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May 2008

Pacifica Creek Care: How to Live and Work in Pacifica's Watersheds

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One of the best things to come out of City Hall recently is the grant-funded mailing to creekside residents in Linda Mar: a booklet called "Pacifica Creek Care: How to Live and Work in Pacifica's Watersheds" plus the "Guide for Plant Salvage and Plant Maintenance Efforts." Thanks to Associate Engineer Maria Aguilar (650-738-4660) for sending this useful information. The city is working on a creek ordinance to protect the flora and fauna of the creek. For future developments, visit the CITY OF PACIFICA and SAN PEDRO CREEK WATERSHED COALITION, which created the creek booklet.


S.F. Gets $1 Million to Build Biodiesel Plant

SF GETS MONEY TO BUILD BIODIESEL PLANT       

San Francisco Business Times, by Lindsay Riddell

San Francisco received $1 million grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to build its first biodiesel plant to recycle restaurant grease. The city started a free grease collection program last year -- collecting used cooking oil from restaurants that it sells to biodiesel producers. But now the city will have the ability to make its own. The new facility will be located at the Oceanside Sewage Treatment Plant. And it will be the first of its kind to produce fuel from both yellow grease, the kind that comes out of a fryer, and brown grease, a lower quality feedstock for making biodiesel made up of pan scrapings and trappings under a restaurant sink. The city wants to create a closed loop where all of the grease its restaurants produce is recycled and used to power the city's fleet of biodiesel trucks.


Whiz Kid Finds Key to Breaking Down Plastic

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WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags
TheRecord.com - CanadaWorld
Karen Kawawada, RECORD STAFF
WATERLOO—Getting ordinary plastic bags to rot away like banana peels would be an environmental dream come true. After all, we produce 500 billion a year worldwide and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. They take up space in landfills, litter our streets and parks, pollute the oceans and kill the animals that eat them. Now a Waterloo teenager has found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster -- in three months, he figures. Daniel Burd's project won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa. He came back with a long list of awards, including a $10,000 prize, a $20,000 scholarship, and recognition that he has found a practical way to help the environment. READ THE FULL STORY HERE


Bad Deal for the Planet: The Carbon-Offset Scam

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International Rivers Network (IRN) recently held an event at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on how carbon-trading scammers threaten to undermine the intent of the Kyoto Protocol on reducing carbon emissions. Here is  the EVENT VIDEO. Since the event, IRN's annual Dams, Rivers, and People report went to press, and is also available at THE FULL REPORT. "Bad Deal for the Planet: Why Carbon Offsets Aren't Working—and How to Create a Fair Global Climate Accord" delves into the murky world of fake carbon offsets and lays out a framework for creating better solutions to solve the looming climate crisis. The U.S. Senate soon starts discussing a bill that could allow U.S. polluters to escape their emission reduction responsibilities by buying hundreds of millions of international offsets every year. (Follow the money, i.e., campaign contributions.)

[adapted from Jake Sigg's Nature News]



Phoenix Lands on Mars, Sun Flips Its Wig

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THE DESCENT OF PHOENIX: When NASA's Phoenix probe parachuted to Mars last Sunday, a pair of other spacecraft were orbiting high overhead, watching and listening. While NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped some jaw-dropping photos of Phoenix's plunge to the surface, Europe's Mars Express orbiter recorded Phoenix's radio transmissions. The eerie-sounding tones have just been beamed back to Earth and you can listen to them by following the links at today's edition of SPACE WEATHER.

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CARTWHEEL CME: Imagine a billion-ton cloud of gas launching itself off the surface of the sun and then doing a cartwheel. That's exactly what happened on April 9, 2008, when a coronal mass ejection pirouetted over the sun's limb in full view of an international fleet of spacecraft. The cartwheel set off a chain of events that amazed even veteran solar physicists. The full story, and a spectacular movie of a second cartwheel recorded just last week, may be found at SPACE WEATHER.