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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.

Crop Performance and Green House Gas Emissions
September 7, 2011 02:35 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Measuring the emission of greenhouse gases from croplands should take into account the crops themselves. That's the conclusion of a study in the Sept.-Oct. issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, which examined the impact of farm practices such as tillage on the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. Expressing emissions per unit of crop yield rather than on a more conventional per area basis produced very different results, says the study's leader, Rod Venterea, research soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

Nord Natural Gas
September 7, 2011 01:20 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday (September 5) that his country would begin pumping the first technical gas through the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline from today, so that European clients could start receiving supplies in October or November. Nord Stream (former names: North Transgas and North European Gas Pipeline) is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. It is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG.

How Salty the Ocean
September 6, 2011 12:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approximately 35 grams of dissolved salts (predominantly sodium chloride. The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml. Seawater is denser than both fresh water and pure water because the dissolved salts add mass without contributing significantly to the volume. The freezing point of seawater decreases as salt concentration increases. NASA's Aquarius satellite has successfully completed its commissioning phase and is now tasting the saltiness of Earth's ocean surface, making measurements from its perch in near-polar orbit. Aquarius will make NASA's first space observations of the salinity, or concentration of salt, at the ocean surface, a key variable in satellite studies of Earth. Variations in salinity influence the ocean's deep circulation, outline the path freshwater takes around our planet and help drive Earth's climate.

How Earth's 24-hour Day-Night Cycle is Synchronized at the Cellular Level
September 6, 2011 09:53 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

When a returning back to California from a trip to Japan or when waking up early after a long night of partying, the circadian rhythm is thrown off. This 24-hour day-night cycle has been genetically ingrained at the cellular level. The circadian rhythm has been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and of course, humans. The primary external stimulus to this process is daylight. But how molecular clocks synchronize to the Earth's movement has been a mystery up to this point. A new study from the University of California (UC), San Diego shines a light on this important biological process. Researchers embedded a fluorescent protein in E. coli bacteria that glows when the biological clock oscillates.

Electronic Thermostatic Radiator
September 6, 2011 08:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Sounds odd does it not? All gadgets have weird names until common usage adapts a simpler term. A new energy-efficient heating control system is being introduced into many of the University of Bristol’s student halls to cut down on carbon emissions and to save money. A trial of the electronic thermostatic radiator valve, called eTRV, has cut heating costs by around 30 per cent and the initiative will now be rolled out in other halls as part of major refurbishment work.

Cancer Risk At Ground Zero
September 2, 2011 04:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

It is a very emotional charged issue when discussing anything about the World Trade Center attack in 2001. In the largest cancer study of firefighters ever conducted, research published in this week's 9/11 Special Issue of The Lancet found that New York City firefighters exposed to the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster site were at least 19 percent more likely to develop cancer in the seven years following the disaster as their non-exposed colleagues and up to 10 percent more likely to develop cancer than a similar sample from the general population. The study is the first to look at cancer rates among the all of the exposed firefighters, and the findings may help pave the way for federal health benefits for rescue workers now suffering from cancer nearly a decade after the attacks.

Sustainable Concrete
September 2, 2011 09:25 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Concrete is the most widely used building material for residential and commercial buildings. From its humble origins in Roman times, this mixture of Portland cement, aggregate, water, and chemical additives is now a $35 billion industry in the US alone, employing over two million workers. However, when it comes to greenhouse gases, concrete is believed to be a major culprit. The construction and operation of buildings in the United States accounts for about 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. According to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), certain measures can be taken to drastically reduce and possibly eliminate the carbon footprint of new concrete buildings, and even some older ones.

Peterson Glacier Breakup Continues
September 1, 2011 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

In August 2010, part of the Petermann Glacier about four times the size of Manhattan island broke off. This is a huge island which would take years to melt and move south. Researcher Alun Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth University, U.K.has indicated that another section of the glacier, about twice the size of Manhattan, appeared close to breaking off. Alun Hubbard: "Although I knew what to expect in terms of ice loss from satellite imagery, I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless." ... "What the breakup means in terms of inland ice acceleration and draw-down of the ice sheet remains to be seen, but will be revealed by the GPS data recovered, which we are now processing at Aberystwyth."

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