Saturday, June 30, 2018

Plastic—Recycle or Landfill?

So a lot of you conscientiously throw your plastic bottles and other waste into recycling bins, not the garbage. But a new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation argues that this harms the environment. How?

photo by NOAA

It turns out that most recycling materials from America and Europe get shipped to China and other Asian countries. They certainly recycle a portion of it, but they can’t use everything we send to them. They end up burning huge amounts or dumping them in the ocean.

So the next time you take a bag of plastic bottles and other recyclables out, you would be wise to ponder whether it is better to put them in the recycling bin, or toss them in the garbage—from there to be used in landfills to make uneven land useful for development.

The synopsis of the report is here.

You can read the full paper here.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review of Martians Abroad

Polly is part of the thriving Colony One on Mars. She dreams of piloting a starship one day and has her internships lined up. But her mother abruptly informs Polly and her twin brother Charles they are being sent to Earth for their education.

To Earth? Earth is old, grubby, and stifling.

Shaken, Polly wants to stay on Mars and get back into her cancelled internships. But their mother dangles in front of her the prospect of getting into a piloting program upon graduation from the Earth academy. Besides, they have no choice. They leave in two weeks.

Carrie Vaughn’s Martians Abroad is an impressive story. Polly is not a whiny brat, neither is she a superwoman, but she is smart and bold as she gets thrown into one challenge after another. Look at the excellent cover above. Mars’ gravity is only one third of ours, so Polly grew up tall and thin. Notice how slender her torso and limbs are. As she approaches Earth, she knows she’ll have difficulty moving around in a gravity three times what she’s used to.

Her brother Charles is a genius—not just in theoretical matters, but in detecting plots against them. Yes, there are plots. Not just physical difficulty, not just some semi-bullying by elite Earth students, but some actual hostility—a rockslide here, a kidnapping there. What is going on?

Martians Abroad is an enjoyable read for teens on up. For more on the author Carrie Vaughn, click here.


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