Dolphin Wars

A war is an organized conflict to achieve some goal. Humans fight them all the time. Well Dolphins have their complex relationships too. Some of them turn into fights over, what else, fertile females. Male and female bottlenose dolphins spend their days courting friends and building alliances. Two new studies show just how important such friendships are to dolphins and the role friends and alliances play in life's biggest game: the race to reproduce. Male bottlenose dolphins form tight bonds with friends and allies that are as intricate and devious as those of humans. Males compete for access to females. Such competition can take the form of fighting other males or of herding females to prevent access by other males. Dolphins have been observed engaging females even when they are not in their estrus cycles and cannot produce young, as well as when they can.

Hatchery-Raised Salmon Threatening Wild Salmon in the Pacific Northwest

This year has had one of the biggest salmon runs of all time for the Pacific Northwest (PNW). There were over 34 million salmon in the British Columbia river system alone, compared to last year’s count of only two million. The problem with this resurgence is that much of the new numbers come from hatchery-raised salmon, which have created increased competition for the threatened wild salmon species.

Tropical agriculture “double-whammy”: high emissions, low yields

Food produced in the tropics comes with high carbon emissions and low crop yields, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In the most comprehensive and detailed study to date looking at carbon emissions versus crop yields, researchers found that food produced in the tropics releases almost double the amount of carbon while producing half the yield as food produced in temperate regions. In other words, temperate food production is three times more efficient in terms of yield and carbon emissions.

Scott Naturals: Tube-Free Toilet Paper: When It’s Gone It’s Gone

In the "what will they think of next" category, Scott Paper Company just announced the introduction of a new tube-free toilet paper. The innovation, which is the result of a proprietary winding process, eliminates the cardboard roll that has formed the core of the roll since 1880. According to information from Kimberly Clark, who also makes Kleenex, 17 billion paper toilet paper tubes are produced every year in the US. If my math is right, that's about 56 rolls per person. That sounds a little high to me, but then again, I'm a guy.

Organic farms better at potato beetle control

A study suggesting that organic agriculture gives better pest control and larger plants than conventional farming is sure to reignite longstanding debates about the merits of organic versus conventional agriculture. It also highlights an often-neglected aspect of biodiversity. "Organic agriculture promotes more balanced communities of predators," says David Crowder, author of the new study published today in Nature.

Solar Farms

How large can a Photo Voltaic (PV) solar farm be? It, of course, depends, on the available land space and the efficiency of the solar cells involved. Sarnia Solar Facility, deemed the world’s largest Photo Voltaic solar power station, has just opened in Canada. Located in Ontario, it has a capacity of 80MW, 20MW above Olmedilla PV Park in Spain, which so far has held the title as the largest of its kind in the world. Sarnia is expected to generate 120,00MWh per year, or enough power for 12,800 homes. For large-scale generation, Concentrated Solar Power plants like SEGS, have been the norm but recently multi-megawatt Photo Voltaic plants are becoming common. Completed in 2007, the 14 MW power station in Clark County, Nevada, United States and the 20 MW site in Beneixama, Spain are characteristic of the trend toward larger photovoltaic power stations in the United States and Europe.

Crime-Fighting Trees

Many people already know that city trees are highly desirable to make a neighborhood more attractive. It is common knowledge that shade from trees keeps temperatures on the ground cooler, can help buildings lower their overall energy usage, and their roots absorb storm water runoff efficiently. What people may not be familiar with is that trees also aid in fighting crime. Yes, trees can lower crime rates.

Grasses Have Potential as Alternate Ethanol Crop, Illinois Study Finds

Money may not grow on trees, but energy could grow in grass. Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed the first extensive geographic yield and economic analysis of potential bioenergy grass crops in the Midwestern United States.

Master Chocolatiers Give Green Chocolate a Boost

From its chocolate factory in the French Alps, Stephane Bonnat's family has been nurturing ties with cocoa farmers around the world for over a century, and together they are now driving a green revolution.

Climate computer game lets you see how our choices can impact climate

Ever wondered how one person could save the planet from the effects of climate change? A British-made computer game on trial release on Monday creates different ways of doing just that. 'Fate of the World' puts the Earth's future in players' hands, placing them in charge of an international environmental body which could save the world from the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions or let it perish by continuing to rely on emissions-heavy fossil fuels.