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Gas-guzzler guilt? Just plant a forest

first_imgALBANY, N.Y. – If you plant some trees, is it OK to drive an Escalade? The question isn’t as silly as it sounds. People worried about global warming increasingly are trying to “offset” carbon dioxide – the leading greenhouse gas – that they spew into the atmosphere when they drive, fly or flick on a light. One idea popular with the eco-conscious is to have trees planted for them. You get to keep driving and flying, but those trees are supposed to suck in your trail of carbon. Whole forests have been funded by tree-loving celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Coldplay, while more modest packages tailored to typical consumers are proliferating. But some researchers say planting trees – while a good thing – is at best a marginal solution to global warming. Still others decry tree-planters who continue to jet off to Cannes, drive their SUVs or generally fail to reduce their fuel-hungry lifestyles. To those critics, plantings and other carbon offsets are like the medieval practice of selling indulgences to wash away sins: It may feel good, but it doesn’t solve much. “The sale of offset indulgences is a dead-end detour off the path of action required in the face of climate change,” says a report by the Transnational Institute’s Carbon Trade Watch. Groups that offer tree offsets typically rely on Web calculators requiring users to type in how many miles they drive, how much electricity they use and how far they fly. Figure out how much CO2 someone is responsible for (output), compare it to the work average trees can do (input), and you have a formula for neutralizing a person’s “carbon footprint.” While the band Coldplay famously funded 10,000 mango trees in India to soak up emissions related to the production of a CD, the average consumer can get off far easier. For $40, Trees for the Future will plant 400 trees in a developing country to handle your car emissions. In June, Delta Air Lines will allow online ticket buyers to help offset emissions of their flights through tree plantings in the U.S. and abroad: $5.50 for domestic round trips, $11 for international. “It’s easy to do and it makes a big difference,” said Jena Thompson of the Conservation Fund, Delta’s partner and one of many groups that will plant trees on your behalf. The science seems sound: Trees take in carbon dioxide as part of photosynthesis and store the carbon. But even conservationists caution it’s not as simple as planting a sapling so you can crank up the air conditioning without guilt. Offset groups use averages to estimate how much carbon a given tree or forested acre can capture. For instance, the nonprofit Conservation Fund figures that each tree planted captures less than 1 tons over 100 years. To put that in perspective, consider that about 7.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide were produced from the burning of fossil fuels worldwide in 2003, the most recent estimate available. And how much carbon dioxide a tree can soak up varies, said John Kadyszewski of Winrock International, a nonprofit that works on environmental projects. A huge California redwood might have 30 tons of carbon stored, while a 100-year-old pine might have less than a ton. “Trees are all different,” said Kadyszewski, coordinator for ecosystem services for Winrock, “and the amount of carbon in the tree depends on how old it is and where it’s growing and what kind of tree it is.” Kadyszewski notes that most online calculators use conservative numbers, meaning they’re not likely to exaggerate benefits. The Conservation Fund and Carbonfund.org both say they plant more than enough trees to deliver on promised offsets. There are other potential problems, however. Some researchers suggest forests in the snowy North might actually increase local warming by absorbing sunlight that would otherwise be reflected into space. And dead, decaying trees release some of that captured carbon back into the atmosphere. Perhaps most importantly, some researchers say it’s simply not possible to plant enough trees to have a significant effect on global warming. Michael MacCracken, chief scientist at the nonpartisan Climate Institute in Washington, said tree-planting has value as a stopgap measure while society attempts to reduce greenhouse gases. But University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver fears tree offsets could steal the focus of a problem that requires technological advances and behavioral changes. “The danger is that you could actually think you’re solving a problem,” Weaver said. “It makes you feel good. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, like changing a couple of light bulbs. But the reality is it’s not going to have a significant effect.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Stranded seal pup rescued by three young women from Donegal beach

first_imgA seal pup has been rescued by three young women after being left stranded on a Bundoran beach.The seal, known as Silky, was spotted on Tullan Strand in Bundoran before being spotted.Twin sisters Phillipa and Jennifer Locke (20) and their friend Rihannon Kerrigan (20) found the animal after spending several hours searching a two-mile stretch on the popular stretch. Phillipa, who volunteers for Seal Rescue Ireland, told the Independent.ie: “He looked in a bad way, very weak and small for his age.“His mother might still be around as there were tracks from a bigger seal too, but she probably got swept up by the waves.”The three-month-old seal was treated last night by a local vet.Stranded seal pup rescued by three young women from Donegal beach was last modified: November 26th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bundoranSeal pup rescuelast_img read more

