Saturday, May 22, 2010

Newly Discovered Species in the Heart of Borneo

Once described by Charles Darwin as "one great luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself," the Heart of Borneo is home to 10 primate species, more than 350 bird species, and 150 reptile and amphibian species. In addition, a staggering 10,000 plant species are sheltered by the region's rain forests. During the past three years, scientists have discovered more than 123 new species in this island within an island. These finds include the world's longest known stick insect, a flame-colored snake and a color-changing frog. Take a closer look.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Naturally Occurring Bacteria Could Help Clean Oil Spill

By Brit Liggett of

Efforts by BP and the US government to stop leakage have come up with empty hands, however it turns out one of the keys to cleanup might already exist in the now oil-infested waters. Natural microbes present in every ocean are superb cleaners, and with the addition of a bit of fertilizer they could prove successful in removing oil from the Gulf. A quick dusting would help the microbes multiply and then they would dine on oil en masse until it’s gone.

The process of using naturally present microorganisms to clean up oil spills is called bioremediation. Unfortunately the process won’t work out at sea and can only be used when the oil reaches shore — which is what the coast guard and clean-up workers are currently trying to prevent. The microorganisms, even without fertilizers, will begin to chow down on the oil when it enters their natural habitat. So, with the addition of sulfate or nitrate fertilizers the microorganism multiply beyond their natural state and eat up the toxic metals invading their home at up to five times the rate that they would without assistance.

There is a side effect to this process, however — Isn’t there always? It is possible that after the microorganisms devour the massive oil spill they could introduce the heavy metals present in the spill into the food chain. Larger organisms eat them and on up the ladder until it reaches humans. So though bioremediation may be lessening the initial impact of oil spills on the surrounding waters it could be introducing that very oil spill into our diets.

A partial list of everyday products made with petroleum

A partial list of products made from petroleum (144 of 6000 items).

One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make:

Diesel fuel
Motor Oil
Bearing Grease

Floor Wax
Ballpoint Pens
Football Cleats


Bicycle Tires
Sports Car Bodies
Nail Polish
Fishing lures

Golf Bags

Dishwasher parts
Tool Boxes
Shoe Polish

Motorcycle Helmet
Petroleum Jelly
Transparent Tape

CD Player
Faucet Washers

Food Preservatives

Vitamin Capsules


Panty Hose

Life Jackets
Rubbing Alcohol

TV Cabinets
Shag Rugs
Electrician's Tape

Tool Racks
Car Battery Cases

Insect Repellent
Oil Filters

Hair Coloring

Toilet Seats
Fishing Rods

Denture Adhesive
Ice Cube Trays
Synthetic Rubber

Plastic Wood
Electric Blankets

Tennis Rackets
Rubber Cement
Fishing Boots

Nylon Rope
Trash Bags
House Paint

Water Pipes
Hand Lotion
Roller Skates
Surf Boards

Paint Rollers
Shower Curtains

Guitar Strings
Safety Glasses

Football Helmets

Ice Chests

CD's & DVD's
Paint Brushes

Sun Glasses

Heart Valves


Artificial Turf
Artificial limbs

Model Cars
Folding Doors
Hair Curlers

Cold cream
Movie film
Soft Contact lenses
Drinking Cups

Fan Belts
Car Enamel
Shaving Cream

Golf Balls

And the list goes on and on.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Agreement that since Exxon Valdez, everyone involved was not proactive to take on Gulf spill

It's obvious that nothing has been done to stop the gushing of oil because they have no solutions. Since the Exxon Valdez?

When I called the Administrator who wasn't in today, I was transferred to at least a dozen numbers; all in administration and who merely referred me to the hotline number. I decided to go to the laboratories listed at the EPA and talked to a scientist in the Ecological Exposure Research Division. He listened with compassion and asked ME questions. We had a long discussion about the role of scientists in this situation. He agreed that since the Exxon Valdez, scientists have not been proactive, esp. in coming up with the solution which contains microbes which are harmless to the environment but do eat oil and toxins. Why, after 15 years, have they not come up with this solution on a mass level? "Lack of coordination." I suggested that everything be dropped and scientists should be working together, 24/7, to come up with this ultimate solution. He AGREED! However, it seems most have and will say that it isn't in their capacity. I asked him to do whatever he could do to exert pressure on his colleagues and asked him to take ten minutes to do whatever he could to focus only on the oil spill. He promised he would.

Obviously, he saw the whole picture and promised to do his part in assisting in this crisis. Kudos, Mr. B!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dealing with Bureaucracy

I called another scientist at the EPA this morning. She said, "It's not her job. Her lab works with pesticides." "I don't have the authority to talk about the spill." "There's an EPA administrator at the spill now." This conversation took place in EPA's Dept of Microbiology where news of microbes can help in cleaning oil and toxins. She was familiar with it, but her lab works with pesticides.

If it's not a scientist's job to do whatever can be done to clean the spill, whose is it?

If she doesn't have the authority, who does? We spoke heart-to-heart about our sharing the same planet. She too was concerned for her children but felt her hands were tied in that Management wouldn't authorize her to work outside her capacity.

I suggested she place as much pressure on Management as possible to work on the spill. It is our/their number 1 priority. I/we should expect that from our Environmental Agency. I also suggested her reaching out to fellow colleagues by making one phone call today and urging whatever can be done, focusing on the spill. Let's pray she does.

I asked her for someone in Management to talk to. She gave me her Administrator's number. Will let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are you willing to take on the challenge?

What have you done today and every day until the oil spill has been cleaned?

I believe, it's the responsibility of every inhabitant of this planet to reach out in cleaning this spill. We cannot stand by and passively accept what the government and BP are doing, although they are powerful enough to see it get done. But we cannot underestimate the voice and power of the people.

We can make this happen by reaching out and calling every scientist, every government official, friends, relatives, anyone, to work round the clock and come up with a "cure" for this spill. What is the point of spending billions on cures for anything else when we don't have a healthy planet to live on -- for us, our children, and their children.

I beseech everyone to reach out to everyone you know to take part in this effort.
This is OUR planet! Not BP's. Not the government's.

This morning I spoke with a scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reach out to his colleagues and take on the challenge. Whether I was heard or not doesn't matter. I will persist, and continue to reach out while there is a breath left in my body!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917-May 9, 2010)

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress and dancer.

She was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Reported to have descended from the John C. Calhoun family, both sides of her family were a mixture of African, European, and Native American descent. She was raised by her grandparents, Cora Calhoun and Edwin Horne at 189 Chauncey Street in Brooklyn. Her uncle, Frank S. Horne, was an adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Dean of Students at the Fort Valley Junior Industrial Institute in Fort Valley, GA. She attended Washington High School in Atlanta where her grandmother convinced her to join the NAACP. Horne also attended Girls High School, an all-girls public high school in Brooklyn which has since become Boys and Girls High School on Fulton Street. She dropped out without earning a diploma.

Horne joined the mike chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Due to the Red Scare and her progressive political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood.

She returned to work as a performer, both in nightclubs as well as television, and released well-received albums. Horne announced her retirement in March 1980, but the next year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway, and earned her numerous awards and accolades. Horne recorded sporadically following the show, but no longer made public appearances.

Lena Horne died on May 9, 2010, at the age of 92, at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Gulf Oil Spill Blues

This can't be happening!

Let it be.
Just be.

While wildlife dies.
Life dies.

Don't ask why.
Alternatives to oil?

Let it be.
Not while there's a breath in my body.

**written by petra michelle**