Government regulators in Canada are investigating a series of mysterious oil spills around tar sands operations in Alberta. Thick oil is gurgling up unexpectedly from the ground instead of flowing through the wells that were built to collect it.
The spills are raising questions about a technology that's rapidly expanding to extract fossil fuels that could ultimately end up in the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 3:00 pm
Credit GrenouilleFilms / iStockphoto.com
Whenever we give in to temptation, be it for a helping of something divine, like fine chocolate, or just a so-so piece of saltwater taffy abandoned next to the office coffeepot, there's something more than self-control at work.
Woven into the complexities of food choices and eating behaviors are all sorts of subtle factors that we're likely not even aware of.
Rarely is the relationship between science and everyone so direct as it is in the case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in particular foods. It is one thing to turn on your plasma TV or talk on your iPhone; it is an entirely different proposition to knowingly ingest something that has been modified in the lab.
This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.
This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," wrotewar photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?
Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous. In fact, biologists have long disagreed over why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two studies published this week — and they come to different conclusions.
Animals that leave the most offspring win the race to spread their genes and to perpetuate their lineage. So for most mammals, males have a simple strategy: Mate with as many females as possible.
"Monogamy is a problem," says Dieter Lukas, a biologist at Cambridge University. "Why should a male keep to one female?"
At Margaret O'Keefe's farm in East Texas, they grow high-quality Bermuda grass. The fields are flat and vibrant green, surrounded by woods of a darker, richer green. The family loves this land. O'Keefe inherited it from her mother, who divided it among eight children.
"She used to call it 'enchanted valley,' " O'Keefe says.
But her "enchanted valley" also lies in the path of the Crosstex NGL Pipeline.
On any given day, there's a wildfire burning somewhere in the U.S. — and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Many western forests have evolved with fire, and actually benefit from the occasional wildfire.