It’s an honor doled out by about half of the American states: the naming of an official state rock. West Virginia has bituminous coal. Florida has agatized coral. California has the olive-green beauty serpentine–for the moment. State legislators are moving to cast off the rock, saying it contains the mineral chrysotile asbestos.
Exposure to chrysotile asbestos, according to the pending “serpentine bill,” increases the risk of cancer, and State Senator Gloria Romero wants nothing to do with the once-loved rock. She sponsored the bill, which has received support from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Consumer Attorneys of California.
What’s a quick way to make some cash? Sell advertising space on anything you’ve got. That’s what a proposed bill suggests to put a dent in California’s $19 billion deficit. If the bill gets passed, the state will roll out digital car license plate ads for traveling promotion.
While the car is in motion, the plates will display the driver’s standard license plate number, but four seconds after stopping the magic happens. The plates will then flash ads alongside the number until the car starts to move again.
This bill was the bright idea of Curren Price, a democratic state senator from Los Angeles, who told the AP:
“We’re just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues,” he said. “It’s an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront.”
One astronaut’s trash is another state’s treasure. That’s the message from California as the Golden State officially registered a collection of 106 objects left behind on the moon by the Apollo 11 mission as a state historical resource. The collection encompasses about 5,000 pounds of objects, including the bottom stage of the lunar lander and the American flag planted on the moon’s surface by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
And it’s not just the tools and the flag–California has also claimed custody of bags of human waste left behind.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the logic behind the unusual decision:
The first landing on the moon by humans, on July 20, 1969, was “one of the most historical events in the last 100 to 200 years,” said Jay Correia, a historian with the Historical Resources Commission. California had a major role in developing the technology that made the trip to the moon possible.
Thirty thousand years is a long time to hang out in any one place, much less stuck inside a tiny salt crystal. But microbiologist Brian Schubert says he found just that in a crystal from sediments in Death Valley—bacteria-like archaeans that have lived inside the tiny enclosure for all those years.
The researchers announced in a paper in Geology that they could culture the archaeans in the liquid from inside the crystal, liquid they estimate to be 22,000 to 34,000 years old. Previous studies suggesting even longer lives for microbes stuck in salt crystals (one even getting up to an insane-sounding 250 million years) have been met with skepticism. But even doubters of those studies say Schubert’s could have more validity, as the Death Valley area wouldn’t have allowed recrystallization (which would permit the liquid to escape and fresh microbes to get in) for 10,000 years at the least.
No one knows why dozens of jumbo squid washed up on a southern California beach on Saturday, although an earthquake occurred in the area about an hour earlier. Still, experts don’t know if there’s a link between the ‘quake and the beached squid.
The conundrum has puzzled the area’s residents, including one woman who said she’d never seen anything like it in the 42 years she’d lived in the area. The jumbo squid do venture into shallower depths at night, according to LiveScience:
During the day, the somewhat mysterious jumbo squid are known to descend to lower depths in the ocean to rest, slowing down their metabolism to deal with the lower oxygen levels there. At night, they return to well-oxygenated waters nearer the surface to feed.
Beachgoers tried to throw back the squid, which measured up to four feet long, before seagulls could feast on them. But for many of the marine creatures, the attempt was futile.
Check out this video of the stranded squid:
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