Enn Original News
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.
Title: Deadliest States of the USA / 5 ways to keep safe in the USA
September 3, 2011 11:20 AM - BBC Earth
Taking a risk by going on an adventure and exploring a new environment, is an essential part of understanding the natural world within which we live. But sometimes accidents occur. Usually completely unaware, humans put themselves at risk of being attacked or even worse - being eaten. But how do you ascertain what is a potential threat and what is not? Know your enemy. This fantastic rough guide to the nature you do not want to come face-to-face with (without an experienced leader of course) aims to provide you with some inside knowledge. Know your enemy The United States' huge size and vast biodiversity, make it one of a small group of countries that hold the impressive title of being megadiverse. Harboring more than 91,000 insect, 500 reptile and amphibian, 750 bird and 400 mammal species, it is no surprise that the 3.6 million square miles (9.2 million km2) of land that make it the third largest country on the planet, is the site of some less than pleasant human-animal encounters. Let's take a look at some of the toughest specimens the United States' animal kingdom has to offer. 1. Texas - Rattlesnake By both population and landmass, Texas is the second largest state in the USA. And it is because of this immense size of 261,797 square miles (696,200 km2), and wide-ranging terrain that this particular territory has grown an infamous reputation as the toughest, wildest and most dangerous of all 50 states - whether that's because of cowboys or rattlesnakes remains uncertain. With a range of different climate types, from the sub-tropical swamps of the east to the desert-like conditions of the west. It is easy to understand how Texas has become such a challenge when it comes to regional classification, and why it's population of potentially dangerous creatures it so vast. One of the most feared creatures of Texas is the rattlesnake. In particular the Western Diamondback whose bark is definitely as bad as its bite. The snake's advanced venom delivery system allows it to control the amount of venom discharged. Once the prey has been killed venom also plays a role in its digestion. This western outlaw is definitely one to run rather than just hide from.
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.
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."
August 31, 2011 05:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Hurricane Irene left a trail of devastation and heavy rainfall in its wake from the Caribbean to the U.S. east coast and is now a depression dumping heavy rains in eastern Canada before it heads into the Atlantic. Satellite imagery from NASA and NOAA continue to show the progression of Irene’s remnants today and her massive size and the TRMM satellite gave insight into her weakening condition. Many media outlets across the USA billed Irene as The Storm Of A Lifetime. In reality, however, the storm proved to be more like a ”śwashout’ with over 15 inches of rain recorded in some locations along the eastern seaboard. Vermont recorded some of its worst flooding in more than a century but New York City, which saw over 360,000 of its residents evacuated before the storm hit, was not impacted as severely as predicted.
Controversial Tar Sands Pipeline Moving Forward Despite Heavy Protest
August 31, 2011 10:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The massive international pipeline, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, would connect Alberta, Canada's booming tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast. It would be the longest pipeline outside of Russia and China, and would carry North America's largest oil deposit to the market. The project has sparked protests from environmental groups because large areas of boreal forests would be destroyed and sensitive habitats would be affected. Also, protesters oppose the pipeline for reasons relating to global climate change and breaking our addiction to oil. The Keystone project has just passed a key hurdle by getting the go-ahead from the US State Department.
Well Water Trace Metals
August 30, 2011 11:58 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The water that people drink is supplied from several possible sources such as rainwater collection, ponded surface water, streams, desalinized seawater and well or ground water. Wells can vary greatly in depth, water volume and water quality. Well water typically contains more minerals in solution than surface water and may require treatment to soften the water by removing minerals such as arsenic, iron and manganese. About 20% of untreated water samples from public, private, and monitoring wells across the nation contain concentrations of at least one trace element, such as arsenic, manganese and uranium, at levels of potential health concern, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.