The Tortoise And The Oil Spill
Around the turn of the 20th century, if you were in the upper class in America, you’d have probably, at some point, sat down to a nice dinner of Diamond Terrapin turtle. The species, native to Alabama, was a sought-after delicacy then – now, after decades of industrial growth and commercial fishing, it’s almost extinct. And the University of Alabama biologists who’ve been working hard since 2006 to revive the species are worried that the Gulf of Mexico’s recent oil spill will undo all of their efforts.
“Any community of organisms in the path of that spreading oil slick is in danger, and that is especially the case for a species like the Diamondback Terrapin turtle that is teetering on the brink of extinction in Alabama,” says Thane Wibbels, Ph.D.. He’s the UAB biologist who’s been most active in taking up the Terrapin’s cause.
To keep the Terrapin off the endangered list, Wibbels and his team had established a turtle hatchery on campus, near the Terrapin’s natural habitat in the Cedar Point Marsh – they had planned to launch many of their happy little turtlettes off into the beginning of the rest of their lives this week, setting them off into the wild to integrate into the ecosystem from whence they came. But those plans have been stymied by the oil spill – the team needs to wait until they know how much damage will be done, before they proceed.
So as the spill burns on, the story of the Diamondback Terrapin is just one more illustration of how many creatures, great and small, are at the mercy of Big Oil. Fortunately, Obama’s mad about it, and Big Oil is feeling the heat.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
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- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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