Sci/tech

Global Warming to Melt North Pole Ice Cover For First Time in Recorded History
June 30, 2008 10:18 AM - dailytech.com

After last year's thin ice cover, the North Pole is poised to vanish due to global warming in a short time DailyTech has previously covered the frantic pace of melt in Greenland, which is accelerating, dumping vast amounts of water into the sea. Meanwhile, the North Pole has been steadily melting away as well. Fortunately, the North Pole ice is floating, and thus will not affect sea levels, but its dissolution is an important indicator of warming.

Smart camera keeps an eye on rare penguins
June 30, 2008 08:43 AM - New Scientist

You may think penguins all look the same, but a computer system on a South African island knows better. It can identify individual birds from subtle differences in their plumage. The technology could help researchers monitor threatened populations without using more invasive methods that can distress or harm the birds.

Ancient Oak Trees Help Reduce Global Warming
June 30, 2008 08:37 AM - University of Missouri

The battle to reduce carbon emissions is at the heart of many eco-friendly efforts, and researchers from the University of Missouri have discovered that nature has been lending a hand. Researchers at the Missouri Tree Ring Laboratory in the Department of Forestry discovered that trees submerged in freshwater aquatic systems store carbon for thousands of years, a significantly longer period of time than trees that fall in a forest, thus keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.

Brown researchers create mercury-absorbent container linings for broken CFLs
June 27, 2008 10:11 AM - Brown University

With rising energy prices and greater concern over global warming, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are having a successful run. Sales of the curlicue, energy-sipping bulbs, which previously had languished since they were introduced in the United States in 1979, reached nearly 300 million last year. Experts expect that figure to rise steeply by 2012, when a federal law requiring energy-efficient lighting goes into effect.

Martian soil appears able to support life
June 27, 2008 09:43 AM - Reuters

"Flabbergasted" NASA scientists said on Thursday that Martian soil appeared to contain the requirements to support life, although more work would be needed to prove it. Scientists working on the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which has already found ice on the planet, said preliminary analysis by the lander's instruments on a sample of soil scooped up by the spacecraft's robotic arm had shown it to be much more alkaline than expected.

Major technological progress needed to make renewable energy affordable.
June 25, 2008 10:50 AM - ENN

Dramatic progress in renewable energy technology is needed if the United States desires to produce 25 percent of its electricity and motor vehicle fuel from renewable sources by 2025 without significantly increasing consumer costs, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Looming tropical disaster needs urgent action
June 25, 2008 09:56 AM - The University of Adelaide

A major review by University of Adelaide researchers shows that the world is losing the battle over tropical habitat loss with potentially disastrous implications for biodiversity and human well-being. Published online today in the Ecological Society of America's journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the review concludes we are "on a trajectory towards disaster" and calls for an immediate global, multi-pronged conservation approach to avert the worst outcomes.

Scientists Are Developing Alloy Based Fridges Running On 50% Less Energy
June 25, 2008 09:50 AM - , Triple Pundit

European researchers say they have begun to develop fridges that are powered by a 100% alloy which will reduce their energy usage by 50%. In the last 15 years, fridge technology developers have had to consider what option would be the lesser of two evils. Environmentalists alerted them to the harmful side effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the refrigerant chemical, but alternative refrigerants require a lot more energy.

Use of nanomaterials in food packaging poses regulatory challenges
June 25, 2008 09:26 AM - Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Engineered nanoscale materials (ENMs), which contain novel properties that offer potential benefits for use in food packaging, raise new safety evaluation challenges for regulators and industry, according to a report released today by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

Utility-Scale Solar Thermal Growing Fast
June 25, 2008 09:22 AM - , BuildingGreen

Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants produce electricity at a utility scale by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight. New technology has made CSP the fastest growing utility-scale, renewable energy source in the U.S. after wind power, with utility companies such as California’s Pacific Gas and Electric and Arizona Public Service planning to add over 4,000 megawatts (MW) of new CSP over the next ten years.

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