Enn Original News

BP gusher stopped, most remaining oil degrading naturally
August 5, 2010 07:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a major report by the federal government addresses the fate of the oil released while the well was gushing, and what is likely to happen to the remaining oil in the ocean. The report was prepared by a team of federal agencies and scientists from NOAA, USGS, and NIST, and as well as independent scientists from universities, Environment Canada, Exxon Mobil, and other companies. The study concludes that the vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts. A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today. An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes.

Climate Models and Warming
August 4, 2010 03:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Climate models use various methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. All climate models take account of incoming energy as short wave electromagnetic radiation, chiefly visible and short wave infrared, as well as outgoing energy as long wave infrared electromagnetic radiation from the earth. Any imbalance results in a change in temperature. The most talked about models of recent years have been those relating temperature to emissions of carbon dioxide. These models project an upward trend in the surface temperature record, as well as a more rapid increase in temperature at higher altitudes. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg have developed a new model that specifies the maximum volumes of carbon dioxide that humans may emit to remain below the increased climate warming of two degrees Celsius. To do this, the scientists incorporated into their calculations data relating to the carbon cycle, namely the volume of carbon dioxide absorbed and released by the oceans and forests.

iPads for New Med Students at UC Irvine
August 4, 2010 10:23 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Goodbye heavy textbooks. Goodbye notebooks filled with doodles and illegible handwriting. The iPad has now arrived to the world of academia. The University of California Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2014 will all be receiving iPad tablet computers fully loaded with everything they need for their first year of courses. The wireless, hand-held computers will contain hundreds of medical applications and learning tools that can be adapted to each student's unique learning style.

Solar Futures
August 3, 2010 02:33 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Solar power is the generation of electricity from sunlight. This can be direct as with photovoltaics, or indirect as with concentrating the sun's rays to boil water which is then used to provide power. Solar energy can be obtained in a variety of different ways. Passive solar occurs when you build your house in a manner that takes advantage of the low angle winter sun and/or when the mass of your house is used to absorb the sun’s heat in winter. In addition, passive solar also refers to keeping your house cooler in the winter months by making adjustments that include placing trees and awnings along the south side of a house.

International Ice Core Team Hits Bedrock in Greenland
August 3, 2010 09:52 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Next to Antarctica, Greenland is home to the largest ice sheet on Earth. Scientists in the frigid north of this enormous island have achieved quite an accomplishment by drilling all the way to the bedrock under the ice. On Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling site (NEEM), the team completed their drilling to a depth of 2537.36 meters (1.58 miles). The Eemian is an interglacial period, 115,000 to 130,000 years ago, when global temperatures were 2-3 degrees Celsius (3-5 F) higher than they are today. Sea levels were five meters higher, but ice still existed on Greenland. The researchers believe this may useful for predictions of future climates.

Renewable Power Users and Sources
August 2, 2010 03:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable as opposed to fossil fuels for example which once gone are gone. In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. The EPA has just named the 50 green power partners (individual purchasing sources or companies) using the most renewable electricity. The Green Power Partnership’s top purchasers use more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1 million average American homes. Green Power users pollute less and do not use up non-renewable sources.

Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles
August 2, 2010 11:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The new generation of electric cars that are set to hit the market promise to help end the world's dependence on fossil fuels and clean the air. However, they are not without flaws. One particular flaw in their charging system may even make them less environmentally friendly than the most fuel efficient conventional cars. A new technology by the company Evatran, uses induction charging to automatically keep the car's batteries at full charge. Drivers would just have to park over the base unit that is fitted to the floor and an intelligent control system in the vehicle will request charging.

Nuclear Fusion
July 30, 2010 11:54 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Fusion power is the power generated by nuclear fusion reactions. In this kind of reaction, two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus and in doing so, release a large amount of energy. The major difference between fission and fusion reactors is that there is no possibility of a catastrophic accident in a fusion reactor resulting in major release of radioactivity to the environment. The primary reason is that nuclear fusion requires precisely controlled temperature, pressure, and magnetic field parameters to generate net energy. If the reactor were damaged, these parameters would be disrupted and the heat generation in the reactor would rapidly cease. In contrast, the fission products in a fission reactor continue to generate heat through beta-decay for several hours or even days after reactor shut-down, meaning that melting of fuel rods is possible even after the reactor has been stopped due to continued accumulation of heat.

Good News for Gulf Fishermen
July 30, 2010 10:10 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In response to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government closed off vast areas of the ocean to fishing operations. Much of the area was closed off as a precaution, even if it was minimally touched by the spreading oil, to avoid a public health disaster from contaminated seafood. The good news is that about one-third of that closed off area has just been reopened by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the 26,388 square miles to be reopened, no oil has been observed for the past thirty days.

The Might of the Spider
July 29, 2010 07:12 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Spider silk is a protein fiber spun by spiders. Spiders use their silk to make webs or other structures, which function as nets to catch other animals, or as nests or cocoons for protection for their offspring. Spider silk is as strong as many industrial fibers. There is commercial interest in duplicating spider silk artificially, since spiders use renewable materials as input and operate at room temperature, low pressures and using water as a solvent. However, it has been difficult to find a commercially viable process to mass produce spider silk.

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