1. CAPE WIND
After nine years of regulatory review, the federal government has finally approved the nation's first offshore wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod. According to an article in The New York Times, the approval is just the first step in launching the the project, dubbed Cape Wind, which has been the subject of great debate. Those supporting it include the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Governor Deval Patrick. Benefits cited include the creation of a renewable source of clean energy, as well as the jobs the project would bring to the area.
Those on the other side include Senator Scott Brown (R), environmental groups such as the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the coastal Wampanoag tribe, which requires unobstructed views of the sunrise for sacred ceremonies. Reasons for opposition include increased energy costs to consumers, possible violations of current environmental regulations and concerns about how the farm will affect the beauty of the area and the tourism market. Others are not thrilled that the a private developer, Cape Wind Associates, is in charge of the project.
If you like your story told in images, for more background on the endeavor from a pro-farm p.o.v., take a look at "Cape Wind Project: Everything You Need to Know," on The Huffington Post. If you're a text fan, read the NY Times editorial supporting the project. For a look back at some of the history of the opposition to Cape Wind, read this piece from GRIST, which focuses on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s problems with the project.
2. EARTH DAY OIL SPILL
While the benefits for Cape Wind have stirred debate, no one can argue that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from the explosion on a BP offshore oil rig last week is a tragedy. The estimated rate of spill was originally estimated at 1,000 barrels a day, but has now been upgraded to 5,000 barrels (more than 200,000 gallons). Here's an update from Democracy NOW! on the situation. One of the saddest lines from the report: "The clean ocean has become a thing of the past in that region for the future."
3. SCIENCE OF IRON MAN
We could really use a superhero right about now to help with the situation in the Gulf, but I'm guessing that's not going to happen. Perhaps the closest we can get at the moment is heading to the multi-plex to catch IRON MAN 2, the latest installment of the Marvel franchise. For a look at the science behind the suit, check out Marvel.com's piece by Ryan Haupt, who holds two Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Geology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-hosts the podcast "Science...sort of."
Shameless plug: I also did some looking into the story of Iron Man, though my exploration was decided less scientific. I had the verrry fun job of hosting Marvel's Red Carpet coverage of the Hollywood premiere of the film. You can check out my interviews with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, ScarJo, Don Cheadle and more here.
4. 10 SONGS FOR SCIENCE NERDS
This week for your listening pleasure, Flavorwire has compiled a virtual mixtape for, in their words, "those of you who maybe spent a little too much time in the chem lab, who cheered for Weird Science’s Anthony Michael Hall as if he were one of your own, and who still might have a poster of the periodic table on your bedroom walls." The collection is a mix of usual suspects such as "She Blinded Me With Science" (Thomas Dolby) and "Weird Science" (Oingo Boingo), as well as more obscure choices like performance artist Laurie Anderson's "O Superman (For Massenet)."