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“USDA finds noxious weeds, bug larva in unsolicited seeds from China “

These unsolicited seeds were mailed from China to a Florida home. Photo courtesy of Gabriella Hielscher


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has discovered noxious weeds and a bug larva in mystery seeds that were sent unsolicited from China to thousands of residents across the United States.

“High levels of mercury, plastic toxins found in stranded whales, dolphins”

A Gervais' beaked whale, stranded in St. Lucie County, Fla.,  in 2019, was part of a study that examined tissue from stranded dolphins and whales for toxins. Photo courtesy of Annie Page-Karjian/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Dolphins and whales stranded on beaches in the southeastern United States had high levels of toxins, including mercury and chemicals found in plastic, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Scientists who led the study said the data provides new, troubling information about the impact of pollution on marine mammals — knowledge that could help save vulnerable and declining species.

“European Central Bank switches pension to low-carbon equity benchmarks”

The European Central Bank (ECB) has switched to low-carbon equity benchmarks for its €1.3bn staff pension fund, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the passive portfolios by around 50%, it estimates.

“London’s Covid-Safe Commute Idea: Open-Air Buses”

A safer, breezier ride to work?

A London-based company is offering an alternative mass transportation mode that addresses some fears about coronavirus infection risks on public transit: a commuter service using open-topped buses. On-demand bus company Snap is currently testing a new offering that would ferry Londoners to and from work in some of the city’s 233 roof-less tourist buses. These are those double-decker vehicles with an open-air upper deck, used in cities worldwide to ferry sightseers about on “hop on, hop off” routes. Most of the London fleet is parked due to an absence of visitors; Snap is hoping to redeploy the open-topped tourist buses as Covid-safe pop-up transportation for locals, extending the pandemic-era trend of outdoor living to public transport. 

“A swarm of flying ants stretched for miles over the UK and looked like rain on weather radar”

It's not rain, it's a swarm of flying ants.

You can add giant swarms of flying ants to your 2020 scary-sounding insects Bingo card alongside murder hornets and hordes of noisy cicadas.The UK’s Met Office shared radar imagery that showed the ants flying over the southeast part of the country.”It’s not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise,” it said in a tweet on Friday.

“Interest in Sustainable Investing Withstands Market Disruption “

The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup poll of U.S. investors, conducted May 11-17, indicates that consumer interest in sustainable investing was not wiped out in the U.S. stock market crash that occurred at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Even as investor optimism was down sharply from the first quarter, close to half (46%) of U.S. investors polled in May described themselves as very or somewhat interested in sustainable investing funds. This was little changed from 52% saying the same in mid-February as the leading market indexes were approaching record highs.”

“Eyes in the sky: Investors reach for new tools to gauge climate change risk”

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Corn plants are seen in a farm in Lujan, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires

A small but growing network of asset managers, academics, start-up entrepreneurs and campaigners are working to harness an armada of recently deployed satellites to better predict the economic impact of global warming.

“This sloth robot could help (very slowly) save our planet”

Developed by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, SlothBot is a three-foot long, solar-powered robot that monitors temperature, weather, carbon dioxide levels, etc. over the area it looms over.

“3 Years and $3 Trillion Could Shift the Climate Change Narrative”

Plummeting carbon emissions and big government spending—two of the defining narratives of 2020 so far—could create an unprecedented opportunity for the world to meet the goals enshrined in the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, according to the International Energy Agency. With $1 trillion of investment over each of the next three years, global energy-related CO₂ emissions could end up falling in 2023 by 4.5 billion metric tons, or 14% of last year’s total.

“Scientists detect unexpected widespread structures near Earth’s core”

University of Maryland geophysicists analyzed thousands of recordings of seismic waves, sound waves traveling through the Earth, to identify echoes from the boundary between Earth’s molten core and the solid mantle layer above it. The echoes revealed more widespread, heterogenous structures—areas of unusually dense, hot rock—at the core-mantle boundary than previously known.