08 Aug '11, 4pm
Mystery orange goo turns Alaska into a Cheeto:
The Alaskan village of Kivalina woke up coated in a shiny, powdery orange substance last week. When that happens to me it usually involves bourbon and Doritos, but presumably the authorities have ruled that out in this case. They've also said that the goo isn't oil-based -- but that's about all they know. The village has sent samples of the stuff to a NOAA lab in Fairbanks, and residents are waiting for a verdict on what it is. In the meantime, they're boiling their water and probably biting their nails. Even if the substance turns out to be a kind of algal bloom, which is the current best guess, those can be harmful for humans and even worse for ecosystems.