Bill Schlesinger's Blog

Once I thought of the ocean as infinite. The constancy of seawater was taken for granted.  But, now as we see evidence of increasing concentrations of mercury in seawater, if seems that the human mobilization and disposal of wastes worldwide is taxing the infinite dilution capacity of the seas.

Bill Schlesinger's Blog

Bill Schlesinger’s post which follows reports that the House of Representatives, on the motion of Rep.Jeff Dunan of South Carolina, adopted an amendment by voice vote that prevents the federal government from spending any money in enforcing  the Migratory Bird Act.  We think this is front page news. 

Every now and again I see a legislative initiative that I believe must have been designed simply to raise my blood pressure. This month provided a great example. In a rider to the bill to fund the operations of the Departments of Commerce and Justice is a provision, now passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, to prohibit the use of any of the appropriated funds in prosecuting or holding liable any corporation or person for a violation of section 2(a) of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).  See:https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/493/text, [passed as H.Amdt. 347 by voice vote on June 3, 2015.] 

Over 240 students from 17 regional schools plus home schoolers are taking part in the Hudson Data Jam Expo at Marist College this Saturday, June 13 from 2-4 p.m.  Judges from the Cary Institute have been assessing some 100 projects created by the middle school and high school students that reveal the secrets of the Hudson River through videos, demonstrations and multidimensional constructions.  All have an element of science, ecology, theater and humor.  

Led by their teachers and educators from Cary, students use “data sets”  to describe some aspect of the river and its ecosystem in their demonstrations.  The winners of last year’s projects described in videos the role of oxygen and salinity in the water on marine life. According to Samantha Root, educational specialist with Cary, the  projects included movies, animations, original songs, comic strips, and puppet shows. 

The Hudson Data Jam was funded by the Malcom Gordon Charitable Fund managed by the Open Space Institute. 

The projects are on exhibit at Marist. The winners will be announced this Saturday. 

Bill Schlesinger's Blog

Along with carbon dioxide, a suite of other gases absorb infra-red radiation that is leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming.  Methane is one of those gases.  Methane is composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, so its chemical formula is CH4.

Bill Schlesinger's Blog

No one likes pests:  mosquitoes at your barbeque, termites in your basement, caterpillars on your garden vegetables and field crops.  In the past 70 years, the chemical industry has developed a remarkably effective arsenal of chemicals designed to kill pests.  DDT was among the first.  Organophosphate insecticides soon followed.  Now, insecticides in the family of neonicotinoid compounds are under great scrutiny, with billions of profits at stake for Bayer and Syngenta if these insecticides are outlawed.

What really happens

I’ve been recycling since I was in grade school in the late 1950s. As a school project, we collected and sorted newspapers and magazines.  In college, we recycled aluminum cans. By the mid-1970s, I was separating and recycling paper, aluminum and glass. The sorting was not very difficult, but it did require me to have separate containers in my garage.

The Importance of Welands

Lots of folks don’t understand the value of small wetlands and ponds.  When I lived in upstate New York, land developers hated wetlands because they reduced the housing density they could build on a new tract.  A few years ago I was traveling with a woman who proudly told me that she dumped her grass clippings in the wetland behind her house in Arizona.  (For this moment, I will let go of the wisdom of a lawn in Phoenix).  Many people associate wetlands with mosquitoes.