Friday Finds: Float like a butterfly, do math like a bee
Poacher trackers, air pollution stink bombs, leaky fracking memos
Top enviro official deems NY gas drilling supervision a fracking mess
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is "ill-equipped" to regulate natural gas drilling, according to a leaked internal memo written by a former environmental official and reported on by ProPublica. Earthjustice is currently fighting to stop gas drilling in New York because pumping millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract gas isn’t all that it’s fracked up to be.
Cow power makes clean air advocates glower
Eco-friendly farmers eager to turn their cows’ poop into power by burning the methane that’s found in manure are finding themselves knee-deep in another environmental problem, according to NPR. Though burning manure for energy cuts down on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, it releases other pollutants into the air that can contribute to smog. That stinks.
Rhino tracking horns in on poachers
Global positioning system (GPS) devices are being used to deter rhino poachers in South Africa’s North West province, reports the BBC. Researchers placed tracking units inside the horns of five rhinos, which are designed to go off whenever the animals display weird movement, like sleeping longer than six hours or walking off the game reserve. Now if only the devices could tell the rhinos the best route to the watering hole.
Bees put the sting on computers in math contest
Despite having a brain the size of a grass seed, bees can outsmart computers in solving tough math problems, according to research reported on by the Guardian. The buzzworthy insects are able to figure out the shortest route between randomly discovered flowers, a task that can take computers many days to complete. Figuring out how this is achieved has put a bee in the researchers’ bonnets, who believe that the technique has implications for improving human network systems like traffic flows.
BPA blasts sperm counts
A recent study has found that Chinese factory workers exposed to BPA, a widely used chemical found in everything from hard plastic bottles to aluminum can linings and paper receipts, are more likely to have decreased sperm counts, according to a Washington Post article. The study was too small to conclude whether BPA exposure can make men infertile, but it’s safe to safe that there’s now a new fertility foe for men. And it doesn’t come in the form of tighty whiteys.
Jessica is a former award-winning journalist. She enjoys wild places and dispensing justice, so she considers her job here to be a pretty amazing fit.