Sci/tech

Are we close to bringing back supersonic travel?
June 18, 2014 07:06 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Remember the Concorde? The supersonic passenger jet that flew from 1969 to almost 2000. It was not cost effective for the airlines, and extravagantly expensive for passengers. It was also cramped. The luxury was being able to fly from New York to London in about 3 hours! The Concorde had a big problem, the sonic boom it created when flying at supersonic speed. This led to governments restricting where it could fly supersonically and was a major factor in it not being economical to continue flying. That and a very advanced airframe that was getting old. The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA’s efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms. Several NASA aeronautics researchers will present their work in Atlanta this week at Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They will share with the global aviation community the progress they are making in overcoming some of the biggest hurdles to supersonic passenger travel.

Broccoli sprouts may help detox our bodies from air pollutants
June 16, 2014 06:43 PM - Editor, ENN

A clinical trial involving nearly 300 men and women residing in one of China's most polluted regions found that daily consumption of a half cup of broccoli sprout beverage produced rapid, significant and sustained higher levels of excretion of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and acrolein, a lung irritant.

Heinz and Ford to Team Up on Rolling Green Tomatoes
June 16, 2014 09:23 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

You could say that, at least until now, cars and tomatoes have basically nothing in common. Tomatoes go from green to red as they ripen, and cars, well, they seem to be getting greener. As part of this trend, Ford is one of several companies that have been pursuing a viable bio-based plastic that could substitute for the petroleum-based plastics that dominate the industry today. Indeed, as cars continue to reduce vehicle weight in order to improve fuel economy, the use of plastics is becoming ever more common.

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.

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