Sci/tech

Astronauts complete tricky Hubble surgery
May 17, 2009 07:30 AM - Rachel Courtland, New Scientist

In an orbital first, astronauts opened up and installed new electronics on one of the Hubble Space Telescope's most important instruments on Saturday. But NASA must now wait for the results of a battery of tests to see if the ambitious repair job was a success. The space shuttle Atlantis is currently orbiting Earth on an 11-day mission to refurbish Hubble and extend its life until at least 2014. This is the fifth and last mission to service the telescope, which NASA hopes will leave Hubble with its best vision yet.

Dredging of Hudson River Finally Begins
May 16, 2009 10:45 AM - Editor, ENN

After years of studies and negotiation, the dredging of PCB contaminated sediments has begun in the Hudson River. The Hudson River PCBs Site encompasses a nearly 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River in eastern New York State from Hudson Falls, New York to the Battery in New York City and includes communities in fourteen New York counties and two counties in New Jersey.

New Ocean Circulation Experiment has Potential Big Climate Model Impact
May 15, 2009 02:00 PM - Editor, ENN, based on an artilce from eurekalert

New research by Duke University, in conjunction with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is casting doubt on long-held theories of North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. This research, supported by the National Science Foundation is important since oceanic circulation is one of the key factors in current atmospheric circulation models, and therefore critical starting points for climate modeling.

Desalination plant clears final California hurdle
May 15, 2009 09:19 AM - Steve Gorman, Reuters

The biggest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, north of San Diego, can begin construction by year's end after a six-year effort to win regulators' approval, the developer said on Thursday.

3 schools closed, staffer hospitalized in NY swine flu outbreak
May 15, 2009 08:46 AM - AFP

New York officials announced Thursday they were shutting down three schools in response to a swine flu outbreak and that one staff member had been hospitalized in serious condition. The three schools, with a total of about 4,500 students, will close Friday and all next week in response to "an unusually high level of flu-like illnesses at those schools," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

IEA predicts surge in energy use by electronic 'gadgets'

Measures to reduce the energy consumption of mobile phones, computers, TVs and other electronic devices are failing to keep up with soaring global demand for new appliances.

Global Warming Inadvertently Curbed In Past By Lead Pollution, Scientists Find
May 14, 2009 09:53 AM - ScienceDaily

A team of scientists from the USA, Germany and Switzerland has found that particles containing lead are excellent seeds for the formation of ice crystals in clouds. This not only has a bearing on the formation of rain and other forms of precipitation but may also have an influence on the global climate.

Chicago Bans Baby Bottles With BPA Plastic

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a measure making Chicago the nation’s first city to ban the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups manufactured with a chemical that some studies have linked to disease. Passage was driven by what officials here call federal regulators’ failure to take action on a grave public health issue.

Changes In The Sun Are Not Causing Global Warming
May 12, 2009 07:40 AM - ScienceDaily

With the U.S. Congress beginning to consider regulations on greenhouse gases, a troubling hypothesis about how the sun may impact global warming is finally laid to rest.

High human impact ocean areas along US West Coast revealed
May 11, 2009 10:23 AM - National Science Foundation

"Every single spot of the ocean along the West Coast," said Ben Halpern, a marine ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, "is affected by 10 to 15 different human activities annually." In a two-year study to document the way humans are affecting the oceans in this region, Halpern and colleagues overlaid data on the location and intensity of 25 human-derived sources of ecological stress, including climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, land-based sources of pollution and ocean-based commercial activities. With the information, they produced a composite map of the status of West Coast marine ecosystems.

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