Day: June 22, 2006

Georgetown takes on tech trash

Read the full story in the Austin American-Statesman.

City is first to vote on resolution urging new electronics recycling rules.

Lawmakers Reach Compromise on Cape Cod Wind Farm

Read the full story at ENN.

Key lawmakers have agreed to drop the idea of giving Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney veto power over a proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, adopting a compromise that could boost the project’s prospects.

Resource of the Week: NatureServe Explorer

Read the full story at ResourceShelf.

Would you be interested in “an authoritative source for information on more than 65,000 plants, animals, and ecosystems of the United States and Canada” that features “in-depth coverage for rare and endangered species”? You know you’ll want to bookmark this one.

WSJ claims STM journals rig impact factors

Via Library Juice:

The Wall Street Journal published an article on Monday (June 5, 2006) claiming that science journals routinely manipulate impact factors by encouraging contributors to cite heavily prior articles from the same journals. (The link goes to a login-free copy of the article as found on the Stay Free! blog.)

Now, I think it’s true that because many journals tend to be highly specialized in the sorts of articles they publish that there will be a natural tendency for authors to use and cite a good number of articles from the same publications. But this article in the Wall Street Journal isn’t simply drawing a conclusion from the number of citations to a journal’s own articles. It is reporting on authors’ experiences with editors who ask for more citations to their journals as a condition of publication. It also includes an editor’s candid description of this phenomenon.

Isn’t it interesting and somehow a little odd that this is coming up in the Wall Street Journal? “Impact factor” is a term you don’t often see in a daily newspaper. Perhaps this problem has been studied elsewhere (please comment with cites if you have them), but this article isn’t just a digest of another study. The article’s author, Sharon Begley, interviewed a good number of authors and scholarly journal editors in preparing her story for WSJ. What she says is important. I would like to see the issue discussed as directly and frankly in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but I’m not holding my breath. (Okay, point me to the citation…)

New Guidebook Shows How Office Workers Can Fight Global Warming

Read the full story at GreenBiz.com. See also Joel Makower’s take on the report at Two Steps Forward.

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2006 – People who work in office buildings can significantly impact climate change by introducing energy-efficiency measures to improve building operations, according to new how-to guidebook released by the World Resources Institute.

Illinois 6th worst for global warming

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois pumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all but five other states, doing its share to worsen global warming, a Chicago-based environment group reported Wednesday. The state’s annual emissions of the greenhouse gas — 224.7 million metric tons — were exceeded only by Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, Environment Illinois said.

New Fuel Source Grows on the Prairie

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

If ambitious plans taking shape in Washington and in state capitals come to fruition, piles of cornstalks and leaves across the country will become the oil wells of the 21st century.

China to Assess Wind Energy Resources More Scientifically

Read the full article from the World Watch Institute.

China’s Meteorological Administration set up a center on June 14 to assess the country’s vast wind and solar energy resources through advanced methods. This will be of particular benefit to China’s robust wind power industry, providing developers with more accurate and integrated data.

Combating Visual Pollution in America's Communities

Via Sustainablog:

I want to thank one of my Treehugger compadres for pointing me to the Dunn Foundation, an organization doing important work on sprawl and the seemingly inevitable homogenization that comes with it. According to the foundation’s website,

America is experiencing a rising tide of commercialism, advertising, poorly-planned development and apathy that is turning our communities into banal replicas of each other. The damage is widespread: billboards and inappropriate signage mar our scenic landscapes, poorly designed, out-of-character buildings and barren asphalt parking lots scar our streetscapes, creeping suburbia is swallowing our wetlands and forests, and winding country lanes are turning into multi-lane highways.

The foundation is combating these phenomena with a multi-pronged approach: visual literacy education, including special programs designed for elementary and middle-school students; collaboration with like-minded organizations; and funding for both efforts. While I’m particularly interested in their work to better integrate built and natural environments, certainly all of the elements the Foundation addresses work together to create a more sustainable sense of place. As we talk so much about diversity in nature, I wonder what kinds of social psychological effects diversity in built environments has. Anyone have a sense of the benefits created by communities with a clear sense of unique identity?

Solar-Power on Cloudy Days

Read the full story at National Geographic (via Hugg).

Scientists invent solar cells that can turn the sun’s power into electrical energy, even on cloudy days; harnessing the sun’s invisible, infrared rays. The sunlight that reaches Earth’s surface delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume. All we’d need is 0.1% of the Earth’s surface to replace all of our energy habits.

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