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Tigers, Whole Foods, Global Warming & Orangutans. What’s the Link?

March 1st, 2009
Whole Foods, Tigers, Global Warming & Orangutans. What’s the Link?  Photo by Dave Watts of Birdlife International.

Tigers, Whole Foods, Global Warming & Orangutans. What's the Link? Photo by Dave Watts.

Palm oil.

Palm what?

If you pay as little attention to your food as I do then you’re probably just as surprised as I am that: 1) Some palm trees make edible fruit; and 2) Some of this fruit is linked to endangered species destruction and deforestation.

It so happens that for the last 50 years or so, palm oil has been making head-ways into the foods we eat.  It’s also in bio-fuels we burn and cosmetics some of you may use.  Recently, there’s been a huge push for the introduction of palm oil in U.S. foods because of new trans-fat reporting requirements.  Because palm oil doesn’t have any, it’s been used as a choice to replace non-trans-fat-free shortening.

And while we are collectively healthier for eating less trans-fat, there are measurable global consequences that have resulted from this relatively tiny shift in our dietary habits.  Namely, deforestation on a vast scale and threatened species nearing extinction.

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Biology, Business and Politics, Featured Articles, Global Science

A Trip to the La Jolla Tide Pools of San Diego

January 25th, 2009
La Jolla Tidepools at Sunset

La Jolla tide pools at sunset in January 2009. Photo by Dave Oei.

2 year Old Curiosity at the Tide Pool. Photo by Dave Oei.

2 year old curiosity at the tide pool. Photo by Dave Oei.

Nestled along the shores of La Jolla, California lie some of the best tide pools offered in San Diego.  While these can’t compete with the likes of what is found in Monterey Bay, the La Jolla tide pools are no more than a few minutes drive for most San Diegans, and their ease of accessibility makes visiting them well worth the while.  There’s an abundance of wildlife, including starfish, a variety of crustaceans, mollusks, and octopus.  And usually, without trying to hard, you’ll be able to spot seals and dolphins.

Did I mention that it’s gorgeous?

A Clump of Different Colored Starfish in La Jolla.  Photo by Dave Oei.

A clump of different colored starfish in La Jolla. Photo by Dave Oei.

My family and I visited the pools a few weeks ago.  We arrived late in the afternoon when the tides were predicted to be quite low and we found ourselves shedding off the sweaters in the 70 degree weather.  That’s right: 70 degrees, by the beach, in January.  It really does happen in San Diego.

To go tide pooling, you’ll need to see to two pieces of logistics: Planning and Parking.

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Biology, Featured Articles, Travel

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