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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

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Deadly priorities

For the annual cost of the Drug War, we could have 100 shuttle missions By Reilly Capps I know this is a website about science and the environment, not politics, but I need to note here a couple obvious facts: Our pockets are empty, so we're cutting funding for basic science research. We're shutting down the Space Shuttle. And yet I haven't heard talk of cutting funding for the War on Drugs. Even though it costs $44 billion a year. You know how many people died in the Drug Wars ...
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The 'lazy-bones' theory of climate change

MIT study says: One degree hotter, one percent poorer By Reilly Capps (I'm a little busy just now sleeping on couches. This was originally posted in August 2009) Wanna visit a nice, well-off country this summer? The kind with indoor plumbing and a high tourist survival rate? Better bring a sweater. Of the 20 richest countries per capita,  you can ski in at least 14. These are places like Sweden, Canada, and Australia. Only one really hot country, oil-slathered Qatar, slithers ...
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'Let's Move' program begins with individuals

By Conrad Anker Aunts, with the wisdom of age and the comfort afforded by family, are often the best source for practical advice. My Aunt Ann, a teacher by profession, would remonstrate the value of doing homework right the first time with the simple adage of "A stitch in time saves nine." If this didn't sink in, I was reminded, "If you don't have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to repeat the work?" These reminders are as applicable to children and homework ...
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Tomatoes -- our national shame.

I'm too young to remember a time when tomatoes weren't the rock-hard hand grenades they are today. It's only every once in a while that I get to taste a garden-grown heirloom tomato. It's like a different fruit. In "Tomatoland," Barry Estabrook writes about tomatoes as our national shame. Here's an excerpt. ... most Florida tomatoes are bred for hardness, picked when still firm and green (the merest trace of pink is taboo), and artificially gassed with ethylene in warehouses until they ...
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Healthy hicks

Sometimes the news likes to make us Mountain Westerners out to be hicks. When the coasts remember that it exists, Wyoming is usually mentioned as either the home of a meth crisis or else made up of 95 percent closeted homosexuals. But if we're hicks, we're pretty healthy hicks. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="2506" caption="Grand Teton and Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton National Park. "][/caption] A study just out says Wyoming kids play outside twice as much as the average ...
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Listen to the eucalyptus trees

Turns out, the bastards have something to say about climate change By Reilly Capps The eucalyptus trees of northern California give the place an elegant, dilapidated charm. They rise high from the ground quickly but then seem to run out of steam, looping back toward the Earth in a graceful swoop. These ones below  are from Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco, where I camp. And camping on Angel Island, in the nearby San Francisco bay, the eucalyptus ...
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A billion heartbeats

I stumbled on this, from a story from a dozen years ago: As animals get bigger, from tiny shrew to huge blue whale, pulse rates slow down and life spans stretch out longer, conspiring so that the number of heartbeats during an average stay on Earth tends to be roughly the same, around a billion. A mouse just uses them up more quickly than an elephant. If that doesn't beat all. I'm going to look around for more references to this incredible idea -- that all animals get about a billion ...
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Workers of the world, reuse!

Is collaborative consumption communist? By Reilly Capps I worry what the neighbors will think. And so reading a book called "What's Mine is Yours" in public is terrifying, on account of the fact that I don't want people to think I'm a communist.  The point of the book is that, in the future, we will own many more things collectively, sort of like they did in Russia. So I jettisoned the bright shiny dust jacket and covered up the spine with a copy of "Juggs." But don't worry! I'm no ...
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Denmark can suck a (pickled) egg. China too.

By Reilly Capps [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="170" caption="Danish glasses "][/caption] The Danes have bad food, bad haircuts, high taxes and stupid square glasses. Now they're annoying me with their braggy, showy, environmental boasts. "We're leading in clean energy! We make a ton of money off it! We'll be 100 percent renewable by 2050!" Go stick your head in a windmill, you Viking turds. You got plenty.  Check out this Danish taunting: "Denmark is now one of the most ...
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Court of climate justice

Like other victories for just causes, the fight against climate change -- many call it climate justice, although that phrase has an odd ring to my ear -- may come through the courts. - RC  
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An ice chunk that dwarfs the Big Apple

Dear deniers of climate change: Anybody know what a gigaton is? Especially when used in this sentence, about the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and colleagues found that the two sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they did the previous year. Giga- means billion. So the ice sheets lost 36 billion tons MORE ice than they did the previous years.  That seems like a lot. [caption id="" align="alignleft" ...
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The cameras and the mystery

The unknowns still outnumber the knowns By Reilly Capps Google Maps knows what America looks like, and so the world is becoming more known. Google can get you from the ice cream shop to the coffee place to the supermarket, tell you how many seconds exactly until the bus arrives, let you see a 360 degree view of streets you're not even on. It's an engineering marvel, and one of the reasons that Google will someday be as powerful as many countries. When Google Maps starts to operate in ...


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