Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region

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Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region, scientists say.

In a new study, researchers detected high concentrations of these drugs and their metabolized remnants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River.

This vital conduit connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, via Niagara Falls. The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, says lead scientist Diana Aga, PhD, the Henry M. Woodburn Professor of Chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.

Chemicals burning at Texas plant are unstable if not cooled

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

The chemicals that exploded at a Texas plant are so unstable that they must be kept cool or they can ignite a runaway scenario.

Experts say that’s what happened when the Arkema Inc. chemical plant lost power after Harvey engulfed the area in floods. Arkema executive Richard Rennard said the fire was caused by the chemicals degrading because of the lack of refrigeration.

What’s up with those green roofs in Allentown?

Read the full story from WFMZ.

You get quite the view from atop Two City Center in downtown Allentown.

You can see lush, green spaces for miles — but you can also spot some green on the rooftops, right next door.

New Lab Report: How to Cut the Cost of Wind Energy in Half

Read the full story from DOE.

New energy science and technological breakthroughs could cut the cost of wind energy in half by 2030—making it fully competitive with the fuel cost of natural gas.

This new finding is outlined in a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that examines the future of wind power plants—backed by the supercomputing power of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratories.


The Waugh Bat Colony Didn’t Escape Harvey

Read the full story in Houstonia Magazine.

If you’ve visited the Waugh Bat Colony, located under the Waugh Bridge along Buffalo Bayou, you know it to be ad hoc, smelly, and beautiful in an ugly sort of way. A metaphor for Houston, if you will.

Unfortunately, the bats shared our fate during Harvey as Buffalo Bayou swelled to consume the colony of more than 250,000. According to the Houston Chronicle, maintenance workers witnessed many of the bats decamp to the nearby America Tower,  describing it like a scene from The Birds with “about a thousand” Mexican free-tailed bats taking flight. Some found shelter in the tower’s facade and underground garage, but plenty drowned as floodwaters rose. Photos and videos on social media show folks scooping up remaining waterlogged bats with fishing nets…

Rescue operations for displaced bats are currently running parallel to those for Houstonians themselves. Bat World Sanctuary, a non-profit group out of Weatherford, Texas, near Fort Worth, deployed rescuers to Houston and is working with local volunteers. Think of them as the bat lover version of the Cajun Navy, except with rabies vaccinations and syringes of bat food.

In the Market for a New Home? Buy a Zero Energy Ready Home

Read the full story from DOE.

Zero energy homes are some of the most energy efficient homes on the planet – and those certified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program also improve its overall comfort, health, and durability. As more consumers learn about ZERH, they’ll begin to realize the major opportunity for substantially reduced energy bills and a potentially transformative living experience.

Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics waste

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Excess or unnecessary packaging is being shunned by forward-thinking firms. Here are some examples of progress.