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November 23, 2010 03:28 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have found a stunning burst of star formation that beams out as much infrared light as an entire galaxy. The collision of two spiral galaxies has triggered this explosion, which is cloaked by dust that renders its stars nearly invisible in other wavelengths of light. Although bright as this is, it pales in comparison to a quasar. The brightest known quasar is 3C 273 in the constellation of Virgo. This quasar's luminosity is about 2 trillion times that of our sun, or about 100 times that of the total light of average giant galaxies like our Milky Way. The starburst newly revealed by Spitzer stands as the most luminous ever seen taking place away from the centers, or nuclei, of merging parent galaxies. It blazes ten times brighter than the nearby Universe's previous most famous starburst that gleams in another galactic smashup known as the Antennae Galaxy.
World's First Hybrid Tugboat Reduces Emissions at California Ports
November 23, 2010 08:53 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Carbon emissions at sea have received more attention over the last decade. Ports, especially, can have a negative impact on air quality in the populated areas that surround them. The many emissions sources at ports include ships, trucks, trains, and cargo-handling equipment. Harbor-crafts also contribute a significant portion of total port emissions. These include tugboats, ferries, fishing boats, and dredge vessels. Recently, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have started using a hybrid electric tugboat. A new study by the University of California (UC) Riverside has shown that this has been effective at reducing emissions.
European Carbon Emissions
November 22, 2010 01:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The European Commission said on Monday a proposal to limit the use of some carbon credits from industrial gas projects in its emissions trading scheme might be unveiled during a United Nations climate summit in Mexico next week. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is the largest multi-national emissions trading scheme in the world. The trading Scheme currently covers more than 10,000 installations with a net heat excess of 20 MW in the energy and industrial sectors which are collectively responsible for close to half of the EU's emissions of CO2 and 40% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Trading scheme, large emitters of carbon dioxide within the EU must monitor and annually report their CO2 emissions, and they are obliged every year to return an amount of emission allowances to the government that is equivalent to their CO2 emissions in that year. In order to neutralize annual irregularities in CO2-emission levels that may occur due to extreme weather events (such as harsh winters or very hot summers), emission credits for any plant operator subject to the Trading Scheme are given out for a sequence of several years at once. Each such sequence of years is called a Trading Period. The 1st Trading Scheme Trading Period expired in December 2007. Since January 2008, the 2nd Trading Period is under way which will last until December 2012.
Global CO2 Emissions Increased in 2010
November 22, 2010 09:17 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
During the heart of the recession in 2009, CO2 emissions fell as economic activity slowed. Now that the world is seeing modest signs at recovery, the pace of economic activity has picked up and so have the CO2 emissions. According to a new study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, the planet may reach record levels of emissions by the end of the year.
"Get to Know" Contest for Youth Open until November 30th
November 20, 2010 10:16 AM - Editor, ENN
Scientists have so far identified over 2 million species on planet Earth — yet American youth are less familiar than ever with plants and animals living in their own "backyard". To reverse this trend, the Get to Know Contest is challenging young Americans (age 5-18) to get outside today and "get to know" the amazing and diverse wild neighbors who share our ecosystems. Art, writing, photos and videos inspired by first-hand experience with our wild neighbours can be submitted at www.gettoknow.ca until November 30th, 2010. In honor of 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, the theme for art, writing and photography categories is "Celebrating Biodiversity". The all-new video category celebrates the upcoming 2011 International Year of Forests with a theme "This is My Forest". Winners will get exciting prizes, including a week-long Art & Nature Camp experience at the Pacific Rim National Park in Canada for those 12 and older. More than just a creative arts competition, the contest aims to draw youth into nature, so the prizes are first of all an incentive for youth to take the first step out of doors. Contest organizers are encouraging all youth to "get to know" their wild neighbors today and spread the word to their friends, since there are less than ten days left to enter.
November 19, 2010 12:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Comets are temporary night flashes across the sky. They are rarer than meteors and are further away. The EPOXI mission's recent encounter with comet Hartley 2 provided the first images clear enough for scientists to link jets of dust and gas with specific surface features. The EPOXI mission spacecraft revealed a cometary snow storm created by carbon dioxide jets spewing out tons of golf-ball to basketball-sized fluffy ice particles from the peanut-shaped comet's rocky ends. At the same time, a different process was causing water vapor to escape from the comet's smooth mid-section. This information sheds new light on the nature of comets and even planets.
November 18, 2010 05:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
When one imagines a squid, the image that comes to mind is of a giant monster (i.e, Kraken of mythic fame) grappling with boats and whales. Squid are marine cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles. Squid are strong swimmers and certain species can 'fly' for short distances out of the water. Some are giant and some are tenaciously small. An expedition to the seamounts of the southern Indian Ocean has proven that the region is a biodiverse hotspot for squids. To date, the expedition has identified 70 species of squid comprising 20% of the world's known squid species. But that's not all: they have also uncovered new species.
Assessing the US Supply of Rare Earth Elements
November 18, 2010 09:45 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
In the headlines lately has been news of China's monopoly of rare earth elements (REE), adding to China's growing clout. It would increase their leverage should they choose to reduce exports, causing REE prices to soar. The United States imports almost all of its REE from China, putting it in a position of geopolitical weakness. In light of this circumstance, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has conducted a study to map out the presence of REE found domestically. It turns out that rare earth elements in the United States are not so rare.
Watershed Week for Wild Tigers Around the World
November 17, 2010 03:16 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Next week may be make-or-break for the future of wild tigers around the world. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will be hosting delegations from tiger-range countries for the first ever International Tiger Summit in Saint Petersburg. Heads of state from 13 tiger-range countries plus a high-level delegation from the United States will gather to discuss responses to the alarming decline of tiger populations in the wild. What all parties can agree with going in, is that inaction will inevitably lead to the extinction of this beautiful creature, one of the world's most beloved.
November 17, 2010 01:38 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Windows let in light and with the light solar heat. There are many forms of passive design control of windows to maximize the light, collect the heat, and maximize or minimize the heat that enters through the window. Heat is energy and can be theoretically transformed into power and electricity. A new type of transparent solar film developed by the U.S. Department of Energy could turn windows into clean electricity generators. Harnessing the power of the sun means placing solar collection devices where they are most likely to be in direct contact with its rays. For many years, that ideal place has been the roofs of homes and businesses, but newer technologies are aimed at expanding this range to windows as well.