Enn Original News

A greener barbecue
May 12, 2014 02:17 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and outdoor cooking season is right around the corner. Unfortunately, outdoor cooking is too often connected with a tremendous amount of waste. Make this year's summer the "summer of green" with these eco-friendly alternatives for a low-impact summer barbecue:

Says the human to the polar bear: "I am not your lunch!"
May 9, 2014 09:03 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the climate continues to change, the polar bear's range moves south as the planet continues to warm. This means that we should expect more human encounters with the polar bear. This can be a problem for scientists working in these regions. Enter the Canadian bear expert, Andy McMullen, a Canadian 35 year veteran who teaches Dartmouth scientists about bear behavior before they embark upon studies in bear country.

Polar bear genome reveals adaptations to high-fat diet
May 9, 2014 08:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Living its life in the high Arctic, polar bears have developed extreme adaptations to survive in this cold sea ice environment. One important trait is their thick layer of blubber. Like other arctic animals, this layer of fat helps insulate species from the cold. Consequently, polar bears have adapted to subsist on a blubber-rich, high-fat diet of marine species. But is a high-fat diet healthy for the species?

Predicting red tide blooms with ESP
May 8, 2014 10:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Red tide poisoning is an aquatic phenomenon caused by a rapid increase/accumulation in the water column of reddish colored algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) comprising a few species of toxic dinoflagellates. Forecasting the phenomenon has been critical for coastal communities. This year though, WHOI is introducing a new tool called Environmental Sample Processors (ESP) to measure bloom concentration and associative toxins for real-time reporting to land based researchers.

Climate Change vs. Natural Variations: Why is Greenland Melting?
May 8, 2014 06:48 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

The climate change debate continues. Are anthropogenic causes of global warming responsible for melting ice and rising seas or are natural cycles and climate variations to blame? There's no question that Greenland's glaciers are in fact melting. And while the obvious culprit may be global warming caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions, University of Washington atmospheric scientists have estimated that up to half of the recent warming in Greenland and surrounding areas may be due to climate variations. The kicker? These climate variations originate in the tropical Pacific and are not connected with the overall warming of the planet.

In search of safe drinking water
May 7, 2014 09:55 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental requirement for good health and is also a human right. WHO and UNICEF’s indicator is based upon the "use of an improved source". The authors of a recent study into water contamination postulated that this did not account for water quality measurements or monitor global access to safe drinking water. Researchers Robert Bain and Jamie Bartram from The Water Institute at University of North Carolina sought to determine whether water from "improved" sources is less likely to contain fecal contamination than "unimproved" sources and to assess the extent to which contamination varies by source type and setting.

Releasing the cork in Wilkes Basin Antarctica yields unstoppable sea-level rise
May 6, 2014 04:51 PM - Editor, ENN

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) latest study shows that if East Antarctica's Wilkes Basin's rim of ice lets go, it is likely to trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come. Using the ground profile under the ice, the researchers used computer ice flow simulations under the ice sheet.

Which Diamondback terrapin turtle is not like the others?
May 6, 2014 04:33 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Until now little has been understood about the genetic variations of terrapin turtles. Terrapins have been designated a species of special concern in some areas and not in others. They are listed as an endangered species in Rhode Island and threatened in Massachusetts. Terrapins are the only North American turtle that spends its entire life in coastal marshes and mangroves.

With spring migration in full flight, a new report urges greater protection for an avian haven
May 5, 2014 10:18 AM - Guest Contributor, Lisa McCrummen

It's been dubbed North America's bird nursery: the sprawling billion-plus-acre boreal forest that spans the continent from Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland and Labrador. Each spring, an estimated 1 billion to 3 billion nesting birds make the long journey north to the boreal forest from wintering grounds throughout the United States and central and South America. Their populations swell during the boreal breeding season, and as many as 3 billion to 5 billion birds of remarkable diversity—from ring-necked ducks to whooping cranes to Cape May warblers to golden eagles—can make the return trip south in the fall. These are the birds that populate America's backyards, parks, and wetlands, providing enjoyment and recreation to millions of birders, conservationists, and waterfowl hunters.

New hopes for getting the lead out of solar
May 5, 2014 10:16 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Solar energy is arguably our most viable low cost energy source. It is forever sustainable and easily captured and converted. But now the technology may have taken yet another leap forward. To date the foundational technology behind photovoltaics was a structure called perovskite, which has been made with lead. Using tin instead of lead perovskite as the harvester of light, a team of Northwestern University researchers has created a new solar cell with "good efficiency". This good efficiency solar cell is low-cost, environmentally friendly and can be easily made using "bench" chemistry -- no fancy equipment or hazardous materials.

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