Swiss marijuana study raises questions, finds surprises
November 5, 2007 06:22 PM - Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A study of more than 5,000 youngsters in Switzerland has found those who smoked marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who don't, researchers said on Monday.
But the same was not true for those who used both tobacco and marijuana, who tended to be heavier users of the drug, said the report from Dr. J.C. Suris and colleagues at the University of Lausanne.
Florida gov. to lobby for ethanol on U.S. Congress
November 5, 2007 05:46 PM - Inae Riveras, Reuters
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday he will encourage U.S. Congress members to lobby for more ethanol use and a reduction in the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on Brazilian imports of the biofuel.
The use of more cane-based ethanol is seen as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. state, which is aiming to reduce them to 1990 levels by 2015.
Experts Say Climate Change Threatens National Security
November 5, 2007 05:40 PM - By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Climate change could end globalization by 2040 as nations look inward to conserve scarce resources and conflicts flare when refugees flee rising seas and drought, national security experts warned on Monday.
Scarcity could dictate the terms of international relations, according to Leon Fuerth of George Washington University, one of the report's authors.
Global cooperation based on a resource-rich world could give way to a regime where vital commodities are scarce, Fuerth said at a forum to release "The Age of Consequences."
Floating effective for stress and pain
November 5, 2007 03:37 PM - Swedish Research Council
Relaxation in large, sound- and light-proof tanks with high-salt waterfloatingis an effective way to alleviate long-term stress-related pain. This has been shown by Sven-Åke Bood, who recently completed his doctorate in psychology, with a dissertation from Karlstad University in Sweden.
Group to Create Rating System for Landscapes
November 5, 2007 12:22 PM - Allyson Wendt, ENN
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has been working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas–Austin since 2005 to research environmentally friendly landscapes for building sites, parks, and public areas.
In 2006, the U.S. Botanic Garden joined the effort, and now the group is going public with its Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), a project to develop guidelines by 2009 and a rating system for landscapes by 2012.
California Fire Codes Put Focus on Plastic Decking Concerns
November 5, 2007 11:15 AM - Stan Korthals Altes , BuildingGreen
A highly publicized series of wildfires has struck California in the last decade, putting a focus on homes in wildfire-prone areas and the flammable materials they are constructed from—including roofing, siding, and decking. Taking effect on January 1, 2008, the Wildland-Urban Interface Building Codes, developed by the California Office of the State Fire Marshal (SFM), aim to protect homes and the safety of occupants and firefighters. Among other provisions, the codes restrict relatively flammable decking, including wood-plastic composites.
The new codes affect “Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” identified by topography (fire spreads faster on slopes), vegetation that fuels fires, weather patterns, history of past wildfires, and likelihood of fire spreading from neighboring areas. Those zones affect a significant portion of the state, mostly in rural areas, but they also frequently intersect with populated areas. According to Kevin Reinertson at SFM, the standards have been projected to affect 8%–11% of new construction in California.
Mortgage foreclosures seen staying high: Treasury
November 4, 2007 07:29 PM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The rate of foreclosures in the United States will remain higher than normal for the next 18 months as the current home loan crisis plays itself out, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Friday.
"A rising foreclosure rate during a housing downturn is not surprising, but largely because of lax underwriting in recent years, especially in the subprime market, a higher than usual number of homeowners will face delinquency during the next year and a half," Robert Steel, undersecretary for domestic finance, told a congressional panel in prepared remarks.
Artery disease rises among U.S. women: study
November 4, 2007 03:57 PM - Will Dunham
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - More U.S. women are developing a type of artery disease that raises the risk of death from heart disease and stroke, researchers said on Sunday.
Researchers used U.S. government health surveys to track rates of peripheral artery disease, known as PAD, in people age 40 and up with no outward symptoms of cardiovascular illness. PAD is a circulatory condition in which narrowed arteries cut blood flow to the limbs.
Australian town to run on solar power in 2 years
November 4, 2007 03:51 PM -
SYDNEY (Reuters) - A sun-drenched town in Australia's north hopes to use only solar power in two years after being chosen as the site for a solar thermal power station.
Remote Cloncurry, which boasts recording Australia's hottest day, would be able to generate electricity on rare cloudy days and at night from the station, which runs off heat stored in graphite blocks.
Thousands perched on rooftops in Mexico floods
November 4, 2007 12:15 AM - Alberto Fajardo and Luis Manuel Lopez, Reuters
VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Thousands of people perched on roofs in southern Mexico on Saturday, desperate to be evacuated from flooding caused by heavy rains that has left most of Tabasco state under water and 800,000 people homeless.
Many were set to spend another night on their rooftops, with tens of thousands already crammed into emergency shelters struggling to provide enough hot meals and dry beds.
One group stranded on a roof held a banner reading: "Enough. There are children, pregnant women, sick women. Send the police."