Tom Walsh

  • Does climate change trigger earthquakes?

    Maybe. Maybe not. The question of whether climate change is contributing to the frequency of strong earthquakes remains unanswered, as do most questions confronting science, although we finally know the Earth isn’t flat and the sun doesn’t orbit around the Earth. Hundreds of lives were lost last week in central Italy due to a major

  • Rain in Maine stays mainly on the wane

    The tourists notwithstanding, Maine needs rain. A recent National Weather Service weekly report on drought and crop moisture shows areas surrounding Kennebunkport, Kittery, Old Orchard Beach and Portland have been experiencing “severe drought,” a phenomenon that has been slowly moving north and east. So far, areas of Hancock and Washington counties have been designated “abnormally

  • The environmental downside of recreational marijuana

    Maine voters will decide this fall whether marijuana will become the state’s newest recreational intoxicant of choice, which could put a huge dent in retail sales of Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Voter approval of Maine’s wacky weed ballot referendum also could jumpstart the emergence of a new industry in Maine: marijuana cultivation, creating new jobs that

  • Water, water everywhere

    As the recent tragedy of the drownings of two experienced sea kayakers near Corea too clearly illustrates, the world’s proverbial seven seas, and the weather they help to create, can be an unpredictable, formidable and, inevitably, a deadly force. Like much of humanity, Mainers are seriously dependent on the ocean. Three of the state’s few

  • Dark skies: Here tonight, gone tomorrow?

    As rock-and-roll deva Janis Joplin advised: You gotta get it while you can. Such is the case with one of Downeast Maine’s most stunning attractions. Unlike most seasonal attractions, it’s now readily accessible to all summer visitors. It’s also yours at no cost. One of Downeast Maine’s most enduring features are stars. Clusters of stars.

  • Medical errors are a leading cause of death

    It was great to have dinner last week in Birch Harbor with a friend from away, a lot better than driving to Connecticut to attend her memorial service. She recently was admitted to a Connecticut hospital for treatment of kidney stones and a related kidney infection. Routine, right? Not when some unskilled health care professional

  • Swim with dolphins, talk with whales

    Whales have been a source of fascination long before the Biblical and literary adventures of Jonah and Captain Ahab. For visitors to Bar Harbor, whale watching expeditions are a popular way to spend a summer day on the Gulf of Maine aboard high-speed catamarans staffed by marine naturalists who know where the local leviathans hang

  • One step forward, two steps back.

    For more than 25 years, Bill McKibben has been shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, although now the smoke and flames are real, not conjecture. Since publishing “The End of Nature” — his first book on climate change — in 1989, McKibben has written 11 others and is a founder of the global grassroots climate

  • Rockweed: Habitat, ‘manure’ or bovine Viagra?

    Seaweed has an image problem. Watch any four-year-old who unwittingly encounters seaweed at the beach, either on shore rotting on the sand or riding the tide in shallow water. The universal pre-school response: “Yuk!! Gross!! Get it off me!!!” (Cue tears). Ask just about any marine scientist who studies the wide array of seaweed species