Enn Original News
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.
Study: Eating Chocolate is Good for the Heart
August 30, 2011 09:06 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A recent finding, that is sure to delight many of us with a sweet tooth, claims that high levels of chocolate consumption may be associated with a 33 percent decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), confirms existing studies which have explored the positive link between eating chocolate and heart health. While other factors are much more important for a healthy heart, such as exercise and proper dieting, this finding gives a nice reprieve to chocoholics.
August 29, 2011 01:49 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
REACH is a European Union Regulation of December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers. It's a potential can of worms, according to EU officials. From the moment it was tabled until its eventual adoption in 2006, the REACH regulation gave rise to one of the most epic lobbying battles in the EU's history, pitting green campaigners against the chemicals industry.
August 26, 2011 11:35 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Clouds are amazing to watch and intricate in their formation and interactions with the atmosphere. Research from CERN involving University of Leeds scientists provides news insights into cloud formation in the atmosphere. In a paper published in the journal Nature today, the CLOUD experiment - designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols under controlled laboratory conditions - reports its first results. Aerosols are tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere which are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets. Understanding the process of aerosol formation is therefore important for understanding the climate.
The strangest creatures on Earth
August 26, 2011 10:41 AM - BBC Earth
When Steve Backshall and his Deadly team began their expedition to find 60 of the world's deadliest animals, little did they know that it wouldn't just be the dangerous animals that would send a shiver up their spines! When the Deadly team travelled to Madagascar they discovered that it was definitely home to the weird and wonderful. It’s not only Madagascar that boasts the bizarre. During Deadly 60 Steve has encountered his fair share of freaky creatures around the world, here’s a few of his favourites. 1. Wolf eel - British Columbia: The strange monstrous looking wolf-eel, with its football sized head, spiky chisel like front teeth and crunching molars means it can devour sea urchins with ease. 2. Solifuge - Mozambique: Described by Steve as the creepiest creature he’s ever seen, it’s also the fastest invertebrate on the planet with the biggest jaws relative to body size of any animal on earth. Legend has it that they chase after people and eat them alive. 3. Wrinkle lipped bats - Borneo: with its peculiar thick wrinkly lips, heavy jowls and horny big ears it certainly looks odd.
Unreported Green House Gas Emission in Europe?
August 26, 2011 09:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
European chemical manufacturers are covertly venting huge quantities of the powerful super greenhouse gas HFC-23, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). The report, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says that Western Europe's emissions of HFC-23s — an 'F' or fluorinated gas mainly used as a refrigerant — are between 60-140% higher than officially reported. Italy alone was found to be emitting 10-20 times more HFC-23s than it officially reports. The greenhouse gas has a global warming potential which is 14,800 times higher than CO2.