Welcome to Planet 100 for August 31, 2010. Here's what we're covering today.
WATCH VIDEO: Canada's Oil Sands More Toxic Than Ever
Toxic Oil Sands
Oil sands operations in Calgary are polluting the Athabasca River system, contradicting the Alberta government's assertions that toxins in the watershed are naturally occurring.
Researchers said mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium are among the toxins being released into the Athabasca. The environmental impact of developing the oil sands, the biggest reserves of crude outside the Middle East, has been a topic of snowballing controversy in Canada and around the world.
The Alberta government has devoted millions of dollars to defend the multibillion-dollar industry.
Read More: Tar Sands Projects Responsible for Water Pollution in Alberta's Rivers - Despite Industry Claims to Contrary
After a 60 Minutes special on the Bloom Energy company, hype is building for the clean, green ?power plant in a box.? But how green is the cutting edge fuel cell?
Google, Ebay, and Walmart have all purchased the $750,000 unit which they expect will pay for itself in 3-5 years through reduced energy consumption. The Bloom Box generates power by oxidizing (rather than combusting) fuels like natural gas or propane, generating up to 2x the energy output.
So though it does not replace fossil fuels, it does mean significantly reduced carbon emissions for big companies like Google who can afford the Bloom units.
Read more about the Bloom Box:
Yay or Meh? Bloom Box Fuel Cell on 60 Minute (Video)
Bloom Energy Comes Out of the Shadows, Launches the Bloom Box Fuel Cell
While popcorn remains a popular snack for movie nights at home, you may think twice before opting for the microwaved variety. An FDA report reveals that a chemical coating used in popcorn bags breaks down when heated releasing carcinogens. Our advice? Go old school and jostle some kernels on the stovetop.
Read more about popcorn:
Study Finds Popcorn Butter Alternatives Also Toxic
Microwave Popcorn: The Next Asbestos
Should You Cook with a Microwave or Stove?
Tar Sands ?AP Photo/Eamon Mac Mahon
Tar Sands ?AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh
Bloom Box units at Ebay HQ Courtesy of Bloom Energy
VIDEO clip: Bloom Energy
Horror movie ?Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock