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Passing Along the Lick: The Buried History of Downtown Roanoke – The Roanoke Rover. By Olchar E. Lindsann A marsh steeped in standing water might seem an odd place to stay and build a city. Yet until 130 years ago, a huge salt-laden marsh sprawled in the place of modern-day downtown Roanoke. It is a place more fit for passing-through than for settling-in, more fit for transit than for stasis, for encounter than for property. For two centuries it has continually resisted human settlement, yielding only when it was covered over entirely, built over, and erased from the physical and communal memory of the city. This almost permanent floodplain was fed by Trout Run, which bordered it on the south and now passes almost directly below Campbell Avenue downtown and fed the water-logged, salt-infused land upon which the city center has been built. The spring that feeds it wells up beneath the present-day Campbell Ave.

& 2nd St., in the basement of the Patrick Henry Hotel. On Settlements Past: Before 1825 The Long Lick was a better place to pass through than to settle down within. Volcanic rock hints at source of Earth’s water. Arctic-Images/Corbis Lava from Earth's mantle has given scientists clues about the origin of the planet's water. The origin of Earth’s water has puzzled scientists for decades.

Icy comets smashing into the planet seemed like natural donors, but many comets have water chemistry different from that of Earth’s oceans. Rocky asteroids that contain water might have soaked the young planet, but analyses of meteorites — the asteroids’ remnants on Earth — show that the planet today is missing the material that those impacts should have left behind. Research published today in Science1 provide evidence for a different theory: that water has been around since the Earth formed, trapped on grains of dust that aggregated to make a planet.

Earth is like an avocado, says Steve Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. The mystery deepens Hot but wet This could be due to water sticking to dust grains in the swirling disk of the early Solar System, the paper suggests. Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans / Rosetta. First measurements of comet’s water ratio Rosetta fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans 10 December 2014 ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans. The measurements were made in the month following the spacecraft’s arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August. It is one of the most anticipated early results of the mission, because the origin of Earth’s water is still an open question. Comet on 20 November – NavCam One of the leading hypotheses on Earth’s formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off.

In this scenario, it should have been delivered after our planet had cooled down, most likely from collisions with comets and asteroids. Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud in context Deuterium-to-hydrogen in the Solar System Notes for Editors More about Rosetta. Landmark 20-Year Study Finds Pesticides Linked to Depression In Farmers. By Dan Nosowitz on November 7, 2014 A landmark study indicates that seven pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. Will the government step in and start regulating these chemical tools? Earlier this fall, researchers from the National Institute of Health finished up a landmark 20-year study, a study that hasn’t received the amount of coverage it deserves. About 84,000 farmers and spouses of farmers were interviewed since the mid-1990s to investigate the connection between pesticides and depression, a connection that had been suggested through anecdotal evidence for far longer.

We called up Dr. Freya Kamel, the lead researcher on the study, to find out what the team learned and what it all means. “There had been scattered reports in the literature that pesticides were associated with depression,” says Kamel. “I don’t think there’s anything surprising about the fact that pesticides would affect neurologic function.” Others are going further. 13 Reasons Tea Is (Healthy and) Awesome: Greatist.com.

Put down those saucer cups and get chugging — tea is officially awesome for your health. But before loading up on Red Zinger, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea. But what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Though most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table.

Tea can boost exercise endurance. Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff: Keep it cool. Do you drink tea regularly? Farm kills millions of bees with illegal pesticide spraying, gets slap on wrist. A huge Florida citrus farm is being fined by state officials for poisoning millions of honeybees to death — but it’s not being fined very much. Ben Hill Griffin Inc., one of the state’s largest growers and a supplier to Florida’s Natural orange juice, is accused of illegally spraying pesticides (i.e., not following the directions on the labels) in ways that led to the deaths of bees kept by nearby beekeepers. One apiarist told officials that the farm used crop-dusters to douse its groves at least a dozen times — presumably to control Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the devastating citrus greening disease.

He estimated his losses at $240,000 worth of bees and reduced honey production. Another beekeeper says he is down $150,000. So how much is the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department fining the company? “That laughable penalty has environmentalists and beekeepers fuming,” reports the Miami New Times. So the fine amounts to 0.001 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

The U.S. Navy Just Announced The End Of Big Oil And No One Noticed - Surf’s up! The Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – turning seawater into fuel: After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.

