Sci/tech

When and Where Life Began
March 1, 2011 08:14 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Almost 600 million years ago, before the rapid evolution of life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche near what is now Lantian, a small village in south China. Then they simply died, leaving some 3,000 nearly pristine fossils preserved between beds of black shale deposited in oxygen-free and unbreathable waters. Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Virginia Tech in the United States and Northwest University in Xi'an, China report the discovery of the fossils in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The long-running puzzlement about the appearance of the Cambrian fauna, seemingly abruptly and from nowhere, centers on three key points: whether there really was a mass diversification of complex organisms over a relatively short period of time during the early Cambrian; what might have caused such rapid change; and what it would imply about the origin and evolution of animals. Interpretation is difficult due to a limited supply of evidence, based mainly on an incomplete fossil record and chemical signatures left in Cambrian rocks. The Lantia discovery suggests a much part of the picture.

Risk Management Rules and Farms
February 28, 2011 08:00 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Farms do not have highly hazardous chemicals? It is not just factories that use such chemicals but so do farms. ADI Agronomy, Inc., which owns a group of farm supply facilities in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, has agreed to pay a $54,922 civil penalty to the United States for chemical Risk Management Program violations at its Ag Distributors retail facility at Kennett, Mo., which sells liquid fertilizer made with anhydrous ammonia. EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to the Kennett facility in July 2010, after an inspection noted eight violations of the chemical Risk Management Program regulations contained in the federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, Ag Distributors failed to establish and implement maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing integrity of its anhydrous ammonia process equipment, and failed to document that the equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, among other violations.

New from BBC Earth: The Monarch Migrates
February 25, 2011 07:12 AM - BBC Earth

Dating back to over 250-million years ago, this simple milkweed butterfly is master of change. With it's name literally being translated from the Greek as "sleepy transformation", the Monarch Butterfly develops from egg to caterpillar to butterfly without a bat of a wing! However this seemingly effortless metamorphosis, lasting approximately two weeks, is just the beginning. Within the mysterious world of this exceptional insect lies a spectacular truth. That in every four generations, the last born will live longer and fly further than any other before them. The typical Monarch's life will last up to four or five weeks taking them through a journey; starting as a tiny creamy white egg planted carefully on the fine leaves of the milkweed, to an energized chrysalis, into a striking tawny coloured butterfly! At which point, it will reach adulthood, fly to find the most tempting source of nectar, reproduce and then die. However some then go further.

ENN Community Launches
February 23, 2011 03:50 PM - Editor, ENN

Great news today! We've launched a brand new community for ENN! This feature brings a whole new dimension to our site by creating a vibrant space for our readers and environmental enthusiasts to interact with each other and weigh in with YOUR opinions about topics related to our news articles. That's right, it's your turn at the mic! Time to jump in and start sharing. We are really excited to have you all begin posting your thoughts and tips -- you can start by rating your favorite environment topics, and then begin to share tips and reviews as well. You can also check out the latest reviews from fellow readers to share your comments and compliments. There are lots of ways to get the most out of our new community -- take a few polls and see some of the badges that you can unlock, too. Have fun checking out the newest part of ENN and thanks for helping us kick off a thriving reader community!

New from BBC Earth: Polar Bears emerge
February 23, 2011 11:37 AM - BBC Earth

January and February is a fantastic time of year for new life all over the world! And activity in the Arctic is of no exception, even though the freezing temperatures may have you thinking differently. Surviving and succeeding in the most extreme elements, the Polar Bear is one of nature’s great fighters. And it starts from day one. Born in the darkness of December, within the mountainous areas of the Arctic circle, the first few weeks of these cubs' life would be fraught with danger...if it wasn't for one thing; the dedication of their mother. After consuming huge amounts of food (almost doubling their body weight!) in preparation for hibernation, the female Polar Bear will first wait for the sea ice to break up. Then in the snow drifts near the coastal waters, will go about making her den that will be her resting place for the next three to four months. Resting in their deep warm nesting place, the Polar Bear mother will usually give birth to a pair of cubs. Born blind and deaf, these vulnerable bears take several weeks to develop even the basic abilities of seeing, hearing, smelling and walking.

Sheep Brains
February 23, 2011 06:38 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Despite having a comparable brain size to other highly evolved animals, sheep have been historically perceived as unintelligent and were therefore not considered to be good animal models for studying diseases that affect learning and memory. However, new research recently published in the journal PLoS ONE shows that sheep are indeed smarter than previously believed. The researchers are hopeful the animals will prove useful for research into diseases that impair the cognitive abilities of patients, such as Huntington's disease (HD) and Alzheimer's disease. Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep.

Investing in greener economy could spur growth
February 21, 2011 08:05 AM - Helen Nyambura-Mwaura, Reuters, NAIROBI

Channeling 2 percent, or $1.3 trillion, of global gross domestic product into greening sectors such as construction, energy and fishing could start a move toward a low-carbon world, a report launched on Monday said. The investment would expand the global economy at the same rate, if not higher, as under present economic policies, said the report by the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP). "Investing 2 per cent of global GDP into 10 key sectors can kick-start a transition toward a low-carbon world," the Nairobi-based agency said in a statement.

DOE Transportation Budget Is All About EVs
February 18, 2011 08:13 AM - John Gartner, Matter Network

The 2012 Department of Energy budget submitted to Congress on Monday includes a 20-page section on Vehicle Technologies (VT), and nearly every word of it refers to vehicle electrification. In language of funding dollars, the VT budget jumps by 80 percent from $325 million to $588 million.

New from BBC Earth: Wildebeest calves are born
February 18, 2011 07:45 AM - BBC Earth

As one of the largest groups of wandering animals, you would have thought that when it comes to their young, they would be in trouble from the beginning. Alike many animals that reside on the Eastern African savannas, it's a dog eat dog world...or more lion and hyena eats everyone else! However these magnificent animals have an ingenious solution up their sleeves! Known as the "follower-calf" system, an incredible 80% of the Wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period. This synchronization reduces the probability of the tender young wildebeest to become prey to the predominant predator of the area, the hungry spotted hyaena. And this is not the only technique these bovid (family of cloven-hoofed mammals!) have against this harsh nature of the Serengeti plains. They also choose to give birth in the middle of the herd, rather than straying away to find a secluded place – a clear example of there being power in numbers!

Closer to the Cure for the Common Cold
February 17, 2011 09:42 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

There is no cure for the common cold, no magic elixir that will make all of your symptoms go away. However, over human's many millennia of battling the cold, we have found little tricks that can help fight it. According to new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library, we have found a new trick that could provide huge benefits. A way to significantly reduce severity and duration of the common cold is to take Zinc supplements.

First | Previous | 358 | 359 | 360 | 361 | 362 | Next | Last