Enn Original News

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.

Supercapacitors or Batteries
March 16, 2012 09:10 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

A battery is a device that stores energy and makes it available in an electrical form. A capacitor is a device that stores energy in the electric field created between a pair of conductors on which equal but opposite electric charges have been placed. A capacitor is not a battery and is of a more temporary nature. Electrochemical capacitors (ECs), also known as supercapacitors or ultracapacitors, differ from regular capacitors that you would find in your TV or computer in that they store substantially higher amounts of charges. They have garnered attention as energy storage devices as they charge and discharge faster than batteries, yet they are still limited by low energy densities, only a fraction of the energy density of batteries. An EC that combines the power performance of capacitors with the high energy density of batteries would represent a significant advance in energy storage technology. This requires new electrodes that not only maintain high conductivity but also provide higher and more accessible surface area than conventional ECs that use activated carbon electrodes.

Study: Climate Change will Exacerbate Respiratory Diseases
March 15, 2012 01:58 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

A new study highlights the growing danger of respiratory disease as the Earth gets warmer. Higher temperatures, in and of itself, do not make a person more likely to come down with something like asthma, allergies, infections and the like. The danger will come from the increase in ground level ozone in urban areas, higher particulate matter in drought-stricken areas, and the ranges of communicable diseases expanding into the higher latitudes. Incidences of respiratory diseases may likely balloon during climate-change related events such as heat waves, bad air pollution days, and other extreme weather. It is during these moments that vulnerable populations will need the most support.

Nuclear Reactor Failures
March 15, 2012 11:38 AM - Editor, ENN

Anything can fail. Nuclear reactors are built to last and designed to run safely with extensive safeguards. Yet what would happen if one failed in your US neighborhood such as as the Fukushima reactor did as a a result of a major earthquake? A new mapping tool was released by the Natural Resources Defense Council which illustrates the potential radiological impacts of a severe accident at the nation’s nuclear reactors and flags risk factors associated with each individual site. A future severe nuclear accident at a U.S. nuclear power plant is a possibility. In 2011 five nuclear power plants in the United States lost primary power due to earthquake or extreme weather events, including tornados, hurricanes, and flooding. Fortunately the designed backup power systems kicked in at these plants and a disaster was averted.

Area of Orange and West Orange NJ New Superfund Site
March 15, 2012 09:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed adding the Orange Valley Regional Ground Water site in Orange and West Orange, New Jersey to its Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. This includes two public-supply wells at Orange Park and Gist Place which provides drinking water to 10,000 people. The area is in the heart of an old urban area. Ground water under the site, which includes heavily populated urban and suburban areas of Orange and West Orange, is contaminated with the chemicals tetrachloroethylene or PCE, trichloroethylene or TCE and cis-1,2-dichloroethylene. The ground water contamination has impacted public wells used to supply drinking water to local residents. Some of the wells have been taken out of service and water from others is treated to remove the contamination and provide the community with water that is safe to drink.

California Nitrates
March 14, 2012 11:27 AM - Editor, ENN

Nitrates are a common water pollutant most often associated with agricultural effluent and excess fertilizer. It is a common issue in many locations. One in 10 people living in California’s most productive agricultural areas is at risk of exposure to harmful levels of nitrate contamination in their drinking water, according to a report released today by the University of California, Davis. The report was commissioned by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

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