Day: March 1, 2018

The Problem of Fake News Is Not Recent, But Our Current Internet Ecosystem Is

Read the full story in ResearchBuzz.

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work. I try to get them from a number of places and find perspectives that I’m not well-equipped to see. I do this for two reasons: first, the cultural default in the United States is white, and as a white person this is going to give me blind spots. I feel it’s important to try to overcome those blind spots. Second, I feel that it’s going to make me a better human in general to work at getting outside my own realms of experience – my own white, middle-aged, female skull – and see other points of view. So I subscribe to The Daily Zeitgeist and 2 Dope Queens and Ridiculous History and Stuff You Missed in History Class and Ethnically Ambiguous and The Gay Power Half Hour and etc etc etc.

Today while I was listening to The Daily Zeitgeist, the two hosts (Miles Gray and Jack O’Brien) and their guest (Ify Nwadiwe) were talking about fake news online and seemed to put a lot of the problem of fake news at the feet of older people (and Miles, I cannot believe you told your grandmother Jurassic Park was real.) The conversation went something like, “Well, young people know better but older people are credulous.”

I get the impression that these gentlemen are much younger than I am – Jack maybe is in his early 30s? – and for a minute I was angry, and then I was a little sad, and then I was worried because while Internet citizens (of all ages) might have a problem with critical thinking, I don’t think that’s where the essential problem lies. And if these folks (who in my opinion are smart and sharp) think that we’re having a fake news problem because older people are gullible, then we might get into the history repeating itself game. And I don’t want that to happen.

EPA begins cleanup of hazardous materials found at Cleveland recycling warehouse

Read the full story at

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it began cleanup of a recycling facility that housing millions of potentially toxic light bulbs and other hazardous waste.

U.S. Judge Halts Construction of Controversial Louisiana Oil Pipeline

Read the full story at e360 Digest.

A federal judge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana has revoked a permit for the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline, immediately halting construction of the project, which would carry up to 480,000 barrels of crude oil daily 163 miles across the state’s Atchafalaya River basin. The nearly 1 million-acre expanse of swampland is a key component of the state’s flood protection system and home to a vital fishing industry, according to Reuters.

Engaging Historically Black Colleges and Universities through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education and Community Engagement

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Kelly Witter and her team of volunteers at EPA’s award-winning Community Engagement and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outreach Program are using education to help communities solve problems and protect the environment. Through this program at Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina, they have reached more than 100,000 students and community members.

An exciting and recent development for the STEM Outreach Program is their partnership with a local arm of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) based at Hillside High School, in Durham, North Carolina. They coordinated a successful visit with the school in early January 2018, including meet and greet sessions with Black engineers at EPA, and will be participating in Engineering Career Day at Hillside this month.

TCE found in six water wells near state-owned Rose Valley Lake in Lycoming County

Read the full story at PennLive.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is providing bottled water to six homes adjacent to a state-owned lake in northern Lycoming County because of high levels of trichloroethylene found in well water.

West Coast Wetlands Could Nearly Disappear in 100 Years

Read the full story at ClimateWire.

The Pacific Coast could see several feet of sea-level rise by the end of this century, and one of its most unique and valuable ecosystems — its salt marshes — may all but disappear in the process.

By the year 2110, all the existing marshland in California and Oregon could be underwater, according to new research in the journal Science Advances. And more than two-thirds of all the wetlands in Washington state could meet the same fate. That’s assuming about 4 feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century — what recent reports predict for the region under moderate to severe future climate change.


Biological inputs assist in farm health

Read the full story in the High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal.

Third-generation potato farmer Brendon Rockey is showing producers across the globe how to improve farm health with biotic methods.

Reforesting US topsoils store massive amounts of carbon, with potential for much more

Read the full story at Science Daily.

Forests across the United States — and especially forest soils — store massive amounts of carbon, offsetting about 10 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and helping to mitigate climate change.

But for more than 20 years, experts have warned that the strength of this carbon “sink” is declining and will level off around mid-century. One way to compensate for the declining sink strength of U.S. forests is to add more trees — by actively replanting after disturbances like wildfires or by allowing forests to retake marginal croplands, for example.

A study scheduled for online publication the week of Feb. 26 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the first empirically based, published estimate of the total amount of carbon currently accumulating in the topsoil of U.S. forests undergoing these two types of reforestation.

Soil health gains traction in farm country: Reduced tillage, cover crops offer benefits

Read the full story in the West Central Tribune.

It doesn’t matter whether she’s grubbing around in farm fields or road ditches, or peering from the relative comfort of a tractor cab.

The information that Jodi DeJong-Hughes of the University of Minnesota Extension collects for her research shows both economic and environmental benefits to reduced tillage practices.

DeJong-Hughes offered a look at those benefits to an audience that is increasingly interested in them. Over 100 farmers attended a cover crop and reduced tillage meeting hosted Wednesday in Renville by the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District and Hawk Creek Watershed Project.

Researchers Develop Methods To Clean Polluted Groundwater

Read the full story from Texas A&M.

Bioremediation is the process of cleaning up a polluted site by using living organisms and turning pollutants into non-toxic substances. For example, researchers have studied the use of bacteria to break down organic contaminants in groundwater; however, this bioremediation process has been met with limited success under some conditions. Because the presence of bacteria, water flow rate in an aquifer and nutrient levels vary widely within and between aquifers, having a better understanding of what affects bioremediation success is crucial.

Building that understanding is the goal of a new study led by Itza Mendoza-Sanchez, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Mendoza-Sanchez’s research study applied experimental data and mathematical models to understand some of the limitations of biodegradation of toxic pollutants that are frequently found in contaminated aquifers. Having mathematical models that accurately represent the processes and limitations of bioremediation would allow scientists to efficiently clean contaminated groundwater.

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