Enn Original News
The Durban Climate Talks
December 1, 2011 09:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Global climate discussions have moved from Cancun to Copenhagen, and now to Durban, South Africa. They began last Monday in the hopes of finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the global mandate that set targets for cutting carbon emissions. Kyoto was never ratified by the United States, the world's leading carbon emitter, and did not apply to the large growing Asian economies of China and India. Durban began amid downplayed expectations that a worldwide agreement would take place, especially following the disappointing climate talks in Copenhagen. This may be a blessing in disguise in that it will force climate activists to pursue a different strategy. Rather than a top-down approach, some are now calling for local policies that would create incremental change.
Book Review: Homegrown and Handmade
November 30, 2011 01:36 PM - Maddie Perlman-Gabel, ENN
Gone are the days when people relied on what they could grow or make to sustain their families. These days you go to the grocery store and you can find almost any food you desire, at any time of the year. Though having everything accessible all the time has its benefits, it is also has its downsides. In order to produce such quantities of food, the farming industry relies on mass use of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. Then there's the other unsustainable and questionable practices like hybrid chickens and genetically modified produce. These practices are not only harmful to the farmers who manage the food, but their health effects on consumers are still uncertain. It's starting to seem the only way to 'protect' yourself from these unwanted additives is to grow and raise everything you eat and use on your own. This isn't always an option, especially for those of us who live or work in cities, and don't have the time or space to grow all their own food. Deborah Neimann's book, "Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to a More Self-Reliant Living" is as an introduction to self-reliance for people who don't necessarily have the time or resources to grow everything for ourselves, but are interested in taking the first steps to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Walnut Trees Survival
November 30, 2011 09:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Walnut trees are deciduous,30—130 feet of the species Juglans. The 21 species in the genus range across the north temperate Old World from southeast Europe east to Japan, and more widely in the New World from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina. Warmer, drier summers and extreme weather events considered possible as the climate changes would be especially troublesome - possibly fatal - for walnut trees, according to research at Purdue University.
November 29, 2011 03:25 PM - An dy Soos, ENN
Atrazine is a widely used herbicide. Its use is controversial due to widespread contamination in drinking water and its associations with birth defects and menstrual problems when consumed by humans at concentrations below government standards. Although it has been banned in the European Union, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. An international team of researchers has reviewed the evidence linking exposure to atrazine — an herbicide widely used in the U.S. and more than 60 other nations — to reproductive problems in animals. The team found consistent patterns of reproductive dysfunction in amphibians, fish, reptiles and mammals exposed to the chemical. The researchers looked at studies linking atrazine exposure to abnormal androgen (male hormone) levels in fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals and studies that found a common association between exposure to the herbicide and the feminization of male gonads in many animals.
Arizona Uranium MIning
November 29, 2011 03:02 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Dennison Mines recommenced development work on the Arizona 1 mine in April 2007 and restarted Uranium mining operations in November 2009. The mine is an underground operation employing a combination of long hole and shrinkage stopping methods at a mining rate of 335 tons per day, four days per week. Ore from the Arizona 1 mine is hauled by truck approximately 325 miles to the White Mesa mill. The mine employs a total of 32 people. Conservation groups and American Indian tribes today filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court challenging a lower court ruling that allowed the uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park to re-open without updating decades-old environmental reviews. The Arizona 1 uranium mine is located near Kanab Creek immediately north of Grand Canyon National Park. In 2010, conservation groups and tribes sued the Bureau of Land Management for failing to modernize 23-year-old mining plans and environmental reviews prior to allowing Denison Mines to resume uranium mining after the mine was shuttered in 1992. A federal judge in Phoenix this fall sided with the Bureau and the uranium industry saying no new plans or reviews were needed, prompting the current appeal.
Is Thorium the Energy Panacea We Have Been Waiting For?
November 29, 2011 09:57 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Thorium is a naturally-occurring, radioactive, and amazingly abundant metal that was discovered in 1828 by Swedish chemist, Jons Jakob Berzelius. The mineral, named after the Norse god of thunder, has languished in relative obscurity for many years as opposed to its much more recognized cousin, uranium. However, conversations have been popping up about thorium in recent years and how it can be a game-changer in the energy industry. Thorium has incredible potential as an ultra-safe, clean, and cheap nuclear energy source which can power the world for millennia.
New Chemical Hazard Studies
November 29, 2011 08:06 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Some chemical information is considered confidential for a variety of reasons. Periodically these reasons are reviewed and the in time confidentiality protection can be dropped. Since 2009, 577 formerly confidential chemical identities are no longer confidential and more than 1,000 health and safety studies are now accessible to the public that were previously unavailable or only available in limited circumstances. In 2010 EPA issued new guidance outlining the agency’s plans to deny confidentiality claims for chemical identities in health and safety studies under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that are determined to not be entitled to CBI status. EPA has been reviewing CBI claims in new and existing TSCA filings containing health and safety studies.
A Better Nano Battery
November 28, 2011 10:35 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Renewable energy such as solar has a basic problem: No sun , no power. In order to make it more usable the Power must be stored for off peak use when the sun does not shine. Batteries though die when repeatedly recharged. Stanford researchers have developed part of better battery, a new electrode that employs crystalline nanoparticles of a copper compound. In laboratory tests, the electrode survived 40,000 cycles of charging and discharging, after which it could still be charged to more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity. For comparison, the average lithium ion battery can handle about 400 charge/discharge cycles before it deteriorates too much to be of practical use.
Corals' Environmental Premonition
November 28, 2011 09:51 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
As Earth's climate has warmed, one group of species that has not fared well has been corals, the sedentary marine species which lives symbiotically with algae. Warmer waters cause the algae to become heat-stressed, causing them to die or be expelled by the coral. This causes coral bleaching, a fatal phenomenon that has occurred worldwide with increasing frequency. A team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University have now revealed the complex molecular signals that lead to the coral's self-inflicted death.
November 28, 2011 09:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
When one shovels snow one thinks of back problems and slipping. Another urban legend tells of heart attacks. Urban legend warns shoveling snow causes heart attacks, and the legend seems all too accurate, especially for male wintery excavators with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease. However, until recently this warning was based on anecdotal reports. Two of the most important cardiology associations in the US include snow -shoveling on their websites as a high risk physical activity, but all the citation references indicate that this warning was based one or two incidents.