…The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it. Curiously, this doesn’t seem to be making much of a splash (no pun intended) on the evening news. Let’s repeat this: The United States Navy has figured out how to turn seawater into fuel and it will cost about the same as gasoline. This technology is in its infancy and it’s already this cheap? I expect the GOP to go ballistic over this and try to legislate it out of existence. There are two other aspects to this story that have not been brought up yet: 1. If we pull out massive amounts of CO2, even if we burn it again, not all of it will make it back into the water. A giant basket that uses condensation to gather drinking water. Wendell Berry: A Strong Voice For Local Farming and the Land by Roger Cohn. 06 Mar 2014: Interview by roger cohn Wendell Berry wrote about and practiced “sustainable agriculture” long before the term was widely used.

His 1977 book, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, in which he argued against industrial agriculture and for small-scale, local-based farming, had a strong influence Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press, © 2012 Wendell Berry on the environmental and local food movements in the U.S. Berry has long balanced the diverse roles of writer, activist, teacher, and farmer. In an interview with Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn, Berry talked about his Kentucky farm and why he has remained there, why he would risk arrest to protest mountaintop removal mining, why the sustainable agriculture movement faces an uphill battle, and why strong rural communities are important.

Yale Environment 360: You’ve been writing about and practicing what is now known as sustainable agriculture since before that term was widely used. Us. Berry: No. A Century of Controversy, Accidents in West Virginia’s Chemical Valley in Lead-up to Spill. Even before last week's chemical spill fouled tap water in nine counties in West Virginia, where more than 200,000 people still cannot use their water after seven long days, it was not unusual to find black water running from kitchen faucets in homes outside Charleston. Or to see children with chronic skin rashes.

Or bathtub enamel eaten away, leaving locals to wonder what the same water was doing to their teeth. "Welcome to our world," says Vivian Stockman, 52, a longtime resident of rural Roane County, north of Charleston, the state capital, and an activist with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. Indeed, people who live in the Kanawha River Valley, which much of the world learned recently is also known as Chemical Valley, have endured a long history of pollution of many kinds.

An aerial view of Catenary Coal Co. mountaintop removal site near Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. "To those of us in the chemical industry, safety is number one," he said. A Century of Chemicals. Community farming - it's not about food: Josh Slotnick at TEDxUMontana. The real threat to our future is peak water | Lester Brown | Global development | The Observer. Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water.

There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water. We drink on average four litres of water per day, in one form or another, but the food we eat each day requires 2,000 litres of water to produce, or 500 times as much. Getting enough water to drink is relatively easy, but finding enough to produce the ever-growing quantities of grain the world consumes is another matter.

Grain consumed directly supplies nearly half of our calories. During the last half of the twentieth century, the world's irrigated area expanded from close to 250m acres (100m hectares) in 1950 to roughly 700m in 2000. In looking at water and our future, we face many questions and few answers. Farmers get their irrigation water either from rivers or from underground aquifers. Today some 18 countries, containing half the world's people, are overpumping their aquifers. Start-up promises to revolutionise shrimp farming. A UK start-up says it has developed a low-cost, ecological alternative to traditional shrimp farming by using bacteria as both a water filter and food for its shrimp.

IKEA-like portable units using microbes and solar power to cheaply grow shrimp indoors could transform the booming aquaculture sector and prevent further environmental degradation, according to its inventors. If made available to farmers in developing countries, the technology could help tackle malnourishment while reducing environmental degradation, and all at a lower cost than current shrimp production, they say. Founded by biochemical engineering students from University College London, the start-up Marizca is producing whiteleg shrimp in central London in its first trial operations. Global production of farmed shrimp has been growing at about ten per cent a year, according to conservation charity the World Wildlife Fund, and farmed shrimp now accounts for about 55 per cent of global shrimp production.

Can Wave Power Really Make Waves Against Fossil Fuels? About 15 years ago, the state of Oregon “began pushing the idea of making renewable energy from the ocean waves that bob and swell on the Pacific horizon,” reports The New York Times. “But then one of the first test-buoy generators, launched with great fanfare, promptly sank. It was not a good start.” “But time and technology turned the page, and now the first commercially licensed grid-connected wave-energy device in the nation, designed by a New Jersey company, Ocean Power Technologies, is in its final weeks of testing before a planned launch in October. The federal permit for up to 10 generators came last month, enough, the company says, to power about 1,000 homes. The Outer Continental Shelf website explains the general concept of wave energy saying, “Waves are caused by the wind blowing over the surface of the ocean.

