PLANT PATHOLOGY: Six coal-fired power plants have bitten the dust before ever being built, thanks to the financial crisis, pressure from environmentalists and fear of looming carbon regulation. The plants — which were planned for Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada and Texas — would have emitted 30 million tons of greenhouse gases every year, according to the Sierra Club. Dynegy, the Houston-based utility behind the plants, was the industry's 24th-highest producer of electricity in 2006 but the 17th-highest emitter of carbon dioxide. (Sources: The Christian Science Monitor, Natural Resources Defense Council)
LONG AND WINDING ROAD: MNN transportation blogger Jim Motavalli, who also writes for The New York Times, reports on its Wheels blog today that cars running entirely on solar power aren't coming anytime soon, contrary to a recent Associated Press story. The AP reported last week that Toyota was secretly developing an all-solar car, but the company denies it, saying the technology isn't feasible yet. (Sources: NYT, AP)
MAYBE COME BACK: In light of the wooly mammoth's newly sequenced genome, New Scientist lists the top 10 extinct animals that could, in theory, one day be resurrected. That technology is far from existing yet, but once it does, all we'll need is a genome and a surrogate mother. The list includes sabre-toothed tigers, neanderthals and dodos — and also one still-living species, the gorilla. It's close enough to dying off that scientists are already freezing tissue samples in preparation, and the United Nations has named 2009 "Year of the Gorilla" to highlight the species' plight. (Sources: New Scientist, Discovery News)
REDUCING E-MISSIONS: Slate's Green Lantern offers tips for reducing a personal blog's or website's carbon footprint, and clarifies some exaggerated claims that have been made in recent years about the Internet's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: Slate)
GIVING SQUIRREL A WHIRL: Conservation-minded Brits are fighting to save their native red squirrels by eating gray ones, which were imported from North America at least 100 years ago and have been pushing reds toward extinction ever since. The "Save Our Squirrels" campaign began in 2006 and now has amassed a solid following, with many respected chefs devising creative ways to serve gray squirrel in their restaurants. As with many wild animals, descriptions of the rodents' flavor vary widely. One food writer tells the NYT "their lovely flavor tasted of the nuts they nibbled," while a squirrel salesman compared it to a "slightly oily rabbit." The most accurate description likely comes from former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. (Sources: NYT, Chowhound, MSNBC via YouTube)
MAKING A SPLASH: Scientists finally have a suspect in a nearly 1,500-year-old mystery. The "dry fog" that blanketed Earth for 18 months in the sixth century — dimming the sun, dropping temperatures and killing crops — was likely caused by multiple comets smashing into the seas in different parts of the world, according to a Columbia University researcher. (Source: New Scientist)
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