Sci/tech

New error in UN Climate report
February 14, 2010 07:40 AM - Reuters

The U.N. panel of climate experts overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level, according to a preliminary report on Saturday, admitting yet another flaw after a row last month over Himalayan glacier melt. A background note by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a 2007 report wrongly stated that 55 percent of the country was below sea level since the figure included areas above sea level, prone to flooding along rivers.

Evidence of Rapid Sea Rise Found in Coastal Cave in Mediterranean
February 13, 2010 10:22 AM - Yale Environment 360

An examination of mineral deposits in a coastal cave on the Spanish island of Mallorca shows evidence of rapid rises and declines in sea level as the planet warmed and cooled. Reporting in the journal Science, University of Iowa researchers said that studies of the mineral, calcite — deposited by sea water on the inside of a seaside cave, like rings on a bathtub — showed that roughly 81,000 years ago sea levels jumped by more than 6 feet a century during a warm period, and then dropped during a subsequent cooling cycle at a similar rate — 66 feet per 1,000 years.

Arctic Could be Ice-Free in future Summers
February 11, 2010 07:41 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Are warming conditions in the Arctic unprecedented in Earth’s history? It turns out that they are not. The Earth’s climate has gone through warming and cooling times in the past as can be seen in the fossil record that shows tropical species in regions now too cool to support them. These past variations were obviously not caused by the effects of man's activities. This does not mean that the current warming trend is not caused, or affected by anthropogenic air pollution. There is now increased evidence that the Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions and much warmer temperatures in the future.

SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL ATMOSPHERIC INTERACTIONS: A FRESH, SPARKY LOOK
February 10, 2010 08:25 PM - Themis Chronis, for ENN

We live in a strongly climate-oriented era, where each one of us is called to choose between sides; are we among the "believers" or the "infidels" of the "Global Warming?". Two decades ago, a part of the scientific community started engaging in intense discussions around the "unusual" temperature trends which, for the northern hemisphere, had been going undoubtedly uphill. The first serious counter arguments regarding the validity of these findings targeted the inherited errors that all observational tools possess. New observations and improved algorithms started to appear fairly quickly, a fact that partially appeased debates and concerns. Skeptics of the global warming theory try to find other kinds of evidence to second-guess the mainstream CO2 increase and steer away from anthropocentric related theories. And suddenly, along came a cloud...

How to Reduce the Fumes
February 10, 2010 07:50 AM - Editor, Sierra Club Green Home

A fresh coat of paint can change a room from dreary to divine. Stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives help you build everything from a new bathroom to a bookcase. But all these useful products can also introduce unhealthy chemicals into your home and your body. Low-VOC paint The biggest culprit is VOCs, or "volatile organic compounds," a large class of chemicals that readily evaporate at room temperature. If you walk into a room and notice that new-paint smell, you’re breathing VOCs. Paints, stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives release the highest levels of VOCs when wet. But even when they feel dry to the touch, they may keep releasing these gases for days, weeks, months, even years. Meanwhile your upholstery, carpets, and drapes act like sponges, absorbing VOCs and releasing them over time. While not everyone may be bothered by exposure to these gases, they can be a serious health risk for people with chemical sensitivities, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.

Beer is Good for You (Bones)
February 8, 2010 04:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Beer is an alcoholic beverage. Obviously too much alcohol makes you drunk which is not too good for your health. Yet beer does have its positive benefits. One, of course, is to reduce stress (at least short term). A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.

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.

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