Surferbird News-Links, 55th Edition


Today's edition of Surferbird News-Links takes a look at last week's events, such as the EPA's decision not to ban chlorpyrifos, the president's climate order, interviews with conservative leaders who DO believe in climate science and a video that features a coal miner from Appalachia. It's not all serious, though. I found some buckwheat pillows, a wonderful website on sensory processing, homemade Easter egg dye and more. Welcome! The first order of business is so off-topic for Owl in the Wood, but I thought you'd appreciate the information. And I can't say that I wasn't warned because my son talked about this all week: Internet service providers will now be permitted to sell everyone's browsing history. Actually, they can do the five things described in this article, which also provides solutions. Because I prefer to include more than one source for major news stories, such as this one, here's an additional link to an article on internet privacy laws at World Economic Forum. Some states are fighting back, however, and although this is solely my opinion, I suspect more will follow.

Also, because of the environmental implications and confusion surrounding the removal of the Clean Power Plan, I've pulled together, what I think, are some of the best articles that summarize recent events. And in keeping with the spirit of Surferbird News-Links, I also included links that offer a different perspective, followed by other news and today's earworm, as well.

It's a packed edition of Surferbird News-Links, so let's get surfing!


A gorgeous view of the Milky Way and Andromeda, courtesy of Yosemite (

It's been years since I visited Yosemite. It was magical. And these images are magical, too, and sure to please. Enjoy.

Photos of California before the Clean Air Act of 1970 and state sponsored air pollution bills  (

Things have certainly changed since photographers captured these images.



A History of  the U.S. government's role in protecting the environment (

We take clean air and water for granted until they're gone. Will the current administration come up with alternative solutions?

What just happened to the Clean Power Plan? (

As part of the executive order on climate, which the president signed last week, the EPA must review and rewrite the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. It's important to note that the plan took over six years to develop—a plan designed to slow planet warming and prevent the most severe effects of climate change. So, just to clarify, the plan hasn't been reversed, but it will be studied and rewritten with the president's objectives in mind.

What will take effect immediately, however, is that federal agencies no longer have to consider the social cost of carbon when appraising a project's environmental impacts. Also, the president has ordered the U.S. government to revise the number currently assigned to the social cost of carbon. Other parts to the order, which also take effect immediately, include allowing coal development in Wyoming and Idaho along with the reversal of six climate change-related policies established under the Obama administration. Many doubt, however, the president's ability to bring back a significant number of coal-related jobs.

Are we willing to pay the human, economic and environmental costs for rolling back clean water standards? (

It takes a long time to undo the damage to lakes and streams caused by chemical pollution and sewage. Yet, this past February, Congress voted to revoke the Stream Protection Rule. The article, above, explores the history of Onondaga Lake in New York. Once a thriving recreational area in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Onondaga Lake became heavily polluted as early as 1940. Today, it's recovering but at a high cost. What will happen to Onondaga Lake, and other lakes and streams, if we fail to protect them?


Take a closer look at coal through the eyes of a coal miner, Chuck Nelson. (

An excellent article about Chuck Nelson and the coal industry in Appalachia—I've included the video from the article, below.


Capturing carbon emissions from coal plants (

Is it possible to turn coal into a clean energy source? A new coal power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi, plans to capture carbon before it's released into the atmosphere. After the carbon dioxide is captured, it's injected over a mile underground into a nearby oil field. This is the largest carbon capture project in the country.

Conservatives who believe in climate change

Republicans who take climate change seriously (

Interview with former republican congressman Bob Inglis (

Conservatives don't all agree on how to deal with climate change. But at least some believe in the science, and they're ready to take action. If you're curious about conservatives' thoughts and plans ( on slowing climate change, take a look at both articles, above.

Food and farming

EPA decided against chlorpyrifos ban, despite its own studies indicating negative health effects (

Here's more information on chlorpyrifos from the EPA website and a nice summary from QuartzI wonder if this will increase consumer demand for organic produce?

The relationship between soil microbes and climate  (

Specific soil microbes, according to the article, can increase plant yields during drought above those of irrigated plants. Other varieties can lighten the color of soil so that it reflects more light, which in turn, could slow planet warming. Yet, scientists also discovered that soil microbes buried more than two meters deep under a floodplain contributed significantly to atmospheric carbon. Understanding these microscopic lifeforms may play a future role in feeding the planet while reducing greenhouse gases.


Wonderful website on sensory processing (

I stumbled upon this website while searching for methods to sooth nighttime anxiety. If you're familiar with sensory processing, or if you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend this website. Although it's geared toward children, adults have sensory input needs, too!

Chris Kresser interviews Robb Wolf on why we gain weight (

I read the entire interview. Many of you, I know, won't have the patience to do that. Because my educational background is in foods and nutrition, I'm capable of really geeking out on this stuff. The Paleo diet seems to be evolving, and Robb's new book reflects these changes. It looks like a must read for the owl. But also, take a look at Stephan Guyenet's book: That makes two books the owl has to read!

Health risks of painkillers (

Some studies indicate that pain medications, such as Ibuprofen, for example, may increase the risks of heart failure and/or cardiac arrest in people with chronic health conditions. This was an interesting, if not a disturbing, article. But of course, please speak with your health professional before making any changes to your medicine regime.

Home and textiles

Homemade Easter egg dyes made from ingredients in your kitchen (

By using foods and spices from your kitchen, you can make all-natural Easter egg dye. It might take longer for the dye to work, though, so keep this in mind for younger children.

Take a look at ComfyComfy buckwheat pillows (

Comfycomfy makes handcrafted buckwheat pillows in different sizes. But what I especially love is that they're made from organic cotton grown in the U.S. Also, the covers are removable and washable. I'm eager to give them a try!

Science and technology

Using focused ultrasound to kill tumors (

Focused ultrasound holds promise as an exciting cutting edge technology to treat tumors, although researchers still need to conduct additional studies. Doctors have already used it to treat uterine fibroids as well as essential tremor, a neurological disorder.


Happy Norwegians (

In a nutshell, at least according to Norwegian comedian Harald Eia, " . . . bureaucrats are the secret to our happiness." Their culture and leaders maintain respect for all citizens and meet everyone's basic needs. In fact, Eia asks a thought provoking question: "Why can't Americans who are the brightest people in the world do the same things that we do to make the happiest people?" The article provides additional insights—an enlightening, short read.


A trip down memory lane . . .