Sci/tech

Other Life, Other Universes
February 23, 2010 12:39 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Whether life exists elsewhere in our universe is a long standing mystery. But for some scientists, there’s another interesting question: could there be life in a universe significantly different from our own? Science fiction has often explored other universes such as those of alternate history (where the South won the Civil War and not the North for example). Science fiction has also explored universes where the laws of physics are different. In this case scientists have explored this concept and have come up with some interesting extrapolations.

Confidence in Scientists Dropping as Result of "Climategate"
February 20, 2010 11:18 AM - John von Radowitz, Press Association, Environmental Health News

Fallout from a loss of public confidence in climate science is affecting other fields of research, a top US academic claimed. American opinion polls point to a general deterioration in people's faith in science, according to Dr Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. It came after two major public relations setbacks for the global warming gurus.

U.S. Climate Data Reliable
February 17, 2010 05:58 PM - Yale Environment 360

A study by scientists from the U.S.'s National Climatic Data Center refutes claims from climate change skeptics that data from U.S. weather stations was seriously flawed and exaggerated the rate of temperature increases. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, says that U.S. weather stations may have actually slightly underestimated temperature increases. Anthony Watts, a former meteorologist who publishes the WattsUpWithThat blog, compiled photo evidence of what he considered poorly located weather stations across the U.S., including locations that could be influenced by artificial heat, such as those near parking lots and air conditioning systems.

Glimpse of an Asteroid Possible Now
February 17, 2010 07:22 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

NASA tracks asteroids all the time. They are difficult or impossible for the rest of us to ever glimpse. Now, the most prominent asteroid in the sky can be seen with binoculars -- and perhaps even the naked eye, if you are in an area with reasonably dark skies at night. Tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 17, Vesta, the second most massive object in the asteroid belt, reaches what astronomers like to call "opposition." An asteroid (or planet or comet) is said to be "in opposition" when it is opposite to the sun as seen from Earth.

Electric Cars on the Move in Germany
February 16, 2010 06:22 AM - Science Daily

Electric cars have many merits: They are quieter and require less maintenance than cars with internal combustion engines. A network of smartly located charging stations covering the entire Harz region in Germany is bound to make electric cars a regional feature. The Harz region is banking on electric cars. Electric cars will soon be rolling through Quedlinburg, Werningerode and other cities in the region. Seventeen partners from research, academia and industry have committed themselves to this with their project Harz.ErneuerbareEnergien-mobility or Harz.EE-mobility for short.

New error in UN Climate report
February 14, 2010 07:40 AM - Reuters

The U.N. panel of climate experts overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level, according to a preliminary report on Saturday, admitting yet another flaw after a row last month over Himalayan glacier melt. A background note by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a 2007 report wrongly stated that 55 percent of the country was below sea level since the figure included areas above sea level, prone to flooding along rivers.

Evidence of Rapid Sea Rise Found in Coastal Cave in Mediterranean
February 13, 2010 10:22 AM - Yale Environment 360

An examination of mineral deposits in a coastal cave on the Spanish island of Mallorca shows evidence of rapid rises and declines in sea level as the planet warmed and cooled. Reporting in the journal Science, University of Iowa researchers said that studies of the mineral, calcite — deposited by sea water on the inside of a seaside cave, like rings on a bathtub — showed that roughly 81,000 years ago sea levels jumped by more than 6 feet a century during a warm period, and then dropped during a subsequent cooling cycle at a similar rate — 66 feet per 1,000 years.

Arctic Could be Ice-Free in future Summers
February 11, 2010 07:41 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Are warming conditions in the Arctic unprecedented in Earth’s history? It turns out that they are not. The Earth’s climate has gone through warming and cooling times in the past as can be seen in the fossil record that shows tropical species in regions now too cool to support them. These past variations were obviously not caused by the effects of man's activities. This does not mean that the current warming trend is not caused, or affected by anthropogenic air pollution. There is now increased evidence that the Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions and much warmer temperatures in the future.

SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL ATMOSPHERIC INTERACTIONS: A FRESH, SPARKY LOOK
February 10, 2010 08:25 PM - Themis Chronis, for ENN

We live in a strongly climate-oriented era, where each one of us is called to choose between sides; are we among the "believers" or the "infidels" of the "Global Warming?". Two decades ago, a part of the scientific community started engaging in intense discussions around the "unusual" temperature trends which, for the northern hemisphere, had been going undoubtedly uphill. The first serious counter arguments regarding the validity of these findings targeted the inherited errors that all observational tools possess. New observations and improved algorithms started to appear fairly quickly, a fact that partially appeased debates and concerns. Skeptics of the global warming theory try to find other kinds of evidence to second-guess the mainstream CO2 increase and steer away from anthropocentric related theories. And suddenly, along came a cloud...

How to Reduce the Fumes
February 10, 2010 07:50 AM - Editor, Sierra Club Green Home

A fresh coat of paint can change a room from dreary to divine. Stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives help you build everything from a new bathroom to a bookcase. But all these useful products can also introduce unhealthy chemicals into your home and your body. Low-VOC paint The biggest culprit is VOCs, or "volatile organic compounds," a large class of chemicals that readily evaporate at room temperature. If you walk into a room and notice that new-paint smell, you’re breathing VOCs. Paints, stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives release the highest levels of VOCs when wet. But even when they feel dry to the touch, they may keep releasing these gases for days, weeks, months, even years. Meanwhile your upholstery, carpets, and drapes act like sponges, absorbing VOCs and releasing them over time. While not everyone may be bothered by exposure to these gases, they can be a serious health risk for people with chemical sensitivities, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.

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