Sci/tech

Oceanic Seesaw Links Northern And Southern Hemisphere During Abrupt Climate Change During Last Ice Age
March 3, 2009 09:29 AM - Cardiff University

Very large and abrupt changes in temperature recorded over Greenland and across the North Atlantic during the last Ice Age were actually global in extent, according to an international team of researchers led by Cardiff University. New research, published in the journal Nature, supports the idea that changes in ocean circulation within the Atlantic played a central role in abrupt climate change on a global scale. Using a sediment core taken from the seafloor in the South Atlantic, the team were able to create a detailed reconstruction of ocean conditions in the South Atlantic during the final phases of the last ice age.

Ultimate In 'Green' Energy: Plants Inspire New Generation Of Solar Cells
March 3, 2009 08:49 AM - University of Southampton's Laboratories for Hybrid Optoelectronics

The ability of plants to turn sunlight into energy through photosynthesis has been successfully mimicked by scientists at the University of Southampton to produce a new generation of solar cells.

Butterfly Found To Be New Species, Because Of Its Mustache
March 2, 2009 07:53 AM - Natural History Museum

After nearly a century in the Natural History Museum collections, a new butterfly species has been discovered because of its mustache. A new butterfly species from the dry Magdalena valleys of Colombia has been discovered among the three million butterfly specimens at the Natural History Museum in London by a butterfly curator. It lay undiscovered in the collection for 90 years, but only when the curator Blanca Huertas compared it with a recently found wild specimen was it identified as Splendeuptychia ackeryi, or Magdalena valley ringlet, whose distinguishing feature is unusually hairy mouthparts

Global seed vault marks 1-year anniversary with four-ton shipment of critical food crops
February 26, 2009 08:34 AM - Global Crop Diversity Trust

LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY (26 February 2009)—Four tons of seeds - almost 90,000 samples of hundreds of crop species - from food crop collections maintained by Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, USA, and three international agricultural research centers in Syria, Mexico and Colombia, were delivered today to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as it celebrated its one-year anniversary. The repository, located near the village of Longyearbyen on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, has in one year amassed a collection of more than 400,000 unique seed samples – some 200 million seeds.

Solar car completes 1st ever round-the-world trip
February 26, 2009 08:23 AM - http://climate.weather.com

POZNAN, Poland (AP) -- The first solar-powered car to travel around the world ended its journey at the U.N. climate talks Thursday, arriving with the message that clean technologies are available now to stop global warming. The small two-seater -- made from aluminum and fiberglass -- hauled a trailer of solar cells and U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer up to a building in Poznan where delegates from some 190 nations are working toward a new treaty to control climate change.

NASA's global warming satellite falls to Earth
February 24, 2009 10:38 AM - MSNBC

A NASA satellite designed to track carbon dioxide emissions failed to reach orbit and landed in the ocean early Tuesday in a mishap that could jeopardize its mission to better understand climate change. The Taurus XL rocket carrying the Orbiting Carbon Observatory blasted off as planned at 1:55 a.m. PST (4:55 EST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's Central Coast.

Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research
February 20, 2009 09:42 AM - NY Times

Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops, according to an unusual complaint issued by a group of those scientists. "No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions," the scientists wrote in astatement submitted to theEnvironmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. is seeking public comments for scientific meetings it will hold next week on biotech crops.

Scientists make advances on "nano" electronics
February 20, 2009 09:20 AM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two U.S. teams have developed new materials that may pave the way for ever smaller, faster and more powerful electronics as current semiconductor technology begins to reach the limits of miniaturization. One team has made tiny transistors -- the building block of computer processors -- a fraction of the size of those used on advanced silicon chips.

What a mess! Experts ponder space junk problem
February 19, 2009 09:30 AM - AP

With a recent satellite collision still fresh on minds, participants at a meeting in the Austrian capital this week are discussing ways to deal with space debris — junk that is clogging up the Earth's orbit. Some suggest a cosmic cleanup is the way to go. Others say time, energy and funds are better spent on minimizing the likelihood of future crashes by improving information sharing.

Cheaper Materials Could Be Key To Low-cost Solar Cells
February 19, 2009 09:26 AM - University of California - Berkeley

Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). These materials, some of which are highly abundant, could expand the potential for solar cells to become a globally significant source of low-carbon energy, the study authors said.

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