Fat-creating chemicals, counting coal's CO2, and an opportunity from SEJ

A couple of new stories from Fellows today, plus an opportunity: From Ilsa Setziol at KPCC radio, a story about how it might not just be what we eat, but how we store our food that's making people fat:

Biologists claim certain chemicals increase chance of obesity

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in this country.

But what if some people are overweight, not only because of the brownies they eat, but because of the plastic containers they store them in?

The conventional theory goes that people become obese because they take in more calories than they burn off. But molecular biologist Bruce Blumberg says it’s more complicated than that. 

"If it were a simple problem, a matter of balancing our caloric checkbook, no one would be fat," says Blumberg. "We are not a country full of lazy people who just eat everything in sight."

In his lab at UC Irvine, some of his mice are obese. Blumberg made them that way, but not by overfeeding them. "My mice become fatter on a normal diet," Blumberg explains. "That’s only because they were exposed to this chemical in the womb."... Read and hear more. __________________________________________________

Ashley Ahearn with KUOW tallies the CO2 emissions caused by transporting coal from the U.S. to Asia:

Counting up coal's CO2

A half-dozen Northwest ports are considering building export terminals. The main export: coal. Where’s it going? Asia.

So, we wanted to take a look at what mining, transporting and burning American coal looks like in terms of CO2 emissions. Hypothetically speaking, if all the terminals are built, that could mean about 100 million tons of coal passing through Washington and Oregon ports en route to be burned in power plants on the other side of the Pacific. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn turns to Steve Davis, a research associate at the Carnegie Institution for Science and a visiting scholar at UW’s Climate Impacts Group, to do the numbers. The figures he cites below are based on previous research and studies.... Read, see, and hear more.

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And finally, a new fellowship opportunity cosponsored by the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism:

Translating Science/Telling Stories: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Climate Change"  will take place June 9th, 2012 at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH, and will be open to both journalists and scientists.  Apply now!