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Safe Pathways for Amphibians
September 30, 2011 12:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
As the world , much less the climate, changes, species must change and move too. A species ability to overcome adversity goes beyond Darwin’s survival of the fittest. In a new study based on simulations examining species and their projected range, researchers at Brown University argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn't a simple matter of being able to travel a long way. It’s the extent to which the creatures can withstand rapid fluctuations in climate along the way that will determine whether they complete the journey. In a paper in Ecology Letters, Regan Early and Dov Sax examined the projected climate paths of 15 amphibians in the western United States to the year 2100. Using well-known climate forecasting models to extrapolate decades-long changes for specific locations, the researchers determined that more than half of the species would become extinct or endangered. The reason, they find, is that the climate undergoes swings in temperature that can trap species at different points in their travels. It’s the severity or duration of those climate swings, coupled with the given creature’s persistence, that determines their fate.
Study: China to Surpass US Per Capita Emissions by 2017
September 30, 2011 11:56 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The biggest polluters in the world are known to be the United States of America and China. In 2007, China overtook the United States for the dubious role of world's greatest carbon emitter. However, because the United States is so much wealthier per capita than the People's Republic, individual US citizens could claim that they burned more fossil fuels. According to a new study, this won't last for long. At their current pace, by 2017, the average Chinese citizen will surpass the US citizen as the world's greatest polluter.
Afghanistan Mineral Potential
September 29, 2011 02:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Mineral deposits can create jobs, industry, wealth and potentially pollution. It could help stabilize a war torn country such as Afghanistan. Working with the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), members of the USGS Minerals Project assessed fuel- and non-fuel mineral resources of Afghanistan from October 2009 to September 2011 with the goal of identifying particular deposits that could be relatively easily developed.The team identified key Areas of Interest (AOI)—and subareas within them—that fit these criteria. The AOIs contain mineral reserves or resources that have been well-documented through sampling in trenches, drill holes, and/or underground workings. Most are accessible by existing roads. So to develop or not to develop.
Plants and CO2
September 29, 2011 01:22 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and exhale Oxygen. They are a major part of the global cycle. The global uptake of carbon by land plants may be up to 45 per cent more than previously thought. This is the conclusion of an international team of scientists, based on the variability of heavy oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere driven by the El Niño effect. As the oxygen atoms in carbon dioxide were converted faster than expected during the El Niño years, current estimates for the uptake of carbon by plants are probably too low. These should be corrected upwards, say the researchers in the current issue of the scientific journal NATURE. Instead of 120 petagrams of carbon, the annual global vegetation uptake probably lies between 150 and 175 petagrams of carbon. This value is a kind of gross national product for land plants and indicates how productive the biosphere of the Earth is. The reworking of this so-called global primary productivity would have significant consequences for the coupled carbon cycle-climate model used in climate research to predict future climate change.
September 29, 2011 12:49 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
There are many worlds out there and NASA has a lot of data that it has not reviewed in the depth that is needed to search every star for its worlds and the evidence there of. A project in which volunteers hunt online for new planets NASA may have missed is publishing its first results which show some remarkable finds. Planethunters.org, which was set up by Oxford University physicists, working with colleagues at Yale University and the Adler Planetarium, has enabled over 45,000 armchair astronomers to find candidates for new alien worlds by searching data from the Kepler mission.
Most Polluted Cities in the World
September 28, 2011 02:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
In many cities air pollution is reaching levels that threaten people's health according to an unprecedented compilation of air quality data released today by WHO (World Health Organization). The information includes data from nearly 1100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100,000 residents. WHO estimates more than 2 million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. PM10 particles, which are particles of 10 micrometers or less, which can penetrate into the lungs and may enter the bloodstream, can cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and acute lower respiratory infections. The WHO air quality guidelines for PM10 is 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an annual average, but the data released today shows that average PM10 in some cities has reached up to 300 µg/m3.
Potatoes and Potassium
September 27, 2011 04:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Many people enjoy potatoes which also have historical significance such as the great Irish great potato famine that forced many to emigrate. Fruit are also perceived as healthy. Research presented in September 2011 at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) demonstrates that potatoes are one of the best nutritional values in the produce department, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables. Per serving, white potatoes were the largest and most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit. Potatoes were the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The high cost of meeting federal dietary guidelines for potassium, 4,700 mg per person per day, presents a challenge for consumers and health professionals, alike. However, the cost of potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables.
The Witwatersrand Legacy
September 26, 2011 01:50 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Witwatersrand is a low, sedimentary range of hills, at an elevation of 1700—1800 meters above sea-level, which runs in an east-west direction through Gauteng in South Africa. The discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand led to the Second Boer War and ultimately the founding of South Africa. The Witwatersrand goldfields have more than a century of mining and has left the region littered with mounds of waste, known as tailings dumps, and underlain by a deep underground network of abandoned mine shafts, which are gradually filling with water. These mines as a result of highly efficient production methods may operate at depths in excess of 3000 meters where the specific geological conditions are suitable.
Alcohol and Asthma
September 26, 2011 11:46 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Alcohol has it negative and its positive attributes. Now drinking alcohol in moderate quantities can possibly reduce the risk of asthma, according to Danish researchers. The study, which will be presented September 25, 2011) at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Amsterdam, found that drinking 1—6 units of alcohol a week could reduce the risk of developing the condition. The research examined 19,349 twins between the ages of 12 and 41 yrs of age. All participants completed a questionnaire at the start and end of the study to compare alcohol intake with the risk of developing asthma over 8 years.
Book Review: The Slums of Aspen
September 26, 2011 09:58 AM - Maddie Perlman-Gabel, ENN contributing author
Aspen, Colorado; the city name evokes visions of pristine mountains, world class ski slopes, luxurious shopping, and some of the most expensive homes in the Unites States. Those who visit Aspen marvel at the natural beauty surrounding the city, which prides itself in what it considers environmentally progressive thinking. In December of 1999 Aspen's environmentally progressive thinking led to the creation of a resolution which limits immigration into the city of Aspen as a means to protect the environment from the damages of overpopulation. According to authors Lisa Sun-Hee Park and David Naguib Pellow, this environmental protection logic is not based in the pure love of protecting the environment, but instead in racism and nativist values. Park and Pellow, sociology professors from the University of Minnesota, wrote "The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants Vs. The Environment in America's Eden" after almost a decade of research in Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley (which includes Aspen). Park and Pellow explore the sentiments behind Aspen's anti-immigrant resolution and the resolution's impact on the immigrants who's labor make Aspen possible yet do not get to experience it.