Monday, December 13, 2010

NRDC's Inspiring Founder, Disappearing Polar Bears, Improving Engineering Education & More

Last week brought the usual bounty of new Platt articles, including a few that have long been in the works.

First up, my interview with NRDC founder John H. Adams and his wife Patricia for

This week's two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American were quite popular:

Taking a break from the green side for a moment, here's my latest for Today's Engineer:

Finally, my two latest Green Tips blogs for Green Hands USA:

More next week!

Monday, December 6, 2010

5 new eco-flavored articles

Monday, Monday! That means it's time to recap you on last week's publications.

For a five day week, there were, amazingly, only five articles last week. I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway, there were the usual two Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

And two Green Tips blogs for Green Hands USA:

And finally, a new book review for Mother Nature Network:

As I start out the week, I have already turned in three new articles and a new one that I turned in a few weeks ago has already been published. Remember to keep up with my Twitter feed for the daily linkage as new stories go live, or come back here next week for another weekly rundown!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talking Tigers & Turkeys

Last week was a short, holiday week, but that doesn't mean I didn't pack a HECK of a lot into it.

The big deal of the week came not on Black Friday, but on Monday, when my write-up of the recent tiger conservation conference was published at Scientific American...

Russia's tiger forum: Our last chance to save tigers from extinction?

This led to my being interviewed on NPR/WNYC on the Brian Lehrer show on Wednesday. You can find the archived discussion here. It was great fun and it helped to spread some important news and facts about tiger preservation.

Of course, what Thanksgiving week would be complete without two Thanksgiving-related articles? These are too late for you to enjoy pre-turkey, but maybe you can still read them over your leftovers:

10 Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving (Green Hands USA)

Six New Books Give Thanks for Lives Well Lived (

That's it for this week. Time to write more!

Monday, November 22, 2010

OMG, hedgehogs and spoons

This week brings you six new articles, all of which have an environmental theme. Go figure!

First up, as usual, we have my two Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

SEGA & Sonic step in (briefly) to protect endangered hedgehogs

British crayfish now officially endangered, thanks to killer fungus

Next, I profile the young non-profit (in more ways than one), One More Generation, for Tonic:

OMG: Siblings Are Helping to Save Endangered Species

Then we have two Green Tips blogs for Green Hands USA:

4 Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient

10 Tips for Winterizing Your Pipes

And finally, my latest piece for Mother Nature Network:

Book review: 'The Disappearing Spoon'

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bootstrapping, parrot plague & taste aversion in wolves

Last week was a good week for words from my keyboard. Check 'em out...

As usual, we start with my two Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American...

Mystery virus threatens an already critically endangered Australian parrot species

Can endangered Mexican wolves be conditioned to dislike the taste of sheep?

From endangered species to new species, here's my latest for Mother Nature Network:

Self-cloning, all-female lizard species discovered in Vietnam

A brief Green Tips blog for Green Hands USA:

Levi's Announces New Eco-Friendly Jeans

A profile of two wonderful scientists for IEEE's member newspaper, The Institute:

Married Couple Named IEEE Fellows

And finally, for that same publication, a feature that will help any small business learn how to grow until they hit the billionaires' club:

Bootstrap Your Startup to Success-Without Venture Capital

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gollum, Comix and Sssssnakess - This week's articles

Ah, Monday. Time to look back on the previous week and share with you the links to all of the fine Platt words that made their way into the universe.

There actually aren't that many of them this week, but that's okay, because I have approximately 27 articles in process right now, so there will be plenty more to share over the rest of this month.

First up, here are my latest two Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

Ssssuccessss: World's rarest snake is back from the brink

Precious: Gollum (the fish) risks extinction in New Zealand

Now, two "green tips" for Green Hands USA:

Breathe Less Pollution While Riding Your Bike

E-Waste Report Card: Does Your Gadget Maker Make the Grade?

And finally, a new book review for Graphic Novel Reporter:

Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix

More next week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Killer crocs & Sweet-hearted employers

Presented for you now: last week's articles + this week's commentary:

First up, this week's Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

Extinction crisis revealed: One fifth of the world's mammals, birds and amphibians are threatened

20 die in air disaster after smuggled crocodile escapes on a plane [this got over 30,000 views on StumbleUpon, plus a few thousand Facebook shares]

Now, a few inspiring stories for

Sweet Relief: Bakery Puts Developmentally Disabled to Work

Wonder Woman Day Raises $40,000 for Victims of Domestic Violence

Now we have some "Green Tips" blogs for Green Hands USA:

7 Inexpensive Ways to Stay Warm This Autumn [man it's cold this week!]

Voting Guide: Does Your Candidate Believe in Clean Energy? [just in time for election day!]

Now, a new science story for Mother Nature Network:

Study proves dogs recognize owners' faces

And finally, from a few weeks ago (oops), a tech career feature for The Ladders:

Electrical Engineers Lured by Systems Engineer Careers (you need to create a Ladders account to read this)

Monday, October 25, 2010

This week's articles: Dying coral, Wonder Woman, and Halloween candy

This week's articles cover a pretty wide range of topics. That's half the fun of being a freelancer -- you never know what cool stories are going to fall in your lap from week to week!

First off, as usual, here are this week's Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

Rare New Zealand pigs to be killed for their semen

Asian coral die-off could be worst ever; Is climate change to blame?  [Of course, this got plenty of comments from global warming deniers!)

Now a few fun, cause-related stories for

Fifth Annual Wonder Woman Day to Help Victims of Domestic Violence [This raised a huge amount of money, I'm excited to say!]

Help Team Superman Raise $10K to Battle Brain Tumors

And finally, here are the latest Green Tips blogs from the pages of Green Hands USA:

Do You Work in a 'Sick Building'?

