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News

With falling oil prices, short-sellers may win big

Blogging on EARTH

We all heard it this summer: national politicians blasting speculators for driving up oil prices. Journalists and academics may never sort out the actual significance of speculators in this regard. But those same speculators have likely lost big time the last several weeks, says James Hamilton, an economist at the University of San Diego.

30 Oct 2008

Energy mission: "Kilowatt Ours"

“What if every time you flipped a light switch, a mountain exploded in West Virginia?”

In the new documentary “Kilowatt Ours,” filmmaker Jeff Barrie explains why that idea isn’t as preposterous as it sounds.

29 Oct 2008

Pakistan quake kills at least 170

A magnitude-6.4 earthquake rocked through southwestern Pakistan just after 4 a.m. local time Wednesday, killing at least 170 people and leaving about 15,000 more homeless. That quake was followed by a second magnitude-6.4 quake at 4:30 p.m. local time.

29 Oct 2008

VA geologists axed due to budget crunch

Virginia, like many states, is being hit hard by the recent economic downturn — and as Virginia tightens the purse strings, the state’s geological survey is going to feel the pinch.

Not surprisingly, geologists in Virginia are not happy.

Virginia expects a $2.5 billion budget shortfall over the next two years. To balance the budget, Virginia’s Gov. Tim Kaine plans to lay off 570 state employees, including nine employees (out of 21) from the state’s Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (Virginia’s equivalent to a state geological survey).

22 Oct 2008

Hot enough for ya? Investigating climate change in "Heat"

In FRONTLINE's urgent, ambitious new special "Heat," producer and reporter Martin Smith takes on a sweeping canvas of climate change, journeying from the disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas to the cement factories of India to the coal mines of the United States. There's a revealing look into the U.S.' role in the climate change conference in Bali last December, as well as into the plans of China's largest car company.

21 Oct 2008

'The Big Necessity' Reclaiming feces

In her new book, "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters," freelance journalist Rose George argues that experts and citizens alike must overcome their aversion to all things fecal — or else face one of the most serious public health risks on the planet. If handled properly, George says, waste water can even be reclaimed as potable water. Recently, EARTH contributor Brian Fisher Johnson talked with George about her book, which was released on Oct. 14.

20 Oct 2008

Arctic soils retain more carbon

Don’t look now, but a slumbering beast rests in the north. It’s not news that the North American Arctic, where trees dare not grow, contains immense amounts of organic carbon in its soils. But according to a new study, past estimates of organic carbon concentrations in Arctic soils are too low — and that has some scientists worried about vast amounts of carbon being released as temperatures warm.

15 Oct 2008

Travels in Geology: Thrills and spills at West Virginia's New River Gorge

When Budget Traveler magazine named Fayetteville, W.Va., one of the “Coolest Small Towns in the USA”, it credited not just the town’s young atmosphere and unique shops, but also the local geology, which is nothing short of spectacular.

09 Oct 2008

Danger and wonder in Nat Geo's "Giant Crystal Cave"

Razor-sharp rocks. Deadly crevasses. Unbearable heat. Scalding water. One false step...and you’re history.

“Giant Crystal Cave,” the National Geographic Channel’s hour-long documentary on scientific exploration deep inside Mexico’s Naica Mountain is as much about derring-do and danger as it is about science. The film follows three scientists as they visit the mountain’s most famous cavern for the first time in hopes of unlocking some of its mysteries.

09 Oct 2008

GSA meeting: Biofuels vs. food - developing countries suffer most

HOUSTON – Perhaps it’s because the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting is being held in conjunction with the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America, or perhaps it’s because it has been a much-discussed topic this year, but biofuels are big at this meeting.

08 Oct 2008

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