Environment

In recent years, litigation attorneys and environmental epidemiologists have attempted to link flame retardants, which were put in furniture and electronics to prevent immolation by national mandate, to health problems. Studies have shown that the substances, or their constituents, can leach out of products, and end up in indoor dust,  over time. In a world where we can now detect parts per quadrillion, they can also be found in us.

A new paper in Environmental Science&Technology discusses how flame retardants in our homes could also be ending up in surface water, via our laundry.


The number of honey bee colonies fell by nearly 12% last winter - according to a preliminary look at a survey of beekeepers, that is. The UK and Spain were worst affected this year. The prior year, other areas of Europe were hardest hit.  While environmental groups make money scaring people about that, what it really means is something else.

The preliminary claims are being made by the honey bee research association COLOSS, based in the Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern.


Farmers are doing a lot more than just feeding the world, they are also offsetting tropical forests declines, capturing nearly 0.75 giga-tons of carbon dioxide every year ---but global warming estimates never account for that. 

There are more than 120,000 varieties of rice stored at the germplasm bank at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, but a new paper focused on varieties that met important criteria - currently grown by farmers, have a high yield potential, be disease and pest-resistant, grow to the right size and have strong enough roots to withstand monsoon-force winds - to find out which ones could were optimal in regards to nitrogen.

Nitrogen is one of three main nutrients required for crops to grow, it also costs the most to produce. 


Organic farming should be in a Golden Age. Organic marketing groups, and the junkyard dogs they pay to attack scientists (1) finally got mandatory labeling on conventional food, the public is already spending $13,000,000,000 on organic food in the U.S. alone, and margins have shown to be much higher.

I have long wondered why everyone doesn't switch to organic farming.

It's that pesky free market. 
Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin recently signed Federal Law 358-FZ, which bans genetic engineering of plants and animals for the indefinite future.
If the food industry is not in crisis, it certainly contains an increasing level of complexity and associated risks. A recent analysis suggested 50% of US food production is wasted, with global estimates above 30%.

Retailers want perfect produce, leading to wastage occurring throughout the food supply chain. They also seek low prices, leading to industrialization of processes.

Giant Ice Age species including elephant-sized sloths and powerful saber-toothed cats that once roamed the windswept plains of Patagonia, southern South America, were finally felled by a perfect storm of a rapidly warming climate and humans, according to a paper in Science Advances.

The timing and cause of rapid extinctions of the megafauna has remained a mystery for centuries.

The work led by the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, says that it was only when the climate warmed, long after humans first arrived in Patagonia, did the megafauna suddenly die off around 12,300 years ago, after the last Ice Age intermission.


The Australian dairy farming industry is in a state of crisis. Cheap dairy products and fluctuations in both the domestic and global markets have taken a financial toll on farmers. Consumers have rallied to help struggling dairy producers.

But this is only half the problem. The true cost of dairy is also paid by dairy cows and the environment.

A new study has implicated farms as a bigger source of fine-particulate air pollution than all other sources. This is no surprise in Europe, China, Russia and Europe, since food is the most important strategic resource everywhere. 

And it's an easy enough problem to solve. As technology continues to improve, emissions will go down anyway, so fumes from nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal waste that combine in the air with industrial emissions to form solid particles could double and particulate matter would still go down.