USEPA Photo by Eric Vance
This week, our top Earth snapshots include an amazing Alaskan flyover, the Space Station's peaceful view of Russia and Eastern Europe -- and a red tide that's causing havoc in Florida. The EPA maintains these controlled growth chambers (above) in Corvallis, Ore. They enable researchers to study the effects of air pollution, heavy metals and toxic substances on plant life.PHOTOS: Massive Mayfly Invasion Marauds Midwest
This image of Alaskan forest land was shot from a Piper Cherokee aircraft by NASA scientists. They're conducting an aerial survey of 174,000 square miles of forests in the Alaskan interior, which are difficult to reach on the ground.BLOG: A Huge Alaska Quake Could Devastate California
From the International Space Station, an astronaut captured this view of the southern Baltic sea. Russia, Poland and Lithuania are in the foreground, while Norway, Denmark and Sweden are seen in the distance.PHOTOS: Costa Concordia's Final Journey
USDA photo by David Kosling
California is suffering through a severe drought. This image, taken back in February, shows a dried-up riverbed along Highway 99 near Bakersfield.NEWS: Southwest Groundwater Disappearing at 'Shocking' Rate
Kim Parsons/NOAA Fisheries
A group of killer whales, also known as orcas, are seen swimming here in a tight pattern. NOAA scientists recently published a study of killer whale genetics, in which they reported that the creatures form distinct sub-populations that don't have much cross-breeding.VIDEO: Whales Get Sunburned, Too
Typhoon Rammasun, AKA Glenda, battered the Philippines in mid-July. The storm is seen here in a satellite photo.BLOG: How Do Summer Superstorms Form?
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Staff; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
A sergeant major fish and an angelfish swim in a reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These fragile underwater habitats are threatened by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the water, due to climate change.NEWS: When Fish Go Deeper They Glow Brighter
A red tide off the coast of Florida has killed thousands of fish along with sea turtles and crabs,reports the AP
. The algal bloom is caused by a marine organism,
which is naturally occuring buttoxic to humans and wildlife
.PHOTOS: Earth Shots: Must-See Planet Pics (July 18)
A Mexican businessman is selling about 600 liters a month of pale ale beer made from bamboo, as a way to promote the versatility of the fast-growing, carbon-capturing plant.
Entrepreneur Mauricio Mora Tello began production in 2012 in Puebla, Mexico, after spending two months in China learning how to make the craft beer.
Bamboo is a woody grass -- not a tree -- and is the fastest growing plant on Earth. Oddly, the more it's cut the faster it grows. It can be used to make building materials, paper and vinegar -- among other uses -- and as a way to capture carbon. Also, importantly, it makes a pretty decent brew.
"For several months, numerous tests were performed with different varieties of bamboo and different sections of the plant to find the right variety and the part where the extract would be obtained," Mora Tello said.
"The latter is distilled from the foliage and applied precisely in the part of the beer fermentation prepared with two hops, yeast and wheat malt."
Bambusa plants to double production of the pale ale later this year.