Sci/tech

Mars Meteorite Reexamined for Signs of Life Using New Analysis
November 30, 2009 10:07 AM - Irene Klotz, Discovery News

A controversial Mars meteorite is once again in the spotlight as scientists use a new kind of analysis on the rock. The study is reminiscent of initial research, published in 1996, suggesting that tiny iron sulfide and iron oxide grains in the meteorite had biological origins, and that tiny, worm-shaped objects in the rock could be the fossilized remains of Martian microbes.

A heated debate
November 28, 2009 06:19 AM - The Economist, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

A majority of the world's climate scientists have convinced themselves, and also a lot of laymen, some of whom have political power, that the Earth's climate is changing; that the change, from humanity's point of view, is for the worse; and that the cause is human activity, in the form of excessive emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. A minority, though, are skeptical. Some think that recent, well-grounded data suggesting the Earth's average temperature is rising are explained by natural variations in solar radiation, and that this trend may be coming to an end. Others argue that longer-term evidence that modern temperatures are higher than they have been for hundreds or thousands of years is actually too flaky to be meaningful.

Stolen E-Mails Raise Questions On Climate Research
November 26, 2009 10:35 AM - Richard Harris, NPR

A huge pile of e-mails were stolen from a British climate laboratory and posted on the Internet last week. The correspondence shows that some climate scientists are resorting to bare-knuckle tactics to defend the orthodoxy of global warming. In particular, a group of scientists who support the consensus view of climate change have been working together to influence what gets published in science journals. Journals are supposed to be impartial filters that let good ideas rise to the top and bad ideas sink to the bottom. But the stolen e-mails show that a group of scientists has decided that's not working well enough. So they have resorted to strong tactics — including possible boycotts — to keep any paper they think is dubious from reaching the pages of a journal.

Building Local Solar Markets, One State at a Time
November 25, 2009 10:47 AM - Adam Browning, Clean Techies

It’s that time of year again … no, not when turduckens appear on dinner tables nationwide and it becomes somehow acceptable to call the marshmallow a vegetable. It’s time for the 2009 edition of "Freeing the Grid," an annual report card to states on their net metering and interconnection standards. Together, these two key policies empower energy customers (that’s you) to go solar and reduce your utility bills.

Green Car Rally: The Chevy Volt Versus the Toyota Prius
November 25, 2009 09:49 AM - Cory Vanderpool , Triple Pundit

General Motors has been inundated in recent years with nothing but bad news. After filing for bankruptcy and receiving a controversial government bailout, the ailing car maker is trying to revolutionize the auto industry and breathe life back into its deflated sails with the introduction of the Chevy Volt.

Can the Sun Help Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel?
November 25, 2009 06:42 AM - Yale Environment 360 , Clean Techies

U.S. researchers have demonstrated a technology that uses the sun’s heat to convert carbon dioxide and water into the building blocks of traditional fuels, a reverse combustion process that may emerge as a practical alternative to sequestration of CO2 emissions from power plants.

Harnessing the Power of Salt, Norway Tries Osmotic Energy
November 24, 2009 08:29 AM - Pierre-Henry Deshayes, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Taking a step further in the planet's hunt for clean power, Norway is to unveil today the world's first prototype of an osmotic power plant on the banks of the Oslo fjord. The project is small-scale but could prove the great potential of osmotic energy.

Using Enzymes from Termites To Make Biofuel from Wood Waste
November 23, 2009 02:52 PM - Phil McKenna, Technology Review

Biofuel startup ZeaChem has begun building a biofuel pilot plant that will turn cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol via a novel approach that uses microbes found in the guts of termites. The company says the ethanol yields from the sugars of its cellulosic feedstocks are significantly higher than the yields from other biofuel production processes. ZeaChem says its process also has the potential to produce a plastic feedstock.

East Antarctic ice began to melt faster in 2006
November 23, 2009 06:31 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters

East Antarctica's ice started to melt faster from 2006, which could cause sea levels to rise sooner than anticipated, according to a study by scientists at the University of Texas. In the study published in Nature's Geoscience journal, scientists estimated that East Antarctica has been losing ice mass at an average rate of 5 to 109 gigatonnes per year from April 2002 to January 2009, but the rate speeded up from 2006.

65 World leaders to join climate talks
November 22, 2009 08:35 AM - John Acher, Reuters

Sixty-five world leaders have confirmed they will attend a U.N. conference in Copenhagen in December that will try to clinch a new global climate deal, and many more are considering, Danish officials said on Sunday.

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