Sci/tech

Space shuttle crew arrives in Florida for liftoff
October 20, 2007 09:05 AM - Reuters

The crew of space shuttle Discovery arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday for the countdown ahead of next week's launch on a construction mission to the International Space Station.

Discovery, hauling a key connection node to the space station, is scheduled for liftoff at 11:38 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.

Sustainable Projects Compete for Millions, International Competition
October 19, 2007 04:13 PM -

Waltham, Ma. – Construction projects from all across North America are invited to compete for the widely recognized Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. The Holcim Awards will recognize projects that meet current needs for housing and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Holcim Awards, an international competition, is an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction to celebrate innovative, future-oriented, and tangible sustainable construction projects from around the globe. The Holcim Awards are supported in the North America region by the Holcim Ltd Group companies Holcim (US) Inc., St. Lawrence Cement, and Aggregate Industries. The North American region includes the US, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

A Sustainable Holiday Spirit, in Mason, Michigan
October 19, 2007 03:48 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Ingham County, Michigan - The city of Mason, in Michigan has decided the spirit of the holidays includes the spirit of sustainability. And you'll see it brightly displayed on their holiday tree on the Ingham County Courthouse’s west lawn. For starters the city is replacing its incandescent holiday lights with energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. The 1200 new LED lights replace 500 old incandescent ones, draw a quarter of the power, 864 watts compared to the previous 3276 kilowatt hours; use professional weatherproof connectors and durable epoxy plastic, not glass bulbs. And, all 1200 lights can be plugged into one standard outlet. This will save the City about $250 each year while adding over 700 lights to its tree.

Turning Grey Into Green: Greywater Recycling Systems
October 19, 2007 03:13 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Atlanta, Georgia - First a word about something called "greywater". Greywater is basically washwater. As homeowners, we make a lot of it each day. It's all wastewater excepting toilet wastes and food wastes derived from garbage grinders. No surprise, this partially used water can be re-used in your home for toilet flushing and watering gardens. Good for you, good for your water bill and good for the environment. Especially in drought stricken parts of the country like Georgia where the state's Environmental Protection Division declared a level four drought for sixty-one counties in the state.

Afghan city takes action to save ancient minarets
October 19, 2007 10:50 AM - Sayed Salahuddin -Reuters

A group of mediaeval minarets in the Afghan city of Herat could be saved thanks to the closure of a busy road threatening their foundations.

The minarets, standing at more than 100 feet, are all that remain of what was once a brilliantly decorated complex for Islamic learning and devotion on the Silk Road on the outskirts of the western Afghan city.

Texas coastal wind farms advance despite critics
October 19, 2007 10:29 AM - Reuters

Two companies developing more than 600 megawatts of wind generation along the Texas coastline aren't daunted by threats of hurricane damage or opposition from environmentalists and powerful ranching interests, executives said Thursday.PPM Energy, a U.S subsidiary of Iberdrola's Scottish Power unit, and Babcock & Brown are developing two wind farms in Kenedy County, a thinly populated county south of Corpus Christi. Both companies expect to produce power by the end of 2008.

Moon's blue light a coral aphrodisiac, say scientists
October 19, 2007 10:27 AM - Michael Perry -Reuters

Ancient light-sensitive genes may be the trigger for the annual mass spawning of corals shortly after a full moon on the Great Barrier Reef, according to a study by Australian and Israeli scientists.The cryptochromes genes occur in corals, insects, fish and mammals -- including humans -- and are primitive light-sensing pigment mechanisms which predate the evolution of eyes.

Dog DNA study reveals new role for protein
October 19, 2007 10:09 AM - Julie Steenhuysen -Reuters

A family of proteins known to fight off microbes surprisingly also helps determine whether a poodle's coat will be black, white or somewhere in between, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a finding that may also help explain why people come in different colors and weights.Researchers at Stanford University in California studied the DNA of hundreds of dogs, looking for a gene mutation that controls coat color.

Scientist Watson returns to U.S. over race row
October 19, 2007 10:08 AM - Michael Kahn -Reuters

Nobel Prize-winning DNA authority Dr. James Watson cut short a book tour in Britain on Friday and returned to the United States over racially insensitive comments attributed to him in a British newspaper.The winner of the 1962 Nobel prize for his description of the double helix structure of DNA apologized for his remarks on Thursday at an appearance to promote his new book, saying he did not mean to characterize Africans as genetically inferior.

Scientists find how amber becomes death trap for watery creatures
October 18, 2007 12:20 PM - University of Florida

Shiny amber jewelry and a mucky Florida swamp have given scientists a window into an ancient ecosystem that could be anywhere from 15 million to 130 million years old.

Scientists at the University of Florida and the Museum of Natural History in Berlin made the landmark discovery that prehistoric aquatic critters such as beetles and small crustaceans unwittingly swim into resin flowing down into the water from pine-like trees. Their findings are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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