American Elephants

Bits and pieces from the environmental world. by The Elephant's Child


Poultry farms produce large amounts of poultry litter, the birds bedding litter.  A Pennsylvania company, Fibrowatt LLC, plans to build power plants  powered by poultry litter.  Fibrowatt says that the plants will give growers a market for the tons of waste produced in one of the biggest poultry growing states, mandated by North Carolina’s new renewable-energy law.

Oops!  They just might be dirtier than the coal plants that environmentalists are trying to get rid of.   They might also release comparatively large amounts of toxic arsenic, pollutants that form smog, and fine particles that could damage lungs.  These emissions are worrying doctors in the mountains of Surry County who are afraid that their community’s need for jobs could override potential health risks.


A media release from the University of Colorado suggests that rocket launches may require more stringent regulation in order to prevent significant damage to Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer in the decades to come, according to a new study.

Future ozone losses from unregulated rocket launches will eventually exceed ozone losses due to chloroflouorocarbons, or CFCs, which stimulated the 1987 Montreal Protocol banning ozone-depleting chemicals.  Sigh.  There is no evidence than any harm was ever caused to the environment or to anyone by whatever spotty thinning  that may have occurred during the 1980s and 1990s.


Greater use of corn-based ethanol has accounted for about 10 to 15% of the rise in food prices between April of 2007 and April of 2008.. according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.  That suggests that the government will have to spend more on food programs for the needy during the current budget year.  It is estimated that the additional cost will be up to $900 million.

We keep pointing out that good intentions are not enough. Actions have consequences.


Studies by the Wharton School cast doubt on the threat to polar bear population. Research done by the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine if global warming threatens the polar bear population is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify listing the polar bear as an endangered species, according to a study being published later this year in Interfaces, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®)

Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School says, “To list a species that is currently in good health as an endangered species requires valid forecasts that its population would decline to levels that threaten its viability.  In fact, the polar bear populations have been increasing rapidly in recent decades due to hunting restrictions.

When environmentalists try to raise money by featuring pictures of polar bears and cubs, people begin to think of them as teddy bears, falling in love with their beauty and forgetting that they are wild carniverous animals.  See German woman.  Consequences.

Suckers! by American Elephant
April 13, 2009, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Art, Humor, Politics, Pop Culture


Yes, it’s cute. Adorable even. A helpless little robot trying to navigate a big-city park, getting stuck in potholes and rolling unwittingly towards traffic…Perhaps the cutest thing ever!

What would you do if you were walking through a park and saw a little cardboard robot struggling to make its way along the paths? Would you, good samaritan-like, help it get to its destination, or would you walk on by? This is the question that Kacie Kinzer, an arts student at Tisch School of the Arts in NY, wanted to answer. So she created the Tweenbot, a 10-inch-tall cardboard robot as a social experiment, left him to fend for himself in a park, and filmed the results. [more]

What would you do? This is a social experiment after all. What does it say about us?

What if I titled this post, “New Yorkers anthropomorphize cardboard box“?

Coming soon? Beggarbots!

(tweenbots via geekologie)

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