Enn Original News
April 26, 2011 03:59 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A virus is a small agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Most viruses are too small to be seen directly with a light microscope. The shapes of viruses range from simple helical and icosahedral forms to more complex structures. The average virus is about one one-hundredth the size of the average bacterium. Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level. In a solar cell, sunlight hits a light-harvesting material, causing it to release electrons that can be harnessed to produce an electric current. The new MIT research, published online in the recent journal Nature Nanotechnology, is based on findings that carbon nanotubes — microscopic, hollow cylinders of pure carbon — can enhance the efficiency of electron collection from a solar cell's surface.
Fishing Season Begins Next Week in New England
April 26, 2011 09:19 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
For the northeastern United States, the new fishing year officially begins on May 1. This year will see the fishing season opened to more small-vessel owners and catch limits will be raised in response to rebounding fish stocks. Fishing has been an integral part of the economy of New England coastal communities, and now more fishermen will have the opportunity to partake.
Sunlight and Clouds
April 25, 2011 04:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A cloud is a visible mass of water droplets or frozen ice crystals suspended in the Earth's atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or other planetary body. On a cloudy day the surface under the clouds appears darker and cooler. Atmospheric scientists trying to pin down how clouds curb the amount of sunlight available to warm the earth have found that it depends on the wavelength of sunlight being measured. This unexpected result will help researchers improve how they portray clouds in climate models. Additionally, the researchers found that sunlight scattered by clouds — the reason why beach goers can get sunburned on overcast days — is an important component of cloud contributions to the earth's energy balance. Capturing such contributions will increase the accuracy of climate models, the team from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reported in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this month.
Where do Squamous Cell Cancers Come From?
April 25, 2011 01:49 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of cancer that occurs in multiple organs. It is a malignant tumor composed of squamous epithelium (squamous-cell differentiation). The cancer can affect many parts of the body including the skin, lung, bladder, and sex organs. A new study from researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that the origin of SCC is hair follicle stem cells. This finding may lead to new strategies to treat or prevent this terrible disease.
Newegg Launches Eco-Friendly "1 Ton Challenge" Campaign
April 21, 2011 05:52 PM - Editor, ENN
Newegg Inc.,ENN sponsor of the month, in partnership with Gazelle, is launching a "1 Ton Challenge" campaign to divert one ton of consumer electronics from landfills through its trade-in and recycling program. The campaign coincides with Earth Month and runs now through April 30, 2011. During this time, Newegg visitors trade-in their used electronic items, such as cell phones, laptops, gaming consoles, MP3 players, digital cameras and more for valuable Newegg gift cards. The weight of the traded items will be counted toward the landfill diversion goal. In addition to rewarding consumers with Newegg gift cards for participating in the program, Newegg and Gazelle will also contribute $1 for every box of used consumer electronics gear it receives from Newegg customers to EarthEra Renewable Energy Trust, a program created by NextEra Energy Resources to help individuals and companies reduce their carbon impact and participate in the development of future renewable projects.
April 21, 2011 04:35 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
What is an Island? Land that is surrounded by water. Islands are always being created and sometimes destroyed. Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith College. The researchers identified a total of 2,149 barrier islands worldwide using satellite images, topographical maps and navigational charts. The new total is significantly higher than the 1,492 islands identified in a 2001 survey conducted without the aid of publicly available satellite imagery. The 2,149 barrier islands measure 20,783 kilometers in length, are found along all continents except Antarctica and in all oceans, and make up roughly 10 percent of the Earth's continental shorelines. Seventy-four percent of the islands are found in the northern hemisphere.
DigitalGlobe Partners with Extreme Ice Survey to Monitor World’s Glaciers
April 21, 2011 04:34 PM - Editor, ENN
A new report released this week by high-resolution satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe in partnership with Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) reveals environmental changes as told by the world’s climate change barometers — glaciers. Using a combination of on-the-ground photography with satellite imagery to monitor the state of the world’s glaciers, the organizations issued the "Worldwide Glacier Monitoring Report," a first in a series of reports that depict satellite images from the last three years to show how three glaciers — Khumbu Glacier at Mt. Everest, the Ilulissat Glacier in Greenland and the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland — have changed over time. Glaciers are a clear indicator of the state of the environment and a thermometer of local and regional climate conditions. Since 1995, Ilulissat Glacier, the largest producer of icebergs in Greenland, doubled its flow speed and volume of ice discharged due to warming air and ocean temperatures. The combined effect of ice loss in mountains and ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica will produce at least 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, dislocating at least 150 million people. As the planet becomes warmer, sea levels will continue to rise.
April 21, 2011 12:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Coastal residents and oil-rig workers may soon have longer warning when a storm headed in their direction is becoming a hurricane, thanks to a University of Illinois study demonstrating how to use existing satellites to monitor tropical storm dynamics and predict sudden surges in strength. Meteorologists have seen large advances in forecasting technology to track the potential path of tropical storms and hurricanes, but they've had little success in predicting storm intensity. One of the biggest forecast problems facing the tropical meteorology community is determining rapid intensification, when storms suddenly transform into much stronger cyclones or hurricanes.
April 20, 2011 06:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Many fish populations are on the decline. Still there is some positive news. When the new fishing year kicks off on May 1, groundfish fishermen will have more opportunity to fish in Northeast waters, small-vessel owners will get a boost through permit banks, and stocks will continue on the path to rebuilding. This year’s higher catch limits will affect 12 groundfish stocks. These stocks include: Georges Bank cod, Gulf of Maine cod, Georges Bank yellowtail flounder, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic yellowtail flounder, Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder, American plaice, witch flounder, Georges Bank winter flounder, Southern New England. NOAA has also reopened to commercial and recreational fishing 1,041 square miles of Gulf waters immediately surrounding the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, just east of Louisiana. This is the twelfth and final reopening in federal waters since July 22, and opens all of the areas in Federal waters formerly closed to fishing due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Amazing: the slow crawl from water to land, New from BBC Earth!
April 20, 2011 03:34 PM - BBC Earth
The writer C.S. Lewis once said that "Humans are amphibians — half spirit and half animal." He may have been speaking symbolically, but he wasn't too far from the truth! The name Amphibians comes in essence from the Greek meaning "two" and "modes of life". Their ability to transform from water-breathing juveniles into an air-breathing adults, meant a better chance at finding food and less of a chance that they would have to fight for it. But learning to breathe wasn't the only thing up against these aquatic pioneers. The greatest challenge was how to get there. In the beginning, one group of amphibians developed multi-jointed leg-like fins which allowed them to crawl along the sea floor. And incredibly, the mudskipper pictured above is part of that same family. And not only were their bodies in an evolutionary deviation, but their minds were too!