Sci/tech

Rising Sun for Electric Cars
April 28, 2008 07:55 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

Is my sustainability work consonant with the gravity of the climate crisis and the urgency of the ecological challenges we face? At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), as a complement to our work on renewable energy hedges, we are working to transform energy use on campus. One project underway is a system of grid-tied electric vehicles (Vehicle to Grid or V2G) combined with a solar photovoltaic charging system and smart computer control.

Google ends eco-search engine support
April 28, 2008 07:45 AM - , Triple Pundit

Sydney-based Ecocho founder Tim Macdonald had an idea; build a search engine based on Google and Yahoo technology and use the ad revenue to plant two trees for every 1,000 searches, offsetting tons of carbon dioxide. However, the practice of "compensating users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior" is a violation of Google AdSense policy and Google decided to pull support of the site, on Earth Day no less. Macdonald claims Google is not enforcing its rules to other "green" search engines such as Blackle, though Blackle is not making the same claims.

Human warming hobbles ancient climate cycle
April 28, 2008 06:07 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Before humans began burning fossil fuels, there was an eons-long balance between carbon dioxide emissions and Earth's ability to absorb them, but now the planet can't keep up, scientists said on Sunday. The finding, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, relies on ancient Antarctic ice bubbles that contain air samples going back 610,000 years.

Scientists sequence GM papaya genome
April 25, 2008 10:03 AM - , SciDevNet

[BEIJING] Scientists have sequenced the genome of a genetically modified (GM) papaya, a step that could benefit both cultivation of the fruit and the understanding of fruit tree genomics. As the first GM virus-resistant fruit tree to be sequenced, the researchers also hope it will further the understanding of GM genomes and the effects of inserted genes.

IDC Develops Eco-friendly Inflatable Solar Panel for Domestic Use
April 25, 2008 09:20 AM - , Green Progress

As a leading sustainable product designer, Industrial Design Consultancy (IDC) is delighted to announce its latest product development; an inflatable solar collector called SolarStore. The SolarStore harnesses the sun’s natural energy to warm domestic water and can heat up to three full tanks of water per day at temperatures close to 80°C.

EPA scientists complain about political pressure
April 24, 2008 08:42 AM - H. JOSEF HEBERT, AP News

Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists say they have been pressured by superiors to skew their findings, according to a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group. The Union of Concerned Scientists said more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work.

Green Electronics Made Not So Easy: How Companies Are Marketing EPEAT
April 24, 2008 08:04 AM - , Triple Pundit

EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, is like LEED certification for electronics; it monitors the environmental impact of electronics much like LEED monitors buildings. Products are ranked either bronze, silver, or gold, depending on how many of the 51 criteria they meet. Criteria include recycling programs for products, the labeling of plastic parts for recycling, the elimination of "environmentally sensitive" material, ENERGY STAR®, RoHS, and WEEE compliance, among others. Companies are taking a serious look at the certification now that at least 95% of federal agency electronic purchases must be EPEAT-registered.

Report confirms ozone pollution can kill
April 22, 2008 07:01 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even breathing in a little ozone at levels found in many areas is likely to kill some people prematurely, the National Research Council reported on Tuesday. The report recommends that the Environmental Protection Agency consider ozone-related mortality in any future ozone standards, and said local health authorities should keep this in mind when advising people to stay indoors on polluted days.

Brain reacts to fairness as it does to money and chocolate
April 22, 2008 08:45 AM - University of California - Los Angeles

The human brain responds to being treated fairly the same way it responds to winning money and eating chocolate, UCLA scientists report. Being treated fairly turns on the brain's reward circuitry. "We may be hard-wired to treat fairness as a reward," said study co-author Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.

Synchrotron light unveils oil in ancient Buddhist paintings from Bamiyan
April 22, 2008 08:42 AM - European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

The world was in shock when in 2001 the Talibans destroyed two ancient colossal Buddha statues in the Afghan region of Bamiyan. Behind those statues, there are caves decorated with precious paintings from 5th to 9th century A.D. The caves also suffered from Taliban destruction, as well as from a severe natural environment, but today they have become the source of a major discovery. Scientists have proved, thanks to experiments performed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), that the paintings were made of oil, hundreds of years before the technique was “invented” in Europe. Results are published today in the peer-reviewed Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

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