Sci/tech

Smarter Storage for Solar and Wind Power
December 1, 2007 01:53 PM - , Green Progress

Australia - The Australian government's science branch has launched a major effort to develop new batteries to store energy. The project is led by CSIRO, the Australian Commonwealth's Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency.

Director of the CSIRO Energy Transformed National Research Flagship Dr John Wright said the Smart Storage battery technology aims to deliver a low cost, high performance, high power stationary energy storage solution suitable for grid-connected and remote applications.

Tunisia opens bank of genetic resources
December 1, 2007 12:37 PM - , SciDevNet

Tunisia's president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, inaugurated a national gene bank this month (11 November) to promote the development of sustainable agriculture in the country.

Located in Tunis, the National Gene Bank aims to preserve biological diversity and protect genetic resources, boost scientific research in agricultural biotechnology and promote sustainable genetic diversity for research into plant breeding and crop improvement.

YouTube Continues to Lead U.S. Online Video Market With 28 Percent Market Share
November 30, 2007 06:12 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

RESTON, Va. - According to new market research, nearly 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched a video online (including both streaming video and progressive downloads), averaging three hours of video per person during the month. Google Sites, which includes YouTube.com, topped the September rankings with both the most unique video viewers and most videos viewed.

 

Google Continues to Lead Online Video Market

Turtle Conservation is Like its Name Sake: It’s Slow, But There are Big Rewards
November 30, 2007 05:26 PM - US Fish and Wildlife Service

WASHINGTON - Marine turtles have thrived for more than 100 million years.  But only the last few hundred years have given the huge, spectacular, prehistoric reptiles serious trouble. And that's where people like Earl Possardt, an international sea turtle specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, come in.  Possardt is part of a bigger effort to rescue what remains of seven species of an animal that has managed, sometimes against formidable odds, to make it all the way into the 21st century.

In 2007 alone, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service directed international conservation grants totaling nearly $600,000 to 22 countries and conservation entities involved in sea turtle survival.  Most of the money has gone to efforts to restore or safeguard turtle nesting areas.  The funds also support conservation of the world's largest nesting loggerhead population in Oman, and help preserve one of the two remaining large leatherback nesting areas that occur along the West African coast.

 

Scientists launch DNA 'fin-printing' project for salmon
November 30, 2007 04:55 PM - University of Washington Newswire

Seattle, Washington - Some salmon make one heck of a commute. The record holder in the Pacific Northwest, for example, is a steelhead that was tagged in the Clearwater River, Idaho, in April 2003. A year and a half later, it was caught off the southern Kuril Islands near Japan. The most direct route between those two points -- as the crow flies, as they say -- is 4,200 miles. Imagine fish that make it that far then turn around and travel back to their home streams in order to spawn.

Many gene tests a waste of money: experts
November 30, 2007 03:28 PM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Genetic tests to assess disease risk are proliferating but many are a waste of money and tell people little more than they would know from studying family history, medical experts said on Friday.

A host of companies now offer tests, typically costing hundreds of dollars, to calculate genetic risks for common conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease that involve multiple genes.

Microbes in ancient ice could give clues to life's origin
November 30, 2007 10:54 AM -

Riverside, California - Researchers from the University of California, Riverside and the University of Delaware have thawed ice estimated to be perhaps a million years old or more from above Lake Vostok, an ancient lake that lies hidden more than two miles beneath the frozen surface of Antarctica.

Currently, the research team, led by UC Riverside’s Brian Lanoil, an assistant professor of environmental sciences, is examining the eons-old water for microorganisms. Using novel genomic techniques, the team is trying to determine how the tiny, living “time capsules” survived the ages in total darkness, in freezing cold and without food and energy from the sun.

Global warming sends salamanders packing
November 30, 2007 10:39 AM -

BERKELEY -- A genetic study of the salamander family that encompasses two-thirds of the world's salamander species shows that periods of global warming helped the amphibians diversify and expand their range from North America into Europe and Asia, where pockets of them are still found today.

Interestingly, while one period of warming allowed some salamanders to move northward into Asia via an arctic land bridge, the next warming period may have facilitated their return to North America.

Invasive species threaten land of the dodo
November 30, 2007 09:54 AM - By Ed Harris, Reuters

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Three centuries after the dodo's demise, the rich plant and animal life of Mauritius is still under threat, this time from exploding populations of non-native species such as Chinese guavas and Malagasy geckos.

The Poo Theory of Life
November 30, 2007 09:06 AM - , Environmental Graffiti

The Cambrian period began a little over 500 million years ago. Before the Cambrian period, life on earth consisted of mostly single-celled organisms and bacteria. Afterwards the evolutionary ancestors of all the major groups of living things today were hanging around the planet. So what caused this evolutionary leap? According to one scientist, poop.

Biogeochemist Graham Logan published his opinion on the matter a few years ago. He points out that feces producing creatures, ones that ate food then excreted it like humans today, first arrived around 40 million years before the Cambrian period. He argued that their poo was what allowed oxygen levels to rise, and evolution to explode.

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