EcoMania - Oct/Nov 2014

October, 2014




PSST, WANT TO BUY A BRIDGE: Portland officials want to sell the Sellwood Bridge, complete with a paved road, sidewalks and railings, as long as the buyer has a place to put it.
A spokesman said, “We’d even consider a plan to buy half of it,” although they have not put a price on the 60-foot bridge. Crews have already moved the bridge at a cost of a million dollars.

NO COMMENT: A Seattle man who tried to kill a spider with a makeshift blowtorch—a cigarette lighter and a can of spray paint—instead set his house on fire, causing $60,000 in damages.


FOREST GUARDIANS: The best way to keep trees standing is by letting local people have the right to control what happens there—because most communities would protect rather than plunder them.

So says a new study by the World Resources Institute which concludes that community-owned forests are often the best protected. But they have control over just one-eighth of the world’s forests; the rest are run by governments or leased for logging or mining, often in defiance of community claims.

In the Amazon, for example, deforestation rates in community forests are 10 times lower than those controlled by outside forces. In Guatemala, they are 20 times lower than in those under government protection. In Mexico’s Yucatan state, deforestation is a whopping 350 times lower in community forests.


A GREAT FALL: Humpty Dumpty literally fell off the wall. It happened at the Enchanted Forest where two men wanting pictures climbed up the wall—where Humpty had sat since the theme park opened in 1970—and the whole structure came crashing down. “Hopefully, we can put him together again,” said a spokesman.


OH DEER: Norway had to close a major highway in the Arctic because high temperatures drove reindeer to seek refuge in a cool road tunnel. Drivers were forced to take a long detour for days until temperatures dropped and the deer left the tunnel.


WHAT’S IN A NAME: The  fashionable clothing store Saks Fifth Avenue insists on a new name for the online pet treat company, Snaks Fifth Avenchew.

The pet foods owner, Carrie Sarabella, who grew up shopping at Saks, said using a parody name, just like Bloomingtails, seemed fitting for her company. She launched her online store to market treats for pets suffering from food allergies.


FLYING HIGH ON TOBACCO: Making jet fuel from tobacco is the goal of a joint venture by Boeing and South African Airways.

Test farming of a hybrid tobacco plant, which is nicotine-free, is being done in South Africa. The biofuel is expected “in the next few years,” both companies said. The fuel has potential wherever traditional tobacco is cultivated.


PACHYDERM PANIC: Poaching is the main reason that more elephants are dying in Africa than are being born.

Up to 40,000 elephants have been illegally killed each year since 2009—and the population has shrunk by up to three percent annually. “This poaching spike is due to rising demand for ivory from Asia,” says Richard Thomas of Britain’s Traffic International. “Thanks to rising wealth, people are now able to afford ivory, which has long been desired as a status symbol. Deterrents need to be put in place to drive home that wildlife poaching is a serious crime.”  


WALK TO SURVIVAL: A 57-year-old woman survived in the Alaskan wilds after being mauled by a brown bear.

Thea Thomas was hiking near a stream where salmon were spawning when her dogs sprinted back to her chased by the bear. She estimates she was bitten seven times, the worst to her back and inner thighs, but still managed to walk back to her truck some 1.5 miles away.


HEAVY GATOR: Alabama hunters snared an alligator that weighed more than 1,000 pounds, the largest ever caught in the state and so heavy it needed a backhoe to lift it onto a scale.

The gator, caught with a snare hook in a state park and measuring 15 feet long, registered at 1,011.5 pounds. The American alligator was listed as endangered almost 50 years ago because of habitat loss and excessive hunting. But it was removed from the list in 1987 and now numbers more than a million in the Southeast, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.


MUSSEL MUSCLE: Scientists determined that the part of the mussel “glue” called catchecol pushes water molecules out of the way to bind directly to a wide variety of surfaces. This study could pave the way for better adhesives for many applications, such as for use in surgeries.

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