Enn Original News

Northwestern Study Analyzes Artificial Performance Enhancements
December 13, 2011 10:27 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In high-pressure athletics, competition on a global scale requires every possible edge one can muster. A tenth of a second can make the difference between winning the prize or going home empty-handed. This is why steroids came into use to enhance the human body. However, according to a study from Northwestern University, another enhancement has gone relatively unnoticed while extending a tremendous advantage to the athlete, especially in competitive swimming. In fact, it was the apparel, the high-tech swimsuit that made such a significant contribution to swimming times, that it was banned in 2009.

Green Christmas suggestions from IzzitGreen
December 13, 2011 09:55 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Just in time for our readers' last minute Christmas Shopping, our friends from IzzitGreen have come up with five great eco-friendly Holiday gifts. As an additional eco-incentive 50% of the proceeds earned for any purchase of the Get to Know Nature bag will go directly to the Get to Know organization and help support their mission to keep the National Parks of the U.S. and Canada vibrant. Enjoy! Get to Know NatureBag The NatureBag is packed full of fun activities designed to support Get to Know's main mission to connect kids with the great outdoors. The all-weather activity booklet and other accessories encourage exploration and natural awareness through lead experiential activities. Pack up all the eco-friendly tools made from recycled materials into the unique fair trade, organic cotton shoulder bag and away you go! Last year the Get to Know NatureBag received the Gold Medal Award from Parent’s Choice as an eco-friendly and socially sound choice. http://www.gettoknow.ca/store/naturebagGrowBottles Everything you need to grow fresh herbs and gain the culinary respect (or envy) of your friends is packaged into these beautiful recycled GrowBottles, and they're made completely with sourced and re-purposed materials. With a little water and love the GrowBottles can continue to produce year after year with your own seeds or one of the refill kits. Thanks to brilliant design and the power of hydroponics, growing fresh herbs indoors has never been so easy. Available in Oregano, Chives, Basil, Parsley and Mint certified organic seed varieties.

Bicycle Power
December 12, 2011 12:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How to get to work and such. Always a perplexing problem. European Union (EU) wide reductions of GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) are under scrutiny by many critics as the progress and actual results seem to fall short of the goals set by the EU this year. Recent reports affirm that the EU will not achieve the reduction of transport emissions by 60% between 1990 and 2050 through technology alone. An interesting take on the subject is revealed by a recent study authored by the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), which has quantified emissions savings of cycling compared with other modes of transport. Even taking into account the production, maintenance and fuel [food] related to bicycle use, emissions from cycling were over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car.

Dead Trees in the Sahel
December 12, 2011 11:46 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. It stretches from west to east across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. It is a sort of coast line for the arid Sahara desert to the north. There is an on-going long term drought in this region. A new study, which is scheduled for publication Friday, Dec. 16, in the Journal of Arid Environments, was based upon climate change records, aerial photos dating back to 1954, recent satellite images and old-fashioned footwork that included counting and measuring over 1,500 trees in the field. The researchers focused on six countries in the Sahel, from Senegal in West Africa to Chad in Central Africa, at sites where the average temperature warmed up by 0.8 degrees Celsius and rainfall fell as much as 48 percent. They found that one in six trees died between 1954 and 2002. In addition, one in five tree species disappeared locally, and indigenous fruit and timber trees that require more moisture took the biggest hit. Hotter, drier conditions dominated population and soil factors in explaining tree mortality, the authors found. Their results indicate that climate change is shifting vegetation zones south toward moister areas.

