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Dispersants in the Gulf
July 1, 2010 02:30 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
EPA continues to carefully monitor BP’s use of dispersant in the Gulf. Dispersants are generally less toxic than oil and can help prevent some oil from impacting sensitive areas along the Gulf Coast. EPA believes BP should use as little dispersant as necessary and, on May 23, EPA directed BP to reduce dispersant usage by 75 percent from peak usage. EPA and the Coast Guard formalized that order in a directive to BP on May 26. Over the next month BP reduced dispersant use 68 percent from that peak and EPA will continue to urge BP to reduce the volumes used. However, dispersants come in many varieties with different effectiveness and toxicity. EPA has just released a study of such available options.
Ensuring Seafood Safety in the Gulf of Mexico
July 1, 2010 10:24 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is having a devastating impact on marine wildlife. Fishery stocks are off limits in the affected areas. However, there are still large portions of the Gulf which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has kept open to fishing activities. To ensure the safety of the seafood caught in these areas, federal and state agencies have joined together to implement a comprehensive and coordinated safety program.
Alex in the Gulf
June 30, 2010 02:33 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Tropical Storm Alex, the first storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, continues to pick up steam as it crosses the western Gulf of Mexico. It has now reached hurricane proportions. It is fairly centered right now in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes are always a major weather related event especially for those who live in the affected area. In addition, this year we have the BP oil spill to contend with in the same area. What impact Alex and the oil spill will have on each other is far from clear yet.
California Green Chemistry
June 29, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The California Department of Toxic Substances has released a draft of new green chemistry regulations this week, which creates a new statewide process for evaluating the toxicity of chemicals used in consumer products and requires manufacturers to find safe alternatives to those chemicals used in their products. This is similar to other rules California has put out over the years to mandate toxicity evaluations and induce chemical substitution in California products.
Plato was good at keeping secrets too
June 28, 2010 11:32 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
The Greek philosopher Plato has been revered as a great thinker for millennia. It turns out, his writings are even more valuable than we have thought. A science historian at The University of Manchester has cracked "The Plato Code" — the long disputed secret messages hidden in the great philosopher’s writings. Plato was the Einstein of Greece's Golden Age and his work founded Western culture and science. Dr Jay Kennedy's findings are set to revolutionize the history of the origins of Western thought. Dr Kennedy, whose findings are published in the leading US journal Apeiron, reveals that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a "harmony of the spheres". Plato imitated this hidden music in his books.
June 28, 2010 10:41 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Life is confusing. When buying a product one has to consider whether it is green, inexpensive, actually works, and so forth and so on. There is also the life cycle of the product to consider. Is the product beneficial to the environment in the long run? For example, Marcal Manufacturing has just introduced new packaging to all of its Small Steps brand products this week, which places an environmental facts panel on the front of all product packaging. The panel resembles a nutrition label for food products and highlights the environmental performance of its 100% recycled paper products.
Mid Ocean Life
June 28, 2010 09:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
For those without a green thumb, it takes several things to make plants (or algae grow). These are sunlight, nutrients, and water. In the middle of the ocean there is plenty of water and on the surface plenty of sunlight, the problem is lack of nutrients. For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In a recent issue of Nature, oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 800 feet below the surface.
The Deformation of the Earth from Earthquakes
June 24, 2010 01:27 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Earthquakes are often imagined as opening up large gaps in the land, sinking islands and the such. It is much harder in real life to see this change. NASA has recently released the first ever airborne radar images of the deformation in Earth's surface caused by a major earthquake -- the magnitude 7.2 temblor that rocked Mexico's state of Baja California and parts of the American Southwest on April 4, 2010. The data reveal that in the area studied, the quake moved the Calexico, Calif., region in a downward and southerly direction up to 31 inches.
Hot Spring on Planet Earth
June 24, 2010 10:31 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
It is getting more and more difficult to deny that global warming is occurring. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report recently about the state of the global climate, and the results were not pretty. It turns out the combined global land and ocean surface temperatures set a record in May. In fact, from March to May, it was the hottest spring on record. Furthermore, the whole first half of the year, from January to May was also the warmest on record.
Vice President Joe Biden Hits Pay Dirt in Michigan
June 24, 2010 09:34 AM - Douglas Elbinger, Exclusive to ENN
Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Michigan on Monday, June 21, for the groundbreaking of a new battery manufacturing facility is evidence that the Recovery Act grants the President announced last August, are starting to hit pay dirt, in the form of ground-breaking's and ribbon cuttings that will ultimately create "new economy" jobs. As part of the six-week focus on the "economic recovery act" infrastructure projects nationwide, Biden's appearance signals the administrations commitment to environmental and renewable energy projects. The grant for this battery project is part of the $2.4 billion announced last August to develop next-generation electric vehicles using the lithium polymer battery, a "breakthrough" technology which is a key component in bringing electric vehicles to reality. Officials said the batteries can store up to three times more energy than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used in most hybrids. Dow Kokam www.dowkokam.com, a joint venture was created by Dow Chemical of Midland, Michigan www.dow.com, to research, develop and produce this new battery technology, and has secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $161 million dollars and tax credits totaling $180 million dollars from the State of Michigan.