Surferbird News-Links, 39th Edition


Welcome! Today's news-links include: a holiday centerpiece project ( no glue required!), BPA in dog food, restoring rainforests, new ban on oil drilling, sugar, a salmonella vaccine, and more. As a special treat, I've included a Celtic rendition of "Oh Holy Night." Did you happen to catch the a cappella version of "Dreidel" in yesterday's post? I loved it!

Warm up

Lighting up the Thames (

Current will light up and color London's bridges. The winner of the design contest, Leo Villareal, also designed the lighting on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. So, I'd like to know the opinions of my friends from across the pond. Please, do tell. 




Restoring tropical forests (

Brazil is reforesting an area the size of Minnesota, while Indonesia has plans to further protect its peat forests. This is a win-win situation for the environment and carbon sequestration.

Oil drilling

Obama and Trudeau just banned oil drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. (

And it's unlikely the upcoming administration can undo this, since a provision to do so doesn't exist. Thank you, Obama and Trudeau!

Clean energy and climate action

Eleven cities leading the way for climate action (

The climate actions initiated by these cities from around the globe are more than inspiring. They set examples for other communities and defy perceived limitations. Sometimes, particularly difficult challenges bring out the best in human ingenuity and creativity.

Momentum for clean energy is here to stay (

Are you in need of a good motivational read? Then, you might enjoy this piece by Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. I'll do my part by presenting the best environmental news stories out there. Furthermore, although difficult struggles may loom ahead, we all share some of the same values, regardless of whom we voted for in the recent presidential election. As a result, the author suggests that we grow the environmental movement by reaching out to a far more diverse population.


Make a holiday garland centerpiece with foliage, flowers, and fruit. (

These garlands are absolutely gorgeous! I might try my hand at making one next year. Meanwhile, what I love about this project is that it uses natural elements such as leaves and flowers and doesn't require glue.

Last minute sustainable gift ideas (

These are wonderful suggestions! And you still have time to shop for some of these items.

Food and health

Will there ever be a last word on sugar? (

I don't know. But this study seems to suggest that we don't know how much sugar is too much, at least based on the data. However, guess who funded the study?  Furthermore, I'm surprised that the scientists who authored the study were puzzled by the less than glowing response from others in the scientific community. You probably won't be surprised to learn that this particular study was funded by food and beverage companies.

BPA in canned dog food (

If you've been following the BPA in canned food saga, this should come as no surprise. In a recent study, blood BPA levels in dogs almost tripled following a change from bagged dry food to canned food. Scientist saw changes in their gut microbiome and metabolism, also.

A Salmonella vaccine (

This is an oral vaccine, and based on the article, it's unclear as to when the vaccine will be available to the public.

Science and technology

Scientists view light spectrum of antimatter (

Whoa! I'm way out of my league with this discovery. I'm not a physicist, but nevertheless, this is big news in the field of science and technology. Take a look at the short video in the article for the abbreviated version of the story.

Closing thoughts

A history of the White House under Obama (

I haven't read all of this piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, but it's on my holiday reading list. It's long. It's brilliant, in my opinion, and worth a read.