Sci/tech

EU may go easier on CO2 curbs for big cars: paper
December 8, 2007 10:29 AM - Reuters

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Commission may shift the burden of cutting average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions more onto small cars than heavier and more powerful models, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

The paper, which quoted an internal EU paper, said on Saturday the Commission was requiring manufacturers of the smaller models to cut CO2 emissions at a higher rate in order for the bloc to achieve its average target by 2012.

PETA boycotting Mars candy co. over animal cruelty
December 7, 2007 09:25 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for a boycott of M&Ms, Twix candy bars and other snack foods made by Mars Inc, claiming the company funds experiments that kill mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.

"In violation of its own written policy, the candy company is currently funding a study at the University of California, San Francisco, that uses rats. The rats are force fed by having plastic tubes shoved down their throats, and they are then cut open and killed," PETA said in a statement.

Football field-sized kite powers latest heavy freight ship
December 7, 2007 09:12 AM -

A kite the size of a football field will provide most of the power for a German heavy freight ship set to launch in December.

The Beluga shipping company that owns the 140-metre 'Beluga' said it expects the kites to decrease fuel consumption by up to 50 percent in optimal cases as well as a cutback of the emission of greenhouse gases on sea by 10 to 20 percent. Interestingly, the ship will be hauling windmills from Esbjerg, Denmark to Houston, Texas.

The company that makes the kite for the German transport, SkySails, has made kites for large yachts but is targeting commercial ships with new, larger kites. And it has the ambitious goal of equipping 1,500 ships with kites by 2015.

The SkySails system

'Hellish' Hot Springs Yield Greenhouse Gas-eating Bug
December 7, 2007 08:54 AM - University of Calgary

A new species of bacteria discovered living in one of the most extreme environments on Earth could yield a tool in the fight against global warming.

In a paper published on Dec. 6 in the prestigious science journal Nature, U of C biology professor Peter Dunfield and colleagues describe the methane-eating microorganism they found in the geothermal field known as Hell’s Gate, near the city of Rotorua in New Zealand. It is the hardiest “methanotrophic” bacterium yet discovered, which makes it a likely candidate for use in reducing methane gas emissions from landfills, mines, industrial wastes, geothermal power plants and other sources.

Scientists find what makes the solar wind howl
December 6, 2007 05:09 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The solar wind, which whips off the sun and blows past Earth and through the solar system, is unleashed by powerful magnetic waves in electrically charged gas around the sun, scientists said on Thursday.

The mechanisms that cause the solar wind had baffled scientists for decades, but were revealed in observations by a Japanese satellite called Hinode orbiting Earth, the scientists said in research published in the journal Science.

"The magnificent thing about the success of Hinode is its unprecedented view of the dynamics of the sun," Jonathan Cirtain, a solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, who helped in the research, said in a telephone interview.

 

Ireland goes green with light bulb rules and car tax
December 6, 2007 01:20 PM - Reuters

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will ban traditional light bulbs in favor of energy-saving alternatives from 2009 and penalize high-emission vehicles from July 2008, Environment Minister Jonh Gormley said on Thursday.

Making Gold the Greener Way
December 6, 2007 10:16 AM - Sarah Niman -The Canadian Press

A Yukon company is slated to be the world's first recognized producer of eco-gold.

Mammoth Tusk Gold Inc. is joining the trend of using socially and environmentally sound gold-mining procedures to produce what is known as eco-gold, and is the first to provide government-supported certification. But there is no internationally recognized certification process for eco-gold.

New laser technologies analyze combustion, biofuels
December 6, 2007 08:52 AM - Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa – Let’s say a fuel derived from biomass produces too much soot when it’s burned in a combustion chamber designed for fossil fuels.

How can an engineer find the source of the problem? It originates, after all, in the flame zone of a highly turbulent combustion chamber. That’s not exactly an easy place for an engineer to take measurements.

New study finds biodiversity conservation secures ecosystem services for people
December 6, 2007 08:48 AM - Conservation International

Healthy ecosystems that provide people with essential natural goods and services often overlap with regions rich in biological diversity, underscoring that conserving one also protects the other, according to a new study.

Titled Global Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the report confirms the value of making biological diversity a priority for conservation efforts. It shows that more than 70 percent of the world’s highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation also contain significant value in ecosystem services such as fresh water, food, carbon storage, storm buffers and other natural resources that sustain human life and support social and economic development.

Study solves mystery of missing chemicals from Earth's mantle
December 6, 2007 08:47 AM - University of British Columbia

Observations about the early formation of Earth may answer an age-old question about why the planet’s mantle is missing some of the matter that should be present, according to UBC geophysicist John Hernlund.

Earth is made from chondrite, very primitive rocks of meteorites that date from the earliest time of the solar system before the Earth was formed. However, scientists have been puzzled why the composition of Earth’s mantle and core differed from that of chondrite.

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