April 12, 2008

Pollution by any other name...

would smell just as bad
In Shakespears Romeo and Juliet, Romeo utters the phrase "What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet." Short of the story, he had a wrong last name and was ranting that it was just a name, and if a rose was named by any other name it would still smell wonderful. But...what if the character of Romeo were alive today, would a rose still smell so sweet?

New research by the University of Virginia reveals that the chemical makeup of the scent of a flower is being altered by air pollution. "Smell" at its simplest form, is the process of a chemical in a gaseous form being picked up by a receptor, for humans the olfactory nerves, which then triggers the response that we know as a scent. This principal, simplified as it is, is the same for any animal that uses scent for survival and navigation, such as bees.

Certain components of air pollution, such as ozone, easily bond to the scents of flower, essentially making a new smell, which in turn impacts the perception of what flowers exist in a bees territory. This could be another interesting component of why bee numbers are in drastic decline in the last year. The researches also found that human landscapes (cities, lawns, etc.) have impacted the distance in which the scent of a flowers travels, making it difficult for colonies of bees to sustain itself due to a limitation of a viable food source. Its an interesting twist to the concept of air pollution and the impact that humans can have in intricately linked ecosystems.

Can you hear me now?
Another type of pollution is causing havoc on song bird populations...Noise. Noise pollution is possibly causing an evolutionary wrinkle in the way that male birds sing their songs to attract mates. Faced with a constant onslaught of cars, trucks, and other city noises, some species of songbirds have been found to sing at higher decibels than their country counterparts.

Researchers speculate that noise pollution are forcing the birds to 'speak up' so as to be heard by mates. It was found that some birds, such as the Nightingale sang their loudest during weekday mornings during rush hour. There is some speculation that this phenomenon may create a evolutionary wrinkle, where separate sub-species of birds evolve...country birds and urban birds.

I always thought city dwellers spoke louder than country folk, now, it appears, their birds are following in their footsteps. :-) Check out the article for more in depth examples. Have a great Saturday! Cheers

April 11, 2008

Chuggles Sleep Over

The Ladies have returned...
This weekend I get the chance to have the ladies, Snuggles and Chiquita over for awhile. It is just me and the girls while Kmewalt heads to Texas for the weekend. So far we've chased ducks, barked at every dog and person that walks by and gone cowering into a corner during a thunderstorm. Wonder what else we'll get into this weekend...:-)

Couch Surfing

What are YOU looking at?

I don't want to play...

I am Snuggles...bow before me!

April 10, 2008

Journey of Harmony

Torch Carbon Foot Print
I discussed yesterday about the protests surrounding the Olympic torch and its relay around the world. Which got me thinking about the torch itself, who designed it, whats it made of, and how does it get from country to country? And, courtesy of GreenDaily, what is the environmental impact this torch relay? Well your answers and mine, are about to be had!

Lenovo, yes the computer company, designed the torch for the 2008 games, while the flame element was designed by the Chinese aerospace industries. It is cast out of aluminum, stands 28.35 inches tall (72 cm) and weighs slightly more than two pounds (985 kg). Traditional Chinese artistry adorns the torch, which resembles traditional scrolls . The flame element is able to stay lit in winds of up to ~40 mph (65 kph) and in rains of approximately two inches an hour (50 mm/hour). The 'green' side of the torch is that the materials are recyclable and the propane fuel meets environmental requirements. Makes for a beautiful torch, but what about environmental beauty?

The torch relay is the longest in history, with the IOC stating that the journey will span nearly 85,000 miles. The flame, when not being carried by relay members or being doused by fire-extinguisher wielding protesters, travels on a custom Airbus A330, the Journey of Harmony, complete with custom paint job. The A330, according to Wired, the A330 burns through 5.3 gallons of fuel PER mile. Talk about crappy mpg! Earthlab calculates that for the entire trip, the A330 will use ~462,000 gallons of jet fuel, netting around 5,500 TONS of CO2.

If you add this, plus the huge investments of energy and raw materials to build the new Olympic facilities, you wonder if the Olympics are really worth it from an environmental standpoint? Why are we awarding countries that do not have facilities prior to the games? Why do knew ones have to be built? Why, like in Atlanta in 1996, do the facilities get torn down after the games? There are already several world class facilities already available, why not award only those cities to chance to host the games? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I think the IOC could use a lesson in the basic three. I'm still excited for the games...119 Days!

April 9, 2008

Olympic Protests

Olympic Torch
I have resisted the urge to write about the protests surrounding the Olympic torch relay around the world, but figured I would briefly weigh in on it. I am excited about the Olympics, as can be seen here, here, and here, where the greatest athletic spectacle held, pits each nations greatest against one another.

This years torch relay has been mired in controversy and protests, which have began, though not entirely, with the way that China handled a Tibetan protest last month which coincided with the beginning of the torches relay. The protests have gotten louder and more pronounced, more issues have come to forefront that each protesting group is trying to raise awareness to; Tibetan autonomy, human and civil rights issues, freedom of speech, the Taiwan issue, and China's response to various African conflicts. There is even talk of boycotting the games...what is all of this?

The Olympics embrace the principles of bringing people, cultures, and countries together to showcase each of their best athletes abilities. It is supposed to promote peace and unity. I support the protests of this years Olympic games in so much as it peacefully raises awareness of the wrongs that have been done by China. If the Chinese people feel that these protests are against them, the possibility of a backlash against the west is plausible, though remote. This would be expected of any country who feels that they are being personally attacked by another

The Chinese are immensely proud of these Olympic games and are truly trying to put their best face forward to show the world how much they have come into modernization. Of course there will be skeletons in the closet, but what country does not? Lets make progress and stop hashing the past, it is gone, done, forget and move on, its what we're supposed to do. Now, only 120 days to go! Wahoo!

April 8, 2008


So as any good MINI owner should do, so I've been told, I have decided that the MINI will be a girl MINI. I have been toying with some different names and with the help of RAC and K Wags have decided to call her Calie, short for Caliente. Yes, Caliente is a descriptive term that I should use when talk about the car, like "that car is caliente," rather than it being a proper name. But Calie is a good name and fits the cars personality. Here is a few pics of what Calie has on underneath!

The "Cockpit"
Backseat and open sunroof.

Baby got Back

April 7, 2008

National Champions!!!

Title says it all...plain and simple. But for those of you non-college bball fans, Kansas won the D-I Mens basketball title last night in an overtime thriller against the Memphis Tigers. I will admit, I lost faith, left K&A Wags house and drove home. Got home, watched the winning shot and felt embarrassed for being such a no-faith guy. But holly cow...we won. Really? Did we? Someone pinch me! I guess if buying a MINI brings good luck to Kansas I'm gonna need a new job to supply my generous amounts of good luck. But I did pick her up today, I need to name it though...any suggestions?

I did a little video clip section a couple weeks back at the beginning of the tournament on which game had the better game winning shot. This one by far is number one in my book, but I'm biased, what can I say? Rock Chalk Jayhawk KKKKKKKKK UUUUUUUU

April 6, 2008


Yes, Roy, they did do that to you! I know of late that the posts have sort of gotten off of the ole environ topic of late, but its because I've been busy purchasing a car and getting caught up in KU's run into the Final Four. Last night, headed over to K&A Wags and caused a ruckus, but in all of the yelling, stomping, and pacing KU held off the late charge by the Tar Heels to earn a trip to their first title game since 2003. Hopefully we will be saying Rock Chalk Jayhawk at the end, instead of Rock 'Choke' Jayhawk as the critics like to say. But we beat Roy, so my beef with him is done...Enjoy your Sunday!