The Keystone XL pipeline is getting a lot of press lately. I didn't know much about the pipeline until I went to a talk by Garth Lenz - a photojournalist who is documenting the devastating changes tar sand oil production does to the landscape. Of course, once I saw the images and heard his talk, I had to learn more.
I learned a bit about tar sands when I started graduate school and took a class called Environmental Chemistry. Back then, the price of oil was low... the cost of extracting oil from tar sands is really high, so at that time I took that class, mining the tar sands in Canada (and North Dakota) was not very economical. Fast forward 10 years and the cost of a barrel of oil is high, high enough that mining tar sands for oil production is more cost-effective. Even though tar sands were being mined decades ago, production has increase substantially over the last 10 years or so. Anyway, all that back story aside, tar sands are an environmental disaster. I get why people are for them... oil from Canada means the US can (potentially) be less dependent on foreign oil. BUT the Keystone XL pipeline, isn't meant to bring MORE oil to the US, the oil will be transported to Texas to be refined and sent overseas. Canada wants to tap the overseas market. More oil to the market in general, though, means more supply and 'maybe' lower prices. The National Defense Resource council shows how it could actually raise prices at the pump. Some of more polarizing arguments about the Keystone XL pipeilne: (Read more...)
I recently gave up gluten after having a stomachache that lasted for what felt like an eternity - as in years. I had NO idea what was causing it and it got really bad after one of those busy mornings when I have no time to make lunch and run out the door with a box of crackers and some cheese for lunch (yeah, I know, really healthy). So I thought it might be gluten and decided to give it up. After about a week without having ANY gluten... I was nearly pain free. Month later, stomach issues gone... But giving up gluten makes eating things you love kind of hard... like granola. I love granola. I eat it almost daily mixed into chobani (The best yogurt. Ever.) and so I've been on a mission to find recipes for homemade granola. Yes, I know I can find gluten free granola, but it's more pricey than the stuff that has gluten. And sometimes the gluten free granola has a lot of ingredients I don't want (like 18 different grains that I can't pronounce).
I found the recipe here: http://fakeginger.com/2010/04/07/applesauce-granola/. I did make a few small changes, but it's the kind of recipe that's really adaptable - make it how you like it. I also opted to omit the oil - it's only a tablespoon. I figured it's such a small amount, it's probably not necessary. I used gluten free oats, added sliced almonds that I crushed a bit and left the rest of the seeds and nuts out. Fabulous. I love it. I've eaten it plain, with milk as cereal, added it to my homemade granola bars, and of course, to my yogurt. Good stuff. You can probably mix in whatever you like and make it your own... I'm hooked. Now if I could only find a gluten free bread that actually tastes good...
Earth Day is on April 22 and is the 43rd anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration. Are you looking for something to do to celebrate the Earth with family, friends, students in your classrooms? This year I'm organizing a showing of the movie Thin Ice. I learned about the after reading a Real Climate post by Ray Pierrehumbert, a prof. at the University of Chicago.
The movie documents climate change from the perspective of the scientists who are, as Ray put it, 'out there in the trenches trying to figure out what it going on'. There are so many blogs on the internet that say pretty awful things about climate scientists and bash the science as fraud (Example: commentary on the WattsUpWithThat website often includes really immature comments like calling scientists twits, frauds, and liars).
From the Thin Ice website:
In recent years climate science has come under increasing attack, so geologist Simon Lamb took his camera to find out what is really going on from his climate science colleagues.
I'm looking forward to watching the film and hope that regardless of your views on climate change that you'll consider watching it too. Or at least browse through the videos on the thiniceclimate.org website to learn more about climate science.