October 5, 2012

    Photo: Andreas Solaro / AFP

Rome Introduces Snack-Free Zones

Tourists face fines for eating near monuments

In a move that Italian papers have dubbed, “War on the Sandwich,” the mayor of Rome, Gianni Allemanno, has declared it illegal to snack on or around the city’s many historical monuments. Pedestrians are allowed to walk and eat but if they stop and sit near the Piazza Navona fountain, the Colosseum, or the Pantheon with their food, they could face a fine of up to $650. The measure is targeted primarily at tourists who frequent the city in large numbers every year. An Italian police officer interviewed by NBC News had this to say: “I once caught a tourist chopping a watermelon in the fountain at Piazza Navona. Now we have a way to stop them.”



Eleanor Fairchild and Daryl Hannah protest Keystone XL.     Photo: Stephen Da Silva/Tar Sands Blockade

78-Year-Old Arrested Blocking Pipeline

Protester was on her own land

A 78-year-old great-grandmother from Texas was arrested for trespassing on her own farm as she attempted to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline alongside actress Daryl Hannah. Eleanor Fairchild and Hannah stood in front of heavy machinery that was being brought in to begin work on Fairchild's 300-acre ranch, part of which has been seized under eminent domain for Keystone. "We just sort of stood in front of them and held our hands in a stop motion," said Hannah, adding that a private security guard hired by TransCanada had injured her wrist. The pair face charges of criminal tresspassing, with Hannah facing an additional charge of resisting arrest. The incident marked Hannah's second arrested in 12 months for protesting Keystone.

Via Detroit Free Press


    Photo: cliff1066™/Flickr

Electric Cars: More Harm Than Good?

Coal-powered electricity marked as culprit

A new study says that electric are often more environmentally hazardous than their combustion-engine counterparts. The research, conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, looked at the entire life of the cars—from production, to usage, to end-of-life breakdown—to determine their total impact on the environment. If coal was used to create the electricity in cars, the study found, greenhouse-gas emissions rose greatly. The toxic waste created in production of electric cars—from nickel, copper, and aluminum—was also much greater than in conventional-car production. According to the study, "The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles." However, if the electric car is produced using low-carbon sources, there is still potential for it to reduce emissions on the whole. "If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle for its environmental benefits,” said the study’s co-author professor Anders Hammer Stromman, “first check your electricity source and second look closely at the warranty on the batteries."