Sci/tech

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The shipping industry is one of the most under-regulated industries in the world due to outdated and international regulations that are difficult to enforce on a global scale.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.

Longer growing season does not yield growth increase for trees and shrubs
May 21, 2014 09:29 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the earth's temperatures rise, some have speculated that trees and shrubs in the colder climates might experience and increase in growth as a result of the extended growing season. "Not so," says a recent study authored by a University of Washington biology and applied mathematics postdoctoral student. Her study demonstrates that bushes achieve less yearly growth when cold winter temperatures are interrupted by warm spurts that trigger growth.

Antarctica dances to Carole King's "The Earth Moves Under My Feet"
May 20, 2014 02:07 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Antarctica has apparently been living by the lyrics of Carole King's 1971 hit song "The Earth Moves Under My Feet". According to a study from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, Antarctica has been moving "rapidly". Recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the study explains why the upward motion of the Earth's crust in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is currently taking place so quickly. While earlier studies have shown the earth is 'rebounding' due to the overlying ice sheet shrinking in response to climate change, GPS data is suggesting otherwise. The international research team led in part by Newcastle researchers has revealed that this land is rising at a remarkable rate of 15mm a year.

Reintroducing the European Bison
May 20, 2014 09:47 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

In a coordinated effort to reintroduce the European bison to the grasslands of southern Romania, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and Rewilding Europe recently brought 20 bison to the Southern Carpathians. Ten more will be reintroduced over the summer. The species has been absent for about 200 years.

"State of the Air 2014" Shows Half the U.S. Lives with Unhealthy Air
May 20, 2014 07:50 AM - American Lung Association

Nearly half of all Americans — more than 147 million — live in counties in the U.S. where ozone or particle pollutions levels make the air unhealthy to breathe, according to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2014" report released today. The 15th annual national report card shows that while the nation overall continued to reduce particle pollution, a pollutant recently found to cause lung cancer, poor air quality remains a significant public health concern and a changing climate threatens to make it harder to protect human health.

Fighting air pollution with innovation and technology
May 19, 2014 10:46 AM - ENN Editor

Air pollution has become one of the world's biggest threats to the future of our planet. Chronic air pollution shortens our lives and the lives of the ecologies around us. In parts of Asia, where air pollution is most pervasive, food crops and other plants are exhibiting signs of stress due to low air quality.

Climate Change on JUPITER
May 18, 2014 09:07 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

We are very concerned with the changing climate on Earth. The climate on other planets is more difficult to study, and direct observations are impossible, save some observations from the Mars rovers. Jupiter has an atmosphere that is very different from Earth's. The prominent Giant Red Spot, a swirling anti-cyclonic storm larger than Earth, appears to be a permanent fixture of the planet's atmosphere, and has been remarkably stable for decades. Now the Great Red Spot has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured. According to Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recent NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations confirm the Great Red Spot now is approximately 10,250 miles across, less than half the size of some historical measurements. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s.

Head in the Clouds
May 16, 2014 09:42 AM - ENN Editor

Clouds play a critical role in Earth's climate and are the largest source of uncertainty in present climate models, stemming from cloud formation complexity, according to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Scientists discover giant sperm fossilized in bat guano
May 16, 2014 08:49 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

In a cave in Australia, researchers from the University of New South Wales discovered giant fossilized sperm. The sperm were produced 17 million years ago by a group of tiny, shelled crustaceans called ostracods, making them the oldest fossilized sperm ever found. The results were published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The fossils were excavated in 1988, but it wasn't known they contained sperm until they were studied in detail by an ostracod expert last year.

Patience, self-control and delayed gratification
May 15, 2014 03:44 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

How long would you wait for six grapes? A chimpanzee will wait more than two minutes to eat six grapes, but a black lemur would rather eat two grapes now than wait any longer than 15 seconds for a bigger serving.

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