Enn Original News

The Not So Solid Earth
June 1, 2010 04:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The interior of the Earth, similar to the other rocky or terrestrial planets, is divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core. Earth's mantle is a rocky shell about 1,800 miles thick that constitutes over 80% percent of the Earth's volume (The part of the Earth best known to us humans.). Two thousand miles beneath our feet, the Earth's solid rock — known as the mantle — gives way to the swirling liquid iron of the outer core. The last few hundred miles of the lowermost mantle is also known as D” (pronounced dee-double-prime). D" is one of the most enigmatic parts of the Earth which scientists have struggled to understand for decades; it can only be measured remotely, using seismic waves from earthquakes.

Dust storms not sole reason for Phoenix air quality
May 31, 2010 11:41 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Under the Clean Air Act, states must develop State Implementation Plans (SIP) to convince the US EPA that they can meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQAS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected Arizona's claim that dust storms caused the high pollution readings in Phoenix in 2008, a decision which could have significant implications for the State. Arizona is currently not meeting the NAAQAS for fine particulate matter, PM- 10 (one-seventh the width of a human hair). Major concerns for human health from exposure to PM- 10 include: effects on breathing and respiratory systems, damage to lung tissue, cancer, and premature death. The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma, are especially sensitive to the effects of particulate matter.

A Great Carbon Dioxide Burp
May 28, 2010 11:48 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are many earth cycles. One is a cycling between warmer and colder periods which are commonly called ice ages. The causes of these cycles are complex and are related to how much sun radiation we get as well as some slight variation in the sun itself. Scientists have recently found a possible source of a huge carbon dioxide burp that happened some 18,000 years ago and which helped to end the last ice age.

Chasms on Mars
May 27, 2010 02:57 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Large sheets of ice and snow form on the poles of both Earth and Mars. On Earth their formation is shaped by ice and water flows. On Mars there is an oddness of spiraling troughs and a giant canyon. What in the climate of Mars does this? Data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have helped scientists solve a pair of mysteries dating back four decades and provided new information about climate change on the Red Planet.

The Brains of a Locust
May 26, 2010 01:04 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Locusts are notorious as being indiscriminate devourers of everything and somewhat mindless in their attack. Although desert locusts are infamous for their swarming behavior, they usually occur in a solitary form, living alone and actively avoiding fellow locusts. The difference between a swarming locust brain and a solitary locust brain is quite extraordinary. Despite being smaller than solitary locusts, swarming locusts developed brains that were 30% larger. Not only that, regions of the brain that are dedicated to different tasks had very different proportions in the two phases.

Termite Power
May 26, 2010 11:31 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Humans have the unparalleled ability of altering their environment to suit their needs. We have shaped the entire face of the planet, from the densest cities to the rural countryside. Yet, on their own small level, other creatures in the animal kingdom can affect their environment as well. Amazingly, a tiny organism like the termite can create a huge effect.

The Deepwater Oil Release Impact on Marine Life
May 25, 2010 03:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

New reports are surfacing every day about the immediate impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf Coast wildlife, especially as the oil reaches the sensitive marshlands along the coast. What will be the long term impact to local marine life? There is some knowledge from earlier releases such as Valdez off Alaska. Oil contains complex hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Such materials will be absorbed and have impact on the local marine life over time. How they will be absorbed, how much and their effects are unknown or debatable. To begin to address this issue, Academy scientist Peter Roopnarine is working with Laurie Anderson from Louisiana State University and David Goodwin from Denison University to collect and analyze three different types of mollusks from the Gulf Coast. These animals are continually building their shells, and if contaminants are present in their environment, they can incorporate those compounds into their shells.

Clean Up the Trucks
May 24, 2010 03:46 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

About a year ago the President and car company CEOs, announced the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks that took into account greenhouse gas emissions as a factor. The move ordered a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2016, totaling a 35.5 miles per gallon average for both cars and light trucks. This past Friday’s directive ordered federal agencies to begin development of even more stringent standards for 2017 and beyond. Though big rigs represent less than five percent of all vehicles on U.S. highways, they consume more than 20 percent of the total of transportation fuels utilized. Truck fuel consumption tends to be presently less than 10 miles per gallon which makes them comparatively fuel inefficient.

The New Synthetic Cell
May 21, 2010 05:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

J. Craig Venter has created a “synthetic cell” by synthesizing a complete bacterial genome and using it to take over a cell. Venter’s breakthrough, reported in the online edition of Science, represents a preliminary step toward the goal of creating microbes from scratch in the lab and using them to make biofuels, vaccines, and other products.

The Warm Ocean
May 20, 2010 05:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Often when going to the beach the common complaint is that the ocean is too cold. They appear to be warming up a bit. The upper layer of Earth's ocean has warmed since 1993, indicating a strong climate change signal, according to a new international study co-authored by oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs for each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet.

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