How to Choose Eco-Friendly Halloween Candy

So far this week I've written about wildlife smuggling, wireless communications, facial recognition, and sustainable business practices. Stay tuned next week for more links!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Frogs, water & vampire power

This week's article links!

First up, my profile of last Friday's Blog Action Day for

Speak Up for Safe Water on Blog Action Day

Next, two Green Tips blogs for GreenHandsUSA:

This $10 Device Can Protect You From Vampire Power

Build a Pond, Save a Frog (and maybe win a prize)

Finally, my latest two Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

From chytrid to ranavirus: Another disease is devastating frog populations

New record size for a genome goes to rare plant 

Stay tuned for this week's articles, plus some more catching up from the archives!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Extinction, Using Social Media, Scary Books & More

I told you that last week would be a good week for my articles. Heck, I had six published last Thursday alone. (I'm pretty sure that's a personal record.)

Anyway, here are the latest and greatest additions to the Platt Library. First up, two new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Survival denied: Birds, fish, plant, pygmy rabbits lose out on endangered species protection

Population crash in Kenya: Rare bird gets much, much rarer--but why?

Next up, an article for The Institute that should be good for any consultant, freelancer or small business:

Using Social Media to Attract New Business

Now we get to some engineering-related articles...

The Price Is Right: Free Design Standard Expected to Be Adopted Speedily

IEEE-USA 2010 Salary Survey Reveals Positive Changes Along with Reductions and Gaps

...and then a few pieces for the readers among you, an overview of upcoming horror novels for this month and reviews of two excellent graphic novels:

Six Scream-Worthy Reads for October

Diario de Oaxaco: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico

Cats Are Weird and More Observations

Finally, here are my latest Green Tips blogs for GreenHandsUSA:

7 Things to do with Shredded Paper

7 Ways to Green Your Laundry


Monday, October 4, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Frogs and yams in danger; Can't a gibbon get some love?

Another batch of articles links for you, dear readers.

First up, this week's Extinction Countdown stories for Scientific American:

I yam what I yam--and what I yam is endangered and under-researched

Bad news for crested gibbons, the forgotten apes [I was disappointed this one didn't generate more readers and comments, but then again, the point of the story is that no one cares about gibbons, so I guess I wasn't surprised.]

Are Frogs Injurious Species?

Next, two Green Tips blogs from the virtual pages of Green Hands USA:

Eco-Aware Moms Pick Greenest Food Brands

New Book Smartens You Up About Solar Power

And finally, here's a long-delayed comic-book review written for Joe Bob Briggs:

Blood Orange #1

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bumblebees, eco-friendly fur, zombies and more

I'm working on several new features at the moment, which I'll link to here as they appear. Meanwhile, here are last week's articles:

First up, as always, my Extinction Countdown columns for Scientific American:

Horn of rarity: Asia's 'unicorn' resurfaces after 10 years--then dies

Cost to save the world's tigers: $10,000 each per year (or just pennies a day!)

British bumblebees are inbreeding themselves into extinction

Next we've got a few fun pieces for Mother Nature Network:

Got brains? New college course digs deep into zombies

Can fur be eco-friendly?

Last but not least, here are my most recent items for Green Hands USA, including my first "green music" story:

New Book Smartens You Up About Solar Power

Reverb Seeks Volunteers for Campus Consciousness Tour

College Students: Win an iPad by Being Green


Monday, September 13, 2010

Lots of new "green" articles

It's been a busy few weeks at the Platt keyboard, all in the "green" arena.

First up, several new "Extinction Countdown" articles for Scientific American:

Reefs at risk: Roundup at the not-so-OK coral corral

Close call for endangered moapa dace as fire destroys only habitat

Dammed if they don't: Cost to protect endangered sturgeon in South Carolina could be $100 million, utility says

Toxic avenger: One man's desperate idea to save the rhinos--poison their horns (this was the most popular story on their site for four days running)

Report: 21 percent of Africa's freshwater species threatened with extinction

Deepwater doom: Extinction threat for world's smallest sea horse

Next up, my first article for Mother Nature Network:

Does this Gulf seafood smell good to you?

And, the first of many new Green Tips blogs for Green Hands USA, where I am now the site's Editorial Director:

Yes, Your Individual Actions Make a Difference

Finally, here's a non-green item, a long-delayed book review for the Joe Bob Briggs website (written around 2004, just posted now):

Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex Volume 1

Enjoy the reading!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

From the archives: The Pick Up Artists

This fun feature appeared at in July 2010:

Pick Up Artists: Driving Across America, Picking Up Garbage

They've picked up 37,000 pounds of garbage so far, and they're just getting started.

When most people see a fast-food bag fluttering on the corner of the highway, they probably shake their heads and keep on driving.

The Pick Up Artists aren't most people. These four young environmentalists are driving across America, conducting roadside cleanups and spreading the word about reducing waste.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bats, sea otters and climate change

It's Monday, and that means it's time to look at last week's articles.

There weren't a huge amount this time around, as many articles are still working their way toward publication. But here's what we've got:

First off, three new Extinction Countdown articles for Scientific American:

Study: Climate change identified as extinction threat in nearly 60 percent of species recovery plans

California sea otter populations sink as research funding dries up

Fatal fungus could kill off U.S. Northeast's little brown bats in 20 years

And last, my latest for

Sierra Club Names America's Greenest Universities

More soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Links to my latest articles

Well, it's been a few weeks since I last updated this library blog. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to read. I publish at least six articles a week, sometimes as many as 10, and you can find all of the latest links over on my Twitter feed:

John R Platt (johnrplatt) on Twitter

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cartoonists Drawn to Vermont

The economy of White River Junction, an aging railroad town in Vermont, has been revitalized by an unlikely source: cartoonists.