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On Our Blogs: coyotes, taxes credits, and new ocean views

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COYOTE CONTROVERSY: Jimmie Rizzo, the go-to coyote trapper for Southern Californian residents and businesses, is now facing complaints from various animal welfare advocates.  Although coyotes pose a danger to household pets and small children, Rizzo's trapping methods are arguably not the most humane.  For more information on the controversy and for tips to avoid close contact with coyotes, visit here.

OCEAN VIEW: Google unveiled new water features for Google Earth at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco today.  The new features allow users to view detailed topography of continental shelves, discover endangered marine species, and explore remote places of the ocean.  Touring, another new function, allows users to create narrated tours on land and under the sea.  Times staff writer Jessica Guynn reports more on the newly updated Google Earth.

HYBRID TAX PROBLEM: The IRS has approved Ford's new models, the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid and 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid, for $3,400 of tax credit, which is the highest level of tax credit for hybrid vehicles.  Unfortunately, the models will be released around March 31, when the tax credit expires.  According to Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Moore, pre-ordering these vehicles is the only way to get the full tax credit.  Looking into new Ford hybrids?  Times staff writer Ken Bensinger gives all the details here

WAR OVER WHALES: On Sunday, Feb. 1, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society confronted Japanese whalers in the Antarctic with paint and rotten butter.  The incident ended with the injury of two Sea Shepherd crew members by a high-powered water canon and a hurled metal ball, but was successful in preventing more whales from being killed.  Japan has asked embassies in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands to prevent similar incidents in the future. 

--Stephanie Chang

Photo: Sylvia Earle, explorer in residence of the National Geographic Society and founder of the Deep Search Foundation, cheers at the image shown on the new Google Earth 5.0 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

 
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As well intentioned as it might be, cap-and-trade will not stop our advance toward a climate change tipping point, according to NASA scientist James Hansen. Such a policy reduces the rate of increase of CO2 but will not reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Hansen proposes instead a "tax-and-dividend" policy under which carbon would be taxed (not traded), much of the revenue is directly deposited in taxpayers' bank accounts, "4th generation" nuclear power that produces little waste and can burn today's nuclear waste is promoted, and construction of new coal plants is prohibited. That's fair and effective, and those who reduce carbon more than average (mostly the poor and middle class) actually make money. Greenwashing our energy policy with ineffective policies (like more tax credits and grants for wind, already subsidized 36 times more than oil on a per-kilowatt basis) will hasten climate change, it won't help. But that's exactly what the the new Stimulus Bill would do, powered by lobbyists. Shame on Congress for business as usual.


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