Today I am heading down the hill to see a dermatologist, as right after we arrived here in New Mexico my guy back in California called and told me that a mole I had removed was, in fact, melanoma. He says that it was early enough and shallow enough that they probably got everything, but they want a margin cut out around it just to be extra cautious. Good times ahead this afternoon, I am sure. Lesson? Please use a safe sunscreen everyday and everywhere on your body anytime you go outside. This was in a spot on the back of my leg that barely got any sun, so imagine how bad it could be on ones’ arms or face! (When will this crap end, seriously. Enough is enough this year!) Anyway, while I contemplate this newest development, here are some stories that caught my eye this past week:
500,000+ students will compete in the Canon Envirothon, an annual competition in which winning state/provincial teams compete for recognition and scholarships by demonstrating their knowledge of environmental science and natural resource management. The teams, each consisting of five high school-aged students from participating US States and Canadian Provinces, exercise their training and problem-solving skills in a competition centered on four universal testing categories (i.e., soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, and wildlife) and a current environmental issue. The topic for 2008 will relate to how recreation impacts the environment. To expose students to diverse environmental issues, ecosystems, and topography the Canon Envirothon is hosted by a different state or province each year. Pretty cool stuff!
In yet another sign of how rapidly shifting consumer preferences are forcing automakers to change their long-term plans, Toyota announced last week that it will begin producing the Prius hybrid in Mississippi in late 2010. The Mississippi manufacturing plant, currently under construction, was originally intended to produce the Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle, but with demand for SUVs falling rapidly, Toyota now plans to produce the Highlander at its Indiana plant, starting in late 2009.
Keeping heat out of the living space (along with the very real risk of cooking fires) was one reason large homes in the American South used to build kitchens detached from the rest of the house. And while that option isn’t on the table for most modern residences, there are some things you can do to cool your kitchen , and your summer energy bills.
The Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” — a swath of algae-laden water with oxygen levels low enough to choke out marine life — will likely reach record size this year, and the main culprits are rising ethanol use and massive Midwest flooding, scientists said on Tuesday. The dead zone, which recurs each year off the Texas and Louisiana coasts, could stretch to more than 8,800 square miles this year — about the size of New Jersey.
The Los Angeles city council has unanimously approved a ban on plastic shopping bags in stores throughout the city, hoping to reduce plastic waste by encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags in one of the capitals of American consumerism. The ban will go into effect in 2010, unless the state imposes a mandatory 25-cent fee on shoppers requesting plastic bags. The city council passed the ban Tuesday night. Of course, right after we moved… Granted, not even that could make me move back from here!
In “yea, no kidding, but glad to see the MSM pick it up” category, “scented fabric sheets makes your shirts and socks smell flowery fresh and clean. That plug-in air freshener fills your home with inviting fragrances of apple and cinnamon or a country garden. But those common household items are potentially exposing your family and friends to dangerous chemicals, a University of Washington study has found.” Duh.
You can forget juicy tomatoes this summer if you don’t give your plants enough to drink, but the fact is, most people water their gardens wrong. Each year, from May to September, water use nearly doubles in parts of the country (mostly for keeping our backyards green), and about half of it is wasted through evaporation, runoff, and overwatering…Next, audit your sprinklers, which are often inefficient. “They throw water in the air, and you hope that it eventually lands where you want it,” Leinauer says. “It often doesn’t.”
The latest John McCain ad is so full of flagrant logical gaps and bad rhetoric it makes me cringe. And since I figured you’d want to cringe too, I’ve included it for your perusal. Perhaps the most cringeworthy portion of the advertisement is when the commercial’s narrator asks, “Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?”, while a picture of Barack Obama flashes on the screen and the familiar “Obama-Obama-Obama” chants fill the background audio. Running a close second in cringeworthiness is the second portion of the ad, where we are apparently supposed to see the light that is candidate McCain”¦but I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you.
Have a nice weekend everyone!
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