Marshfield softball drops home game to D.C. Everest

first_imgTigers drop to 6-3 in WVCBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — D.C. Everest scored three times in the top of the first inning, and it proved to be enough as the Evergreens topped Marshfield 5-1 in a Wisconsin Valley Conference softball game Thursday at the Marshfield Fairgrounds.Marshfield scored once in the bottom of the first inning and had plenty of other chances to make it closer but could not convert.The Tigers had two runners on in the second, third, fourth and seventh innings but could not muster another run against D.C. Everest pitcher Miranda Gajewski.Two dropped pop-ups in the bottom of the seventh kept Marshfield alive before Everest was finally able to record the final out. Gajewski finished with seven strikeouts and scattered six hits in the complete-game effort.“She’s (Gajewski) been great all four of our years,” Marshfield coach Dan Costa said. “I’m biased because I think (Megan) Donahue is the best pitcher in the league, but if Donahue’s not, (Gajewski) is. She throws hard, has a good changeup, spins it well off the plate, and they do a good job mixing it up inside and outside.”Kaitlyn Konrardy had a double for the Tigers, who fall to 10-4 overall and 6-3 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. Everest is now 11-8 and 8-2 in conference play.Marshfield will play at the Escanaba (Mich.) Invitational on Saturday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Evergreens 5, Tigers 1D.C. Everest 300 000 2 – 5Marshfield 100 000 0 – 1WP: Miranda Gajewski. LP: Megan Donahue.Top hitters: DC, Rachel Plautz 2×4, 2 runs; Miranda Ostrowski 1×3, 2 RBIs. M, Kaitlyn Konrardy 2B.Records: D.C. Everest 11-8, 8-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Marshfield 10-4, 6-3 Wisconsin Valley Conference.last_img read more

Cape Town sets doves free for Mandela

first_img9 December 2013National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has urged the City of Cape Town to name the balcony at City Hall after Nelson Mandela as it is “hallowed ground”.Manuel reminded the hundreds of Capetonians gathered in front of City Hall on Sunday for an interfaith service to remember Mandela that it was from this balcony that Nelson Mandela addressed the world for the first time after his release from prison on 11 February 1990. It was also here that he spoke before his inauguration as president of the country.Although the mood was sombre, the gathered crowd applauded when Manuel said: “When Madiba was released and [former state president] FW de Klerk offered to fly him to Joburg so that he could have his first rally in Joburg, he said: ‘No I am part of the people of Cape Town, I have been here for 27 years. This is my home and the first place that I can report and must report is to the people of Cape Town.’”Manuel, who served under Mandela as Finance Minister, spoke at the service that was part of South Africa’s national week of mourning for the former president. Flags were flying at half mast.Former Springbok wing Chester Williams, who was part of the team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, bid Mandela an emotional farewell: “We need to lift this legacy he left. We need more leaders like him,” said Williams. “To the world he was Nelson Mandela, to me he was the world.”CondolencesMeanwhile, South Africans and visitors are continuing to pay homage to former president Nelson Mandela at Cape Town’s Grand Parade. Bunches of flowers, colourful wreaths, letters and placards containing words of condolences filled up a fence set up in front of the City Hall.“Dear Mandela, We are bornfrees [a term used to describe those born after the end of apartheid] thanks to you. We love you,” one of the notices read.Another one signed by “an Angolan living in the city” reads: “Tata [literally, “father”] is gone, but we will never forget about you, a giant of the liberation … epitome of reconciliation.”The city has also opened books of condolence and has set up computer terminals in front of City Hall to allow visitors to leave online dedications on a wall of condolence created on city’s website. See www.capetown.gov.za/nelsonmandela.“Thank you for the legacy that you have left. We will live on with your message of peace and forgiveness,” wrote Tatum Hendricks in one of the books of condolence.‘He changed my life completely’Those that SAnews spoke to at the Grand Parade were emotional about the former president’s passing. Daniel Stemmet from Hermanus said Mandela had changed his life. “I’m a gay person, and because of him I was allowed to get married and I was allowed to adopt a child, so he’s changed my life completely.”Capetonian Gwen Godlo said she was still trying to come to terms with Mandela’s death: “I felt so sad, because he was everything to us, an inspiration”.Desmond Fillis, who is visiting from Port Elizabeth, said, “He’s changed South Africa for all of us, it doesn’t matter what your colour is. He did it with so much sacrifice to him and his family, so there’s no way that people – especially South Africans – can not honour this man and his lifetime.”Masixole Velem, from King Williams Town who is studying in Cape Town, said, “I’m actually here to afford him the chance to rest in peace. He’s done a lot for South Africa in contributing to South Africa, all colours, the rainbow nation, together for a common purpose.”Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on Sunday announced a series of events to take place in the city to honour Mandela. These include a commemorative event at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.Details on the programme of commemorative events planned by the City of Cape Town are available at www.capetown.gov.zaSAinfo reporter and SAnews.govlast_img read more

