Here are some noteworthy science and environmental links folks are Digging today:
— While running for governor of California in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to build a "hydrogen highway," featuring 150 to 200 fueling stations every 20 miles along major state highways. Called "Vision 2010," the plan is a year away from its culmination but still far short of fulfilling its promise — California has only 24 hydrogen fueling stations, most around Los Angeles. As Scientific American reports, though, it's not for lack of trying; it's for lack of hydrogen cars. It brings up the chicken-and-egg question of which comes first: zero-emissions vehicles or the infrastructure to support them. For its part, California has begun to focus on "clustering" stations around urban centers such as L.A., near where the vehicles' owners live, rather than along linear highways.
— With unfettered deforestation around the world robbing wildlife of habitats and robbing the climate of carbon sinks, and with global unemployment rates rising, the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization sees an opportunity to kill several birds with one stone. In a report released this week, the FAO urges countries to invest in green jobs that work with "sustainable forest management" to combat festering unemployment. Doing so could create 10 million jobs, it says, and could especially boost ailing regions of Asia and Africa.
• Wall Street Journal: "Hunting Space Garbage with Water Cannons and Lasers"
— Lots of people have been talking about "space junk" since a Russian and a U.S. satellite collided 500 miles above Siberia on Feb. 10. It reminded us that the heavens are filled debris such as nuts, bolts, gloves — and old, defunct satellites. The Wall Street Journal examines some of the schemes proposed for eliminating space junk, ranging from rocket-based water cannons to big nets to high-energy lasers.
— While this list is a bit skewed toward large, carnivorous animals, it's still an interesting rogues gallery of bygone beasts. I'm sure there have been some stranger creatures to die out over the last few billion years, but I'm not complaining; I love pop-science photo galleries as much as anyone. I had never heard of the shark-eating Dunkleosteus or the long-jawed Pristerognathus, but now I'm glad I have. Other, more salient creatures such as T. rex and the giant ground sloth thankfully don't get snubbed simply for familiarity.
— This image has been Dugg like crazy the last couple days. I haven't found any contextual information on where it was taken or what kind of octopus it is, and I'd welcome input from anyone who knows. Octopuses — even ones this small — are famously bright for invertebrates, proving capable of tasks that seemingly would require at least a forebrain, not to mention a backbone. For example, a small octopus caused a scene at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in L.A. last month, disassembling its tank's recycling valve and flooding the place with about 200 gallons of seawater. For a brief link roundup of octopus-intelligence videos, see this Feb. 27 Green News Roundup post.
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