Here are this week’s headlines – California is voting on Prop 37, a wannabe El Nino, an icon for global warming, superweeds, Inuit tensions, ever increasing obesity, and a brand new dinosaur. It’s a motley crew this week!
Experts See Signs of Weak El Nino – “We believe that there will be an El Niño, but the strength of it is debatable, and it may be a fairly weak one,” said Huug van den Dool, a meteorologist at the federal government’s Climate Prediction Center. ‘The bigger the El Niño, the bigger the effect,’ said David Neelin, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of California, Los Angeles. ‘This may be El Niño manqué, a borderline El Niño — a wannabe El Niño.’ That is disappointing news for anyone hoping for much relief from the drought that has gripped the United States. Some people thought a wetter winter might be in store across the nation’s midsection when they heard, starting in the spring, that the latest Niña had ended and that El Niño was on its way.”
The Battle Over Labeling Genetically Modified Foods – “Did you know that 88 percent of the corn and 94 percent of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified? ‘The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,’ would require that any food containing genetically modified ingredients be clearly labeled. If it passes on Nov. 6, some of America’s most popular food products, from Coca-Cola to Corn Flakes, would have to be marked as “partially produced with genetic engineering” — a phrase that food companies fear could be as damning as a skull and crossbones. Similar labeling laws have been proposed in more than a dozen U.S. states, but the food and agriculture industries stopped them by putting intense political pressure on state legislators.”
An Icon for Global Warming – “When I searched for a global warming icon, nothing appeared,” said Luis Prado, a graphic designer who illustrates publications and creates interpretive signs at his job at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. “So I made one.”
As Arctic Melts, Inuit Face Tensions with Outside World – “Some Inuit feel they are losing control of a homeland whose ice-covered expanses had acted as a barrier to the outside world. A growing number of interests — mining and oil companies, scientists and conservationists, military vessels from Canada and other Arctic nations — are appearing in the Inuit’s traditional homeland, leaving many wary of southerners who increasingly seek to influence the future course of the Arctic.”
Colorado River: Running Near Empty – “Photographer Peter McBride traveled along the Colorado River from its source high in the Rocky Mountains to its historic mouth at the Sea of Cortez. In this Yale Environment 360 video, he follows the natural course of the Colorado by raft, on foot, and overhead in a small plane, telling the story of a river whose water is siphoned off at every turn, leaving it high and dry 80 miles from the sea. In the video, McBride, a Colorado native, documents how increasing water demands have transformed the river that is the lifeblood for an arid Southwest.”
US Farmers Using More Pesticides on Superweeds – ‘U.S. farmers are using more hazardous pesticides to fight weeds and insects due largely to heavy adoption of genetically modified crop technologies that are sparking a rise of “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects, according to a newly released study. Genetically engineered crops have led to a 404 million pounds increase in overall pesticide use by from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.”
Percentage of Severely Obese Adults Skyrockets – “In 2010, about 6.6% of adults in this country were severely obese — about 15.5 million people — up from 3.9% in 2000, says the study from the RAND Corp., a non-profit research group.”
Climate Change Threatens US Forests – “Scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona and partner organizations said that if warmer temperatures and drought continue for the southwestern states, forest ecosystems could change dramatically.”
New, Bizarre Species of Small Dinosaur Discovered – Really cool. Makes me look at my backyard chickens in a whole new light.