Sci/tech

Dyes, Laundry Aids, and EPA
August 19, 2010 08:22 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released action plans today to address the potential health risks of benzidine dyes, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and nonylphenol (NP)/nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). The chemicals are widely used in both consumer and industrial applications, including dyes, flame retardants, and industrial laundry detergents. The plans identify a range of actions the agency is considering under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Slow-moving 'earthquake' under Olympic Peninsula monitored by University of Washington, will help understand devastating quakes
August 18, 2010 08:04 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

New research published by University of Washington seismologists reports the results of monitoring they have been recording of a slow-moving and unfelt seismic event under the Olympic Peninsula. It promises to be the best-documented such event in the eight years since the regularly occurring phenomena were first discovered. "It appears to be right on time," Steve Malone, a UW Earth and space sciences professor, said of the most recent of what are termed episodic tremor-and-slip, or slow-slip, events. "The first signals were mostly fairly weak, but they were easily detected." The first ground motion associated with the event was recorded very early Sunday morning in an area north of Olympia and west of Tacoma. By Monday afternoon the signals were substantially stronger. If the event behaves like past occurrences, the source of the rumbling will move north through the Olympic Peninsula during the next week before crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Canada's Vancouver Island

Oregon Dead Zone
August 17, 2010 10:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans, the observed incidences of which have been increasing since oceanographers began noting them in the 1970s. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated. Every summer for the past nine years, water with lethally low concentrations of oxygen has appeared off the Oregon coast. The cause is not clear and it does not fit the pattern of several other dead zones associated with man made run off issues. Some other causes have been recently implicated in a research study by Oregon State University.

Icebergs
August 16, 2010 10:36 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

An iceberg is a large piece of ice formed from freshwater that has broken off from a glacier or ice shelf and is floating in open water. It may subsequently become frozen into pack ice. Alternatively, it may come to rest on the seabed in shallower water, causing ice gouging in the land underneath or becoming an ice island. Because the density of pure ice is less than sea water an iceberg will float in sea water with about one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg above water. The shape of the underwater portion can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface. This has led to the expression "tip of the iceberg", for a problem or difficulty that is only a small manifestation of a larger problem.

'Cheap' solar geoengineering plans may have unintended consequences
August 13, 2010 08:46 AM - , Ecologist

Researchers warn that individual countries looking to go it alone with 'cheap' solutions to regional climate change could inflict negative impacts on the rest of world. Large-scale 'geoengineering' interventions to alter the climate, such as increasing cloud cover to deflect solar radiation, may not work on a global scale, a new study has warned.

How to Make the Most of Solar Power
August 12, 2010 03:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A solar panel (photovoltaic module or photovoltaic panel) is a packaged interconnected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel is used as a component in a larger photovoltaic system to offer electricity for commercial and residential applications. There are many methods available to try to increase their output. There is now a new entrant to the realm of solar panel accessories that is said to increase panel performance while decreasing costs. Joining solar trackers and microinverters is a new polymer film called FUSION by Genie Lens Technologies.

New Findings on the H1N1 Virus
August 6, 2010 09:56 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Does anybody still remember swine flu? It caused a big uproar last winter and sent millions of people to their doctors to request the Tamiflu vaccine. New findings on the virus have been uncovered by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They found that the H1N1 virus used a new biochemical trick to spread rapidly among humans and cause an epidemic. The structure of the virus evolved to allow it to interact with the cellular structure of mammals.

The Views of Mars
August 5, 2010 04:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Of all the planets in our solar system Mars has always been the one most dreamers think of. Many science fiction myths have been based on Mars such as Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and its many canals as well as the Ray Bradbury Martian Chronicles. All dreamed of a friendlier Mars than has been found. Now all can see detailed images of Mars. The latest set of new images from the telescopic High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter offers detailed views of diverse Martian landscapes.

Sewage-cleaning device produces electricity, too
August 5, 2010 09:35 AM - James Dacey, SciDevNet

Small units that purify household sewage could provide a source of electricity for urban and remote communities in the developing world, according to researchers. The units would be populated with Shewanella oneidensis, one of several types of bacteria that can break down organic matter in sewage, producing electrons and protons. If the sewage is placed between electrodes with the bacteria present, this process can be harnessed to generate an electrical current.

Earth's Inner Core Might Be on the Move
August 5, 2010 08:50 AM - Lynne Peeples, Live Science

Earth's solid inner core may be continually inching eastward relative to its liquid outer core, renewing itself by shedding its front while solidifying its back, a team of French scientists suggests. The idea counters traditional theory that the big ball at the center of the Earth stands still, growing uniformly in all directions as the planet cools. It could shed light on the nature of the core — such as its age, apparent seismic mismatches, and a mysterious coating of dense fluid on its surface.

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