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White House Goes Solar (Again), Wayward Robins, the Hottest Block in NYC
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Walk the talk: Three decades after Ronald Reagan dismantled Jimmy Carter’s photovoltaic panels from the White House roof, President Obama is giving solar another try. The White House's new 6.3 kilowatt installation is a symbolic gesture to a greater push for energy efficiency Obama has in store for the rest of the country. And the solar panels? Made in America, of course. Politico

Sink or swim: According to a new report from the AFL-CIO labor federation, oil and gas workers in North Dakota are six times more likely to die on the job than oil and gas workers in other states. The report says this is because the Bakken boom is drawing new, inexperienced workers from all over—and the oil and gas companies are throwing them into the fire before they’re sufficiently trained. Bloomberg

The desolation of smog: The World Health Organization just surveyed 1,600 cities across 91 countries and found that about 90 percent of them have unsafe air. Approximately half the world’s urban population suffers through air pollution at least 2.5 times higher than the WHO recommended limit. It’s no surprise that Asia takes the cake for Most Wheezeable Continent, but South America and Africa are nipping at its heels. BBC

Keep it down, will ya?!: A new study out of Germany shows that migratory European robins lose their ability to navigate through urban centers thanks to all our electromagnetic noise (see "City Birds Bring the Noise"). The super-sensitive birdies can be disrupted by intensities several thousand times lower than the World Health Organization considers dangerous to humans. Cellphone towers and power lines aren’t to blame, but basically anything you plug into a socket creates electromagnetic noise. As to which electronics are causing the interference, the scientists are less clear. The Verge

Go to school at your own risk: What’s the hottest block in New York City? Well, that’d be 1125 to 1139 Irving Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens (same neighborhood as the historic Onderdonk House!). But it's not because the black has great food or clubs or haberdashery shops. The block is humming with thorium radiation and was just declared the city’s third Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. Good thing the place is still home to an auto body shop, a deli—thorium sandwiches!—a construction firm, and—wait for it—two schools. New York Magazine

Waiting for the Krauthammer to fall: If I came running to you every time someone said something stupid about climate change, I wouldn’t get to cover much else. But this one’s fun. Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post political writer and Fox News commentator, said this week that when it comes to climate change, he’s “not impressed by numbers.” (I guess his psychiatry degree makes him a climate scientist, too?) He also confuses weather with climate. Oh, and don’t miss the part where he compares concern over climate change to a Native American rain dance. Gold! Huffington Post

The wolf sleeps: Canadian writer Farley Mowat passed away this week at the age of 92. Mowat was an outspoken animal and environmental advocate and probably most known for his 1963 book, Never Cry Wolf, a non-fiction piece that caused many to rethink their hatred for the species. New York Times


FIIMBY: Did the West Virginia chemical spill mutate the state’s politicians into environmental-regulation-friendly Toxic Avengers? Find out in this hilarious clip. Oh, and I think they’ve just invented my new favorite acronym. The Daily Show


The Truth Behind the Spin: What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know about the Gulf Oil Spill Salon

DOE Gives Offshore Wind Projects up to $141 Million The Hill

Solar Panels Here to Stay Atop White House Roof Washington Post

In China, 64 Percent Say They Are Environmentalists – Report Reuters

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)


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