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August 11, 2011 07:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
SETI is the search for extraterrestrial life by studying and watching the stars. Perhaps frivolous in the current economy but extremely important if contact is ever made. After hitting its $200,000 fundraising goal on 3 August, SETI announced that it will be putting its iconic Allen Telescope Array (ATA) back online after a 4-month hiatus. The nonprofit SETI Institute announced on April 22 grants from the University of California, Berkeley, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and others had run out and that SETI could no longer afford to operate the 42 radio telescopes that make up ATA. While some UC Berkeley scientists were laid off, others were not idle. They were kept at work analyzing the data they had. In the meantime, on a donation site, SETIstars.org, alien lovers pleaded with donors across the world to bring ATA out of hibernation and keep the search going. The gifts poured in from "around the globe, literally from everywhere that had an Internet connection.
New Nuclear Reactors
August 10, 2011 01:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
An attempt to build the first brand-new nuclear power plant in a generation has taken a step forward now that staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says plans to build new reactors in Georgia meet safety requirements. The federal regulators issued two related safety reports Friday that cleared the design of Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 nuclear reactor and plans by the Atlanta-based Southern Co. to build two of those reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. The NRC's commissioners must still decide whether to give final approval to the reactor design and its construction in Georgia. It's been more than 20 years since the last commercial energy reactor was constructed in the U.S.
August 10, 2011 09:10 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
People like tuna. (Tuna may not like people of course.) However, natural wild populations are in sharp decline. One answer may be a tuna farm. The experiment took place at Umami Sustainable Seafood Inc.'s commercial fish farming facility Kali Tuna, based on the Croatian island of Uglian in the Adriatic sea. Umami also claimed to breed the five-year-old tuna without adding artificial hormones. Because the fish naturally spawn in deep, open waters, many have tried with limited success to breed tuna in captivity. Others have questioned whether a tuna breeding program could even work without large amounts of hormones regulating the life cycle of the fish.
Truck, Bus Improved Efficiency
August 9, 2011 05:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
President Obama will meet with industry officials to discuss the first-of-their-kind fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles and to thank them for their leadership in finalizing a successful national program for these vehicles. This meeting marks the administration’s announcement of the standards, which will save American businesses that operate and own these commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with the companies that met with the president today as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program. The cost savings for American businesses are on top of the $1.7 trillion that American families will save at the pump from the historic fuel-efficiency standards announced by the Obama Administration for cars and light duty trucks, including the model year 2017-2025 agreement announced by the president last month.
NOAA Releases July Climate Assessment
August 9, 2011 02:37 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled and analyzed climate data for the United States in the month of July. The results will come as no surprise for many in the country, but now there is solid data to back up what we all know. In brief, it was hot, unbearably and persistently hot. Only now, a week into the month of August, has the heat begun to dissipate for the northern half of the country. The scorching July has shattered records in many places, making it the fourth warmest July on record in the US.
August 9, 2011 07:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The NASA Mars rover Opportunity has gained a view of Endeavour crater from barely more than a football-field's distance away from the rim. The rim of Endeavour has been the mission's long-term goal since mid-2008. Endeavour offers the setting for plenty of productive work by Opportunity. The crater is 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter -- more than 25 times wider than Victoria crater, an earlier stop that Opportunity examined for two years.
August 8, 2011 02:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Moon does have effects on the Earth because it makes the tides be pulled, but gravity pulls them back. It might also effect the weather. Scientists have long believed that, without our moon, the tilt of the Earth would shift greatly over time, from zero degrees, where the Sun remains over the equator, to 85 degrees, where the Sun shines almost directly above one of the poles. A planet’s stability has an effect on the development of life. A planet see-sawing back and forth on its axis as it orbits the Sun would experience wide fluctuations in climate, which then could potentially affect the evolution of complex life. It is theorized by some that life itself would be virtually impossible without a moon, since the moon has a stabilizing effect on the orientation of earth's axis. Without the moon, the north-south axis would vary tremendously-- to the point where the poles would sometimes be in our orbital plane. These changes would mean that there would be no stable seasons, and it's questionable whether or not the planet would be able to sustain life.
August 5, 2011 12:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a rule to advance the use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies, while protecting American health and the environment. CCS technologies allow carbon dioxide (CO2) to be captured at stationary sources - like coal-fired power plants and large industrial operations - and injected underground for long-term storage in a process called geologic sequestration. The proposal is consistent with recommendations made by President Obama’s interagency task force on CO2 sequestration and helps create a consistent national framework to ensure the safe and effective deployment of technologies that will help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race. Today’s proposal will exclude from EPA’s hazardous waste regulations CO2 streams that are injected for geologic sequestration in wells designated for this purpose under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA is proposing this exclusion as part of the agency’s effort to reduce barriers to the use of CCS technologies.
August 5, 2011 12:21 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A newly released image from ESA’s Mars Express shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet’s summer solstice. All the carbon dioxide ice has gone, leaving just a bright cap of water ice. This image was captured by the orbiter’s High-Resolution Stereo Camera on May 17, 2010 and shows part of the northern polar region of Mars during the summer solstice. The solstice is the longest day and the beginning of the summer for the planet’s northern hemisphere. The ice shield is covered by frozen water and carbon dioxide ice in winter and spring but by this point in the martian year all of the carbon dioxide ice has warmed and evaporated into the planet’s atmosphere.
Mold Exposure Has Greater Impact on Infants
August 5, 2011 10:29 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The inhalation of mold can be extremely hazardous for the lungs, respiratory system, and overall well-being. Some people are more susceptible than others to the symptoms caused by airborne mold, but it is unhealthy for all. A new study recently published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has shown that mold exposure has much greater impact in infants during their formative years. It found that infants living in moldy homes are much more likely to develop asthma by age 7.