Finally, a contest to reward the world’s crappiest fighting robots

first_imgCate Lawrence Since the first competition held in 2014 in Tokyo, Hebocon has spread over 25 countries and over 60 competitions has been hosted. In the latest International contest in August, participants hailed from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Iceland, France and Hungary. It’s easy to mock the Hebocon awards for comedy effect alone, but the reality is that they bring robotics (albeit in it’s most primitive form) to those who either lack technical ability or might be creatively or technically blocked. As the creators encourage:” Go into a toy store and buy one of those moving toy dogs, rip off its exterior, and stick some cardboard on there, and you’d be looking at your original robot. Get some pieces of wood, sharpen them, and give your robot some horns: your robot’s attacking ability has just sky-rocketed. You might even get more creative and install a motorized weapon onto your robot. Didn’t quite work side effects of viagra and alcohol out? That’s Okay! That is what we call Heboi. Grab that faulty robot of yours, and participate in a Hebocon competition!”With sponsors like Arduino and Maker Faire and a cult following, it brings a sort of robotics to the masses. “If one crappy robot and another crappy robot fought each other — what would happen?”In an era where robots like Nao, Pepper, Sophia and Atlas manage to amaze us with their respective abilities to walk, learn, communicate in different languages,  recognize different people and partake in heavy lifting, another suite of robots is hard at work lowering the bar of robotic achievement.Hebocon is an annual robot competition for the technically ungifted where 31 robots compete in sumo style wrestling matches where the robots try to push their competitors off a board through a combination of pushing, shoving, whirring and sheer persistence. The biggest challenge can be getting robots to move at all, let alone deliver attack moves and self-defence techniques.  The World Championship was recently held in Tokyo.See also: Will robots finally take farmers’ jobs?The word Hebocon derives from the Japanese word Heboi, used to describe something that is technically poor, or low in quality and with this spirit in mind, robots are made with a bizarre array of equipment including fast food wrappers, instant noodle containers, sex toys, wind up toys and Barbie dolls.  According to the organisers, “entrants will need compromise and surrender instead of ideas and technical skill.” Robots are actually penalised for having high tech features and assistance from the maker is not unusual in the competition, such as a helping finger to get the robot moving when a motor has failed. It a competition where failures in technical output can be thwarted by strategy and dogged persistence.The souls of robots that would be considered scrapheap fodder are respected, as winners in each round opt to attach parts of the losing robots to ‘carry on the will’ of those knocked out.Hong Kong representative Kit da Studio won the NicoTsuku award with his table-flipping robot. (The robot actually flipped itself over when it was trying to flip the desk.) Overall winner, Ricky Chan, built a robot called the “Robot-Controlled Controller Robot,” which consists of two components – a controller that looks like a tiger robot, and a robot that looks like a controller. Related Posts Follow the Puck Tags:#Arduino#Hebocon#japan#Maker Faire#robotics#robots#Tokyo What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

Tendulkar discusses Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with Modi

first_imgSachin Tendulkar with Narendra Modi.Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him about his contribution to the ‘Swachh Bharat initiative’ campaign.The 41-year-old iconic cricketer was one of the nine people chosen by the prime minister for his initiative, which he had launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2.Tendulkar, who was accompanied by his wife Anjali, told the prime minister that he had extended the “chain” by inviting more people to participate in the campaign.”The legendary cricketer also shared the idea of adopting a village under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana with the prime minister, besides expressing his keenness to work towards development of sports in schools and colleges,” an official release said.Modi had last week complimented Tendulkar after he took up broomsticks, spade and mattock to collect garbage strewn along the way in a filthy locality in his home town, Mumbai, along with his friends.Bharat Ratna awardee Tendulkar had urged fellow sportspersons to join Modi’s ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyan’ and posted on a social networking site a video displaying his efforts to clean the locality “dumped with litter and garbage”.”Swachh Bharat Hi Sach Bharat Hai! The story of Stinky Path to Footpath on film,” he wrote on his twitter account.last_img read more


first_imgA portion of Sergeant Road between South Saint Aubin Street to Lincoln Way will be closed Monday for street repairs.City engineering staff say local residents will still have access to their homes and driveways during the closure.Repairs will begin Monday morning and should be completed by the afternoon.A detour utilizing Seger Avenue, Mulberry Street, and South Saint Mary’s Street will be posted during the closure.last_img