October 22, 2012

Lance Armstrong in 2002     Photo: Benutzer:Hase/Flickr

Armstrong Stripped of Tour Titles

As UCI declines to appeal sanctions

Lance Armstrong lost his final hope of beating doping charges today when the International Cycling Union agreed to strip the American cyclist of his seven Tour de France victories. Speaking to a press conference, UCI President Pat McQuaid said he was "sickened" by the contents of USADA's report, in which 26 witnesses testified that Armstrong was one of the main protagonists behind a long-running doping conspiracy on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," McQuaid said. While Armstrong announced in August that he would no longer fight the charges against him, UCI had the option of appealing USADA's ruling to the Court for Arbitration of Sport. The group will now meet on Friday to decide whether to reassign Armstrong's titles to other riders. Finding legitimate winners for the seven-time champion's reign could be difficult: according to the USADA report, 20 out of the 21 podium finishers from the years Armstrong won the Tour de France have been directly tied to doping scandals.

Via USA Today

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    Photo: aquariumia/Flickr

Farming Pesticides Kill Bumblebees

Pollen-gathering ability hindered too

Pesticides are killing worker bumblebees vital to plant pollination, according to a recent study in Nature. Two commonly used pesticides, the study found, make bumblebees twice as likely to die and make them less effective at pollen gathering when they don’t die. The study, conducted by scientists at the University of London, helps shed some light on the worldwide decline of the insects, which holds widespread consequences. According to the United Nations, around one-third of all plants eaten by humans depend on pollination from bees. A 2011 report from the U.N. projected that bees and other pollinators are worth about $200 billion to the economy because of the pollination work they do. 

Via The Guardian

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On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 70,000 solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)     Photo: Wikipedia

Saudi Arabia to Go Renewable

Prince sets goal for 100 percent green energy

Officials from Saudi Arabia last week announced plans to become 100 percent powered by renewable energy within the next several decades. Speaking at the Global Economic Symposium in Brazil, Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud of the Saudi Arabian royal family said that by converting the country to renewable energy, Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves could be used to produce other goods such as plastic and polymers. The Prince specifically cited the countries vast potential for solar power, as well as the use of Saudia Arabia’s depleted oil fields for carbon capture and storage. Almost all of Saudi Arabia’s energy currently comes from fossil fuels, with two-thirds from oil and the rest from natural gas. So far, environmentalists have greeted the announcement cautiously. "It speaks volumes that a Saudi prince can see the benefits of switching to clean energy sources,” said Greenpeace political director Joss Garman. “But Saudi Arabia will only truly be a green economy when it leaves its fossil fuels in the ground."

Via The Guardian

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