Enn Original News

Solar Power Increase
September 14, 2011 03:38 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A steep drop in the cost of solar panels in recent months has spurred a significant increase in the number of planned non-residential projects in the U.S., an energy research company (Solarbuzz) reports. Large cuts in factory gate module prices over the summer have resulted in a significant increase in photovoltaic (PV) project development activity in the US. After standing at 17 gigawatts (GW) two months ago, the US non-residential pipeline has now increased to 24 GW. The September 2011 edition of the United States Deal Tracker database released by Solarbuzz this week identifies 1,865 non-residential projects totaling 25.9 GW either installed, being installed or in their development phase since January 1, 2010. Development phase projects include pre-RFP, going through the RFP process, or planned without RFP.

Snails and How They Get Around
September 14, 2011 02:35 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How do snails migrate? Inch by inch or something more drastic? The geological rise of the Central American Isthmus separated the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans about 3 million years ago, creating a formidable barrier to dispersal for marine species. A new study suggests that two species of marine snails may have traveled between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—all in the belly of a bird. The two species are known as horn snails, and both look a bit like tiny black party hats. One, the Pacific horn snail, lives in mangrove forests that hug the coast of Baja down to Panama, and the other, the Atlantic horn snail, resides in similar intertidal habitats along coasts from Texas to Panama.

Wind Power More Feasible in Pacific Northwest with Adoption of Electric Vehicles
September 14, 2011 12:51 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

A new report from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory shows that electric vehicles could aid in expanding renewable energy sources like wind in the Pacific Northwest. This region of the United States is increasingly looking at wind power to satisfy their growing energy demands. The report found that the Northwest power system could better utilize wind energy if about 13 percent, or 2.1 million vehicles, in the seven Northwest states were plug-in electrics, equipped with Grid Friendly(TM) charging technology.

Wind Mills, Bans, and Possible Ill Effects
September 13, 2011 05:17 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Wind mills are a clean alternative energy supply but not everyone agrees. The Rhode Island General Assembly’s newly enacted laws facilitating the siting, construction and power-purchase agreements for commercial-grade renewable energy projects took a big hit yesterday. On September 12th, the town of Charlestown Rhode Island became a U.S. trendsetter in the renewable-energy sector when the Town Council voted to pass the first-in-the-country ban on any size or type of electricity-generating wind turbines. The sweeping prohibition applies to large commercial turbines as well as smaller, residential models.

How Fathers Care for Their Offspring
September 13, 2011 04:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Children culturally are usually considered as being cared for by their mothers primarily. However, a new Northwestern University study provides compelling evidence that human males are biologically wired to care for their offspring, conclusively showing for the first time that fatherhood lowers a man’s testosterone levels. The effect is consistent with what is observed in many other species in which males help take care of dependent offspring. Testosterone boosts behaviors and other traits that help a male compete for a mate. After they succeed and become fathers, mating-related activities may conflict with the responsibilities of fatherhood, making it advantageous for the body to reduce production of the hormone.

Study: Women Prefer Deep Voices
September 13, 2011 04:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

For all men reading this article, remember to clear your throat and focus before speaking to the next woman you see. According to a new scientific study, women biologically prefer men with lower-pitch voices. Not only do they prefer this in men who they would consider a mate, but a woman's memory is improved when listening to a deep male voice rather than a high male voice. The study has been published in the online journal, Memory & Cognition, by researchers from the University of Aberdeen in the UK.

How Predictable is Climate Change?
September 12, 2011 03:27 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Is it possible to make valid climate predictions that go beyond weeks, months, even a year? As most know weather is not easily predictable. UCLA atmospheric scientists report they have now made long-term climate forecasts that are among the best ever — predicting climate up to 16 months in advance, nearly twice the length of time previously achieved by climate scientists. Forecasts of climate are much more general than short-term weather forecasts; they do not predict precise temperatures in specific cities, but they still may have major implications for agriculture, industry and the economy. The study is currently available online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and will be published in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

Health Effects and Light Bulbs
September 12, 2011 08:08 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

For the first time scientists examined melatonin suppression in a various types of light bulbs, primarily those used for outdoor illumination, such as streetlights, road lighting, mall lighting and the like. Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin five times more than exposure to the outdoor lights filled with high pressure sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light. Melatonin is a compound that adjusts our biological clock and is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-cancerous properties. All devices have their effects, both positive and negative it seems.

Mountain Gorillas: The rules of engagement
September 9, 2011 01:43 PM - Deadly 60 Team, BBC Earth

Travelling the world to meet your deadly heroes is an awe-inspiring experience. So when adventurer Steve meets one who’s not only a king of its territory but is also incredibly rare. It really is an experience of a lifetime. Mountain gorillas are endangered, with only 786 individuals left in the world. Visiting them can be an incredible experience, as Steve found out when he travelled to the forests of Uganda. Gorillas are one of our closest relatives. They may be powerful, but they are also intelligent and shy. If, like Steve, you visit mountain gorillas you need to be respectful. Here are some things to consider. • Small groups: Gorillas are social primates living in complex groups. Only a few people at a time can visit them for short periods. Large groups of people would cause too much disturbance and risk stressing the animals.

Too Much Exercise
September 9, 2011 11:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Here is something for all those arm chair athletes in the world. Endurance athletes who train and race frequently may experience a high rate of unusual heart rhythms called arrhythmia, found a new study on cross-country skiers. Arrhythmia, which are often harmless, can sometimes lead to strokes and other serious problems. Experts remain unsure what to make of the results. Exercise is known to prolong lifespan and to improve all sorts of measures of health, including the heart. Still, the study suggests there may be a point at which a lot of training becomes too much. At the very least, serious athletes should be aware of the potential for their hearts to behave strangely.

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