Sci/tech

A global climate change directive?
March 14, 2014 04:11 PM - Editor, ENN

Could another climate change deal be in the works? World leaders are meeting in Brussels this month to discuss climate change. While environmentalists are calling for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, diplomatic language presented in the introductory document is most likely not ambitious enough.

Making the United States "anti-car"
March 14, 2014 02:33 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2

Visit Amsterdam, which feels like the bicycle capital of the world, and you'll see everyone on bikes, from chic ladies on their way to coffeehouses (a longstanding tradition in this European city) to office workers. The city offers dedicated bicycle paths, ample bike parking and lots more options to encourage people to cycle and it create active disincentives for driving. It's a decision born of practical and environmental concerns: Amsterdam is a small, easily crowded city, where cars could become a serious hazard and frustration if they multiplied on the streets, and its residents are very eco-conscious.

Antarctic ecosystem due to change radically with climate change
March 13, 2014 02:07 PM - Staff, ENN

According to researchers the Ross Sea will "be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades creating longer periods of ice-free open water and affecting life cycles of all components of the ecosystem in a paper published and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The researchers have drawn their information from the Regional Ocean Modeling System, a computer model that evaluates sea-ice, ocean, atmosphere and sea-shelf.

Rooftop considerations amidst climate change
March 13, 2014 11:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

As the realities of climate change set in, so too are realizations that building technologies impact both internal and external environments. The percentage increase of asphalt and blacktopped roofs create urban heat islands. Resultantly cities have become earth's newest desserts exhibiting high temperatures and arid conditions with little vegetation. Urban expansion as a stand-alone factor (omitting greenhouse gas-induced climate change considerations) is expected to raise temperatures by roughly six degrees. Because of this, scientists are now exploring new technologies to cope with the new reality.

Big Ben May Get a Solar Face Lift
March 13, 2014 08:04 AM - Sara Lozanova, Triple Pundit

In an effort by the U.K. Parliament to reach the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission by 34 percent by 2020, the House of Commons is now looking to the parliamentary estate and considering installing solar panels on the face of Big Ben in London. Parliamentary passholders were submitting ideas for reducing carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency on the estate, when the solar idea was suggested.

Sustainable urban lawns
March 12, 2014 01:16 PM - robin Blackstone, ENN

Concern for the homogenization of America's urban landscape prompted a recent research study into the care and maintenance of residential landscapes. The study demonstrated fewer similarities than expected but the concern, according to researchers is that "Lawns not only cover a larger extent [of land] than any other irrigated 'crop' in the U.S., but are expected to expand in coming decades. The researchers go on to point out that the potential homogenization of residential lawn care has emerged as a major concern for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and water flows."

Feral cats a growing health concern
March 11, 2014 04:17 PM - Editor, ENN

A coalition of more than 200 groups which include various bird and wildlife conservation organizations and animal rights groups are calling on Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior to take action to reduce mortality to wildlife populations on public lands stemming from the nation's ever-increasing population of feral cats. The group brings evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that feral cats pose a threat to human health as a result of an exposure to rabies and toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease affecting the human brain when exposed to cat feces.

Supergene defines butterfly patterns
March 11, 2014 10:58 AM - Aathira Perinchery, MONGABAY.COM

Scientists have discovered the gene enabling multiple female morphs that give the Common Mormon butterfly its very tongue-in-cheek name. Doublesex, the gene that controls gender in insects, is also a mimicry supergene that determines diverse wing patterns in this butterfly, according to a recent study published in Nature. The study also shows that the supergene is not a cluster of closely linked genes as postulated for nearly half a century, but a single gene controlling all the variations exhibited by the butterfly's wings.

Bright colors in nature a sure sign of toxicity—or is it?
March 11, 2014 10:29 AM - Editor, ENN

Brightly colored prey generally signify danger in the form of toxins for the predator. Predators instinctively know that a brightly colored prey is a sign of bad news and not a suitable meal. Researchers at Michigan State University however are exploring how this evolved and in the process found some animals have actually only imitated the trait in an effort to survive event though they are not poisonous.

Many small glaciers make up the whole in Greenland
March 11, 2014 09:59 AM - George Hale, NASA

Research using NASA data is giving new insight into one of the processes causing Greenland's ice sheet to lose mass. A team of scientists used satellite observations and ice thickness measurements gathered by NASA's Operation IceBridge to calculate the rate at which ice flows through Greenland's glaciers into the ocean. The findings of this research give a clearer picture of how glacier flow affects the Greenland Ice Sheet and shows that this dynamic process is dominated by a small number of glaciers.

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