Born at the right time

It’s nice to have some good conservation news every once in awhile, even with caveats. North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered species on Earth. These mammals were dubbed by 18th-century whalers to be the “right” whales to catch because they’re huge (up to 70 tons and 55 feet long), stay close to shore, move slowly and have large amounts of baleen and blubber, the latter of which yielded much...

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For now, forget biofuels in reserves

Ethanol as the next generation of alternative fuels has stirred significant controversy. While some tout its lower-than-gasoline greenhouse-gas emissions and its usefulness in creating carbon sinks in its agricultural fields, many other ecologists call ethanol production the most inefficient of alternative fuel options. Even the most optimistic scenarios still show that using current technologies, it can take years – in some...

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The 109th annual Christmas bird count

One of last week’s Nature editorials extols the 109th annual Christmas bird count, a tradition started by the National Audubon Society as an alternative to the former competitive sport of shooting birds to mark the holidays.  The survey, which takes place during a three-week interval that overlaps Christmas and New Year’s Day each year, involves birders of all ages and backgrounds from around the globe traipsing through the...

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