Enn Original News

Marine Microbes and Sulfur Regulation
November 5, 2010 03:43 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists have sought for long to learn more about how the Earth’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide and generally exchange gases with the atmosphere so they can better understand the corresponding effects on climate. To that end, many researchers are turning their attention to the microscopic organisms that help recycle carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and other elements through the oceans. Finding out exactly how and to what degree they do that is an ongoing scientific challenge, and scientists may first have to learn more about how the microbes interact with their environment at the scale of the individual microbe. In recent work, an international team of scientists led by Professor Roman Stocker of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering opened a window into that microbial world. The team studied how certain strains of marine microbes find and use sulfur, an element vital to many of this type of microbe. Some microbes ingest the sulfur, convert it and pass it back into the ocean in altered form, keeping the chemical moving through the Earth’s sulfur cycle.

Amazon Drought
November 4, 2010 03:32 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A drought is a nasty thing to happen. A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region has a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage and harm the local economy. Without rain, a rain forest does not last too long. For the second time this decade, drought grips the Amazon Basin. The lack of rain is drying up rivers like the Rio Negro, a main tributary of the mighty Amazon. The drought is primarily drying out the northwest region of Brazil, near the borders with Colombia and Peru. The same region suffered drought in 2005.

Yanks less healthy than Brits but live just as long if not longer
November 4, 2010 09:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

They are known as two peoples separated by a common language. They are also separated by much different health care systems. The English can boast that their elderly have a lower rate of chronic disease than their American counterparts, according to a new study. However, sick elderly Americans still have a lower death rate than sick elderly British.

Dolphin Wars
November 3, 2010 01:15 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A war is an organized conflict to achieve some goal. Humans fight them all the time. Well Dolphins have their complex relationships too. Some of them turn into fights over, what else, fertile females. Male and female bottlenose dolphins spend their days courting friends and building alliances. Two new studies show just how important such friendships are to dolphins and the role friends and alliances play in life's biggest game: the race to reproduce. Male bottlenose dolphins form tight bonds with friends and allies that are as intricate and devious as those of humans. Males compete for access to females. Such competition can take the form of fighting other males or of herding females to prevent access by other males. Dolphins have been observed engaging females even when they are not in their estrus cycles and cannot produce young, as well as when they can.

Hatchery-Raised Salmon Threatening Wild Salmon in the Pacific Northwest
November 3, 2010 09:42 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

This year has had one of the biggest salmon runs of all time for the Pacific Northwest (PNW). There were over 34 million salmon in the British Columbia river system alone, compared to last year’s count of only two million. The problem with this resurgence is that much of the new numbers come from hatchery-raised salmon, which have created increased competition for the threatened wild salmon species.

Solar Farms
November 2, 2010 01:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How large can a Photo Voltaic (PV) solar farm be? It, of course, depends, on the available land space and the efficiency of the solar cells involved. Sarnia Solar Facility, deemed the world’s largest Photo Voltaic solar power station, has just opened in Canada. Located in Ontario, it has a capacity of 80MW, 20MW above Olmedilla PV Park in Spain, which so far has held the title as the largest of its kind in the world. Sarnia is expected to generate 120,00MWh per year, or enough power for 12,800 homes. For large-scale generation, Concentrated Solar Power plants like SEGS, have been the norm but recently multi-megawatt Photo Voltaic plants are becoming common. Completed in 2007, the 14 MW power station in Clark County, Nevada, United States and the 20 MW site in Beneixama, Spain are characteristic of the trend toward larger photovoltaic power stations in the United States and Europe.

Crime-Fighting Trees
November 2, 2010 09:30 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Many people already know that city trees are highly desirable to make a neighborhood more attractive. It is common knowledge that shade from trees keeps temperatures on the ground cooler, can help buildings lower their overall energy usage, and their roots absorb storm water runoff efficiently. What people may not be familiar with is that trees also aid in fighting crime. Yes, trees can lower crime rates.

Electric Vehicles
November 1, 2010 02:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Strangely enough Edison had one of the first electric vehicles and Detroit made them until World War II. Then they died until in the 1990s some electric battery driven cars were recreated as something brand new to the marketplace. Then they withered and were reborn again in the present age of locomotion. Why was this? Is it doomed never to quite win a marker place niche? Although electric cars often give good acceleration and have generally acceptable top speed, the lower powered batteries available in 2010 compared with Carbon-based fuels means that electric cars need batteries that are fairly large fraction of the vehicle mass but still often give a low travel range between charges. Recharging can also take significant lengths of time. For shorter range commuter type journeys, rather than long journeys, electric cars are practical forms of transportation and can be inexpensively recharged overnight but some place to charge is necessary.

The Everglades Rebound
November 1, 2010 09:46 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The Everglades is an extensive wetland system that is actually a sixty mile wide, extremely shallow river that flows from Lake Okeechobee over 100 miles to Florida Bay. Over-development from sugar producers and urban sprawl have put tremendous stress on the entire ecosystem by draining the land and channeling the water. Now, after decades of restoration efforts, the state of the Everglades is beginning to improve.

NOAA and FDA Announce Gulf Seafood well within safety standards based on new, more stringent testing
November 1, 2010 05:37 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

A study conducted by NOAA and the FDA, building upon the extensive testing and protocols already in use by federal, state and local officials for the fishing waters of the Gulf, NOAA and the FDA are using a chemical test to detect dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Trace amounts of the chemicals used in dispersants are common, and levels for safety have been previously set. Previous testing involved a "sensory analysis process". Using this new test in the Gulf scientists have tested 1,735 tissue samples including more than half of those collected to reopen Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Only a few showed trace amounts of dispersants residue (13 of the 1,735) and they were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp, crabs and oysters. As such, the study concludes that they do not pose a threat to human health.

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