Sci/tech

Genes. Spots and Butterflies
February 5, 2010 12:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How different species can evolve the same colors and pattern has always puzzled biologists. Now, scientists at Cambridge University have found "hot spots" in the butterflies’ genes that might one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world. A gene is a hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism. Genes undergo mutation when their DNA sequence changes.

Biodiversity loss matters, and communication is crucial
February 5, 2010 07:32 AM - David Dickson, SciDevNet

Communicating why biodiversity loss matters for people is essential for reversing it. The failed UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December could hardly have been a less promising prelude to the International Year of Biodiversity, which opened last month (January). As with climate change, the threat of large-scale biodiversity loss — and the need for global political action to stop it — is growing every day.

Where Do The Old TVs Go?
February 2, 2010 04:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Do you remember CRTs(Cathode Ray Tube) TVs? Nowadays every thing seems to be Plasma or LCD. Where do the old CRT's go? A new MIT study reports that demand for these CRT devices is still greater than the supply of old discarded CRTs, whose glass is recycled to make new ones. The demand comes mostly from the world’s developing nations, where inexpensive TV sets using CRTs are one of the first luxury items people tend to buy as soon as they have a little bit of disposable income.

Save our Planet!
January 29, 2010 01:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Climate change is hard to imagine since it is dealing with small changes over a long period of time. A new NASA Web site can help younger children understand how and why their planet is changing and what they can do to help keep it habitable. This website is called "Climate Kids". It is geared toward students in grades 4 through 6 and has a multimedia rich website with games and humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.

Fire and Smoke Can Be Good and Bad
January 27, 2010 02:31 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Recent ecological research has shown that forest fire is an integral component to the function and biodiversity of many ecological communities, and that the organisms within those communities have adapted to withstand and even exploit it. A fire may destroy one ecological community but allow greater long term diversity. It is not just the fire but the smoke too. Smoke plays an intriguing role in promoting the germination of seeds of many species following a fire. Even the carbon dioxide from a fire has an impact on the overall ecosystem.

Asteroids and Their Impact
January 26, 2010 02:01 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

NASA's Wide field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has spotted its first never before seen near Earth asteroid, the first of hundreds it is expected to find during its mission to map the whole sky in infrared light. There is no danger of this newly discovered asteroid hitting the Earth. Since it formed over 4.5 billion years ago, Earth has been hit many times by asteroids and comets whose orbits bring them into the inner solar system. Some of these sites are well known such as Meteor Crater in Arizona as well as the theory that the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a such a collision. These objects, collectively known as Near Earth Objects, still pose a danger to Earth today.

Product Life Cycle Analysis
January 21, 2010 03:39 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

How good or how bad is a product from a green carbon footprint point of view? Several well known corporations like Airbus, Levi Strauss & Co., 3M, DuPont, and Kraft Foods are volunteering to road test a full life cycle greenhouse gas analysis on a wide range of products from blue jeans to manufactured steel. A life cycle analysis studies all the potential contributions to a carbon footprint and includes supplier, transportation, production and disposal. This concept is also related to environmental sustainability.

Imported from Asia: OZONE
January 21, 2010 06:59 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Ever wonder how the western US has high ozone levels when the winds usually blow in off the Pacific Ocean? Did you think it was all from the cars clogging the freeways? Turns out, it is caused in part from emissions of ozone generating air emissions from Asia. A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that Springtime ozone levels above western North America are rising, primarily due to air flowing eastward from the Pacific Ocean, a trend that is most significant when the air originates in Asia.

Reach: High Hazard Chemicals
January 19, 2010 03:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of CHemicals (REACH) is a European Union Regulation. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. REACH started in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. The rules were created for the better protection of human health and protection of the environment by ultimately regulating the use and limits of toxic substances. The European Chemicals Agency has recently added 14 substances to the list of very high concern chemicals to undergo special health and safety scrutiny under the bloc's chemical regulation REACH.

UK planning to reintroduce insects
January 19, 2010 06:56 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

When one thinks of reintroducing wildlife, one usually thinks of big charismatic mammals, such as wolves or beaver, or desperate birds like the Californian condor. But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Scotland is going one step further to save the UK's unique ecology with plans to reintroduce four species of dwindling insects.

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