Enn Original News

Prehistoric Reptilian Diversity Caused by Rainforest Collapse
December 3, 2010 09:48 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

At 300 million years ago, global warming brought about an abrupt collapse of tropical rainforests. According to a new study, it is now believed that this event spawned the evolutionary burst of reptiles. It gave rise to the dinosaurs, which dominated the globe for over 150 million years.

Peak Oil, Then Coal
December 2, 2010 06:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

When will production of oil and coal peak? After the peak, production will decline because supplies are being depleted and no new sources are to be found. Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later, and assume major investments in alternatives will occur before a crisis, without requiring major changes in the lifestyle of heavily oil-consuming nations. These models show the price of oil at first escalating and then retreating as other types of fuel and energy sources are used. Pessimistic predictions of future oil production operate on the thesis that either the peak has already occurred, that oil production is on the cusp of the peak, or that it will occur shortly. The most recent edition of the respected science journal Nature contemplates the end of cheap coal with an analysis of the decline of global coal supplies by Post Carbon Institute Fellows David Fridley and Richard Heinberg. The estimates for global peak coal production vary wildly. Many coal associations suggest the peak could occur in 200 years or more, while scholarly estimates predict the peak to occur as early as 2010. Research in 2009 by the University of Newcastle in Australia concluded that global coal production could peak sometime between 2010 and 2048.

A Key to Prevent Cancer is Shown to be False
December 2, 2010 08:35 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The likelihood of developing cancer is largely attributed to an individual's genetic inheritance, but can also be affected by lifestyle choices and what we eat. In a 2009 article, the American Cancer Society recommended eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day to prevent cancer. Now, a new study from the University of Oxford suggests that fruits and vegetables, while important for a healthy diet, are unlikely to protect against cancer.

Polluted Holidays in Iran
December 1, 2010 01:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A holiday is supposed to be a fun off day to enjoy life in some fashion. For the second time in a month, heavy air pollution in Iran's smog-filled capital has forced authorities to close government offices and schools and declare a two-day public holiday because of the health dangers of being outdoors. Yet this happened in July 2009 too when Iranian authorities declared public holiday in the capital Tehran after a sandstorm blotted out the already heavily polluted city. All of this is caused by several factors, some man made and some due to local climate and geological conditions. It is also not unique for Tehran though that city is suffering in the extreme.

New Prize Announced in "Get to Know" Contest, Deadline Extended
November 30, 2010 10:29 PM - Editor, ENN

"Get to Know" contest for youth has extended its deadline until December 17th, 2010. There is also a new $500 cash prize for the young nature artist whose work is chosen for the cover of the 2012 Get to Know Calendar. Contest organizers are inviting all American youth age 5-18 to take advantage of these changes by getting outdoors and "getting to know" the amazing wild neighbors who share their ecosystems through art, writing, photography and video. Biodiversity-themed art, writing and photography entries based on first-hand experiences with nature online at www.gettoknow.ca until December 17th, which brings the contest closing right into the festive season. All youth between the ages of 5 and 18 living in the United States are eligible to enter in these categories. Youth from all over the world are invited to help ring in the New Year — 2011 International Year of Forests — by creating short videos themed “This is my Forest” for the Get to Know Contest. The unique international video category will accept entries at www.gettoknow.ca until May 2011. Get to Know Contest winners will get exciting prizes, including a week-long Art & Nature Camp experience at a Canadian national park for those 12 and older, and a $500 cash prize for the young artist whose work is chosen for the cover of the 2012 Get to Know Contest Calendar. Additionally, winning art and writing entries will be published in the 2012 Get to Know Contest Calendar, and winning videos will be showcased at United Nations International Year of Forests events.

Hurricane Season 2010
November 30, 2010 01:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There were no reported hurricane disasters like Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005. So it is somewhat surprising to hear that according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,) the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, was one of the busiest on record. In contrast, the eastern North Pacific season had the fewest storms on record since the satellite era began. In the Atlantic Basin a total of 19 named storms formed — tied with 1887 and 1995 for third highest on record. Of those, 12 became hurricanes — tied with 1969 for second highest on record. Five of those reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.

Peat. Climate and Fires
November 29, 2010 03:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Peat, or turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world. Peat has a high carbon content and can burn under low moisture conditions. Once ignited by the presence of a heat source, it smolders. These smoldering fires can burn undetected for very long periods of time (months, years and even centuries) propagating in a creeping fashion through the underground peat layer. The rate of global warming could lead to a rapid release of carbon from these peat lands that would then further accelerate global warming. Two recent studies published by the Mathematics Research Institute at the University of Exeter highlight the risk that this 'compost bomb' instability could pose, and calculate the conditions under which it could occur.

Study Shows Over-Cleanliness Negatively Affects Immune System
November 29, 2010 09:51 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In a never-ending quest to eliminate human contact with germs, science has given society a number of hygienic chemicals. Among these chemicals are Triclosan, found commonly in anti-bacterial soaps, toothpaste, and many other products, and Bisphenol A (BPA), found in the protective lining of food cans. A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor suggests that these chemicals may be detrimental to the immune system and cause allergies.

International Tiger Conservation Forum is over, now the hard work begins
November 26, 2010 08:54 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The International Tiger Conservation Forum concluded in St Petersburg this week, with the heads of governments of the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRC) adopting a declaration designed to help save the wild cats from extinction. The prime ministers declared that they will "strive to double the number of wild tigers by 2022." The worldwide tiger population has declined from 100,000 to just over 3,000 over the past century. The International Tiger Summit, hosted by the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg which ran from November 21-24 had heads of governments discussing a plan to double the animal's population in 12 years. The plan will require up to $350 million in funding from the international community.

Pterodactyl Flight
November 24, 2010 10:33 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Pterodactyl are not giant birds and indeed if they were, they might not even be able to fly based on standard theories of flight. Some have proposed that they vaulted and then glided on the winds. These ancient reptiles that flew over the heads of dinosaurs — were at their best in gentle tropical breezes, soaring over hillsides and coastlines or floating over land and sea on thermally driven air currents, according to new research from the University of Bristol. Pterodactyls) were too slow and flexible to use the stormy winds and waves of the southern ocean like the albatrosses of today states the research by Colin Palmer, an engineer turned paleontology PhD student in Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences.

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