Enn Original News

That Euphoric Feeling
March 25, 2011 08:18 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

For most people not sleeping well leads to being the person most likely to be avoided the next morning. A lesser known side effect of sleep deprivation is short-term euphoria, which can potentially lead to poor judgment and addictive behavior, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Harvard Medical School studied the brains of healthy young adults and found that their pleasure circuitry got a big boost after a missed night’s sleep. But that same neural pathway that stimulates feelings of euphoria, reward and motivation after a sleepless night may also lead to risky behavior, their study suggests.

Obesity Control
March 24, 2011 08:04 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

A magic pill for controlling obesity is a dream that many have. Researchers exploring human metabolism at the University of California, San Francisco, have uncovered a handful of chemical compounds that regulate fat storage in worms, offering a new tool for understanding obesity and finding future treatments for diseases associated with obesity. Such compounds may allow chemical control of obesity. As described in a paper published this month in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the team took armies of microscopic worms called C. elegans and exposed them to thousands of different chemical compounds. Giving these compounds to the worms, they discovered, basically made them skinnier or fatter without affecting how they eat, grow, or reproduce.

Ready To Eat Meat: Healthy?
March 23, 2011 04:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What is better to eat, in terms of health, a hot dog (made from what?) or chicken? If given the choice between eating a hot dog or enjoying some rotisserie chicken, consider the hot dog at least according to some research out of Kansas State. That's because hot dogs, as well as pepperoni and deli meats, are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds, according to their research. But it's a not-so-happy ending for bacon and rotisserie chicken -- especially chicken skin -- because both have higher levels of cancerous material.

Small but mighty, new from BBC Earth
March 23, 2011 02:51 PM - Adelle Havard, BBC Earth

Sometimes the smallest of things can have the greatest of impacts. We've all woken up to find we’ve no milk in the fridge and got to wondering how we ever did without it! Well, as strange as it may sound the Pacific Herring is a little like that. Commonly referred to as "the silver of the sea", these oily little fish have proved to be the most commercially important part of the fishing industry. Being a staple part of the human diet since at least 3000 B.C. Although, it's not just humans who have developed a taste for these delicate bait bits. With a list of predators as long as your arm, it's not surprising that they have developed a way of breeding which ensures their survival. Ecological biomass is a term used to describe how living biological organisms group together to defend their species against the many predators they face, there is after all power in numbers! This isn't an uncommon technique, and we see similarities in the breeding habits of many animals, particularly those who live in herds.

Expanding Forests in the Northern Latitudes
March 23, 2011 12:52 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

According to a recent United Nations report, forested areas in Europe, North America, the Caucasus, and Central Asia have grown steadily over the past two decades. While tropical areas have steadily lost their forests to excessive logging and increased agriculture, northern areas have seen increases caused by conservation efforts. However, the long-term health and stability of northern forest lands may be imperiled by the effects of climate change.

EPA and Boilers
March 22, 2011 11:29 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

On March 16, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed long-anticipated limits on power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants (“HAPs”) under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”). Along with recent emissions standards for industrial and commercial boilers and a new proposal for power plant GHG controls due out in July, EPA is undertaking a series of major CAA rule makings. EPA’s latest rule would establish the first nationwide standards for power plant emissions of mercury, arsenic and other HAPs, with numeric limits based upon maximum available control technology as required under the 1990 CAA Amendments. EPA’s new proposal would reduce mercury from approximately 525 coal and oil-fired power plants by 91 percent once fully implemented, and it covers a range of other pollutants that were not regulated under the Bush-era mercury rule.

EPA Works with NJ’s Kean University to Enhance Sustainability
March 21, 2011 01:42 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

New Jersey's universities have been making significant strides to become greener facilities, and Kean University (Kean) prides itself on being at the forefront of that effort. Kean has signed an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enhance sustainable environmental practices as the school. As part of the agreement, Kean has pledged to reduce energy, water, and fuel usage. They will also increase recycling on campus, and use more environmentally-friendly landscaping practices.

The Coral Pulse of Life
March 21, 2011 07:30 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Corals are marine organisms living in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans, which secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. Coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less than one tenth of one percent of the world ocean surface, yet they provide a home for about twenty-five percent of all marine species, including fish, molluscs, worms, and crustaceans. Paradoxically, coral reefs flourish even though they are often surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients. University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science scientist Chris Langdon and colleagues have developed a new tool to monitor coral reef vital signs. By accurately measuring their biological pulse, scientists can better assess how climate change and other ecological threats impact coral reef health worldwide.

Why Birds Fly into Power Lines and Similar
March 18, 2011 01:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Birds are different from human beings obviously. Birds have been known to fly into objects and knock themselves out. Why does this happen? A sensory ecology framework is used in a new research study to seek to assess why flying birds collide with prominent structures, such as power lines, fences, communication masts, wind turbines and buildings, which intrude into the open airspace. Such collisions occur under conditions of both high and low visibility. It is argued that a human perspective of the problems posed by these obstacles is unhelpful. Birds live in a different visual world. When in flight, birds may turn their heads in both pitch and yaw to look down, either with the binocular field or with the lateral part of an eye’s visual field. Such behavior may be usual for them and results in certain species being at least temporarily blind in the direction of travel.

How To Test for Toxicity
March 17, 2011 06:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are zillions of products and chemicals in the world. Some are obviously toxic. Others are more subtle or simply unknown because they were never studied. Study is expensive and time consuming. Several federal agencies have unveiled a new high-speed robot screening system that will test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity. The system marks the beginning of a new phase of an ongoing collaboration, referred to as Tox21, that is working to protect people’s health by improving how chemicals are tested in this country. The robot system, which is located at the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), was purchased as part of the Tox21 collaboration established in 2008 between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program, and NCGC, with the addition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010. Tox21 merges existing resources — research, funding and testing tools — to develop ways to more effectively predict how chemicals will affect human health and the environment.

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