public. According to Shai Agassi, an entrepreneur participating in the marketing of the electric cars, the increase in gas prices has resulted in creating even playing fields for electric vs. gas vehicles. Even though electric energy has been deemed expensive in past, with US$100 a barrel, this distinction has dissipated.

Whereas the price of gas fluctuates, the electric energy has a more stable price, allowing users to experience stable costs of driving.

Current model will work similar to cell phone plans: the hardware itself will be subsidized, whereas the plan will cover a certain mileage anticipated by the users. Initially reported by NY Times, the public-private partnership will involve Israeli government, Project Better Place company, Renault and Nissan.

I sincerely hope that India, China, US and Canada, as well as European nations adopt a similar national move towards use of low emission vehicles. The greater question however, lies not only in the type of vehicles on roads, but the industries used to produce electric energy. Canada and China, for example, rely largely on use of coal to produce electricity. Coal is not only expensive to extract, but emits high levels of carbon dioxide into atmosphere. Scientific consensus is that if we are to burn all the coal on Earth, our atmosphere should resemble Venus. In other words, definitely uninhabitable.

The Israeli national interest to make a switch to electric vehicles is unprecedented, and should serve as an international example. On the other hand, the production of power in days to come is an even greater pressing concern.