Here are the top environmental links folks are Digging today:
— Coral reefs are dying off more and more quickly, and scientists aren't sure why. Possibly understating the situation's gravity, a Chapel Hill marine scientist calls it "a wonderful murder mystery for ecologists," but goes on to compare the devastation to losing all the pine trees in Carolina and Georgia.
• The Los Angeles Times: "Honeybees can get hooked on cocaine"
— Coca plants first started producing their signature vice as a deterrent to leaf-eating insects, but scientists have discovered one bug that shares humans' weakness for the white horse: honeybees. Coked-up bees do more vigorous "waggle dances," the rituals that communicate food sources, and even show signs of withdrawal.
— Southern California's sun-baked deserts and the Great Plains' blustery prairies are both teeming with renewable energy potential, but there is a problem: Not many people live in deserts or grasslands. The Chronicle looks at the difficulty in getting power from remote solar and wind farms to where people actually live.
• CleanTechnica: "A New Place for Solar Energy: Highway Right of Way"
— Speaking of the West's untapped renewables potential, energy-market economist William Ellard writes in CleanTechnica his ideas for integrating power-catching devices into other infrastructure, like commercial rooftops and along highways, to avoid encroaching on wildlife.
• The Los Angeles Times: "Asia appetite for turtles seen as a threat to Florida species"
— Just as the booming Chinese middle class has emerged as an existential threat to sharks, The L.A. Times reports that turtles are next on the menu of increasingly affordable delicacies. Having already decimated turtle populations in much of Asia, the Chinese now have American terrapins in their crosshairs.