Shirley Hao's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Shirley Hao's blog


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

Shirley Hao undertakes sous chef duties as Senior Web Producer for Earthjustice's website, serving up interactive online features, large and small, on Earthjustice's litigation and campaign work. Shirley also writes the unEARTHED column Monday Reads, profiling quirky stories and how Earthjustice's work can unexpectedly intersect with everyday news. The column has engaged topics from bear vs. zucchini (and our litigation to protect the grizzly and polar varieties) to giggling penguins (and a look at how that species and others are faring in our warming world). She's an enthusiastic appreciator of the four 'C's (community supported agriculture, comics, cats and canines) and is fond of practicing the under-appreciated art of sleeping in.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
25 November 2009, 12:57 PM
In a desolate stretch of Death Valley, lonely stones silently push forward.
Sailing stones, hard at work. Photo: USGS.

If a stone sails across the desert and no one is there to see it, did it really move?

The Daily Mail revisits the phenomenon of “sailing stones”—stones that apparently move without the aid of wildlife, human, or hoaxist help.

These stones, which range in size from pebbles to boulders heavier than you or I in a post-Thanksgiving dinner state, have been studied by geologists for decades. Many of the stones can be found in Death Valley’s cheekily named Racetrack Playa (dry lakebed), where they leave a distinct trail in their wake, etched into the desert floor. They appear capable of turning on a dime and abruptly changing direction. Mysteriously, stones that had been traveling in a parallel direction, may suddenly inexplicably diverge paths. (Some may idly remark on such similarities in certain human relationships.)

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20 November 2009, 6:44 PM
An unusual encounter between leopard seal and photographer
What leopard seals may lurk here?

Cats have been known to bring their human companions gifts of all sorts. Curiously surprised humans have found themselves proudly offered such choice items as mice, birds, and squirrels—presents that arrive very much dead, very much alive, and in all states between.

Photographer Paul Nicklen found himself in just this situation on a recent expedition to Antarctica. There aren't many house cats on the icy continent, but there are plenty of leopard seals—and small penguins who look particularly tasty to them.

In this video, Nicklen recounts an incredible story of a female leopard seal who defies her species' reputation as a deadly predator, instead gamely trying her best to take care of and feed him. With penguins. For four days.

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13 November 2009, 1:00 AM
Love bite brings baby sharks into the world
The proud mother. Photo: New Zealand Herald

[UPDATE: "Friday Reads" is now moving to Mondays! Look for us at the start of your week.]

Imagine you're a prospective new mum, walking down the street, minding your own business. Maybe you're thinking about which hospital you should deliver your little ones at. Or perhaps which nursery school to enroll them in. When all of a sudden, a fellow pedestrian suddenly decides to help said little ones out of your womb—with their teeth!

Such was an unusual afternoon this week at Auckland's Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World for one school shark (Galeorhinus galeus), who was bit by a Broadnose Sevengill shark. Or, as Kelly Tarlton's curator Andrew Christie put it, "took some of its normal seasonal aggression out on her."

Unbeknownst to the aquarium staff, the school shark was pregnant, and the situation quickly went from horrifying to bizarre for stunned spectators, as four shark pups gleefully slipped out through the sizeable gash in their mother's side and into the wide world of the aquarium tank.

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06 November 2009, 4:15 PM
Part of a series of Friday posts on the fascinating natural world around us
Nomura's jellyfish contemplates curious diver. Photo: CDNN

The jellyfish are coming! The jellyfish are coming! Off the coast of Japan, fishing boats are locked in battle with a veritable armada of jellyfish. They actually sank one boat! Also known as Echizen kurage or Nemopilema nomurai, Nomura’s jellyfish aren’t your garden variety jellyfish, growing 6 feet long and 400 pounds heavy.

The jellyfish are thought to originate in the Yellow Sea, picking up a pound or several hundred as ocean currents propel them towards the Sea of Japan. Hiroshima University Professor Ue Shinichi, a leading jellyfish researcher, told Yomiuri Shimbun:

The arrival is inevitable. A huge jellyfish typhoon will hit the country.

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30 October 2009, 4:50 PM
First in a series of Friday posts on the fascinating natural world around us
Gastropod meets Leucochloridium paradoxum parasite. The snail's appendages have seen better days. Photo: Thomas Hahmann

When Bugs Go Bad—Really Bad. Talk about uncomfortable relationships: Scientific American brings us up close and personal with several hair-raising tales of parasites in the animal kingdom, including a flatworm that multiplies inside snails. Once the worms are ready to trade up on a host:

"[They] push up into the snail's tentacles, making them swell and squirm, mimicking the action of bugs that birds like to eat. As the snail crawls, blindly, into the sunlight, a passing bird is likely to swoop down to snatch a tasty tentacle or two."

The worms return to terra firma to infect other unsuspecting gastropods courtesy of bird droppings.

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