Sci/tech

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.

China reducing rare earth export quota as environmental protection measure
August 29, 2010 08:24 AM - Reuters

China's decision to slash export quotas of rare earth elements was a necessary step to protect the country's environment, commerce minister Chen Deming said following criticism from Japanese officials. "Mass extraction of rare earth will cause great damage to the environment and that's why China has tightened controls over rare earth production, exploration and trade," Chen was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying on Saturday.

The Layers of the Earth
August 26, 2010 02:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The asthenosphere is the highly viscous mechanically weak region of the upper mantle of the Earth on which "float" the continental plates. It lies below the lithosphere, at depths between 60 and 120 miles below the surface, but perhaps extending as deep as 400+ miles. The lithosphere is a complex mixture of layers. For example the North American continent is not one thick, rigid slab, but a layer cake of ancient, 3 billion-year-old rock on top of much newer material probably less than 1 billion years old, according to a new study by seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley.

Artificial Light and Productivity
August 25, 2010 10:38 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Artificial light has, throughout history, been a powerful force contributing to the quality and productivity of human life. It is so significant to human life that society spends an enormous amount of energy to produce it. Currently, there is new artificial lighting emerging on the market place. These new technologies, in the form of solid-state lighting (SSL), offer the promise of increased productivity without more energy usage, and a higher quality of life.

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