Posted by: kirstieann | October 7, 2012

Daily News Clips – Week of Oct 1

Here’s my favorites from Oct 1-5…

A Tiny Ocean World With A Mighty Important Future
As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton. They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life. “This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet,” Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

Ancient Statue Discovered by Nazis is Made from Meteorite
An ancient statue that was recovered by a Nazi expedition in the 1930s was originally carved from a highly valuable meteorite. Researchers say the 1,000-year-old object with a swastika on its stomach is made from a rare form of iron with a high content of nickel. They believe it is part of the Chinga meteorite, which crashed about 15,000 years ago.

Brave Arizona Wildlife Park Worker Dives into Pool Followed by Massive Bengal Tiger
Jeff Harwell fearlessly dived into a swimming pool followed by a massive Bengal tiger for an impressive “Tiger Splash” event in late September at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park.
The 30-year-old stuns visitors daily as he plays with Bengal and Siberian tigers, some weighing over 400 lbs., in a 50 ft. pool at the Camp Verde, Ariz., park.

Finland Plans to Phase Out Coal Use in Energy Production by 2025
If all goes according to plan, Finland will become the first European country to stop using coal, with a goal to phase out the energy source by 2025. Currently, Finland imports all of its coal from nearby countries such as Russia and Poland. Annual import volumes range from less than 3 million to 9 million tons, depending on the rainy or dry climate, according to the Finnish Coal Info association’s website. Eliminating coal usage could help the country save millions of euros a year, since coal imports cost Finland between 70 million to more than 300 million euros ($91 million to more than $388 million) annually, according to Finnish Coal Info. Instead of utilizing the fossil fuel, the country intends to increase sources of renewable energy — many of which are government subsidized.

Genetically Modified Crops Have Led to Pesticide Increase, Study Says
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 an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds 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.

So-Called Medieval Warm Period not so Warm at All
The so-called Medieval Warm Period (MWP), a 400-year span from about 950 to 1220 A.D. when the Vikings colonized Greenland, was relatively balmy by the standards of the past 2,000 years, leading some to argue that the global warming we’re now experiencing isn’t that big a deal. But a new report in the journal Geology argues that the MWP wasn’t all that warm after all — and certainly not as warm as the climate is today.

Polls: Voters Back Clean Energy, Climate Policy
On the eve of the first presidential debate, a flurry of new polls suggest most Americans support clean energy and policies to reduce climate change — topics that have garnered scant attention on the campaign trail. Nine out of 10 registered voters (92%) said it was “very” or “somewhat” important for the United States to develop and use solar power, according to an online survey of 1,206 adults released Tuesday by the independent polling firm Hart Research Associates. This support spanned the political spectrum, including 84% of Republicans, 95% of independents and 98% of Democrats.

Scientists Create Fertile Eggs from Mouse Stem Cells
Scientists in Japan report they have created eggs from stem cells in a mammal for the first time. And the researchers went on to breed healthy offspring from the eggs they created. While the experiments involved mice, the work is being met with excitement — and questions — about doing the same thing for humans someday. Scientists obtain the versatile cells from embryos. Embryonic stem cells are controversial because researchers destroy the embryos to get them. But because these stem cells can morph into any cell in the body, there’s always been the possibility they could do something especially profound. They could offer a way to create eggs from anyone at any age. That could change how humans reproduce.

California Battle Over GM Labels
Voters in California will decide on a proposal next month that would require the labelling of most foods made with genetically modified ingredients. Proposition 37 is supported by the organic industry but many major food suppliers oppose it saying it will drive up prices. Around $40m is expected to be spent on campaigning with the majority coming from opponents. But a recent opinion poll shows a clear majority in favour of the proposal.

It’s Jim Lehrer’s Turn to Respond to the Debate
Jim Lehrer has a few words in response to those who thought he let President Obama and Mitt Romney ramble on and roll over him in Wednesday’s presidential debate: “So what?”
The veteran PBS newsman, who was persuaded by the Presidential Debate Commission to moderate his 12th debate — the last one he’ll do, he vows — says the event wasn’t about “control” or the strict enforcement of rules. It was about producing a sharp discussion and substantive contrast between the candidates. Besides, he says, few people seemed to understand that the new format, which divided the discussion into 15 minute segments, was supposed to encourage such exchanges.

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