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Falling fruit: A global collaborative foraging map
November 1, 2013 08:58 AM - Ruth Stokes, The Ecologist
Foraging for fruit just got easier, with a map bringing together foraging data around the world. Thought to be the first effort on such a large scale, Falling Fruit is a massive, collaborative urban harvesting map that aims to reduce waste while reconnecting people to their environments. Around 500 species are currently shown on the map, across locations as diverse as Australia, India, Mauritius, Israel and the Netherlands. It's just launched in the UK, collating more than 30 isolated maps from across Britain.
Wind Turbine Arrangement: Staggering Results
October 31, 2013 03:48 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Location and organization apparently matters after all! Or at least that is what Cristina Archer, Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware has discovered with regard to wind turbine efficiency. Dr. Archer headed up a team of researchers from UD's College of Earth, Ocean and Environment to conduct studies on the effects of various wind turbine organizational placement patterns. Using a wind farm near Sweden for the basis of their study, they compared existing tightly paced, grid-like layouts to six alternate configurations. They tried multiple spacing distances in various styles of rows: straight arrays, linear but equal offsets and a staggered theatre style where any turbine in front does not obstruct the view from any one behind.
The Great Latex Defense
October 30, 2013 10:48 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Latex from plants is a naturally occurring white opaque sap that emanates from a plant's point of damage. About 10% of plants use Latex as a method of defense. Latex is also an essential ingredient in natural rubber. But different plants use latex in different ways. Researchers at the University of Oxford wanted to understand the mechanical properties of natural latex in relation to their respective defense application. As a result, researchers tested two latex producing plant species that use it differently: the Euphorbia and the Ficus.
Mercury Sediment Carried Forth by California Floods
October 29, 2013 01:59 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Mercury contamination in sediment has been a big concern in the Central Valley lowland areas of California. But associate researcher from the University of California, Michael Singer has unearthed new information and considerations utilizing modern topographic datasets and modeling to track mercury-laden sediment. Singer hypothesizes that the progradation process resulting from 10-year flooding events within the valleys below the Sierra Nevada Mountains are the key to understanding and tracking the presence of mercury. Singer has connected the mercury amalgamation process, which was used to extract gold from the mountains during the 19th century with the current high incidence of mercury in regional delta sediment.
October 28, 2013 10:36 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Anthony Martin, paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta, GA recently discovered two fossilized footprints presumably made by a landing bird during the Early Cretaceous period at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia. This discovery marks the oldest known bird tracks in Australia.
Nuclear power gets twice the price of solar!
October 28, 2013 08:31 AM - Oliver Tickell, Ecologist
The UK government's policy to pay for more for nuclear power than for power from solar PV is in direct contradiction of EU rules on state aid. The Hinkley C nuclear power station is to be paid more than twice as much as German solar pv arrays of 10MW or more, energy expert David Toke of Aberdeen University has calculated. And even smaller arrays are being paid considerably less than the price paid to EDF at Hinkley.
India blocks progress on HFC emissions reductions
October 25, 2013 05:05 PM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist
The Indian Government has single-handedly blocked progress on an agreement to reduce emissions of the super-powerful greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The G20 - which includes India as the world's tenth largest economy - resolved in September to phase down the consumption and production of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty which has successfully slashed emissions of ozone eating CFCs. But in the 25th meeting of the Montreal Protocol in Bangkok, which ended today, India deliberately blocked detailed discussions of the HFC-reduction proposals.
The Abundance of Invasive Species
October 25, 2013 04:05 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Recognizing that invasive species are major catalysts for environmental change, researchers from the University of Wisconsin—Madison are relooking at how we account for invasive species populations. Instead of researching the behaviors and habits of the invasive species, researchers Gretchen Hansen and Jake Vander Zanden are considering abundance distributions of invasive species. They hypothesize that measuring abundance in an area is a more helpful determinate for defining the most optimal methods of prevention, containment, control and eradication.
Lack of nanotech regulations leaves developing world exposed
October 25, 2013 01:18 PM - Lou Del Bello, SciDevNet
Nanotechnology is a promising field, but a lack of regulation means there is uncertainty over the safety of its implementation, particularly in developing countries. This week I received some unexpected insights on nanotechnology and its relationship with industry in different parts of the world.
The Benefits of Allergies
October 25, 2013 09:22 AM - Editor, ENN
For those of us that suffer from seasonal allergies, or even from indoor allergens like dust or mold, the symptoms that we have to these allergens is actually a positive reaction as two new studies show that our sneezing and wheezing may actually protect us. In a study involving reactions to bee stings, researchers report that mice that develop an allergic response to the venom in honeybee stings are more likely to survive potentially lethal doses of the same venom later on.