Washington DC leaking all over
January 17, 2014 09:56 AM - Tim Lucas, Duke University
More than 5,893 leaks from aging natural gas pipelines have been found under the streets of Washington, D.C., by a research team from Duke University and Boston University. A dozen of the leaks could have posed explosion risks, the researchers said. Some manholes had methane concentrations as high as 500,000 parts per million of natural gas -- about 10 times greater than the threshold at which explosions can occur.
Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) identified in sewage sludge
January 16, 2014 04:17 PM - Richard Harth, Arizona State University
Thousands of chemicals serving a variety of human needs flood into sewage treatment plants once their use life has ended. Many belong to a class of chemicals known as CECs (for chemicals of emerging concern), which may pose risks to both human and environmental health. Arjun Venkatesan and Rolf Halden of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have been tracking many of these chemicals outlining a new approach to the identification of potentially harmful, mass-produced chemicals, describing the accumulation in sludge of 123 distinct CECs.
The problem with older thermostats - Mercury
January 15, 2014 07:51 AM - NRDC
NRDC Study Shows More Than 1.8 Million Thermostats Containing 8 Tons of Mercury Need Safe Recycling In Illinois. The state should raise collection goals for mercury-laden thermostats to avoid contaminating the environment. There are more than 1.8 million thermostats containing eight tons of mercury in Illinois homes and buildings, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Clean Water Fund, which are calling for stronger state rules this year to speed up safe recycling of these thermostats.
Why Cold Air Smells Different
January 14, 2014 03:19 PM - Emily Sohn via Discovery News
Pine needles. Wood smoke. Snow. These are the smells of winter, and for people who live with distinct seasons, wintry weather brings its own set of olfactory experiences. But why does the cold of winter smell different from the heat of summer?
Burning fewer calories: the elixir for longevity
January 14, 2014 09:43 AM - Sharon Dewer, Lincoln Park Zoo
New research shows that humans and other primates burn 50% fewer calories each day than other mammals. The study, published January 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that these remarkably slow metabolisms explain why humans and other primates grow up so slowly and live such long lives. The study also reports that primates in zoos expend as much energy as those in the wild, suggesting that physical activity may have less of an impact on daily energy expenditure than is often thought.
West Virginia Chemical Spill Still Disrupting Local Infrastructure
January 13, 2014 08:58 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit
Think of it as another practice run for local and federal crisis management. The chemical spill into the Elk River that breached the containment walls of one of Charleston, W.Va's largest industries last week has closed schools, stopped commercial flights and converted the state capitol's downtown core to a "ghost town." It's also painted an unnervingly clear picture of what can happen to a city's infrastructure when a chemical spill shuts down its main commercial facilities. After evidence of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), a foaming agent that is used to clean coal of impurities, was picked up by local water distribution plant West Virginia American Water last Thursday, state and county officials went into high drive to alert some 300,0000 residents of the pollution and to close access to drinking water.
Water emergency in West Virginia from chemical contamination
January 10, 2014 03:37 PM - Mark Memmott, NPR
More than 100,000 customers of one water company in West Virginia have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with the water coming from their taps because of chemicals that seeped into the Elk River near Charleston on Thursday. The warning covers all or parts of nine counties. More than 480,000 people live in the affected area — one-quarter of the state's population. Some surely get their water from wells that were not touched by the spill. But as The Charleston Gazette reports, so many people have been affected that "residents swarmed grocery stores, convenience stores and anywhere else with bottled water Thursday evening, and shelves were quickly depleted."
EPA's New Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Now Open for Public Comment
January 10, 2014 02:39 PM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit
Politically contentious as ever, climate change is back in the headlines, as a brutal, deep and prolonged southward shift in the polar vortex has put much of the continental U.S. in a deep freeze. In stark contrast, people living in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, Argentina and Brazil, for example — are trying to cope with heat waves, the threat of drought and power outages in major cities. While many are scrambling with the immediacy of such problems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with longer term, structural fixes to address climate change conceived by the Obama Administration. On Jan. 8, the EPA issued proposed new performance standards that would put an upper limit, or cap, on carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new, stationary power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.
Coffee and hydration
January 10, 2014 07:41 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
I sometimes feel like I should be drinking more water. After all, look at all those people drinking bottled water! I usually go for coffee! Either strong black or perhaps a nice Cappuccino. I just love it, and my doctor told me at one point that it was a ok way to get hydrated, as long as it didn't give me the jitters or cause sleep problems (it never does and I can drink regular coffee after an evening meal and have no trouble going to sleep. New research(1), published today in the PLOS ONE, has found no evidence for a link between moderate coffee consumption and dehydration. The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, UK, found that drinking moderate amounts of coffee does not result in dehydration and contributes to daily fluid requirements in regular coffee drinkers just as other fluids do. Due to early research showing the acute effects of caffeine as a mild diuretic, there appears to be a common assumption that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee also have this effect.
January 9, 2014 10:41 AM - Nicole Jones, Yale 360
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in one of the largest volcanic blasts of the 20th century. It spat up to 20 million tons of sulfur into the upper atmosphere, shielding the earth from the sun's rays and causing global temperatures to drop by nearly half a degree Celsius in a single year. That's more than half of the amount the planet has warmed due to climate change in 130 years.