Tag: climate change

Another "Climate Trick" Controversy: Copenhagen Prostitutes Giving Freebies

By Brett Israel | December 4, 2009 2:09 pm

red-light-crop-webHad enough of climate-change deniers harping on the “trick” used by researchers working with raw climate data? The Danish government has their own brand of denial for you—they’d like to pretend the country’s sex industry doesn’t exist, according to Der Spiegel:

Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards to city hotels warning summit guests not to patronize Danish sex workers during the upcoming climate conference. Now the prostitutes have struck back, offering free sex to anyone who produces one of the warnings.

The postcards are complete with the catchy and eco-friendly slogan, “Be sustainable–don’t buy sex.”

The Sex Workers Interest Group was unimpressed. So to fight back on behalf of the country’s working girls, they will offer free sex to any delegate that flashes both the government postcard and their conference ID badge.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Is It “Science” to Show Cadavers Having Sex?
Discoblog: World Famous Sex Blogger’s Day Job? Research Scientist.
Discoblog: To China’s Internet Filter, Garfield is Pornography, Porn is Not

Image: flickr / keepwaddling1


Britain's New Protected Minority: Tree-Huggers

By Brett Israel | November 4, 2009 6:55 pm

forest-cathedralEmployers in the U.K. have just learned that there’s a word for discrimination against a person based on their earth-conscious, tofu-eating ways: “greenism.” And firing someone for their environmental views is just as illegal as firing someone for their religious or philosophical beliefs, according to a court ruling.

Tim Nicholson, former head of sustainability at property firm Grainger Plc, claims he was laid off because of his views on climate change and the environment. A judge said Nicholson could take Grainger to the Employment Appeals Tribunal over the layoff, but Grainger challenged the ruling on the grounds that climate change is a scientific and not philosophical viewpoint. However, that challenge was overturned, according to the Telegraph:

In a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton said that “a belief in man-made climate change … is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.”

The ruling could open the door for employees to sue their companies for failing to account for their green lifestyles, such as providing recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel.

Nicholson said during previous hearings that due to his strong convictions he refused to travel by air and renovated his house to be environmentally friendly. He also said Grainger’s chief executive, who allegedly once flew a staff member from Ireland to London to deliver a forgotten Blackberry, was hostile toward his beliefs. The company said it will now argue that there was no link between Nicholson’s views and his layoff.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Are “Climate Friendly” Food Labels a Terrible Idea?
Discoblog: University Sued for Saying Earth Not Created in 6 Days
Discoblog: Nobel Laureates Go Ape After Royal Society Creationist Comment

Image: flickr / hpeguk

MORE ABOUT: climate change

Weekly News Roundup: Giant Sea Blobs Attack!

By Melissa Lafsky | October 9, 2009 3:38 pm

roundup-pic_webGiant blobs of mucus are invading the oceans. Yes, you read that right—giant blobs of mucus. Movie version coming soon.

• Hey, Obama won the Nobal Peace Prize! And it’s taken over Twitter!

• Forget polygraphs: Art projects are the new lie detector tests.

• New spectrometer-laden scalpel can actually sniff out tumors as it cuts.

• And now, for something completely different: Miami has the hottest and least intelligent people in the nation, according to a completely opinion-based unscientific survey done by Travel & Leisure.


Fake New York Post on Climate Change: "We're Screwed"

By Melissa Lafsky | September 21, 2009 10:51 am

We're Screwed

Let it not be said that no one is using eye-catching stunts to raise awareness about global warming. The activist group the Yes Men is distributing 85,000 free copies of a “special climate edition” of the New York Post throughout New York City today, with the goal of, well, terrifying people into action against climate change.

The full paper is available online here, and each article is also online. Here’s an excerpt from the front-page story:

It’s official. It’s getting hot down here. And if we don’t stop burning oil and coal, the Big Apple will be cooked.

According to a high tech study commissioned by a concerned Mayor Bloomberg and generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, climate change caused by human-created greenhouse gases is threatening the health, livelihood and security of New Yorkers—especially those who take the subway to work…

According to the panel’s report, if all nations don’t drastically cut their carbon emissions, then Gotham will suffer in the following ways:

• Deadly heat waves will become more frequent, more intense and longer. Because cities are a lot hotter than their surrounding areas, we’ll see more of the sorts of heat events that killed 600 people in 5 days in Chicago in 1995…

• With coastal flooding, our water supply will be in trouble…

• Along with coastal flooding, droughts will also increase…

• The strain on our power grid will be drastically increased during the summer months.

Granted, there is some light at the end of the pitch black tunnel:

So what can we do about it? Plenty. And it’s not even that hard.

On the City level, NASA scientists have the answers, and they’re simple: plant lots more trees (to cool the air through “evapotranspiration” and shade), and paint the roofs white to reflect the sun’s heating rays (See “New York’s all white with me”).

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, we need to put pressure on government—local, state and federal—to convert our entire energy systems to sustainable sources like solar and wind.

Well, lets hope all those stimulus checks can kick that process into gear.

Related Content:
Reality Base: Will the Bailout Save Solar Tax Credits?
Reality Base: Congress Steals from the Clean and Gives to the Dirty
Discoblog: Are Wind Turbines Killing Innocent Goats?

Image: Courtesy of The Yes Men

Not Freezing Ice Cream Would Help the Environment; Not Eating It Would, Too

By Allison Bond | August 25, 2009 12:55 pm

ice creamCould part of the solution for global warming fit inside an ice cream cone? Maybe—at least, that’s what the developers of so-called “ambient” ice cream are hoping.

Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream producer (and owner of perhaps the world’s best ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s), is trying to figure out how to produce a new kind of frozen treat that can be shipped and sold at room temperature, before being frozen at home once purchased. The goal is to reduce the carbon that is needed to keep today’s ice cream from turning into a sloppy mess. The Times Online reports:

A spokesman for Unilever said that warm, or so-called ambient, ice cream was a “very interesting idea” but one that posed tough challenges that its scientists were trying to solve. “The key question which has yet to be fully answered is: how do you ensure that, when the ambient ice cream is frozen at home it will have the right microstructure to produce a fantastic consumer experience?”

The new ice cream may be the tastiest part of an overall program to help Unilever cut down on the impact its products, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, have on the environment. Of course, an even bigger way to reduce carbon: Eat less ice cream.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Next in the Weight-Loss Arsenal: Food That Sits in Your Stomach Twice as Long
Discoblog: Let Them View Cake: Looking at Food Pics Equals Less Eating
Discoblog: How to Make Solar Chocolate Chip Cookies on Your Car Dashboard

Image: flickr / lilivanili

A Floating Home in Manhattan: The Waterpod to Launch Tomorrow

By Allison Bond | June 12, 2009 9:15 am

WaterpodLand-based living is so last millennium—at least according to the creators of the Waterpod, a barge that for four artists will serve as a self-sustainable floating home for five months, beginning this Saturday, June 13. The 30- by 100-foot barge will be towed from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to a pier in South Street Seaport, on the lower east edge of Manhattan. The project, led by a sculptor-photographer from Queens, is a step towards eco-friendly housing that can adapt to a changing climate.

The pod is constructed out of repurposed wood, metal and other materials on top of the barge, and a garden and flock of chickens will provide food for everyone on board. Inhabitants will power their own appliances, such as laptops, with a wind turbine and an electricity-producing bicycle. And there are four main areas on the Waterpod, including one for community building, one containing the bedrooms, another for producing power and food, and the last for cooking and showering.

We love the idea of a self-sufficient, floating shelter but have to wonder: What happens if you’re prone to sea sickness?

Related Content:

Discoblog: World Science Festival: Radically Green Future Cities
Discoblog: Watch Your Water
Discoblog: “Electric Fart Machine” Could Lead to Greater Fuel Storage Efficiency

Image: Courtesy of Waterpod Project

Where's the Wind? Researchers Say Wind in the U.S. Disappearing

By Allison Bond | June 10, 2009 1:23 pm

windyIs the U.S. getting less windy? That’s what scientists from Indiana and Iowa State Universities are speculating, based on data collected across the nation since 1973 that show average and peak wind speeds. Some parts of the Midwest show a 10 percent drop in wind speed, with winds slowing the most near the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.

So why the wind loss in the Great Lakes? It might be because less ice on the now-warmer lakes means winds travel across them more slowly, hypothesizes the study’s lead author.

And why does this matter? Well, less wind could mean a share of the power we expect to reap from turbines is, well, gone with the wind.

Some experts say the decreased wind speeds could be linked to global warming. For example, the warming of the earth’s poles decreases the difference in air pressure between the poles and the equator, and this difference is a factor in creating strong winds, according to one co-author of the study.
Read More

To Track Penguins, Scientists Use High-Tech Satellite Images of…Droppings

By Allison Bond | June 2, 2009 1:19 pm

penguinWhen emperor penguins are in your vicinity, their signature tuxedos and waddling gaits make them hard to miss. But when scientists from the British Antarctic Survey tried to track Antarctic emperor penguin populations using satellites, the birds proved too small to be seen. That’s when they got the idea to focus on something much larger and darker than the penguins themselves: the stains left by their feces.

Using the patches of poop as a guide, the scientists examined the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica and spotted 38 penguin colonies, including 10 that had never before been recorded.

Emperor penguins, which starred in the adorable documentary March of the Penguins, are at risk of becoming endangered if climate change threatens their habitat and food supply. In fact, populations in some of the colonies could drop by 95 percent by 2010.

Read More

Migraine Sufferers' Redemption: The Weather Does Cause Headaches

By Boonsri Dickinson | March 11, 2009 3:05 pm

headache.jpgDoctors have long known that food, alcohol, stress, and hormones can cause migraines. And now, research shows that weather can too.

For years weather-related headaches were considered “clinical folklore,” until Harvard researcher Kenneth Mukamal conducted a “large-scale” study and found that fluctuations in temperature can contribute to or even cause the pain.

The researchers examined the headache complaints of over 7,000 patients admitted to Boston area ERs from 2000 to 2007, and compared them to weather patterns. In particular, Mukamal, a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, used data from meteorological and pollutant monitors to see how the weather was three days before each patient’s visit.

Read More

The Latest (and Hardest) Tool for Battling Climate Change: Rocks

By Rachel Cernansky | March 9, 2009 3:39 pm

rocks.jpgRocks may be environmentalists’ newest best friends, if recent research is brought to real-world fruition. Working with the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute found large areas along the east and west coasts of the U.S. that are lined with rocks that may be able to absorb enough carbon dioxide to slow down climate change.

The new research builds on previous knowledge that rocks naturally absorb carbon dioxide by binding it with minerals to form solids such as calcium carbonate. The absorption takes place over thousands of years, during the recrystallization that occurs after the surfaces of rocks are dissolved by natural weathering. To speed up that process, scientists experimented in the lab by crushing a sample of rocks and adding a catalyst to dissolve them. They reformed in minutes and in doing so, absorbed carbon dioxide. Read More


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar