Archive for December, 2008

In Bizarre News..

A plastic surgeon in SoCal is being investigated for using waste fat from his clients to power his vehicle as biodiesel, which is illegal in the U.S. His office has been shut down while he is under investigation.

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They say biodiesel from fast food restaurants smells like French fries when driven.. I wonder what “lipodiesel” smells like?

In all seriousness, this is a wrenching article – I am almost over the weird enough to feel bad for him. I think he’s just trying to do the right thing. Apparently his clients knew about it and liked the idea. It’s a tough call… biowaste is not something you want to mess around with.

(Thanks to Eve for this weird, weird article from the Daily Telegraph.)


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Green will Help America Get Her Groove Back

America has lost its groove, and Thomas Friedman knows how America can get her groove back: the next Green Revolution. “What red was to America in the 1950s, what I’m arguing is that green needs to be to America of the 20th Century. Unfortunately because of 9/11, we went from red to code red… we need to go to code green.”

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He spoke about the world’s environmental challenges at “Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing World,” a conference organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington, D.C. Friedman introduced his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded. You can listen to Thursday’s presentation here at

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Minnesota Environmental News – Now Improved, with RSS Format! ™

* Minnesota Public Radio is worried that a proposed light rail line running right by its Saint Paul offices would be noisy. Read more from MinnPost.

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* Nationwide – Obama’s “green team” not so progressive? Read more from BeyondChron.

* 3M asks to throw out a lawsuit brought by 4 residents over leached PFCs found in groundwater. Perfluorocarbons were used in products like Scotchgard and Teflon. There is precedent: DuPont in Ohio was ordered to pay $300 million in damages in 2005 on a PFC case. Questions this case will attempt to figure out: When the company dumped leftover materials into landfills (legally), did it know that PFCs are toxic and bioaccumulate? Did it know the chemicals would leach into the groundwater? Do the 4 residents have a substantial enough claim of “subcellular” harm? Are PFCs as toxic to humans as they are to mice? Read more from the Pioneer Press.

* Minneapolis adopts environmentally preferable purchasing policy. Read more from MinnPost.

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Gifts that Won’t be Wasted

If you are buying Christmas presents this season, and looking for something the recipient won’t have to throw away someday, check out Intelligent Giving.

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It includes a link to the Good Gift Shop, where you can purchase a brain cell for 15 pounds (~$30). From the site: “Everyone feels the need for extra greymatter. Bring out the genius in friends and family. Give help to all edgy examinees. 15 not only gives the gift of a sponsored brain cell, but also to fund development of treatments for diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, meningitis and cancer.”

It also includes links to more serious sites rating charities using rigorous rubrics. Check it out! It’s like Consumer Reports for charities.

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Secondhand Shops Become Popular in Poland

Now that Poland is finding itself richer than before, secondhand shops are gaining in popularity, finds an article in today’s New York Times. The young, with a growing environmental consciousness and fatter wallets, are finding that thrift stores are a great place to create a stylish wardrobe while waiting for wages to catch up to those earned in the rest of the EU.

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For some, there is still stigma attached – the photographer for the Times article was cursed for taking pictures of some who are ashamed to be seen in the store. One even cursed him as another complained that she would look poor.

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Minimize Your Commute

Even though gas is getting cheaper, commuting still wastes time. I would be pleased if I never had to fill up, change oil, wait for red lights, and navigate traffic again. And let’s face it – cars are pretty much just bad for the environment no matter how fuel efficient they are.

The good news for anyone relocating is that you can choose where to live based on your commute – and you can use the Optimal Home Location tool to help you figure out where would be best. The tool takes the addresses of your 6 most frequently visited locations (work, school, grocery store) and maps your ideal home location for minimal commute time.

The tool will tell you property tax, median condo and home values, median age, and percentage of homes with kids.

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