Smart Tips for Eco-friendly, Cost-effective Shipping
December 11, 2011 06:41 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Shipping is the lifeblood of the modern economy, vital for businesses to stay active and meet the demands of their clients. Often, in the rush to get products out, shippers will overlook practices which may be considered greener, for shipping practices that are easier because "it’s the way it has always been done." In a world of limited resources, this is an attitude that businesses will have to get away from. It will become ever more important to choose environmentally-friendly shipping practices while also keeping costs down. Here are a few tips in the right direction. Choose the right size shipping container Sometimes, shippers find themselves limited by the size of boxes they can use to ship their products. For example, they can have a product that is about 2 cubic inches, but their smallest box is a cubic foot. This equates to 1,726 cubic inches of wasted space. It also equates to a lot of extra cardboard as well as extra packaging material inside to keep the nut, or bolt, or whatever it is from bouncing around. The importance of having the right size shipping containers in stock is crucial for preserving resources and cutting costs.

ExxonMobil Energy Use Predictions
December 9, 2011 03:15 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are many predictions, many demands and many possibilities for future energy use and sources. ExxonMobil has just released their prediction of how energy demands will be served in the next few decades. ExxonMobil’s just-released Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 takes a look into the future and finds that technology advancements over the next three decades will produce greater supplies of energy, more diverse supplies of energy and new ways to save energy — all of which will be essential to meeting future energy demand. ExxonMobil’s 2012 Outlook for Energy sees efficiency, developing world economic growth and natural gas reshaping global. Demand through 2040 is to be about 30 percent higher in 2040 versus 2010 as population grows and global GDP doubles; demand in developing nations to rise nearly 60 percent; natural gas from shale and other unconventional rock formations will account for 30 percent of global gas production by 2040; demand growth would be more than four times the projected 30 percent without expected gains in efficiency.

Super Hospital Disinfection
December 9, 2011 10:51 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

One of the nastier things to happen to a hospital patient is to go to be cured but end up being infected by something from the hospital. A Queen’s University infectious disease expert has helped in the development of a disinfection system that may change the way hospital rooms all over the world are cleaned as well as stop bed bug outbreaks in hotels and apartments. "This is the future, because many hospital deaths are preventable with better cleaning methods," says Dick Zoutman, who is also Quinte Health Care’s new Chief of Staff. "It has been reported that more than 100,000 people in North America die every year due to hospital acquired infections at a cost of $30 billion. That’s 100,000 people every year who are dying from largely preventable infections." The new technology involves pumping a mix of ozone and hydrogen peroxide vapor gas mixture into a room to completely sterilize everything — including floors, walls, drapes, mattresses, chairs and other surfaces. It is far more effective in killing bacteria than wiping down a room.

One Quarter of World's Agricultural Land "Highly Degraded", UN Report Concludes
December 8, 2011 03:18 PM - Michael Ricciardi, Matter Network

On Monday, the UN released the results of the first ever global study on the state of Earth’s land. The main finding: 25 percent of all land is highly degraded making it unsuitable for agriculture. The implications of this finding are enormous; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that farm output must increase by 70 percent by 2050 to accommodate the food needs of an estimated 9 billion humans.

Spider Musical Patterns
December 8, 2011 02:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There is something about beautiful music and pretty spider webs. Using a new mathematical methodology, researchers at MIT have created a scientifically rigorous analogy that shows the similarities between the physical structure of spider silk and the sonic structure of a melody, proving that the structure of each relates to its function in an equivalent way. The step-by-step comparison begins with the primary building blocks of each item — an amino acid and a sound wave — and moves up to the level of a beta sheet nanocomposite (the secondary structure of a protein consisting of repeated hierarchical patterns) and a musical riff (a repeated pattern of notes or chords). The study explains that structural patterns are directly related to the functional properties of lightweight strength in the spider silk and, in the riff, sonic tension that creates an emotional response in the listener.

NJ Governor Christie's Energy Master Plan
December 8, 2011 10:12 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The 138 page document has been released by the New Jersey Governor's Office that is a master plan on energy for the state. This final version is largely the same as the draft document released last summer, save for a few changes. It lays out the direction for how the state will meet its energy demands over the next decade. The point that stands out is the goal for renewable energy, which has been lowered to 22.5 percent by 2021 as compared to the goal of 30 percent by the previous administration. The plan sets an overall goal of obtaining 70 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2050, which would include nuclear, natural gas, and hydroelectric.

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