Here are some noteworthy environmental stories folks are Digging
— Diggers have popularized this story that hit the series of tubes yesterday afternoon: After years as a climate-change outlier, we now have evidence suggesting Antarctica is warming up along with the rest of the globe. For more, see yesterday's Last Call
— It isn't plummeting like some industries are, but solar power is feeling the economic pinch, the Chronicle reports. A San Fran solar outfit that just laid off 290 employees underscores the difficulty in finding funding when good loans are scarce, suggesting heavy federal lifting will be needed to install solar as a viable alternative energy source.
— Bill Clinton penned this column in Tuesday's edition of The Sun, calling for public action to stop climate change. While he's short on specifics, it's always a significant story when a former U.S. president makes such a plea, especially on the same day the new U.S. president pledged to fight climate change in his inaugural address.
— Most Himalayan glaciers that once supplied freshwater to north Indian farmers have melted away, causing severe droughts in the area. An Indian civil engineer has a solution, though: creating artificial glaciers. He builds slanted pools to collect the melting glacial runoff, which then refreezes into a "glacier." These pools melt at the start of the growing season in April, providing nearby farms with water two months before the actual glaciers' meltwater reaches them.
— An Arizona company has licensed technology from the federal government to develop nuclear mini-reactors, reportedly not much bigger than a hot tub. The reactors use no water for cooling, meaning they can be located anywhere, and they're designed to be covered in concrete and buried underground, where they produce continuous electricity without need for human operators. They just need to be excavated every seven to 10 years for refueling. They're expected to cost $25 million, and a demo version is planned for 2012.