November 26, 2012

An ocean reef.     Photo: Derek Keats

Rising Acidity Dissolving Ocean Animals

First evidence of affected mollusks

A new study indicates that man-made ocean acidification is already eating away at animals in the Southern Ocean. "This is actually happening now," said study author Geraint Tarling of the British Antarctic Survey.

Researchers collected sea snails from the Southern Ocean in 2008, and subsequent analysis has shown that the creatures' shells are actively being corroded by falling pH, which is dropping faster than at any time in the last 300 million years. The acidification is the result of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, which forms carbonic acid as it is absorbed by the ocean. Although models have predicted that marine life will suffer from rising acidity, this is the first evidence that mollusks are already being affected.

Via New Scientist

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    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Environmentalists, Hunters Clash On Outdoors Bill

Likely to pass Senate today

An expansive outdoor recreation and conservation bill expected to pass the Senate on Monday has hunting enthusiasts and environmentalists at odds with one another. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 will introduce a number of measures designed to boost funding for fish and wildlife habitats, as well as expand opportunities for hunters. Among the 17 provisions is an increase in the price of duck stamps, the profits from which would go to wetlands protection. It also includes funding for coastal states to eradicate invasive wetland pests, such as nutria.

What has environmentalists concerned is the bill’s language regarding the use of potentially hazardous means. In particular, the bill would allow the continued use of lead ammunition, which introduces some 14,000 tons of lead into the environment every year. Fishing and hunting groups have long resisted the phasing out of lead in their gear, largely due to the expense of alternative, non-toxic ammunition.

Opponents of the bill also argue that the language would make it impossible for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate not only lead, but other dangerous materials, such as perchlorate, an explosives component linked to thyroid problems in women and young children.

Via Washington Post

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    Photo: NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

Manatee Rider Arrested, Faces Jail Time

Possible six months in prison

We finally have an answer to the age-old (read: two-month-old) question, “What does it cost to ride a manatee?” And it's a $500 fine or up to six months in prison.

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, the 53-year-old Florida woman who was photographed on the back of a manatee in late September, was arrested on a warrant issued by the State Attorney’s Office on Saturday. Last month, Gutierrez turned herself in to authorities but was not arrested as the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office passed her case on to the State Attorney’s Office.

After reviewing the case, the State Attorney’s Office determined that Gutierrez violated the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, which makes it illegal "for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee." She was charged with a second-degree-misdemeanor and released on $1,500 bail.

Via Sun Sentinel

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Alberto Contador     Photo: Petit Brun/Flickr

Contador: 'Zero Tolerance' for Dopers

Calls own suspension "injustice"

Alberto Contador called for "zero tolerance" for dopers in an interview with French television last week, while dismissing his own sanction for drug use as an "injustice." Speaking from the team's training camp, Contador said that "there is no place for cheaters" in cycling, but that he had done nothing to deserve the two-year suspension he received after testing positive for clenbuterol in 2010. "I worked according to the regulations and they said that the victory is not mine, it's an injustice," he said.

Saxo-Tinkoff faces the prospect of not competing on the International Cycling Union's WorldTour next year because UCI rules dictate that Contador's post-suspension wins of the Vuelta a España and Milano-Torino don't count toward the team's point total.

Via VeloNation

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Aksel Lund Svindal     Photo: Kevin Pedraja/Flickr

Svindal Sweeps World Cup Weekend

Norwegian dominates downhill and super-G

Norwegian ski racer Aksel Lund Svindal has completed a perfect weekend at the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup, winning the downhill and super-G races and topping the leaderboard after four events. “Most racers, including myself, you don’t have the chance to win World Cups every day and when you feel you have a chance, you have to get after it,” Svindal said on Sunday. “Yesterday and today, I felt ‘This is a race I can win,’ and you’ve got to try and take advantage of those opportunities.” The 29-year-old two-time overall champion has bounced back from a bad crash in 2007 that almost ended his career.

Via Chicago Tribune

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