Archived entries for nature

Europe biofuel plans under fire

European biofuel plans come under attack from climate experts who warn demand for it could hurt the environment.

Mainstreaming the carbon footprint


While working with “Meet the Press” on in the background this morning, as a commercial came on I heard the question “Do you know your carbon footprint?” and my ears stood up. The commercial was a staged set of “man on the street” snippets where the unseen interviewer would ask t hat question, and the interviewee would act completely clueless… what the heck is a carbon footprint?

It was a new BP ad that directed viewers to a page with the header “It’s time to start a low-carbon diet.” The page has a link to a nifty carbon footprint calculator. (My footprint was less than the national average, but I could still stand to lose a few tons). Needless to say, it’s cool to see this mainstreaming of the ecological footprint concept, and I’m not surprised to see that the origin was BP

(Posted by Jon Lebkowsky in QuickChanges at 09:09 AM)

Botanist: why so much colour variation in maple leaves

Cory Doctorow:
Daniel, who runs the Botany Photo of the Day blog through the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, sez: “thought you might enjoy this pic of autumn leaf colour in vine maples with explanation as to why there is such variability.”

In other words, the formation of red pigments in the autumn provides protection, preventing the too-rapid breakdown of chlorophyll which could occur in exposed (read: excess light) areas. As you can clearly see in the leaf in the upper right, the bottom-right corner has the pattern of the leaf above. Where the leaf above shaded this leaf, no red pigments were produced. Where the leaf was exposed, bright red anthocyanins were formed. To take this to a broader perspective, vine maple trees in shaded forests and under low light conditions have little need to produce red pigments, as the breakdown of chlorophyll can occur at a modest pace. However, vine maples in exposed sites turn flame orange and red, so that the pigments produced will slow the rate of chlorophyll breakdown. The leaves in this photograph are from trees that are partially exposed, hence the attractive blend of colours.scp

(Thanks, Daniel!)

I thought this would be interesting info as we\’re now approaching autumn in Italy too… — ann

Via Boing Boing

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