Freeway Air Pollution Travels Farther than Previously Thought
April 19, 2013 11:11 AM - Editor, ENN
Los Angeles is known not only for its celebrity clientele, but also for its congested roadways and heavy traffic, which consequently has led to severely polluted air, and the title of the "smoggiest city" in the United States. While air quality has improved somewhat in LA, a joint study by UCLA and the California Air Resources Board suggests that nearly a quarter of Angelenos are exposed to noxious plumes of freeway fumes almost every morning, far more people than previously thought.
April 19, 2013 07:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Asteroids is a video arcade game. The object of the game is to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while not colliding with either. Real asteroids are minor planets (small Solar System bodies and dwarf planets) that are not comets, especially those of the inner Solar System. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones. Shyam Bhaskaran of NASA is working a lot with asteroids these days. And also like many of his colleagues, the deep space navigator devotes a great deal of time to crafting, and contemplating, computer-generated 3-D models of these intriguing nomads of the solar system. But while many of his coworkers are calculating asteroids' past, present and future locations in the cosmos, zapping them with the world's most massive radar dishes, or considering how to rendezvous and perhaps even gently nudge an asteroid into lunar orbit, Bhaskaran thinks about how to collide with one.
Is Life Older than Planet Earth?
April 18, 2013 06:51 AM - JILLIAN SCHARR, TECHNEWSDAILY, via Discovery News
Applying a maxim from computer science to biology raises the intriguing possibility that life existed before Earth did and may have originated outside our solar system, scientists say. Moore's Law is the observation that computers increase exponentially in complexity, at a rate of about double the transistors per integrated circuit every very two years. If you apply Moore's Law to just the last few years' rate of computational complexity and work backward, you'll get back to the 1960s, when the first microchip was, indeed, invented. Now, two geneticists have applied Moore's Law to the rate at which life on Earth grows in complexity — and the results suggest organic life first came into existence long before Earth itself.
U.S. Air Force is Really Reducing Energy Use
April 17, 2013 09:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy user in the federal government. The federal government accounts for about one percent of total U.S. energy use, most of that is used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Air Force accounts for 48 percent of the DOD's energy costs, which equates to about 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel, 64 trillion BTUs a year, and 35 metric tons of carbon. In 2012, the Air Force spent over $9 billion on energy, and 85 percent went to aviation fuel, which accounted for eight percent of the Air Force's budget. In 2003, energy was only three percent of the total budget.
Titan Methane Lakes
April 17, 2013 08:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Lakes and all bodies of liquid on a world's surface come and go over time. Titan has vast lakes of liquid Methane. By tracking a part of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan over several years, NASA's Cassini mission has found a remarkable longevity to the hydrocarbon lakes on the moon's surface. A team led by Christophe Sotin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., fed these results into a model that suggests the supply of the hydrocarbon methane at Titan could be coming to an end soon (on a geological timescale). The study of the lakes also led scientists to spot a few new ones in images from Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer data in June 2010.
Sulfur Based Batteries/Plastic
April 16, 2013 04:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids that are moldable. Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain other substances. How about mostly sulfur? A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The new plastic has other potential uses, including optical uses. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulfur batteries.
Maya Long Count
April 16, 2013 12:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Ancient calendars were remarkably accurate but over the centuries it is hard to compare the dates of one to the modern day calendar. Things change after all and no calendar is perfect in an ever changing world. The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendar systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, has been empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers. Archaeologists want to place the Long Count dates into the European calendar so there is an understanding of when things happened in the Maya world relative to historic events elsewhere. Correlation also allows the rich historical record of the Maya to be compared with other sources of environmental, climate and archaeological data calibrated using the European calendar.
How Can You Find and Track Asteroids Near Earth?
April 16, 2013 06:05 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
It seems that every now and then we are surprised to learn that an asteroid is passing near the earth. Sometimes these are asteroids that NASA and others have been tracking for some time, but in other cases, they are newly discovered. The consequences of an asteroid hitting our planet range from relatively insignificant to catastrophic. At the University of Rochester, a team has developed a special type of camera that is capable of detecting and tracking asteroids. A sensor designed to be the eyes of a future asteroid-tracking mission has passed a critical test. The Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) sensor is a new infrared-light detector to improve the performance and efficiency of the next generation of space-based asteroid-hunting telescopes. It is the result of a long-term collaboration between the University of Rochester and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), together with Teledyne Imaging Sensors. A paper on the NEOCam sensor test will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Optical Engineering.
Fungi Found to be Culprit for Horseradish Root Rot
April 16, 2013 05:55 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Horseradish grown in the Midwest of the United States has been experiencing significant yield reductions for the past 30 years due to internal discoloring and root rot. According to crop science professor Mohammad Babadoost at the University of Illinois, "If the roots are discolored, they are not accepted for processing." This affects the success of these plants and the livelihood of Illinois farmers who grown over half of the horseradish produced in the United States.
New Sinking Islands and Lands
April 15, 2013 03:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The seas do rise and fall over the ages. Lands sink and rise depending on the weather. Dynamic modeling of sea-level rise, which takes storm wind and wave action into account, paints a much graver picture for some low-lying Pacific islands under climate-change scenarios than the passive computer modeling used in earlier research, according to a new report. A team led by research oceanographer Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center compared passive bathtub inundation models with dynamic models for two of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The team studied Midway, a classic atoll with islands on the shallow (2—8 meters or 6—26 feet deep) atoll rim and a deep, central lagoon, and Laysan, which is higher, with a 20—30 meter (65—98 feet) deep rim and an island in the center of the atoll. Together, the two locations exhibit landforms and coastal features common to many Pacific islands.