Five for Friday: On the Environment, the Superbowl, and a Burning Town

*Tourism can be added to the list of threats to Antarctica’s environmental health as an increasing number of travelers venture “down south” to vacation in arctic waters.  Because the area’s popularity hasn’t yet reached the levels of Spring Break, Cancun, the Antarctic region has an ability to start from scratch in adopting unique forms of eco-tourism. Yet, should the international community even consider jeopardizing such a delicate ecosystem for the sake of recreation?

*Is the terrible towel Pittsburgh’s key to a Steeler’s win in Superbowl XLIII, or a glorified piece of cloth?  While the debate is heated, there are many similarities between  Steelers nation–with the terrible towel as its flag–and political nationalism.  I’ll keep my predictions/gripes/personal comments about this subject aside =)

*President Obama called for the EPA to reconsider its policy on setting unique state emissions standards at the same time a national study claimed that cleaner air adds 5 months to an individual’s lifespan.  With clear (excuse the pun) benefits of cleaner air, should states be able to set their own emissions standards, or should the entire nation strive for the lowest possible emissions–regardless of population?

*The economic recession motivates us to reevaluate our spending habits and pursue cheaper hobbies and vacations, but this classic clip from the Daily Show profiling a superfund site as a tourist attraction shows how some towns can take it too far.  I don’t suggest looking on Scorecard to plan your next vacation, but I do recommend Centralia, the town with the underground fire, as a nice stop on your central Pennsylvania road tour.

*Speaking of environmental issues, some of you that live in Midwestern states or on the Great Plains may have been noticing your winters getting a little “slicker” lately. What’s the deal with all of this ice? Some people think that as global temperatures rise ice storms are becoming more common than snow storms. This is because the necessary warm layer of air that causes the ice occurs more frequently. I don’t know about you, but I definitely prefer sledding on snow over ice.

~Bethany and Cameron for My Wonderful World

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