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Enn Original News
World Wildlife Federation turns 50!
April 30, 2011 08:14 AM - WWF
A summit of environmental leaders and politicians has called for an urgent move towards a global green economy in order to achieve sustainable development over the next half century. Low-carbon technology, green infrastructures, investment in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture were all listed as being essential in combatting climate change, poverty and water shortages. Speaking at the event today, convened by WWF to mark the global conservation organisation's 50th anniversary, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said that unless biodiversity is adequately protected the consequences would be "catastrophic". "Biodiversity and ecosystem services must be protected, valued and adequately restored," said Commissioner Potočnik. "It's essential for human wellbeing and in our own self-interest. If we do not preserve ecosystems we will push biodiversity over the tipping point beyond which changes become irreversible and possibly even catastrophic. It is an irrefutable fact that global consumption and use of resources is the biggest factor in a sustainable future."
Lake Demise, Lake Control
April 29, 2011 07:40 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A lake ecosystem is made up of living and nonliving parts that all interact with each other to form a stable system. These interactions assure the lake ecosystem's health and sustainability. It is a fine balance of production and decomposition, made possible by the biodiversity that occurs in a healthy lake ecosystem. Researchers eavesdropping on complex signals from a remote Wisconsin lake have detected what they say is an unmistakable warning--a death knell--of the impending collapse of the lake's aquatic ecosystem. The finding, reported in the journal Science by a team of researchers led by Stephen Carpenter, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), is the first experimental evidence that radical change in an ecosystem can be detected in advance, possibly in time to prevent ecological catastrophe.
Krill and Whales in Antarctica
April 28, 2011 03:55 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. Adults range in length from 39—52 feet and weigh approximately 79,000 pounds. Like other large whales, the humpback was and is a target for the whaling industry. Due to over-hunting, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a whaling moratorium was introduced in 1966. Stocks have since partially recovered. There are at least 80,000 humpback whales worldwide. Scientists have recently observed a super-aggregation of more than 300 humpback whales gorging on the largest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in more than 20 years in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The sightings, made in waters still largely ice-free deep into austral autumn, suggest the previously little-studied bays are important late-season foraging grounds for the endangered whales. But they also highlight how rapid climate change is affecting the region.
April 27, 2011 05:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
What is a wake? It is small island in the Pacific. However, in this case it is the region of recirculating air flow immediately behind a moving solid body, caused by the air flow of surrounding air around the wind turbine. The air turbines not only produce power, they produce wakes -- similar to what forms in bodies of water -- that are invisible ripples and waves and other disturbances in the atmosphere downstream that can damage turbines and decrease efficiency. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers and collaborators will launch a study of those wakes this month, with an eye toward improving the efficiency and potential produced power of the wind farms.
Outsourcing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the Developing World
April 27, 2011 09:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
In many developed nations, increased energy efficiency has effectively lowered emissions of carbon dioxide. However, the cuts in advanced economies are merely an illusion, as manufacturing and dirty industries have moved offshore to the developing world such as China and India. These countries produce goods cheaply which Western consumers like. But that cheap price is a reflection of not only lower wages for workers, but also lax pollution controls and environmental standards.
April 26, 2011 03:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A virus is a small agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Most viruses are too small to be seen directly with a light microscope. The shapes of viruses range from simple helical and icosahedral forms to more complex structures. The average virus is about one one-hundredth the size of the average bacterium. Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level. In a solar cell, sunlight hits a light-harvesting material, causing it to release electrons that can be harnessed to produce an electric current. The new MIT research, published online in the recent journal Nature Nanotechnology, is based on findings that carbon nanotubes — microscopic, hollow cylinders of pure carbon — can enhance the efficiency of electron collection from a solar cell's surface.
Fishing Season Begins Next Week in New England
April 26, 2011 09:19 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
For the northeastern United States, the new fishing year officially begins on May 1. This year will see the fishing season opened to more small-vessel owners and catch limits will be raised in response to rebounding fish stocks. Fishing has been an integral part of the economy of New England coastal communities, and now more fishermen will have the opportunity to partake.
Sunlight and Clouds
April 25, 2011 04:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A cloud is a visible mass of water droplets or frozen ice crystals suspended in the Earth's atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or other planetary body. On a cloudy day the surface under the clouds appears darker and cooler. Atmospheric scientists trying to pin down how clouds curb the amount of sunlight available to warm the earth have found that it depends on the wavelength of sunlight being measured. This unexpected result will help researchers improve how they portray clouds in climate models. Additionally, the researchers found that sunlight scattered by clouds — the reason why beach goers can get sunburned on overcast days — is an important component of cloud contributions to the earth's energy balance. Capturing such contributions will increase the accuracy of climate models, the team from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reported in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this month.
Where do Squamous Cell Cancers Come From?
April 25, 2011 01:49 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of cancer that occurs in multiple organs. It is a malignant tumor composed of squamous epithelium (squamous-cell differentiation). The cancer can affect many parts of the body including the skin, lung, bladder, and sex organs. A new study from researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that the origin of SCC is hair follicle stem cells. This finding may lead to new strategies to treat or prevent this terrible disease.
Newegg Launches Eco-Friendly "1 Ton Challenge" Campaign
April 21, 2011 05:52 PM - Editor, ENN
Newegg Inc.,ENN sponsor of the month, in partnership with Gazelle, is launching a "1 Ton Challenge" campaign to divert one ton of consumer electronics from landfills through its trade-in and recycling program. The campaign coincides with Earth Month and runs now through April 30, 2011. During this time, Newegg visitors trade-in their used electronic items, such as cell phones, laptops, gaming consoles, MP3 players, digital cameras and more for valuable Newegg gift cards. The weight of the traded items will be counted toward the landfill diversion goal. In addition to rewarding consumers with Newegg gift cards for participating in the program, Newegg and Gazelle will also contribute $1 for every box of used consumer electronics gear it receives from Newegg customers to EarthEra Renewable Energy Trust, a program created by NextEra Energy Resources to help individuals and companies reduce their carbon impact and participate in the development of future renewable projects.