Sci/tech

Sea otter study reveals striking variability in diets and feeding strategies
January 15, 2008 09:59 AM - University of California - Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Ecologists have long observed that when food becomes scarce, animal populations exploit a wider range of food sources. So scientists studying southern sea otters at different sites in California's coastal waters were not surprised to find that the dietary diversity of the population is higher where food is limited. But this diversity was not reflected in the diets of individual sea otters, which instead showed dietary specialization in response to limited food.

Britain's fastest supercomputer unveiled
January 15, 2008 08:30 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - A supercomputer that could help answer some of science's biggest questions will be unveiled on Monday. With the power of 12,000 desktop PCs, the mammoth machine called HECToR is the country's fastest computer and one of the most powerful in Europe.

Toyota to offer some plug-ins by 2010
January 14, 2008 11:10 AM - Reuters

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp plans to market a test fleet of rechargeable hybrid vehicles to companies or government agencies by the end of 2010, raising the stakes in a race with rival General Motors Corp to bring the first mass-market plug-in to market. Toyota has also already begun preparations to build a factory that will produce the next-generation lithium-ion batteries needed for plug-ins and purely electric vehicles, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters on Monday.

Will Current Organic Standards Save us from GMO Contamination?
January 14, 2008 09:34 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Widespread development and use of organic standards began in the 1980's to safeguard and systematize an alternative way (organic) of agriculture and handling food. Among a detailed list of prohibited substances in organic systems are chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Because the organic system recognized from the start that it would likely remain a small component of agriculture, and that contamination would inevitably happen through background pollution such as polluted water, air and drift, it proposed a system based on a "practice standard," rather than on measuring the purity of an end product.

Antarctic ice loss increasing steadily
January 14, 2008 09:29 AM - University of Bristol

Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to research from the University of Bristol and published online this week in Nature Geoscience. Meanwhile the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade.

Abu Dhabi unveil plans for sustainable city
January 14, 2008 09:24 AM - WWF

WWF and the government of Abu Dhabi today launched a Sustainability Strategy to deliver the world’s greenest city. Masdar City will be the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city, meeting or exceeding a set of stringent sustainability goals established under the “One Planet Living┢” programme established by WWF and environmental consultancy BioRegional.

UK biofuels push lacks greenhouse targets
January 14, 2008 07:07 AM - Reuters

A government directive requiring fuel suppliers to use more biofuels will do little to combat climate change because the measure lacks targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, British scientists said on Monday. In a report focusing on the British directive set to take effect in April 2008, the Royal Society said biofuels should play an important role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.

Biotech companies race for drought-tolerant crops
January 14, 2008 05:21 AM - Reuters

Outside the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc, the pavement is iced over and workers arriving for the day are bundled up against the cold. But inside a laboratory, a warm, man-made drought is in force, curling the leaves of rows of fledgling corn plants as million-dollar machines and scientists in white coats monitor their distress.

Next-generation biofuels edge to center
January 12, 2008 09:43 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The quest by executives and venture capitalists to build a next-generation biofuels industry has made strides this year as oil reached $100 a barrel and the world's largest energy consumer laid down ambitious new mandates for alternative fuels.

WMO to seek satellites to monitor climate change
January 11, 2008 01:11 PM - Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' weather agency will ask NASA and other space agencies next week to make their next generation of satellites available to monitor climate change, a senior official at the U.N. body said on Friday. The aim is to ensure that satellites launched over the next 20 years constantly record parameters such as sea levels and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

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