Sci/tech

Saving bees with spider venom?
June 11, 2014 08:32 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

With Europe and the United States slow to ban the pesticides that science says is probably drastically harming our bee populations, could one of the world's most venomous spiders hold one solution to saving our pollinators?

What does the temperature feel like on Mars?
June 11, 2014 05:32 AM - Sid Perkins, Science

Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about —20°C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That’s because there’s virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study—the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. "I hadn't really thought about this before, but I'm not surprised," says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, "will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they’re getting themselves into."

Massive rocky planet challenges traditional views of planet formation
June 6, 2014 01:36 PM - NASA JPL

Astronomers have discovered a rocky planet that weighs 17 times as much as Earth and is more than twice as large in size. This discovery has planet formation theorists challenged to explain how such a world could have formed. "We were very surprised when we realized what we had found," said astronomer Xavier Dumusque of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the analysis using data originally collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope.

Archaeological expedition reveals first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology
June 6, 2014 10:25 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Fossils can reveal an incredible amount of information. From what kind of organisms lived when and where to how they may have evolved over time. And now a new discovery of plant fossils with abundant fossilized charcoal reveals something new about prehistoric forest fires. Forest fires affect ecosystems differently and despite the fact that organisms and plant life have had to adapt to cope with these natural phenomena, new research shows that forests have been recovering from fires in the same manner as they did 66 million years ago.

New man-made gases discovered in atmosphere
June 4, 2014 08:13 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have found two new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) in the atmosphere. The research, published today, comes after another four man-made gases were discovered by the same team in March. Scientists made the discovery by comparing today’s air samples with air collected between 1978 and 2012 in unpolluted Tasmania, and samples taken during aircraft flights.

US EPA Releases Clean Power Plan Proposal
June 2, 2014 01:27 PM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal today. This is the first attempt to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. According to the EPA, power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are already standards for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.

Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and Climate Change
June 2, 2014 06:27 AM - British Antarctic Survey

A special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A has been published today (Monday 2 June) which brings together a collection of papers on many of the unresolved issues relating to the Southern Ocean. Professor Michael Meredith from the British Antarctic Survey was a guest editor on the issue; 'The Southern Ocean: new insights into circulation, carbon and climate'. The research includes: Why greenhouse gases and the ozone holes are melting the Arctic sea ice but are having a cooling effect in some parts of Antarctica, and how dust, which provides iron and essential nutrients to the ocean, might have been the cause of increased biological productivity in the southern Atlantic Ocean during the last ice age.

British Airways Turns Garbage into Jet Fuel: Sustainable Solution or Incineration in Disguise?
May 30, 2014 02:03 PM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit

Can garbage power your plane ride from New York to London? That’s the idea behind a new production plant that will transform waste from London's homes and businesses into a jet fuel that costs about the same price as conventional petroleum-based fuel but burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions.

How Sharks Could Help Predict Hurricanes
May 29, 2014 08:20 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

Scientists have embarked on a remarkable new project to use shark and large marine predators as biological sensors in the hopes that they could help us predict the formation and course of potentially dangerous hurricanes. Researchers from the University of Miami have tagged a total of 750 marine animals in the past ten years, all to track the temperature and salinity of sea waters at different depths. Earlier this year though, the researchers noticed something special about the data — the tagged marine life gravitated toward water that was about 79 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is the temperature at which hurricanes form.

EPA doles out grants to replace old diesel engines on tug boats
May 27, 2014 03:17 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

The shipping industry is one of the most under-regulated industries in the world due to outdated and international regulations that are difficult to enforce on a global scale. And as these ships enter our harbors and ports close to home, their operations have the potential to generate smog-forming emissions and other pollutants that are linked to various health problems in susceptible populations. In an effort to combat some of the pollution expelled from dirty diesel engines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allotted over one million dollars to help two specific organizations replace their old engines with less polluting models. According to the EPA, the projects will cut emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter among other pollutants which are linked to asthma, lung and heart disease and premature death.

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