Air travel gone batty!
February 18, 2014 01:37 PM - Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics
By exploring how creatures in nature are able to fly by flapping their wings, Virginia Tech researchers hope to apply that knowledge toward designing small flying vehicles known as "micro air vehicles" with flapping wings. More than 1,000 species of bats have hand membrane wings, meaning that their fingers are essentially "webbed" and connected by a flexible membrane. But understanding how bats use their wings to manipulate the air around them is extremely challenging -- primarily because both experimental measurements on live creatures and the related computer analysis are quite complex.
Fracking residual waters
February 18, 2014 09:40 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
As fracking amongst Marcellus Shale in the northeastern part of the United States increases so does the concern over its process. Fracking is done utilizing a hydraulic fracturing process, which pumps a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand deep into the sedimentary formations to extract naturally occurring gas. The resultant wastewater is then stored in large impoundment ponds and closed container tanks until it can be piped to wastewater treatment plants. Once cleaned it is discharged into local streams or trucked to Ohio to be pumped deep down into another injection well or into another fracking operation.
Predicting the Climate of the future
February 15, 2014 10:44 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Climate scientists rely on models to predict how the weather and climate will respond to changes in variable such as CO2 emissions, natural methane emissions, solar intensity and a host of other factors. No individual model can claim to accurately predict future climate. So it is very important to look at multiple models and compare their predictions. The Carnegie Institution for Science is a leader in this area. The pace of global warming over the last century has been about twice as rapid over land than over the oceans and will continue to be more dramatic going forward if emissions are not curbed. According to an analysis of 27 climate models by Carnegie's Chris Field, if we continue along the current emissions trajectory, we are likely facing the most rapid large climate change in the last 65 million years. This will clearly pose great challenges for a variety of terrestrial ecosystems.
Hydrogen Cars to Hit the Road This Spring
February 14, 2014 12:22 PM - CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies
Although electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been considered the only plausible alternatives to conventional cars for a long time, and practically all of the world’s biggest car makers have been investing heavily in these technologies, and governments around the world have been trying to promote the use of such vehicles by offering generous incentives and financial benefits to those who choose to buy an alternative fuel vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered car, adoption has been lagging and sales have not been as strong as the auto industry had expected.
Testing for environmental contaminants in wastewater biosolids
February 14, 2014 10:08 AM - Ken Kingery, Duke University
Every year waste treatment facilities in the United States process more than eight million tons of semi-solid sewage called biosolids -- about half of which is recycled into fertilizer and spread on crop land. The practice helps solve storage issues and produces revenue to support the treatment plants, but what else is being spread in that sludge?
Breakthrough reported in search for the "holy grail" of fusion energy
February 13, 2014 04:50 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Scientists are reporting a world-first landmark discovery in the quest to unlock the secrets of triggering and harnessing the energy from fusion science. Ignition - the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel - has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement fusion science.
More contaminant troubles for West Virginia
February 13, 2014 09:18 AM - Judy Molland, Care2
On February 11, just one month after a chemical spill tainted drinking water for 300,000 people in and around the state's capital of Charleston, West Virginia experienced another environmental disaster: 100,000 gallons of coal slurry pour into stream.
Spotting Whales from Space!
February 13, 2014 08:05 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Counting individuals of a species is important in order to track wildlife trends. Absence or decline of a species could mean detrimental habitat modifications or that parts of the ecosystem are unbalanced. For marine populations though, trying to count and monitor these species is often a daunting and expensive task as finding these individuals in the vast ocean can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, scientists lead by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have demonstrated how new satellite technology can be used to count whales, and ultimately estimate their population size.
Biodiversity conservationists get a little help with new online freshwater atlas
February 12, 2014 01:00 PM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
An online repository of maps has been launched to make information on freshwater biodiversity available on a common platform for use by scientists, policymakers, conservationists and NGOs. The Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas will help developing countries identify biodiversity-rich areas for conservation. It was launched last month (29 January), as part of an EU-funded project called BioFresh, with the aim of putting together published maps and sharing them under a creative commons license.
Urban Bees Start Using Plastic Waste to Build Hives
February 12, 2014 08:05 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Urban bees have started using bits of discarded plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests, according to a new study of their behavior. It's an important discovery because it shows bees' resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world, says lead author Scott MacIvor of the University of Guelph. "Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," said MacIvor. "Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment."