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How To Stop Unwanted Phone Books

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Back in September, fellow blogger Ransom asked how to stop unwanted phone books. I have long wondered this myself, as I use the internet for all my phone number lookups. Now, I don't think the phone book is a bad thing -- it's just something that I don't need, and it gets old picking up the new phone book and dumping it right in the recycling bin. So after a little research, today I'll offer the long-sought answer to this problem. Yes folks, you can finally stop the delivery of phone books you don't want, effectively short-circuiting the recent routine of phone book delivery and immediate recycling.

Thanks to Shelby Wood of The Oregonian, stopping the phone books is just a click (or call, or actually several calls) away. Wood writes:

GET FEWER PHONE BOOKS

Several Web sites claim to be able to remove you from phone book delivery lists, but there's no guarantee publishers will honor any third-party request. For now, the best way to reduce or eliminate deliveries is to contact each publisher.

DEX/Qwest: Go to dexknows.com; select "directory options" at bottom of page; click through screens until you see "personalize your directory order." Under "available directories in your area," choose 0, 1, 2 or 3 from pull-down menus. Or call (800) 422-8793, press 2 to speak with a person

Yellow Book: (800) 929-3556, press 3 to speak with a person

Idearc/Verizon: (800) 888-8448, remain on line to speak to a person

Other phone books: Check for a phone number for customer service or "to order directories" on front cover or inside page

Recycling: Outdated or unwanted phone books can be included in curbside carts

More information:

Yellow Pages Association

Product Stewardship Institute's Phone Book Project

And to the above I'll add a bit from Common Craft:

AT&T/YellowPages (formerly SBC and Bell South): 1.800.792.2665

Read the rest of Wood's article for an interesting analysis of phone book statistics -- including this fact: "a whopping 80 percent [of phone books] will end up in a landfill."

See also: do not call lists and The Trouble with Phone Books.

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The Roomba's Creator Invented an Underwater Vacuum That Sucks Up Invasive Lionfish
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Invasive fish can be a major issue for waterways, since they can devastate native species and take a toll on environmental diversity. The red shiner, for instance, is a hardy fish that can survive basically anywhere, and in the process, outcompete and kill native fish species. Invasive species can travel far and wide, hopping across continents with human help (whether on purpose or by accident).

Colin Angle, who co-founded iRobot, the company that invented the Roomba, has an answer. It’s kind of like a robot vacuum, but for invasive fish, according to Fast Company. The Guardian, developed by Angle’s nonprofit Robots in Service of the Environment, is an underwater robot designed to stun lionfish, suck them up, and bring them to the surface.

Lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific, are considered an invasive species in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, where they have few predators and huge appetites for both crustaceans and other fish. The fish can eat up to 20 other fish in half an hour, lay up to 40,000 eggs every few days, and live up to 30 years, making them a formidable foe for environmentalists. They may have been introduced in the mid-1980s by personal aquarium owners in Florida releasing pets that got too big for their tanks.

As part of the effort to rid Atlantic waterways of lionfish, the U.S. government has tried to encourage people to catch and eat them. If other species can be overfished, couldn’t lionfish?

The Guardian isn’t the only robot with a mission to eradicate invasive fish. Queensland University of Technology’s COTSbot is designed to kill crown of thorns starfish in the Great Barrier Reef. Unlike COTSbot, though, The Guardian isn’t autonomous. Someone above the water has to control it remotely, directing it toward fish to suck up using a camera feed.

That’s by design, though. The idea is that like the Roomba, the Guardian will be affordable enough for fishermen to use so they can hunt the fish and sell them in restaurants. (One unit currently costs about $1000.) The Guardian's ability to reach depths of up to 400 feet will aid fishermen in waters and reefs that can't be easily accessed.

Each Guardian can bring up about 10 live lionfish at a time. And while one robot cannot eradicate lionfish from the ocean alone, a huge number of them could make a dent.

The Guardian is currently in testing in Bermuda.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Climate Change Could Resurrect the Dust Bowl
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Three Lions / Stringer / Getty Images

The billowing dust storms we know from black-and-white photos of the Great Depression could become a reality for future generations, scientists warn. As Gizmodo reports, climate change is grooming the southwest and central Great Plains for a new version of the Dust Bowl that plagued the region in the 1930s.

After gathering 12 years of satellite data (2003–2015), researchers at Princeton University and NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory predict that dust clouds will increase in parts of the U.S. in the latter half of this century. As they lay out in their study in Scientific Reports, prolonged drought and barren landscapes caused by deforestation are set to create the perfect conditions for the same type of storms that drove people from the Great Plains nine decades ago. At its worst, this phenomenon could be deadly; when they're not breathing in dust, residents in the affected areas could be exposed to dangerous pathogens and chemicals carried by air currents.

Dust storms occur when winds stir up dirt particles into dark, massive clouds. During the so-called Dirty Thirties, soil loosened by over-tilling was a major contributor to the dust that enveloped land. Even with more sustainable farming practices, dry summers could create the same arid, dusty landscapes required for a repeat of the Dust Bowl.

While there's still much research to be done on the subject, the study authors hope their findings will get people thinking about how to prepare for the consequences. "Our specific projections may provide an early warning on erosion control, and help improve risk management and resource planning," co-author Bing Pu said in a Princeton University press statement.

That seems like an improvement over ideas for fighting the Dust Bowl that were proposed in the 1930s, which included paving over the Great Plains and bombing the sky. Fortunately, we still have a few decades to come up with better strategies this time around.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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