TOP O' THE MORNIN': It's one of the greenest days of the year, but emerald beer does not a clean environment make. Despite its official color, St. Patrick's Day still often ends up with plastic cups all over the ground and hundreds of cars idling along parade routes. Thankfully there are a growing number of car-free parades scheduled for today; read about them and more at MNN's St. Patty's Day HQ. Over at HuffPo Green, Dave Burdick lists five ways to green your partying, including the always sage wisdom of drinking local beer. For more advice on making sure your beer is more than just colored green today, check out MNN food blogger Robin Shreeves' five tips for eco-friendly boozin', as well as this article from the Sierra Club, or this one from Planet Green. And if you're brave enough to brew your own, see this primer from MNN. (Sources: Huffington Post, Sierra Club, Planet Green)

RIGHT BACK ATCHA: Humans and whales of all kinds have built up a lot of animosity over the years, but our sights have always been set especially closely on right whales. They earned their name from hunters who saw them as the "right" whales to kill — their oil and baleen made them valuable targets, and they float when they die due to their large blubber stores, making them easy to collect. Today's Science Times leads with the story of their slow resurgence, having fought back from only about 100 individuals in 1900 to at least 300 today, possibly as many as 400. They're still endangered, but the last few months have gone especially right for the species, with the 39 calves born this year already breaking the previous record of 31 in 2001. Still, ship strikes, fishing nets and even Navy sonar provide ample threats. (Sources: New York TimesNational GeographicScienceDailyAssociated Press)

ELECTRIC BUGABOO: The United States is awash in hybrid cars at a time when it's hard to sell a vehicle of any kind, and two new, high-profile models are hitting dealership lots this month. Ford's and Honda's flagship Prius fighters, the Escape and the Insight, are being rolled out with unfortunate timing, as last summer's gasoline craze is fading from memory, even though the currently low price for a gallon is expected to rise again soon. Only 15,144 hybrids were sold last month, down almost two-thirds from April 2008, when sales peaked and gas was about $3.57 a gallon. The Los Angeles Times examines the predicament in which automakers find themselves, as they're being bailed out by politicians who demand hybrids that consumers aren't buying. One thing consumers are buying, however, is electric motorbikes: The LA Times also reports on the burgeoning market for clean-running motorcycles, highlighting one company whose sales surged 300 percent from 2007 to '08 and says it's on track for 150 percent sales growth this year, despite economic woes. (Source: LA Times)

HIPPO SWEAT: Scientists have discovered a natural sunscreen that lets hippos bask in the sun all day without turning pinker than they already are. Dubbed "hippo sweat," it's a glandular secretion that scatters light using microscopic crystalline structures. The secretion's red coloring has led some hippo observers to mistakenly think the animals were bleeding, but it actually comes from red and orange pigments that help absorb ultraviolet light, making hippo sweat the ideal sunblock. The researchers hope to develop a commercial product that biomimics the animal's natural solar defense — "Just so long as the stuff doesn't smell like hippo," one researcher astutely points out. (Source: Discovery News)

Russell O'McLendon

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