Sci/tech

Israeli Air Force Fighter Pilots Dodge Migrating Storks
September 29, 2010 07:15 AM - Israeli Air Force Fighter Pilots Dodge Migrating Storks Arieh O'Sullivan - The Media Line, from Green Prophet

Droves of migrating birds strike a remarkable sight as they swirl above head in flocks of some 5,000 birds at a time over the Judean Desert. There are about seven hundred million birds flying over Israel twice every year during migration season, 600,000 of them white storks, explains Noam Attias. Attias, a birdwatcher for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, is perched atop a rocky hilltop overlooking the Jordan River Valley. She is also a former air force air traffic controller. "When you see a pack of storks, even if it is small, or very, very big you see this mass of birds which are going up. Pelicans will do it in a very nice order. Storks will do it in all kinds of directions as they go up. And when they get to the top of this thermal that's when they begin to glide. That is when they are in a really nice order and I can count them really easily and I can count them 10, 20, 30, 40 and so on," says Attias.

Stanford University breakthrough solar cell research
September 28, 2010 10:54 AM - Louis Bergeron, Stanford University

Ultra-thin solar cells can absorb sunlight more efficiently than the thicker, more expensive-to-make silicon cells used today, because light behaves differently at scales around a nanometer (a billionth of a meter), say Stanford engineers. They calculate that by properly configuring the thicknesses of several thin layers of films, an organic polymer thin film could absorb as much as 10 times more energy from sunlight than was thought possible. In the smooth, white, bunny-suited clean-room world of silicon wafers and solar cells, it turns out that a little roughness may go a long way, perhaps all the way to making solar power an affordable energy source, say Stanford engineers.

Deep Ocean Temperatures
September 24, 2010 02:44 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There are many levels in the ocean. In some places it is very deep while in other sites there is only the shallow continental shelf. There have been several reports on global warming in terms of land and surface water temperature, Now come reports from deeper depths. Scientists analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe over the past two decades find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica.

Jupiter Bright Spots
September 14, 2010 03:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The sky is not quite unchanging, just slow and far away. Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, catches a lot of the meteors, comets and other sky debris and in that way protects the inner planets such as Earth. Amateur astronomers working with professional astronomers have spotted two fireballs lighting up Jupiter's atmosphere this summer, marking the first time Earth based telescopes have captured relatively small objects burning up in the atmosphere of the giant planet. The two fireballs - which produced bright freckles on Jupiter that were visible through backyard telescopes - occurred on June 3, 2010, and August 20, 2010, respectively.

Early Life on Earth and Amino Acids
September 13, 2010 02:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma (a thin, fuzzy, temporary atmosphere) and sometimes also a tail. Occasionally, they will collide with planets such as the Earth. New research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that comets that crashed into Earth millions of years ago could have produced amino acids – the building blocks of life. Amino acids are critical to life and serve as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids.

The Role of Clouds on Earth's Climate
September 7, 2010 10:22 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Modeling for climate change is an extremely complex process because Earth's climate is so complex. It is an interrelated system that involves the atmosphere, biosphere, land, and oceans. A change in one can cause a chain reaction in all the others. By studying ancient climate change patterns, scientists are better able to predict what might happen in future events. However, one factor that remains far from understanding is the role of clouds – how they will react to and influence a changing climate.

Mass Extinctions Change the Rules of Evolution
September 3, 2010 11:39 AM - Brandon Keim, Wired Science

A reinterpretation of the fossil record suggests a new answer to one of evolution's existential questions: whether global mass extinctions are just short-term diversions in life's preordained course, or send life careening down wholly new paths. Some scientists have suggested the former. But according to the calculations of Macquarie University paleobiologist John Alroy, that's just not the case.

Hurricane Earl
September 2, 2010 05:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Hurricane Earl is still a powerful category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it approaches the North Carolina coast September 2. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite observed the high rates rain was falling within Earl in some areas more than 2 inches per hour. Hurricane Earl became the most powerful hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season early on September 2 when its sustained winds reached 120 kts (~138 mph). It was still intensifying when the TRMM satellite passed near its location on 2 September 2010. The TRMM Microwave Imager data were used in the rainfall analysis that showed heavy rainfall, particularly in the northwest quadrant of Earl's very distinct circular eye.

New Izzitgreen Back to School selections for ENN readers
August 30, 2010 11:57 AM - Editor, ENN

ENN affiliate Izzitgreen has selected these offerings specially for ENN readers. Izzitgreen is a blog that helps you stay informed about the latest, coolest, most innovative green products available. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these items through ENN will go to "e"inc. It's that time of year when students of all ages head back to the classroom. To help students do everything from staying organized to getting their lunches, books, and other supplies to their temples of learning in an eco-sustainable way, our partner IzzitGreen has found a couple of cool, environmentally friendly products to chose from this fall. Ecozoo Organic Backpack Designed for kids heading off to school for the first time, the versatile Ecozoo Organic Backpack is a neat functional backpack disguised as an adorable toy. It will easily hold any preschool item and do so in a backpack that has an adorable eco-friendly animal design. Made with organic cotton canvas the Ecozoo Organic Backpack is durable, machine washable, and extremely lightweight. The dyes used are non-toxic; the wood accents are sustainable; and any plastic contained has been recycled. Pick between an Elephant, Panda, Pig, or Puppy. Click on http://izzitgreen.com/ecozoo-organic-backpack.html to see a further description.

New Findings on Carbon Dioxide Release from World's Oceans
August 30, 2010 10:16 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, is intricately linked to global warming. The largest store of CO2 is the world's oceans. How the oceans sequester or release CO2 to or from the atmosphere is important to understand as mankind alters Earth's climate with the burning of fossil fuels. A new report from researchers at the University of California, Davis offers clues on how that mechanism works by analyzing the shells of plankton fossils.

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