Peabody funded climate change deniers

America’s biggest coal mining company, Peabody Energy, funded a range of organizations that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, court filings have revealed. The Guardian reports that the funding covered trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative think tanks. The company also donated to political organizations, funding twice as many Republican groups as Democratic ones. Peabody was renowned for its public rejection of climate science, but this scale of funding climate denial groups was only exposed in disclosures after it was forced to seek bankruptcy protection in April, under competition from cheap natural gas. “These groups [funded by Peabody] collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

When athletes speak out against their sponsors’ behavior

PR Week looks at the cases of star athletes speaking out against the brands that sponsor them. Triggered by the recent case of Yorkshire’s cricket coach Jason Gillespie, the article highlights instances when British marathon runner Paula Radcliffe attacked Nike and tennis star Andy Murray opposed Head, both over the companies’ stance on the use of drugs. There are top-level soccer players, too, who have opposed sponsorship from loan providers or gambling companies. Gillespie’s critique was perhaps the most direct, though. Speaking, as a vegan, about his opposition to the business of team sponsor Wensleydale Creamery, he said:  "Hopefully one day the dairy industry can be shut down."

Wearable tech for sharks

We like to keep abreast of latest developments in wearable tech, but it’s usually for humans. Now Mobile Commerce Press reports on a new study by researchers from James Cook University (JCU) using wearable tech to better understand the eating habits of sharks. The devices fitted to the sharks include microcomputers that are comparable to the fitness trackers we all know. One of the lead researchers, Richard Fitzpatrick, explained that the new wearables make it possible to avoid the old technique of having to wrangle sharks back to the boats in order to implant other forms of trackers. He said: “With these [microcomputers] we’re able to put them on the shark underwater and then let them go again.”  He added:  “We’re trying to minimize stress to the sharks, do it as quickly as possible so then they return back to normal behavior as quickly as possible and we get better data.”

Households turn to solar to avoid future power cuts

Residents of the Indian city of Coimbatore, who have suffered lengthy power cuts in recent years, have turned to solar energy to meet their power requirements, The Hindu reports.  The city, with a population of around a million, now has nearly 500 solar rooftop installations subsidized by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency.  A further 20 applications are waiting for net metering in the city, and another 200 have already been installed in neighboring districts. Industry is also starting to experiment with rooftop solar systems, with up to 15 textile mills in the region adopting solar for purposes such as lighting and running mini motors. 

Bookstore prints books on demand

Finally today, we join the New York Times on a visit to a Paris bookstore with no books. The Librairie des Puf, run by the publisher University Press of France, doesn’t stock books in the conventional way – it prints them on demand, in front of the customer, on an Espresso Book Machine. On Demand Books, the American company that makes the machine, chose the name in acknowledgement of an activity you can complete in the five minutes it takes to print a book - have a quick coffee.  The machine sits in a back corner of the shop, turning PDFs into paperbacks. Customers use tablets to select the titles for print — adding, if they want to, their own handwritten inscriptions — while sipping coffee in the storefront. 

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