Sci/tech

March Global Temperatures
April 15, 2010 04:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How hot is it? It depends, of course, on where you are. From a global perspective there are agencies that check and recheck and average it all out. The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

Global Warming: Next Chapter
April 14, 2010 12:22 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

For those in the American Northeast last winter was rugged and fairly cold. Yet what is he world picture? The World Meteorological Organization’s latest report demonstrates that 2000-2009 is the warmest decade since modern measurements began recording temperatures around 1850. In its annual report, “WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate,” the WMO also found that 2009 is nominally ranked as the fifth warmest on record.

Ancient Antarctic Air
April 13, 2010 03:51 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A new core drilled through an ice field on the Antarctic Peninsula should contain ice dating back into the last ice age. If so, that will give new insight into past global climate changes. The expedition in early winter to the Bruce Plateau, an ice field straddling a narrow ridge on the northernmost tongue of the southernmost continent, yielded a core that was 1,462 feet long, the longest yet recovered from that region of Antarctica. Old ice can contain bubbles of trapped air from long ago. That air represents, unchanged, what the air composition was like thousands of years ago. There may be other frozen clues in the water itself

The Biology of Stress
April 12, 2010 03:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists at The University of Western Ontario have discovered a biological link between stress, anxiety and depression. By identifying the connecting mechanism in the brain, this high impact research led by Stephen Ferguson of Robarts Research Institute shows how stress and anxiety can lead to biological causes of depression. The external causes of stress are multiple such as: Jobs and The Workplace, Financial Problem, Personal Relationships, Children/Family, and Being Too Busy. The biological link may show how to treat the stress symptoms in a better way.

Verizon Launches Major Sustainability Initiative
April 12, 2010 06:31 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

Verizon has just announced a comprehensive sustainability program that contains a number of new initiatives, as well as the expansion of existing efforts. The company, which was ranked #27 by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its list of 100 best companies, continues to emphasize its intention to grow responsibly. The initiatives range from additional greening of its vehicle fleet to new, high-efficiency set top video boxes. Some of the new initiatives for 2010 include: * Adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to the company fleet. Verizon is purchasing more than 1,100 alternative energy vehicles including hybrid and compressed natural gas-powered aerial bucket trucks and vans, and hybrid pick-up trucks and sedans. The company will also increase its use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles. New hybrid aerial bucket trucks replace the diesel generators used in conventional trucks of this type with batteries that can be recharged by the vehicle. Video. * Teaming-up with Motorola for a trial eco-friendly set-top boxes for FiOS TV customers in select markets. The new QIP models use significantly less energy than existing models. Packaging for both models will be 100 percent recyclable and made from 75 percent recycled cardboard. * A long-term awareness campaign to educate, encourage and make it easy for Verizon’s 220,000 employees to cut energy use, recycle and reuse at work and home. Recent examples include free electronic recycling days, open to the public, at various company locations. All materials collected during the campaign will be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, Verizon notes.

Toxic release Inventory List Expansion
April 9, 2010 04:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add 16 chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals, the first expansion of the program in more than a decade. Established as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities. The proposal is part of EPA's ongoing efforts to provide communities with more complete information on chemicals.

Geologist Connects Regular Changes of Earth's Orbital Cycle to Changes in Climate
April 9, 2010 08:59 AM - Science Daily

In an analysis of the past 1.2 million years, UC Santa Barbara geologist Lorraine Lisiecki discovered a pattern that connects the regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in Earth's climate. The finding is reported in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Sun Screen Nano Particles
April 8, 2010 04:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists are reporting that particle size may affect the toxicity of zinc oxide, a material widely used in sunscreens. Particles smaller than 100 nanometers are reported as slightly more toxic to colon cells than conventional zinc oxide when ingested. Their study is in the ACS Chemical Research in Toxicology, a monthly journal. Zinc Oxide is used in sunscreens as a highly effective agent to reduce and prevent sun burns. Part of its effectiveness is due to its particle size.

Pigeon Commander
April 8, 2010 11:57 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

It is always amazing to watch birds in flight because they often behave as if they respond to unseen commands when they turn in unison. Pigeons have been recently studied by Oxford University and Eötvös University (Hungary) to see who is command in a given flock. Pigeon flocks (they concluded) are guided by a flexible system of leadership in which almost every member gets a vote but the votes of high ranking birds seem to carry more weight.

Did Climate Change Drive Human Evolution?
April 8, 2010 10:27 AM - Christopher Joyce

There's a plan afoot among evolutionary scientists to launch a big new project — to look back in time and find out how climate change over millions of years affected human evolution. A panel of experts from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., has given its blessing to the plan. They say it could unveil a whole new side of human history.

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