Enn Original News

Laser Induced Fusion
March 22, 2012 08:12 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is a process where nuclear fusion reactions are initiated by heating and compressing a fuel target, typically in the form of a pellet that most often contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium. In doing so fusion is initiated. This is basically a small controlled fusion reactor. To compress and heat the fuel, energy is delivered to the outer layer of the target using high-energy beams of laser light, electrons or ions, although for a variety of reasons, almost all ICF devices to date have used lasers. The National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's most energetic laser, surpassed a critical milestone in its efforts to meet one of modern science's greatest challenges: achieving fusion ignition and energy gain in a laboratory setting. NIF's 192 lasers fired in perfect unison, delivering a record 1.875 million joules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to the facility's target chamber center.

The Painful Process of Getting Healthy
March 21, 2012 03:24 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

A lot of times, when people feel sick, it is not germs that are causing the feeling, it is their own immune systems. A new research study has taken a look at this odd aspect of healing in which the individual will actually feel worse. The researchers from the University of Tennessee (UT) and University of New Mexico (UNM) focus closely on the immune system component known as the acute-phase response. This is the response to bacteria, viruses, or pathogens when they infect the body. The response affects blood protein levels, metabolic function, and physiology. Changes in these vital bodily functions often manifest themselves in pain and stress.

BP Deepwater Effect on Gulf of Mexico Food Chain
March 21, 2012 01:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Research by East Carolina University faculty and students has confirmed that oil from the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico did reach the ocean’s food chain. The ECU researchers worked with colleagues at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Oregon State University and the United States Geological Survey. In their study published by Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers found that crude oil from the spill entered the food chain through the tiniest of organisms, zooplankton, which forms the base of the food chain in marine ecosystems.

Climate Leadership Continues in the European Union
March 21, 2012 10:44 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

The European Union might be going through a lot of financial turmoil at the moment, however they are still leading the way when it comes to environmental policy. Their carbon targets have consistently been higher than any other country in the world and they have also actually met and exceeded them. At the Durban Climate Summit last year, the EU environment ministers were noted for their progressive and constructive role they played in coming up with a new international agreement. The EU strategy has always been to lead with vision and to generate economic and environmental benefits. Since the EU has set binding emissions and renewable energy targets, many countries have followed suit.

Enceladus Gravity Assisted Water Sprays
March 20, 2012 12:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons of Saturn. Enceladus is one of only three outer Solar System bodies (along with Jupiter's moon Io and Neptune's moon Triton) where active eruptions have been observed. Analysis of the out gassing suggests that it originates from a body of sub-surface liquid water, which along with the unique chemistry found in the plume, has fueled speculations that Enceladus may be important in the study of astrobiology. Images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have, for the first time, enabled scientists to correlate the spraying of jets of water vapor from fissures on Saturn's moon Enceladus with the way Saturn's gravity stretches and stresses the fissures. "This new work gives scientists insight into the mechanics of these picturesque jets at Enceladus and shows that Saturn really stresses Enceladus," said Terry Hurford, a Cassini associate based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Visions for the Car-Free City
March 20, 2012 10:30 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

It is the dream of many urban planners to remove all the cars clogging the city streets. Who wants fast-moving, loud, heavy chunks of steel polluting the air and endangering people crossing the street? Some cities, such as London, have implemented a congestion toll on any vehicles entering the city center. Now there is a new group in the United Kingdom that wants to take it even further. Organized by the universities of Leeds, Oxford, East Anglia, Salford, and Manchester, along with local walkers and cyclers, the group "Visions 2030" want to transform four key UK cities.

Pliocene Climate
March 19, 2012 03:17 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

During the Pliocene epoch (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) climate became cooler and drier, and seasonal, similar to modern climates. The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2–3 °C higher than today, global sea level 80 feet higher and the northern hemisphere ice sheet was ephemeral before the onset of extensive glaciation over Greenland that occurred in the late Pliocene around 3 million years ago. Scientists are looking at what climate conditions were like 3.3 to 3 million years ago, during a geologic period known as the Pliocene, and they are confident in the accuracy of their data. The Pliocene is the most recent period of sustained global warmth similar to what is projected for the 21st century. Climate during this time period offers one of the closest analogs to estimate future climate conditions.

Russian Satellite Descending Into Ocean
March 19, 2012 10:10 AM - Scott Sincoff, ENN

According to a senior Russian state official, the Russian government will guide the Express-AM4—a large telecommunications satellite that was launched into an inadequate orbit in August—into a direct, descending orbit starting March 20. The Russian government said that any pieces that fall from space will land in the Pacific Ocean.

Rapid Pine Beetle Breeding Destroying Forests in the American West
March 19, 2012 09:27 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The mountain pine beetle epidemic is considered to be the largest forest insect blight in North American history. In the past, the pine beetles played a humble role, attacking old or weakened trees, making room for new healthy trees. The changing climate has turned their seemingly benign role into something much more deadly. An explosion in pine beetle size and numbers has forced them to turn their attention to healthy trees. Furthermore, they are reproducing twice as much as normal. Once thought to only produce one generation of tree-killing offspring per year, new research now shows that some populations are producing two generations per year, potentially increasing overall population by 60 times.

Spring Flooding 2012
March 16, 2012 09:36 AM - Editor, ENN

Spring floods are a common situation. This is due to winter snowfall melting from where it had accumulated and adding to the normally higher spring rain storms. Last winter was fairly warm and snowfall did not accumulate, For the first time in four years, no area of the country faces a high risk of major to record spring flooding, largely due to the limited winter snowfall, according to the NOAA’s annual Spring Outlook, which forecasts the potential for flooding from April to June.

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