Here are some interesting environmental links folks are Digging today:
• The Daily Mail: "Erupting volcano sends mile-high column of ash on Tokyo"
— A fine, powdery ash settled on Tokyo Monday morning after Mt. Asama erupted 90 miles to the northwest. The snowcapped volcano belted out a plume of smoke and threw chunks of rock as far as 3,300 feet away, shown here in a series of predawn and daylight photos. There have been no reports of injuries; Mt. Asama's last major eruption came in 2004.
• The Daily Telegraph: "Chinese earthquake may have been man-made, say scientists"
— Scientists have theorized that global warming can cause earthquakes, but the devastating Sichuan quake that killed at least 80,000 people in China last year may have been even more directly spurred by human activity. Chinese and American scientists believe the Zipingpu dam, which holds more than 3.4 million tons of water just 550 yards from the fault line, could be responsible; all that water suddenly weighing on and penetrating into the rock could have affected the fault line's pressure below, unleashing a chain of ruptures. The area is seismically active, but the 7.9-magnitude quake was unexpected and atypical, and construction of other dams, such as the Hoover Dam, have caused earthquakes before.
• Inhabitat: "Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island"
— Inhabitat reports on the planned Zira Island, an eco-resort to be built on a Caspian Sea island that will power itself using sun, wind and water. Curvaceous buildings, mimicking and blending in with natural topography, will be heated and cooled by heat pumps, and powered by solar panels and an offshore wind farm. The island will feature a residential development and public space in addition to 300 private villas near the central valley's golf course.
• New Scientist: "Across the ocean in a pedal-powered submarine"
— A machinist and inventor has developed an upper-ocean submarine that borrows locomotion principles from dolphins, allowing humans to pedal themselves at twice the speed of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps (and maybe three times his speed if he's stoned). Ted Ciamillo built the sub for his 40th birthday, and he plans to spend about 50 days pedaling it across the Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Verde to Barbados. Not everyone is convinced he'll make it.
• National Geographic [photo]: Huge funnel cloud taunts Toronto
— Photographer Tony Law caught this intimidating funnel above suburban Toronto last year and submitted it to National Geographic's International Photography Contest. It's the second Canadian twister photo that's been Dugg the past two days, following this image that a Digger purports to be the "First Officially Documented F5 Tornado in Canada."