Enn Original News
Global Warming Lawsuit
June 20, 2011 02:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a global warming lawsuit against five big power companies, its most important environmental ruling since 2007 and a victory for the utilities. The utilities — American Electric Power Co Inc, Southern Co, Xcel Energy Inc, and Duke Energy Corp, along with TVA — account for about 10 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions. The justices unanimously overturned a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that the public nuisance lawsuit now involving six states (California, Connecticut, Iowa, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) can proceed in an effort to force the coal-burning plants to cut emissions of gases that contribute to climate change. In a defeat for environmentalists, the Supreme Court agreed with the companies that regulating greenhouse gases should be left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the clean air laws.
Secrets of Lyme Disease Revealed
June 20, 2011 09:30 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by several bacteria of the genus Borrelia. It is the most common tick-borne disease in the world, transmitted from deer ticks throughout the northern hemisphere. The disease was named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut where a number of cases were identified in 1975. A new study has now revealed that the deadly bacteria appears to hide within the lymph nodes. This finding may explain why some people suffer from repeat infections of Lyme disease.
June 17, 2011 01:56 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
An unusual signal detected by the seismic monitoring station at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's research facility on Barro Colorado Island results from waves in Lake Gatun, the reservoir that forms the Panama Canal channel, scientists report. Understanding seismic background signals leads to improved earthquake and tsunami detection in the Caribbean region where 100 tsunamis have been reported in the past 500 years. A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbors and seas. The key requirement for formation of a seiche is that the body of water be at least partially bounded, allowing the formation of the standing wave.
Short Term Air Emissions and Their Effect on Global Warming
June 16, 2011 03:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Fast action on certain pollutants such as black carbon, ground-level ozone and methane may help limit near term global temperature rise and significantly increase the chances of keeping temperature rise below 3.6 degrees F. Protecting the near-term climate is central to significantly cutting the risk of amplified global climate change linked with rapid and extensive loss of Arctic ice on both the land and at sea, said assessment authors including Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate and atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Returning to the Caveman Diet
June 16, 2011 09:12 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
In today's age of highly processed food, packaged and shaped to look like animals, filled with ingredients we have never heard of, it is tempting to return to a diet from a much simpler time. A new fad that is catching on, known as the Paleolithic or "paleo" diet, aims to return people to a more "natural" way of eating. Before agriculture, people would eat lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, and they would avoid grains and processed foods. Is this what is really best for human consumption? According to a new book, the so-called caveman diet was abandoned for a reason, and the belief that it is superior is pure hokum.
June 15, 2011 02:26 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nature's fury reached new extremes in the U.S. during the spring of 2011, as a punishing flooding and rainfall brought the greatest flood in recorded history to the Lower Mississippi River, an astonishingly deadly tornado season, the worst drought in Texas history, and the worst fire season in recorded history. There's never been a spring this extreme for combined wet and dry extremes in the U.S. since record keeping began over a century ago as shown by statistics released last week by the National Climatic Data Center. One other results is the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone is predicted to be larger than average this year, due to extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring, according to an annual forecast by a team of NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan. The forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient inputs compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists are predicting the area could measure between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles. The largest hypoxic zone measured to date occurred in 2002 and encompassed more than 8,400 square miles.
The Wetness of Water
June 14, 2011 08:13 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Water is amazing. It occupies about 2/3rds of the Earth's surface. It is the basis of life in many ways. It interacts with the atmosphere as a major cleanser of sorts. So how does it do it? Some water molecules split the difference between gas and liquid, a study in Nature shows. Air and water meet over most of the earth’s surface, but exactly where one ends and the other begins turns out to be a surprisingly subtle question. A new study in Nature narrows the boundary to just one quarter of water molecules in the uppermost layer — those that happen to have one hydrogen atom in water and the other vibrating freely above.
Measuring Ruminant Emissions Through Biomarkers Found in Stool
June 13, 2011 10:08 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Livestock is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. The ruminant digestive system creates ample amounts of methane which is released into the atmosphere. It is difficult to measure the amount of methane produced by cows because unlike emission stacks, ruminant exhaust cannot be controlled or monitored. However, researchers from the University of Bristol and the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Ireland have made the connection between methane production and a certain chemical found in the stool of cows, sheep, and other animals. This link may be used to more accurately estimate methane emissions by animals and assess their contribution to global warming.
The Waste of Heat
June 13, 2011 07:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
No system is 100% effective. There is always some energy wasted. One of the more common examples is the automobile engine which gets quite hot. Some of the waste is recovered by heating the car for example. With the completion of a successful prototype, engineers at Oregon State University have made a major step toward addressing one of the leading problems in energy use around the world today — the waste of half or more of the energy produced by cars, factories and power plants. New technology is being developed at the university to capture and use the low-to-medium grade waste heat that’s now going out the exhaust pipe of millions of automobiles, diesel generators, or being wasted by factories and electrical utilities. The new systems now being perfected at the university should be able to use much of that waste heat either in cooling or the production of electricity.
Natural Gas Green Role
June 10, 2011 01:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Some people believe that all energy related problems can be resolved with renewable sources such as solar power or wind power. Maybe in the long term future this will be so. However, in the short term what is the best option for those fuels (energy sources) that we have? MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has issued a report that states that natural gas will play a leading role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions over the next several decades, largely by replacing older, inefficient coal plants with highly efficient combined-cycle gas generation. That’s the conclusion reached by a comprehensive study of the future of natural gas conducted by an MIT study group comprised of 30 MIT faculty members, researchers, and graduate students. The findings, summarized in an 83-page report, were presented to lawmakers and senior administration officials this week in Washington. The two-year study, managed by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), examined the scale of U.S. natural gas reserves and the potential of this fuel to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Based on the work of the multidisciplinary team, with advice from a board of 16 leaders from industry, government and environmental groups, the report examines the future of natural gas through 2050 from the perspectives of technology, economics, politics, national security and the environment.