Enn Original News

Pliocene Hot Age?
April 12, 2011 05:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

By studying fossilized mollusks from some 3.5 million years ago, UCLA geoscientists and colleagues have been able to construct an ancient climate record that holds clues about the long-term effects of Earth's current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key contributor to global climate change. Two novel geochemical techniques used to determine the temperature at which the mollusk shells were formed suggest that summertime Arctic temperatures during the early Pliocene epoch (3.5 million to 4 million years ago) may have been a staggering 18 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today. These ancient fossils, harvested from deep within the Arctic Circle, may have once lived in an environment in which the polar ice cap melted completely during the summer months. The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years before the present time.

The Mighty Blueberry
April 12, 2011 09:55 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Blueberries are incredible plants. They can grow wild practically anywhere in the northeastern United States and Canada, and are quite tasty. Blueberry bushes can cover vast stretches of meadows and become the dominant plant. Amazingly, they thrive after forest fires, even after they burn themselves. To go along with the plant's hardiness and the berries' deliciousness, blueberries offer great health benefits. According to a new study from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, TX, blueberries have a positive effect on aging, metabolism, and inhibiting the development of fat cells.

Plant Biomagnetism
April 11, 2011 08:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The origin of the word biomagnetism is unclear, but seems to have appeared several hundred years ago, linked to the expression animal magnetism. The present scientific definition took form in the 1970s, when an increasing number of researchers began to measure the magnetic fields produced by the human body. The first valid measurement was actually made in 1963. Now plant biomagnetism has been little studied. Searching for magnetic fields produced by plants may sound strange, but physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, are seriously looking for biomagnetism in plants using some of the most sensitive magnetic detectors available.

The Former East/West Germany Barrier Now a Nature Reserve
April 8, 2011 09:11 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

After the second world war, Germany was divided into east and west. Between the two, the communist masters of East Germany erected an imposing barrier along the 870 border to keep people both in and out. But rather being a single fence or wall, the barrier was also a wide strip outfitted with minefields, bunkers, watch towers, and sand pits. Now that Germany has been reunited, this strip of land running 870 miles along the old border is a long, continuous, undeveloped property. In the end, the Soviets had not built a barrier, but a nature preserve.

2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar
April 7, 2011 03:48 PM - Kathleen Neil, Contributiing Editor,ENN

What choice will consumers make? After attending the 2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California (April 4-7, 2011), this is what I walked away thinking. In all respects, Americans are already asking themselves questions like this about the life they live. With regard to the cars we drive it is time to think hard about the way we drive and what we drive. Presenters at the seminar addressed, and in many cases provided the current findings about fuel cells, hydrogen, electricity, the electric grid and electric cars. Economic forces, geopolitical forces and the DOE directed Future Transportation Fuels Study were explored in detail. The choices for a greener driving future are proliferating and each has its advantage and disadvantage. The economic costs to our society in moving toward a greener driving future were reviewed in exploring the many mobility choices we must make as a society and as consumers. Again this year I loved being behind the wheel of the almost to market (Spring 2012?) Plug-in Hybrid Prius and with the announcement during the Seminar of the sale of the one-millionth Prius in the U.S., it’s easy to see that Toyota understands what the hybrid consumer is looking for. Now a more focused approach to the spending of scarcer infrastructure/development dollars is warranted and the key to that approach will be all of us discussing what type of car we as consumers will pay a bit more for and how much it matters to us to be free to ”˜put the pedal to the metal’. It’s like turning out the lights when you leave the room, we all know we should do it but don’t always stop to think.

Star Jets
April 6, 2011 08:04 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Astronomers have discovered that two symmetrical jets shooting away from opposite sides of a blossoming star are experiencing a time delay: knots of gas and dust from one jet blast off four-and-a-half years later than identical knots from the other jet. The finding, which required the infrared vision of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is helping astronomers understand how jets are produced around forming stars, including those resembling our sun when it was young.

Kilauea Volcano
April 5, 2011 08:11 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Kilauea volcano that recently erupted on the Big Island of Hawaii will be the target for a NASA study to help scientists better understand processes occurring under Earth's surface. Kīlauea is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five shield volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii. It is the most recent of a series of volcanoes that have created the Hawaiian archipelago, as the Pacific Plate moves over the Hawaii hotspot. Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and an invaluable resource for volcanologists who are able to study it up close due to its exclusively non-violent effusive activity. Since 2008, rising emissions of sulfur dioxide from the Halemaʻumaʻu crater at Kīlauea's summit have led to increased levels of volcanic smog and local air quality concerns.

The Health Benefits of Fasting
April 4, 2011 10:41 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Not eating for a full day has generally been associated with religious traditions such as Yom Kippur, Ramadan, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. Some fasts are absolute and some only require that certain types of food or drink are abstained. The act of fasting has different meanings to different groups, but is generally used for purging sins from our body or sacrificing our comfort for those who sacrificed for us. Fasting also has interesting beneficial health effects. A new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah has demonstrated that periodic fasting is good for your health and your heart.

Cattle and Wolves
April 4, 2011 07:47 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Cattle ranchers in southwestern Alberta have suspected it for a long time and now, GPS tracking equipment confirms it: wolf packs in the area are making cow meat a substantial part of their diets. University of Alberta researchers tracked wolves to bone yards, where ranchers dispose of dead cattle, and to sites of fresh cow kills. The study was done over two grazing seasons in 2008 and 2009. The vast study area in southwestern Alberta includes private ranchland and wooded public lands bordering the Rocky Mountains. Researchers found that during the summer months when livestock was set out to graze on public lands, cattle made up to 45 per cent of the diet for the three wolf packs in the study. This shows a seasonal switch from the wolf's usual pattern of wild prey in the non-grazing season to cattle in the grazing season.

EPA Rules Pennsylvania Plant Must Lower Emissions into New Jersey Air
April 1, 2011 10:28 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a petition by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to limit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant. Emissions from the coal-fired power plant, Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, have adversely impacted air quality in four northwest NJ counties: Warren, Sussex, Morris, and Hunterdon. The EPA has ordered the plant to reduce its SO2 emissions by 81 percent over a three year period.

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