MORE: Water-Filled Glass Orbs Might Be The Next Step in Solar Power What sort of future do you think wave power has in the United States? Eco-Friendly Farming: Sowing the Seeds of Renewable Energy. Twelve percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, and six to nine percent of farm expenses are energy related. Using renewable energy in agriculture has benefits for both the economy and the environment, and many farms around the world are using the abundance of on-site renewable resources to produce energy. Here is a look at how renewable energy – from solar power to microbial digestion – is changing the future of agriculture. Photosynthesis to Photovoltaics With expanses of land and a need to source power to remote locations, solar energy is well-suited for life on the farm. In the United States, the number of solar projects on farms funded by the USDA’s REAP program increased fivefold between 2007 and 2009, according to a report by the USDA (pdf).

Solar installations can be placed on lands that can’t be used for food production, or even on unusable water sources. Wind Power for Farms Wind energy in the United States is soaring with potential. Securing the Future. Drought may yield benefits for wineries and wine lovers. Nestled on a hillside in northern Virginia, Breaux Vineyards' 105 acres of vines are looking good this year, according to General Manager Chris Blosser. While California still makes the vast majority of American wine, all 50 states produce it. Virginians have been growing grapes for some 400 years, starting in the Jamestown settlement, and the wine business has surged in the state over the last decade. Soil and climate conditions in Loudoun County, where this family-owned vineyard is located, make it one of Virginia's top wine-producing regions.

The drought plaguing much of the country has hurt corn and soy crops, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating that 2012-2013 corn yields would hit the lowest level since 1995-1996. But the drier than normal growing season can be good for grapes. See where the drought is affecting crops "As a general rule, all grapes like it dry," Blosser explained during a tour of the estate one August morning. Is the drought hitting your area?

Clarified: What does "organic" mean? In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology and issues we're attempting to do the same. Organic: it's a word that gets bandied and bashed around a lot. Plenty of folks believe it's synonymous with "healthy," while others think it's just an excuse for companies to vacuum the last of the cash from your wallet. Politics aside, what does the term actually mean? Produce: Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering, and relies on natural or mechanical methods, rather than prohibited chemicals, for pest control. Simply put - it needs to be as natural as possible. As with eggs, dairy and meat, produce can be produced organically without the farm having undergone the lengthy and fairly expensive process to be certified organic by the USDA's National Organic Program's inspectors.

Growing populations of brown marmorated stink bug could harm late-season crops. Why 2013 will be a year of crisis. The Drought and the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. As Susquehanna Nears Sediment Capacity, Chesapeake Bay Likely to Suffer. Why Water Scarcity Means Food Scarcity. Fukushima radiation levels spike, company says. Wild thing, I think I need you: How weeds could save dinner. Edible Spray Paint: Give Your Foods The Midas Touch : The Salt. Streams stressed by pharmaceutical pollution. Grey Water. Morsi visits Ethiopia to seek unity in Nile nations over water. Throwing our food away: Up to 50% of the food produced worldwide is wasted. Open Letter to Secretary Vilsack on Food Systems. Global report: Obesity bigger health crisis than hunger. Americas | Katrina damage blamed on wetlands loss. Smooth as Silk: How big brands milk small farmers for all they’re worth.

In Depth: The Futures of Water | UCAR - University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Scientists launch international study of open-fire cooking and air quality | UCAR - University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence. From 'fertilizer to fork': food accounts for a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. 10 Facts About Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis - Rheumatoid Arthritis. Eat to Beat Knee Osteoarthritis and Other Aching Joints. There’s arsenic in your rice — and here’s how it got there. Stunning undersea panoramas now on Google Street View. Status Report on the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Glaciers.

I’m Melting… Or Am I? (a multi-facted reminder) From dry rivers to dead deer, drought's impact felt everywhere. McDonald's to include calorie counts on menu boards, but will that deter diners? Growing the next generation of young farmers. Hurricane Isaac. 33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly. Eat Like a Champ: The Best Foods for Runners. Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce. Philadelphia Cleans Up Storm Water With Innovative Program. Fishing the Forgotten Anacostia River in Washington DC.