Sci/tech

LED Bulb Challenge ending soon!
April 9, 2014 01:34 PM - ENN Staff

The most inefficient light bulbs may now be off the market, in response to new federal standards, but nearly 70% of light bulb sockets in the U.S. still contain an inefficient bulb. Retailers across the country are stepping up to help change that, as part of the Energy Star LED Bulb Challenge.

Latest species discovery: the littlest crayfish from down under
April 9, 2014 11:08 AM - Rob McCormack, The Australian Aquatic Biology Pty.

Hidden in one of Australia's most developed and fastest growing areas lives one of the world's smallest freshwater crayfish species. Robert B. McCormack the Team Leader for the Australian Crayfish Project described the new species belonging to the genus Gramastacus, after 8 years of research in the swamps and creeks of coastal New South Wales, Australia. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

At more than 23,000 feet, why don't bar-headed geese get hypoxic?
April 9, 2014 10:04 AM - ENN Staff

The bar-headed goose migratory path takes it over the Himalayan Mountains each year between China and Mongolia to their Indian breeding grounds. This flight path puts them at 23,917 feet above sea level. University of Exeter led study followed these birds to gain insight into their ability to survive these extreme altitudes in hopes that their findings might have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans.

High Tech Trees!
April 8, 2014 01:20 PM - ENN Staff

Scientists at Oregon State University have found a way to convert tree cellulose into high-tech energy storage devices. Because cellulose is a key component of trees and the most abundant organic polymer on earth this discovery will have a profound impact in industry. Scientists were able to heat the tree cellulose in a furnace in the presence of ammonia to create the building block for supercapacitors for use in industrial electronic applications. Supercapacitors are extraordinarily, high-power energy devices for which production has been held back by cost and difficulty in producing high-quality carbon electrodes.

Shifting bird and reptile distributions
April 8, 2014 12:23 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

With climate change come several dramatic shifts in species distribution within the United States. The U.S. Geological Survey in concert with the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University have recently projected distribution losses for nearly half of the 5 examined reptile species including the locally famed chuckwalla. Breeding bird ranges, however exhibited broader expansions and contractions within their breeding habitats.

Why Are Scientists Genetically Modifying Trees?
April 7, 2014 10:41 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

The Lorax may speak for the trees, but even he might want to stop to listen to researchers' new plans to genetically alter trees. What may outwardly seem like disconcerting news just might change how paper is made for the better. The engineered trees would allow manufacturers to create paper significantly easier. Moreover, it's not just the paper industry that benefits from this change — the effects would be advantageous to the entire planet.

Desert absorption helps curtail CO2 levels
April 7, 2014 09:55 AM - Eric Sorensen, Washington State University News

Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found that arid areas, among the biggest ecosystems on the planet, take up an unexpectedly large amount of carbon as levels of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere. The findings give scientists a better handle on the earth's carbon budget — how much carbon remains in the atmosphere as CO2, contributing to global warming, and how much gets stored in the land or ocean in other carbon-containing forms.

Smog alerts for Europe
April 4, 2014 04:21 PM - Rob MacKenzie, The Ecologist

The UK news media has been buzzing with reports of air pollution alerts associated, at least in part, with the long-range transport of dust from the Sahara. Colleagues from Africa have asked why we in the UK are worried about the health effects of a relatively rare occurrence of this long-range dust all the way across Europe, when African countries experience dust storms of much higher intensity almost daily at some times of year.

Unearthing of large tusk in Arabian Desert suggests once greener pastures
April 4, 2014 09:49 AM - ENN Staff

Working in conjunction with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, researchers from the University of Oxford have discovered two pieces of a tusk that when combined measure six feet in length. The researchers believe it is from a Palaeoloxodon or a "straight tusked elephant". An elephant's carpal bone was recovered in a separate study done by a Swiss team in the Nefud Desert just five meters away. The sand layer dates back to approximately 325,000 years and the elephant is believed to be of the same age.

European Union Gets 23.4% of Electricity From Renewables
April 4, 2014 08:03 AM - Edouard Stenger, Clean Techies

According to official statistics from Eurobserv’ER, 23.4 percent of the electricity in the European Union came from renewable energy sources in 2012. The total output for 2012 has been estimated at 763.5 TW. This represents an important increase from 2011, when these energy sources brought "only" 20.4 percent of total electricity.

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