Here are the top environmental links folks are Digging today:
• Photobucket [photo]: Stingray swarm
— This photo shows a daunting crowd of stingrays in presumably tropical waters, but is unfortunately captionless. A bit of unverified trivia: A swarm of stingrays such as this is known as a "fever" of stingrays, according to Wikipedia.
— The vast Wilkins Ice Shelf, so large Reuters gives it its own dateline, is about to crash into the sea. The shelf is 80 nautical miles long and 60 wide, but is held together by a winnowing 25-mile strip of ice that has eroded down to a 500-meter-wide hourglass shape at its thinnest. In 1950, that strip was 62 miles wide, and scientists blame global warming for the shelf's imminent demise.
• Discovery News: "Coffee Could Fuel You, and Your Car"
— As MNN reported in December, University of Nevada researchers are developing a way to turn used coffee grounds into biofuel. Their study shows that used grounds contain about 15 percent oil by weight, a similar ratio to crops such as soybeans and palm oil, which are also used for biodiesel, but whose cultivation often has devastating ecological effects on rain forests. Replacing those with spent coffee grounds could potentially alleviate that damage.
• The New York Times: "Growing Taste for Reef Fish Sends Their Numbers Sinking"
— A snowballing appetite for things like spring prawn, coral trout and giant grouper is wreaking havoc with the rich biodiversity of coral reefs, especially in the Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of all the world's known coral species. The spawning of reef fish there has dropped almost 80 percent during the last five to 20 years, depending on location.
• Gizmodo [photo]: "19th Century vs 21st Century Wind Power"
— This photo profoundly juxtaposes modern wind turbines with a clipper ship's old-fashioned wind power. Some commenters have a problem with the silhouette in the foreground, but I like the eerie mystique it adds, even if it has nothing to do with comparing old and new wind power. Anyway, there's also another version of this image, silhouette-free.