Enn Original News

Coffee and Prostate Cancer
May 25, 2011 04:51 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds, called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Coffee beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees in over 70 countries, cultivated primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Findings have historically been contradictory as to whether coffee has any specific health benefits, and results are similarly conflicting regarding the potentially harmful effects of coffee consumption. Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The lower risk was evident among men who drank regular or decaffeinated coffee.

Waste Heat Recovery: The Next Wave of Clean Tech
May 24, 2011 03:32 PM - Jason Gold, CEO, KGRA Energy, LP

The terms renewable energy and clean technology conjure up images of photovoltaic panels baking in the desert sun, wind turbines rotating lazily in the wind, and large dams generating hydro-power. However, there is another important and growing clean energy technology that the average consumer hasn't heard of yet: waste heat recovery. Waste heat recovery employs a process that has been around since the 1960s called the organic Rankine cycle (ORC), which easily integrates into existing manufacturing infrastructures. ORC units capture heat that is currently being released into the atmosphere and converts it into useable CO2-free electricity. This technology has a small footprint, approximately the size of a tractor trailer flatbed and interest in systems that use this energy generating skid is on the rise as companies look to maximize the efficiency of existing investments and infrastructures. The market for waste heat recovery is virtually limitless. According to researchers at University California Berkley, the U.S. currently consumes about 100 quadrillion BTUs of energy per year. However, between 55 and 60 quadrillion BTUs are currently vented into the atmosphere as waste heat. With ORC technology these emissions are harnessed on-site to generate useable CO2-free electricity that is fed directly back into a manufacturing process. Pulp and paper, lumber, refinery, cement and power plant operations are especially well-suited for waste heat recovery systems since they consume large amounts of electricity and maintain consistent waste heat streams with temperatures between 400° and 800°F.

Wood as Fuel
May 24, 2011 02:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Wood fuel is wood used as fuel. The burning of wood is currently the largest use of energy derived from a solid fuel biomass. Wood fuel can be used for cooking and heating, and occasionally for fueling steam engines and steam turbines that generate electricity. The use of wood as a fuel source for heating is as old as civilization itself. Historically, it was limited in use only by the distribution of technology required to make a spark. Wood heat is still common throughout much of the world. Wood fuel, one of the oldest energy sources on the planet, could become the newest commodity market if it can overcome supply limits and green concerns as demand grows for renewable energy. Experts say that supply constraints are starting to put wood fuel into competition with the paper industry, in an uneasy reminder of existing tensions between the food industry and companies making biofuels from food crops.

May 24, 2011 08:11 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Friday before Memorial Day is "Don’t Fry Day", a time to remind people at the start of summer about the dangers from exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is always a dangerous threat and is the most common cancer among young adults aged 25-29. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SunWise program and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention have partnered to provide simple tips on protecting yourself that could save lives. Melanocytes are cells that produce the dark pigment, melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin. They predominantly occur in skin, but are also found in other parts of the body, including the bowel and the eye. Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes.

Namibia Wildlife Conservation
May 23, 2011 09:10 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Namibia is a country in southern Africa which borders the Atlantic Ocean, just north of the nation of South Africa. The nation was a German Imperial protectorate from 1884 to the end of World War I, when the League of Nations gave South Africa the ruling authority. After a long struggle, Namibia achieved independence in 1990. This is a typical story for many south African nations, but what sets Namibia apart is its outstanding wildlife conservation programs. Using a community-based system, it has maintained a healthy native ecosystem which has seen sharp increases in its key wildlife populations.

Japanese Quake News
May 23, 2011 08:10 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

A new NASA and university study of the March 11, 2011, Japan earthquake that included researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., provides the most comprehensive look to date at how Earth moved that day, unleashing widespread destruction and a devastating tsunami. The study of the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki quake, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and published online in the May 19 issue of Science Express, details the first large set of observational data from this rare megathrust earthquake event.

The best Job in the World? Filming in the Jungle, new from BBC Earth
May 20, 2011 04:33 PM - Adelle Havard, BBC Earth

Often the attraction of working in natural history is the thrill of the wild. The untamed, the undomesticated, the possibility of discovering the unknown! However even as a dedicated natural history program maker, there are certain hostile and remote locations where it is essential to have your super-human senses switched on. As a cameraman, crouching down to get that perfect shot on the dark and damp forest floor. It is your ears you need to rely on above all else, as often the only proof of the vast amounts of animal life around you”is what you hear! The high humidity of this environment creates ideal conditions for the strangest animals to live, breed and sing! Through the cacophony of rival mating calls, warning cries, sharing the location of a known food source and social interaction; the sounds of the wilderness could leave you overwhelmed. But it is a specific sound you are listening out for” As an enthusiastic drummer of the jungle, the chimpanzee has worked out a less stressful way of communicating with each other than exhaustive calls...which transpires is also a highly enjoyable one! While scouring the forest in search of their next meal, the troops will use buttress roots and hollow trunks to sound out! Drumming as they pass, the chimpanzee’s will make distinctive bass sounds (some even repeatedly on their favorite trees!) using their hands and feet to make clear - who is where, and how successful each party has been with their search.

Worlds Between Stars
May 20, 2011 03:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A planet, historically, is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals. Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems. The discovery is based on a joint Japan-New Zealand survey that scanned the center of the Milky Way galaxy during 2006 and 2007, revealing evidence for up to 10 free-floating planets roughly the mass of Jupiter. The isolated orbs, also known as orphan planets, are difficult to spot, and had gone undetected until now. The new found planets are located at an average approximate distance of 10,000 to 20,000 light-years from Earth.

High Atmospheric CO2 Levels May Cause Mass Extinctions in the Oceans
May 19, 2011 09:20 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

One of the greatest causes of global climate change is the human emissions of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2). These emissions are released into the atmosphere, but much of it gets absorbed into the world's oceans. A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at prehistoric ocean sediment and found a disturbing trend. Periods of high CO2 concentrations have historically coincided with mass extinctions of marine organisms.

The Salty Seas of Earth
May 19, 2011 08:16 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Final preparations are under way for the June 9 launch of the international Aquarius/SAC-D observatory. The mission's primary instrument, Aquarius, will study interactions between ocean circulation, the water cycle and climate by measuring ocean surface salinity. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% (35 g/L). In addition to Aquarius, the observatory carries seven other instruments that will collect environmental data for a wide range of applications, including studies of natural hazards, air quality, land processes and epidemiology. Although the vast majority of seawater has a salinity of between 3.1% and 3.8%, seawater is not uniformly saline throughout the world. Where mixing occurs with fresh water runoff from river mouths or near melting glaciers, seawater can be substantially less saline. The most saline open sea is the Red Sea, where high rates of evaporation, low precipitation and river inflow, and confined circulation result in unusually salty water. The salinity in isolated bodies of water (for example, the Dead Sea) can be considerably greater still.

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