Enn Original News
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.
Health Risks at the Beach
July 29, 2010 10:23 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water... Sharks can be scary to encounter when swimming in the ocean. But they are not the most dangerous threat one can face at the beach. A new study from the University of Miami suggests that microbes in the water should be of much greater concern, especially in warmer waters. The team found that swimmers at sub-tropical beaches face an increased risk of illness.
The Arctic Continental Shelf
July 28, 2010 01:30 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Arctic still has unmapped and unknown areas. In particular, there is the continental shelf that extends out from the American and Canadian northern lands. Who controls it? Who has the right to drill for example which then leads into the complicated morass of environmental rules and controls. American and Canadian scientists are setting sail this summer to map the Arctic seafloor and gather data to help define the outer limits of the continental shelf. Each coastal nation may exercise sovereign rights over the natural resources of their continental shelf, which includes the seabed and subsoil. These rights include control over minerals, petroleum, and sedentary organisms such as clams, crabs and coral.
Elevated Ozone in New England
July 28, 2010 10:19 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
This past June and July have been some of the hottest months ever for the northeastern United States. The unwelcome heat wave has not only raised the mercury, but also the concentration of ground-level ozone. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has predicted that the elevated ozone will significantly decrease air quality in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.
The Surface of Mars
July 27, 2010 03:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A century ago an astronomer by the name of Lowell "discovered" the canals of Mars. Since then better images has shown that there are no canals. Now a camera aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most accurate global Martian map ever. Researchers and the public can access the map via several websites and explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet and imagine what it might be on the surface.
Holding Off Dementia
July 27, 2010 09:44 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge has discovered that people who have received more education are less likely to develop dementia. Previous studies have looked at this issue but have been unable to determine if it was education, and not its effects such as higher economic status or healthier living, that impacted the chances of dementia. This new study has found that dementia is in fact a direct consequence of the amount of education received earlier in life.
What to do with the CO2
July 26, 2010 05:12 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Burning fuel releases a lot of carbon dioxide. For more is emitted than any other air emission. What can we do with it all? A basic reuse of carbon dioxide or CO2 is to have plants and trees use it to make new plants and trees. Recently, the U.S. government has been funding more than $100 million to six research projects that will turn carbon dioxide into fuel, plastics, cement and more. Though the US is spending some money even more comes from private investors.
New NOAA Analysis Gives Further Clues about Location and Movement of Subsurface Oil in Gulf — and how little of it there is
July 24, 2010 09:48 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Remember the debate about the subsurface "plumes" or oil released by the leaking BP well in the Gulf of Mexico? A new report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy about subsurface oil monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico contains preliminary data collected at 227 sampling stations extending from one to 52 kilometers from the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead. The data shows that the movement of subsurface oil is consistent with ocean currents and that the concentrations continue to be more diffuse as you move away from the source of the leak. This confirms the findings of the previous report. The report comes from the Joint Analysis Group (JAG), which is comprised of the afore mentioned agencies and was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico.