Author Archive for Christine MacDonald

California Bans Plasma TVs, Could It Happen to Us?

At the DC Energy Expo a couple of weekends ago, my jaw dropped when I learned just how much energy it takes to run a plasma television set: A whopping three times as much electricity as a regular TV.  Even when they aren't running, plasma TVs suck an enormous amount of "vampire energy" – the [...]

News Analysis: To Save Beer from Global Warming, Stop Having Kids

Here is a little “news analysis” I think our City Paper constituency can appreciate.
Yesterday, beer lovers were devastated to hear global warming is hurting beer production. While that news was bad, the Washington Post followed up with a dispatch today suggesting that we can solve global warming if we stop having kids.
Put the two news items [...]

Dogs Go Diving at City Pool

After spending “the dog days” of summer testing the water quality at D.C. swimming pools, I have decidedly mixed feelings about this footage of neighborhood mascots taking the final dip of the season. Our tests found more than a third of the pools visited were incubating harmful bacteria just like giant Petri dishes.
There’s a definite [...]

Froot Loops = Health Food? The F.D.A. Doesn’t Think So Either

The Food and Drug Administration may launch its own nutritional label in response to Big Food’s “Smart Choices” logo that has begun arriving in grocery stores on boxes of Froot Loops and other foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat, according to the New York Times.
Kelloggs, Kraft and PepsiCo are among the foodmakers [...]

It’s National Preparedness Month. Do You Know Where Your Emergency Rations Are?

The Metropolitan Police Department just re-upped its emergency supply kit recommendations this morning in honor of September: Did you know it’s National Preparedness Month?
I occasionally think it might be a good idea to create a kit and come up with a plan since we live in a place terrorists most likely dream about bombing, burning, [...]

Health Department Closed Pools at UDC, Apartment Buildings

Officials at the city's Department of Health finally released the list of the pools its inspectors shut down this year. As a followup to our summer pool coverage, here’s the lowdown: 
The indoor pool at the University of the District of Columbia was closed Mar. 4 “for leaks,” according to DOH spokesperson Dena Iverson. Apparently, water [...]

GW: No Longer Among the Country’s Least Eco-Friendly Schools

George Washington University has pulled up its grade in a national environmental group's annual college ranking. Then again, there really was no place to go but up after last year, when the Sierra Club named G.W. one of the five least sustainable universities in the country, the student-run GW Hatchet, pointed out in its front [...]

Build Your Own Wind Turbine, Then Crow about It

After a few weeks of micro-blogging, I think I’ve figured out what Twitter is good for: all manner of information whizzing by haphazardly. I miss 90 percent of this stream-of-consciousness info. stream, what with real work to do.  But when I take the time, there is usually some funky item worth crowing about. 
Check out this set [...]

U.S. Beaches Awash in Raw Sewage, but Ocean City More Pristine, Report Says

Going to the beach these days is like taking a dip in an open sewer, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The NRDC found the nation’s beaches are befouled by raw sewerage and floating debris that is not just seriously gross but a serious health hazard. This is the 19th year that [...]

Eww, Gross! Most Fast Food Workers Don’t Wash Hands, Feds Says

In a city like Washington with so many workaholics counting on fast food joints for sustenance, this story has maximum gross out potential: Despite those pervasive bathroom signs directing employees to wash up after using the loo, more than half of all fast-food industry workers don’t bother, according to a new study by the Federal Drug [...]

The Yes Men Take to the Airwaves Tonight but Still Unlikely to Change the World

You know the dog days of summer are upon us when the Washington Post’s television highlights include tonight’s The Yes Men Fix the World, a new HBO documentary about those zany activists/performance artists, who go around impersonating corporate executives.
Their particular form of protest comes from poking fun at serious issues such as world trade rules, [...]

A Side of Antibiotics with your Salmon?

The New York Times has a story today about farmed salmon from Chile that makes a few pretty scary points:

Chile used almost 350 times more antibiotics in its farmed salmon in 2008 than Norway, its chief competitor.
Chile is the biggest supplier of salmon supplier to the United States. So, if you’ve purchased the pretty pinkish [...]

Rocanrol at Gala tonight offers laughs + hard-rocking covers

Think rock and roll and Hispanic culture go together about as well as meatloaf and guacamole? Think again. For a couple of generations now, hipsters across the Hispanic world have been banging their heads to what’s known south of the border as rocanrol! 
They’ve been rocanroleando – rocking – for decades. And, for this weekend only, [...]

Vegans Suing Oscar Meyer over Weiner Threat

It’s not like the mysterious fillers used in hotdogs haven’t been scaring the bejesus out of folks for years, but the inevitable has finally happened: A D.C.-based vegan group is suing the makers of Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National and other well-known wiener brands. The group wants warning labels on the dogs to alert consumers of [...]

Drivers Are Boozing Less But Toking Up Is High, Feds Say

Driving while drunk has fallen dramatically over the last few decades but drug use is much more popular, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the latest NHTSA roadside survey, drivers caught with blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit fell to 2.2 percent in 2007, compared to 7.5 percent in 1975. 
Until 2007, [...]