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Wind Mills, Bans, and Possible Ill Effects
September 13, 2011 05:17 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Wind mills are a clean alternative energy supply but not everyone agrees. The Rhode Island General Assembly’s newly enacted laws facilitating the siting, construction and power-purchase agreements for commercial-grade renewable energy projects took a big hit yesterday. On September 12th, the town of Charlestown Rhode Island became a U.S. trendsetter in the renewable-energy sector when the Town Council voted to pass the first-in-the-country ban on any size or type of electricity-generating wind turbines. The sweeping prohibition applies to large commercial turbines as well as smaller, residential models.
How Fathers Care for Their Offspring
September 13, 2011 04:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Children culturally are usually considered as being cared for by their mothers primarily. However, a new Northwestern University study provides compelling evidence that human males are biologically wired to care for their offspring, conclusively showing for the first time that fatherhood lowers a man’s testosterone levels. The effect is consistent with what is observed in many other species in which males help take care of dependent offspring. Testosterone boosts behaviors and other traits that help a male compete for a mate. After they succeed and become fathers, mating-related activities may conflict with the responsibilities of fatherhood, making it advantageous for the body to reduce production of the hormone.
Study: Women Prefer Deep Voices
September 13, 2011 04:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
For all men reading this article, remember to clear your throat and focus before speaking to the next woman you see. According to a new scientific study, women biologically prefer men with lower-pitch voices. Not only do they prefer this in men who they would consider a mate, but a woman's memory is improved when listening to a deep male voice rather than a high male voice. The study has been published in the online journal, Memory & Cognition, by researchers from the University of Aberdeen in the UK.
How Predictable is Climate Change?
September 12, 2011 03:27 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Is it possible to make valid climate predictions that go beyond weeks, months, even a year? As most know weather is not easily predictable. UCLA atmospheric scientists report they have now made long-term climate forecasts that are among the best ever — predicting climate up to 16 months in advance, nearly twice the length of time previously achieved by climate scientists. Forecasts of climate are much more general than short-term weather forecasts; they do not predict precise temperatures in specific cities, but they still may have major implications for agriculture, industry and the economy. The study is currently available online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and will be published in an upcoming print edition of the journal.
Health Effects and Light Bulbs
September 12, 2011 08:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
For the first time scientists examined melatonin suppression in a various types of light bulbs, primarily those used for outdoor illumination, such as streetlights, road lighting, mall lighting and the like. Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin five times more than exposure to the outdoor lights filled with high pressure sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light. Melatonin is a compound that adjusts our biological clock and is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-cancerous properties. All devices have their effects, both positive and negative it seems.
Too Much Exercise
September 9, 2011 11:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Here is something for all those arm chair athletes in the world. Endurance athletes who train and race frequently may experience a high rate of unusual heart rhythms called arrhythmia, found a new study on cross-country skiers. Arrhythmia, which are often harmless, can sometimes lead to strokes and other serious problems. Experts remain unsure what to make of the results. Exercise is known to prolong lifespan and to improve all sorts of measures of health, including the heart. Still, the study suggests there may be a point at which a lot of training becomes too much. At the very least, serious athletes should be aware of the potential for their hearts to behave strangely.
Team of International Marine Scientists Call for Ban on Deep Sea Fishing
September 9, 2011 09:29 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Fishing restrictions near the coast lines have been in place for many years, of which many local fishermen are well aware. These restrictions are understood to be vital in maintaining a stable population of wild fish for harvesting. In recent years, due to these restrictions, many industrial fishing vessels have ventured deeper into the open ocean which are unregulated. Their massive nets literally destroy benthic ecosystems and annihilate fish populations. According to the UN, the harvesting of deep sea fish has increased sevenfold between 1960 and 2004. In an article published in the journal, Marine Policy, scientists in the field of marine conservation have called for an outright ban on industrial deep sea fishing.
Crab Invasion from Antarctica?
September 8, 2011 01:01 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
King crabs and other crushing predators are thought to have been absent from cold Antarctic shelf waters for millions of years. Scientists speculate that the long absence of crushing predators has allowed the evolution of a unique Antarctic seafloor fauna with little resistance to predatory crabs. A recent study by researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Duke University, Ghent University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Hamilton College, indicates that one species of king crab has moved 120 km across the continental shelf in West Antarctica and established a large, reproductive population in the Palmer Deep along the west Antarctic Peninsula.
Coal or Natural Gas, Climate Effects
September 8, 2011 12:26 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores the complex and sometimes conflicting ways in which fossil fuel burning affects Earth’s climate. While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight. As always the final picture of climate effect is very complicated to put together.
New Study Takes Us One Step Higher in the Cascade of Events which Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis
September 8, 2011 09:48 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder which primarily affects joints. The condition can be painful and disabling, leading to loss of function and mobility if not properly treated. The disease is caused by immune cells acting out of control, attacking the cartilage and bone. A new study from Northwestern University has found what causes this to happen. The immune cells are missing a vital protein, P21, which acts like a bouncer, keeping the immune cells in line. According to Dr. Robert Gabel, practicing rheumatologist of the Central New Jersey area, this discovery may lead to effective methods to treat RA by going farther up the cascade of events causing the disease.