Environment

In an instantaneous, 24-hour news cycle, a lot of being made of current U.S. droughts but the 1934 version was 7X larger than other comparable intensity droughts that struck North America between 1000 A.D. and 2005, and nearly 30 percent worse than the next most severe drought that struck the continent in 1580, finds a new analysis.  


by Marc Brazeau, Genetic Literacy Project

Next week, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to approve Enlist Duo–a new herbicide formulation that combines two popular herbicides, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), which are used to control weeds.


By Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project

New genetically modified corn and soybean traits, already approved by the US Department of Agriculture, is likely to gain Environmental Protection Agency next week, the Genetic Literacy Project has learned.

Onions consistently make the lists of organic foods even the most ardent organic advocates don't recommend paying the extra money for; they have so many layers of skin that no pesticide, organic or synthetic, is getting through.

But it's still a market as long as people are willing to pay for a special sticker. And if you are in that market, there is good news; a new study of herbicides derived from clove oil tested the natural products' effectiveness in controlling weeds in Vidalia® sweet onion crops. Vidalia® sweet onion is a dry bulb onion grown in Georgia as a cool-season (winter) crop. 


When I look at my children at play, I am fascinated by the ways in which they learn. Learning is a brain event and there are times I imagine I can almost see my kids’ brains working and developing as they play and learn. Everything that we do, whether motor, sensory or cognitive, requires networks of neurons to generate new activity patterns in our brains. These newpatterns are how we experience learning.

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have created a new simulator to more accurately estimate the greenhouse gases likely to be released from Arctic peatlands if they warm.

Their model is based on how oxygen filters through soil and it estimates that previous models probably underestimated methane emissions and overrepresented carbon dioxide emissions from those regions. 

Peatlands, common in the Arctic, are wetlands filled with dead and decaying organic matter. They are the result of millions of years of plants dying and breaking down into rich soil, so they contain a massive amount of carbon.


When you take a shower and use soap and then lather, rinse and repeat twice with that shampoo, it gets washed off your body and goes down the drain.

Environmentalists have claimed these soaps and shampoos and washing machine detergents - surfactants - seep into groundwater, lakes and streams, where they could pose a risk to fish and frogs.

But do they? Not likely, finds a new report of the potential impact on the environment of the enormous amounts of common surfactants used day in and day out by consumers all over the world. 


Americans love their dogs, and most people clean up after their pets when they are out on a walk, but some do not: people who claim they wouldn't pour toxic chemicals or medicines onto the ground because they recognize it gets into waterways delude themselves into believing dog excrement is "natural" and will be okay in waterways.

But it isn't. Bacteria and anti-bacterial strains from dogs can make people sick from dogs just like it does humans, and we recognize that humans should not go to the bathroom on the ground near a lake.


Permafrost thaw kills forests in Canada, while drought kills trees in India and Borneo. In the U.S., in Virginia, over-abundant deer eat trees before they reach maturity, while nitrogen pollution has changed soil chemistry in Panama. 

Continents apart, trees have many similar ways to die. Many of the changes occurring in forests worldwide are attributable to human impacts on climate, atmospheric chemistry, land use and animal populations - no surprise, writing papers lamenting humanity is why many conservation groups exist. And hyperbolic cultural pandering has led to calls for a new geologic period in Earth's history—the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans. 


A review in the Journal of Animal Science has found that feeding livestock diets containing genetically engineered crops has no impact on the health or productivity of those animals.

The article documents 30 years worth of livestock-feeding studies, representing more than 100 billion animals, finding that the performance and health of food-producing animals fed GE crops are comparable with those of animals fed non-GE crops. 

Since their introduction in 1996, GE feed crops have become an increasing component of livestock diets. Today, more than 95 percent of U.S. food-producing animals consume feed containing GE crops. Studies that involve feeding GE crops to livestock are used to evaluate the safety of these crops.