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January 3, 2011 05:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
An electrical ballast is a device intended to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit. Ballasts vary greatly in complexity. They can be as simple as a series resistor as commonly used with small neon lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A more complex type is one that uses reactance. Losses in the ballast due to its resistance and losses in its magnetic core may be significant, on the order of 5 to 25% of the lamp input wattage. Practical lighting design calculations must allow for ballast loss in estimating the running cost of a lighting installation. Prior to 1980 in the United States, PCB-based oils were used as an insulating oil in many ballasts to provide cooling and electrical isolation. Older buildings (including schools and commercial operations) will often have PCB ballasts in their fluorescent lights even today because the ballast will work a longer than the bulb. he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released guidance recommending that schools take steps to reduce potential exposures to PCBs from older fluorescent lighting fixtures. The guidance, part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to address potential PCB exposures in schools, is based on evidence that the older ballasts contain PCBs that can leak when the ballasts fail, leading to elevated levels of PCBs in the air of schools that should not represent an immediate threat but could pose health concerns if they persist over time.
New Year’s Resolution: Exercise to Prevent Colon Cancer
January 3, 2011 09:36 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A healthy rear end is essential for a happy life. So for this New Year, a good resolution is to protect it from all threats foreign and domestic. One of its biggest threats is the dreaded cancer of the colon. However, according to a new study, there is a reliable way to keep colon cancer from getting the better of you. Researchers have found that consistent exercise is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer death.
NOAA Website Contains Detailed History of Gulf Oil Disaster
December 30, 2010 12:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made public a new website, the NOAA Deepwater Horizon Library. The site contains a treasure trove of information relating to the oil disaster in the gulf oil disaster. This includes reports on the incident itself, scientific reports on the wildlife affected, and a detailed history of the response and cleanup efforts undertaken by governments, private companies, and individuals. It also describes ongoing efforts to rebuild the coast and the Gulf ecosystem.
Buried Secrets in the Heart of Tel Aviv
December 29, 2010 11:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have unearthed some very interesting historical artifacts at an ancient fortress in the city. The fortress, Tel Qudadi, located at the mouth of the Yarkon River, was first excavated over 70 years ago, but the finds were never published. New evidence from the site indicates a linkage between ancient Israel and the Greek island of Lesbos.
Tis the Season: Holiday health ideas
December 24, 2010 01:40 PM - University of California
From overeating to exercise and alcohol, UC San Diego Health System nutritionists, trauma specialists and poison experts offer insights for a health holiday. Food for thought The holidays make it so easy to overeat. Hanukkah celebrations kick off with Auntie's latkes. Grandma’s sweet potatoes are a Christmas tradition. And then we wash it all down with one of Dad's annual eggnog creations. Sound familiar? UC San Diego Health System nutrition experts say, "Savor the seasonal offerings — just do it sensibly." "Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring," said Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., RD, professor of family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. "Include seasonal veggies in your meals and holiday dishes. Items such as squash, pumpkin and apples add flavor and interest to salads and baked goods, and they're good for you." Dr. Santiago Horgan, director for the Center for the Treatment of Obesity, points out that using time off from work during the holidays to exercise is a great way to get a head start on New Year resolutions. "Gyms are usually not crowded this time of year." - Plan ahead before you go to a party. Eat a sensible snack, such as an apple, to curb your hunger so that you are not overly hungry when faced with fattening food. - Sip sparkling water — it's filling and hydrating. - Keep emotional eating in check. Are you really hungry, or did you grab that handful of cookies because shopping is stressful? - Think about and control your portions by using a salad-sized plate for your entree and side dishes. Eat a salad on an entree-sized plate before the main meal. - Recognize when you’re full. It takes a good 20 minutes before your stomach signals you brain that it's full, so eat slowly; the second you start feeling satisfied, stop eating. - Reduce the amount of fat in holiday meals. For example, use fat-free chicken broth or low-fat milk instead of butter when you prepare mashed potatoes. When sautéing celery and onions for the stuffing, use non-stick spray in the pan.
Major Breakthrough in the Fight Against Melanoma
December 23, 2010 09:55 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Melanoma is one of the less common types of skin cancer, but responsible for 75 percent of skin cancer related deaths. The World Health Organization reported that 48,000 people die from malignant melanoma every year. It is more frequently found in women and particularly common among Caucasians who live in sunny climates. A new study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine may have found a breakthrough in the fight against this deadly disease. Researchers have discovered that the gene responsible for cancer growth can be suppressed by a specific protein.
December 22, 2010 11:54 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
250 million years ago there was a world wide extinction event where 96% of all marine species were exterminated. Most of this event is unknown. Only one in every ten species survived, and these formed the basis for the recovery of life in the subsequent time period, called the Triassic. A new fossil site — at Luoping in Yunnan Province — provides a new window on that recovery, and indicates that it took about 10 million years for a fully-functioning new ecosystem to develop. During that time window, the new ecosystem evolved and changed until it stabilized.
The Rise of Digital Billboards: What a Waste!
December 22, 2010 09:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
On the typical American roadway, it is not uncommon to see large advertising billboards. Even looking out my office window, I see two of them: one for an insurance company, and the other with a scantily clad woman (not exactly sure what that ad is for). These types of billboards have been around for a long time, but are slowly being replaced with new flashy electronic billboards. According to a new report, digital billboards consume large amounts of energy and create a variety of electronic waste.
River Sources of Green House Gases
December 21, 2010 03:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, accounting for around 6% of the estimated heating effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to 2006 data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, industrial sources make up only about 20% of human caused industrial sources. Other human activity may account for 30%; tropical soils and oceanic release account for 70%. Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere which may have been severely underestimated. It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrates to nitrous oxide and other gases.
Summary of the 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season
December 21, 2010 11:38 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The 2010 hurricane season in the north Atlantic has come and gone. Although, the US was hardly touched by this year's storms, it turns out that 2010 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. There were 19 named storms, tied for the third highest on record (1887 and 1995). Of these, 12 became hurricanes, and five reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.