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Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist. The leaked document (PDF) was put out in response to Bayer's request to approve use of the pesticide on cotton and mustard. Related:

BBC Nature - Fossil 'is first pregnant lizard' 21 July 2011Last updated at 04:58 By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature The lizard was just days from giving birth when it died and was buried A 120-million-year-old fossil is the oldest pregnant lizard ever discovered, according to scientists. The fossil, found in China, is a very complete 30cm (12in) lizard with more than a dozen embryos in its body. Researchers from University College London, who studied the fossil, say it was just days from giving birth when it died and was buried during the Cretaceous period. The team reports the findings in the journal Naturwissenschaften. The fossil is especially interesting to scientists because it is a reptile that produced live young rather than laying eggs. Only 20% of living lizards and snakes produce live young, and this shows it is an ancient, if unusual, trait. "I didn't think much of the fossil when I first saw it," said Prof Susan Evans, joint lead author of the paper, from University College London.

Arctic environment during an ancient bout of natural global warming Scientists are unravelling the environmental changes that took place around the Arctic during an exceptional episode of ancient global warming. Newly published results from a high-resolution study of sediments collected on Spitsbergen represent a significant contribution to this endeavour. The study was led by Dr Ian Harding and Prof John Marshall of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES), based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Around 56 million years ago there was a period of global warming called the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), during which global sea surface temperatures increased by approximately 5°C. The warming of the oceans led to profound ecological changes, including the widespread extinction of many types of foraminifera, tiny single-celled organisms with distinctive shells. Plankton that had previously only prospered in tropical and subtropical waters migrated to higher latitudes.

BBC Nature - Sepia cuttlefish videos, news and facts IBM Researchers Develop Highly Recyclable, Biodegradable Plastic A mind-boggling 13 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash or recycled each year. And while most plastics are recyclable, the resulting materials are limited to "second generation reuse" only--so anything made out of recycled plastics has to be thrown on the landfill pile at the end of it's life. But now researchers from IBM and Stanford say they have solved the problem by developing plastics that can be continuously recycled. The discovery, published in the American Chemical Society journal Macromolecules, involves the use of organic catalysts instead of the metal oxide and metal hydroxide catalysts typically used in plastic-forming polymers. Another advantage: the organic catalysts are cheap.

BBC Nature - Plant evolved a bat beckoning beacon 29 July 2011Last updated at 02:29 By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature The dish-shaped leaves emit a powerful echo that helps the bat locate the plant A rainforest vine has evolved dish-shaped leaves to attract the bats that pollinate it, scientists have found. Tests revealed that the leaves were supremely efficient at bouncing back the sound pulses the flying mammals used to navigate. When the leaves were present the bats located the plant twice as quickly as when these echoing leaves were removed. A team of scientists in the UK and Germany reported its findings in the journal Science. The study is the first to find a plant with "specialised acoustic features" to help bat pollinators find them using sound. Most bats send out pulses of sound to find their way around; the way they sense objects in their environment by sensing how these pulses bounce off them is known as echolocation. "What we've found is the echolocating equivalent to colourful flowers.

Masdar City: World's most Sustainable City An artist's rendering of Masdar City Smack dab in the middle of the desert is the location of one of the world’s greenest cities. Masdar City is located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The city is actually still in the early stages of being developed, but several buildings are fully operational, including the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology Masdar City addresses every sustainability issue you could ever think of: Transportation will be via electric vehiclesRenewable energy powers the entire cityGreenhouse gas emissions are virtually non-existentWaste will be diverted from landfills and recycled or compostedAnd on, and on… Masdar City’s Waste Management Plan Since the focus of Trash Talk is waste/trash/garbage, that’s the part of the city’s master plan we were most intrigued by. The City of the Future? Is Masdar City the city of the future? My best guess is that Masdar City succeeds in developing the most sustainable city in the world.

Stray labrador rescues blind pooch by becoming first canine-to-canine guide dog By Hannah Rand Published: 16:10 GMT, 29 April 2012 | Updated: 16:23 GMT, 29 April 2012 A lucky homeless dog has been given a whole new lease of life by another stray mutt. Two-year-old Tanner was born blind and has a seizure disorder. He was sent to Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization, Oklahoma City, after his owner died. Scroll down for video Guide dog: Tanner, a blind two-year-old golden retriever who was nearly put down because of his fits, has been given a new lease of life by a one-year-old black labrador called Blair Due to the stress of his loss, his seizures became worse, making him hard to look after as he would defecate and urinate when fitting. Local vet, Mike Jones of Woodland West Animal Hospital, Tulsa, told ABC News he even recommended putting the dog down, to relieve Tanner of his - and his caretakers' - misery. Fortunately for young Tanner, Blair, a one-year-old black labrador, has shown uncanny empathy for his new friend and now has taken the role as his guide.

First Vertical Farm Opens in Singapore Vegetables grown in multi-level troughs at Sky Greens farm. Photo: Olivia Siong/Channel NewsAsia The first commercial-scale vertical farm has opened in the tiny, densely populated city of Singapore, with the aim of decreasing dependence on food imports. Singapore, which lies at the end of the Malay Peninsula, is just 274 square miles, almost all of which is city. That leaves little space to grow vegetables. As a result, the city currently only produces 7 percent of its vegetables locally, forcing it to buy from other countries. [partner id="wireduk"]The vertical farm, which has been developed by Sky Green Farms, consists of 120 aluminum towers, each extending up almost 30 feet in height. That hasn’t stopped them becoming enormously popular with local consumers, and they’re frequently out of stock.

A solution to reverse Africa's growing deserts I've often said that the most sophisticated "green" technology on the planet is the humble tree. Trees sequester carbon, fix nitrogen into the soil, create organic compost, prevent erosion and encourage rain, while providing sustainable crops, shape, lumber and even fuel. The single most important activity on the planet (I believe) is planting trees, a fact backed up by the latest McKinsey study on abating the effects of global warming. But there is a problem. Reforestation efforts in denuded lands such as Africa, Mexico, India and China have never been taken seriously as a means to abate climate change because young saplings are very difficult to establish. But what if there were a device that eliminated those risks? This simple passive water-harvesting device takes advantage of one attribute that most deserts have — a major temperature differential between night and day. Eventually the roots become strong enough to seek their own water deep underground.