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THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:42:12 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Companies 'need green directors'

Businesses must change their attitude to environmental issues if the tide of ecological decline is to be halted.

That was the message from Valli Moosa, president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, opening the World Conservation Congress.

The former South African minister said all companies should have directors with environmental experience.

The 10-day IUCN congress in Barcelona will debate global environmental problems and potential solutions.

The organisation numbers almost all the world's governments, environment groups and business representatives among its members.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:46:15 PM EST
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BBC NEWS | Africa | Goat 'condoms' save Kenyan herds

Maasai herdsmen in Kenya have turned to an age-old contraceptive device, the "olor", to protect their precious goat herds from an ongoing drought.

The olor is made from cowhide or a square piece of plastic, and is tied around the belly of the male goat.

It prevents the bucks from mating with the female goats.

The herdsmen are using the device to limit the goat population and ensure there are not too many animals grazing on sparse vegetation.

"We don't want them to breed in this drought," says Mr Ole Ngoshoi Kipameto, a goat owner in Kajiado district.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:46:30 PM EST
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Dutch city kept warm by hot-water mines - Times Online

In an age of rapidly rising fuel bills the discovery of vast supplies of free hot water sounds too good to be true. But that is exactly what one Dutch city has found to run the radiators of hundreds of homes, shops and offices.

Heerlen, in the southern province of Limburg, has created the first geothermal power station in the world using water heated naturally in the deep shafts of old coalmines -- which once provided the southern Netherlands with thousands of jobs but have been dormant since the 1970s.

Tapping "free energy" marks a breakthrough in green technology by exploiting the legacy of the coalmines that emitted so much pollution and helped to create the climate change emergency faced by the planet.

"With the threat of global warming and soaring energy prices, nobody can afford to sit back," said Riet de Wit, a councillor in Heerlen. "We have proven that a local initiative can provide a local solution for sustainable energy. Moreover, our concept can be adapted by former mining regions all over the world."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:47:33 PM EST
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A Chapter of Dutch Art History Ends: A Tobacco Factory Closes, Sheds its Collection - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Cigarette-maker BAT has built up an impressive collection of modern art at its factory in the Dutch town of Zevenaar over the last 50 years. The art was used to keep workers from getting bored. But now the factory is closing, the art is up for auction and many are unhappy.

Cigarette brands Peter Stuyvesant and Lucky Strike will no longer be made in the Dutch town of Zevenaar. The closure of the British American Tobacco (BAT) factory marks not only the end of a major source of employment in the area but also the final curtain for an unusual piece of Dutch art history.

At the end of the 1950s, factory director Alexander Orlow started hanging works of art among the cigarette-making machines. The workers needed something interesting to look at to stave off boredom and increase their productivity, he felt. Orlow went for modern, avant-garde art -- large, colorful and mainly abstract paintings.

It turned out to be the start of a major collection. In collaboration with the directors of Rotterdam's Boijmans van Beuningen museum and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, it has acquired over 1,500 pieces, 150 of which are often loaned to major exhibitions. But on August 15, BAT announced that it would auction off the total collection.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:53:07 PM EST
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End-of-Oktoberfest Statistics: 6.6 Million Liters of Beer, 104 Oxen and no False Teeth - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

It's that sad time of year again -- the Munich Oktoberfest is over. But the annual post-Oktoberfest statistics on beer and oxen consumption make for entertaining reading, as does the list of lost items which for the first time since records began does not include a set of false teeth.

Statistics needn't be boring. In fact they're downright entertaining in the case of the Oktoberfest. Each year after the two-week celebration of beer and Lederhosen ends, the city of Munich provides figures that give an insight into the scale and intensity of the world's biggest beer festival.

 Beer consumption, as always, is the key figure. It declined by 300,000 litres to 6.6 million as a result of cold and rainy weather this year. The number of visitors fell by 200,000 to 6 million.

In fact the weather was so cold that stalls sold 2,000 liters of mulled wine normally reserved for the Christmas market season to men and women freezing in their Lederhosen and Dirndls.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:56:33 PM EST
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There has been a railway accident in Hungary today. A commuter train crashed intoa stopped express train in a curve, with the former's driving trailer jumping on and razing the latter's last car (an at least sparsely occupied first-class car). 4 dead, 26 injured.

From what I know so far, it was a result of too many factors that just should not happen. Signals must have been out of order, probably cable thiefs. But in such cases, there are rules on how to drive the commuter train's driver (who allegedly survived unhurt) must have ignored them. (A similar driver irresponsibility led to another accident just two years ago.) I also have an inkling that the standard domestic renovated IC cars aren't up to the best crashworthiness standards -- telescoping shouldn't happen with state-of-the-art cars.

This together is a sign of thorough mismanagement. And to my surprise, indeed the transport minister, the boss of the state railway holding, as well as that of the oversight board resigned today.

(I note that I often do job-related travel on the express trains on that line -- travelling in the 1st-class-car...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:34:41 PM EST
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CNN: An eco-friendly way to cool big trucks

The EPA estimates the typical truck idles 2400 hours per year. At $4 a gallon, that's $9600 in annual fuel costs.

They idle at truck stops to keep the AC on. Bluecool is a machine that makes blocks of ice on the road, then a DC low power fan feeds cold air into the cab.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:45:49 PM EST
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New Scientist: Space rock found on collision course with Earth

For the first time, astronomers have found an object on a certain collision course with Earth. Fortunately, it is so small it is not expected to cause any damage, burning up in the atmosphere somewhere above northern Sudan in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It may, however, produce a brilliant 'shooting star'.

The space rock, dubbed 2008 TC3, was first spotted on Monday in a survey by the Mt Lemmon Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

Its brightness suggests it is no more than about 5 metres across - so small it will likely be destroyed in the atmosphere, says Andrea Milani Comparetti of the University of Pisa in Italy.

Rocks of such size are thought to hit the atmosphere every few months, says Steve Chesley, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The event is not unusual - what is unique is that it's been predicted beforehand," Milani told New Scientist. "This is the first time we see something arriving, compute that it's going to impact, and announce it is going to impact before it happens."

The rock is due to hit the atmosphere above northern Sudan on Tuesday at 0246 GMT. It will be travelling from west to east, and may be visible from a few hundred kilometres away.

by lychee on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 05:24:04 PM EST
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