You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

Last semester, I went to an excellent workshop on emissions trading that was sponsored by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.  One of the things that blew my mind was the industrial roundtable (check out the video here) where representatives from BP, Duke Energy, and Caterpillar all said that climate legislation is coming and climate change denial is the wrong strategy.   The representative from Duke Energy even criticized a report by the Heritage Foundation on the economic effects of policies to limit carbon emissions.  Whoa!

In the back of my mind, I was hoping that the manufacturing and fossil fuel industries are not a homogeneous group of climate change skeptics and deniers, and it was great to see the Monolithic Manufacturing and Fossil Fuel Industries Hypothesis falsified.  Granted, there’s still a lot of progress to be made within these industries as a whole, but at least attitudes are changing.  Now if only we could get more constructive and productive conversations about climate policy going between industry groups, environmental groups, scientists, and policymakers.  A person can dream, no?

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I learned about plant water globes from a friend last spring, and she said that they actually work.  (The key is to poke a hole in the soil before inserting the globes into the pot so the dirt doesn’t block the opening.)  This is pretty exciting because I’m out of town often for weeks at a time for field work so I haven’t had a house plant for years because I was afraid I would kill it.

This summer, I went to the local greenhouse store (which has an amazing selection of plants and is way cooler than a Home Depot or Lowe’s because the staff actually know something about plants) and bought a Mimosa pudica, or the sensitive plant.  Here’s Bash (short for Bashful but also known as Bash the Destroyer):

Yesterday, I went to a talk on using environmental DNA to trace the spread of Asian carp.  Asian carp actually refers to a number of different species of invasive carp in the U.S. including silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis).  The really amazing (and potentially dangerous) thing about silver carp is that it jumps out of the water whenever it’s scared, often by motorized boats and personal watercraft.  Here’s a video that was taken along the Wabash River, which is right in my neighborhood:

Anyway, back to the environmental DNA.  There are a lot of studies that use molecular techniques to trace the effects and origins of introduced species that became invasive, but this is one of the first studies I know of that uses molecular techniques to track down an invasive species at the frontier of its invaded range, which can make a huge difference in preventing its spread.  If you’re interested in more info, check out: http://edna.nd.edu/Environmental_DNA_at_ND/Home.html.