Sci/tech

New Findings on Carbon Dioxide Release from World's Oceans
August 30, 2010 10:16 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, is intricately linked to global warming. The largest store of CO2 is the world's oceans. How the oceans sequester or release CO2 to or from the atmosphere is important to understand as mankind alters Earth's climate with the burning of fossil fuels. A new report from researchers at the University of California, Davis offers clues on how that mechanism works by analyzing the shells of plankton fossils.

China reducing rare earth export quota as environmental protection measure
August 29, 2010 08:24 AM - Reuters

China's decision to slash export quotas of rare earth elements was a necessary step to protect the country's environment, commerce minister Chen Deming said following criticism from Japanese officials. "Mass extraction of rare earth will cause great damage to the environment and that's why China has tightened controls over rare earth production, exploration and trade," Chen was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying on Saturday.

The Layers of the Earth
August 26, 2010 02:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The asthenosphere is the highly viscous mechanically weak region of the upper mantle of the Earth on which "float" the continental plates. It lies below the lithosphere, at depths between 60 and 120 miles below the surface, but perhaps extending as deep as 400+ miles. The lithosphere is a complex mixture of layers. For example the North American continent is not one thick, rigid slab, but a layer cake of ancient, 3 billion-year-old rock on top of much newer material probably less than 1 billion years old, according to a new study by seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley.

Artificial Light and Productivity
August 25, 2010 10:38 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Artificial light has, throughout history, been a powerful force contributing to the quality and productivity of human life. It is so significant to human life that society spends an enormous amount of energy to produce it. Currently, there is new artificial lighting emerging on the market place. These new technologies, in the form of solid-state lighting (SSL), offer the promise of increased productivity without more energy usage, and a higher quality of life.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to a Variety of Diseases
August 24, 2010 10:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Vitamin D is a type of fat-soluble steroid that can take two separate forms, vitamin D2 and D3, whose actual names are Ergocalciferol and Cholecalciferol. It is produced in the skin from exposure to ultraviolet radiation, the sun. This is the primary way to build up vitamin D, but it can also be ingested in foods which naturally contain it or are artificially fortified with it. However, what happens when the human body has a vitamin D deficiency? A new study from Oxford University shows that a lack of sufficient vitamin D in the body can lead to a wide range of diseases.

Tea and How Good It May Be
August 23, 2010 02:13 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Drinking tea is supposed to be healthy for you because of what it contains. In this case let us consider polyphenols. In theory, a polyphenol has the ability to act as an antioxidant to scavenge free radicals and up-regulate certain metal chelation reactions. An antioxidant helps to regulate or clean up the cell's internal functions and so make you healthier as a result. The first measurements of healthful antioxidant levels in commercial bottled tea beverages has concluded that health-conscious consumers may not be getting what they pay for: healthful doses of those antioxidants, or "poylphenols," that may ward off a range of diseases.

Whiskey Byproducts Could Produce Next Big Biofue
August 23, 2010 08:56 AM - Thomas Miner, Sustainable Life Media

Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have patented a process to produce biobutanol, a fuel that can be used in existing gasoline engines without any modifications, from whiskey by-products. In utilizing waste products, the process eliminates the need to use arable land and food crops to produce a more sustainable fuel.

Batteries Are the Shocking Truth about Electric Cars
August 23, 2010 07:03 AM - Llewellyn King, Oil Price.com

President Barack Obama flew to Holland, Mich., recently to attend groundbreaking ceremonies for a new lithium-ion battery plant, which the White House advertised as an example of federal stimulus grants at work and a gateway to a clean-energy future. Great stuff — if you don’t look too hard. Indeed, the Holland plant, effusively hailed by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as creating 300 jobs, and 62,000 "green" jobs down the road, will produce batteries in America. But Compact Power Inc., which received $151 million from a federal stimulus program to open the $303 million plant, isn't American and neither is its technology: It's a subsidiary of the giant South Korean conglomerate LG Chem, and its technology is Asian.

Ocean pH
August 20, 2010 11:32 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.18 to 8.1. PH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution. It approximates but is not equal to concentration of hydrogen ions expressed on a logarithmic scale. A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydrogen ions, while a high pH indicates a low concentration. A strong acid would be less than 1 on this scale. A recent study indicates the relative impact on future ocean acidification of different aspects of global climate change mitigation policies such as the year that global emissions peak.

Massive oil plume discovered in the Gulf
August 20, 2010 08:15 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reports a study published in Science. The 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped hydrocarbons provides a clue on where all the oil has gone as oil slicks on the surface disappear.

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