Enn Original News

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.

Cats and Sweets
March 14, 2012 10:16 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Cats, along with many other carnivores, are unable to taste sweets at all. Yes there are always exceptions but the typical cat like animal cannot taste sweets. Now why is this? Lions, hyenas and other pure carnivores have lost the ability to taste sweet foods. Omnivores (like humans) can taste sweets. A team of researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia studied 12 different mammals who subsist mainly on meat and fish, and focused on their sweet taste receptor genes. Some mutation along the way changed how sweets are perceived.

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."

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