Tag Archives: protection

Google ads Amazon-style products to search results – in a big revenue grab

An interesting update by Google which seems directly targeted at Amazon. These new Product Ads from Google will compete with Amazon’s commission model, and may come down to who has the better search.

With billions of dollars in revenue the stakes…

 

In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy. Today people want more. When searching for great local restaurants, people want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping.

Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time–so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.

First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall.

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price–just like Product Listing Ads today.

In addition, merchants who want to stand out from the crowd can choose to participate in our new Google Trusted Stores program. Google Trusted Stores is a badge for e-commerce sites which gives users background on merchants—whatever their size—including ratings for on-time shipping and customer service. Google stands behind merchants that have earned the Google Trusted Stores badge with a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.

Second, starting today we’ve also begun to experiment with some new commercial formats on Google.com that will make it easier for users to find and compare different products. These include larger product images that give shoppers a better sense of what is available and also the ability to refine a search by brand or product type.

For example, below is  what stargazers could see on Google.com when searching for [telescopes], or for a specific product, such as [Celestron CPC 800].

 

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Maps of Southern California’s – Marine Protected Areas

A map of all the Southern California MPA’s (marine protected areas), defined as:

A space in the ocean where human activities are more strictly regulated than the surrounding waters – similar to parks we have on land.

They are supposed to form a network of safe areas for marine life ro repopulate and bring back big populations to our oceans. You can see that they aren’t that large, nor extensive, but serve as a good starting point.

 

 

Here are maps for each of the regions: San Diego, Los Angeles (Santa Monica Bay), Orange County, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island.

**Full-size graphics are available at Cal Oceans – Maps

 

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The best beach & sports sunscreens

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals for the skin to absorb, no questions about whether the product works, no bogus claims like “sunblock.” (No conventional product blocks out all rays. That’s why the FDA is trying to ban the term. )

But when you can’t avoid exposing your skin to the sun, use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin.

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The list has narrowed down over 1800 sunscreens to 188 of the best beach/sport options.

Each one contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choices for people who want the best UVA protection without any chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A, and none are sprayed or powdered.

See if your sunscreen is on the list, or find one to buyEWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide 2012

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Amazing Species: a carnivorous plant – Nepenthes rigidifolia

Nepenthes rigidifolia is not yet listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, however a provisional evaluation classes this species as ‘Critically Endangered’. Known only from a single location in Sumatra, Indonesia, this spectacular carnivorous pitcher plant produces mottled brown and yellowish green pitchers up to 21 cm tall and 8 cm wide, borne from unique, rigid leaves from which it receives its name. The traps of this plant are home to a wide range of dependant animals, including mosquito larvae and other arthropods.

Only 24 specimens of this ultra-rare plant species were ever discovered in the wild, all outside of national parks and nature reserves. Unfortunately, that small number has been decimated by poaching and habitat destruction, and a recent survey confirmed just two individuals surviving in the wild today.

To safeguard against complete extinction, multiple strains of Nepenthes rigidifolia are preserved through an ex-situ conservation strategy (i.e., conservation outside their natural habitat), with the hope that protection and restoration of its habitat may save this critically rare species, and the ecosystem of miniature life that it supports.

via IUCN Amazing Species (pdf)

Earth Day: the savior of California’s coast

Since today is Earth Day I want to honor a special man who recently passed away, Peter Douglas. For more than 34 years he protected the coasts of California with spectacular success.

“A World Bank team that visited California last year rated it as having the best coastal protection in the world and expressed amazement that the commission had never been captured by the industries it regulates.”

The rating is in large part due to Peter Douglas, the man who wrote the law to protect the coast in 1972 (Proposition 20), created the California Coastal Commission, and ran it until his retirement in 2011.

“This coast is still a place people identify as being theirs, it’s a precious treasure, and our job is to protect it for them,” Peter Douglas said before he retired in 2011.

In many ways he is a role model for me and what I want to accomplish. I cannot stop learning from him and how he thought:

A good argument can be made that no one since Father Junipero Serra has had as much impact on coastal development in California as Peter Douglas. Douglas, who died a week ago, wrote and helped pass Proposition 20, the California Coastal Commission initiative, in 1972. He wrote the 1976 Coastal Act, worked for the commission from its early days and was its outspoken executive director…despite often fierce opposition, including a nearly successful attempt by then-Gov. Pete Wilson to get rid of him in 1996.

keep readingThe Savior of California’s Coast

Save the Sea Otters!

I know you have a favorite animal. Mine is the Sea Otter!

These furry little creatures are smart and devilish. They have pouches like kangaroos where they store their toolset. After diving to the bottom for some tasty crustaceans they head back to the surface and lay on their backs to crack open their delights (using the tools!). They’re super smart which means they have loads of free time for high jinks.

baby sea otter

To see them you have to visit west coast since they only inhabit the northern Pacific Ocean. There discovery by the early explorers brought about an international market in Otter pelts. The story since then has been the same old one of decline. It does end with some good news including an internatioanl ban in hunting and a population recovery.

That makes me proud but also serves as a constant reminder. I live zero waste, reduce my water use, walk more, and eat at farmers markets because of these little guys. I love them so much they make me cry and the thought of them in pain makes me angry!

Did You Know:

- Sea otters have the world’s densest fur—up to a million hairs per square inch! (You have 100,000 hairs or less on your whole head.)

- Sea otters live in loose-knit groups called rafts. Otters in rafts often sleep side-by-side, wrapped in strands of kelp so that they don’t drift far from each other.

Check Out These Links:

Baby Otters at the Monterey AquariumAnother Baby Otter!Saving Sea Otters

Holding Hands!