Sci/tech

NSF awards $5.6 million to establish new arctic Long-Term Ecological Research site
March 16, 2017 08:15 AM - National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a $5.6 million, five-year grant to establish a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site along the northern Alaskan coast that will focus on the interactions between land and ocean that shape coastal ecosystems in the Arctic over different time scales.

Researchers at the Beaufort Sea Lagoons LTER site will study food webs, which support large-scale coastal fisheries and more than 150 species of migratory birds and waterfowl. Long-term changes along the northern Alaska coast have already affected the types of fish and other creatures that live in the lagoons, and are expected to continue to do so. The LTER research team will collaborate with members of local communities, including the Iñupiat, and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

NASA Spots Sub-Tropical Storm 11S Still Swirling
March 15, 2017 02:57 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Once a tropical storm, now a sub-tropical storm, the remnants of the tropical low pressure area formerly known as 11S was spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite, still spinning in the Southern Indian Ocean.

On March 14 at 2230 UTC (6:30 p.m. EST) the remnants of Tropical Cyclone 11S were located near 29.8 degrees south latitude and 52.4 degrees east longitude, about 530 nautical miles south-southwest of La Reunion Island.

Optical fingerprints can reveal environmental gases
March 15, 2017 02:11 PM - Chalmers University of Technology

More efficient sensors are needed to be able to detect environmental pollution. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials. The novel method could improve environmental sensing in the future. The results are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

“This could open up new possibilities for the detection of environmental gases. Our method is more robust than conventional sensors, which rely on small changes in optical properties”, says Maja Feierabend, PhD student at the Department of Physics and the main author of the article from Chalmers University of Technology and Technische Universität Berlin.

What makes farmers try new practices?
March 15, 2017 07:27 AM - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Change is never easy. But when it comes to adopting new agricultural practices, some farmers are easier to convince than others.

Early Earth Had a Hazy, Methane-filled Atmosphere
March 14, 2017 03:21 PM - University of Maryland

More than 2.4 billion years ago, Earth’s atmosphere was inhospitable, filled with toxic gases that drove wildly fluctuating surface temperatures. Understanding how today’s world of mild climates and breathable air took shape is a fundamental question in Earth science.

New research from the University of Maryland, the University of St. Andrews, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Leeds and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science suggests that long ago, Earth’s atmosphere spent about a million years filled with a methane-rich haze. This haze drove a large amount of hydrogen out of the atmosphere, clearing the way for massive amounts of oxygen to fill the air. This transformation resulted in an atmosphere much like the one that sustains life on Earth today.

New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future
March 14, 2017 02:55 PM - California Institute of Technology

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have—in just two years—nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.

They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Scientists harness solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass
March 14, 2017 11:11 AM - University of Cambridge

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a way of using solar power to generate a fuel that is both sustainable and relatively cheap to produce. It’s using natural light to generate hydrogen from biomass.

One of the challenges facing modern society is what it does with its waste products. As natural resources decline in abundance, using waste for energy is becoming more pressing for both governments and business.

Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It'll Be Gone
March 14, 2017 08:38 AM - Rob Dunn, Wired

On a plate, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy.

Doubts about whether internet filters protect teenagers online
March 14, 2017 08:33 AM - University of Oxford

Internet filters are widely used in homes, schools and libraries throughout the UK to protect young people from unpleasant online experiences. However, a new study by Oxford casts doubt on whether such technologies shield young teenagers after finding no link between homes with internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected. 

Doubts about whether internet filters protect teenagers online
March 14, 2017 08:33 AM - University of Oxford

Internet filters are widely used in homes, schools and libraries throughout the UK to protect young people from unpleasant online experiences. However, a new study by Oxford casts doubt on whether such technologies shield young teenagers after finding no link between homes with internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected. 

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