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Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Oily Evidence, Hot Sauce’s Heavy Secret, the North Pole is Now a Pond
Our top picks: the best environmental news and #greenreads from around the web.

Santa Claus falling in water.

Swim, Santa! Swim!: There is a pond of meltwater covering the North Pole at the moment. While that sounds really bad—and no, it’s not good—this is neither the first, nor the largest such pond observed by scientists. Indeed, last year’s Arctic melting broke all the records. But as a symbol, a liquid covered North Pole is about as ominous as it gets. The Atlantic

Fox in the henhouse: A new study finds that climate coverage at Reuters was cut in half after the arrival of its current managing editor, Paul Ingrassia, a self-proclaimed climate skeptic. Ingrassia also seems to be responsible for the axing of David Fogarty, the wire service’s former climate change correspondent. Media Matters

Halliburton hijinks: Cue up the Halliburton intro music, because everybody’s favorite villain is in the news again. The company has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only will this saddle Halliburton with the maximum possible fine— a measly $200,000—but experts think it may weaken the company’s position in an upcoming civil trial over the spill. BBC

Too hot to handle: A new study out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has found high levels of lead in Mexican hot sauces. ¡Ay dios mio! While the full results of the study won’t be out for a while yet, an advance copy shows that the worst offender contains more than double the amount of the neurotoxin considered actionable by the FDA. Warning: If you frequent Mexican restaurants and like things spicy, you have eaten at least one of the five worst brands. (And no, Taco Bell doesn’t count as a Mexican restaurant.) OC Weekly

For the love of birds: Whether filling your backyard feeder, feeding ducks at the park, or curating your birdwatching list, a fondness for birds can act as a gateway drug to environmentalism. Our feathered friends inspire many budding environmentalists, and some even think that without Peterson’s iconic birding field guides, we may not have had Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Indeed, the environmental movement may owe the chickadees more than we know. OnEarth


Let’s get dirty: It’s winter in New Zealand right now, but that wouldn’t stop the Rotorua region from bubbling with geothermal activity. Specifically, I’m talking about mud bubbles. Beautiful, goopy, mud bubbles. Vimeo

Explosivo: In a trend playing out across the United States, a town in Florida just traded in its 1960s-era, coal-fired power plant for one that burns natural gas. But to do so, the town had to get rid of the old plant—which brings me to perhaps two of the finest words in the English language: controlled demolition. Huffington Post


A Squirrel in California has the Plague. Should You be Worried? The Verge

Wildlife Officials Consider Killing Barred Owls to Save Spotted Owls KQED Science

Smuggled Rhino Horns Seized in Largest European Bust Ever, Worrying Conservationists Huffington Post

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others? Smithsonian

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
Image: ArionFoto

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