Enn Original News

Nitrous Oxide
March 13, 2012 11:43 AM - Editor, ENN

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. It is known as "laughing gas" due to the euphoric effects of inhaling it. N2O is also a greenhouse gas with tremendous global warming potential (GWP). When compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), N2O has 310 times the ability per molecule of gas to trap heat in the atmosphere. N2O is produced naturally in the soil during the microbial processes of nitrification and denitrification. What are the potential environmental problems with this N2O? What can be done? Scientists the world over are joining forces to curtail emissions of nitrous oxide. Norwegian researchers are playing an important role in these efforts.

Asteroid 2011 AG5
March 13, 2012 10:46 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Lots of rocks are floating about in space. Some inevitably will hit the Earth though most will pass by. Asteroid 2011 AG5 has been receiving attention lately because of a very unlikely scenario which would place it on an Earth-interception course 28 years from now. As of Feb. 26, 2012, asteroid 2011 AG5 is one of 8,744 near-Earth objects that have been discovered. It is approximately 460 feet (140 meters) in size and its orbit carries it as far out as beyond Mars' orbit and as close to the sun as halfway between Earth and Venus. It was discovered on Jan. 8, 2011, by astronomers using a 60-inch Cassegrain reflector telescope located at the summit of Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona.

Edinburgh named home city for Green Investment Bank HQ
March 13, 2012 10:11 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen

Edinburgh has won the competition to be the home city of the headquarters of the world's first Green Investment Bank, the UK Government confirmed today. The Scottish capital beat off 31 rival bids to be announced the HQ location, with the GIB's main transaction team based in London. Business Secretary Vince Cable said locating the bank across the two cities will enable the GIB to become a world leader, playing to the strengths of both capitals. He added: "Harnessing the strengths of Edinburgh and London will support the Green Investment Bank's ambition to become a world leader. Edinburgh has a thriving green sector and respected expertise in areas such as asset management. London, as the world's leading financial centre, will ensure that the GIB's transaction team can hit the ground running. This decision will allow the GIB to operate effectively and achieve its mission of mobilising the additional investment needed to accelerate the UK's transition to a green economy." Scottish Secretary Michael Moore welcomed the news, and added: "I am delighted that the Green Investment Bank will be headquartered in Edinburgh. Scotland has enormous green energy potential and its capital is the UK's second biggest financial centre. The size and scale of the UK's single energy market ensures the level of investment that will unlock Scotland's renewables future, providing sustainable and affordable green energy across the UK. It makes perfect sense to have a GIB presence there."

Brazil's Growth Offers Wealth and Worry in The Northeast
March 13, 2012 09:57 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Two years ago I predicted this would be the Brazilian Decade, and so far Brazil's stunning success has proven me correct. It is not just about the large international events like the World Cup and Olympics that are on the calendar in 2014 and 2016. Brazil has become a creditor nation; once a net food importer, it now feeds much of the world; and recently it surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy. For decades much of the growth was centered around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, then stretched south towards the border with Uruguay. Industries such as aircraft, petrochemicals and automobiles anchored Latin America's largest economy. But now Brazil's economic might has extended to regions of the country that had long underperformed compared to the wealthy south.

Records from Henry David Thoreau Reveal New Evidence of Climate Change
March 13, 2012 09:44 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Henry David Thoreau was a famed naturalist, philosopher, and author who resided in Eastern Massachusetts from 1817 to 1862. He was also a leading abolitionist and advocator of civil disobedience in defiance of an unjust state. He is perhaps best known for his views on simple living uncluttered by overdevelopment embodied in his famous book Walden; or, Life in the Woods. As a naturalist, he made records for the flowering dates of a number of common plant species. Now, 150 years later, a team of biologists from Boston University (BU) have compared those flowering records with those of today. They found that the flowering date for 43 common species had moved up by an average of seven days since the time of Thoreau.

The Light in the Sky is NASA
March 12, 2012 04:23 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are many strange and ordinary lights in the sky. There are the stars, moon, planets and the Aurora Borealis for example. High in the sky, 60 to 65 miles above Earth's surface, winds rush through a little understood region of Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 200 to 300 miles per hour. Lower than a typical satellite's orbit, higher than where most planes fly, this upper atmosphere jet stream makes a perfect target for a particular kind of scientific experiment: the sounding rocket. Some 35 to 40 feet long, sounding rockets shoot up into the sky for short journeys of eight to ten minutes, allowing scientists to probe difficult-to-reach layers of the atmosphere. When they go up, they will release materials that will be visible milky white clouds which will make the jet stream velocity and direction trackable. There will be a new light in the sky just off the US Atlantic coast.

The Once Prolific Dugong
March 9, 2012 11:46 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The dugong is a large marine mammal which, together with the manatees, is one of four living species of the order Sirenia. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest modern relative, Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas), was hunted to extinction in the 18th century. Smithsonian scientists have discovered that this was not always the case. According to the fossil record of these marine mammals, which dates back 50 million years ago, it was more common to find three, or possibly more, different species of seacows living together in one locality at one time. This suggests that the environment and food sources for ancient seacows were also different than today. The team's findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Reflecting on the Winter that Never Was
March 9, 2012 09:22 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In a couple weeks, the northern hemisphere will be entering the spring season, and now is a good time to reflect on this winter. For some, it feels like spring has already been here, and soon summer will be approaching. That is because for many Americans, it was the winter that never was. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was not the warmest winter in recent history, but it does rank pretty high. Furthermore, this winter will be marked for its amazing lack of snowfall, especially when compared with last year. The following are some highlights from around the nation.

Solar Power in Poor Rural Areas
March 8, 2012 03:12 PM - Editor, ENN

Solar power works best of course where the sun is brightest. However, another major factor is the capital cost for a solar installation. If your are poor, you cannot get started easily. One of the big opportunities positive climate action has presented the developing world is the chance to leapfrog a generation of energy technology straight into clean, green generation without the intervening capital intensive and dirtier aspects of energy technology. A British company thinks it has a potential and intriguing solution. Cambridge-based Eight19, named after the eight minutes and 19 seconds it takes light form the sun to reach earth, has developed this technology, and the business plan to tackle these challenges.

Gorilla Genome
March 8, 2012 02:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The human genome is stored on 23 chromosome pairs and in the small mitochondrial DNA. Twenty-two of the 23 chromosomes belong to autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex determinative. But that is human, what about one of our close relatives, the gorilla? Researchers announce today that they have completed the genome sequence for the gorilla - the last genus of the living great apes to have its genome decoded. While confirming that our closest relative is the chimpanzee, the team show that much of the human genome more closely resembles the gorilla than it does the chimpanzee genome. This is the first time scientists have been able to compare the genomes of all four living great apes: humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. This study provides a unique perspective on our own origins and is an important resource for research into human evolution and biology, as well as for gorilla biology and conservation.

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