Oil Company to Face Felony Charges Over Massive California Spill


In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years. (photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)
In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25

 

Samantha Page | Think Progress | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

he company responsible for spilling 140,000 gallons of oil on the Pacific coastline near Santa Barbara, California, has been indicted on 46 charges, including four felony charges. One employee of Plains All American Pipeline was also indicted.

The company faces up to $2.8 million in fines plus additional costs and penalties, which would be split between the state and Santa Barbara County. The employee, 41-year-old environmental and regulatory compliance specialist James Buchanan, faces up to three years in jail.

“Crimes against our environment must be met with swift action and accountability,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “This conduct is criminal and today’s charges serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences that flow from jeopardizing the well-being of our ecosystems and public health.”

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Will One of the World’s Most Endangered Whales Be Saved Before It’s Too Late?


Alicia Graef | Care2 | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2016

onservationists took legal action this week to get protection for one of the most endangered species of whales on Earth.

The whales in question are a a genetically distinct population of Bryde’s whales who were only recently discovered. Bryde’s whales can be found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, but these whales are year-round residents of the Gulf of Mexico who live mainly in the DeSoto Canyon, off the Florida panhandle.

Genetic testing conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center recently concluded these whales are a genetically distinct subspecies, if not an entirely new species altogether. In addition to being genetically unique, they also have a distinctive song unlike the calls of other Bryde’s whales and are the only baleen whales living in the Gulf.

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Solar Impulse Pilot: ‘I Flew Over Plastic Waste as Big as a Continent’


The solar airplane as it approaches the California coast. (photo: Solar Impulse)
The solar airplane as it approaches the California coast. (photo: Solar Impulse)

 

Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch | Reader Supported News | April 25, 2016

s the Solar Impulse 2 made its historic 62-hour flight from Hawaii to California without fuel, pilot Bertrand Piccard personally saw the horrific amount of plastic in our oceans.

While flying above the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Piccard sent out a tweet to Boyan Slat, the 21-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.

“I flew over plastic waste as big as a continent,” Piccard wrote. “We must continue to support projects like @BoyanSlat Ocean Cleanup,” referring to Slat’s ambitious project of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic trash.

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What we’re doing to the arctic, we’re doing to ourselves – Scientist


 

RT America | April 20, 2016

Seven people have died from heavy rains and flooding in the Houston, Texas region. The area saw 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, causing more than $5 billion in damage and destroying thousands of homes. But severe weather isn’t unique to the US, with massive floodings currently underway in Chile, drought in India, and an El Nino affecting countries around the globe. So is climate change to blame for extreme weather? To help answer that question, Conservation Biologist Dr. Reese Halter joins ‘News With Ed.’

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‘Islamic State, we own you!’ Hackers hijack Twitter accounts used by ISIS propagandists


 

RT America | April 20, 2016

A small group of hackers has started a new offensive against Islamic State. The plan began in March, with hackers from different groups targeting the Twitter accounts of ISIS supporters, who’ve been posting violent images and promoting jihadist ideology.

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‘And Then We Wept’: Scientists Say 93 Percent of the Great Barrier Reef Now Bleached


Great Barrier Reef. (photo: Blake Foster)
Great Barrier Reef. (photo: Blake Foster)

 

Chris Mooney | The Washington Post | Reader Supported News | April 20, 2016

he conclusions from a series of scientific surveys of the Great Barrier Reef bleaching event — an environmental assault on the largest coral ecosystem on Earth — are in, and scientists aren’t holding back about how devastating they find them.

Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Task Force has surveyed 911 coral reefs by air, and found at least some bleaching of the vast majority of them. The bleaching was the worst in the reef’s northern sector — where virtually no reefs escaped it.

“Between 60 and 100 percent of corals are severely bleached on 316 reefs, nearly all in the northern half of the Reef,” Prof. Terry Hughes, head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said in a statement to the news media. He led the research.

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Warmer Winters Will Mean Catastrophic Effects for the Environment and Human Life


Man-made snow coats a ski run next to barren ground under a chairlift at Shawnee Peak ski area in Bridgton, Maine. (photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP)
Man-made snow coats a ski run next to barren ground under a chairlift at Shawnee Peak ski area in Bridgton, Maine. (photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

 

Marlene Cimons | ThinkProgress | Reader Supported News | March 20, 2016

or many, the winters we remember from childhood are becoming just that: memories. Winter’s record warmth in recent years — especially the shockingly high temperatures during the first months of 2016 — has become a frightening harbinger of a world to come.

Along with shorter and warmer winters, many areas also are experiencing earlier-than-normal springs, or “false’’ springs, and sporadic hot summer-like days, a climate pattern that can produce chaos with the Earth’s ecosystems.

“In the more than 30 years I’ve been a meteorologist, I’ve always enjoyed sitting down each day and taking a look at the latest computer model forecasts of the weather for the upcoming ten days,’’ said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the site Weather Underground. “That pleasure began becoming tinged with anxiety beginning in 2010, when we seemingly crossed a threshold into a new more extreme climate regime. The relatively stable climate of the 20th Century that I grew up with is no more.’’

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The laws of nature make life on other planets inevitable — according to this groundbreaking theory


 | Raw Story | February 12, 2016

According to theoretical physicist and super-genius Stephen Hawking, “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet orbiting round a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies.” Indeed, to most modern scientists we are nothing more than an entirely random ‘happy accident’ that likely would not occur if we were to rewind the tape of the universe and play it again. But what if that is completely wrong? What if life is not simply a statistical anomaly, but instead an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and chemistry?

A new theory of the origin of life, based firmly on well-defined physics principles, provides hefty support for the notion that biological life is a “cosmic imperative”. In other words, organic life had to eventually emerge. If such a theory were true, it would mean that it is very likely that life is widespread throughout the universe.

And if this is in fact the case, those who love to speculate about the possibility of alien civilizations can rejoice in the fact that the odds that other sentient beings are out there has been increased. By how much would be difficult to calculate at this point, but all planets out there with a geochemistry that is sufficiently similar to Earth’s, orbiting a star at the appropriate distance, would be excellent candidates as breeding grounds for life. And once self-replicating life evolves, it could be just a matter of time before the components of a nervous system emerge.

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Going Dark: FBI scare tactic proved to be pure bunk


 

RT America | February 4, 2016

Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society just published a report entitled, Don’t Panic, which debunks the myth of the FBI’s latest scare tactic, Going Dark. The FBI is asseting that their inability to execute search orders is due to technology company’s crypto, and that this poses a great threat to our national security. The Resident breaks down what’s really going on with Going Dark. Follow The Resident at http://www.twitter.com/TheResident

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Planet Nine? Evidence Grows for Big Addition to Solar System


Jason Snell | Yahoo Tech | January 20, 2016

(Image: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

A decade ago Mike Brown helped get Pluto demoted from a “planet” to a mere “dwarf planet.” Now the astronomer and one of his CalTech colleagues may have plotted the orbit of a new ninth planet in our solar system, dramatically larger than Pluto and much, much farther away.

As described by Brown and fellow astronomer Konstantin Batygin Wednesday in the Astronomical Journal, this new planet would be roughly 10 times the size of the Earth and would take as much as 20,000 years to make a single orbit around the sun. Its theoretical size — between the size of the Earth and Neptune — is unlike any other body in our solar system, but fits into the most common size of exoplanets detected in other systems.

Astronomers have been hunting for an undiscovered “Planet X” for nearly two centuries, generally without success. The notable exception: Neptune’s presence in our solar system was predicted by observing irregularities in the orbit of Uranus — and then later proven by observation through telescopes. Brown and Batygin’s finding is similar, in that they’ve done the math that strongly suggests the presence of a large planet in an weird orbit way beyond Pluto. But until someone spots the planet with a telescope, it’s just a theory.

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